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Posts from the ‘Seafood’ Category

Salade Niçoise


Salad.  The word is ripe with meanings.  Could be dessert, breakfast, a hearty meal, a light spring side, could be greens and a little dressing or contain nothing green at all…might be the whole meal or just a nibble to whet your appetite.  I’m a big fan of savory salads that have intention, I love a composed salad, have a sweet spot for any salad with a hit of protein, and of course…add olives to anything and I’m in!

A niçoise salad hits every mark and is easily made almost any time of year!

This recipe comes from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.  I first learned about this book via NPR and The Splendid Table with Lynn Rossetto Kasper who interviewed Dorie.  However, this salad hardly needs a recipe at all (but I posted it below).

We were inspired to make a niçoise after reading a Cook’s Illustrated review of canned tuna focusing not only on taste but also on sustainability and ethics of the company.  American Tuna came out on top…and when we spotted it while grocery shopping…we knew just what we would be making with it.

The tuna is worth the additional cost and the quality is outstanding.

Recipe (courtesy of Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan)

8-12 small potatoes, scrubbed
2  5 to 6 oz. cans tuna packed in oil, drained
4 tomatoes, cut into chunks or 20 grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 lb. green beans, trimmed
4 hard-boiled eggs
about 20 Niçoise olives, pitted
2 tbsps. capers, drained and patted dry
8 anchovies, rinsed and patted dry (we skipped the anchovies)
4-6 handfuls of bibb lettuce
1 shallot, finely chopped
olive oil
light vinegar or lemon juice
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
salt and freshly ground pepper

Since it was just the two of us, we halved the recipe and the portions were very generous!

Start by cooking the potatoes in boiling and salted water.  You’ll want to cook the potatoes whole, they will hold their shape and look crisper for the salad.  Depending on the size, they should take between 10-15 minutes…and I would err on the shorter side.  You can test the doneness by piercing one of the potatoes with a paring knife.

We happen to have some hard-boiled eggs on hand from earlier in the week, but if they are not a standard in your fridge…go ahead and hard boil the eggs using your preferred method and make sure they have time to cool down before peeling and quartering them.  Depending on the size of tomato you use, quarter or half the tomatoes.

The green beans need only a very quick blanch in salted boiling water and a quick cool-off in some ice water.  Once you have all your ingredients ready to go – it’s time to pull it all together.  Mix up the dressing…a little olive oil, shallots and vinegar seasoned with salt and pepper.

Toss the lettuce with the dressing and pile high on the plate and then top with all the fixings…in whatever fashion grabs you in the moment.  Open a lovely crisp bottle of white wine to cut through the oil of the tuna, olives and anchovies and the salt of the capers and olives and you’ve got dinner on the table!

Bon Appétit!

2011 Meals in Review | part two


as promised…

2011 Meals in Review | part two

July

Gorgonzola Chicken Pasta Salad (a la D’Amico & Sons)

German Potato Salad

Summer Tomato Caprese Stacks

Bastille Day & a Little Liberté with Scallion and Chive Smoked Salmon Spread

 

August

Sour Cream Verde Enchiladas

 

September

Heirloom Tomatoes Bread Salad with Burratta

Zucchini, Summer Squash and Brown Rice Casserole

 

October

Tomato and Gruyere Tart

served with a little salad

Fresh Linguine with Mizithra Cheese and Lightly Dressed Arugula

Traditional Beef Empanadas (made mini!)

A little sampling of delicious items…cheese, olives, toasts, etc.

Niçoise Salad

 

November

Pumpkin Pecan Biscotti

Brioche French Toast

No-Knead Bread

Gougeres

Red Tea, Beef & Sweet Potato Stew

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

Excuse the phone photo…but that’s what’s left of a scrumptious braised rabbit with pappardelle from this place.

Chestnut Pancetta Stuffing for Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving plate…and no I didn’t overdo it!

Couldn’t be complete without a slice of pecan pie!

