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As promised, onion jam to go with that fig tart.
I fell in love with onion jam at a sausage party. And seeing that in writing just now made me laugh out loud a little bit. Let me explain. When my best childhood friend turned thirty last year, there was a party in his honor and homemade sausage was the main attraction. It was a literal sausage party. Although, now that I think about it… I’m totally being a 14-year-old dude right now. My apologies!
Anyway, as I was saying, there was a very innocent looking jar of onion jam at this party, alongside the platters of grilled sausages. I had a feeling about that jam, and it did not disappoint. Onion jam is a sausage’s best friend.
Making onion jam requires little more than onions and patience. Onions, caramelized to max, are the perfect condiment – sweet and savory and super flavorful. You’ll want to put it on just about everything.
from Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours by Kim Boyce
makes 1 cup **recipe can easily be doubled
2 pounds yellow onions, about 7-1/2 cups sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Cut the stems off the onions. Slice each onion in half through the root end. Lay each onion half cut-side down and slice it, toward the root, into slices about 1/4-inch thick.
Heat a 5-to 7-quart heavy bottomed pot over a medium-high flame. Add the olive oil and heat until it’s shimmering. Add the onions, salt, and pepper and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Saute the onions for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have lost their gloss, the bottom of the pan is getting dark in areas, and the edges on the onions are beginning to brown. Turn the flame to low, cover the pot, and cook for 20 minutes.
Uncover the pan, stir the onions, scrape any dark flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan, and continue to cook, uncovered, for 1 hour more. Stir the onions occasionally, especially toward the end of cooking time, to prevent burning. The onions are ready when the liquid has evaporated and the onions are dark, translucent, and jammy. Stir in the vinegar and allow to cool. The onion jam will keep int he refrigerator for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 1 month.
Is it me, or does time just move faster and faster as you grow older? This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. How the days turn into months and the months turn into years, and before you know it, babies are walking and talking, and almost two years go by before you finally realize that you haven’t seen one of your best friends in forever. It’s a bizarre feeling. I’m not sure that I like it.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about friendships and how they deepen and evolve over the years. I am approaching the ten year mark with a handful of friends and it kind of trips me out. How did so many years pass so quickly? How am I so lucky? I love the idea of friendships that span decades, the idea of making memories with the same people for years and years, the idea that there are people in your life that know you way better than you realize; I feel extremely fortunate to have these. I also very much appreciate friendships that stand the test of time and distance and life, the friendships that pick up right where they left off, no matter what happens or how much time passes.
I met Dave in 2003, when we were both young and wild. We were inseparable for almost two years, and when he left San Francisco after college I cried my eyes out. We’ve somehow managed to maintain a very awesome, funny phone relationship, which might explain why it never really felt like two years had passed since we last saw each other. Clearly, a visit was long overdue, so I made my way down to LA last weekend. We spent three days drinking margaritas and ice coffees and shopping and hanging out with the pup. While we were having margaritas at Marix, we called Dave’s grandma, whom I’ve never met, but love to pieces. She recited a verse about the importance of old friends, and though I can’t remember her exact words, it totally resonated with me. As the weekend passed, it became pretty clear how much we’ve both grown up over the years, but in some ways we are very much the same. I find a lot of comfort in that.
This baba ganoush doesn’t really have anything to do with friendship or LA. But it’s what I’ve been eating and I’ve been meaning to share it with you. Baba ganoush is the new hummus in my world. Like hummus, it’s seasoned with tahini and garlic and lemon juice. But the smoky roasted eggplant is what really makes me swoon. It’s great with fresh pita or pita chips or a little crudite. But you might want to eat it by the spoonful like I do. And you should. I won’t judge you if you do.
adapted from David Lebovitz
makes 6-8 servings
2 medium-sized eggplants
1/4 cup tahini (roasted sesame paste)
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
a half bunch picked flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 400°F (190°C).
