Monday, August 11, 2014

but now i'm back

Home again, home again. Time for the overachieving to kick in.

Cauliflower, prepared two ways. Seared salmon. Impromptu, but very seasonal, fruit crumble for dessert. A la mode, clearly.

Cauliflower - basically, if you see a crudite platter missing all of the pretty white florets, it means I've been there and cleared them out. Other than a sugar snap pea, there are few raw vegetables that make me quite as happy.

I'll take cauliflower roasted, too. But like a lot of vegetarian/vegan food, I've never been into it pretending to be something it's not. So I was a little skeptical at the idea of making both "couscous" and puree, which of course, the no- to low-carb folks call "mashed potatoes," out of cauliflower. I was also afraid it would taste like too much of the same thing, but was I ever wrong.

First of all, the cauliflower puree was shockingly good, and tasted exactly like potatoes. Think of how much richer they would be if I had used whole milk rather than almond milk. Shocking.

And then the cauliflower "couscous," which I could eat for the rest of my life. Some of it was the addition of pistachios and mint - this was almost more a coarse cauliflower pesto, but so light and fresh from the minimal olive oil and abundance of lemon juice.

Salmon with Cauliflower Puree + Minted Pistachio Cauliflower Couscous
slightly adapted from Leite's Culinaria
serves 6

For the couscous:
12 oz. cauliflower florets
1 c. roasted and salted shelled pistachios
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
4 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. pistachio oil
salt, to taste

For the cauliflower puree:
12 oz. cauliflower florets
1 c. almond milk
2 T. butter
1 T. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

For the salmon:
6 3-oz. salmon fillets
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Place the cauliflower florets in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until they’re a couscous-like texture. Remove to a large bowl.

2. Place the pistachios and mint in the food processor and pulse to a bread crumb-like texture. Add to the cauliflower. Clean out the food processor and set aside.

3. Add the lemon juice and olive oil to the cauliflower-pistachio mixture, and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

3. In a small saucepan, bring the cauliflower and almond milk to a boil. Simmer until the cauliflower is very tender. Drain the cauliflower, reserving the milk. Place the cauliflower in the food processor, add the butter and lemon juice, and process until smooth, adding a little reserved milk if necessary to attain a purée. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm while you cook the fish.

4. Pat the fish dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat enough olive oil to coat the surface of a large skillet. Place the fish in the skillet, skin side down, and cook until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes. Flip the fish and continue to cook until the fish is opaque throughout, another 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of the fish.

5. To assemble, place a dollop cauliflower purée on each plate, top with cauliflower couscous, and place a fish fillet, skin side up, alongside.

And for dessert, Aprium Crumble, served with French vanilla ice cream, only because I forgot I stopped eating dairy. 

You see, I cut dairy a few weeks ago in an effort to a) manage my slight lactose intolerance, and b) help myself avoid the evils that usually come with a cream sauce or any dairy dessert. I've actually been pretty good about it. I didn't even cheat with a cheesesteak in Philly. But I hit Chicago, and consciously un-quit dairy - life is too short to not eat Garrett cheese popcorn and deep dish pizza. 

I got so used to my Chicago rules that I didn't even think twice topping my crumble with ice cream, and then proceeding to eat the fire out the whole thing. 

But even without ice cream, this will definitely be a seasonal party trick - just equal parts oats, flour and brown sugar, mixed together with some butter, all packed over whatever is delicious at the moment. I'm bummed I wasn't home for cherry season, but I think I'm going to check the farmers' market every time I'm home to pick the best fruit going, and hurry home to make this.

Aprium Crumble
serves 4

1/3 c. oats
1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. brown sugar
4 T. butter, diced
4 c. diced apriums

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, and brown sugar, and stir to combine. Add the diced butter, and process with your hands until the butter is mostly incorporated.

3. Fill your ramekins about half way full with fruit. Add a small dollop of crumble, and fill the ramekins the rest of the way with the remaining fruit. Divide the crumble evenly between the ramekins.

4. Set the ramekins on a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops are browned. Let cool slightly, and serve warm.

1 comment:

Lynn @ said...

Welcome back! I still can’t beieve that whole Federal Donuts/Abe’s Mom coincidence...