New Finds


Several articles and food blogs claim that this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa is the best broccoli they’ve ever had. It’s very good; the roasting brings out great flavour from the broccoli and garlic and the lemon zest and juice, pine nuts, Parmesan and basil really dress this dish up. The recipe below calls for 4 to 5 lbs/1.8 to 2.2 kg broccoli to serve 6. That’s a lot of broccoli, so adjust accordingly.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Check the pine nuts to make sure they don’t contain a preservative. Genuine Parmesan cheese is additive-free.

Arrange broccoli on baking sheet with garlic, oil, salt and pepper

Roast until the broccoli is charred and tender

Top with lemon zest and juice, pine nuts, Parmesan and basil

Ingredients:

4 to 5 pounds (1.8 to 2.2. kg) broccoli

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

Good olive oil

1½ (7.5 ml) teaspoons kosher salt

½ (2.5 ml) teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons (10 ml) grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons (45 ml) pine nuts, toasted

1/3 cup (85 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons (30 ml) julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 C).

Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two (2.5 to 5 cm) of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups (2 L) of florets. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons (75 ml) olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot. Serves 6.

From the Barefoot Contessa

This recipe from Food and Wine is an easy way to prepare a fillet of fish. The recipe calls for branzino or trout, but it would also work well with sole, halibut, haddock, cod or tilapia. Roast fingerling potatoes on a sheet pan for about 20 minutes (I also roasted some carrots). Meanwhile, mix together softened butter, mustard and herbes de Provence. Spread the mixture on the fish and add to the pan with the vegetables. Roast until the fish is opaque and flaky, about 10 minutes. Herbes de Provence is a combination of dried herbs. You can buy it ready-made or make your own, using a combination of rosemary, fennel, savoury, thyme, basil, marjoram, oregano and tarragon.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the dried herbs to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Use a butter that contains only cream, with no colour added. I use President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon mustard.

Once the vegetables have been cooking for about 20 minutes, place the fish on the baking sheet and top with butter-herb mixture

Roast until the fish is opaque and the vegetables are tender

Ingredients:

1 pound (454 g) fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons (30 ml) plus 2 teaspoons (10 ml) herbes de Provence, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon (15 ml) Dijon mustard

2 (12-ounce/340 g) butterflied branzino or trout

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Toss together potatoes, olive oil, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) herbes de Provence, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt, and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pepper on prepared baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven until potatoes are golden around edges and nearly tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, mash butter, mustard, remaining 2 teaspoons (10 ml) herbes de Provence, and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt together with a fork in a small bowl. Arrange fish flesh side up, season with salt and pepper, and spread butter mixture evenly on fish.

Flip potatoes and arrange around edges of pan to accommodate fish. Add fish to baking sheet, flesh side up, and roast until fish is opaque and flaky and potatoes are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serves 2.

From Food and Wine

If you like cauliflower you’re going to love this luscious recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Simple. Steamed cauliflower is bathed in a curry-mustard-cream-cheese sauce and then baked and broiled. It’s a great side dish and/or satisfying vegetarian main course. Cook’s note: If you don’t want to steam the cauliflower in a steamer basket over water, place the florets on a microwave-safe plate lined with a dampened and wrung out white paper towel. Top with another damp paper towel and microwave for 3-5 minutes or until just beginning to soften.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter than contains only cream (no colour) and spices that don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Cheddar can sometimes contain colour so check the ingredients. Use additive-free white bread; I used an Ace Bakery loaf.

Steam cauliflower florets

Cook onion

Add spices and chiles

Add cream and cheese

Add cauliflower to sauce and bake

Ingredients:

1 large cauliflower, separated into 1 ½-inch (4-cm) florets

2 tbsp (30 ml) butter

1 small onion, peeled and finely diced (1 cup/250 ml)

1½ tsp (7.5 ml) cumin seeds

1 tsp (5 ml) curry powder

1 tsp (5 ml) mustard powder

2 green chiles, deseeded and finely diced

¾ tsp (3.75 ml) black mustard seeds

¾ cup + 2 tbsp (187.5 ml + 30 ml) heavy cream

4 oz (120 g) aged cheddar, coarsely grated

Salt

1/3 cup (15 g) fresh white breadcrumbs, from about half a slice

¼ cup (60 ml) parsley, finely chopped

Preparation:

Heat the oven to 400 F (204 C).

