Tag Archives: pinenuts

Back to the basics…. but still worth knowing! The Tomato & Mozzarella Salad

21 Jan

I know that many of you are rather craving for a hot soup or a good stew but I am still in Miami for a few weeks and this is the high season for fruits and vegetables…. And I really love to write that this dish is seasonal in January…. it may never happen to me again.

Let’s enjoy! Next year, I’ll most probably write about Tomato Soup!

Tomate-Mozza-3

 

Ingredients: for 6 people

  • 500g of cherry tomatoes or 6 vine tomatoes
  • 1-2 Mozzarella di Buffala or Burrata
  • a bunch of Basil
  • Good quality olive oil
  • A lemon juice
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Toasted pinenuts optional

Method:

Tomato Mozzarella is one of the easiest salad to prepare. It is not time consuming, it’s fresh and only few people does not like it…. Perfect for great family table in the summer or BBQ buffet!

Only one advice…. if you can get the best products for that recipe, it will really make the difference.

Really good tomatoes such as the Italian ones that leave a really pleasant smell on your fingers we you rub them. Mozzarella di Buffala or even Burrata that is creamier than the Mozzarella. Many shops sell cheap Mozzarella that have bland taste and a texture not as close as the creamy Buffala. For the Basil, if you have some in your garden, at least you’ll be sure it’s fresh. Otherwise, just smell it to make up your mind. And last but not least, use a rich olive oil with lots of flavor.

Once this is said….. you are almost done!

There is 2 ways to prepare Tomato Mozzarella. Either sliced and presented on long flat dishes or diced and presented in salad bowl. As we usually have it served sliced, I wanted to show you the other way.

Either cut into 2-3 mm slices your tomato or dice them or cut them into 2 if it is cherry tomatoes.

Cut the Mozzarella into 2-3 mm slices as well and if the slices are bigger than the tomatoes, cut them into 2 so that they match the tomato size. Otherwise dice or tear the mozzarella/burrata into small pieces matching the tomatoes.

Whisk together a lemon juice with 50ml of olive oil, add salt and pepper.

Wash the basil leaves, dry them and place them on top of each other to make it easier to shred (do not chop the basil otherwise it will get dark very quickly).

If you are doing the sliced presentation. Place your tomato one after another on a flat dish and insert a slice of Mozzarella in between each slice or every 2 slices. Scatter the shredded basil all over the surface and generously pour the marinade on top of the dish. Serve it straight away.

For the diced presentation, gather the tomato and mozzarella in a nice salad bowl, add the basil to the marinade and pour it on top of the salad. Mix it gently especially if you are using Burrata as it will coat the tomato and make it look messy.

For presentation scatter pine nuts on top and serve it straight away.

The diced option:

Tomates Mozza-1

Tomate-Mozza-2

The sliced option:

Tomates-Mozza-Sliced-2

Tomates-Mozza-Sliced-3

Tomates-Mozza-Sliced-4

Ingredients: pour 6 personnes

  • 500g de tomates cerises ou 6 tomates en grappes
  • 1-2 boules de Mozzarella di Buffala ou de Burrata
  • 1 bouquet de basilic
  • De l’huile d’olive de bonne qualité
  • 1 jus de citron
  • Sel & Poivre
  • Des pignons de pin grillés (optionnel)

Méthode:

La salade tomates-mozzarella fait partie des plats simples et rapides à préparer. Parfait pour les grands repas de famille ou les buffets pour apporter une belle touche de couleur.

Un seul conseil qui n’est pas des moindres, pour une bonne salade tomates-mozza, choisissez des produits de qualité.

Les tomates doivent être fraîches et savoureuses. Rien de pire qu’une tomate farineuse et sans goût. Une bonne tomate laisse une odeur très parfumée sur le doigt quand vous en frottez la surface.

Il en va de même pour la Mozzarella, évitez les mozzarellas bon marché qui n’ont aucun goût et encore moins de crémeux. Les AOC telles que la Mozzarella di Buffala ou la Burrata sont plus coûteuses mais font vraiment la différence.

Pour le basilic, si vous avez la chance d’en faire pousser dans votre jardin ou sur le bord de votre fenêtre, soyez généreux et taillez gaiement votre plant. C’est pour la bonne cause. Evitez le basilic desséché ou surgelé si possible.

Pour finir, choisissez une huile d’olive riche en goût car c’est elle qui va révéler tous les éléments de votre salade et leur donner une unité savoureuse.

Une fois ce petit point produit fait, vous avez quasiment terminé!

Il y a 2 façons de préparer la salade tomate-mozza. Soit en tranches présentées sur un plat long et en une seule couche, soit en dés, dans un saladier en guise d’accompagnement ou de garniture.

