Arsip Tag: capers
Hoo hoo hoo. Hee hee. Remember when I was all “and I’ll tell you what to serve this crisp rosemary flatbread tomorrow!”? Well, the beach got in the way. And after that, some Chinese food. And a movie (do not watch! the first was so much better). Oh, and then a nap that lasted until 10 this morning…
Wait, are you still listening? Of course not. You’re at the beach, too. The weather has been so fantastic lately and the summer is almost over, making it even hard for me to motivate to cook anything. And yet, I am looking at the long list of recipes I haven’t gotten to writing up yet, and I realize that I’ve been cooking more than ever. How does that compute?
We’re actually making a lot of really, simple things, like flatbreads that take 15 minutes and dimply plum cakes, and having slow-roasted tomatoes on hand that can be quickly made into delicious white bean salads. The great thing is that just when the weather is way too good out to be inside the kitchen, the produce available needs the least amount of work.
We scooped these broiled slices of eggplant that had been briefly marinated in red wine vinegar, capers and mint with our flatbread, some bean salad and delicious pink wine and it was the perfect August dinner–none too heavy and nothing that took more than a little while to make. But it has me wondering: What would you add to the meal? With just a few weeks left before the cold sets in, I feel like I can’t have enough small vegetable dishes in the queue, to use up all the goodies we’re getting from the markets without shutting us inside.
Eggplant, previously: Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree, Grilled Eggplant with Caponata Salsa and Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad
One year ago: Stuffed Rond de Nice Squash
Broiled Eggplant with Capers and Mint
Adapted from Epicurious
Makes 4 appetizer-size portions
1 pound thin Italian or Asian eggplants (2 to 3), cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped mint
2 tablespoons small capers, rinsed
Preheat broiler. Arrange eggplant in 1 layer on a large baking sheet and brush both sides with 2 tablespoons oil (total). Broil about 4 inches from heat, turning once, until golden, 8 to 12 minutes total.
Stir together vinegar, mint, capers, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil and toss with warm eggplant. Marinate at least 20 minutes.
Marinated eggplant can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.
We had an election returns nail-biting and wine-drinking gathering last night (I refused to call it a party until given good reason to) and so, well, to say I’m a bit slow today might be a bit of an understatement. That said, even as I scrubbed grimy, chocolaty fingersmears off the sides of champagne flutes this morning with a raging morning-after headache, I never regret a good party.
Nothing worse than coming to a party around dinnertime that doesn’t actually provide dinner. But, since I didn’t want to have a dinner party, but the kind where you could come and go as your schedule allowed, hot food was out. Instead, we settled on cheese and breads, olives and salads, like this one.
Now, I love cauliflower. I always have. I like it in pasta, I like it in gratins (coming soon!), I like this dead-easy silky cauliflower soup and I like it curries and salads.
But I never expect cauliflower to be the kind of thing that people get excited over. It’s no great uniter. I admit it: I figured there would be a good amount leftover; I figured I’d at least have enough for lunch today. No such luck! Next time, I’m not making this salad. It’s too good, and too popular. Consider that a warning.
One year ago: Simplest Apple Tart
Cauliflower Salad with Green Olives and Capers
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
The original recipe calls for escarole or watercress, but I actually kind of like this better without the lettuce leaves. It keeps better for hours, as awesome for advance preparation (I made it the day before) as it is for staggered dinner times.
1 small firm head cauliflower or broccoflower, about 12 ounces
1 hard-cooked egg
Sherry vinaigrette (below)
2 scallions, including an inch of the greens, thinly sliced
1 cup diced celery heart with leaves
1 small green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
12 pimiento-stuffed Spanish green olives, halved
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1/2 cup parsley leaves
Slice off very thin slices of cauliflower, working your way around the head. Quarter then thinly slice the cauliflower. Be sure to include the stalks, too, peeled and thinly sliced.
Smash the hard-cooked egg yolk with the garlic and salt when you make the vinaigrette. Keep the dressing a little on the tart side.
Dice the egg white and toss it with the vegetables, olives, capers, and parsley. Add the vinaigrette (below) and toss again.
1 or 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
salt and freshly milled pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or aged red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pound the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a mortar until it breaks down into a puree. Combine the garlic, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl, then whisk in the oil and season with pepper. Taste and correct the balance.