The morning after was no let-down with Pheasant and Waffles topped with a Fried Egg and Mushroom Thyme Gravy!!!

 

December

A weekend trip up north found us eating at the Culinary Institute of America’s restaurant in St. Helena.  The Tasting included 5 delectable bites to whet our appetites.

The polenta sitting under the magnificently cooked piece of beef was quite possibly the best thing on the table.

Duck Confit with a Poached Egg and Frisee

Krumkake Christmas Cookies

Christmas Eve bites including Cremenelli Salami – a little hometown pride!

Christmas Dinner – Tenderloin of Beef, Creamy Dill Carrots and Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

Turkey Tetrazzini

The BEST use of leftover beef ever…sliced beef tenderloin topped with a cold Bernaise sauce

And last but not least, Short Ribs Italiano served over Pappardelle!

 

We’re making some artichoke dip and about to head over to friends to ring in the new year!  Tonight is for looking back and tomorrow, we start fresh.

A Whole New Year!

Happy New Year!

2011 Meals in Review | part one


As I’m a bit behind these days, I noticed while perusing my photos from the past year in search of a couple photos for a new year’s card to send out, how many delicious moments we had in 2011.  What follows is not only what we made, but what we enjoyed! 

The delicious moments of 2011…


January

Rosemary Sea Salt Dinner Rolls (recipe credit: Pioneer Woman)

Creamy Pheasant and Wild Rice Soup

Orechiette with Pheasant, Bacon and Spinach

Butternut Squash, Shallot and Goat Cheese Pizza

Pot Roast…good the first time, better the second…

Cumin-scented Butternut Squash with Onions and Wild Rice

Pot Roast Ravioli

Homemade Fettuccini

Boboli’s done right…!  (yes, you are correct…that is an egg cracked on top peeking out from underneath the arugula and parm!

 

February

yummm…pancakes

Delicate Scrambled Eggs with Truffle Salt

A Birthday dinner at Bouchon

Cod Brandade with Tomato Confit and Fried Sage Leaves

Frisée aux Lardons et Oeuf Poché

Croque Madame

Back at home…Cheese Soufflé

Lump Crab Cakes

Valentine’s Day Cheese Fondue

Tempura and Cold Soba Noodles

Baby Artichoke Gratin (recipe credit: latimes.com)

 

March

Fancied-Up Burgers

Seared Scallops with Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Welsh Rarebit

 

April

April brought with it a trip to Vienna for Woody’s work…

Käsekrainer – near perfect street food

Beef Tartare with all the appropriate accoutrements

Veal Medallions

Finally in the homeland…a full plate of spätzle just for me!

A celebratory meal at Meinl am Graben began with a Veal Carpaccio for Woody

Tortellini with Consommé and Crisped Prosciutto

Honestly…I can hardly remember what exactly this course entailed…but I DO remember that it  was incredibly amazing!

The third course of our prix fixe…again…perfection!

Although I can’t say the name of the place…the fare was delicious

A trip to Vienna without Viennese coffee would be a crime!

Back at home…Pacific Spiny Lobster with Fava Beans and Meyer Lemon

Grilled Cheese Invitational…who says no to that…?

Burrata with Cherry Tomatoes…there were plenty more sandwiches and a lot more cheese, but most disappeared before I could get a shot!

And of course, an annual batch of Deviled Eggs for Easter!

 

May

Fried Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese

Onion & Bacon Tart

Minted English Pea & Lemony Feta Crostini

Another birthday was cause for a trip to the Los Olivos region, some wine tasting and of course a meal or two…

Bistro Burger

Spring Vegetable Pot Roast

Ebelskivers

Savory Lentil Salad

House guests meant a trip to the Original LA Farmer’s Market and an Oyster Po’ Boy

June

Chicken Garlic Sausage & Swiss Chard Flatbread

Potato Salad – Two Ways

Poppyseed Cake with Strawberries and Mascarpone Frosting

Part two coming soon…

Seared Scallops with Roasted Caulifower Soup, Peppery Olive Oil & Fresh Parsley!


