I just had the best salad of my life!Our new Green Bean-Tuna Salad with Black Olive Dressing.
A few months ago I had a wonderful green bean salad at Shady
Lady in Sacramento.Chilled, cooked
green beans, with chopped sweet peppers, in a nice vinaigrette.I loved it and it made me think about adding
a green bean salad at Tucos.
After spending about a month thinking about green beans (no,
I'm not kidding), I came up with an idea to ceviche the beans.Cilantro, sweet onion, hot peppers, lime
juice seemed like a wonderful way to frame the chilled, cooked green beans.....
Failure.The lime juice never really
wanted to marry with the green beans, neither did the hot peppers, and the
texture was, how do I say it politely, BORING.Back to the drawing board.Another week or so thinking about green beans and then it came to me
while driving- green beans, hard-cooked egg, really good canned tuna, sweet
onions.Today I put the idea on the
plate, adding nicoise olives, creating a garlicky, lemony, dressing with black
olives and the results were spiritual...It has to be the absolute best possible way to enjoy a green bean.
Recipe for the Black Olive Dressing:
1C Mojo Sauce (see prior posting for recipe)
1/4 C Olive Oil
2 TBS Black Olives (prefer nicoise)
Blend until emulsified
Build the salad to taste with however much green beans, sweet onion, hard-cooked eggs, tuna, nicoise olive (or other pitted, feisty black olive) and fresh chopped parsley. Apply dressing generously. Careful with the salt since the black olive dressing is a bit salty already (from the olives).
Yesterday was such a wonderful day!I got to present a cooking demonstration at the Ferry Building
Farmer's Market- one of the nation's most prestigious farmer's market.It was a dream-come-true!I presented a three-course menu designed to
be easy, delicious, and fun- a menu that will work well for a summer
get-together with friends and family:
Farmer's Market Green
Salad with Citrus Dressing
Panna Cotta (Italian
gelatin custard) with Market Fruit Compote
The recipes are greatworkhorse recipes for improvising around your finds at the market.The demonstration seemed to be very well
received by the standing room-only crowd.A special tahnk you to Antonio, our lead cook, for helping out with the
demo- we made a great team!Here are
the recipes for anyone interested:
Farmers Market Green Salad With Citrus Dressing
1/2cup olive oil
chopped fresh chives
2pounds salad mix
1cup toasted nuts
In a blender, combine orange juice, olive oil, vinegar,
mustard, chives, onion and salt and blend on medium speed. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine salad mix, raisins, nuts and fruit
slices. Toss with the dressing and serve.
Boil meats like sausage, chicken (skinless).Seafood can be raw.
Boil 1 quart shellfish (clams ideal) until done.Reserved the seafood to add to finished
Paella.Used liquid for broth.Add hot water to make 3 cups broth.
Combine rice, broth, saffron, tomatoes, onions, olive oil,
salt, Tabasco in pot or deep baking pan, cover with foil and bake 20 minutes in
400F oven. Then add cooked market meats (including reserved shellfish from
broth), cover and bake an additional 10 minutes.
Finish by drizzling mojo sauce on top and generous freshly
1/3cup olive oil
cloves- fine minced
Panna Cotta with Market Fruit Compote
½cup heavy cream
fraiche (or sour cream)
1 ½cup milk
(or 3 tablespoons gelatin powder)
Soak gelatin sheets in cold water until soft.Mix milk into crème fraiche a little at a
time to thinwithout clumps, add sugar
and vanilla.Lightly squeeze softened
gelatin sheets and melt in small pan over hot water, then slowly add cream mix
(similar to tempering eggs). Refrigerate until set.
Market Fruit Compote
fruit, peeled, diced
liquor (rum, bourbon, tequila depending on the fruit)
Make simple syrup by bringing water to boil and adding
sugar.Remove from heat.Add half of fruit and blend.Add remaining fruit and alcohol.Refrigerate.
Cooking over primitive, hardwood fires is my new religion...
As I write this, I'm still floating on air from my recent evening experimenting
with cooking over a primitive, hardwood fire (a campfire).I'm feeling incredibly relaxed as a result,
almost like I spent a day at the beach or at some wonderful camping trip....When I think about it, should be no
surprise- I love camping and my favorite part of camping is the campfire.There's something calming, spiritual and
therapeutic about it.
A recent Anthony Bourdain show on Argentinean Chef Francis
Mallmann's passion for cooking over harwood fires (as well as his recent book
"Seven Fires") captured my imagination and basically reset my culinary
clock.Tired of waiting for a camping
trip, I improvised by layering brick and stone onto a wheelbarrow and began my
campfire.I laid a cast iron griddle
and nice heavy grill from my barbeque and began my adventure- spring onion and
tomato halves basted in olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt, sweet peppers
roasted over the hottest part of the fire then slow cooked over the coolest
part till they went perfectly limp, freshly-picked ears of yellow corn roasted
over the hottest part. Fra'Mani sausages on the griddle, and rib-eye steaks
both on the grill and griddle to see the differences.The results were roll-your-eyes-to-the-back-of-your-head
spectacular.Mallmann is onto
something.The burnt flavors together
with the campfire smokiness strikes at the most primitive parts of our pleasure
zones like few things in life can... I won't name those few other things- you
I strongly recommend that everyone reading this
posting rush out and by some oak firewood and build themselves a fire pit.Oh and pick up plenty of marshmallows too-
the kids are going to love you for it.