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Archive for the ‘Salads’ Category

Once again, the year-ending holiday overeating season is upon us. Brisk, chilly weather tends to make us think of rib-sticking edibles, but even so, when one festive dinner party follows another within a day or two, it can be a kindness to guests – and to herself – if a hostess includes one fairly light dish in a multi-course menu.

I have a few of those in my repertoire, and I’ve just added an interesting new one, an appropriate appetizer course for fall or winter. It’s from Alfred Portale’s book Simple Pleasures, and the recipe’s full name is Shaved Fennel, Green Apple, and Pecorino Romano Salad. The dish is indeed simple in composition: for four portions, two Granny Smith apples, two medium fennel bulbs, a lemon, and pecorino Romano cheese. (Here, I used a young pecorino Sardo.)
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However, preparing the ingredients is another story. Portale almost literally means “shaved” to apply to them all, which can be a problem to do without a specialized cutter. Here’s the book’s picture of the dish:
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See how thin the slices are? Tom is a willing and very experienced knife man, but I’d never ask him to try cutting apples and fennel that thin by hand. He’d lose either a finger or his mind.

Happily, I have a neat little vertical mandoline slicer that’s a godsend for this kind of job. I’ve sung its praises here before. It works like a tiny guillotine, and your fingers never come anywhere near the wickedly sharp blade. I forgot to take a photo of it slicing the apples and fennel, but here’s a picture from the earlier use:
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I put all the slices into a big bowl and used a microplane to grate in the zest of a lemon. With a vegetable peeler, I added a flurry of pecorino flakes, and stirred it all together, along with a big dose of a good Sorrento extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground Tellicherry pepper.
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It all came to a huge amount of salad stuff! When I chose the recipe, it hadn’t seemed as if half an apple and half a fennel bulb per person would be too much for an appetizer course, but cut that thin, they seemed to make a bushelful. I put the bowl in the refrigerator until dinnertime, then served out moderate portions, topping each plateful with more of the olive oil and some chopped feathery fennel fronds.
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It made a pretty plate, and a very tasty dish too. This was an inspired combination: crisp, tart green apple, crunchy, anisey fennel, and smooth, sharp cheese, all “married” together by the light, fruity olive oil and tangy lemon zest. We managed to eat quite a lot of it.

 

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Two Provençal Vegetable Salads

Hiding out from the heat wave in an air-conditioned apartment for much of the past weeks has given me lots of time to browse my older cookbooks for not-too-demanding hot-weather recipes that I hadn’t tried before. First result: two vegetable salad dishes I’ve made from Mireille Johnston’s aptly named The Cuisine of the Sun. What could be more appropriate for New York City in August?!

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Cold Corn Salad, Simmered in White Wine
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While the French have long considered corn only as animal fodder, Johnston says that in Nice it’s “prepared in many exciting ways for human enjoyment.” That sounded good. I was a bit shocked to see her calling for canned corn. No way in a New York summer! When I cook corn on the cob (four minutes in boiling water) I always toss a few extra ears in the pot, then cut off their kernels and package them in plastic bags for the freezer, to use in the dark days of winter. I pulled out one of this year’s first bags for this recipe.

The vegetable condiments for a salad to serve two were easy to prepare: two minced scallions, half a garlic clove, a piece of bay leaf, a teaspoonful of whole peppercorns, and a small sprig of marjoram (the last, my substitution for the recipe’s dried thyme).
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I heated olive oil in a pan, tossed in all those ingredients, and sauteed them for five minutes. The recipe said to use a high flame but I couldn’t – the scallions would have burned. I don’t know how Johnston would have managed that. On my stove, three minutes at medium heat were more than enough.
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Turning the heat to low, I stirred in the corn, a good sprinkling of salt, and a scant four tablespoons of white wine.
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Five minutes of gentle simmering, and the dish was done. The last instruction was to chill the salad for at least three hours. I couldn’t see why it needed that long, but I dutifully did. The peppercorns stayed right in the mixture.

