Escarole, Pear, Parmesan, & Basil Salad

A fellow member of my CSA shared this recipe as a wonderful way to use the escarole and basil in our share. I loved it! The original recipe was published in November- I do think that this would be a terrific salad to serve on or around Thanksgiving or as a special winter salad. It was also great in July. 😉

The recipe was adapted from epicurious.com, contributed by Mindy Fox. I modified the proportions and used my favorite mustard vinaigrette instead of the suggested vinaigrette. I also used a Bartlett pear, our favorite, instead of Comice or Anjou. I loved the crunch from the hazelnuts.

Yield: Serves 6 as a side

For the Salad:

  • 1/2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 6 T hazelnuts, coarsely chopped, or more, to taste
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 large head of escarole (about 3/4 pound), leaves cut into 1/2-inch ribbons and then torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large or 2 small Bartlett, Comice, or Anjou pear(s), cored, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, shaved (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) basil leaves, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • flaky sea salt

For the Dressing:

  • 1 shallot, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • 6 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium. Add hazelnuts and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden, 2–3 minutes. Season with a pinch of kosher salt. Remove from heat; set aside.
  2. While the nuts cool, make the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a mini food processor and process until smooth. Set aside. (I transfer the dressing to a jar.)
  3. Place escarole, pear slices, Parmesan shavings, basil, and about 1/3 of the reserved hazelnuts in a large bowl.
  4. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the prepared salad.
  5. Gently toss until salad is evenly dressed; season with sea salt and additional pepper, to taste. (You will have extra dressing to reserve for another salad.)
  6. Top with remaining hazelnuts. Serve.

Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpeas with Mustard Vinaigrette

My daughter and I made this lovely dish as a side for our Thanksgiving feast- although it was practically her entire meal. She absolutely loves cauliflower and garbanzo beans and is not a big fan of other Thanksgiving dishes. Dessert is her exception. 😉

This dish was adapted from It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen, via theyellowtable.com. Healthy and delicious.

Yield: Serves 6 as a side dish

  • 14 oz can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, and dried
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • coarse salt or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain seeded mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  1. Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400ºF, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Toss the chickpeas and cauliflower florets together on a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet or in a large roasting pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt.
  3. Roast, stirring now and then, until everything is dark brown and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 30 to 35 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the mustards, vinegar, and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper, or to taste.
  5. While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Slow-Roasted Carrots with Browned-Butter Vinaigrette

These caramelized carrots were part of our Thanksgiving feast. Initially, I thought that the proportions were really off in this dish- only a drizzle of the amazing browned butter vinaigrette is used and I had a tremendous amount leftover. The proportions could be reduced, of course, but I have used the leftover vinaigrette with roasted Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, CSA rutabaga, and more rainbow carrots. It is absolutely wonderful.

This recipe was adapted from chef Neil Borthwick’s “forgotten carrots” at Merchants Tavern in London via The New York Times, contributed by Mark Bittman. I modified the proportions and cooked the carrots in a cast iron skillet. I would roast four pounds of rainbow carrots next time.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish

  • 2 pounds large carrots (I used rainbow carrots)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus 3 extra tablespoons for roasting the carrots
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1-2 star anise
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 tablespoons sherry vinegar, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons chervil leaves or chopped fresh parsley
  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Scrub the carrots, and peel them if you like (it really doesn’t matter but I peeled them).
  3. Set a 12-inch cast iron skillet or a roasting pan over two burners on medium heat; put the olive oil in the pan.
  4. When the oil is hot, add the carrots and cook, turning as they brown, until lightly caramelized all over, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Add 3 tablespoons butter, spices, salt and pepper.
  6. Transfer the roasting pan to the oven, and cook, shaking the pan once or twice, until the carrots are crinkly on the outside and you can pierce them easily with the tip of a sharp knife, 45 to 60 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, put 1 stick butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the butter foam subsides and the butter turns nut brown, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  8. Put brown butter, vinegar, Dijon, salt and pepper in a blender or mini food processor. Blend until a creamy emulsion forms, about 30 seconds; taste, and adjust the seasoning.
  9. Put the carrots on a platter, drizzle the vinaigrette over the top and garnish with the chervil or parsley, and serve.

Note: Leftover vinaigrette can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator to toss with other roasted vegetables.

Ina Garten’s Parmesan Chicken

This second breaded chicken dish is one of Ina Garten’s favorite weeknight meals, second only to roasted chicken. It has a wonderful balance between the crispy meat and lemony greens. We loved it!

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs and 7 boneless skinless chicken legs
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg white
  • 1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • 2 T unsalted butter, divided (I used 1 T per batch)
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided (I used 1 T per batch)
  • salad greens
  • lemon vinaigrette (recipe above)
  1. Pound the chicken meat between 2 layers of plastic wrap, to 1/4 inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
  2. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate or in a glass pie dish.
  3. On a second plate or dish, beat the eggs and egg white with 1 tablespoon of water.
  4. On a third plate or dish, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
  5. Coat the chicken on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread crumb and cheese mixture, pressing lightly.
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or sauté pan (I used a 14-inch skillet) and cook 3 to 6 pieces of chicken, depending on size, on medium-low heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and cooked through, 165 degrees in the center.
  7. Lightly salt the hot chicken after removing it from the pan. Place in a warm oven or warming drawer while cooking the next batch.
  8. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken as above. (I cooked the chicken in 2 batches.)
  9. Toss the salad greens with lemon vinaigrette.
  10. Place a mound of salad on the center of each individual plate and top with extra Parmesan and hot chicken. (I used shaved Parmesan as topping and sliced the chicken.) Serve.