Steam the cauliflower over boiling water for 5 minutes, until just softening. Then remove and set aside to cool slightly.

Melt the butter in a round, 9-inch (24 cm) casserole pan on a medium heat, and sauté the onion for about 8 minutes, until soft and golden.

Add the cumin, curry and mustard powders, and chopped chile and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the mustard seeds, cook for a minute more, then stir in the cream, 100 g of cheddar and ½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce slightly thickens. Add the cauliflower, stir gently and simmer for 1 minute before removing from heat.

Place the remaining 20 g of cheddar  in a bowl and add the breadcrumbs and parsley. Mix, then sprinkle over the cauliflower. Wipe the top inside edge of the pan clean with a spatula or cloth (to avoid burning) and place in the oven. Bake for 8 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and cauliflower is hot. Turn the broiler to high and keep the pan underneath for 4 minutes, or until the top is golden and crips. Watch it so it does not burn. Remove from oven and allow to cool a little – 5 minutes or so – before serving. Serves 4.

From Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi

This hearty and delicious soup from Yotam Ottolenghi is a bit labour-intensive (it is Ottolenghi, after all) but is worth the effort. Cook a whole chicken with garlic and onion in a pot of water to yield stock. Set the cooked chicken aside to cool while you soften and season vegetables, add tomatoes and stock and simmer. Remove the meat from the chicken and add it to the liquid along with long pasta, such as fettucine or pappardelle. Cook until the pasta is done and serve, garnished with red chile and parmesan cheese.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Genuine parmesan contains no artificial ingredients. I used No Name tomato paste, which is additive-free.

Simmer chicken in water with onions and garlic until it is cooked through and falling apart

This recipe uses thyme, bay leaves, parmesan rind, tomatoes, tomato paste and pasta

Soften vegetables

Add thyme, garlic, bay leaves and rind

Add tomatoes, stock, chicken meat and pasta

Garnish with red chile and grated parmesan

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken (around 3 lbs/1.4 kg)

1 whole head garlic, halved, plus 4 cloves, peeled and crushed

1 onion, cut into 4 wedges

Salt and black pepper

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and cut into roughly ½-inch/15 mm cubes (8 oz/220 g net weight)

3 sticks celery, cut at an angle into roughly 0.4-inch/1cm-thick slices (7 oz/200 g net weight)

3 bay leaves

1½ tbsp (22.5) thyme leaves, finely chopped

1 oz/60 g parmesan, finely grated, plus 1 small piece of rind

5 plum tomatoes, coarsely grated and skins discarded (11 oz/320 g)

2 tsp (10 ml) tomato paste

6 oz/180 g dried long pasta, such as pappardelle or fettucine

0.5 oz/15 g basil leaves, finely shredded

1 red chile, deseeded and finely chopped

Preparation:

Put the chicken, garlic head halves, onion, 8.5 cups/two litres of water and two and a quarter teaspoons (11 ml) of salt in a large saucepan for which you have a lid. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 80 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a board, leave to cool slightly, then pull off the meat in large shreds; discard the skin, bones and cartilage. Strain the stock into a medium saucepan (discard the solids). Keep warm on a low heat while you get on with everything else.

Put the oil in a large saucepan on a medium-high heat, then sauté the carrot and celery for four minutes, until they start to soften. Add the crushed garlic, bay, thyme and parmesan rind, cook for 30 seconds, then stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste, and cook for three minutes, until the tomatoes cook down slightly. Pour in hot stock, half a teaspoon (2.5 ml) of salt and a generous grind of pepper, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.

