I came across the most delicious fresh peas at a local greengrocer; one not normally famed for anything particularly fresh. And so I swapped dinner plans around a little and made this great, light and summery dish.
For two people
A bag of fresh peas, shelled About an inch of good Italian salame finely diced A finely diced onion 2 cloves of garlic, crushed A chiffonade of basil and mint leaves Good olive oil Grated parmesan, a good handful Half a glass of white wine, something light and un oaked like muscadet. Some small pasta shapes A steak
Boil some salted water and cook the pasta, drain and refresh under cold water to stop it cooking. Meanwhile prepare the other ingredients.
Season the steak and fry in light oil until rare; about 3 mins each side. Generously baste with butter, then wrap in tin foil to rest.
Next; . . . →Warm Pea Pasta Salad
Cook a dish with as much pork as possible… that’s the brief for Pork Off 2011. A shiver of porcine excitement ran from the tip of my snout to the end of my curly tail when I read that. “This is it”, I thought. “This is the big one”.
I put on my pork thinking hat (a custom made flat cap constructed from pork belly), and set about planning a meal of such porkyiness that there was an actual risk of pork implosion, the opening of a pork black hole™, from which nothing, pork or otherwise, could escape.
My Pork Off dish is a rack of Iberian pork, Swineherd’s pie with curly tail crackling, Scotched Pork and Bacon Bread.
The rack of pork needs no explaining other than Iberian pork is among the fattiest, most tender and well flavoured pork that there is. Swineherd’s Pie is a porked up version of a shepherd’s pie (swineherd being the correct name . . . →Pork Off 2011 – Rack of Iberian pork, Swineherd’s Pie with curly tail crackling, Scotched Pork and Bacon Bread
Yes I know, it’s not technically a salad Niçoise; it doesn’t have anchovies or tuna or olives, the eggs are not hard boiled and they don’t have grey rings around the yolks. But it is still a great country salad; served with some good bread and cheap Muscadet it’s more than enough as a main course. Predictably I served mine with a chicken breast on the side, but this wasn’t really necessary.
I wanted to have some asparagus in the salad as well, but my local supermarket is still stocking Peruvian asparagus at the end of May! If you find good local asparagus, blanch it with the other green veg and add at the end. You can also chargrill it.
For two people;
One good sized little gem lettuce Handful of green beans Handful of fresh broad beans Handful of fresh peas 150g cherry tomatoes 3 eggs 1 tbs capers 3 cloves garlic 3tbs good olive oil . . . →Summer Vegetable Salad Niçoise
As you may remember from the handling of the hare in last autumns hare post, I do like to do lots of things with one animal. Making a plate of seven different things like this is very tricky indeed; the risk is always that two or three things are just averagely good compared to the other things, and leaves you feeling that you’d rather just have the other things in slightly larger quantities. In this case with one exception (foie gras lolly pop), I had made all of the separate components before so I knew they would all work and would probably work together, so long as I didn’t fuck anything up (another risk).
Original inspiration for the plate came from this post on the Critical Couple’s website; the dish was smoked duck breast, confit duck balls and foie gras parfait. These three things I kept, but then obviously added four more. The complete dish was built up . . . →Duck seven ways
I don’t often post my midweek meals since these are the kind of crap you can find in BBC good food magazine or on ready steady cook (does that still exist??). But, ever the opportunist, I found myself this afternoon in the butcher next to my work and what should I find in their freezer but 150g vacuum sealed portions of fresh duck foie gras.
Well fuck me. I’ve been shopping at this butcher for 5 years and I’ve never seen anything more exotic than a lump of bone marrow (well, this is Holland after all). Since I already had steak planned for dinner, my wife is at a work meeting, Archie is at Grandma, my path was clear!!
Tournedos Rossini is a classic supposedly created by Escoffier for the composer Gioachino Rossini, to make it You will need a piece of steak, preferably well aged beef fillet, or some part of the rump cut to a fillet type shape. You will . . . →Sneaky Midweek Tournedos Rossini