Herbs and Spices

Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns
By Annie Copps

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
1 Comments   1 comments.

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This time of year is a transitional one for local ingredients, so we turned to Josh Ziskin, chef and owner of the Italian-inspired La Morra restaurant in Brookline. The end of winter through spring can be a challenging time to write a menu, so he sticks closely to what is locally available — and right now, that means fiddlehead ferns.

Total time: 30 minutes
Active time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
1 pound fiddlehead ferns, well rinsed and trimmed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup white wine (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or the fresh herb of your choice: rosemary, basil, or oregano)
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher or sea salt

Directions
Bring a large sauce pot of generously salted water to boil. Blanch fiddleheads for 4 minutes; remove to ice water for 1 minute. Strain from water and dry well.

In a large saute pan over medium-high add oil and cook shallots and garlic until shallots are translucent. Add fiddleheads and saute for 2 minutes. Add wine (if using) and reduce until about 1 tablespoon of liquid remains. Add about 2 tablespoons of water and generously season with salt and pepper. Add thyme and butter and stir well.

Recipe courtesy of Josh Ziskin of La Morra.
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annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Seared Curried Butterfish with Warm Olive Chutney
By Ming Tsai

Monday, August 9, 2010
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You may have a hard time wrapping your brain around pairing madras curry and olives, but if you think about it a moment, it really works. The French regularly use many of the ingredients that are in curry with olives—you’ve probably tasted the combination and not even known it. But you’ll see for yourself how well these potent ingredients harmonize in my Seared curried butterfish with warm olive chutney.

Serves 4

Ingredients
2 tablespoons madras curry powder
1/4 cup rice flour
4 pieces butterfish or other fatty white fish
3 shallots minced
1/2 cup mixed olives, pitted, minced
1 large tomato, 1/4-inch dice
Juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Canola oil for cooking

Directions
On a pie plate, combine the curry and rice flour. Season fish with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish fillets on both sides into the rice flour mixture. In a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat coated lightly with oil, sear the fish until golden, brown and delicious, about 8 minutes total. Remove fish and wipe out pan. In same pan coated lightly with oil, saute the shallots, then add olives, tomato and orange juice and heat through. Toss with cilantro and serve 1 heaping tablespoon over each fillet. Serve on banana leaf.
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ming tsai thumbnail holding limeChef Ming Tsai is a local restaurateur and host of Simply Ming.

Herbs
By Lidia Bastianich

Monday, August 9, 2010
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Wake up and smell the herbs!

Herbs are one of the quickest and healthiest ways to impart flavor to any dish. They release their fresh flavor when cooked in a dish and then help to reinforce that flavor when added to a dish.

Don’t be afraid to use herbs during cooking or as a way to finish any dish, and if you have any herbs left over, here is a great tip that I also share in my cookbook, Lidia’s Family Table. It will allow you to keep your herbs fresh and usable all year long.

—Divide the fresh herbs in an ice cube trays with deep cubicles.

—Pour cold water to cover the herbs and put in the freezer to freeze.

—The herbs and their flavors will remain embedded in the ice and great for plopping into any drink, or perking up any sauce or soup!

—You now have cubed your herbs for year round use!

To keep these herb “rocks” fresh all year long, seal them in a plastic storage bag and keep them in the freezer.
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Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBX 44."

Morel Mushroom Frittata
By Annie Copps

Monday, August 9, 2010
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A frittata is essentially a quiche of Italian ancestry, without the pastry. This recipe for morel mushroom frittata makes a fast, but elegant, weeknight meal.

Preparation Time: 35 minutes
Start to Finish Time: 60 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped morels
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
8 large eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Heat oven to 300°. In a 10-inch round skillet, melt butter. Add morels and sauté 7 minutes. Stir in chopped chives and sage. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Stir in cheese, plus salt and pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture over mushrooms and stir. Make sure the egg mixture reaches all the way to the edges of the skillet.

Bake 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn on your broiler. Return to the oven on the top rack, and brown 3 to 5 minutes. Let it sit 5 minutes before slicing.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)

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annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

German Potato Salad
By Lidia Bastianich

Friday, August 6, 2010
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Who doesn’t love a good potato salad? Well, here is my twist on the classic: Insalata Patate Tedesca. Serve it with a refreshing glass of Bastianich Rosatto. It’s the perfect pairing.

Recommended equipment
A heavy-bottomed skillet or sauté pan, 10-inch diameter; a large bowl for dressing, tossing, and serving.

Ingredients
2-½ pounds red potatoes
1 cup finely chopped scallions
¾ cup sweet pickles (about 4 ounces), coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces slab bacon, cut in ½-inch pieces
3 tablespoons German-style mustard
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions
Put whole, unpeeled potatoes into a pot with 2 to 3 quarts cold water, enough to cover them by a couple of inches. Bring the water to a gentle boil, and cook the potatoes until a knife blade pierces them easily to the center — but don’t let them overcook, split, or get mushy.

When done, drain the potatoes in a colander, peel them as soon as they’re cool enough to handle, and slice into 1-inch cubes. Immediately toss the warm cubes in a bowl with the chopped scallions and pickles and 1 teaspoon salt.

Meanwhile, put the olive oil and bacon pieces in the skillet, and set it over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the bacon has rendered its fat and starts to crisp, 4 minutes or so.Whisk in the mustard and vinegar, and heat to a boil. Continue whisking until the dressing is smooth and emulsified, then pour it over the warm potatoes and toss. Sprinkle over it the chopped parsley, grinds of black pepper, and remaining teaspoon salt. Toss well, and serve right away.

___________________________________________________________
Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBX 44.

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