Monday, April 22, 2013

Tuna Crudo with Salsa Verde

Serves 4 

- 3/4 pound fresh tuna steak, cut into a 3/8" dice
- Foccaccia bread, cut into 1/4" x ~4" slices
- Salsa verde (from

  • 3 T capers
  • 1/2 C. packed flat leaf parsley, stems removed, then roughly chopped
  • 1/3 C. EVOO
  • 2 T roughly chopped shallots
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp roughly chopped garlic
  • 1 T. red wine vinegar
Preheat oven to broil. 

Place all salsa verde ingredients in a food processor and process till chopped finely, but not uniform. Note, you much roughly chop the ingredients, or you will not be able to get the right chunkiness. 

Toss tuna with salsa verde. You'll have extra salsa verde, but it saves well frozen. Season crudo with salt and white pepper to taste.

Toast foccaccia in oven, about 30 second each side such that you have a golden brown crostini. Spoon crudo onto crostini. Taste and sprinkle with kosher salt as needed. 

            Sunday, April 21, 2013

            Goat Cheese, Piquillo Pepper & Chorizo Omelette

            Serves 1

            2 eggs, lightly beaten
            1/2 to 1 ounce goat cheese
            1-2 T 1/4" dice roasted red pepper/piquillo peppers
            2 T 1/4" dice sausage (chorizo, soppressata, etc.)
            1 clove garlic
            1/2 to 1 T butter

            In an 8" omelette pan, saute garlic in butter till beginning to brown over medium heat. Add eggs and reduce heat to low/medium-low. Allow to cook undisturbed until beginning to set. As this is occurring, use a rubber spatula to occasionally lift edges and prevent excessive browning of omelette. Once the omelette is mostly set, with just a touch of wetness on top, add fillings, and flip over half to create a crescent moon shape. Allow to continue cooking for 1 minute then gently flip over to the other side, trying to keep filling inside. Cook for another minute.

            Serve warm with a green salad.

            Arugula Salad on a Chicken Paillard Bed

            We had this in Miami over Easter. We loved how light and flavorful it was. You could do this a lot of ways. In Miami, it was served in a very savory fashion with an Italian salsa verde (caper/parsley/EVOO), and a lemon vinaigrette. We tried it at home with a more Moroccan style-- chicken seasoned with cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and orange peel, and the salad a citrus dressing with orange wedges and toasted blanched almonds. We preferred the more savory version. I'm just posting the basic components below, given the range of creativity this dish allows. 

            Serves 4

            •  4 large chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded to 1/4" thick. Season as you choose, but at a minimum with salt and pepper (liberal, as usual)
            • 1 large package arugula
            • dressing for salad
            Saute chicken paillards over high heat for as little time as possible. I think this is around 1" each side, but I will continue ratcheting it back. the moister the chicken, the better. 

            Place chicken paillard on plate. Toss arugula with dressing and place on top of paillard. Add any additional accoutrements. 

            We had this with a rose and it was a perfect summer lunch/dinner. 

            Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Red Pepper Feta

            We had this at John Besh's restaurant Domenico in New Orleans. There it was served with plain whipped feta, but having made whipped feta with red peppers, we think that is the way to go. We have also tried it with pesto. For a party, serving with both (red and green) would be fun. 

            Serves 4-6 as an appetizer or side

            1 whole cauliflower
            kosher salt
            black pepper

            Preheat oven to "roast" at 425 degrees. Remove leaves from head of cauliflower. Place cauliflower in an oven proof glass dish. Liberally douse with EVOO. Liberally season with salt and cracked pepper. Place in oven in center and roast for 45 minutes. It will be golden brown on top. If it starts to burn, cover the top with  aluminum foil.

            Serve whole, giving people knives to carve out their portions. Serve with whipped feta & red pepper, and/or with pesto (arugula or basil).

            Spring Pea Soup with Mint and Creme Fraiche

            Serves 6 
            Modified from

            6 pounds fresh, unshelled peas (i.e. the peapods are still on)
            1/4 c. fresh mint leaves (lightly packed)
            1/4 c. fresh tarragon leaves (lightly packed)
            1 onion diced
            2 T. butter
            4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
            minced chives (garnish)
            8 T. creme fraiche (or sour cream)

            Shell peas, this will take longer than anything else. Takes about 1/2 and hour. Saute onion until translucent. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add peas, reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, place in blender with remaining 2 cups stock, mint and tarragon. Blend until a uniform, non-chunky texture is achieved. Season with kosher salt and white pepper. Serve warm or cold. Place in bowls, then add chives and 1-2 T creme fraiche per bowl.  Saves well.

            Kale Salad with Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing

            Kale is my new favorite salad green. We had a caesar salad with it at a restaurant and just loved it. Since then, we've tried it as the base for my own caesar salad, as the base for cobb salad, and as the base for this salad. What's so wonderful about kale is that it is so turgid, that it never wilts. So a) it keeps in the fridge for weeks, and b) after you make the salad, it will actually keep till the next day--even with an acidic dressing like caesar. 

            This dressing is wonderful because, despite being rich and flavorful, it is actually very low calorie. Buttermilk, despite it's name, has very few calories, fewer calories per cup in fact than a cup of 1% milk. And there is no oil, so the only calories to speak of come from the blue cheese, which is fairly little, given how strong  flavor it is.

            Serves 4 for Salad Portions

            1 bunch kale, cut into 1" strips
            (optional) 4 ounces bacon cut into 1/4" dice & cooked

            2/3 C low-fat buttermilk
            1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
            2 tsp red wine vinegar
            1 T Dijon mustard
            4-6 ounces Roquefort or other blue cheese

            Blend all dressing ingredients in a blender and season with salt and pepper. Toss dressing with kale. Sprinkle on bacon. To make a modified Cobb salad, add diced avocado, chicken, and tomatoes.

            Lemon Poppy Seed Gelato

            1/2 cup lemon juice
            Grated peel of 2 lemons
            1/2 cup water, less 1 T
            1T amaretto
            1 cup sugar
            1/2 cup whole milk
            1/2 cup cream
            1 tsp poppy seeds

            Filter lemon juice, then place water, sugar, amaretto and grated lemon rind in a bowl until sugar is dissolved. Whisk cream and milk into gelato bowl and process till mostly set. Add poppy seeds. This will keep nicely and not get too hard, thanks to the amaretto.

            Bourbon Braised Pork Ribs

            Some friends of ours cooked this for us this winter while on a ski trip. Naturally we immediately incorporated it into the repertoire as a great easy, hearty dinner.

            Serves 8-10

            8 pounds meaty pork ribs
            8 ounces honey
            Two 29 ounce cans whole stewed peeled tomatoes
            1 handle bourbon
            Canola oil for braising.
            Tony Chachere's or other seasoning salt blend to taste
            Lemon juice if needed

            Brown pork ribs in batches in a large, high-walled pot (high-walled so that you don't get splattered too much). Set each batch aside.

            Once all pork has been braised, add back into pot, add bourbon, tomatoes and honey. Use a knife or potato masher to roughly cut the tomatoes. Simmer for 1.5 hours. Add more water as necessary, but eventually reduce to a thickish sauce.

            Serve over brown rice. Serve with cole slaw or kale salad with blue cheese buttermilk dressing.