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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.
Halved florets of romanesco pan-fried and then steamed with a shot of white wine to finish is then garnished with a variation of gremolata, the classic Italian mélange of flat-leaf parsley, lemon zest, and garlic. Be sure to use good oil that has a high flash point, good wine (if it isn’t good just use water) and a heavyweight pan with a tight fitting lid.
Here is a riff on the famous New Mexican “Green Sauce” using end of season green Corno di Toro peppers and leeks, with a little almonds and maybe some honey for a Spanish inflection. Try this on just about anything from turkey and pork to fish and vegetables such as winter squash, or on eggs or potatoes. The original iteration has a little more heat and Southwest seasonings. Check it out on the website.
The sweet crisp apple is a great foil for soft chard with its shaved tongue feeling engendered by oxalic acid. Also, adding a little vinegar seems to tame that feeling and helps with calcium absorption. The un-toasted pine nuts give a resinous nutty flavor that helps pull things together. Be sure to cook the stems and onions gently so they do not turn bitter or singe.
This is the sort of thing that can be thrown together with help from the pantry and leftovers, and is just right for a cold evening or lunch time. Or, if like me you are tired of cereal or omelets for breakfast, fire this up and add a couple poached or basted eggs on top and enjoy. You can also skip the eggs and have a piece of toast spread with some soft goat cheese smoked olive oil and you have a complete protein breakfast.
This salad takes a little planning and has a few steps to it, but with a little bit of strategics it is easy enough. And the work that goes into this is rewarded with lots of clean flavor and crunch. Although substantial on its own, if you need more protein, it will take easily to some chicken or bacon.
A variation on a theme, where carrots get cooked in some water and then a glaze is made of the cooking liquid. Pomegranates are in season right now, and if you see a white pomegranate, the seeds would look lovely in this dish and would add a nice textural and flavor “pop” to the whole.
Be sure not to overcook the spinach. This recipe yields some nice color on the plate. The pepitas (pumpkin seeds) are there to provide a crunchy contrast, but if you don’t want to take the time to clean the seeds or if they are just too few to be worth the effort, use store bought or substitute toasted pine nuts instead. The ingredients list looks long, but half of it is just options you can choose from. This is a fairly simple recipe that can go in many directions with ease.
This came about as a result of eating out and having pork cutlets with fried capers. The capers stole the show for me. One night I was craving the capers and had a different meat dish planned, so this came about. Be sure to dry the capers really well so they open out more and get crisp.
This recipe takes my riff on the classic French peas cooked in lettuce as its inspiration. The squash stands in for the peas, and the trick is to not overcook the squash or it will turn mushy and bitter. The little bit of sugar helps with the flavors as well as helping get some color on the squash. This dish comes together quickly and is a boon when in a hurry or making something fancy on the other burners.
Persillade is a condiment or topping, the most basic version of which is a mixture of chopped flat leaf parsley (persil in French) and garlic. Here is a riff on my variation that includes toasted bread crumbs that add a nutty quality, as well as crunch to a dish. This version uses grated or chopped carrots to add moisture and sweetness. The carrots must be chopped fairly finely to release enough moisture to achieve the desired effect. To that end, coarsely grate the carrots and then use a knife that is not razor sharp, or pulse in a food processor or blender.
Here, the nutty earthy flavor of roasted broccoli is countered with a slightly sweet carrot inflected persillade-the classic parsley garlic mixture used to top many a bistro dish. The persillade has the crunch of toasted bread crumbs as well as carrots-and if you like, pistachios-to play off the slightly chewy broccoli. Serve as a side with steak, duck, tuna, or other items with a deep dark flavor.
With the orange squash and almost black ribbons of lacinato, this dish is great for Halloween parties, although anytime is a good time for these flavors. It is great as a side dish with poultry, pork, and sausage, or add grains and mushrooms to it for a hearty vegetarian main course.
Orange flavored, not orange colored. This dish takes its inspiration from Sicily and the Mediterranean. It would work well with some olive slivers tossed in as well, or without the olives, use this as an accompaniment to smoked trout or large-sized grilled prawns.
Tagged with: romanesco
While good all summer long, this salad is brilliant with end of summer tomatoes and squash. Here the quickles are made with oregano, but you can use whatever herbs you have to hand. If you have chervil, or marjoram, or thyme, so be it. Use the herbs in the dressing to link to the squash. Feel free to gussy up the salad with a little crumbled goat’s milk cheese and pine nuts.
These are nice to just have around in the refrigerator, ready to jump into a salad or sandwich, or just as a snack. You can change the shape of the cuts based on the shapes of the squash. Cube-ish shapes if you have a patty-pans, crook-necks, and typical stick shapes, or if you just have cylindrical zucchini shapes, just cut into quarters or halves, or leave whole then cut into ¼ inch slices. Just keep things to a ¼ inch thick and roughly all the same size so they change from “raw” to “pickled”.
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