Bresaola-Wrapped Arugula-Pecorino Salad
I have all of these epic posts in progress right now, but I had to share this half-salad, half-appetizer with you right away as it’s quite possibly the platonic ideal of easy springtime/summer eating. This recipe comes from Polpo‘s cecchetti section as part of a selection of “wraps” that they offer as small plates, and it is absolutely fantastic as an alternative to a big salad when paired with a simple little meat dish. It’s also a great variation of the bresaola carpaccio I assembled a few years ago, albeit a little more substantial and a little more favorable on the meat to salad ratio.
That the meat in question is incredibly lean is merely one more reason to try this little dish; that it’s easy to eat and quite substantial are the primary reasons to do so. It’s not even really fair to call this a recipe, but the inspired presentation, to me at least, is more than enough reason to share it. Just say that you got it from a fabulous Venetian-style restaurant in London.
Bresaola-Wrapped Arugula-Pecorino Salad
adapted from Polpo
- 2 generous handfuls of baby arugula, washed well and spun dry
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 cup (max) of grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano (not fine, if possible–shards are good)
- Up to 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 6 slices bresaola
- Kosher salt to taste (note that the beef is salty, so no heavy hand is needed)
First, dress the salad: take freshly-washed arugula and dress first with lemon juice, then salt, then olive oil, and finally with cheese right before serving. (Any sooner on the cheese and the lemon will break it down too much.) Take a slice of the bresaola, fill with approximately 1/6th of the salad and secure with a skewer. Repeat until you have used up all of the salad. Serve immediately.
Roasted Bone Marrow with Caramelized Onions
[Editor's note: it should go without saying that what happened in Newtown, CT, this past Friday was deplorable, horrific, abominable, heinous, and many more synonyms that could be employed to describe it as such. I hesitated on whether I should mention anything at all on the subject as this doesn't feel like the appropriate forum, but then my friends at Saugatuck Grain and Grape announced that they would donate 10% of their sales from their Bubbles, Bubbles and More Bubbles event to The Sandy Hook School Support Fund, so if you're in the Westport, CT area on Saturday the 22nd between 3 and 6PM, stop on by and enjoy some bubbles while giving back to a worthy cause. If you're like me and will be traveling, their phone orders will also count towards their final donation and they offer free delivery (but I would inquire within on specifics, of course). They haven't asked me to publicize this, but I thought it had a nice sentiment: a small business toasting its customers while wanting to give back to the greater community during a time of intense sorrow. Full explanation of the photograph above after the jump.] Read More
September is always a strange month for us, likely because until this year we have always been tied to the academic calendar more than the regular one, so there’s always an undercurrent of change, even if it’s just the arrival of new students on campus. This is the first September since junior year of college in which neither of us live near or on a college campus, and I think that change has thrown both of us into serious funk. (Not to mention that it’s getting darker earlier and, well, that sucks too.) It’s why we haven’t been prolific for much of the month, but I declared that yesterday would mark the start of Operation: Abolish Mean Reds.
It’s a multi-tactical plan that has unwittingly been in place for weeks: with the new season of our favorite shows finally starting up again, I had declared that we would mark the occasion properly by having a meal that was a nod to Parks and Recreation thanks to that show’s unabashed love of food. Just check out this montage dedicated to Ron Swanson’s dedication to steak, eggs and bacon to see what I mean. Read More
Weeds with Sausage
There’s always a time in the summer when all I want to do is to dive into a bowl of pasta that’s covered with a meaty sauce, preferably one that’s been sitting on the stove for hours braising away. This inevitably falls on a day that’s particularly hot, of course, when the thought of getting near the stove is as good a decision as trying to find good tomatoes at the end of January. That’s the rub of trying to eat seasonally, though: you gorge and gorge and gorge on the season’s best foods until the sight of a zucchini or tomato is unbearable, or at the very least you can get a little bored. I liked how the couple behind We Are Never Full combated this by making a super-rich puttanesca that was heavy on pork belly.
