Saturday, June 28, 2008

Grand slam recipes

You know those times when you make something that works out so well you simply cannot believe it? It's culinary kismet, and there's little more annoying than, months or years later, wracking your brain to remember what dish it was that was such a success.
I've had a few of those lately, and though they're not specifically seasonal, they will be (by later in the season) and they'll bear repeating in August when tomatoes and beans are peaking.

Halibut baked in parchment is fantastic: the fish stays moist and mild, gently flavored by rosemary and olive oil. Last night I served it like a semi-nicoise, atop a bed of arugula, blanched haricot verts quickly sauteed with more olive oil and some chopped shallots, a few oil cured black olives, some just-hard-cooked eggs (9 minutes in simmering water will do it) and a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of more good olive oil on top. Alongside, I served one of the great workhorse condiments you can make: salsa verde. I use Suzanne Goin's recipe, which calls for parsley, mint and marjoram along with the more esoteric: salt packed capers and anchovies. (Locally, you can get both of the latter at Rubiner's Cheesemongers in Great Barrington.)

The idea for a halibut nicoise comes from Goin, too, but my preparation of the halibut is different, and comes from another wonderful and favorite cookbook, I Am Almost Always Hungry, by Lora Zarubin. (Zarubin also has a recipe for salsa verde, but I've been making Goin's for a couple of years now, and I'm hooked. I do not, by the way, make it in a mortar and pestle as she instructs. I cheat, and use the Cuisinart. As my chef friend said, "Mortar and pestles are for geeks." He might be overstating the case a bit, but since I am always cooking under the gun, I cheat as I see fit.)

To accompany the nicoise, I made a potato and tomato gratin, also by Suzanne Goin. This recipe is unfortunately not available online, but hopefully you've already broken down and purchased Sunday Suppers at Lucques.

What's cooking...

That broccoli rabe, sauteed in olive oil with shallots and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes, served alongside some grilled skirt steak rubbed with thyme, pepper and crushed chile de arbol.

This has nothing to do with produce, except that I served it atop some, but: halibut, baked in parchment with nothing more than a 2 inch snip of rosemary and some very good olive oil drizzled atop. 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Unbelievable.

Blanched snap peas tossed with pea shoots (hydroponic, from the produce case at Guido's) with the house dressing.

Strawberries. By themselves. Nothing needed. Nothing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Week Four

More lovely lettuce (heads, this week), gorgeous baby rapini (perhaps my favorite vegetable of all time, challenged only by artichokes and chard,) some perfume-y strawberries, more baby turnips (which, I confess, I exchanged for extra rapini since I still have turnips left from last week) and more snap peas, which I have been blanching and serving in salad with my usual mustardy vinaigrette. No pic this week, but recipes to come.