plantook

Plant Oriented Cooking


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RECIPE: Chayote Squash Salad


INGREDIENTS

  • 3 medium chayote squash (about 8½ ounces each) peeled and julienned
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped herbs

METHOD

1. Place the chayote in a medium colander sitting inside a bowl, sprinkle with the salt and toss together. Let sit and drain for at least 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, add the lime juice, mustard and sour cream. Gradually whisk in the oil to create an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Pour enough vinaigrette over the chayote, add the herbs and toss well. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.


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RECIPE: Finocchi alla Ghiotta


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed
  • 8 large green Sicilian or Cerignola olives
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • salt to taste
  • 1-1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes
  • 3 Tbs. capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

METHOD

  1. Trim and cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise and then cut each half lengthwise into four 1-1/2-inch-thick wedges.
  2. Slice the olive flesh off the pits lengthwise.
  3. Sauté the fennel, one cut side down, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, turning once with tongs, until the wedges are lightly browned on both cut sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  4. Add the onion and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally and gently so as not to break up the fennel wedges, until the onions are slightly softened and browned, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes, capers, and olives to the pan along with 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce the heat to medium low or low, to maintain a steady simmer.
  6. Cook until the fennel wedges are fork tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat to high, and simmer briskly until most of the liquid evaporates, leaving a thick sauce, 3 to 5 minutes. Gently stir in the parsley. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

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RECIPE: Escarole and Beans


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch escarole
  • ¼ cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • Parmesan cheese, optional

METHOD

  1. Separate leaves of escarole, wash and chop. Set aside.
  2. Cook garlic in olive oil over low heat for about one minute. Do not brown.
  3. Add onion and cook, stirring often, for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Lower heat and add a tablespoon of broth or water if onion is browning too quickly.
  4. Add escarole, cook, turning occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until leaves are tender and stem ends are still crunchy. Sprinkle with salt.
  5. Stir in beans with their liquid. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes or until heated through.
  6. Top with freshly grated cheese, if desired.

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RECIPE: Sautéed Escarole


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 heads of escarole, well washed
  • Olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, slightly crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

OPTIONAL

  • A handful of capers, well washed and squeezed
  • A handful of black olives
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • A handful of pinoli nuts
  • A handful of raisins, soaked until soft and drained

METHOD

  • Blanch the escarole.
  • Fry the garlic gently in a generous amount of olive oil.
  • Transfer the escarole from the pot to the sauté pan with a pair of tongs. Let the escarole drain before you add it to the pan, but letting some water still cling to the leaves.
  • Turn the heat back on, stir the escarole so it is well coated with the oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan and let it simmer for 5 minutes.

OPTIONAL

  • Add the optional ingredients to the pan, mix them into the escarole, and re-cover the pan.
  • Let the escarole simmer for another 5 minutes until very tender and flavorful.
  • Bon Appétit!

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RECIPE: Sweet and Sour Escarole and Leeks


INGREDIENTS

  • 3 medium leeks, white and palest green parts only, cut into ¼-inch wide strips
  • 1 head escarole, base cut off and chopped, washed, drained (some water remaining on leaves is needed for cooking)
  • ½ tablespoon sugar, plus a pinch or two more
  • Light flavored olive oil or neutral flavored oil such as grapeseed, as needed
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons of dry white wine such as Chenin Blanc or grenache blanc
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or sherry vinegar

METHOD

  1. Heat a 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, film with oil. Add 1 tablespoon butter and as soon as it stops foaming, add the leeks, tossing to coat with oil/butter evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until leeks are tender and translucent, around 10 minutes. Watch them closely so they do not scorch. After 10 minutes add the wine and cook, tossing frequently, until the wine evaporates. Cook until the leeks are tender yet remain white. Remove from the pan and put into a non-reactive bowl and keep warm.
  2. Sprinkle the pan-bottom evenly with the sugar. Wait for the sugar to caramelize. Be careful, since there is so little of it, it can go from caramelized to burnt quickly. As soon as the sugar has caramelized, add in the butter and swirl the pan so it combines with the sugar. As soon as the butter melts, fill the pan with escarole. Use tongs to turn it in the sugar butter, running the leaves across the pan bottom to “scrape” up any sugar stuck to the pan. Add the 2 tablespoons of wine, and scrape the pan bottom to loosen any sugar. Turn the leaves of escarole in the butter/sugar/combination. The escarole will wilt and the volume in the pan will shrink.
  3. Add the rest of the escarole and sprinkle with a pinch or two more sugar, then use tongs to turn the fresh escarole to the bottom of the pile. Cook, turning every so often, until the pile of escarole has wilted, and colored a little. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the leeks back into the pan and use tongs to turn the mess and thoroughly combine the leeks and escarole.
  5. Drizzle in the tablespoon of vinegar at this point, using tongs, until everything has been run through the vinegar. The vinegar will add depth of flavor and a little tart/sour to the dish. Cook until most of the vinegar is gone and is starting to thicken. If you wish, add another tablespoon or two of butter to the pan bottom and swirl the pan until the butter has melted into a sauce. The leeks and escarole or ready to use/serve.

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