Coupez les tomates en tranches de 2-3 mm ou en petits dés ou en 2 si il s’agit de tomates-cerises.

Coupez la Mozzarella de la même façon, en tranches de 2-3 mm ou en petit dés. Si les tomates sont de petites tailles, recoupez les tranches de Mozzarella en 2 ou en 4 pour qu’elles soient de la même taille que les tranches de tomates. Pour la Burrata, si celle-ci est très fondante, détaillez-la en lamelles du bout des doigts.

Pour la sauce, émulsionnez un jus de citron avec 50 ml d’huile d’olive, salez et poivrez selon votre goût.

Rincez et séchez le basilic. Pour émincez le basilic, superposez les feuilles les unes sur les autres afin d’aller plus vite. Evitez de hacher le basilic car il s’oxydera et prendra une couleur brune peu appétissante.

Pour la présentation en tranches, placez une tomate en tranches sur un des bords de votre plat et insérez toutes les tranches ou toutes les 2 tranches, une tranche de mozzarella. Continuez jusqu’à ce que le plat soit généreusement recouvert.

Parsemez de basilic émincé et arrosez de sauce huile d’olive-citron. Servez immédiatement.

Pour la présentation en dés, rassemblez les tomates et la mozzarella dans un saladier, ajoutez le basilic à la sauce et versez le tout sur le mélange. Mixez le tout délicatement pour éviter que le crémeux de la mozzarella ne se dépose trop sur la tomate et lui donne un aspect “poisseux”.

Vous pouvez parsemez des pignons de pin grillés en surface et ajouter une ou 2 feuilles de basilic pour la présentation.

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Crab… 3 ways

8 Jan

crab 3 ways

After our tour of Pinecrest Farmer’s Market, we ended-up with so many things (as usual) that I had to figure out what to do with it…..

That’s how I ended up with that post about crab. Except when you are living by the sea, crab is not really in your every day menu. It’s rather a treat.

Still, we need to accommodate it in a nice way to enjoy all its flavor potential.

Here it is: my crab, 3 ways.

  • Crab with drinks with lemon or homemade mayonnaise,
  • Crab, Fennel, Almond and Pomegranate Salad as a starter or light lunch salad,
  • Mediterranean Crab Linguine as a main.

For those of you still living in London, many places sell crab meat but I used to love walking by The Fish Place on Kensington Church Street, the fishmongers work in front of you and you can see them working on dozens of crabs and other fishes to make them look so great that they are priceless. Even though, the crab meat is really good and worth the price if you are craving for it. At least you won’t have to spend your priceless time working on the crab.

LF064213_942long

Crab with drinks

Ingredients

  • crab’s pincer
  • crab cracker
  • lemon and/or lime
  • mayonnaise* (natural, ketchup, garlic…)
  • napkins
  • a good bottle of white wine such as Sancerre or Entre-Deux-Mers (if you stop by The Fish Place, just keep walking a little further and stop by Lea & Sandemann for a perfect match)

* I’ll try to write a post about mayonnaise but this is definitely something I am not good at. My mum, sisters and even best friends make it so much better that I never took the time to work on it properly. I’ll gather their best recipes for you.

Method

Just gather a small bunch of really good friends on a sunny day and get your fingers dirty working on the crab!

Crab, Fennel, Almond & Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients – serves 4 as a starter

  • 1/2 fennel
  • 1 lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of crab meat or 4-5 crab’s pincers
  • 1/2 pomegranate
  • 1/4 cup whole or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 tsp butter
  • 2 handful mixed leaves
  • salt and pepper

Method

First of all, start with the fennel as it needs to marinate.

Cut the leafy parts and set them aside then cut the fennel into 2. You need to remove the center of the fennel, this is the part that looks like a triangle. You can remove it with a knife, make two incisions and pull it off.

Once you are done, thinly slice the fennel and pour it in a bowl. Squeeze a lemon juice on top to prevent it from getting brown with oxydation then add olive oil, salt and pepper to marinate it. Set aside in the fridge.

Fennel Cutting

If you did not buy your crab meat already prepared, break the crab’s pincer and carefully get rid of the cartilages and shells. Reserve the crab meat in a bowl.

Cut your pomegranate into two and as explained in the Pomegranate Post, use a wooden spoon to get the seeds out of it.Reserve in a bowl.

Thinly slice your almonds if you did not find slivered one and in a pan, gently fry them with a little butter, salt and pepper. This step will really make the whole salad different in term of flavor. The butter will release the flavor of the almonds and add richness to the whole dish. Reserve in a bowl.