Look, I know what most of you out there: “How on earth is she cooking with a newborn to take care of?” and that, quite possibly, one of two scenarios might be going through your head. One is that I am SuperDeb, a mutant human with cooking, sleep-deprivation-handling and time management superpowers, sweeping around my tiny apartment and even tinier kitchen in my Smitten Kitchen cape, trying to make all the other barely-holding-it-together new mamas look bad. Another scenario would be closer to something that you’d hear about on the evening network news scare report: Maybe Deb is a Bad Mother! Maybe little Jacob is crying and neglected while his mother selfishly pursues her cooking interests! You can practically hear viewers clucking their tongues in dismay for miles.
The truth, as is so often the case, is much more melodrama-free, I hope you’ll be relieved for me to admit. The truth is that I’ve had a ton of help, namely in the form of Jacob’s papa, who was not only granted two weeks
mpaternity leave, but his kind bosses let him work from home for another two, amounting to a whole month of round-the-clock assistance. That all came to a screeching halt this week when Alex returned to his office and I was left, for the first time ever, in the solo care of my own child. Needless to say, this week has been a leetle bit different in terms of idle time in the kitchen.
And yet, crazy enough, I made this dish that I’d bookmarked a lifetime ago, tried and failed to make seven weeks ago, pre-baby (when I had all of the time in the world — what was I thinking?), and yet, there I was with a soundly napping one-month old and I ran with it. Er, ran in the direction of the kitchen, that was.
Funny thing is, this is a pretty fussy recipe for one to squeeze in during nap time. Like many fancy restaurant chef recipes, each element is prepared separately and assembled at the last minute, and yet these mini-stages of prep worked perfectly for my predicament. I toasted the bread crumbs in butter, then checked on the baby, fried the almonds in olive oil, then checked on the baby, browned the cauliflower, checked on the baby, and so forth right through plumping the raisins in butter and white wine vinegar, rinsing the capers and tossing the mix with minced herbs. And then, since Wee Jacob was still napping (do I owe him a pony, or what?) when I was done, I grabbed a fork and ineloquently wolfed down my first lunch in days that had not been a hastily assembled peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Hoo boy, mama could really get used to feasts like this.
Cauliflower, previously: Silky Cauliflower Soup, Cauliflower Gratin, Cauliflower Salad with Green Olives and Capers, Cauliflower, Bean and Feta Salad and one of my hands-down favorites, Pasta with Cauliflower, Walnuts and Feta.
One year ago: Deep, Dark Salted Butter Caramel Sauce
Two years ago: Gluten-Free Chocolate Financiers
Three years ago: Spinach Quiche
Cauliflower With Almonds, Capers and Raisins
Perfect as printed from Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern
This dish has a great story, by the way — it’s supposed to convert the cauliflower-haters. When Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern met his wife, he was horriified to learn that she did not like cauliflower, and set out on what he called the “cauliflower operation”, creating five dishes solely to woo her and change her mind. This is one of them, and it called to me not only for the cute story, not only because Michael Anthony is one of the few chefs I will allow myself some fawning over, having followed the trail of his stepped-up simple food from Blue Hill at Stone Barns back to Manhattan, but because my mother always used to serve (steamed) cauliflower with breadcrumbs that she’d fried briefly in butter, and to this day, I think the vegetable tastes best with something crunchy, salty and buttery on top. I was pleased to see that it’s not just me.
Yield: 4 servings (sure, totally)
1 head cauliflower, trimmed of leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh soft bread crumbs
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons whole almonds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons golden raisins (I had only dark ones on hand, nobody complained)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon finely sliced chives.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut cauliflower from top to bottom in 1-inch slices. Place a large ovenproof skillet over low heat and add one tablespoon butter. When it has melted, add bread crumbs and toss until toasted and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a plate and wipe out pan.
2. Return pan to medium heat and add one teaspoon olive oil. Add almonds and toss until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer almonds to a plate, let cool, and cut each almond into three pieces*; set aside.
3. Wipe out pan and return to medium heat. Add remaining one tablespoon olive oil and cauliflower slices. Sauté until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer pan to oven and roast until tender, about 12 minutes. (I had to brown my cauliflower in batches, not having enough surface area in my pan, but tossed everything back in to roast it.) Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter and add raisins, vinegar and 1 tablespoon water. Simmer until raisins are plump and soft, about 5 minutes; drain and set aside. In a small bowl, combine almonds, capers, raisins, parsley, tarragon and chives. Season with salt and pepper and toss to mix.
