Archives for posts with tag: shallots

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Happy Monday! I’m very pleased to introduce Lauren Salkeld, guest blogger for this week’s post. As a senior editor at Epicurious.com, Lauren develops, tests, and edits recipes, and writes about various cooking techniques, from making homemade marshmallows to deep-frying a turkey. You can follow her on Instagram (laurensalkeld79) and Twitter (@laurensalkeld). I’m thrilled she’s contributed this delicious yet easy-to-make recipe, combining some of my favorite ingredients. 

This farro and kale salad came about when I was creating a menu for a friend’s baby shower. I love grain salads because they can be made in advance—some even taste better on the second day—and can be served at room temperature, which are two really important things when you’re the only person cooking for a party, which for me is often the case.

Grain salads are also really flexible, so you can add in whatever ingredients you picked up at the farmers’ market, or the ones you happen to be really into at the moment. I’ve developed a bit of formula for mine, which goes something like this: grain + green + veggie or fruit + cheese + nut or seed. And I typically add some kind of homemade pesto or a shallot, olive oil, and lemon juice dressing like the one used here. This version is great as leftovers, and I bring it to work for lunch all the time, but you may want to leave the crispy shallots and walnuts on the side until you’re ready to eat, because otherwise they can get a little soggy.

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Farro and Kale Salad with Roasted Grapes, Crispy Shallots, and Ricotta Salata

Makes 4 servings

1 ½ cups red seedless grapes
6 tablespoons olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 extra-large shallot
Juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch Lacinato kale, ribs removed and cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups cooked farro, at room temperature
About 5 ounces crumbled ricotta salata or feta
½ cup walnuts, toasted (optional)
Preheat the oven to 250°F.

In a baking dish, combine the grapes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until slightly shriveled, about 1 hour. Let cool.

Peel the shallot and slice it crosswise into rounds. Remove the first 2 or 3 large outer rings of each round and set them aside. Mince the rest of the shallot (the smaller inner rings).

In a small sauté pan over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the minced shallot and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool. Once cool, add the lemon juice and whisk to combine.

Place the kale in a large serving bowl, add the lemon juice-shallot-olive oil mixture and use your hands to massage it into the kale.

Place the flour in a small bowl. Add the reserved shallot rings and toss to coat the shallot rings in flour. In a small sauté pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Working in batches, shake any excess flour off the shallot rings then fry them in the hot oil, flipping once, until just crispy, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer as fried to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Fluff the farro with a fork then add it, along with the grapes and ricotta salata or feta, to the kale and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top the salad with the crispy shallots and toasted walnuts, if using, and serve.


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Did you hear that winter’s over…Last year’s miracles will soon be forgotten. New creatures whirl in from non-existence, galaxies scattered around their feet. Have you met them? -Rumi

One day this week—I think it was Thursday—I stepped outside of my apartment and noticed that each and every tree on my block had blossomed overnight. I was in Manhattan later that same day and sure enough, the trees there too were exploding with color, especially the pink magnolia blossoms, and white Callery pear flowers. There’s something about spring that takes the edge off of New York. Everything softens: the light, the colors, the clothing, the people. Suddenly there’s pink on the concrete, bare feet in sandals, and rainbow sprinkles dripping down ice cream cones.

Once again I was in the mood for the kind of spring dish that strikes the right balance for March: in like a lion, out like a lamb. Nothing too heavy, but nothing too summery crisp either. Something with color, but also a little bit of warmth. Warm salads tend to do the trick. I was flipping through my cookbooks for inspiration and this here is a riff on another Ottolenghi dish. A combination of chickpeas, sautéed carrots, caraway seeds, chard, mint, and cilantro, served with greek yogurt, olive oil, and pickled shallots.

And because tonight’s the season 5 Mad Men premiere, I leave you with one of my favorite Joan quotes: “But that’s life. One minute you’re on top of the world, the next minute some secretary’s running you over with a lawnmower.”