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Warm Bean Salad in a Spicy Vinaigrette
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This is one of a trio of “white salad” recipes in the book – i.e., for potatoes, cauliflower, and white beans – tossed with the same dressing. In my pantry there was just the right amount left of a bag of good Rancho Gordo cranberry beans for two portions, so I used them instead.

Having given the beans an overnight soak, I put them in a pot of water with a few chunks of carrot, part of a red onion, a clove, and an “unbundled” bouquet garni (sprigs of parsley, marjoram, and bay leaf).

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Covered, brought to a boil and reduced to a simmer, the pot of beans cooked along gently while I turned to the dressing. This was the most elaborate “vinaigrette” I’d ever concocted. I use quotes here because vinegar and oil were the least part of the dressing. The bulk of it was parsley, and there was also scallion, garlic, tarragon, anchovies, nutmeg, salt, black pepper, and Tabasco, along with the modicum of olive oil and red wine vinegar.
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I’d made sure to finish the cooking of the beans shortly before dinner time, so they could be drained, tossed gently with the dressing, and served while still warm.
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So, for dinner . . .
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. . . we had both salads alongside slices of a broiled, rare flank steak. Delicious!

The beans had happily sucked in the pungent dressing and made its garlicky fragrance their own. We couldn’t discern the tarragon or nutmeg, but perhaps they would have made more of a contribution to white beans. Cranberry beans have stronger flavors of their own.

The corn salad made a good, mild contrast, except for the tiny sharp bursts when you bit into a peppercorn. Otherwise, the dish tasted mostly of sweet corn. That wasn’t bad, but if I make the recipe again, I’ll add more of the other vegetable ingredients. And probably crack the peppercorns, so their flavor spreads more.

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Even with the mercy of air conditioning, this summer’s heat wave has strongly curbed my enthusiasm for spending very much time at the stove and oven. Still, the appetite needs to be piqued and the animal needs to be fed. So: “light, simple, and tasty” is my current mantra.

I found an appealing recipe for a Tuscan dish of white beans and shrimp in Faith Willinger’s cookbook Red, White & Greens. All it calls for, in addition to the two named items, are tomatoes, basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Praising it highly when made with the freshest ingredients, Willinger says it can also work with canned beans and frozen shrimp, for convenience.

Tempting as that was, I couldn’t bring myself to take the entirely easiest route: I like to cook dried beans myself. However, the only white beans I had in the pantry – marrow beans, which I really love – were getting pretty old, and I feared they’d have lost too much flavor to shine in so simple a preparation.

So I chopped a little carrot, onion, and parsley, and softened the mixture in olive oil. As soon as the beans had finished boiling, I drained them, folded them into that vegetable soffrito, and left it all to insaporate for a few hours. (That’s not an English word, I know. The Italian word insaporire is such an apt description of how flavors blend, I’ve taken it as my own.)
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The rest of the preparation was of the simplest. I washed a handful of cherry tomatoes, from my Greenmarket, and a few basil leaves, from the herb planter I keep on my building’s roof. I briefly boiled a quarter pound of shrimp – from my freezer, as permitted.
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I chopped the tomatoes and basil, cut up the shrimp, and tossed them together with the beans, olive oil, salt, and pepper. It always surprises me how well white beans partner with seafood – not just shrimp, as here, but also in the Tuscan classic bean-and-tuna combination and even, as I’ve written about once – in a stew with clams.
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This hearty salad was excellent as a first course for our dinner and would have made a very nice lunch on its own. We ate it at room temperature, but we could see it would be equally good with both shrimp and beans still warm.

I was sorry that my marrow beans were past their best. The insaporation did help them, but I discarded the ones still left in my pantry. When I make this again I’ll be sure to use newer beans and the freshest shrimps I can lay my hands on. Exactly because the dish is so “light, simple, and tasty,” it really deserves the best components. It almost – almost – made me appreciate the heat wave.

