Tag Archives: Black pepper

Asparugus with Sauce Gribiche

Asparagus Lobster & Gribiche

What began as a quest for Chicken Chili ingredients last Sunday, turned into a lobster feast for two. I guess you could say that Brian and I celebrated Valentine’s Day a few days early this year. I have the scars to prove it. I managed to burn my hand on scalding water (my fault) and I also pierced my finger with one of the claws on our large lobster (the lobster’s fault). Breaking apart a lobster is a messy business, there’s no way around it. The sweet meat inside however, is worth the labor.

Asparagus with Gribiche

Thankfully, I managed to cook our asparagus without any unfortunate bodily harm. We served our asparagus with sauce gribiche. Sauce gribiche is possibly one of my favorite sauces of all time, although it is really more like a vinaigrette. It is a classic French sauce that is traditionally made with chopped eggs, cornichons, herbs, and capers.

Hard Boiled Eggs Gribiche

I first had sauce gribiche on our trip to France a few years ago at a well-known bistro in the 11th Arrondissement, Bistro Paul Bert. The sauce was served on beautifully steamed Spring Asparagus and I instantly fell in love. It’s tangy and lively, and it’s so simple to make at the last minute because you probably have most of the ingredients in your refrigerator or cupboard already.

The method is simple.  Whisk together shallot, vinegar (red, white, or sherry vinegar), good extra virgin olive oil, a touch of Dijon mustard, plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper (seasoning is key to a good vinaigrette). Then add chopped hard-boiled eggs and herbs (I enjoy parsley, tarragon, chives and chervil in this sauce). I did not use cornichons or capers in this version, but you could add those as well. And that’s it! I typically serve asparagus with sauce gribiche as a starter, but it can also be a simple side dish. And don’t stop there, because this sauce also goes well with fish and grilled meat.

Asparagus

Shallots

 

 

Happy Cooking,
Pippa

Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche
Serves 4

  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (I probably used at least a 1/2 teaspoon of coarse kosher salt)
  • 2 large hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup of minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 pounds of fresh asparagus, woody ends cut off at the bottom

For the sauce:

  1. Place the shallot, vinegars, mustard and olive oil in a small mixing bowl and whisk well until the mixture is emulsified.
  2. Add salt and pepper and season to taste.
  3. Add the hard boiled egg and parsley and whisk lightly.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop, or refrigerate and use within 2 days. Bring back to room temperature before serving.

For the steamed asparagus:

  1. Please a steamer basket in a large, wide saucepan filled with about 1 inch of water. Cover and bring the water to a boil.
  2. When the water comes to a boil, place the asparagus in the steamer basket, cover with a lid and cook for approximately 4 to 7 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender but retains a bit of crispness. Take the pot off the heat and remove the lid.
  3. Remove the asparagus from the steamer basket and serve on a plate drizzled with gribiche sauce.

Potato & Leek Soup

I adore Potato & Leek Soup, or Vichyssoise as the French refer to it. Vichyssoise is typically served chilled, but in the winter or on a rainy Spring day, I prefer to eat it piping hot with some fresh bread. There is nothing fancy about this recipe; it is incredibly simple but also delicious and comforting. Don’t even try to substitute leeks for onions here, because it just won’t taste the same. Leeks have a much sweeter and slightly more complex taste in my opinion. Typically this soup has heavy cream in it, but I prefer to make a lighter version because I find that the potatoes add plenty of creaminess without the need for extra fat.

Soups like this, with only six ingredients (not including the salt and pepper) remind me of why good quality and fresh ingredients are so important. The flavor of this soup far exceeds what you would expect from these humble ingredients.

Happy Cooking,
Pippa

Potato & Leek Soup
Serves 5-6 as an entree, or 8 as a first course

Ingredients

  • 3 large leeks (split lengthwise, soaked, and rinsed in cold water to remove the dirt). Chop only the white and pale green parts into thin slices.
  • 3 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes, cleaned, peeled, and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves)
  • 2 tablespoons half & half or heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large soup pot or large enameled-cast iron Dutch Oven over low heat on the stove.
  2. Add the butter and leeks and sweat the leeks over low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until translucent.
  3. Add the potatoes, broth, and thyme and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  4. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. Remove from the heat.
  5. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree the soup (you can make the soup as smooth or as chunky as you like!)
  6. Add the half & half (you can use more or less depending on how creamy you like your soup) and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve chilled.

