Posts Tagged ‘Cooking in Season’

Recipe: Leek and Fennel Cream

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Recipes

Leek and Fennel Cream
This relatively simple combination simmers up to a sumptuous and versatile sauce that is far more than the sum of its parts. Michael Orfan presents it under seared scallops, halibut or salmon at his restaurant and also with roast chicken or stuffed into trout. We cooled it and spread some over meaty filets of cod before baking them. Warm, it also makes a stellar stand-in for hollandaise in smoked-salmon eggs Benedict and works beautifully as a pasta sauce to complement sautéed sweet, pink shrimp, as pictured.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 medium leeks (about ¾ pound total)
  2. 1 large (about ¾ pound) fennel bulb, ideally with fresh-looking fronds
  3. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  4. ¼ cup very thinly sliced shallot
  5. 1½ tablespoons very thinly sliced garlic
  6. ½ cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
  7. ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt, 
plus more to taste
  8. ⅔ cup heavy cream
  9. ¼ teaspoon white pepper
Instructions
  1. Trim root and tough dark green ends from leeks. Slice leeks in half lengthwise and then slice into fine julienne, like thick spaghetti, keeping the pieces as long as you can but don’t worry if some are shorter. Wash well in a colander, working out any sand trapped between layers. Shake dry. Trim stalks from fennel bulb. Finely chop about 2 tablespoons of the fronds and set aside. Slice fennel very thinly crosswise, discarding tough core pieces. You should have roughly the same volume of each vegetable.
  2. Melt butter in a large sauté pan set over medium-low heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not colored, about 5 minutes. Add wine and increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until most of liquid has simmered away, about 5 minutes. Add leeks and fennel to pan and toss to combine with shallot and garlic. Add the salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened but not colored, about 10 minutes. Stir in cream and reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and cream has reduced, leaving only a little liquid, about 12–15 minutes. Fold in about 1 tablespoon of the reserved fennel fronds. Season with white pepper and more salt to taste. Yields about 2 cups of sauce, enough for 8–12 ounces of pasta, such as pappardelle, or to accompany four servings of fish or chicken. Use remaining fennel fronds as garnish.
Notes
  1. Photo by Ken Burris.
Adapted from Chef-owner Michael Orfan, Rustic Roots, Shelburne
Adapted from Chef-owner Michael Orfan, Rustic Roots, Shelburne
Vermont Life Magazine http://vermontlife.com/

Recipe: Helles Lager–Braised Leek Tarts

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Recipes

Helles Lager–Braised Leek Tarts
At Idletyme Brewing Co. in Stowe, house-brewed beer is an ingredient, not just a beverage. Here, a blonde lager builds flavor in the filling for a rich and elegant appetizer, or lunch paired with lemon-dressed salad of peppery greens. For variations on this recipe, consider the original, which uses onions, or add crisp bacon before serving.
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Ingredients
  1. 7–8 ounces frozen puff pastry (one 
sheet or one-half sheet, depending on brand), thawed according to package directions
  2. 4 large leeks (about 2¼ pounds or 
5 cups when sliced)
  3. 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  4. ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  5. Freshly ground pepper to taste
  6. ⅔ cup Helles lager from Idletyme Brewing Company or von Trapp Brewing, or any Munich-style blonde lager
  7. 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  8. 6 ounces Alpine-style cheese such as Spring Brook Farm Tarentaise or Gruyère, coarsely shredded
  9. ⅓ cup (generous) mayonnaise
  10. 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  11. 1½ tablespoons minced mixed fresh herbs such as parsley, rosemary 
and thyme
  12. Egg wash made from 1 egg beaten with a splash of milk
Instructions
  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll thawed puff pastry into a 12-inch square. Using a sharp knife, cut pastry into nine 4-inch squares. Place on a baking sheet and chill in refrigerator while preparing filling.
  2. Trim root and tough dark green ends from leeks. Slice leeks in half lengthwise and then across in ¼-inch half circles to yield about five generous cups. Wash well in a colander, working out any sand trapped between layers. Shake dry. Melt butter in a large sauté pan set over medium heat. Add leeks with salt plus generous grinds of black pepper, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened and reduced in volume, about 12 minutes. Add beer and thyme leaves and simmer until liquid has evaporated and leeks are completely soft, about 8–10 minutes. Scrape leek mixture onto a plate and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, stir together shredded cheese, mayonnaise, mustard and mixed herbs. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 F. Divide the leek and cheese mixtures each into nine roughly even portions. Take four of the pastry squares from refrigerator and space them out on a second baking sheet, leaving the others in the refrigerator. Using a fork, mark off a ⅓-inch border around edge of each square and then prick the center all over with the fork inside the border to prevent it from puffing up. Spread one portion of leek mixture on each puff pastry square leaving the border uncovered. Top leek mixture with one portion of the cheese mixture, spreading to cover the leeks. (Can be prepared up to this point and refrigerated for several hours before baking.) Make sure filling is inside the border and brush border with egg wash. Bake 16–18 minutes until pastry border is puffed and deep golden brown. Repeat with remaining pastry squares. Cool to warm or room temperature before serving. Makes 9 small tarts. Tarts can also be cut diagonally, once cooled, for smaller appetizer portions. (Recipe can be doubled easily.)
Notes
  1. Photo by Ken Burris.
Adapted from Idletyme Brewing Co., Stowe
Adapted from Idletyme Brewing Co., Stowe
Vermont Life Magazine http://vermontlife.com/