Prick each eggplant a few times, then char the outside of the eggplants by placing them directly on the flame of a gas burner. As the skin chars, turn them until the eggplants are uniformly-charred on the outside. (If you don’t have a gas stove, you can char them under the broiler. If not, skip to the next step.)
Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until they’re completely soft; you should be able to easily poke a paring knife into them and meet no resistance.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Split the eggplant and scrape out the pulp. Puree the pulp in a blender or food processor with the other ingredients until smooth.
Taste, and season with additional salt and lemon juice, if necessary. Chill for a few hours before serving. Drizzle with olive oil. Baba ganoush can be made and refrigerated for up to five days prior to serving.
This public service announcement has been brought to you by fancyfoodfancy and eggs. Mercury is in retrograde. If you’ve recently found yourself more distracted than usual or have experienced a serious bout of indecisiveness or brain fog, Mercury is to blame. I had a feeling something was going on with the cosmos, but I thought it had do with the moon. After a little bit of googling, I found this. And then this. Being a Mercury ruled Virgo or Gemini will make you even more susceptible to all this retrograde business. So, if you have any big decisions to make, or serious discussions that need to be had, wait until after August 8th. I’ll be marking the next Mercury retrograde (November 6-26, 2012) on my calendar; you should do the same. You’ll thank me later. Good luck.
Now, let’s talk about eggs.
I’m an eggs for breakfast kind of girl. I have them just about every morning. Every now and then I mix it up and have oatmeal or a smoothie. But I always go back to eggs. It’s true. I feel like the day doesn’t start until I’ve had my two eggs – scrambled, over easy, poached. I don’t discriminate.
Surprisingly, I’ve never been much of a frittata fan. But I think that’s because I’ve had a few not so great frittatas in the past. This needed to be remedied.
The squash at the market last weekend looked too good to pass up, so I picked up a few varieties. As I was driving home and contemplating breakfast, I decided that my squash were destined for a fritatta. Eggs, cheese, and summer squash; the combination reminded me of the zucchini casserole my Aunt Maggie makes. I couldn’t wait to make breakfast.
I absolutely love this frittata. It was such a pleasant surprise. This particular frittata has layers of zucchini and yellow squash and is fragrant with thyme and lemon. A generous sprinkling of parmesan provides the perfect amount of savory richness. Frittatas are pretty much great for any meal. I see eggs for lunch and eggs for dinner in my future. And I couldn’t be more pleased.
summer squash frittata
4 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter, olive oil, or ghee
1/2 medium onion, diced
1-1/2 small squash, sliced into thin rounds
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Lightly beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Add the parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in an 8-inch oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the squash to the pan and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the squash is softened. Stir in the lemon zest and thyme and continue cooking for another minute. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Transfer the squash to the eggs and stir. In the same skillet, melt the remaining butter over medium-high heat and coat the entire surface. Pour the egg mixture into the hot skillet and cook, undisturbed until the edges begin to brown and the top is just starting to set. Sprinkle the top of the fritta with more cheese and transfer the entire pan to the oven about 6 inches from the heating element and broil. Check after a minute or so, to ensure it doesn’t overcook. The frittata is ready when the top is fully set and nicely browned.
Remove from the oven. Run a thin spatula around the edges of the frittata to help loosen from the pan. Place a serving plate on top of the pan and then flip over to release the frittata. Serve immediately.
It’s about that time again. I have a bad case of summer brain. It’s serious. I can’t focus. I find myself daydreaming about beaches and coastal drives and a house in the woods. Midday cocktails. Ice cream for dinner. Fireworks.
Nothing is getting done around here. Except for this salad. This salad is happening.
Earlier this year, I woke up one morning and decided I must have preserved lemons in my life. I proceeded to salt-pack a couple pounds of Meyer lemons; I had a feeling they would come in handy in the months ahead. I’ve waited very patiently for the magic to happen, the transformation from their natural, fresh-off-the-tree state to that salty, tender, essence of lemon entity. After four months, they’re finally ready.
