Guest Recipes

Panzanella

by Anh-Minh on July 25, 2014

panzanella06

Sure, Fridays are usually pretty awesome because they signal the end of the work week. But even better? The Fridays when Melina Hammer shares a recipe with us! I can’t wait to try out her Panzanella. — Anh-Minh

Summertime ushers in fantastic produce we all love, like the bounty of bright and juicy tomatoes. I stopped buying tomatoes when they are not in season years ago, after I tasted the fabulous in-season versions grown by local farmers. The supermarket impersonators, no doubt trucked from a gazillion miles away, just can’t compete. When these wonderful and versatile fruits are in season, I gorge on them, filling my market basket to overflowing. My favorite tomatoes are the heirloom varieties—prized for their intense flavor, color, and juicy texture.

It is especially appropriate, given the hot and lazy days, that this month’s recipe is (almost) another no-cook treat, just like last month’s trio of summer salads. I say treat because, I feel indulgent when eating Panzanella—even though its origins were a means to save old bread from waste. Gotta love the Mediterranean sensibility! Yes, there is a good amount of olive oil and I do like to fry the bread in my version, but really, it sings the virtues of tomatoes in all their glory, and the framing accent of bright basil and chive blossoms (or shallots, or shaved red onion, or other allium) is alive with freshness. Use good bread and good olive oil, along with those good tomatoes. You’ll be wowed by the results.

After drizzling the torn bread all over to soak in the olive oil, I skillet-fry it in additional oil. To me, the crunchy, almost-charred exterior, paired with the juicy oil-soaked interior offers an unexpected delight when digging in. Keep the Panzanella in its respective ingredient clusters for dramatic presentation, or toss it all together in a pile and let your guests feast on the results.

Panzanella

Serves 2-4

  • 1 smallish loaf good crusty bread, torn into bite-sized chunks and left to sit for a day or two
  • 5 large heirloom tomatoes such as Green Zebras, Cherokee Purples, Yellow Pineapples, or Brandywines, cut into wedges
  • 1-2 cups Sungold tomatoes, cut into halves
  • 3-5 chive blossoms, individual blossoms picked apart (you can use shallots cut into wedges and slowly sautéed until soft and translucent, or thinly shaved red onion, as a substitute)
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and patted dry
  • good extra virgin olive oil for soaking, drizzling, and frying
  • red wine vinegar
  • flake sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Lay the bread out on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Over medium-high heat in a cast-iron skillet, add another glug of olive oil, and using tongs to turn the bread, brown it on all sides. Lower the heat to medium halfway through so as not to burn any pieces and re-drizzle oil if you see the pan smoking. It’s fine if some of the pieces become charred, but these parts should be more an accent than the norm.

As you finish browning, empty the pan of even the crumbs—those crunchy bits will be great in the mix—onto whatever serving platter you have chosen. If you’re arranging the ingredients in piles, do so with the basil, all the tomatoes, and the bread, and then scatter the chive blossoms (or allium of your choice) around. Mix together a 2:1 ratio of olive oil and red wine vinegar, whisk together to emulsify, and taste. Adjust ratio to your taste, then spoon dressing over all (save some for table side). Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, and dig in. You just made an edible work of art.

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{ Recipe and photos by Melina Hammer }

 

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A Trio of Summer Salads

by Anh-Minh on June 27, 2014

Salads_OpenerToday, we’ve got a trio of recipes from Melina Hammer: Wilted Chard and Prosciutto, Niçoise, and Butter Lettuce and Broiled Peach salads. I can’t decide which to try first, but have a feeling all of them will soon become part of my salad repertoire. — Anh-Minh

For this month’s post, I thought I’d share not just one recipe, but *three* of my favorite tried-and-true summer salads. Though composed of simple ingredients, each of these crunchy and bright salads offers serious layers of flavor and texture and are complete, heavenly meals. Of course, you can use them as sides to go with other summer fare, but once you’ve tried each and discovered how simple it is to produce so much pleasure, you’ll leave the rest for another day.

Wilted Chard and Prosciutto SaladSalads_Prosciutto

Serves 2

Softly wilted chard is complemented by the buttery crunch of pine nuts and the acidic bite of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Cracked fresh pepper offsets the velvety finale of thinly sliced prosciutto. You could say it’s the savory icing on the cake.

  • 1 bunch rainbow swiss chard, rinsed, stems separated from leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 5-8 slices prosciutto*
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • good olive oil

Over medium-high heat, add a glug of olive oil and sear chard stems in a cast-iron skillet, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the chard and stir after a minute or so, turning to expose all surfaces to the heat. When the leaves are just-collapsed—no more than 5 minutes—remove from heat and transfer to a serving platter. Squeeze lemon juice all over. Drape prosciutto around, sprinkle pine nuts, and finish with freshly cracked pepper. Salt to taste. Enjoy immediately, and preferably with a glass of minerally white wine, such as a Grüner Veltliner.

