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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As spring warms and exciting foods ripen, I can’t help but think of berries and tarts. I found a source of non-chemically grown strawberries at my farmers’ market and very happily bought a number of pints. And as great pairings go, I thought to bake little rhubarb and strawberry crostadas, or free-form tarts. Not only are they cute, but they make for a delightful, sweet-tart nibble in the middle of the day. Great warm, chilled, or room temp, the crust enfolds the cooked fruit in just the right pleasing way. — Melina

Rhubarb and Strawberry Crostadas
Yeild 8

Filling

  • 3/4 lb rhubarb, rinsed, trimmed, and cut into 1/4″ pieces
  • 2 pints strawberries, rinsed and hulled, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • zest from one orange
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier

Pate Brisse Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cane sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 sticks cubed cold butter*
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • turbinado or demerara sugar, for sprinkling

*Cube cold butter and then place into freezer for 20 minutes.

Note: You can make the pate brisee pastry dough ahead and keep it wrapped and refrigerated for a few days, or it can be frozen up to 3 weeks. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight. The fruit mixture can also be made in advance, and in fact benefits from a couple days melding together in the refrigerator.

  1. For the filling: Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, zest, and Grand Marnier in a large bowl and carefully mix everything together. Cover and chill to allow the elements to meld; at least a few hours, up to a couple of days.
  2. For the dough: Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse 5-7 times, until the butter and flour form pea-sized crumbs.
  3. In a slow stream, add the ice water while pulsing, stopping once the dough holds together. Press some of the dough together between your fingers. If it clumps and holds together, you’re where you want to be. If the dough is still crumbly, add a bit more ice water while pulsing a few more times. You may end up using slightly more or less than the 1/4 cup.
  4. Separate the dough into two balls, then flatten each slightly to form a disk. Loosely wrap each disk in cellophane. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before rolling out.
  5. To assemble: On a lightly floured surface, cut each disk into four, chilling the remainder while you roll each out. Roll from the center to the edge, turning an eighth of a turn with each pass of the rolling pin, until the dough is 1/8″ thick. Set aside and roll out remaining dough in the same way.
  6. Line two baking sheets lined with parchment paper and lay rolled dough at least 3″ from each another. Spoon heaping 1/2 cup mounds of the fruit mixture into the centers of each triangle, leaving a one inch border. Fold edges around the fruit, brush water in between creases, and press together gently to keep them in place. If dough becomes soft at any point, it needs to be re-chilled. Once you have filled and crimped all the tarts, place in the refrigerator for at least one hour before baking. (Should you have any leftover fruit, you can cook it over low heat to make compote for yogurt, ice cream, muffins, or toast. Bonus!)
  7. Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush the edges of dough with water and sprinkle demerara or turbinado sugar around the edges. Bake until the crusts are golden brown, about 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375°F. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes, until the juices bubble. Cool on wire racks until they can be easily handled. Serve warm or at room temperature.

anthology-mag-blog-fooddrink-hammer-crostada-04 anthology-mag-blog-fooddrink-hammer-crostada-05 anthology-mag-blog-fooddrink-hammer-crostada-06 anthology-mag-blog-fooddrink-hammer-crostada-07 anthology-mag-blog-fooddrink-hammer-crostada-08 { Recipe and Photos by Melina Hammer }

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Two of things we love best here at Anthology are food and illustration. Lucky for us, we’ve discovered talented artist Felicita Sala. Her illustration work ranges far and wide, but our favorite parts of her portfolio are the illustrated recipes. From tzatziki to feta to eggplant meatballs, Felicita maps out the ingredients of a dish, including the amount and cook time. The result is a bold and fun way to learn a new recipe. To see more of what Felicita is up to, be sure to check out her blog.

{ Images via Felicita Sala }

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While cupcakes might be the most popular form of single-serving cakes, my personal favorite miniature-cakes are madeleines—a cake in delicately-scalloped cookie form. I love them for their startling simplicity: no glaze or frosting is necessary. All one needs for a beautifully delicious madeleine is quality base ingredients and a good cup of afternoon tea to enjoy them with.

For these madeleines, I wanted to strip down the dessert to its most essential ingredients, because sometimes simplest is the best: vanilla bean and thyme. Vanilla bean brings a classical sweetness to these madeleines, which is balanced by woodsy, savory notes from the fresh thyme leaves. My go-to base madeleine recipe also uses coconut oil, which gives these cakes just the barest whiff of coconut—for that mysterious little bit of je ne sais quoi.

Vanilla Bean and Thyme Madeleines
Yeilds 48 madeleines

  • 10 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup fresh thyme leaves
  1. Melt the butter and coconut oil. Cool to room temperature.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. Slice open the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the eggs. Beat the eggs on medium high for about 5 minutes, until very light and fluffy.
  3. While the eggs are beating, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a separate bowl. Mix in the fresh thyme leaves.
  4. Once the eggs have whipped and have nearly tripled in volume, fold the flour mixture into the eggs in two additions, combining well after each addition. Then fold in the melted butter and coconut oil until well-combined, but do not overmix. Cover the batter and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, place the rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter and flour the madeleine pans. Scoop about a tablespoon of chilled batter into each madeleine mold well. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately turn the madeleines out onto a wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before serving. The madeleines are best eaten the day they are made.

{ Photos and Recipes by Stephanie Shih for Anthology Magazine }

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