Sunday, September 25, 2011

Leeks Vinaigrette

If you're a leek lover like me, this recipe is right up your alley.  I was reading my new issue of Bon Appetit yesterday while getting my nails done and this jumped right off the page.  I served it last night with a steamed lobster (like that isn't rich enough on its own) and it stole the show.  My husband's favorite part was the vinaigrette that it's served with and I'll argue that using coarse- grained mustard is a must.  This would be an easy recipe for a dinner party that would wow guests.  A big thumbs up. 
 Leeks Vinaigrette
  • 6 medium leeks (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup low-salt chicken stock
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 1 tablespoon coarse-grained Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, whites and yolks separated and chopped
Heat oven to 425°F. Trim dark-green tops from leeks, leaving root end intact. Remove tough outer layer. Starting 1" above root end, halve leeks lengthwise. Wash leeks, making sure to clean all sand from between layers. Dry slightly on paper towels.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a large, deep ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, turning occasionally, until light golden in spots, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, 3–4 minutes. Add 1 cup water, chicken stock, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Transfer skillet to oven. Bake until leeks are tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk 1 tablespoon parsley, Dijon mustard, vinegar, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer leeks to a platter, drizzle with vinaigrette, top with eggs, and garnish with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.


Steamed Lobster with Lemon-Herb Butter

If you live in San Francisco, head over to Clement Street and grab some fresh seafood at discount.  They have everything from live lobster, blue crabs, oysters, fish- you name it.  Yesterday, Drew and I cruised over there to pick up a 3lb lobster to steam and share for dinner.  It was delicious.  For a 3lb lobster we steamed it for about 15 minutes.  It came out tender and perfect.  I served it with my fontina and chive risotto cakes and braised leeks. 

Steamed Lobster with Lemon-Herb Butter

  • 6 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-pound live lobsters
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • Lemon wedges
Cook lobsters in 2 large pots of boiling salted water until shells are pink and lobsters are just cooked through, about 11 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in small saucepan. Add lemon juice and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve lobsters with lemon wedges and warm herb butter.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Shaved Fennel Salad with Avocado and Fresh Herbs

Drew and I ordered a fennel salad at a local restaurant to compliment a pizza several months ago and ever since I have been making it at home every other week.  I made up my own little version of it after poking around at recipes on the Internet.  It's a good balance of acid and fat (yes, fat) and it tastes even better if you make it and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so.  Unless you have super hero knife skills, you'll need a mandolin slicer. 

Shaved Fennel Salad with Avocado and Fresh Herbs

1 bulb of fennel, sliced thinly
1 bunch of flat Italian parsley, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of good olive oil
1 avocado, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients together in a bowl.  Season and serve. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Grilled-Tomato Pizzettes With Basil and Fontina Cheese

I love Labor Day weekend.  In fact, one year ago this Monday, I married my handsome husband on a sunny beach.  To celebrate the weekend and our anniversary, we have a lot planned.  First, 2 nights up in Napa hosting friends.  I don't want it to be too fussy because I want to relax so these pizzas are a perfect recipe for afternoon grilling by the pool.  I recommend picking up some store-bought dough from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.  Costs just a couple bucks and saves you time.  This would go great with chilled rose. 

For the Grilled Tomatoes
  • 3 pounds plum tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat grill to high. In a bowl, toss tomatoes with oil and thyme; season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Starting with cut sides down, grill tomatoes until soft and charred, 8 to 12 minutes per side.
  3. Return to bowl; cut into rough pieces with kitchen shears
Now, for the pizza!

  • 1/2 recipe Grilled Tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound store-bought pizza dough
  • Flour, for work surface
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Fontina cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves
  1. After preparing grilled tomatoes, reduce grill to low. Divide pizza dough into four pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, shape dough into rough 12-inch-long ovals. Alternate between rolling the dough with a pin and stretching it with your hands. If it tears, pinch dough together to patch.
  2. Place dough on grill. Cook until lightly charred on one side, 3 to 4 minutes; press lightly with a spatula to deflate any air bubbles.
  3. Flip dough; layer with cheese and grilled tomatoes, dividing evenly. Cover grill; cook until cheese melts and bottoms of crusts are charred, 4 to 6 minutes. Garnish with basil.