Asparagus Mimosa

IMG_8082

I love the combination of asparagus and eggs. We eat asparagus year-round, but I definitely serve it more often in the spring. Tender spring asparagus is hard to beat. 🙂 I planned a meal around this side dish because I REALLY wanted to make (& eat!) it. This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. The dish is named for the pretty yellow-and-white flower, mimicked by the fluffy hard-boiled egg sprinkled over the top of the dish. The presentation was beautiful and it was so delicious I could have eaten all of it myself! 🙂

  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large hard-cooked egg
  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds steamed asparagus
  1. Hard-boil the egg: Cover the egg with cold water in a small saucepan. Bring water to a boil, remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 12 minutes. Drain and refill pot with cold water to cease the cooking process. After the egg has cooled, remove the shell.
  2. Steam asparagus for 10 minutes, or to desired tenderness.
  3. Make the vinaigrette: Whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil.
  4. Spoon vinaigrette over asparagus.
  5. Push egg through a fine sieve over the dressed asparagus. Serve warm or at room temperature.

international womens day boston-resized-600.jpg

Mimosa image from blog.apieceapart.com

One Year Ago:

Escalivada or Grilled Vegetable Salad with Parsley Vinaigrette

IMG_4270

This is a Catalan grilled vegetable salad. We ate it with Spanish grilled pork kebabs and Catalan tomato bread. It contains 3 different types of onions- yellow, leeks, & scallions- it smelled so good! After the vegetables are grilled, they are sliced and piled separately in rows on a serving plate- a lovely presentation. The vinaigrette is drizzled over the top. We ate this as a side dish but it would also be nice as a topping for grilled bread. This recipe was adapted from The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen.

Serves: 4 to 6 as a side dish

For the vegetables:

  • 1 large onion (I used a Vidalia)
  • 1 large or 2 small long, slender eggplants (about 1 pound) (I used Asian eggplant)
  • 1 bunch leeks (the smallest, tenderest you can find)
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 2 medium red bell peppers (I used 1 orange and 1 yellow)
  • 4 medium ribs celery
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 2 T sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt, or more to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
  • 3 T finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • lemon wedges, for serving, if desired
  1. Preheat the grill to high.
  2. Peel the onion, leaving the root end intact, then cut through the root into 6 or 8 wedges. Cut the eggplant on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slices. Trim the leeks of the dark greens and roots, leaving only the white portion, then cut lengthwise in half and rinse well. Blot the leeks dry with paper towels. Trim the roots off the scallions. Brush the vegetables generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. When ready to cook, arrange the vegetables, including the bell peppers and celery, on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until nicely browned, about 12 minutes in all. (We put the eggplant and Vidalia onion in a grill basket.) Transfer the vegetables as they are done to a cutting board to cool.      IMG_4260
  4. When cool enough to handle, cut the roots off the onion wedges and thinly slice the onions crosswise. Cut the eggplant slices into 1/4-inch slivers. Scrape any burnt skin off the peppers (if desired), then stem, seed, and thinly slice. Cut the leeks, scallions, and celery into thin crosswise slices. Arrange the vegetable slices in separate piles on plates or a platter.
  5. Prepare the vinaigrette. Combine the vinegar, salt, parsley, pepper, and olive oil in a mini-food processor. Add additional salt to taste. Spoon the vinaigrette over the vegetables and serve with lemon wedges.

Warm Lentil Salad with Seared Tuna & Fresh Herb Vinaigrette

IMG_4244

This was a wonderful dinner salad to serve using my abundance of CSA salad greens. The herb vinaigrette was terrific. My son wanted seconds of the lentils!! 🙂 I believe that the original source for this recipe was the Chicago Tribune (I have had the recipe for a LONG time). I used brown lentils, red and green romaine lettuce, radicchio, and parsley with a little bit of basil in the vinaigrette. A healthy and quick dinner.

Serves: 3 to 4 as a main course

  • 1 cup lentils, preferably French green lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 1/2 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley and basil (or mint, if desired)
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh tuna
  • 6 ounces mixed salad greens
  1. Combine lentils, bay leaf and water in a medium saucepan. Add 1 1/2 tsp of the salt; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer until lentils are barely tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, chop and combine the shallot, herbs, vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper to taste in a mini-food processor. Add the olive oil and combine. Set aside.
  3. Combine the remaining salt with about 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper. Season tuna on both sides with this mixture.
  4. Place a non-stick grill pan or lightly oiled skillet over high heat. Sear tuna about 2 minutes (or less) on each side. Transfer to a warmed plate.
  5. Toss the greens with about 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette. Combine drained lentils with remaining vinaigrette.
  6. Portion greens among 3-4 serving plates; pile the lentils on top. Slice tuna into thin strips; fan out over the lentils.

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