Get all your ingredients at hand and start assembling your salad. If you serve it as a starter, present it individually in small flat bowls or on a long flat serving dish. It will really enhance the whole dish.

Gently toss the mixed leaves with olive oil, salt, pepper and some of the fennel marinade. Spread a generous layer on the dish you choose then sprinkle fennel, crab, pomegranate seeds and almonds one after another.

You can chop the leafy part of the fennel and use it as you would use dill to bring more flavor but it’s really up to your taste.

As for the Crab with drinks, this starter goes along very well with a light and crispy white wine.

Crab Salad

Mediterranean Crab Linguine

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of crab meat or 7-8 crab’s pincers
  • 1 onion thinly diced
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1 courgette thinly diced, skin on
  • 1 large tomato or 2-3 tomatoes on the vine thinly diced
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp white wine – optional
  • 4-5 basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • a drop of Tabasco
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pack of linguine
  • pine nuts gently toasted

Method

Once again, if you did not buy your crab meat already prepared, break the crab’s pincer and carefully get rid of the cartilages and shells. Reserve the crab meat in a bowl.

Get all the vegetables thinly diced and ready to cook.

Ingredients

In a frying pan, gently cook the diced onion with olive oil, when it gets translucent, add the garlic then 2-3 minutes later add the diced courgette.

The heat must not be too strong in order to preserve the shape of the vegetables. Once the courgette gets soft, add the tomato and keep on cooking for 2-3 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice (and white wine if you have some) on top of it and season with salt and pepper. Cover and reserve on very low heat.

Sauce Base Prep

During that process, bring to a boil a large pan filled with water for the linguine. Add salt to it.

Cook the linguine al dente – should be 9 minutes but check the package for instructions.

At last, finish the crab sauce. Add the crab meat and cook it for 1-2 minutes, add the basil and cook it for another minute. Adjust the seasoning up to your taste. At that stage, I like to add 1-2 drops of Tabasco.

Drain the linguine and pour a generous amount of them in individual flat bowls or in a large serving dish.

Pour the crab sauce on top of it and serve it straight away. You can sprinkle pine nuts on top of it and if you really can’t imagine your pasta without Parmesan, go for it but at least you should try it as it is….

Cooking Pasta

To me pasta is definitely a Sunday night dish. No need to add anything on the side, no need to think about quantity…. make as much as you want. Pasta is really great the day after as well!

Result 2

Simply Pomegranate… focus on the method and a light lunch suggestion

3 Jan

Back to Miami…. palm trees, blue sky and warm weather are still here…. No need to say that all the earthy dishes I was craving for when I was back at home are not anymore among my top 10. 

Looking at my fruit basket, I see 3 beautiful pomegranates waiting for a clever use! It suddenly reminded me of the streets of Jerusalem where you can drink a freshly pressed pomegranate juices at any stalls or cafe.

Jerusalem

That’s it, I still don’t know yet but one of these pomegranates will be part of my lunch today and I’ll drink the juice collected as it is an antioxidant but also because I love that sweet and sour hint, the fresh and light effect it has on me.

The only thing with pomegranate is that you have to deserve it…. Either you buy the seeds or you buy the fruit and you have to deal with it. Here is the method: don’t forget the apron, don’t were anything white and clear your kitchen counter!

Utensils:

  • a pomegranate
  • a sharp knife
  • a wooden spoon
  • a board
  • a bowl
  • an apron

Method:

As pomegranate are really juicy, choose a board big enough to prevent the juice from dripping on your kitchen counter.

Cut the pomegranate into 2 and on top of a large bowl, knock the pomegranate skin with a wooden spoon. It will help releasing most of the seeds.

You will collect lots of juice and seeds but still you will have to finish picking the remaining seeds one by one. To make it easier, push gently the top of your half pomegranate toward the bottom to reverse it. You will have a better view of what’s remaining and it will be easier to get rid of the white membrane.

Once you have finish, get rid of the last parcels of white membrane and separate the seeds from the juice as they will get soft if kept in a liquid.

desseed

Ingredients for the light lunch suggestion*:

  • 1/2 pomegranate deseeded
  • a handful of mixed leaves
  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes cut in halves
  • 3-4 generous leaves of fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp of toasted pinenuts
  • 1-2 slices of thinly sliced prosciutto
  • a bread roll
  • 2 slices of fresh goats cheese 1/2 cm thick
  • olive oil
  • vinegar such as Xeres or Cabernet Sauvignon
  • salt & pepper

Method:

