Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lamb Osso Buco with Tapenade

I found this recipe online at foodandwine, which I copied to save having to type the whole thing over again, but I actually followed the recipe from the book Sunday Suppers at Lucquesby Chez Panisse alum Suzanne Goin. I'd say the book version is way more complicated. Wish I had seen this earlier! You can read more about my results here. Actually F&W has 38 of her recipes online, so I suggest checking those out first.


If using lamb shanks, have your butcher cut the shanks into thirds. I used lamb osso bucco.


  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 1 rosemary sprig, leaves only
  • 4 meaty lamb shanks (6 pounds total), cut crosswise into thirds
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb--trimmed, halved lengthwise, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 3 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • Strips of zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups lamb stock or beef stock, or 11/2 cups canned beef broth mixed with 1- 1/2 cups water
  • 1 anchovy fillet, mashed
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Ni├žoise olives (about 4 ounces), pitted and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon capers, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 2 cups fresh shelled or frozen beans (about 10 ounces), such as black-eyed peas or cranberry beans. (I was only able to find a sprouted medly of fresh garbanzo, adzuki and peas that took at least 10 times as long to cook!)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. PREPARE THE LAMB: In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the olive oil with the garlic, thyme and rosemary. Add the lamb and turn to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, turning occasionally, or refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°. Scrape off the marinade and season the lamb with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole until shimmering. Working in 2 batches, sear the lamb over moderate heat until well browned all over, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter.
  3. Add the onion, fennel and carrot to the casserole and cook over low heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the wine, parsley sprigs, lemon zest and bay leaf and boil until reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Return the lamb to the casserole, add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and braise in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is almost falling off the bones; turn the lamb twice during cooking.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lamb to a platter. Strain the cooking liquid, pressing the vegetables through the strainer. Skim off the fat and season with salt and pepper. Return the meat and the sauce to the casserole and keep warm. The book differs by saying to remove the meat and place on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 20 minutes - while I'm sure there was a good reason for this, it practically ruined the dish for me! That's why it looks so dried out...
  5. MAKE THE TAPENADE: Meanwhile, in a mortar, crush the anchovy and garlic to a paste. Alternatively, mash the anchovy and garlic with the side of a large knife. Stir in the olive oil, olives, lemon juice, parsley and capers.
  6. MAKE THE BEANS: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the shallots, garlic and thyme and cook over moderate heat until softened. Stir in the beans, add the water and salt and cook over low heat until tender, about 20 minutes. I was only able to find fresh sprouted beans at the store, which took a couple of hours to cook, so it's a good idea to start these beans after you put the lamb into the oven, just in case it takes you a long time too!
  7. Drain the beans and spoon them into bowls. Spoon the lamb stew over the beans, top with the tapenade and serve.

MAKE AHEAD The recipe can be prepared through Step 5 and refrigerated overnight.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fresh Pea Soup

this recipe is based on Ina Garten's recipe

2 tablespoons butter
1 cups chopped leek, white and light green parts (1 leek)
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 cups freshly shelled peas
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste
sour cream for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives


Heat the butter in a large saucepan, add the leeks and onion, and cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the onion is tender. Add the chicken stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the peas and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the peas are tender. Take off the heat, add the mint, salt, and pepper.

Puree the soup using an immersion blender. Whisk in some sour cream and chives and taste for seasoning. Top with a splash of olive oil or sour cream... Oh and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice really brightens it up too.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Roasted Cauliflower

I was listening to NPR's Kitchen Window and was intrigued by Nicole Spiridakis' obsession with cauliflower. To hear her talking about the roasted cauliflower made me drool...

This recipe is more of a guideline. For example, if you follow a low-sodium diet, it's perfectly acceptable to omit the salt (and, conversely, if you're a salt-lover, to add a little more). The key is to roast the cauliflower until it becomes caramelized — don't be alarmed if some of the florets get slightly blackened, as this just adds to its addictive flavor.

Makes 4 side-dish servings

1 medium to large head cauliflower, washed

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Trim any leaves and cut the cauliflower into quarter-inch slices. Toss with the olive oil and salt, spread in a single layer in a baking dish and roast until it begins to brown a bit and the oil is sizzling.

Turn the pieces once or twice and give the pan a good shake while it's roasting, about 25 minutes.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Brown Butter

1 stick of butter

Slowly heat the butter in a saucepan on low until it foams, turns golden brown and a layer of scum forms on top, taking care not to let it burn or get too dark. Take this off the heat and skim off the top layer. Let cool for a few minutes to allow solids to settle at the bottom, then strain the mixture through a fine sieve or cheesecloth.

Seared Scallops with Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Grapefruit Vinaigrette

1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned, juice reserved (click here to see a video of how to section a grapefruit on
1/2 shallot minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tblspoons cilantro or chervil finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1 lb. sea scallops
3 tblspoons brown butter
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions for Scallops:

Melt the brown butter in a cast iron pan over medium high heat until you can see the heat shimmer over the top of the melted butter. Don't heat it enough to smoke. Place the scallops in with several inches of space between them. Cook for 3-4 minutes, taking care not to let them burn. Turn over and cook for a a few more minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

I served it over watercress with rice pilaf.