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Winter is barely started, and I’m already pining for summer vegetables. Many of the standard grocery-store vegetables available this season seem to be limp, tired, and nearly tasteless. Pandemic-related supply chain delays, perhaps, but very disappointing. So I was pleased to come across a recipe based on two vegetables, plentiful now, that don’t wilt easily.

The recipe is in a cookbook recently passed along to me by a friend. The Greens Cook Book presents dishes from a “celebrated” San Francisco vegetarian restaurant called Greens. I confess I hadn’t known of it: It didn’t exist in the long-ago years when I lived in California. Several of its recipes interested me, beginning with one for Fennel, Mushroom, and Parmesan Salad, which its headnote calls a good first course for a winter dinner. I proceeded to make half a recipe’s worth.
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My fennel bulb was bright and crisp, with a good spray of feathery leaves. The recipe didn’t specify a kind of mushroom, so I used cremini. The recipe did urge using a very good extra virgin olive oil and a good piece of young parmigiano reggiano cheese, to which I certainly couldn’t object.

The first thing to do was make a vinaigrette. This was quite a production number, involving mincing lemon peel, mashing garlic, and crushing fennel seed. It was also heavily lemony, using a two-to-one proportion of olive oil to lemon juice. My scaled-down quantities made only a scant quarter-cup of dressing, which didn’t look to be anywhere near enough for a whole salad, but I did as directed.

Then I had to slice my mushrooms thin and marinate them in some of the vinaigrette. But how much of it? The whole recipe said a few tablespoons, but even halving that, I’d have to leave enough for two other doses of dressing. I stingily sprinkled the mushrooms with some of it, which was instantly absorbed by the slices that touched it. So I tossed and turned them, hoping to make them share, and added freshly ground black pepper, hoping it might draw out some moisture.

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I left the mushrooms to marinate for a few hours, covered closely with plastic wrap to keep them from browning, and went on to prepare the fennel. It had to be sliced very thinly and dressed with “most of the remaining vinaigrette,” plus chopped fennel greens, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.
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Now, after sprinkling additional fennel greens and parsley on the mushrooms – which had softened a bit but were still fairly dry – I could compose the salad. The recipe called for layering the ingredients on individual plates, with mushrooms on the bottom, thin shavings of parmigiano next, fennel on top of that, and the remaining vinaigrette spooned over it all.

I didn’t like the way that arrangement would look, with the fennel hiding the mushrooms and the parmigiano flakes squeezed between them. Instead, I tossed the mushrooms and fennel together on a serving plate, shaved the cheese over them, and trickled on the last of the dressing.
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(If you look very closely, you may see the dressing – about two large drops of it.)

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Knowing Tom’s very limited enthusiasm for most salads, I gave us each a small plateful to start.

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I liked it well enough, and I ate quite a bit of it. (Tom not so much.) The three main ingredients all tasted like their own good selves, and they didn’t clash. But neither did they do anything for each other. Nor did the fussy little flavorings in that dressing do anything to pull the dish together.

With all its components and processes, this is clearly a restaurant dish: I would say a characteristically overelaborated California one. (I’m surprised there were no bean sprouts in it!) For me, the salad would have been just as good with a generous dose of plain olive-oil-and-lemon-juice vinaigrette. I may make it that way myself for some future winter appetizer course.

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A brief heat wave earlier this month made me think about a picnic. Normally, I can take picnic fixings up onto my building’s roof garden, but this spring a very aggressive mockingbird who has a nest somewhere up there has taken to dive-bombing anyone he regards as encroaching on his territory. His beak is sharp and his aim is good.

Oh, well. A picnic in the dining room can be pleasant too, and there we have air conditioning, comfortable chairs, and a good CD player. And no avian attackers.

