Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic & Olive Oil

Stolen from WholeFoods web-page. Say what you like about WholeFoods, I feel great when I shop there! Broccoli rabe (pronounced "robb") is a non-heading variety of broccoli with long, thin leafy stalks topped with small florets. Sometimes referred to as rapini, broccoli raab, or broccoli di rape, this Italian staple will fit right at home in your holiday kitchen. Here we quickly boil and then sauté the hearty winter green in a little garlic infused olive oil, top it with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and serve with lemon wedge and optionally some grated parmesan. The taste is fresh, simple and let's the spiciness of the rabe come through. we love it, but you may want to serve with a starch that will mellow it out (like mashed potatoes).

Serves 6

2 bunches broccoli rabe
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges
grated parmesan (optional)
sea salt, to taste
Boil several quarts of water to boiling. Remove any tough or damaged outer leaves of broccoli rabe. Peel the thick, lower stems from the broccoli rabe. Tear the broccoli rabe into large pieces. Clean the broccoli rabe in a large amount of cold water until all dirt is removed.

When water is boiling, place broccoli rabe pieces in colander and pour boiling water over them to scald. Drain the broccoli rabe well and set aside. Meanwhile, heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté the garlic until browned. Be careful not to burn the garlic! Add the broccoli rabe to the pan and toss to coat with the garlic/pepper mixture and heat through, around 2–3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Eggs With Cream, Spinach, And Country Ham

Shamelessly stolen from Epicurious.  We made this for brunch and it is a total hit. We used stoneware soup crocks instead of ramekins (because we don't have ramekins) and put two eggs in each (it takes a little longer to cook completely this way). You'll return again and again to this recipe since it can be assembled in advance and delivers serious flavor. The scent of ham gently permeates the eggs, whose yolks can be broken into the rest of the dish or dipped into with biscuits, while the mineral notes of the creamed spinach proclaim its freshness.

Makes 8 servings (Scott Peacock)

1/4 cup thinly sliced country ham, finely chopped
Scant 3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
10 ounces spinach, coarse stems discarded 
8 large eggs

Equipment: 8 (6-ounce) ramekins or ovenproof teacups

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Bring ham and cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, then remove from heat. Let steep, uncovered, about 10 minutes.
Cook onion in 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and season lightly with salt and pepper, then cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add spinach, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and cook, turning with tongs, until spinach is wilted.

Drain spinach in a colander, pressing to remove excess liquid, then coarsely chop. Divide spinach, then ham, among ramekins, spooning 1 tablespoon cream into each serving. Crack eggs into ramekins and season lightly with salt and pepper. Spoon 1 teaspoon cream over each egg. Cut remaining tablespoon butter into 8 small pieces and dot each egg with butter.

Put ramekins in a shallow baking pan and bake, rotating pan halfway through baking, until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, 15 to 20 minutes, removing from oven as cooked.

Cooks' note: The eggs in this recipe will not be fully cooked, which may be of concern if salmonella is a problem in your area. (<- I'm not sure what's up with that)

Salsa Verde

>Another scarf from Beyond Salmon, where it's featured both in Helen's excellent Swordfish recipe, as well as a Bluefish Fajita recipe that we'll definitely have to make.  
8 medium tomatillos, with paper-like husks removed
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and minced (use less if you prefer it less spicy)
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Quarter tomatillos. In a bowl of a food processor, combine tomatillos, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño, and lime juice. Process until chopped into tiny pieces. With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Move to a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Kale and Potato Soup (Caldo Verde)

This is a great, simple, hearth and heart-warming dish that we make again and again. We tend to add a little extra kale because one bunch seems not enough, and two may be a little much, but not for us (your call).

2 Pounds maine or other large boiling potatoes
3/4 cup olive oil (just do it, it's less than originally called for)
2 bunches Kale with the thickest stems removed

Peel potatoes and slice thin. Put in soup pot w/6 Cups water and the olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer gently, stirring with a whisk occasionally to help break up the potatoes. cook until potatoes are completely dissolved lightly thickening the broth, about 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Wash kale thoroughly, trim out thickest stems, and shred as thinly as possible. add to the broth and simmer 2 minutes more. Serve at once with crusty bread.

Tradition allows adding a side order of grilled Portuguese sausage (and who's going to argue with tradition?).

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Fresh ground white pepper?

