After salt-roasting our first whole fish the other week and enjoying the resulting flavorful and tender branzino, we decided to try another fish this way, this time dorade royale. It’s another Mediterranean fish that’s delicate and goes wonderfully with lemon and herb seasonings. Dorade is slightly rounder and shorter than branzino: Continue reading
I first tasted branzino, a fish from the Mediterranean, while in Croatia on the Dalmatian coast. Delicate, flavorful and mild, it is one of my favorites. I’ve seen branzino even in U.S. grocery stores; it is sometimes labeled simply as “sea bass,” but if it is from the Mediterranean and small and slender in shape, it is likely branzino. You might also find it under the French name loup de mer or the German wolfsbarsch. We don’t have a huge variety of fresh fish here in Berlin, so when I saw these branzino, I knew what we were having for dinner!
These sweet potato spears are seriously addictive, and I’ve made a quick meal of them on a couple occasions this week. If you know me, you know I like to douse my food in lemon and herbs, and that’s basically what I’ve done to these. Seared on a grill pan to get a smoky char then steamed to cook through and soften, the sweet potatoes soak in the flavors of the lemon, chive & thyme vinaigrette then get an extra punch from grilled shallots and a touch of saltiness from crumbled feta. They’re fancy enough as a side dish for a dinner but totally fit for finger food. Hope everyone’s having a great weekend! Continue reading
Olive lovers, you know how when you buy a loaf of olive bread, there are never enough olives in there? I have a solution: make your own at home! I assure you, it’s not that hard. (And if you don’t like olives, you can still make your own bread with different flavorings of your choice.) For this recipe you do need an oven-proof pot with a tight-sealing lid that will withstand 450 F/ 230 C degree heat. I use my 5.5-quart Le Creuset dutch oven and it works like a charm. You just mix everything together the night before, let the yeast do its magic overnight, then plop it in a preheated pot and cook. It comes out crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, and (my version, at least) loaded with olives and herbs. It’s the only bread recipe you’ll ever need (and never knead)!
A rustic breakfast dish or side, this strata can feed a crowd with minimal effort on the cook’s part. And it’s tasty! I’ve used some light spring flavors of leeks, creamy ricotta, fresh thyme & chives, but you could use whatever veggie-cheese-herb combination appeals to you. Leftover Easter ham would be a great addition too! Happy Easter to all celebrating, and happy Fiesta Friday — come check out this week’s party!
Spring’s dance has begun. She steps forward, beaming and bright; she retreats behind a sudden gust of cold air and mist. After a stretch of warm, sunny days, we have a chill in the air, another forecast of cold rain & snow. There’s still time before we put away the heavy blue dutch oven, still time to enjoy another comforting and hearty braise.
A bowl of pasta can be so simple yet so satisfying. I love the assortment of mushrooms and herbs combined here with fresh tagliatelle pasta and some crisped pancetta. If you’re a pro at chopping veggies and herbs, it will take you less than 20 minutes from cutting board to table (or 30 minutes for slow choppers like me), so it’s a good option on frenetic weeknights or for a quick lunch. Enjoy!
My new Jerusalem cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi enchants and entices me on every page. Somehow the authors manage to transform traditional and familiar dishes from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine into even more delicious, vibrant, and novel flavor combinations. We had the roasted chicken with clementines last night (substituting ouzo for arak), and it was sensational! The recipe heaps on intense anise seasonings from fennel, fennel seed, and the anise-scented liquor, but in the roasting process, it imparts just a subtle anise note with an enormous punch of wowing flavor. My tastebuds were dancing at each bite of tender and delicious chicken — slightly charred but moist — the softened fennel, the hints of thyme, and the delightfully bittersweet slices of clementines, peel and all.
This is best enjoyed by the flickering light & warmth of a fireplace among friends after a day playing in the snow. Open up some wine, slice up some apples, toast up some crunchy baguette slices, toss a bunch of grapes onto the platter, and let the reveling begin. Continue reading
Call me old-fashioned, but I love hors d’oeuvres at parties. Not complicated or fancy or difficult-to-eat ones, just little nibbles of things like a beautiful cheese plate, some fresh fruit, or warm bread with aromatic herbs. And when I am hosting, this is my favorite one to serve (and eat!) — it’s a decidedly unfussy but delicious combination of cheese, fruit, warm bread and herbs all in one. Continue reading