*The original version of this recipe calls for bresaolaan equally delicious option.

Swiss Chard Proscuitto Salad details

Niçoise SaladSalads_Nicoise

Serves 2

My riff on the classic salade Niçoise includes creamy potatoes dressed in olive oil and a scatter of thinly sliced garlic scapes. Nestled beside plump and briny olives and a handful of capers, they make a great pairing. Then, there’s the assertively crunchy green beans: perfect with the savory umami of a few good anchovies and a custardy 6-minute egg. With good-quality canned tuna and peppery greens like arugula, it’s a complete experience.

  • 5 small waxy potatoes (I used Yukon Gold)
  • 1 large bunch arugula or other peppery greens, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large handful green beans, stem ends trimmed
  • 2 pastured eggs
  • 1 can good quality tuna in olive oil
  • 3-6 good quality anchovies*
  • 1/2 garlic scape or a few chives, sliced very thinly
  • 1 small handful capers (if using salt-packed capers, soak, then rinse under cold water)
  • 1 handful of your favorite olives (I used the plump, wine-cured Alfonso variety)
  • good olive oil
  • freshly cracked pepper

Peel potatoes and cut into thirds, then boil them in a saucepan until you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork. Drain, shock in ice water, then transfer to a bowl. Dress in a glug of olive oil and scape or chives, along with some cracked pepper. Toss to combine and set aside.

Carefully lower eggs into rapidly boiling water and boil over medium heat for 6 minutes. Shock in ice water until cool enough to handle, then peel their skins, rinse any bits off, and set aside. Tip: A 2-week-old egg will peel much more easily than a freshly bought one.

Using the same water, blanche green beans, about 3-5 minutes. Shock in ice water, leaving until ready to use.

In shallow bowls, lay a bed of arugula, followed by clusters of each: olives, potato-scape mixture, green beans (pat them dry before adding), and chunks of tuna, drizzling some of the oil over everything. Quickly and carefully cut each egg in half and nestle into the salad, add a few anchovies, and scatter the capers on top. Finish with freshly cracked pepper. This delectable salad needs no dressing, but a squeeze of lemon is not objectionable. ;)

*Look for anchovies found in jars. You can see if their flesh is pink or not: the sign of fresher, more delicious specimens.

Nicoise Salad detail

Butter Lettuce and Broiled Peach Salad
with Sheep’s Cheese ToastsSalads_Lettuce

Serves 4

This broiled peach salad is texturally delicate and perhaps the most beautiful—you be the judge. Brightly green butter lettuces, punchy herbs, juicy perfectly ripe peaches, and the crunch of toasted almonds and tangy sheep’s cheese-slathered toasts. It will bring smiles to everyone you’ve gathered around the table.

  • 4 small peaches, halved and pitted
  • 3 heads butter lettuce, torn into pieces, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 large handful parsley leaves
  • 1 large handful mint leaves
  • 1 package soft sheep’s cheese or goat cheese
  • 4 thick slices crusty bread, toasted and cooled to room temp
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2/3 cup almonds, toasted
  • honey, for drizzling
  • good olive oil, for drizzling
  • freshly cracked pepper and sea salt

Pour sugar into a small dish and lay each peach half face-side down, nestling peach into sugar to coat. Place peaches onto a baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes or until sugar caramelizes. Set aside.

In a serving bowl, toss together the lettuce, mint, and parsley. Slather toasts with cheese and layer in the center. Set room temperature broiled peach halves onto salad bed, followed by a scatter of toasted almonds and cracked black pepper. Finish with a drizzle each of honey, sea salt, and olive oil, to taste.

Butter Lettuce Broiled Peach Salad details

 { Recipes and Photos by Melina Hammer }

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I have an incredible weakness for good jam or marmalade, and every so often, I find that my cabinets and refrigerator have been completely overwhelmed by too many jars that I’ve stashed away. In times like these, jam cookies are my friend.

These pinwheel cookies are a version of a Finnish cookie called joulutorttu. The traditional joulutorttu have prune jam inside, but any thick marmalade or jam will work—not jelly though, as it’s too thin. Here, I’ve also upped the ante in the pastry: rye flour adds a bit more wheat-y oomph, and a dash of caraway seeds on top provide a crunch of spice. I experimented with a combination of different marmalades, ranging from an exotically tropical Meyer lemon-guava to a traditionally British Seville orange to an extra bitter grapefruit. All were delicious, and it goes to show that with a good marmalade or jam on hand, the possibilities, at least cookie-wise, are endless.

