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This compound butter is a quick “sauce” for steak, chicken, fish, or anything else that might come from around the Mediterranean basin. Store in the freezer for nights when you are tired and inspiration is lacking. The flavors are earthy and bold.
This was made to go with steak in lieu of spinach. It has a similar texture, but doesn’t carry that oxalic acid texture that spinach sometimes has that makes the teeth feel furry. Also, mei-quin has a brighter flavor that goes well with hanger or flap steak and grass fed beef, and makes a nice foil to the flavor imbued by grilling.
This is a sort of modern California riff on the steakhouse classic of steak with maître d’hôtel butter served with spinach. While a baked potato or frites might be what comes to mind as a starch, I’d go for Pommes Anna instead. The recipe calls for a hanger steak- there is one per animal and it has a strip of gristle running down the center that must be cut away (ask the butcher to do it) – which has a wonderful “beefy” flavor. However, if you like meat cooked more well done, this is not the cut for you. Anything past medium and the steak is chewy as wet saddle leather. Other cuts that are flavorful and off the beaten path include flap, chuck eye, and flatiron. The last is a steak that is flavorful like a chuck steak, but has the tenderness of filet, except for a strip of gristle running through the middle. Cut it out after you have cooked it or you end up cutting the steak into tiny bits that cook too fast. Be sure you use a hot flame or pan so the meat chars a bit, as that flavor is part of the overall appeal.
Grilled Romaine tastes great and the textures add a lot to the dish. The shaved roots each bring a different texture, color, and flavor to the salad that play well off each other to please the palate and eye. The dressing brings everything together.
This dressing is pack with herb flavors. Although it was made to go with a fava and lettuce salad, it would be great as a dip for vegetables or falafel, and would be good in chicken salad or with skewers of grilled chicken, lamb, or beef. Avoid using curly parsley here as it will make it taste bitter and vegetable.
These tubers are neither from Jerusalem or are they related to artichokes. They are in the sunflower family, and have some of that nutty flavor. This recipe takes its name from my kids. Once when I was making this, they were watching and my daughter commented that the slices of sunchoke looked like gold coins. These are great-they taste like a cross between potato chips, French fries, and sunflower seeds. Just be sure to serve them hot, as they do not hold well. Peeling these is beyond tedious. Soak them in cool water for 5 minutes or so, then scrub them with a brush.
This dish combines two basic dishes where the sum is definitely more than the parts. This is easily varied, and could be a good breakfast or light dinner with the addition of some fried eggs with crispy edges.
For a simple yet elegant soup, try this asparagus soup. Subtle and velvety, without any cream. By the way, you do not want this soup to boil- by not allowing it to boil it will retain a greener, more pleasant color. Boil this soup and it will turn khaki.
An elegant presentation of spinach that can be made a day ahead and reheated in the oven in a bain-marie just before they are needed. Serve it with rings of roasted Delicata squash and drizzle with a light simple syrup spiked with Meyer lemon juice.
This is the most fundamental way of cooking asparagus. I learned this from my wife, and as long as I pay attention, it has never failed me. It yields moist, perfectly textured asparagus, tender without being the least mushy, slippery, or thready/stringy on the outside. This also works for asparagus that has been cut into smaller pieces.
This recipe makes a simple dish with that has plenty of flavor. If you wish to, adding some chopped lacinato kale adds color to the dish and contrast to the flavors, all of which meet under the aromatic umbrella of the garlic chives. This recipe is set to yield a “dry” dish, but if you wish, you can use more stock and have the carrots in a broth, adding little pasta shapes or Israeli couscous or grains if it pleases you.
Here’s a salad where textures, flavors, and colors all play off one another. Even the beets join in as the different color beets are seasoned with different types of vinegar. The dressing is a light creamy (yogurt) dressing flavored with garlic chives. The flavor and aroma are redolent of garlic, but do not have the heat of clove garlic.
