Fattoush Salad

fattouchPita Chips

2 rounds pita bread (8- to 12-inches)

2-3 T olive oil

½ t sumac

Salt and pepper

 

Salad

2 C shredded romaine lettuce

1 large or 2 small cucumbers, peeled and seeded, diced small

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

5-6 radishes, sliced

½ C parsley leaves, chopped

¼ C mint leaves, chopped

5-6 scallions, chopped

 

Dressing

½ C lemon juice

½ C olive oil

1 t sumac

1/8 t cinnamon (optional)

Sea salt to taste

 

 

Toast the pita bread in your toaster oven until dried and crisp but not browned. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Break the pita into pieces and put into the heated oil. Fry briefly until browned, tossing frequently. Remove from the oil and place on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and sumac.

 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the salad ingredients. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette and toss lightly. Lastly, add the pita chips and toss one more time. Serves 4-6.

 


Vegetable Carpaccio

vegetable-carpaccio

 

If you don’t own a culinary mandolin, use a vegetable peeler to get the paper-thin slices this recipe calls for. The inspiration for this salad comes from beef carpaccio, a classic dish of rare/raw sliced beef dressed in lemon juice, olive oil, capers and Parmesan cheese. The root vegetable version was invented by Chef Andy Hollyday of Selden Standard, named Restaurant of the Year 2016 by Hour Detroit magazine. It’s perfect for what’s coming in season right now — baby beets, beautiful radishes of every color, sweet turnips, colored carrots. The carpaccio certainly made an impression in March 2016 at several different demo venues.

A selection of seasonal vegetables that could include:

1 small fennel, shaved thin
1 small red or gold beet, peeled and shaved thin
3 medium sized heirloom carrots, shaved thin
6 small radish, washed and shaved into thin coins or 2 small turnips
1 small celery root, peeled and shaved thin

¼ C capers in brine, drained
¼ C cup fresh herb of choice, chopped – chives, tarragon, parsley or basil work well
3oz. Parmesan Reggiano, shaved thin
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Lemon Vinaigrette

Zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 2 T)
1 shallot, minced fine
1 T champagne or white wine vinegar
½ C extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

To make the vinaigrette combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl or a mini-prep food processor, season with salt and pepper and whisk together. In another bowl add the shaved vegetables and enough vinaigrette to generously coat. If there is any vinaigrette remaining reserve for another use. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and allow to marinate for 10-30 minutes, mixing once or twice. After 10 minutes, taste the salad again for seasoning. Distribute onto a large platter or on individual plates. Garnish with shaved Parmesan, capers, herbs of choice, and a twist of freshly ground black pepper. Serves 4-6.

 


Warm Potato Salad with Lemon-Herb Dressing

potatoes

 

 

Baby new potatoes are great in this. The golf-ball sized tubers start hitting farmers markets around April. Use a variety of colors –purple, yellow, red-skinned – if you can find them for maximum nutrition, or stick with red-skinned or yellow Yukons. We love the sweet flavor of the new potatoes in this recipe, but any type of boiling potato works for year-round goodness. If you have a culinary mandolin, use that to slice the potatoes, or better yet, the slicing bade on a food processor. The sauce comes out thick, almost like a chimichurri sauce. Mix and match herbs – tarragon, chives, parsley; or dill, parsley and chives; or basil, cilantro and chives. Mix your sauce in while the potatoes are still warm for maximum flavor, and also to “cook” the raw garlic, making it less harsh. You can serve it any temperature, though it is best either warm or room-temperature. One last thing – if you don’t have a steamer (and lots of us don’t), just boil these gently in about an inch or so of water, covered.  Demoed at USBG in March 2016. Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking.

1¾ lb. baby potatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
Kosher salt
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 C lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ C lightly packed fresh basil
½ C thinly sliced chives
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large, wide pot fitted with a steamer basket, bring about ½-inch of water to a boil over medium high heat. Arrange the potatoes in an even layer in the steamer and sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt. Cover and steam, carefully stirring every now and again, until the potatoes are just tender, five to six minutes. Drain and put them back into the hot pan, cover.

While the potatoes are cooking, finely grate the zest from the lemon and then juice the lemon. Put the zest in a food processor and set the juice aside. Add the garlic to the food processor and pulse a few times. Add the herbs and pulse to coarsely chop. Add the olive oil, 1t salt, and ½ t pepper and pulse until the mixture is fairly homogenous, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. (Avoid overprocessing or the herbs will heat up and discolor; 10 to 12 pulses should do.) Add 3 T of the lemon juice and pulse once to mix.

Drizzle the herb mixture over the potatoes and toss gently to combine. Season to taste with more salt or lemon juice. Serve warm.


Tahini Sauce with Nut Pesto and Pomegranate Seeds

 

tahini

 

 

This combination has it all – tart lemon, crunchy nuts, sweet pomegranate seeds. It’s also chock full of nutrition and it’s versatile. Great over grilled or sauteed fish, grilled chicken or roasted or grilled lamb and even vegetables.  You could serve it as a dip or toss a salad with it.  Pomegranate molasses is a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine and can be found in specialty food stores or on line.  There’s nothing quite like it, but you can substitute balsamic syrup, made by boiling down balsamic vinegar until it becomes slightly syrupy.  We adapted this from Fine Cooking and demoed it last January. We’re rolling it out again for our September 2015 Mediterranean demos at the US Botanic Garden in honor of its new exhibit from the region. This time, Danielle had the pleasure of making this dish, served on pita bread.

Tahini sauce

6 T tahini (sesame seed paste, available in supermarket health food section)
4 t fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, crushed
½ t ground cumin
Kosher salt

For the nut-herb topping

¼ C toasted, finely chopped almonds
¼ C toasted, finely chopped walnuts
¼ C finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 T. finely chopped red onion
2½  T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 T finely chopped fresh mint
1/8 t crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garnish

¼ C pomegranate arils (see note, above)
2 t pomegranate molasses

Make the tahini sauce

Process the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, ¼ t salt, and 5 T water in a food processor until smooth, about 1 minute.

Make the nut-herb topping

In a medium bowl, gently toss the almonds, walnuts, cilantro, onion, olive oil, parsley, mint, and pepper flakes with ¼t salt and 1/8 t pepper until well combined. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

Serve the tahini sauce sprinkled with the nut-herb mixture and topped with pomegranate seeds. Drizzle pomegranate molasses.


Lemony New Potatoes

fingerlingThis treatment of the new potatoes that will soon be showing up in farmer’s markets is full of do-aheads. Parboil your potatoes the day before you plan to serve them; the browning can be done a few hours ahead of time; assemble the rest of the ingredients and the last step of making the sauce will come together in less than five minutes. Ultimately, you can do the whole dish in advance and keep it warm in the oven or microwave it before serving. The recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart and was part of our March 2015 repertoire at Brookside and U.S. Botanic Garden.

1 # fingerling potatoes
1 T coarse salt
1 T olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 C chicken stock
2 T dry white wine
1 T fresh or 1 t dried thyme leaves
1 T butter, chilled
2 T fresh lemon juice
Salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste

Garnish
fresh thyme leaves or parsley
coarse salt

Cover potatoes with water in a pan. Add 1 T salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until barely tender, 5 minutes. Drain potatoes, cool, and halve lengthwise. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic, and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add potatoes, cut sides down, and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in stock and wine. Cook until liquid is reduced by a third, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add thyme and butter, and stir until butter has melted. Stir in lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Garnish withm more thyme leaves or parsley and sprinkle judiciously with coarse salt.