Serving suggestions: This soup is a meal in itself when served with some nice hearty bread, cheese (I like cheddar or stilton with this soup), and a simple salad. Alternatively, this soup would make a great first course, served either warm or chilled.

Longing for Panzanella Salad

Every summer I look forward to that brief window of time during which tomatoes are at their peak, fully-ripened by the sun, juicy and flavorful.  The ones that I am talking about ooze when you slice into them, releasing their flavorful juices all over your cutting board. Summer tomatoes are nothing like their winter counterparts, who are deceptively red yet have little to no flavor.  Growing up, my favorite way to enjoy summer tomatoes was with fresh mozzarella and basil from the garden. Now, I eagerly anticipate the day that I can make my first Panzanella salad of the summer.

Panzanella salad is a traditional Tuscan peasant dish that employs leftover bread and fresh tomatoes as its base.  In my version, I marinade tomatoes in garlic, torn basil, chopped garlic, thin slivers of red onion, good extra-virgin olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, and a generous amount of salt and fresh ground black pepper.  I let the tomatoes marinade for at least 30 minutes, and sometimes longer, allowing the tomatoes to macerate and the garlic and basil flavors to fully develop.  The remaining ingredients are at the discretion of the cook, but I typically add baby arugula, slices of cucumber, and a generous handful of shaved ricotta salata cheese.  All of these ingredients, along with toasted/stale bread, and some more olive oil and vinegar, is added at the end, about 10-15 minutes before sitting down to eat.  Although it sounds like a homey salad, it tastes revelatory.  The tomato juices and olive oil bleed into the cubes of bread, softening them just slightly so that they are at the same time both soft and crunchy in your mouth.  The sweetness of the tomatoes is counteracted by the saltiness of the ricotta salata and the peppery arugula, and the flavors of the garlic and basil linger in your mouth at the end.  It makes me salivate just writing about it.

Funnily enough, I was recently in Charleston, South Carolina for a wedding and was lucky enough to score a table at Husk restaurant (recently named by Bon Apetit magazine as the Best New Restaurant in America).  The menu changes nightly, and on the night that we went, the chef was making “Fried Cornbread “Panzanella” Salad with Grilled VA Lamb Heart and Sungold Tomato Puree“.  It was surprising and delicious, and I loved the chef’s use of leftover cornbread. It reminded me that there are so many ways to play with Panzanella—you could add artichokes, shaved fennel, fresh shell beans, or even grilled shrimp.

QuestionHave you ever made Panzanella salad, or ordered it at a restaurant? If so, what are your favorite ingredients to include?

Happy Cooking,
Pippa



Summer Panzanella Salad
Serves 5

The key to making a good Panzanella salad is to allow the tomatoes enough time to marinade (always at room temperature, not in the fridge!) and to restrain yourself from adding the bread too early, so as to avoid soggy bread. Ricotta salata is a dry Italian, sheep’s-milk cheese that is tangy and salty. Its flavor is somewhat similar to feta, but I recommend using shaved Parmesan cheese as an alternative if you can’t find ricotta salata)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1b. tomatoes (heirloom or vine-ripened), cut into 1-inch cubes, juices reserved
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/2 of a red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 loaf of country-style bread or baguette cut in cubes (either allowed to sit out to dry, or toasted in the oven at 300F until hard but not colored, approx. 10-15 minutes)
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil, torn into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (this is the time to break out the good stuff!)
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into thin slices
  • 12oz. baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup shaved ricotta salata cheese (if you can’t find ricotta salata, use shaved Parmesan cheese)

Instructions:

  1. Combine the tomatoes and their juices, the garlic, basil, red onion, olive oil, and vinegar in a large bowl and toss everything together.
  2. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.  Allow the tomatoes to marinade for approximately 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour.
  3. 10-15 minutes before serving the salad, add the bread, arugula, cucumber, and cheese to the bowl and toss everything together, adding a few more splashes of olive and vinegar as necessary. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Let stand for 10-14 minutes and serve.