Scallops are like the tenderloin of the sea.  If I spot a seared scallop dish on a menu…it’ll be hard to steer me in another direction.  Seared in butter, with a nutty sweetness and tender texture…I could eat them right out of the pan, but plop them in a delicious soup with a little something extra…and, I’m DONE!  Stick-a-fork-in-me-done!  And just one bowl of soup, simply presented is completely satisfying.

Instructions are simple:

Take one head of cauliflower, cut it up into rough chunks, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a 375º oven for 20 minutes, or until brown around the edges and your kitchen smells wonderful.  Prep the scallops by letting them rest on a plate on a counter so they come to room temperature, which helps with sear.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and let sit.  The salt actually helps bring soluble proteins to the surface which will also help develop a nice crust.  Once the cauliflower is cooked, let cool and then toss into a soup pot, add in chicken or vegetable broth to almost cover.  If you want a little more complex flavor, you could sweat some onions in the pot first and then dump the rest in.  Bring it to a boil and then break out your immersion blender.  (If you don’t have an immersion blender, you don’t know what you’re missing…it’s one of my favorite kitchen appliances and is a very inexpensive addition to your culinary toolbox.)  Purée the bejeezus out of it…the silkier the better.  And if you really want to get fancy you can break out a chinois, or strainer and make sure you’ve caught any sneaky chunks.  Season again with salt and pepper and any additional flavors you want; truffle salt would be interesting…maybe some smoked paprika…fresh herbs…you could go a lot of directions.  Keep the soup warm and sear the scallops in butter with at least a touch of oil which will help prevent the butter from burning.  When the pan is hot, add in the scallops, and make sure to not crowd the pan.  Leave the little guys be in the pan…don’t move them around, don’t peek underneath.  Just 2-4 minutes on the first side, flip them and cook for another 2 minutes and they will be done.  DO NOT OVERCOOK THE SCALLOPS!  It would be an atrocity of great proportion and the scallop police would come find you, take you away and feed you rubbery overcooked seafood for the rest of your life to prove a point.  Don’t do it!

Portion the soup out into shallow bowls, drop in the scallops, drizzle with a favorite olive oil and finish with a scattering of parsley and just a touch of sea salt!  Voilá!

You can thank me later!

Vietnamese Summer Rolls


What a perfect summer food…no need to use the oven, just boil a little water in the teapot…chop some veggies and herbs and you’re all set.

We actually made these sometime in July…but I thought I would post about them in honor of the 113° day we had this last Monday.  I love these for their refreshing and crisp taste, and that you can go in any number of directions for their dipping sauce.

Ingredients used:  shredded carrots, cucumber spears, butter lettuce, basil, mint, cilantro, chopped peanuts, cold rice noodles, and shrimp.  Other possible additions include tofu, bean sprouts, cabbage, radish, shredded chicken or duck, or anything else you can think of.  The rice noodles get soaked in water just off a boil and then drained and dunked into cold water until you are ready to use them.

The wrappers can be a little tricky.  They need to soak for a minute or so in hot water.  If you let them soak too long, they can tear and be unwieldy…if you don’t soak them long enough, they will crack and not be flexible.  I find that using a pie dish or shallow tart pan works well and I keep a kettle of warm water available to refresh the water as I go.  Another trick is to lay them on a damp tea towel while you pile in the fillings, this will prevent them from sticking and allow you to pick up the edges to fold and roll them burrito style.

I layer flat cilantro leaves on the bottom and shrimp over those  as that will be the prettiest side, pile all the other ingredients you want in and then fold the top down, both sides in tight and then roll towards you.  You can make these ahead of time and store in the fridge covered with a damp towel.

I neglected to get any photos of the fabulous dipping sauce that Woody threw together…which was perfect.  It involved mayo, sriracha, soy sauce, ponzu, a little rice vinegar, and sesame oil.  You really can’t go wrong.  A simple peanut sauce would be delicious as well.

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