Chickpea Sauté with greek yogurt and pickled shallots
Serves 4

1 shallot, cut in slivers
4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp water
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 bunch of Swiss chard (300 g), stems and leaves separated
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for serving
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 c (250 g) cooked chickpeas
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs: mint and cilantro work well, or chervil, chives, flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and black pepper

6 oz (100 g) greek yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil

You want to do a quick pickle of your shallot: place the shallot slivers in a small jar and cover with the vinegar and water, and add the salt and sugar. (I also threw in some fresh thyme I had lying around.) Let sit at least 30 minutes.

Bring a big pot of salted water to boil and add the chard stems, cook for 2 minutes, then add the leaves, cooking everything for an additional 3 minutes. Drain the water and rinse the chard (stems and leaves) in very cold water. Squeeze dry and do a rough chop.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the carrots and caraway seeds and sauté for 5 minutes, then add the chard and chickpeas and continue cooking for an additional 6 minutes. Then add the garlic, herbs, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat, adjust the seasoning.

To serve, combine the greek yogurt and olive oil with a bit of salt and pepper. Pile the vegetables onto serving dishes and spoon the yogurt mixture on top, drizzling with additional olive oil and scattering some pickled shallots on top.

Here are some photos of spring, from my neck of the woods…including: Long Island beach; Occupy Wall Street @ Union Square; @ Jay St.-MetroTech subway station; a friend’s little one, born on my birthday; more beauty on my block.

Last month, my roommate hosted a party in our apartment celebrating his grandmother’s 90th birthday. I was in Milwaukee, but enjoyed the leftovers when I returned to New York. One of my favorite dishes Mark made with his mother was this Israeli couscous salad with dried cherries, arugula, and walnuts. We had so much of it left in our fridge I brought some out to my grandmother, knowing she’d probably never had couscous (which she now calls “frou-frou”) but might like it nonetheless.

Did she ever. I was sorry I’d only brought a pint-size container full. She wanted more and has asked for it ever since. So Labor Day weekend, before driving out to Long Island, I whipped up a batch to take over. I had most of the ingredients on hand; the day before, at the co-op, I only had to pick up some more couscous in bulk (Israeli couscous, also known as pearl couscous, is made from baked wheat and is bigger and rounder than North African couscous, which is finer and made from semolina). Instead of orange juice, like the recipe called for, I used grapefruit juice since that’s what I had in my fridge.

Of course, this recipe is just asking for substitutions. I bet fresh squeezed lemon juice, cooked eggplant, feta, and mint would work nicely. Or chickpeas, turmeric, a dried red chile pepper, and cilantro.

This salad makes for a great lunch during the week, and doesn’t require heating up. Leftovers last a few days at least, although the arugula will begin to wilt once dressed. Give it a try, and hey, offer it to someone who thinks couscous is called “frou-frou” because I think they just might like it.

Couscous salad with dried cherries, walnuts, and arugula

For the couscous:
1 c water
2/3 c orange or grapefruit juice
1 1/3 c (1/2 lb) Israeli (pearl) couscous

For the salad:
1/4 c orange or grapefruit juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2/3 c dried cherries
2 stalks celery, finely diced
3 oz (a couple handfuls) arugula
1/2 c walnuts, lightly toasted
1 shallot, peeled and minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the water and the juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cover the pan, and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Prepare a large baking sheet by covering it with parchment paper. When the couscous has absorbed all the liquid spread it out on the baking sheet to cool.

Whisk together the juice, olive oil, and red wine vinegar in a glass measuring cup or bowl. Add the dried cherries and microwave for 2 minutes on high. (Alternatively, you can bring the mixture to a simmer in a small saucepan on the stove, then stir in the cherries and turn off the heat.) Let the cherries stand in the liquid for at least 5 minutes, until they are glossy and plump. Drain off the liquid into another cup and reserve.

When the couscous has cooled to lukewarm, slide the couscous into a large mixing bowl. Take the reserved liquid drained from the cherries and whisk vigorously until thoroughly combined. Stir this into the couscous. Stir in the steeped cherries, celery, arugula, walnuts, and shallot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4–6.

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