This salad has been on my to-do list for over a year. I knew I would get to it as soon as those lemons were ready. I think of it as a reconstructed potato salad. It involves fingerling potatoes, a smear of mayonnaise, and chopped preserved lemon. It’s finished off with a drizzle of olive oil, flaky sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and chives. The preserved lemon really takes it to another level – I love that salty-lemony element; I want to put it on everything. I’m so happy I had the foresight to take care of that lemon situation back in March.
Because of the simplicity of this dish, the ingredients are key. Naturally, you can buy preserved lemons and mayo, but as the ladies at the Canal House say, why buy it when you can make it? I am a firm believer of this philosophy. Plus, as you know, starting with the best ingredients is really important when preparing something so minimal. In this dish, it makes all the difference.
reconstructed potato salad with preserved lemon
from Canal House Cooking Volume No. 1: Summer by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer
2-3 pounds small potatoes
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
fresh ground pepper
rind from 1 preserved lemon, rinsed and chopped
chopped fresh chives or parsley
Put the potatoes in a large pot of cold water generously seasoned with salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until they are tender. Drain.
When they are cool enough to handle, slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and arrange them on a serving platter, spreading mayonnaise on one side of each potato as you work. Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with the preserved lemon and chives.
lemons, preferably organic and unsprayed, washed
sterilized wide mouth container with an airtight lid
Cut the lemons (almost all the way through) into quarters, keeping them attached at the stem end. Working over a bowl, tamp the inside of each lemon with salt. Tightly pack the salt-filled lemons into the sterilized container. Pour more salt over the lemons as you fill the container. Cover the salt-packed lemons with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Store in the refrigerator. Turn the container occasionally for the first few weeks to moisten all the lemons with the salty brine. The lemons should eventually become submerged in the brine. If the brine doesn’t completely cover them after one month, use a metal kitchen spoon to gently press the lemons under the surface. The longer the lemons cure, the saltier they will become; taste them first before using. Preserved lemons will last up to one year in the fridge.
Now that I’m back from vacation and back to reality, I am putting myself back on a healthy eating regimen. It must be done – I ate those malasadas with reckless abandon while I was in Hawaii. I’m ready to return to my breakfast smoothies and greens.
I try to make sure to eat at least one serving of leafy greens a day. Lately I’ve been really into raw kale salads. And spinach. I’ve been buying Bloomsdale spinach from the farmers’ market every week and I can’t get enough of it. It’s a little more substantial than regular spinach, and has a bit of a nutty flavor that I really like.
This dish has been in heavy rotation in my kitchen for a couple of months now; I find myself making it at least once a week. This is what Heidi calls spinach chop. It’s wilted spinach, seasoned with garlic and harissa, and topped with hard boiled eggs and crunchy toasted almonds. It’s a great way to have your veggies and is packed with protein. It has become my favorite thing to munch on, especially when I’m eating low-carb. I also really like it for an on-the-go breakfast or lunch. This is what I ate during the flight to Oahu. It was a million times more satisfying than anything I could have ordered on the plane. Pat on the back for planning ahead.
from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson
1 pound spinach, tough stems removed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon harissa
4 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
grated zest of 1/2 lemon (optional)
Add 1/2-inch water to a pot and bring to a boil. Add the spinach and stir constantly until the spinach collapses entirely, about a minute. Drain spinach and run cold water over it until it’s cooled. Spin the spinach in a salad spinner to get rid of as much water as possible. Or press it in a clean kitchen towel. Finely chop the spinach.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic and cook for about a minute; do not let it brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the harissa and spinach. Add eggs, almonds, salt, and lemon zest and stir again gently until well-combined. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Something is happening over here. I’m not sure what it means, but lately I’ve been really into simple meals. Meals you can throw together in less than an hour. Meals you can enjoy after a long day at work. Meals that don’t require a stand mixer or food processor or immersion blender. People ask me all the time if I have any easier recipes. I think I’m finally catching on.