One of Tom’s and my favorite dishes for hot-weather fare is a big salade niçoise. But it’s still too early in the season for the fully ripe field-grown tomatoes and freshly dug potatoes that the dish wants, so I looked for other cold-platter combinations.

It so happened that I had many new choices just then. My friend Betty, who was downsizing her book collection, had dropped off a pile of cookbooks for me to look at, in case I might want any of them. A 1986 volume called A Taste of Italy, by Antonio Carluccio, a British restaurateur, had a number of interesting looking recipes, including three new-to-me antipasto items that I made for my picnic platter.

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What you see here are raw-beef meatballs, eggs stuffed with tuna, eggplant rolls, an heirloom tomato (hothouse, but best I could find), and a wedge of sheep-milk ricotta. The green wisps around the edge of the plate are bits of cilantro that I managed to snip from a plant in my rooftop herb collection before the militant mockingbird chased me away.

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Uova Ripiene di Tonno

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Deviled eggs are a time-honored summer treat. I usually mash their yolks with whatever condiments I feel like pulling out of the refrigerator that day – mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, soy, Worcestershire, Cholula, pimentòn, capers, cornichons? This recipe, more restrained, calls for a lot of canned tuna and only a little mayonnaise, parsley, capers, and black pepper. That way, the balls of filling are the main component of the dish, the whites merely a casing. Especially if made with the rich Italian belly tuna called ventresca, it’s a tasty little dish. (The parsley was also from my roof, snuck out under the baleful eye of that bird.)

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Insalata di Carne Cruda

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While steak tartare is always eaten immediately after its preparation, the raw beef here is minced together with parsley and garlic; dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper; and held in the refrigerator for a whole day before being eaten. That made the lemon juice “cook” my beef like seviche, turning its bright red color to grayish pink and somehow flattening all its rich meatiness. The headnote calls this a popular Piedmontese recipe, but the versions of carne cruda that I know are made with veal, not beef; and lemon juice is added only at the last minute. For me, this was a terrible way to treat excellent sirloin.

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Involtini di Melanzane

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These eggplant rolls tasted better than they looked. My eggplant (store-bought; too early for local ones) had excessively well-developed seeds. Sliced thin, the flesh around its seeds had very little substance. Browned in olive oil, drained, and spread with a chopping of parsley, pine nuts, capers, and garlic, the slices were too fragile to roll properly. Folded over and baked for 20 minutes, they darkened too much at the ends and partially burst open at the middle. Annoying! But this treatment has promise. I’ll try it again, with a fresher, less mature eggplant that I’ll cut in somewhat thicker slices.

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All in all, though, that platterful made a nice first-of-the-year indoor picnic. So far, I’d call the score for this cookbook a hit, a miss, and a maybe. I’ve marked a dozen of its other recipes for trying someday, so we’ll see how that score changes over time. Good thing it doesn’t have a recipe for spit-roasted mockingbird!
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With the annual overeating season finally behind us, I’ve been longing for the gastronomic relief of some fresh, lighter fare. Not too easy at this time of year, but possible. For example, here’s a pleasant little winter salad of celery, dates, and almonds that I make from time to time as a family dinner appetizer – and occasionally even for guests.
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The three main ingredients have a surprising affinity for each other. There are many recipes for salads of them online, with variations in ingredient proportions and dressings. I don’t remember where mine – a years-old typewritten slip pasted in my big recipe binder – originated, but I haven’t seen this exact version anywhere else. Here are the ingredients for two servings.
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Starting with an ounce of almonds in their skins, I blanch them. That is, drop them into boiling water for 20 seconds, drain them, and squeeze off the skins.
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Then I put them in a little skillet with salt, pepper, and a bit of olive oil, and toast them.