Ladle out 14 oz/400 g of the soup, about 50/50 liquid to solids (avoid the bay and rind), transfer to a blender and blitz smooth. Stir back into the soup pan and turn up the heat to medium-high. Add the pasta, chicken flesh and a good grind of pepper, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Discard the bay leaves and parmesan rind.

Divide the soup between four bowls, top with the basil, chilli, a good grind of pepper and a sprinkling of grated parmesan, and serve with extra parmesan alongside. Serves 4-6.

From Yotam Ottolenghi

This recipe from the New York Times is a great comfort-food meal for these cold, end-of-winter days. Fry some onions until soft and set half aside. Add spices and tomatoes and cook until slightly thickened. Meanwhile, cook some rotini or small pasta shells. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce with some parsley, top with the reserved onions and cheeses and bake until the dish is bubbling and the cheese has browned.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the dried spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Look for cheddar that does not contain colour. Genuine Parmesan cheese is all-natural. If you choose to use hot sauce, try original Tabasco or Simply Natural Organic sriracha.

Cook onions until brown and tender

Simmer tomato sauce

Add cooked pasta to sauce

Place reserved onions and cheese on top of pasta and sauce

Baked skillet pasta with cheddar and fried onions

Ingredients:

6  tablespoons (90 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

3  large onions, thinly sliced

1  large bay leaf

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) ground coriander

1  teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin

Pinch of cayenne, plus more to taste

1 ¼ (6.25 ml) teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more as needed

3  fat garlic cloves, minced

1  teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds

1  teaspoon (5 ml) black pepper

⅛ teaspoon (0.6 ml) ground allspice

1  (15-ounce/443 ml) can whole peeled plum tomatoes

1  pound (454 g) small pasta, such as rotini or shells

¾ cup (180 ml) chopped parsley or cilantro (or use a combination of cilantro and parsley), plus more for serving

8  ounces (227 g) shredded Cheddar

½  cup (125 ml) grated Parmesan

Hot sauce, for serving (optional

Preparation:

Heat ¼ cup (60 ml) oil in a 12-inch (30 cm) skillet over high heat. Add onions and bay leaf, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and browned in spots, 12 to 20 minutes. (Reduce heat if the pan starts to scorch.) Lower heat to medium, and stir in coriander, ground cumin, cayenne and ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) salt; cook 1 more minute. Transfer half the onions to a bowl and reserve (leave the bay leaf in the skillet).

Add garlic, cumin seeds, pepper and allspice to the skillet, and stir. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the juice from the canned tomatoes. Use your hands or kitchen scissors to squish or cut the tomatoes into pieces and add to pan. Fill the empty tomato can with water, and pour into the skillet. Add remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil and remaining 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt, and bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Taste, and add more salt and cayenne if you like. Remove bay leaf.

As mixture cooks, heat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until just about 2 minutes shy of al dente. Reserve 1 cup (250 ml) pasta water, and drain pasta.

Stir pasta, reserved pasta water, and parsley into skillet with tomato sauce. Top with reserved browned onions, Cheddar and Parmesan. Transfer to oven and bake until golden and bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. If you like, you can run the pan under the broil to brown the top, or leave it as is. Let cool slightly, top with more parsley, if desired, and serve with hot sauce, if you like. Serves 4-6.

From the New York Times

This is a great recipe that uses buttermilk and pickle juice in a marinade that yields moist and delicious chicken. After marinating the chicken, place it on a sheet pan with carrots and potatoes. Roast for 40 minutes, then add cherry tomatoes and roast for another 10 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove the chicken and set it aside. Scatter kale (I used hardy mixed greens) over the vegetables and broil until the greens and vegetables are slightly charred. I used regular mini potatoes instead of mini sweet potatoes.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Many pickles contain preservatives. I used juice from a jar of Putter’s dill pickles. Make sure the smoked paprika doesn’t contain colour, flavour or anti-caking agents. I used Syren brand.

