August 29 2011

Smoked Salmon Salade Niçoise

This turned out pretty well. The ginger syrup, okra chips and Moroccan seasoning were required ingredients (local “Chopped” contest by ZZest) but they merged with the salad quite nicely. They can be left out if desired and you could use chicken eggs (3) instead of the quail eggs. But, the quail eggs are pretty neat.
I did a bit of research on Salade Niçoise before I put this together and found an approximately infinite number of “traditional” recipes. The underlying theme seemed to be either tuna or anchovies, hard boiled eggs and then fresh vegetables as available. Various sources declaimed the presence of potatoes or green beans and other sources proclaimed them. So, I went to the local farmers market and bought what was fresh. The smoked salmon was the Lookout Stout Smoked Sockeye from Dejon Delights of Skagway, Alaska.

4 oz smoked salmon
1 large, ripe tomato
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup ground cherries, husk removed
1 1/2 Tbsp capers
1/2 cup green beans
4-5 fingerling potatoes
1/3 cup small black olives, preferably Niçoise olives, pitted
2 cups mixed salad greens washed and dried
6 boiled quail eggs (see below)
Ginger glazed Okra chips (see below)
6 Tbsps vinaigrette (see below)
salt, freshly ground black pepper

1. Put potatoes in a pot of cold water, bring to a boil, and cook until tender about 12 minutes cooking after water comes to a boil. Remove from water and place in ice bath to cool. Cut in half.
2. Add green beans to water potatoes were in and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Place in an ice bath to cool.
3. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and put them in a colander. Sprinkle them with salt, and let them drain for a few minutes while you finish the salad.
3. Peel and cut the eggs in half. Place the cut eggs onto a plate and sprinkle with Moroccan spice mixture.
4. Add the cucumber, onions, olives, capers, ground cherries and lettuce to a salad bowl.
5. Add the tomatoes to the bowl and toss about half of the vinaigrette with the salad, reserving a bit to drizzle over the eggs. Season with additional salt, if necessary. Add salad mixture to plate.
6. Separately toss the beans and potatoes with the vinaigrette.
7. Arrange beans, potatoes, and okra on top of salad with the salmon in the middle.
8. Place the eggs on top of the salad. Drizzle any remaining dressing over the eggs.

Glazed Okra Chips
Add 4Tsp Ginger syrup to a non stick sauté pan. Add ½ tsp dulcet Moroccan cooking spice. Reduce syrup by about ¼ and add 1 pkg Danielle Okra chips. Toss chips with glaze until coated and spread chips on to a wire rack. Sprinkle with sea salt and allow to cool.

Ginger Vinaigrette
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar
1/2 small shallot, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp ginger syrup
½ tsp Moroccan spice
1. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, vinegar, and shallot. Let stand for about ten minutes.
2. Mix in the Dijon mustard
3. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir well, then taste. Add remaining olive oil if taste is too sharp.
4 Add in ginger syrup

Boiled Quail Eggs
Fill a saucepan with enough water to cover the eggs and an inch more. Place the saucepan on a burner over high heat. Add the eggs to the pan.
Cover the pan and bring the water to a boil. As soon as the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat. Leave the pan covered on the burner for five minutes.
Remove the eggs and immerse the eggs in an ice bath, to stop the cooking process. When the eggs are cool crack and peel.

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May 6 2011

Cassoulet a la morue (Moroccan)

A local market & cafe — ZZest had a recipe competition recently. It was loosely modeled after the Chopped show on the Food Network in that you had to use three mystery ingredients from ZZest and come up with a recipe and photos of your dish. I decided to enter and Tuesday I found out that I had won.
The secret ingredients were:
Lemon Sardines – French White Coco Beans- Busha Browne Spicy Sherry Vinegar

An interesting combo. The Coco beans (no, not cocoa beans no matter what Google keeps suggesting) immediately brought to my mind a cassoulet. The lemon sardines suggested Morocco to me for some reason so I decided to season with some Moroccan style spices. This also went along fairly well with the pepper sherry.
Then, salt cod seemed like a good choice for the main meat of the dish. There is actually a traditional cassoulet served in France with salt cod on Fridays (no “meat) called cassoulet a la morue. Morue, being salt cod.
After about seven hours of work the dish was done. It turned out quite well. It looked very good and tasted surprisingly (to me) good. I’m not normally a big sardine person, but the combination of spices and slow cooking all came together.

After slow cooking

Here is the cassoulet after baking for about 5 hours.







Cassoulet served

The recipe follows.
Continue reading

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