This dish was inspired by a meal I had with Lee a few weeks ago. It involved a mushroom ragout and polenta, kale and a poached egg. I enjoyed it so much that I cleaned my plate and haven’t stopped thinking about it.
I tried one other recipe before finding this one for oven-roasted mushrooms. The mushrooms cook quickly at a high temperature and only need one or two stirs while they roast away. They are totally delicious and perfect on their own but this ultra creamy polenta really is an ideal accompaniment. You could stop there, but if you want something a little more substantial, a poached egg and a little bit of sauteed kale will definitely round things out for you. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
roasted wild mushrooms with creamy polenta
for the mushrooms:
fresh cracked black pepper
1 pound wild mushrooms, stems trimmed (I used a combination of oyster, sliced shiitake, yellow foot, and hedgehog mushrooms)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a large roasting pan, combine all of the mushrooms. Add the garlic, shallots, and thyme. Drizzle evenly with the olive oil and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Spread the mushrooms in a single layer as evenly as possible to promote even cooking.
Roast, stirring occasionally, until the edges of the mushrooms are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving bowl.
Taste the mushrooms and season as needed with salt and pepper. the mushrooms with the remaining salt and pepper mixture, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with the parsley.
for the polenta:
2 cups whole milk
2 cups water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup instant polenta (about 7 ounces)
1/4 – 1/2 cup heavy cream**
1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground pepper
**for a lighter, slightly less creamy polenta, add only 1/4 cup heavy cream
In a large saucepan, combine the milk, water/stock, salt, and butter and bring to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until thick, about 8 minutes. If your polenta seems too thick, add 1/4 cup water and continue to stir until you’ve reached the desired consistency. Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy cream, mascarpone, and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the polenta onto plates, top with roasted mushrooms and sprinkle with additional Parmesan and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
While I was running errands the other day, I couldn’t figure out why I felt like I was hungover. I hadn’t had a drop of alcohol since New Year’s Eve. But when I got home and threw myself on the couch, I realized it was because I had picked up the bug my sister had during the holidays. Ugh. Isn’t it funny how you forget what being sick feels like when you haven’t been sick in a while? Why is my head pounding? Why does my entirebodyache? Why does my throat feel sooo scratchy? Hmmm…
When I’m under the weather, there isn’t much I really want to eat due to my taste buds going whacky. But for whatever reason, I couldn’t stop thinking about greens. I took that as a sign that my body needed veggies. So I headed to the farmers’ market. But in my haze of sickness I found myself driving towards New Chinatown instead and ended up at one of the markets there. I knew exactly what I wanted.
I headed straight for the produce aisle and picked out a bag of pea shoots. I love pretty much all Chinese greens, but pea shoots (dou miao) are most definitely my fave. When sautéed they are something like spinach, but with a little more body, a bit more texture and crunch.
This is the kind of thing you want to eat at the start of the new year – simple, healthy, fresh, green. Pea shoots are a great alternative to your usual sautéed greens. They are very nice over a bowl of steamed rice or alongside fish or shrimp or chicken. I’ll be eating lots of them this season.
garlic pea shoots
1 pound pea shoots, washed
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil (any mild flavor oil is fine)
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed then chopped
1/2-inch nub of ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
ground white pepper
In a large saute pan or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shiny looking, add the garlic and shake the pan constantly to cook until softened and barely golden.
Add the ginger and cook for another minute, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the pea shoots to the pan and toss in the oil and garlic to coat thoroughly. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring frequently so that the greens wilt evenly. Add soy sauce and white pepper to taste and serve immediately.
Stop what you’re doing. Head out to the market. Pick out a few fuyu persimmons. A pomegranate. Some good looking chicory greens – a curly endive, a radicchio perhaps. Let’s have a salad.
