1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges $
Entries in Sides & Salads (19)
1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges $
Brussels sprouts were an adult discovery for me. I can't remember the first time I tried them, but I fell immediately in love with the ease of roasting a pan of Brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt and the deliciousness that results. I particularly love the rogue leaves that separate from the main sprout and get super crispy and salty. In my opinion, Brussels sprouts are the closest you can get to bacon in vegetable form.
I do remember learning that Brussels sprouts grown on stalks at the Borough Market in London (I was so astonished by this that I took the picture below).
I usually keep my cooking of Brussels sprouts healthy by roasting them as described above. However, we hosted Thanksgiving last year and in an effort to mix things up, I tried this recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Wild Mushrooms and Cream from Fine Cooking. If you prep the mushrooms and Brussels sprouts ahead of time, this dish comes together quickly and I've found that you can reduce the amount of cream by half and still keep the creaminess and flavor that results. Cooking the sprouts this way is a delicious treat for a special occasion.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Wild Mushrooms and Cream
Adapted from Fine Cooking
Note - The original recipe notes that the Brussels sprouts can be roasted and the mushrooms seared up to 8 hours ahead of time (and then pick up with Step 4 below when you want to serve the dish).
1-1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise (5 cups)
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
3/4 lb. mushrooms (I've used chanterelles and baby portabellas), halved if small or cut into 1-inch wedges (about 4-1/2 cups)
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken/vegetable stock (I've used both with good results)
1/2 cup heavy cream (and you might use even less - see Step 4 below for details)
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.
2. Put the Brussels sprouts on a rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle with 3 Tbs. of the olive oil; toss to coat. Spread the Brussels sprouts in an even layer and season generously with salt. Roast until tender and browned, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
3. Heat a 12-inch skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and 2 Tbs. of the butter. When the butter has melted, add the mushrooms in an even layer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden-brown and tender and the mushroom liquid (if any) has evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and transfer to a plate.
4. Set the skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and 1 Tbs. butter. When the butter has melted, add the shallot, season with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine or stock and cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Return the mushrooms to the pan and add the Brussels sprouts and 1/4 cup of cream. If you think this amount sufficiently coats the sprouts and mushrooms, you might not need to add more - but judge for yourself based on how creamy you'd like the dish to be. I wouldn't add more than 1/2 cup in total. Stir in a few grinds of pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the cream thickens and coats the vegetables nicely, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
How lovely it is to be home! We just returned from a fantastic trip to Madison, Wisconsin and Bridgehampton, New York, but it was great to unpack, hug Forest, and sleep in our own bed. The last six weeks were dominated by extremely long bike rides, slightly shorter runs, open water swimming, and a lot of nerves. I feel like I've been a bit remiss where my friends, family, and husband are concerned - there has been a bit too much Ironman preparation and too little fun.
I'm optimistic that the turn of the seasons and less time on my bike will mean a return to normalcy... and more cooking. After we unpacked on Sunday, I went to the grocery store and whipped up a dish that K recommended from the August 2012 issue of Bon Appétit. It still feels like summer here, so a light pasta salad seemed like the perfect "welcome home" meal. And is it possible that this is the first thing I have made from Bon Appétit in three months? Eek.
Pasta Salad with Melon, Pancetta, Arugula and Ricotta Salata
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Yield = 4-6 servings
A few notes about this recipe. I made this with cantaloupe. K reported that it was delicious with honeydew, too. The original recipe called for mint, which we didn't have - I am sure it is a nice addition, but it isn't necessary. We did have arugula, so I added a few handfuls, which I really liked - it offsets the ricotta salata and the pancetta well.
- 4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (bacon would work equally as well)
- 8 ounces orecchiette (ear-shaped pasta) (I couldn't find orecchiete, so I used lumaconi, which are snail shell-shaped and probably larger than ideal... but I love the shape)
- Kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 cups 1x1x1/4" pieces peeled melon
- 3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 ounces ricotta salata (salted dry ricotta), shaved
- 2 cups (approximately) arugula
Heat oven to 350°. Arrange pancetta in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until brown and crisp, 20–25 minutes. Alternatively, place pancetta on folded layers of paper towels on a microwave-proof plate and microwave on high until brown and crisp. Start with 3 minutes and add time accordingly being sure not to overcook. Let pancetta stand until cool enough to handle, then break into bite-size pieces.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a medium pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta; run under cold water to cool. Drain and set aside.