Mayonnaise is used for simplicity, as well as for its wonderful ability to brown up and form a nice glaze. If you wish for something lower calorie and lower cholesterol, you can use whipped egg whites instead, although it may not brown nearly as well. You could whip the whites and fold in the whisked yolk if you want loft and richness as well. If you do not have green garlic, just use a single clove of garlic minced or just season the pan by cooking the whole clove in the oil you’ll cook the spinach in. Don’t have oyster mushrooms? Don’t worry about it. Cook ¼ of a finely diced white or yellow onion and cook it until soft before adding spinach. Although the recipe looks long, it is really not. There are just lots of tips to ensure this is an easy dish.
This is a brightly flavored treatment for meaty swordfish. The radishes are a great foil for the buttery sauce and sweet tasting fish. Untoasted coriander seed has a citrusy profile that matches well with the sauce. If you wanted to, you could lightly cook the radishes in the sauce to give them a softer flavor, but the soaked raw slices provide a nice crunch as well as a little heat for contrast.
Colorful and crunchy, this “slaw” type salad is easy to vary. Try adding Tokyo and/or golden turnips, kohlrabi, or even cabbage. The dressing is simple and easily varied as well. You can use a mandolin for creating thin matchsticks or just use a large-holed grater. Do purple carrots last and add them in at the end so they don’t turn everything else the same color, although that would create a nice pale reddish salad. Serve as a side or plop into a smoky pulled pork sandwich. You can also use the same recipe, but switch to a vinegary/no mayo dressing (use the same dressing only switch to all oil and no mayo) and use as a side for banh mi (classic Vietnamese sandwiches) or with noodles.
This iteration of the classic French sauce was made with swordfish in mind, but will work for most seafood, and light poultry as well. It can be used as a lower cholesterol substitute for Hollandaise sauce also. The sauce is pretty simple. The trickiest part is mounting the sauce with butter and not breaking the sauce. This is easily avoided by simply paying attention and pulling the pan from the heat while adding (mounting) the butter, returning it to the heat if the pan cools too much.
Another riff on the Italian classic. Where gremolata usually uses garlic, this version contains none, and uses shallot instead. It also uses only a little lemon zest, and calls for Meyer lemon rather than Eureka. This iteration came about as a garnish for seared and roasted butternut squash rounds, which are sweet on their own, and have a nutty flavor. This version would go well on other roast or crisp sautéed vegetables such as parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, or other dense-fleshed winter squash. Try it on turkey cutlets, pan roasted halibut, or charred octopus as well.
Thick rounds of butternut squash pan seared and roasted are paired with a fresh, herby gremolata variant, then toasted hazelnuts or raw pine nuts are added to light the nutty flavor of the squash a little higher. Use this as a side instead of a starch, or as an entrée on a meatless Monday.
The profile of this dish can easily be changed by altering the spices. Go with thyme, marjoram and fennel seed for a French flare-you could even add some lavender- or use oregano or sage for a more Italian turn. Use some Moroccan spices and go North African/Mid-East. Curry will take you to India, and you can add hot chili for an incendiary approach or use fennel seed with a sweet curry for mild but fragrant. Use this for topping fish, boneless chicken breasts or cubed chicken chunks, or cut cauliflower into large pieces and roast them after oiling and seasoning. You could serve at room temp or cold as part of a mezze or thali lunch. It would also do well with cooked chickpeas or kidney beans heated up in it. This is the iteration for roast cauliflower, or for topping fish or even shrimp.
Here, Butternut squash slices replace potatoes in variation of a typical gratin. Vegetable stock stands in for the usual dairy, and bread crumbs are there to soak up moisture and add some texture and loft. Chard adds a contrast to the sweetness of the squash, and you could mix potato slices into the squash slices if you wish to tone the sweetness down as well.
These can be done in stages ahead of time up to the final cooking if you wish, and they are quite flexible in terms of what you use. Instead of lamb and currants, use pork and a fine dice of apples. Skip the meat entirely and add in some cheese, firm or pressed tofu, or chopped nuts.
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