Persimmons are fantastic in salads. I might be biased because they’re definitely a favorite of mine; this entire site was pretty much born out of my love for persimmons, particularly the fuyu variety. Persimmons are what make the transition from fall to winter bearable. I’ve been eating at least one a day or the past few weeks.
I digress. Let’s get back to this salad.
Whisk together a light vinaigrette, preferably something citrus based. Add a few crumbles of blue cheese. Pour yourself a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.
What you’ll end up with is a lovely autumnal salad with a variety of textures and flavors – crunchy, sweet persimmons, slightly tart and juicy pomegranate seeds, salty, creamy blue cheese, hearty chicories. If you’re not a persimmon fan, try it with pears. Not into blue cheese? How about a little feta instead? Use your imagination and make it your own. It is a perfect first course. A very nice light lunch. A snack. You can’t go wrong.
chicory salad with persimmon and pomegranate
8 cups chicory greens, torn into medium pieces ( I like a combination of curly endive and radicchio)
2 fuyu persimmons, peeled and sliced
1 large pomegranate, seeds reserved
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
In a large bowl, combine greens, persimmons and pomegranate seeds. Pour enough vinaigrette into the bowl to lightly coat your salad and toss gently. Add more if necessary. Add blue cheese and serve. Voila!
3 tablespoons lemon or grapefruit juice or a citrus flavored vinegar
6 tablespoons oil (I like grapeseed or walnut oil)
kosher or coarse sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
Pour juice or vinegar in a small bowl. Add a large pinch of salt and a small pinch of pepper and whisk. Continue whisking, and slowly pour oil into the bowl in a thin stream. Whisk until emulsified. Taste vinagrette and adjust salt and pepper as necessary.
The universe has been sort of funny this week. I’m not sure what exactly it’s trying to tell me, but I feel as though it’s saying something, or at least hinting around. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and see what other surprises it has in store.
At the moment there are more important matters at hand. Like tomatoes. It’s finally that time. Hot days in the Bay = tomatoes galore. The tomatoes around here are exploding right now; even my crazy little Sweet 100′s are out of control. I’m ecstatic.
About this time last year, I bought myself a 20 pound flat of Early Girls, which was the best decision ever. I loved being able to crack a jar of the Girls open in the middle of winter. I enjoyed those tomatoes so much that I decided I would buy a flat every year going forward.
This year I decided to go with the San Marzanos since they’re supposed to be the best for sauce making. As it turns out, they’re also very good for drying. If you find yourself with a surplus of tomatoes, I highly recommend oven-drying. Oven-dried tomatoes are the bomb. They’re the easiest thing ever, and if you have a convection oven, it’s a relatively quick process. And the smell of drying tomatoes is pretty amazing – it’s like pure tomato essence locked inside your oven. I couldn’t wait to eat them.
I didn’t wait long. I ate a few on toast, which was pretty spectacular. And then the rest went into a sauce. This recipe originally caught my attention because it was so simple and called for just a handful of ingredients. It also called for bottarga.
Bottarga is the dried, cured roe of the grey mullet or tuna. It is found on several restaurant menus in these parts, but it’s only available in certain specialty stores and it can get a little pricey. I was on a mission, so I searched the net, made a few calls, did some comparative pricing. And then I headed to the Ferry Building to seal the deal. Thank you, Boulettes Larder, for opening your already closed doors and breaking me off a piece of this gold from the ocean.