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Next comes the knife work, usually performed by my obliging husband. A cup of thinly sliced celery, the almonds coarsely chopped, and the two Medjool dates slivered. The last is the most exasperating task of the lot because of the stickiness of the dates, but he always perseveres, cursing steadily under his breath.
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I toss those ingredients together in a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and a few drops of wine vinegar . . .
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. . . then distribute the mixture onto plates and shower on shavings of pecorino romano. (All the other recipes I’ve seen call for parmigiano, but we like the sharper sheep cheese here.)
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The result is quite delightful: moist, light, zesty, vegetal, nutty, cheesy, sweet, and crunchy. What more could one ask?

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Salade Lyonnaise

The deadly heat wave that scorched most of the US last weekend was my fault, I fear: The weather gods noticed that I’d just published a post saying summer in New York hadn’t been too hot yet. I’ll never learn!

So I’ve been back on the hunt for interesting new summer recipes. Today’s good salad dish came about by happenstance. For another kind of salad I needed frisée, which isn’t always available locally. Tom, doing the shopping, brought home the only head of it there was in any of our stores. The thing was gigantic: Even after using as much as I needed for that first dish, what remained was a great green wig more than 18 inches across.

 

Frisée is delicate, so I’d have to use it soon. Salade lyonnaise came to mind, since I’d enjoyed one recently during my cruise on the Rhône. It’s a dish of bitter greens and crisp bacon, an atypical vinaigrette, and the crowning touch of a poached egg.

Surprisingly, none of my cookbooks had a recipe for the dish, but the internet had many of them. One by Mark Bittman of the New York Times seemed like a classic so I took it as a model. For two portions I tore up enough of the palest friseé to fill two cups, tightly packed, and set it aside. Then I slowly crisped four slices of bacon in a skillet with a little olive oil.

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That was an error, as it happened. I was supposed to cut up the bacon raw, and I hadn’t paid attention. Not a problem, though: I took out the cooked slices, chopped them, and returned them to the pan, leaving in all the rendered bacon fat. Next I added a tablespoon of chopped red onion. That was twice as much onion as the recipe called for, but still a very modest amount.
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After a minute’s sauteeing, I stirred in two tablespoons of red wine vinegar and half a tablespoon of Dijon mustard to complete the dressing for the greens.

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For poaching the eggs, I used my regular technique (learned long ago from From Julia Child’s Kitchen.) A little fussier than Bittman’s, it turns out perfectly cooked fresh jumbo eggs in exactly 3½ minutes. Unfortunately, as can be seen below, this day one of my two eggs wasn’t fresh enough: the white spread out and partially slid away from the yolk, spoiling the oval shape.
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I slipped the eggs into cool water to halt the cooking and, since this was not for a company dinner, didn’t bother trimming off the unsightly bits. My bad. But they taste just as good as aesthetically pleasing eggs.
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I spread the frisée on two plates, tossed it with the rewarmed bacon dressing, and topped each with an egg. Here’s the portion with the nicer shaped egg:
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At table, after the usual family squabble over who should have the better-looking plate (This time Tom won; I got it), we each broke open our egg so the liquid yolk could mingle with the greens, and added salt and pepper to taste.
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Simply fabulous! I’d been worried that there might not be enough dressing to coat all the frisée, but it turned out to be a perfect amount. A vinaigrette with rendered bacon fat taking the place of olive oil is just wickedly good. A little more onion in the dish wouldn’t have hurt, and we both could happily have eaten a second poached egg on it. Even so, all the flavors came together in a luscious harmony, for a salade lyonnaise even better than the one our cruise ship had served.

Before the rest of my frisée wilts, I think I’ll be doing this dish again.

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Summer hasn’t so far smothered New York City with the kind of punishing heat wave that has afflicted other parts of the country this July, but our temperatures and humidity have been high enough, for long enough, to make the prospect of cooking – especially oven cooking – less attractive than it normally is for me.

Consequently, I’ve been looking into recipes for dishes that can be either cooked in advance and served cool, or made all of raw ingredients, not cooked at all. I found a really nice one of the latter type in Penelope Casas’s Foods and Wines of Spain.

