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Catching up with Piglet

This year’s Piglet fell during a particularly rough patch, so I fell behind posting stories here. But they made it into the paper. (Yay!) Here are the links to my breakdown of each 1st Round pairing along with recipes to put the cookbooks to the test in your own kitchen.

Here we go …

#2 of Round 1 // Gather vs. Six Seasons

#3 of Round 1 // Autentico vs. Bangkok

#4 of Round 1 // Ducksoup vs. Katchka

#5 of Round 1 // Onions Etcetera vs. The Pho Cookbook

#6 of Round 1 // The Art of Flavor vs. Night + Market

#7 of Round 1 // Bravetart vs. Tartine All Day

#8 of Round 1 // Kaukasis vs. King Solomon’s Table

Here’s a couple recipes that didn’t make it into the paper that I think you’d enjoy:

Pearl_Onion_Tarte_Tatin_IMG_6343 (1)

PEARL ONION TARTE TATIN // Onions Etcetera

Before you start, place your raw onions in the skillet and make sure that they fit very snugly. They will shrink a bit as they cook, so if you start with a slightly crowded pan, you’ll end up with perfect coverage. We usually make this with a mix of onion types, so there’s some pretty variation in color even as they caramelize. Likewise, we call for white balsamic vinegar, as regular balsamic will darken the onions more than we like. Serve this with a crisp, sharp salad and maybe a cup of soup. Serves 6

FOR THE DOUGH
1½ cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

FOR THE ONIONS
1½ pounds pearl onions
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

TO MAKE THE DOUGH, COMBINE THE FLOUR and ¼ teaspoon salt in a bowl and, using your hands or a pastry cutter, quickly work in the butter, squeezing or cutting it until the floury mixture is filled with pea-sized lumps. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water over the mixture and stir with your hands or a fork until it just holds together when squeezed. Add the remaining water if necessary. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten slightly, then wrap well in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to a couple of days.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the onions into the water and blanch for about 30 seconds. Drain well and run under cold water. When cool enough to handle, peel and trim them.

Heat the butter in a heavy 10-inch skillet, preferably cast-iron, over moderately high heat. When the butter has melted and foamed, sprinkle the sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan, followed by ½ teaspoon salt. Lay the onions in the skillet and cook, without stirring, for about 8 minutes. Give the skillet a shake to jostle the onions around a bit then continue cooking until nicely browned all over, another 4 to 5 minutes. Don’t worry if the onions are not fully tender; they will continue to cook in the oven.

Drizzle the vinegar over the onions then scatter the thyme leaves over top. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar is reduced and syrupy, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Roll out the pastry dough into an 11-inch round. Lay the pastry round directly over the onions, folding any excess dough up over the top. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the skillet, then place a serving plate over the skillet and carefully invert it to unmold the tarte tatin. Don’t fret if you lose any pearl onions in the transfer, simply pop them back into place. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

NOTE: If you just want some delicious glazed onions, omit the crust and simply cook the onions until they are fully tender before adding the vinegar, which should take about 10 minutes longer than noted above.

Reprinted from Onions Etcetera copyright 2017 by Kate Winslow and Guy Ambrosino with permission from Burgess Lea Press. Photography by Guy Ambrosino.

Fennel Braised in Chianti

FINOCCHI INFINOCCHIATI
Fennel Braised in Chianti // Autentico

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 medium fennel bulbs, bottoms trimmed, quartered lengthwise
1 cup Chianti or dry red wine
q.b. coarse sea salt and freshly ground Tellicherry black peppercorns*
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
1 tablespoon almond meal
Robust extra-virgin olive oil, to finish

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 9 x 13- inch baking dish.

Arrange the fennel quarters in the prepared baking dish. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the Chianti and 1 cup (250 ml | 250 g) water. Pour the winewater mixture into the pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the pan. Season with salt and pepper, then cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake until the fennel is slightly translucent and a small knife slides easily in and out, about 45 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the caraway seeds, bread crumbs, and almond meal. Season generously with salt. Divide the fennel among four plates, sprinkle with the caraway blend, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately. Serves 4

TO DRINK: This is a very tough dish to pair with a red wine, but any simple Chianti Classico, young and fruity, would do.

*Short for “quanto basta” meaning “as required” or as we say, “to taste.”

Reprinted from Autentico: Cooking Italian, the Authentic Way copyright 2017 by Rolando Beramendi with permission from St. Martin’s Griffin. Photography by Laurie Frankel.

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