The Daily Dish

Smell Your Herbs
By Lidia Bastianich

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Wake up and smell your herbs.

Fresh herbs are simply wonderful. The use of fresh herbs has exploded in the American kitchen today. I recall that as a young apprentice in Italy at my aunt’s apron strings, for every herb we had in the garden there was a pot on the stove to match.

Some herbs are better to cook with, while others were better added at the end to finish a dish. For example rosemary, bay leaves, and thyme are mostly used in long cooking where their oils are extracted slowly.

Meanwhile sage, oregano, and marjoram need very little cooking time. And herbs such as basil, parsley, and mint are great to toss in at the end—just enough to release their refreshing aromas.

And if you have small children, a wonderful way to introduce them to these aromas is to gently crush the herbs in your hands and let them smell it.

I always did this with my children and grandchildren when they were very small. It’s a great way to get them excited about the world of herbs and food at an early age.

At New York’s Felidia and Becco in New York and Lidia’s Kansas City and Pittsburgh we actually do spring herb menus where all these wonderful ingredients are used.

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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.

German Potato Salad
By Lidia Bastianich

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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.

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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.

Wok Stirred Maitakes with Blood Oranges
By Ming Tsai

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One of the things I love best about cooking is beating the bushes for hidden treasures—ingredients that are unfamiliar or underutilized. Today I bring you two terrific ingredients that are now readily available in supermarkets across country, but you may not know how to use them: Maitake mushrooms and blood oranges. They go beautifully together in my Wok Stirred Maitakes with Blood Oranges- an all in one veggie dish you can use as an entr&3234;e or a side dish. Let’s get cooking.

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 large head of white Maitake mushroom, florets broken off and stem julienned
2 tablespoons oyster sauce (can be vegetarian oyster sauce too)
5 blood oranges, segmented, 2 zested first, juice from supreming reserved
Chopped chives for garnish
House rice for serving (white/brown combo)
Canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions
In a wok over medium-high heat lightly coated with oil, add garlic and ginger and saute. Add maitake stems and saute, adding florets a few moments after. Add oyster sauce and saute until cooked down. Add zest and deglaze with juice and orange segments. Check for flavor and season, if necessary. Serve on steamed house rice and garnish with chopped chives.

Drink pairings
Mas de la Dame Rose du Mas 2007
—Provence, France

Taste: Subtle flavors of fresh berries and fennel with a flowery finish
Aroma: Fresh strawberries, peaches and roses

—Pairs nicely with barbecue, pesto pasta, salads, fish and grilled meat.
—50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Cinsault
—Certified organic (Agriculture Biologique) by Qualite France

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Chef Ming Tsai is the host and executive producer of public television series Simply Ming. Each week, Simply Ming brings mouthwatering recipes inspired by the combination of East and West into homes across the nation.

Blueberry and Peach Prosecco Soup
By Lidia Bastianich

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It’s finally summer! Berries are in!

They are sweet, delicious, and full of antioxidants. And there’s no dessert that I love more than a berry and fruit salad, such as this Blueberry and Peach Prosecco “Soup.” It’s a seasonal favorite at our restaurant Del Posto in New York City.

I promise you will enjoy this refreshing dessert for eight — or more.

Ingredients
10 ripe, peeled, and sliced peaches
1 to 2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 oranges
2 lemons
Fresh mint

Directions
In a large bowl, set 10 ripe, peeled and sliced peaches, a cup or two of blueberries, add a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, the juice of 2 oranges and 2 lemons, and about 15 torn mint leaves.

Pour in a half a bottle of sparkling wine (or a little more depending on how thirsty you are!). Prosecco is best; make sure to mix it in well. Let all marinate together for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

Serve in fancy glasses, as is, or with vanilla ice cream, and you’ve got yourself one fancy and juicy dessert!

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lidia bastianichLidia 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."

Sausages in the Skillet with Grapes
By Lidia Bastianich

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Serves 6

Ingredients
¼ cup extra- virgin olive oil
8 plump garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
2 ½ pounds sweet Italian sausages, preferably without fennel seeds (8 or more sausages, depending on size)
½ teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste
1 ¼ pounds seedless green grapes, picked from the stem and washed (about 3 cups)

Directions
Pour the olive oil into the skillet, toss in the garlic cloves, and set it over low heat. When the garlic is sizzling, lay in all the sausages in one layer, and cover the pan. Cook the sausages slowly, turning and moving them around the skillet occasionally; after 10 minutes or so, sprinkle the peperoncino in between the sausages. Continue low and slow cooking for 25 to 30 minutes in all, until the sausages are cooked through and nicely browned all over. Remove the pan from the burner, tilt it, and carefully spoon out excess fat.

Set the skillet back over low heat, and scatter in the grapes. Stir and tumble them in the pan bottom, moistening them with meat juices. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes or so, until the grapes begin to soften, wrinkle, and release their own juices. Remove the cover, turn the heat to high, and boil the pan juices to concentrate them to a syrupy consistency, stirring and turning the sausages and grapes frequently to glaze them.

To serve family-style: arrange the sausages on a warm platter, topped with the grapes and pan juices. Or serve them right from the pan (cut in half, if large), spooning grapes and thickened juices over each portion."

Rice and Lentils
By Lidia Bastianich

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Serves 8 or more as a first course or soup

Ingredients
2 ounces pancetta or bacon, cut in pieces
1 cup onion cut in 1-inch chunks
1 cup carrot cut in 1-inch chunks
1 cup celery cut in 1-inch chunks
6 fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup dry white wine
8 to 10 cups hot water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 ½ cups Italian short-grain rice, such as
Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano
1 cup chopped scallions
½ cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for passing

Directions
Drop the pancetta or bacon pieces into the food-processor bowl, and pulse several times, to chop the meat into small bits. Scrape all the chopped pancetta right into the heavy saucepan. Put the onion, carrot, and celery chunks and the sage leaves into the empty food-processor bowl, and mince together into a fine-textured pestata.

Put the butter and olive oil into the saucepan with the minced pancetta, and set over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, as the butter melts and the fat starts to render. When the pancetta is sizzling, scrape in the vegetable pestata, and stir it around the pan until it has dried and begins to stick, 4 minutes or so. Clear a space on the pan bottom, and drop in the tomato paste, toast it in the hot spot for a minute, then stir together with the pestata.

Raise the heat, pour in the white wine, and cook, stirring, until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Pour in 8 cups of hot water and the tablespoon salt, stir well, and heat to the boil. (Add all 10 cups of hot water if you want to serve the rice and lentils as a thick soup rather than a denser riso.)

Cover the pan, and reduce the heat slightly, to keep the water at a moderate boil, and let it bubble for 20 minutes or so, to develop the flavors.

From Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy

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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."

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