Recipe: Salad With Charred Onions, Seasoned Ricotta and Poached Eggs

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Recipes, Taste of the Landscape

Salad With Charred Onions, Seasoned Ricotta and Poached Eggs
Serves 4
This elegant salad features cultivated and foraged greens paired with ricotta seasoned with tart sumac and lemon zest and topped with soft-yolked eggs. Frank Pace loves to char onions and other vegetables outside on his grill, but you can achieve a similar effect by using the broil setting on your oven.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon honey
  2. ⅓ cup cider vinegar
  3. 2 large shallot lobes, peeled and halved
  4. 3 very small onions, such as spring onions or cipollini, peeled and halved
  5. 6 ramps or scallions, roots and tops trimmed
  6. 12 asparagus stalks, tough stem ends trimmed
  7. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  8. Salt and pepper to taste
  9. 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  10. 1 cup fresh ricotta
  11. ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus more to garnish
  12. ½ teaspoon ground sumac, plus more to garnish (Note: Sumac can be found in the bulk spice section of some independent food markets or in Middle Eastern specialty stores. If you don’t have it, just double the lemon zest.)
  13. 1 cup tender pea greens
  14. 2 cups microgreens or watercress
  15. 4 large eggs (Note: Fresher eggs make neater poached eggs.)
  16. Flake sea salt, such as Maldon, if desired for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine honey with cider vinegar and bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally, just until honey dissolves, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Set oven to broil with rack in top slot and turn on kitchen fan. Preheat a dry cast-iron pan or heavy roasting pan on rack. When oven reaches temperature, add shallots and onions to pan. Cook, turning once, until charred and softened, about 6 to 8 minutes total. Remove to a cutting board and add ramps or scallions to pan. Cook, turning once, until charred and softened, about 4 to 6 minutes total. Add to cutting board. Repeat with asparagus, but set them to cool on a plate. Roughly chop shallots, onions and ramps or scallions and place in a bowl. Dress with 2 tablespoons of honey-vinegar mixture, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. Fill a medium saucepan two-thirds full of water and add white vinegar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. In the meantime, put ricotta in a small bowl and gently stir in lemon zest and sumac along with a pinch of salt. Taste and add salt as desired. In a medium bowl, toss together pea greens and microgreens or watercress with 2 tablespoons honey-vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Set out four salad plates. Arrange 4 asparagus on each plate next to evenly divided portions of ricotta, charred onion mixture and dressed greens.
  4. When water is simmering, reduce heat to medium. Crack an egg into a large slotted spoon set over a small bowl to strain off any thin strands of white, and then gently lower egg into simmering water. Repeat with second egg immediately. Cook eggs for about 2–3 minutes for a medium-soft yolk and remove to a clean bowl with a slotted spoon. Trim any untidy white with scissors if desired. Repeat with remaining two eggs. Top each salad with an egg and sprinkle with more sumac, lemon zest, a drizzle of remaining honey-vinegar and flake sea salt. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. Photo by Ken Burris.
Adapted from chef-owner Frank Pace, Pace Catering, Burlington
Adapted from chef-owner Frank Pace, Pace Catering, Burlington
Vermont Life Magazine http://vermontlife.com/

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