Blueberry Season

June 13, 2007

Jennifer and I are off to the South of France to learn to make Soupe du Poisson avec Rouille et Croûtons so you, my friend, will have something warm and velvety to serve your lady friends when the cool breezes of late September roll in.

Meanwhile, enjoy fresh berries while lounging at your beach house. See you in a few weeks.

blueberry_feta.jpg

Watercress and Wild Italian Arugula Salad with Blueberries and Feta
For 2

1/2 cup blueberries, washed and destemmed
Handful of the watercress, washed and dried
Handful of baby arugula or other baby greens
2 slices of goat milk feta (No crumbles, David. Crumbles are for salad bars.)

Citrus Vinagrette
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of lemon and lime
1/3 cup olive oil
In goodly sized bowl, combine the mustard and the citrus juice. Whisk in the olive oil. Add the garlic, shallot and zest. Cover and refrigerate for 20 mins.

Toss the greens and the blueberries with 2 or 3 tablespoons of the vinagrette (well coated, but not soggy and dripping). Plate and top with the slice of feta. Serve as a first course with prosecco on the patio bedecked with wooden furniture.

Advertisements

Two very good friends of mine were recently joined in Holy Matrimony and Dinner, at the very least, played a major role in uniting Rem and his lovely bride F. Kate Reynolds. How could she resist Rem while he was whipping up intoxicating dishes like Patatanchois, Gravlax and Coctel de Camarones con Salsa Tomatillo? That’s right, she couldn’t.

Since the beautiful ceremony, Rem has had to shift his attentions away from the kitchen. Apparently, he only has time to pop something in the oven while he stares into the eyes of his beloved. When we heard of Rem’s dilemma we immediately bought plane tickets to Barcelona.

Our first stop was Tossa de Mar and with the help of a local fisherman we found our way to the kitchens of Doña Alvarez on the seaside mountain of Calella de Palafrugell. A dozen fresh cabella (you may know this fish as mackerel, but it sounds so lovely when you say it Spanish) from our fisherfriend persuaded La Doña to prescribe the remedy.

Spanish Mackerel Crusted with Spicy Paprika and Smoked Sea Salt

2 fresh, whole Spanish mackerel, cleaned
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tbs smoked sea salt
1 tsp pimentón picante (you could also spicy Hugarian paprika)
2 lemons, cut in wedges
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
Handful of parsley, washed
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, sea salt and pimentón. Brush the fish with the egg and dip in the bread crumbs to coat both sides.

Stuff the fish with the lemon, garlic and parsley. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment (avoids sticking and makes for easy clean up). Bake on the center rack for about 30 minutes (10 minutes per inch of thickness or until 145 on your meat thermometer or until your keen sense of smell says, “the fish is done”).

Serve with slices of lemon, Gaeta olives and Muga Rosado. Start with a watercress salad.

Negroni

June 6, 2007

negroni.jpg

We just returned from a grueling journey to Pescara. After spending all day requesting adjustments to the Fall line in a boiling hot sweatshop, this refreshing, summer cocktail hit the spot.

The bitter sweet flavor is so delicious, Jennifer and I were dancing on the table before we left for dinner. Unfortunately, it was a very old, rickety, Italian table. Jennifer landed on my concussion and I’m still nursing my wounds. I don’t blame Fabrizio.
Negroni The Official Cocktail of Summer ’07

1 ounce Campari
1 ounce Juniper Green or your favorite gin
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth

Shake gently with ice and strain over cracked ice. If you like your cocktails sweeter, use a full ounce of vermouth. Proceed with caution.

Wild Leeks

June 4, 2007

poached_scallops.jpg

Ramps impart a wonderful flavor to any dish that pairs well with garlic and leeks. Quickly sauteed with asparagus, morels, tossed with fresh pasta and you’re a star.

Alas, ’tis the end of the season and the only ramps left at the Greenmarket were forlorn and yellowed. Don’t fret, David, you can substitute the cultured varietal of leek for this dish. You may want to add some spring onion or spring garlic to the mix. If you’re fresh out of fish stock, use a crisp Sauvignon Blanc in its place.

Montauk Day Boat Scallops Poached in Lemon Broth with Ramps, Asparagus and Fingerling Potatoes for Two

Six big, fresh off the boat scallops
4 ramps
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and shaved as you see fit.
Small handful of fingerling potatoes, cut in half
2 cups lemon broth
Fresh cracked pink peppercorns
Sea salt
Trim the scallops and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Mince the white bulbs of the ramps. Trim the stems from the leaves, chop finely and set aside with your mise.

Saute the minced bulbs in 2 Tbs olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and stir to coat. Add the lemon broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes until potatoes are tender. Add the asparagus and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes more.

Remove the vegetables from the broth and pop them in a warm oven. Place the scallops in the simmering broth and poach for 2 minutes per side until just set. Remove the scallops, turn up the heat and add the ramp leaves. Wilt for a minute or two.

Plate the asparagus and potatoes, ladle the broth with ramp leaves and top with the scallops. Serve with Akakies Kir-Yianni Rose or the crisp Sauvignon Blanc you used instead of the fish stock.

The Lemon Broth
This broth is a simple fish stock further reduced with thin slices of lemon and fresh lemon juice added at the end.

2 pounds fish frames from sole, flounder or halibut, cut into 2-inch pieces and rinsed in cold water continuously for 10 minutes
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups water
1 large onion
1 stalk celery
1 medium carrot
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves and stems
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns
Sea salt

In a medium stockpot, saute the onion in olive oil until glassy. Add the carrot, celery, sautee for 2 minutes more. Add the white wine, fish bones and water. Bring to a boil, skimming off the white foam from the top of the stock. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

Add the herbs, peppercorns, salt and continue to gently simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the stock from the stove and strain though a fine-mesh strainer.

Return the stock to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Add the sliced lemon and gently simmer for 10 minutes. Add the fresh lemon juice.