Rye and Marmalade Pinwheel Cookies
Makes 12-14 4″ cookies

Pastry

  • 1½ cups rye flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 cup  butter, cold
  • 1 tbsp flavor extract (vanilla, hazelnut, or almond)
  • 7 to 8 tbsp water, cold

Cookies

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • ½ cup marmalade
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds

Note: these cookies are best the day they are made, but the unbaked and unshaped dough can be stored for up to 3 days before use.

  1. For the pastry: Combine the rye flour, all-purpose flour, and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the flour until the size of small peas. Add the extract and mix briefly. Gradually add the water one tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together when pressed between two fingers. There should still be visible lumps of butter—do not overmix!
  2. Form the dough into a rectangle by kneading very briefly. Wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour, until firm.
  3. Once the dough is firm, roll it out into a large rectangle, about a ⅓″ thick. Fold the short ends over the middle in thirds to form three layers. Turn the dough by 90° and flip over. Repeat the previous steps twice more: roll to rectangle, fold in short ends, turn dough, and flip. Keep the dough cold as you work–if it begins to soften, return the dough to the refrigerator to chill until firm again. Once the rolling and turns are complete, wrap the dough and refrigerate again, about 30 minutes.
  4. For cookies: Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Set aside.
  5. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out the dough until about ⅛″ thick. Cut out 4 x 4″ squares and slit each corner diagonally, ending about halfway to the center, like an “X” through the square without the lines meeting in the center. Or use a pinwheel-shaped cookie cutter. Place the squares on the baking sheets, allowing about 1-inch between each cookie. Return to the refrigerator to chill if the dough has softened.
  6. Whisk to combine the egg yolk and cream. Brush the squares with egg wash, and sprinkle lightly with turbinado sugar. Spoon about a teaspoon of marmalade in the center of each square. Fold a cut corner of the square into the center, pressing the pastry down firmly to make sure the corner sticks. Repeat with alternating corners to finish the pinwheel shape. Sprinkle lightly with caraway seeds.
  7. Bake one sheet at a time for 15 – 18 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Keep the unbaked cookies chilled. Remove from the oven and let the tray and cookies cool completely on wire racks before removing the cookies.

{Recipe and Photos by Stephanie Shih for Anthology Magazine}

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I have mixed feelings about sharing today’s Guest Recipe from Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast—the recipe looks amazing, but I am sad it’s our last installment with Erin. Over the last four weeks, she’s shared delicious recipes for Sesame Edamame SaladRoasted Potato Green Bean Salad, Pesto Deviled Eggs, and this week, a Butternut Apple Tart. It’s been such a pleasure hosting her recipes here. Thanks for all the inspiring recipes, Erin!

Butternut Apple Tart

I know fall is here when my CSA starts to brim with apples and squash. This savory tart is very comforting when the weather starts to cool. I used a pre-made pie crust, but you can certainly make your own. It works for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is great with an herb side salad. Bon Appetit! —Erin

Ingredients

1 pie crust (store bought or homemade)
1 onion, sliced
butter or olive oil
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
1 c ricotta
1 egg
2 apples, sliced into thin circles
1 butternut squash, peeled and sliced into thin circles
olive oil
sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Caramelize the sliced onion in a bit of butter or olive oil over medium low heat. Boil the squash slices for 5 minutes to soften them. Form crust in pie plate. Combine caramelized onion, chopped rosemary, ricotta and egg, and spread on the bottom of the pie crust. Layer alternating apple and butternut squash slices over the ricotta layer. Before baking, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Garnish with rosemary. Bake for 30 minutes.

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This week we’re continuing our Guest Recipes series with Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast. (She’s already shared two excellent recipes: Sesame Edamame Salad the first week, and last week, Roasted Potato Green Bean Salad.) This week she’s got a little side that would be a perfect accompaniment to a dinner with friends: Pesto Deviled Eggs. Thanks for this inspiring idea, Erin!

Pesto Deviled Eggs

What’s better than a good ol’ fashioned deviled egg before dinner with a cocktail!? These are especially fun to make when entertaining. The pesto adds some unexpected flavor and the avocado adds creaminess in lieu of the usual mayo, making this version a little lighter. Garnish with a bit of coarse black pepper and a pinch of shaved parmesan. Cheers! —Erin

Ingredients

6 hard boiled eggs
1 ripe avocado
2 tbsp pesto
pepper
Parmesan cheese

Peel the hard boiled eggs, cut them in half and remove the yolks. Combine the yolks from 2 of the eggs (discard the rest), the avocado and the pesto. Mash together and spoon into the eggs. Garnish the eggs with a little pepper and Parmesan cheese.

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