The Crab and Hearts of Palm Salad recipe calls for fresh ground white pepper. Fresh ground WHITE pepper? Of course, as a foodie we have pepper grinders with both black and green pepper. But for white pepper, which is a key ingredient in my home-fry recipe, I've always used that same old dusty can of Durkee white pepper. The 28 grams has lasted me a long time. So when this recipe called for fresh ground white pepper, and we didn't have another grinder to dedicate to a new kind of peppercorn, I just told Linda, "get me a fresh can, I must almost be out."
And then Linda came home with this. From Frontier Ppices, a bottle of organic white peppercorns, with a built-in grinder. The grinder even has two settings, fine and course. The fine is not as fine as the Durkee variety, but it's fresh and we don't have to buy a third pepper grinder. Now THAT is an excellent idea.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Hearts Of Palm Salad With Ruby Red Grapefruit And Dungeness Crab

Chef Kerry Simon (celebrity fans at his showy Las Vegas restaurant, Simon Kitchen and Bar, include Kate Hudson and Lucy Liu) is bringing his simple, organic American cuisine closer to the stars with the planned opening of Simon LA at the Sofitel Hotel this month. This succulent salad provides vitamins, including A, C and folate, among others, plus some zinc from the hearts of palm and juicy ruby red grapefruit.
Makes 2 servings.
Kerry Simon
Simon Kitchen and Bar

1 cup hearts of palm, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 bunch organic watercress
6 ounces precooked Dungeness crabmeat
1 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoons julienned basil
1 tablespoons julienned mint
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground white pepper
2 ruby red grapefruit, peel and pith removed, segmented, segments cut into 4 pieces each

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground white pepper

Dressing Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Marinate hearts of palm in 3/4 cup dressing in another bowl for at least 1 hour. Divide watercress between 2 plates; top each pile with hearts of palm. In another bowl, mix crabmeat, herbs and 1 tsp dressing; season with salt and pepper; toss until thoroughly mixed. Divide seasoned crab between 2 plates of watercress. Top with grapefruit pieces.

This was an amazing eating experience. I had first thought that one grapefruit per salad was going to be too much. It was most certainly not. The grapefruit, greens, herbs and crab meat were a beautiful marriage.
A tip for those with OCD tendencies(and you know who you are), in addition to peeling and removing pith, take the time to remove the skin from each grapefruit segment. It is not as hard as it might sound, and is definitely worth it in providing intense grapefruit flavor. (OK, I've revealed my tendencies)
Also, Dungeness crab may be hard to find in the Northeast. I ran into a guy from Seattle who said after doing considerable research, Jonah Crab (available at Whole Foods) is the next best thing.
I can attest that it was sumptuous.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Foil Barbecued (or baked) Steelhead Trout with Wine

Brother Tom caught one of these, vacuum-bagged and froze it for us to bring back from Christmas. What a wonderful gift. (Go Tom, go!)
2 trout, cleaned and head
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp bullion

Preheat a grill for medium-high heat. (Or heat oven to 400)
On a flat surface, lay out two sheets of aluminum foil about 18 inches long so that they overlap to make one long wide sheet. Rinse the trout and pat dry.
Lay the fish in the center of the foil about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with white wine, and lemon juice. Season with parsley, salt and pepper.

Fold the foil up loosely around the fish and crimp the seams to seal.

Place the packet on the grill (or in the oven) and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until fish is cooked through. (We cooked it in a 400 oven for 15-20, and let it rest before serving)

Glazed Salmon with Dijon Mustard Sauce

Taken in its entirety from, one of my favorite food blogs, and always to the rescue when we've got a new fish to cook. 

Fish substitutions: steelhead trout, arctic char, or any pink fish

Serves 4

For the fish:
4 salmon fillets with skin (6 oz each)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp apricot preserve, honey, or maple syrup
Salt and pepper

For the sauce:
2 Tbsp plain yogurt or sour cream
2 Tbsp mayo (Hellmann's "Real" please, not low-fat)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp cognac, whiskey, or white wine (optional)
2 Tbsp chopped mint, cilantro, parsley, or dill (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

To make salmon:

  1. Preheat the broiler and wrap a broiler pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Rub the salmon with salt, pepper, and olive oil on both sides. Place in the broiling pan skin side down.
  3. If using apricot preserve try to avoid the chunks as they will burn under the broiler. Spread your preserve, honey, or maple syrup on the flesh side of salmon that’s facing up (I used the preserve, but I am sure the other sticky sweet things will work too).
  4. Cook salmon for 6 minutes per inch of thickness for medium doneness (8 minutes for well-done). Start it under the broiler (4 inches away from the flame) and check it every couple of minutes. As soon as the top browns, turn down the oven to 400F, and move the salmon to the middle of the oven to finish cooking.
  5. To test for doneness, separate the flakes in the thickest part of the fish with a fork and peek inside. Salmon is cooked to medium when you can separate the flakes at the surface, but get a good bit of resistance in the center of the fillet; the flesh will look very translucent. After salmon rests for 5 minutes it will flake, but still be a little translucent in the center. If you prefer your salmon well done, cook it until only a trace of translucency remains in the center. After 5 minute rest, it will be completely opaque.
To make the sauce:
  1. While salmon is cooking and resting, make the sauce. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
  2. Thin out the sauce with 1-2 Tbsp of water until it’s barely thicker than heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place salmon on serving plates (if the salmon skin sticks to aluminum foil, just leave it there), pour the sauce on top and serve.