After marinating in buttermilk and pickle juice, roast chicken and vegetables

Remove chicken and scatter greens over vegetables

Broil until green begin to wilt and vegetables are slightly charred

Sheet pan buttermilk chicken

Ingredients:

Marinade

1¼ cups (310 ml) buttermilk

⅓ cup (82.5 ml) pickle juice (from dill pickles or cornichons)

Half onion, thinly sliced

5 cloves garlic, smashed

1½ tsp (7.5 ml) kosher salt

½ tsp (2.5 ml) each smoked paprika and pepper

Chicken and vegetables

1 whole chicken (about 1.5 kg/3.3 lbs), cut in 8 pieces (or 2 each bone-in skin-on chicken breasts and legs, halved)

1 bunch carrots (with stems), leaves trimmed

1 680 g (1.5 lb) bag mini sweet potatoes, halved diagonally

¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided

½ tsp (2.5 ml) each salt and pepper, divided

12 cherry tomatoes

1 bunch kale, stemmed and torn in large pieces

Preparation:

Marinade

In large resealable plastic bag, combine buttermilk, pickle juice, onion, garlic, salt, paprika and pepper.

Add chicken to marinade; seal bag. Massage to evenly coat. Place on baking sheet; refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before roasting.

Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Halve any larger carrots lengthwise. On pan, toss together carrots, sweet potatoes, 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the oil and ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) each of the salt and pepper.

Drain chicken, discarding marinade; pat dry with paper towel. Place in large bowl. Drizzle with remaining 2 tbsp (30 ml) oil; sprinkle with remaining ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) each salt and pepper, tossing to coat. Arrange over vegetables. Roast until chicken is browned and vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes, adding tomatoes during last 10 minutes of cooking. Transfer chicken to plate; loosely cover with foil.

Broil vegetables for 2 minutes; remove from oven. Scatter kale over vegetables, gently tossing to coat. Broil until kale is crisp and vegetables are slightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Serves 4-6.

From Canadian Living

This tasty recipe from the March issue of Canadian Living can be on the table in about 40 minutes. Cook onion and garlic, add tomato paste, wine, tomatoes and sugar and simmer until thickened. Cook the pasta and then add the mussels to the sauce and cook until they open, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked pasta to the mussels and sauce and serve with crusty bread.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter that contains only cream. I used No Name tomato paste and Unico tomatoes. You can skip the wine or use one that contains only naturally occurring sulfites. I used a white wine from  Frogpond Farm.

The sauce comes together quickly; simmer for a few minutes until it thickens.

Steam the mussels and then add the cooked noodles.

Ingredients:

2.2 lbs (1 kg) mussels

2 tbsp (30 ml) butter

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

¾ tsp (3 ml) salt

Pinch pepper

¼ tsp (1 ml) hot pepper flakes (optional)

2 tbsp (30 ml) tomato paste

¾ cup dry (185 ml) white wine

1 14-oz can (398 ml) no-salt-added diced tomatoes

1 tsp (5 ml) granulated sugar

8 oz (225 g) dried fettuccine

3 tbsp (45 ml) chopped parsley

Preparation:

Using stiff brush, scrub mussels; remove any beards. Discard any mussels that do not open when tapped. Set aside.

In large pot, melt butter and oil over medium heat; cook onion, garlic, salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook for 1 minute. Add wine and cook for 1 minute.

Add tomatoes and sugar; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Add mussels, stirring to coat. Increase heat to medium; cover and cook until mussels open, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that remain closed.

Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

Add pasta to mussel mixture; stir to coat. Divide among bowls and sprinkle with parsley. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

The ingredient list for this delicious dish from Cook’s Illustrated may seem long, but once you have your ingredients ready the stir-fry comes together in about 20 minutes. Marinate and stir-fry pork, cook scallions, shiitake mushrooms and Napa cabbage and toss with noodles. Better than take-out!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I have never been able to find ready-made oyster sauce and hoisin sauce that are additive-free, so I make my own. The recipes are below; make sure the peanut butter and sesame seed oil are additive-free. Use tamari instead of soy sauce and check the dried spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used Imagine Organic chicken stock and Eden rice cooking wine. I used Simply Natural sriracha for the chile sauce; you could also use original-style Tabasco.