Whisk oil and vinegar in a large bowl. Add half of pancetta, the scallions, and the red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Add the cooked pasta, melon, and arugula and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining pancetta. Garnish with shaved ricotta salata.
Forest seems concerned that we might leave him again at any time.
I've finally settled into a bit of a routine where the new house is concerned. I am now the proud owner of a commuter bike that I ride to the office, and I've started riding different routes home so I can check out new streets or pick up something for dinner at In Season Market. When I pull up to the house, I immediately walk to the peach tree to check for ripeness. A gentle squeeze typically reminds me that patience is a virtue and they will be ready soon... but last night a few were ripe!
Confession - last night was the first time I have ever used a grill! We have lived in so many apartments where we didn't have a yard (and thus no grill)... and truthfully grilling always seems to be delegated to men at barbeques. After one use, I am converted. And last night was also my first time grilling fruit. It was delicious. To me, it embodies what summer cooking is all about - simplicity, natural flavors, and easy preparation. As we ate this salad, Rob and I discussed which fruit we'd grill next. Pineapple, perhaps? I have to admit that I did need to call Rob to figure out how to turn on the grill... I believe the pause before his response was when he questioned how smart his wife really is...
In the meantime, I see more grilled peaches in my future. I ate a few slices last night while I was cleaning up from dinner, I had one for breakfast this morning, and I was tempted to eat them served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or topped with whipped cream. We ate ours last night in a simple salad.
Grilled Peach & Ricotta Salad
I'm a bit hesitant to even call this a "recipe" because there is a great deal of flexibility with this dish. I have used homemade ricotta, but I think it would be equally as good with buratta. I also garnished the salad with a 12-year Aged Balsamic Vinegar we received as a housewarming gift. It takes just a drizzle of this vinegar to complement the peaches and the cheese. You can, of course, substitute any balsamic vinegar you have.
Arugula (I prefer arugula because of its sharp flavor)
3-4 peaches (depending on salad size you may want to increase the number of peaches... you won't have any problem consuming any leftover grilled peaches, I promise)
Homemade Ricotta (or substitute buratta or fresh mozzarella)
Oil for grilling (canola, vegetale or olive oil)
Balsamic Vinegar (I recommend using the highest quality vinegar that you have)
1. Slice the peaches in half and remove the pit. Brush the flesh side of the peaches with a neutral olive such as canola or grapeseed oil. If you don't have either of those, use olive oil. Peeling the peaches isn't necessary.
2. Cook the peaches over a medium fire on all cut sides until grill marks show and the peaches are tender but not falling apart.
3. Place the arugula on a serving dish and set the grilled peaches on top of the arugula. Garnish with dollops of ricotta and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. If desired, sprinkle with sea salt. Serve immediately. You can also dice the peaches once they are grilled if you prefer more of a tossed salad.
These three peaches were our first "harvest." I love that one of them came off in my hands with the leaves attached.
Today is moving day! The combination of packing and temperatures hovering near three digits for the last few weeks has limited my time in the kitchen. Instead, I've been sticking to Watermelon Agua Fresca (blended with ice rather than water to make it that much more refreshing), chilled pasta salad, and take-out (miraculously, the entire kitchen is packed). Three of my best friends arrive tonight for our annual (see photos from last year here) girl's "weekend"... brave, aren't they? I have promised they won't have to unpack a thing!
We are attending a 4th of July barbeque and if I can find a knife and a pot, I'll be bringing this Green Bean & Tomato Salad. I first made this a few years ago at a tomato-themed dinner - it was the peak of tomato season and I just couldn't help myself from stocking up at the farmer's market. This dish was a standout, in part because it is simple and takes no time at all to prepare. If I am short on time or ingredients, I'll just mix the green beans and tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and omit the other ingredients, but using the shallots, mustard, and vinegar add a nice zing.
Green Bean & Tomato Salad
Yield = 6 servings
Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Refresh under cold water; drain well. Transfer to large bowl. Combine mustard and vinegar in small bowl. Gradually whisk oil and then mix in shallots. Mix dressing and tomatoes into beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper.