Category Archives: salads

Fava Bean & Blood Orange Salad with Ricotta Salata

Fava Bean & Blood Orange Salad with Ricotta Salata

Spring is a time of transition–Fava beans, along with calcots, ramps & fiddleheads, are some of my favorite in-between spring crops. The hearty fava’s season is a bit longer, and they’re more available across climates and geographies than some of the others, and they pair well with a variety of other foods, and can be really enjoyed both hot and cold.

Blood oranges have a late season this year, so I’m still enjoying them here in California. This is a really straight forward but delicious and loved dish, which serves 3-4 as a side.

Fava Bean & Blood Orange Salad Recipe

1-2lb fresh fava beans, whole
1 medium blood orange, peeled with a knife
1 tbsp (Spanish! buttery!) olive oil
Ricotta salata (or bits of fresh goat cheese, farmer’s cheese, sheep’s feta or shaved pecorino romano)
lots of salt & fresh cracked pepper

Pop the beans out of their pods, and bring water to boil. Boil the beans for about 1 minute, until the color has brightened a bit. Strain, and dunk immediately into a cold water or ice water bath. Once cooled, strain again and begin peeling the beans out of their membrane. You can do this part ahead, stopping at any junction and resuming later. Cut the blood orange into diced chunks. Toss all the ingredients together, topping with shaved ricotta salata (which I clearly managed to get in the photo…) or other cheese as mentioned above.

Blanched Vegetable Salad with Lemon Ricotta and Shallot Vinaigrette

Blanched Vegetable Salad Blanched Vegetable Salad with Shallot Vinaigrettewith Shallot Vinaigrette

Blanched Vegetable Salad with Lemon-Ricotta and Shallot Vinaigrette Recipe

Serves 4

4 leaves butter leaf lettuce, washed
1 watermelon radish, sliced thin with a mandolin
1/2 C snap peas, trimmed and blanched in salted hot water for 30 seconds-1 min
2 C broccoli and cauliflower in even, small pieces, blanched in salted hot water for 1 minute
1/2 C ricotta cheese, fresh
Zest of 1 lemon
1 shallot, finely diced
2 tsp djon mustard
1 T olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 tsp fresh dill or tarragon, chopped finely (or 1/2 tsp dry and soaked in the lemon juice for a few minutes)
salt & pepper to taste

Set the ricotta out to room temperature. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, and mustard together, and add the fresh herbs and shallot, along with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Leave to sit for 5-10 minutes (or store up to three days in refrigerator).

Once you have prepared all of the vegetables (the snap peas, broccoli, and cauliflower not only need to be cut to an appropriate size, but also should be blanched for 30-60 seconds in salted, boiling water), assemble by placing lettuce at one end of plate, or off center on a round plate, and arranging the blanched vegetables from there.

Use a spoon to drizzle dressing over the blanched vegetables, then mix the ricotta with a bit of salt and the lemon zest. Top the salad with a quenelle of ricotta, and a few slices of watermelon radish.

Thanksgiving: Cooking Live Crab with Fennel and Celery Salad

Stack of Steamed Fresh Live Crabs

We had planned to visit Captain Barry’s Fresh to pick up some crab on Thanksgiving morning as a project and tasty dinner, but also to have a bit of Thanksgiving fare with the crew; there had been an accident the night before and while Thanksgiving was cancelled, we hope all will be well soon. They were still selling crab this morning, so we decided it would be a great, light departure from the gut-stuffing realities of turkey day. We loaded up the dog and headed down to the dock.

butter cubes

Red Dutch Cast Iron Enamel Sautee Pan with Melting Butter

We brought home three lively critters, about 2 lbs each, and got our pots boiling. Being a total sissy, I didn’t want to kill and clean them raw, so we dunked them right into the boiling water for 15 minutes each (since they were so large). Afterwards, I cleaned them using this method, and stacked them up on our table with some melted butter, a fresh fennel-celery salad, and a bottle of champagne.

Fennel and Celery Salad

Fresh Fennel and Celery Salad Recipe

Serves 2-4

1 small or 1/2 large head fennel, sliced thinly on a mandolin
2-3 stalks celery, sliced thinly on a mandolin
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp olive oil
salt & pepper

Mix all ingredients together and serve. This holds up very well over night, but is best dressed freshly for maximum crunch.

 

Stack of Fresh Cleaned Dungeness Crab Legs

How to Cook Live Crab

Prepare large pots of boiling water; when boiling, add the live crab. Cover most of the way and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the crab and let it cool a bit, then use this crab cleaning method to prepare for the table. Serve with drawn butter; use a cast iron based pan (in my case, a vintage dutch enameled pan) to keep the butter warm for longer, tableside.

Fennel & Stone Fruit Salad, Tri-tip on Coconut Corn Salad, Flourless Chocolate Cake with Creme Anglais Whipped Cream

Stone Fruit Salad with Cucumber, Bell Pepper, Peaches and Plums

tritip on coconut corn salad

quick flourless chocolate cake with creme anglaise whipped cream

For seven weeks, we’ve had family staying with us. They’re really nice people, interesting, appreciative, but man.. It was rough. I wasn’t conditioned for this. Never in my life did I think I’d have people living effectively in my house for seven weeks in a go. I’ve barely cooked for two months because of it, but the eve before their (very recent) departure (which was followed by 24 hours of blissful retreat in Calistoga), I made a seasonal and tasty multi-course dinner for us all to enjoy. Then, I made it again, a little modified, in Calistoga for our hosts.

Fennel & Stone Fruit Salad Recipe
Serves 4-5 as a starter
Very fast if you have a mandolin! See the mango version here.

1 small head fennel, sliced very thin, with a mandolin
1 white peach, sliced with a mandolin
1 red plum, sliced with a mandolin
1 black plum, sliced with a mandolin
1 large cucumber, cut in half, seeds removed, sliced with a mandolin
1 orange, yellow, or red bell pepper, diced
1 T seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
raw sesame seeds to top

Mix it all together, and serve in beautiful messy lumps, like bedhead, with sesame on top.

 

Tri-tip on Coconut Corn Salad with Chard Recipe
Coconut Corn adapted from Heidi Swanson
Serves 4-5

1.5-2lb tri-tip or flank steak*
5 ears corn, kernels sliced off
2 T butter
1 T fresh thyme
1/2 C raw, soaked almonds, chopped
1 very small red onion (1/2 large)
1 C raw, dried flaked coconut (The bigger the better), toasted freshly
4 C torn chard

Sautee on the corn in the butter at high heat, giving it color but retaining crisp texture. Add chard, thyme and some salt to taste. Turn heat off, mix in onion, almonds, and coconut.

Season tri-tip with salt and pepper. Cook on low heat in a closed top grill for about 10 minutes each side. It will be medium.

*You could also choose to make a roast (5 lbs=4 hrs in oven at 250=rare, delicious roast beef) and serve that on top instead, or use flank steak, which you may want to marinade in garlic, whiskey, sesame oil and soy sauce for at least an hour or no more than overnight.

 

Quick Flourless Chocolate Cake with Creme Anglais Whipped Cream
Serves 5-6

No-Bake Chocolate Cake From Heidi Swanson

I made creme anglais the evening before with Gran Marnier Souffle (which photographs terribly!), and had some leftover. I mixed it into whipped cream; it was divine.

Raw Mango, Fennel, and Cucumber Summer Salad

raw mango, fennel, and cucumber summer salad

Raw Mango, Fennel, and Cucumber Salad Recipe
Serves 4

1 very ripe mango, cubed
1 small head fennel, sliced very thinly with a mandolin
1 large cucumber, cut in half, seeds removed, and sliced thinly with a mandolin
1 T seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
raw sesame seeds to top

Mix everything together, and top with sesame seeds upon serving.