Marinate and sear pork

Add mushrooms and scallions

Cook garlic and cabbage until the cabbage is slightly wilted

Pork stir-fry with noodles

Ingredients:

Oyster Sauce

1 ½ tablespoons (25 ml) tamari

1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar

1 ½ teaspoons (7 ml) cornstarch

Hoisin Sauce

4 tbsp (60 ml) tamari

2 tbsp (30 ml) peanut butter

1 tbsp (15 ml) honey

2 tsp (10 ml) white vinegar

Pinch garlic powder

2 tsp sesame seed oil

1 tsp (5 ml) Tabasco sauce

Pinch pepper

For stir-fry

3 tablespoons (45 ml) soy sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml) oyster sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml) hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon (15 ml) toasted sesame oil

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) five-spice powder

1 pound (454 g) boneless pork, sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch pieces (0.3-cm)

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) liquid smoke (optional)

½ cup (125 ml) low-sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon (5 ml) cornstarch

2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons/10 ml)

2 teaspoons (10 ml) grated fresh ginger

4 ½ teaspoons (25 ml) vegetable oil

4 tablespoons (60 ml) Chinese rice cooking wine (Shao-Xing) or dry sherry

½ pound (227 g) shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed, caps cut in halves or thirds (about 3 cups/750 ml)

2 bunches scallions, whites thinly sliced and greens cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces (about 2 cups/500 ml)

1 small head Napa or Chinese cabbage, halved, cored, and sliced crosswise into ½ -inch (1.25 -m) strips (about 4 cups/1 L)

12 ounces (340 g) dried Chinese egg noodles (lo mein) or 8 ounces (227 g) dried linguine (see note)

1 tablespoon (15 ml) Asian chile garlic sauce

Preparation:

Combine oyster sauce ingredients and set aside.

Combine hoisin sauce ingredients and set aside.

Bring 4 quarts (4 L)  water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat.

Whisk soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and five-spice powder together in medium bowl. Place 3 tablespoons (45 ml) soy sauce mixture in large zipper-lock bag; add pork and liquid smoke, if using. Press out as much air as possible and seal bag, making sure that all pieces are coated with marinade. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour. Whisk broth and cornstarch into remaining soy sauce mixture in medium bowl. In separate small bowl, mix garlic and ginger with ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) vegetable oil; set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in 12-inch (30-cm) cast-iron or non-stick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of pork in single layer, breaking up clumps with wooden spoon. Cook, without stirring, 1 minute. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) wine to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is reduced and pork is well coated, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer pork to medium bowl and repeat with remaining pork, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) oil, and remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) wine. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.

Return skillet to high heat, add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vegetable oil, and heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add scallions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions are wilted, 2 to 3 minutes longer; transfer vegetables to bowl with pork.

Add remaining teaspoon vegetable oil and cabbage to now-empty skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Clear center of skillet; add garlic-ginger mixture and cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir garlic mixture into cabbage; return pork-vegetable mixture and chicken broth-soy mixture to skillet; simmer until thickened and ingredients are well incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

While cabbage is cooking, stir noodles into boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender, 3 to 4 minutes for dried Chinese noodles or 10 minutes for dried linguine. Drain noodles and transfer back to Dutch oven; add cooked stir-fry mixture and garlic-chili sauce, tossing noodles constantly, until sauce coats noodles. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

From Cook’s Illustrated

This recipe from Ina Garten’s new cookbook Cook Like a Pro, is based on the farro salad served at New York City’s Charlie Bird restaurant. Farro is cooked in apple juice or cider, then tossed with a lemony vinaigrette, pistachios, parsley, mint, tomatoes and radishes. Delicious!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used pure apple juice instead of cider. Be sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice, genuine Parmesan cheese that does not contain additives and pistachios with no colour or preservatives added.