It’s her Ensalada de Champiñon, a mushroom and cured ham salad. I wouldn’t consider it a side salad – that is, something to be served along with a meal’s main course – because it’s so substantial in itself. But it would make an excellent component of a tapas spread, as Casas suggests, and for me it was a delightful appetizer.

For the two main ingredients I sliced fresh white mushrooms and cut julienne strips of Spanish Serrano ham. Though I was halving the recipe, I used the full quantity of ham because I wanted to give it more prominence in the dish. The dressing, from a separate recipe called El Aliño (which my dictionary says simply means “dressing”), is the most elaborate salad dressing I’ve ever made. Here are all the components:

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In addition to the mushrooms and ham, above, there are olive oil, wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, prepared horseradish, Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil, thyme, marjoram, parsley, salt, and pepper. To make the dressing I just dumped its dozen ingredients into my mini food processor and ran it until they combined into a cream.  Now, that’s summer cooking!

At serving time I sprinkled a little lemon juice on the mushroom slices, added the ham strips, and gently tossed everything with some of the dressing. The extra dressing I served in a little bowl for each of us to add more to our portion if we wished.

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Easy as it was to prepare, the salad was surprisingly complex in its flavors. There’s a real affinity between Serrano ham and mushrooms. Casas allows the use of Italian prosciutto in all her cured ham recipes, but the stronger, firmer Spanish ham was perfect here. I’m glad I raised the quantity of it. The dressing drew the dish together in a subtle way, with all the dressing ingredients making their small contributions to the blend. Tom, normally no great fan of salads, only regretted we couldn’t have gotten wild ovoli mushrooms instead of cultivated white ones, which would have raised the dish to even greater heights of enjoyment.

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During the holiday season just past, I served two excellent French-style dinner-party appetizers that I look forward to making again in the coming year. As an aid to memory, I thought I’d start my 2019 blog with an appreciation of the two dishes.

One, asparagus croûtes, was quick, easy, and even tastier than I’d thought it would be from reading the recipe. The other, salade de geziers, was also quick and easy in the assembly and thoroughly delicious in the eating, but the chief component has to be prepared far in advance.

 

Asparagus Croûtes
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This is a plain looking dish, but its simple flavors come together in one of those magical French ways that make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. (Hint: Think butter.) The recipe comes from esteemed chef Raymond Oliver’s La Cuisine, which gives it a distinguished culinary pedigree.

For each serving you need one slice of homemade-style white bread, crust cut off and the slice cut in half; and enough spears of asparagus – thick or thin, as you prefer – to top the bread completely. In my version, on each half slice I used the tip ends of four thinnish spears, cut in lengths the size of the bread.

The asparagus gets cooked in boiling salted water until just tender, then sauteed gently in butter for two minutes. The bread is fried in butter and olive oil until golden. In a baking dish you place the bread slices, arrange the asparagus on them, and sprinkle generously with grated Swiss cheese and fine dry breadcrumbs.

Then, you either run the dish under a broiler or else bake it in a 450° oven until the croûtes are golden and bubbly. Doesn’t look like a lot on the plate, but it’s quite filling. Of course, if you’re feeding very hearty eaters, you can always increase the number of croûtes per person.

 

Salade de Geziers
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Geziers are gizzards, an ingredient many Americans consign to cat food – a big mistake. Gizzards can be delicious. While one of them should be included in every bag of giblets tucked inside a purchased chicken, it takes a long time to collect and freeze enough gizzards to do anything significant with, so I buy them separately. And what I do is confit them. Making confit is a time-consuming process, but once it’s done you have the wherewithal for this splendid salad.

Essentially, to confit gizzards you toss them with salt and refrigerate them for a day. Scrape off the salt, put the gizzards in a heavy casserole with melted duck fat to cover, bring it to a simmer, and cook covered in a very low oven for several hours, until they are tender. Drain, cool, and transfer them to a large jar; and pour over enough of the cooled cooking fat to cover them completely. They keep in the refrigerator for months.

