Samphire and Tomato Salad (Insalata di Asparagi di Mare e Pomodori)

Samphire (also known as marsh samphire, salicornia, or sea asparagus) is a salt tolerant plant that grows near the sea. In Italy it is called asparagi di mare (sea asparagus), although I don’t think it tastes like asparagus. Samphire is … Continue reading Samphire and Tomato Salad (Insalata di Asparagi di Mare e Pomodori)

Chard Stems Gratin

I don’t have many leftovers, because I usually cook exact portions. Sometimes I do have leftover ingredients, and I don’t like to throw away any food. One typical leftover ingredient is the stems of chard, because the leaves are used for a recipe such as these lovely pansoti and then the stems are left. From the same pansoti I also had some leftover home made ricotta, and so I decided to turn the chard stems with ricotta into a simple but nice side dish: chard stems gratin. This was easy to prepare and quite tasty. It would be more traditional in Italy to make the gratin using a besciamella (white sauce), but ricotta keeps it slightly ligther and I had used up the milk to make the ricotta. Here’s what I did. Continue reading “Chard Stems Gratin”

Butternut Squash Tartlets

Oops! On November 25, I blogged about Duck Breast Sous-Vide with Duck Red Wine Demi-Glace and promised that my next post would be about the side dish shown on the plate: butternut squash tartlets. Then I got so excited about the homemade Barolo Chinato I had just tried for the first time that I wanted to blog about that straight away and completely forgot about the butternut squash tartlets. So with a bit of delay here is finally the post about butternut squash tartlets… Continue reading “Butternut Squash Tartlets”

Fennel Gratin (Finocchi Gratinati)

As a main course for the serata piemontese I prepared Brasato al Barolo, beef braised in Barolo wine. I used a wagyu brisket for this that was cooked sous-vide with 2 bottles of Barolo and aromatics for 48 hours at 57ºC/135ºF. The meat was tender and juicy and the sauce was amazing. I asked my friend Resi, who was born and raised in Piemonte, still lives there, and helps me out with my blog in Italian, for suggestions for a side dish for the brasato. She suggested a gratin of cauliflower, fennel, or cardoons. I chose fennel and it was indeed a great combination. Continue reading “Fennel Gratin (Finocchi Gratinati)”

Tian Provençal

When I saw Richard McGary’s vegetable tian, I knew I’d prepare one too. A tian is actually named after the traditional earthenware dish they are made in. There are vegetable tians, meat tians, and fish tians. I wanted to prepare a tian as a side dish, and so I chose a very traditional tian provençal with eggplant, zucchini, and tomato. Don’t let the simplicity fool you: this tian bursts with flavor anyway thanks to the slow roasting and the herbes de provence. I do not own an actual tian from Provence. For presentation purposes I opted to make single serving mini tians using small ovenproof dishes, but that did mean that it was more difficult to neatly arrange the sliced vegetables. Continue reading “Tian Provençal”

Eggplant Caprese Pasta Salad

Pasta salads are great summer food and perfect as a side for a cook out. I like to prepare pasta salads with lots of vegetables, as a cook out or BBQ as we call it here usually involves a lot of meat. For some variation from a Greek style pasta salad, I prepared this pasta salad with eggplant, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar. These flavors go together very well, also without pasta. Continue reading “Eggplant Caprese Pasta Salad”

Caponata

Caponata is a sweet & sour Sicilian dish, consisting of eggplant simmered in tomatoes with other ingredients such as olives and pine nuts. It is eaten either as antipasto (appetizer) or as contorno (side dish) and can be served warm or at room temperature. As with many traditional Italian dishes, there are a lot of different versions of Caponata. I like a slightly ‘minimalistic’ version that does not have too many ingredients. Continue reading “Caponata”

Guest Post: Fennel Fondant Sous-Vide Without Special Equipment

I love it when someone prepares one of my recipes, and I love it even more when someone lets me know how it turned out!

Recently I did a post on Fennel Sous-Vide Fondant.  I bet some of you are curious about sous-vide after reading about it on this blog, but haven’t tried it yet because the equipment is pricey. Well, some recipes can be made without owning expensive equipment. One of my readers, Clayton from San Francisco, reacted as follows:

Fennel is a vegetable that I have always enjoyed eating. Its anise or liquorice flavor gives salads a subtle flavor-kick which I like. But I have never cooked with it. I don’t own an electric sous-vide water bath but I do own a large stock pot and Ziploc bags. So all that’s left to make this recipe are the ingredients. 

Since most of my readers do not own sous-vide equipment either, I inquired whether Clayton would be willing to do a guest post to share his results with you all.  And so here, with a big thank you to Clayton, is the first ever guest post on StefanGourmet.com! Continue reading “Guest Post: Fennel Fondant Sous-Vide Without Special Equipment”

Fennel Sous-Vide Fondant

After the success of parsnip sous-vide fondant, I decided to prepare more vegetables this way. My next experiment was with fennel, and it turned out great. The recipe is very simple and very tasty. The nice thing about parcooking the fennel sous-vide is that the fennel becomes tender but stays firm at the same time, which gives it a pleasant bite. You can make a vegetarian version by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. If you don’t have a sous-vide water bath but you do have a vacuum sealer, you could probably still make this by cooking the sealed fennel in a pot of simmering water. I haven’t tried this myself, but I’m pretty sure it will work if you can keep the temperature of the water in the pot between 85C/185F and 95C/200F. Continue reading “Fennel Sous-Vide Fondant”