This salad contains arugula, herbs, tomatoes, radishes and pistachios.

Toss the cooked farro with the vinaigrette and let stand for 15 minutes.

Charlie Bird's Farro Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 ml) pearled farro (6 ounces/170 g)

1 cup (250 ml) fresh apple cider

2 bay leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup (125 ml) good olive oil

¼ cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ cup (125 ml) roasted, salted pistachios, whole or chopped

1 cup (250 ml) roughly chopped fresh parsley

1 cup (250 ml) roughly chopped fresh mint leaves

1 cup (250 ml) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved through the stem

1/3 cup (85 ml) thinly sliced radishes (2 to 3 radishes)

2 cups (500 ml) baby arugula

½ cup (125 ml) shaved Italian Parmesan cheese

Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon

Preparation:

Place the farro, apple cider, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt, and 2 cups (500 ml) water in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, until the farro is tender. (If all the liquid is absorbed before the farro is tender, add a little more water.)

Drain the farro and transfer to a large serving bowl. Discard the bay leaves.

Meanwhile, in a small measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt, and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pepper. Stir the vinaigrette into the warm farro and set aside for at least 15 minutes to cool. Before serving, stir in the pistachios, parsley, mint, tomatoes, and radishes.

Add the arugula and lightly fold in the Parmesan so as not to break it up too much. Sprinkle with the sea salt and serve immediately. Serves 6.

From Cook Like a Pro by the Barefoot Contessa

This is a delicious recipe from Food and Wine that combines spicy beef with fresh greens and herbs. The ingredient list may seem long, but the dish comes together quickly once you have everything ready to go.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I have never been able to find additive-free oyster sauce, so I make my own. The recipe is below. Use tamari instead of soy sauce because it contains alcohol as a preservative instead of sodium benzoate. I use Cock brand fish sauce and Marukan rice vinegar.

Marinate beef for 20 minutes

Combine salad ingredients

Sear the beef quickly

Shaking Beef

Ingredients:

Oyster Sauce

1 ½ tablespoons (25 ml) soy sauce

1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar

1 ½ teaspoons (7 ml) cornstarch

Beef

1 ½  tablespoons (25 ml) oyster sauce, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon (15 ml) soy sauce

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) cornstarch

1 teaspoon (5 ml) fish sauce

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 ½ pounds (680 g) boneless rib eye steak or New York strip steak, trimmed and cut into ¾ – to 1-inch pieces (1.9- to 2.5-cm)

Salad

¼ cup (60 ml) thinly sliced red onion or shallot

2 tablespoons (30 ml) water

1 ½ tablespoons (25 ml) unseasoned rice vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) granulated sugar or honey

1/8 teaspoon (0.65 ml)  fine sea salt

1/8 teaspoon (0.65 ml) freshly ground black pepper

4 cups (1 L) lightly packed watercress, baby arugula, or other salad greens

1 cup (250 ml) torn radicchio or 8 halved cherry tomatoes

¼ cup (60 ml) fresh mint, basil, or other herb leaves, torn

2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola oil or other neutral oil (such as grapeseed)

Preparation:

Make the oyster sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Make the beef

Stir together oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, fish sauce, pepper, and garlic in a medium bowl. If a saltier finish is desired, add up to 1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) more oyster sauce. Add beef, toss well to coat, and let marinate 20 minutes at room temperature.

Make the salad

Rinse onions in a strainer under cold running water for about 10 seconds; set aside. Whisk together 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add onion; top with watercress, radicchio, and herbs. Do not toss.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over high, and add oil. When oil is shimmering, carefully add beef in a single layer. Cook, shaking pan every 30 to 60 seconds, until seared on all sides and meat reaches desired degree of doneness, 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from heat. Quickly toss salad, and transfer to a platter or serving dish. Pile cooked beef and juices on salad, and serve immediately. Serves 4.

From Food and Wine

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