Freshly grated bottarga transforms a simple pasta dish into something special. It lends a saltiness and complexity that can’t be achieved with salt. It offsets the sweetness of the sundried tomato sauce really nicely. If you can find bottarga and are not deterred by the cost, it’s a great treat for yourself and those you are sharing with.
bucatini with oven-dried tomatoes and bottarga
adapted from A-16 by Nate Appleman and Shelley Lindgren
serves 4- 6
extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife
1/4 teaspoon dried chile flakes
2 cups oven-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped (see recipe below)
12 ounces bucatini
1-ounce piece bottarga for grating (or substitute fresh parmigiano reggiano)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and chile flakes and sweat, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, or until the garlic has softened. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes have plumped up. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed, keeping in mind that the tomatoes are seasoned and the bottarga is salty.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for about 1 minute less than specified on the package. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water, and return the pasta to the large pot over medium heat. Add the sauce to the pasta along with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and toss well, adding some of the reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce. If the sauce is too loose, turn the heat up to medium-high and cook down the sauce with the pasta. It should be loose enough to barely pool at the bottom of the pot, but not too watery. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if needed.
Serve the pasta in a warmed large bowl, family style. Grate the bottarga over the top to finish and serve immediately.
1-1/2 pounds kosher salt
15 san marzano tomatoes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 200°F.
Spread the salt on a 13×18-inch rimmed baking sheet, creating a 1/2-inch thick bed of salt. Core the tomatoes and halve them lengthwise. Arrange the halves, skin side down, in rows on the bed of salt. Bake for 6 hours, or until the tomatoes are dried and look like sun-dried tomatoes. (if you have a convection oven, turn the fan on; the tomatoes should be dry in about 3 hours.)
Remove the tomatoes from the salt (the salt can be reused for another batch), and pack them into a container with a tight-fitting lid. Pour in olive oil, cover, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
While I was at the farmer’s market this past weekend, all I wanted was fruit. I felt like I was being taunted by all of the gold nugget oranges I passed on the way in. And strawberries. There were strawberries that were practically begging to be made into pie. Or ice cream. Or a shortcake. I’m totally not struggling with sugar deprivation, cant you tell?
Amazingly, I remained focused and came home with a half-dozen avocados and a few bunches of asparagus. And long-stemmed tulips, because I needed them. That’s how I roll these days. Not that I mind terribly. I’ve been enjoying my handfuls of pistachios and sharp cheddar cheese and chicken sausage and lots of veggies and greens.
One night last week I came home and made this asparagus salad. It was the highlight of my week. It’s a salad made of raw asparagus shaved into thin ribbons and tossed in a super-flavorful lemon-anchovy vinaigrette. The recipe comes from Canal House Cooking. I’ve been obsessed with the series since last year, when I first got my hands on Volume 1. Christopher Hirsheimer, one half of the duo behind the Canal House, is my idol. Seriously. She is a phenomenal food photographer and has photographed countless cookbooks. She co-founded this little publication. And now she and Melissa Hamilton are self-publishing these Canal House cookbooks. I love their laid back approach to food, and their gorgeous, no-fuss aesthetic.
And now I love this salad. It’s the easiest thing to throw together, like so easy that you can come home after a long day and snap your fingers and it’s done. Because I’d never had raw asparagus, I was a tad nervous at first. But now I am definitely a fan. As a matter of fact, it’s my new favorite way to prepare asparagus. The raw asparagus is crunchy and has a very fresh, almost grassy flavor when shaved thin. I couldn’t stop eating it. I’m not going to lie, I actually ate just about an entire bunch of asparagus all by myself throughout the evening. My brother looked at me in horror; you know what they say about the effects of asparagus. Oh well. It was worth it.
asparagus salad with lemon-anchovy vinaigrette
adapted from Canal House Cooking, Volume 1 by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton
4-6 anchovy fillets
1 small clove garlic
coarse salt and pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon (I used a whole lemon)
1/4 cup really good extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch asparagus
With a heavy knife, chop and mash the anchovies and garlic together with kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper on a cutting board. Transfer the paste into a small bowl and add the lemon juice. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus, bending the spears with two hands to find the natural snapping point. Using a mandoline or very sharp vegetable peel, carefully slice the asparagus lengthwise into long thin ribbons. Place the ribbons in a large salad bowl and toss with the vinaigrette until thoroughly coated . Serve immediately.