For the salad, you want a leafy green that’s at least a little bitter, to contrast with the unctuous gizzards. Frisée is my first choice, but if it’s not available, tender leaves from the heart of escarole do very well. I dress them with a vinaigrette made with walnut oil and my homemade red wine vinegar, then top them with warmed gizzards. It’s an intriguing combination on the palate: crisp and soft, sharp and mellow, bracing and soothing.

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Both these dishes are truly – literally – appetizers. That is, they stimulate your appetite for what will be coming next. Nice.

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Local corn is finally in at my Greenmarket! Corn season started late this year, and then there were flood washouts from heavy rain in parts of New Jersey that grow the best corn. It’s still not exactly abundant, but I’m doing my best to make up for lost time – as is, I hope, the corn.

After my first joyous indulgences in plain, sweet corn on the cob, I was ready to think about corn recipes. I remembered one I hadn’t gotten around to last year: a salad of roasted fingerling potatoes and corn, dressed with a lively set of flavorings, in Richard Sandoval’s New Latin Flavors. I’ve written here about several of that book’s recipes, and while some came out very well, I’ve learned to approach them with caution. There’s some bad copyediting: For instance, an item on an ingredient list may never show up in the instructions; and quantities given for various ingredients seem disproportionate both to each other and to the stated number of servings.

This potato and corn salad was a case in point. For two of us, I was making half of a recipe said to serve six (I expected some leftovers). It would have wanted a whole pound of fingerling potatoes to a single ear of corn. I bought the pound of potatoes, but when I set them out next to the corn, they looked like far too many.
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I made an executive decision to use just half a pound. That was partly based on my sense of proportion and partly out of awareness of our age-diminished capacities (sigh).

My unpeeled potatoes and the whole cob of corn were to be “tossed” on a rimmed baking sheet with 1½ teaspoons of olive oil – quite a stingy amount, even for my fewer potatoes. Interpreting the tossing metaphorically, I rolled the vegetables around in the oil. Then the corn was to come out, the potatoes to be salted, and the pan to go in a 425° oven.
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After 20 minutes of roasting the potatoes and turning them occasionally, I added the ear of corn to the pan, and kept roasting and turning everything until the vegetables were tender, about 20 minutes more.
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When everything had cooled, I cut the kernels off the corncob, put them in a bowl along with the still-unpeeled potatoes, and dressed them with a tablespoon each of lime juice, minced jalapeño pepper, and chopped parsley, plus about 2½ tablespoons of mayonnaise. When first tasted for salt and pepper, the mixture was entirely dominated by the jalapeño. However, after the bowl sat in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, the seasonings had blended very well, the jalapeno retreating to a pervasive, genial warmth.

In the evening I took the salad out, transferred it to a serving plate, and let it stand at room temperature for half an hour, before serving it alongside grilled sirloin burgers, lettuce, tomatoes, and red onion – classic summer casual dining.
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It was pleasant enough. The flavors were good, though the lime juice was indiscernible. The jalapeño gave the dish a light spicy lift. We would have preferred olive oil instead of mayonnaise, which in this case became slightly gummy, and we would have liked twice as much corn as there was. The potatoes hadn’t taken up many of the seasonings, and their skins were a little tough and not pleasing. (I can’t blame the recipe for that: These were a supermarket’s commercial fingerlings, not local or freshly dug ones, because my Greenmarket didn’t have any this week.) I was very glad I’d cut the potato quantity as I did – it made the right amount for two.

Bottom line: Some time later in the summer I might try adapting the concept of this recipe for a cold dish in a picnic-style meal, but it’s not likely to become a regular in my repertoire.  Just adding roasted corn to a basic potato salad sounds attractive, and I’ve noticed in recent years that in France and Italy, where eating corn on the cob is all but unknown, corn kernels have been turning up in all sorts of dishes, so there’s a lot to explore.

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