Preheat your oven to 400°F or turn it on the grill position.
Cut your bread into 2 lengthwise and place each slice of goats cheese in the center, season with salt and pepper and if you like it caramelized, add a little honey on top. Place them on a piece of parchment paper and grill them for about 5 minutes until it gets a nice golden surface.
In the meantime, prepare the salad:
Roughly slice the basil, tear into thin stripes the prosciutto and whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Assemble the components of your salad in a salad bowl and drizzle with the dressing.
Once the goats cheese toasts are ready, place them on top of the salad and serve it straightaway.

salad compo

* Of course, the variations on that salad are infinite….. here is a few ideas

  • any nuts or seeds can replace the pine nuts: pistachios, cashew, pumpkin seeds….
  • use dry fruits, mango or avocado instead of pomegranate, just think about the color
  • if you are on a gluten free diet, just crumble the cheese on top of the salad
  • instead of goat’s cheese, use crumbled feta, shaved parmesan, grilled halloumi, diced mimolette
  • substitute prosciutto with crispy bacon, turkey breasts, crayfish, bresaola…..
  • have fun with the dressing and make it Asian with soy sauce and lime, Lebanese with pomegranate molasse, French with mustard, Indian with curry….

Version Française : La grenade, méthode et recette légère

Ustensiles:

•    1 grenade
•    1 couteau bien aiguisé
•    1 cuillère en bois
•    1 planche a découper
•    1 bol
•    1 tablier

Méthode:

La grenade est un fruit très juteux, il est donc préférable d’utiliser une planche munie d’une gouttière ou suffisamment grande pour éviter d’inonder le plan de travail. Ceci étant dit, vous pouvez désormais couper votre grenade en 2. En maintenant une des 2 moitiés au dessus d’un bol, frappez la coque énergiquement avec le dos d’une cuillère en bois. Les graines vont se défaire d’elles-mêmes et tomber dans le bol.
En procédant ainsi, vous devriez réussir a collecter l’essentiel des graines du fruit et aussi beaucoup de jus. Pour les graines restantes, retourner le fruit en poussant la coque vers l’intérieur. Les dernières graines seront très faciles a récupérer. Débarrasser vous des quelques morceaux de membranes blanches qui sont venus avec et mettez le jus de cote afin de garder le croquant des graines.

Ingrédients pour une salade légère et fraiche:

•    les graines d’1/2 grenade
•    une poignée de mesclun
•    4-5 tomates cerises coupées en 2
•    3-4 belles feuilles de basilic
•    1 cas de pignons de pin grillés
•    1-2 tranches de prosciutto
•    1 tranche de pain type Poilane
•    2-3 tranches de chèvre frais d’1/2 cm d’épaisseur
•    miel liquide (optionnel)
•    huile d’olive
•    vinaigre de Xérès ou un bon vinaigre de vin rouge
•    sel et poivre du moulin

Méthode:

Préchauffez le four a 200°C ou le mettre en position grill.
Déposez les tranches de chèvre sur le pain, poivrez et si vous aimez votre chèvre caramélisé, versez un peu de miel en surface.
Faites griller le toast 4-5 minutes au four sur une plaque couverte de papier sulfurisé. Le toast est prêt lorsque le chèvre a pris une jolie couleur dorée-brune en surface.
Pendant ce temps, préparez votre salade:
Emincez grossièrement votre basilic, divisez votre Prosciutto en 3-4 bandes et préparez la sauce en émulsionnant le vinaigre, l’huile, le sel et le poivre. Ajustez selon votre gout.
Assaisonnez le mesclun avec la sauce puis dans un bol a salade, assemblez les différents éléments de votre salade de façon appétissante en finissant avec les bandes de Prosciutto. Assaisonnez de nouveau si nécessaire et ajoutez les toasts de chèvres tranchés avant de servir.

* Vous vous en doutez, il existe une infinité de variations pour cette salade mais voici tout de même quelques idées si vous êtes en panne d’inspiration:
    •    les pignons peuvent être remplacés par n’importe quel type de noix: cajous, pécans, pistaches…..
    •    remplacez la grenade par des fruits secs ou de la mangue, de l’avocat, pensez a mettre de la couleur pour rendre le plat appétissant!
    •    si vous ne tolérez pas le gluten, oubliez les toasts et émiettez simplement le chèvre sur la salade,
    •    a la place du chèvre, utilisez de la féta, des copeaux deParmesan, de l’Halloumi grillé, de la mimolette vieille coupée en dés,
    •    pensez au bacon grillé, a la Bresaola, aux queues de langoustines ou au blanc de dinde si vous voulez changer du Prosciutto
    •    et surtout amusez vous avec la sauce: asiatique avec de la sauce soja et du citron vert, libanaise avec de la molasse de grenade, indienne avec du curry ou simplement française avec une bonne base de moutarde!