4. Arrange roasted cauliflower on a serving platter. Spoon almond-herb mixture evenly on top and sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs. Serve immediately.
* I read this step and laughed and laughed. Yes, SURE. Let’s all cut our almonds into thirds! Anyone have a scalpel and some tweezers? Impossible! And then the strangest thing happened: I stopped rolling my eyes — “chef recipes!” — long enough to try it and it turns out with a sharp knife one can absolutely cut almonds into thirds. This isn’t to say that you must, unless you’re feeling fancy. You are more than welcome to cut yours into halves or fifths or even roughly chop them and I won’t tell a soul. It can be our little secret.
Most of the time, I don’t choose the recipes I share here, they choose me. I’ll be bumming around, reading my epics, keeping to myself when suddenly the urge for rhubarb muffins will come upon me, and I will have no choice but to address it, or remain distracted until I break down and, you know, address it. Other times, the market controls me, as will happen when you live in a climate that deprives you of field-fresh produce for over half the year, leaving you to go completely berserk and overdo it in the months that you’re graced with it, bringing home buckets when you only have enough stomachs in your family to require a small armload. But with a 20 months of parenting under my belt, I’m long overdue to introduce a new reason to cook: my toddler; he’s got cravings too.
It started one night at Motorino when he was in the middle of another of his
hunger strikes conscientious dissenting against his mama’s cooking phases where he’s just not that hungry and we ordered both the roasted pepper salad and appetizer meatballs in hopes to quietly tempt him into eradicating crankiness through the consumption of life-sustaining calories enjoying good food. And lordy, he went nuts for the peppers. Slurp, slurp, slurp, it was hard to believe that just hours before he’d overturned his lunch in disgust. A week later, we returned (I’m currently fixated on a certain pizza, you see) and the peppers elicited the same reaction. And so it only made sense that I would recreate the dish at home.
I’m an antipasti kinda cook in the summer, which is to say, I’m happy to avoid turning on the oven whenever I can. It’s only the first week of June, but somehow stickier than late July in New York City right now. If I can make a big batch of something marinated and we can arrange platefuls of it — along with a baguette, cured meats, cheese and a green salad — at dinner each night until its gone, I absolutely will. However, I will turn on the oven for one thing, and that is to roast my peppers for the better part of an hour. I prefer this over blistering them on the stove, which makes them easy to peel but not supple and sweetly cooked as they get in the oven. After peeling their skin and cutting them into strips, I let them sit overnight in some salt, pepper, garlic and red wine vinegar which punched up their flavor a bit. When we’re ready to eat it, we add a bit more vinegar if needed, olive oil and slice fresh mozzarella on top. Well, I’m using the term “we” loosely as parents of toddlers probably know how it went when this was served: “Roasted peppers? Yuck!” Hey, more for us!
One year ago: Lamb Chops with Pistachio Tapenade and Strawberry Ricotta Graham Tartlets
Two years ago: Lemon Mint Granita and Pickled Sugar Snap Peas
Three years ago: Potato Pizza and Breakfast Apricot Crisp
Four years ago: Spring Vegetable Stew and Gateau de Crepes
Marinated Roasted Peppers with Capers and Mozzarella
Makes about 4 cups of marinated peppers
6 bell peppers (if you can get a mix of colors, go for it)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped (optional)
1/2 pound ball of mozzarella, sliced (this is a great place to use the really fresh stuff, if you can get it)
Roast the peppers: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line peppers on a large baking sheet and roast them for 45 minutes to 1 hour, using tongs to rotate them 1/4 of the way, rotisserie-style, every 15 minutes. It’s safer to extend the cooking time than shorten it, as the skins will only come off easily if they’re fully cooked.
Once they’re fully roasted, cover the pepper tray with another piece of foil and let the peppers cool. When they’re cool enough to handle, remove the skins. Remove seeds and slice sections of pepper into 1/4-inch wide strips.
Toss peppers with red wine vinegar, garlic and a few pinches of salt. Cover and let marinate for an hour or overnight (and up to 4 days) in the fridge.
To serve, arrange peppers on a plate. Adjust seasonings, adding salt, freshly ground black pepper or additional vinegar, to taste. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with capers and parsley and arrange mozzarella over salad.
Eat with some crusty bread and a glass of wine, preferably al fresco.