Me? I was feeling a ragu, and this sausage version we made in February is probably the closest to summer appropriateness out there. Read More
Peach, Prosciutto di Parma and Goat Cheese Crostini
Confession time: I am not a fan of melon. Any melon. Watermelon especially. I can’t quite explain it–I otherwise adore fruit, but melons just have a taste, texture and smell that are off to me. I still remember the first time I tried it–I was all of eight or nine years old and
it was my first trip to Rehoboth Beach, and my parents had taken us to a random restaurant for breakfast, likely chosen because it had a buffet and therefore would please both my brother and me. I piled some watermelon and honeydew on my plate because my mom though I’d like it, and when I took that first bite I…did not enjoy it at all. Since then I’ve never developed the taste for it, and to be honest the smell of watermelon to this day makes me a little ill.
Needless to say: the classic Italian pairing of prosciutto with melon has never been something I’ve had much interest in, much less tasted. Then I saw Angharad’s post on pairing peaches with prosciutto over at Eating for England and I was immediately intrigued. Read More
Copper River Sockeye Gravlax with Goat Cheese on a a Pumpernickel Bagel
Much like any supermarket around the country, ordering anything from the deli department at Fairway can require a wait of some duration on the weekends, and you just have to roll with the punches and try not to shoot too many death glares at the hapless dad ordering half the case’s contents a quarter pound at a time. Being a New York supermarket, though, Fairway also has a smoked fish counter right next to the deli where you don’t have to take a number and usually it’s a very simple in-and-out process…until you get stuck behind the mom ordering two pounds of smoked salmon for her brunch that day, and they don’t bring in another person to help alleviate the growing line behind her as the slicer stands there methodically making her way through the enormous salmon fillet (and then another fillet because one was not enough). I guess it was to be expected–it was Saturday morning on the Upper West Side, after all–but when you only need someone to spoon some alici into a plastic dish and hand it over to you, your patience wears ever thinner as each expertly-cut slice of pink fish is added to the pile.
The mom turned to us with an apologetic smile on her face–at least she waited with us, I suppose–and remarked that maybe she should have just gotten some pizzas or sandwiches after all. I silently grumbled that Fairway has a catering office so she could have at least called ahead, but by then it was a cow’s opinion so it didn’t matter either way. (Incidentally, one way I entertain myself while waiting for such things is mentally flipping through my internal encyclopedia of pop-culture references. That leads me to giggle for no reason, but at least that ‘s better than giving strangers the stink-eye, right?)
That particular shopping trip came to mind when I was slicing through our little piece of gravlax last week, as I was only trying to slice enough to top half a bagel each for Michael and I as a mid-afternoon snack. Getting those gorgeous slices is not nearly as easy as it looks–no wonder the pros slice at the pace they do. Read More
Smoked Chicken Wings
Okay. I’ll admit that I may have been a bit too forcefully tight-lipped about the small device taking shape from bits of hardware store fodder on my balcony. I think having worked in an operational chemistry lab for so many years makes me skittish about revealing that I have a off-spec MacGyver-style contraption running in my purview of operation. Believe me, I knocked together some humdingers during grad school, stuff that I think if the New Haven fire chief ever saw he’d make me turn over my clamps and duct tape once and for all. For legal purposes, I am obligated to write at this point that I am entirely joking… Read More
Oysters with Fresh Horseradish
We hear a lot about the great social mobility in America, with the focus usually on the comparative ease of moving upwards. What’s less discussed is how easy it is to go down. I think that’s the direction that we’re all heading in. And I think that the downward fall is going to be very fast—not just for us as individuals—but for the entire Preppie Class.
–Charlie Black, Metropolitan
Is it weird that the Nineties have been on my mind quite a bit lately? Maybe it’s due to the fact that I’ve been researching trends as part of my job for the last few months, but quoting Reality Bites and Clueless has come up more often than normal for me (oh, who am I kidding–I always quote Clueless). When I was making my little wishlist on Amazon of various media I craved a few months ago for the holidays, the film Metropolitan called to me from my big master wishlist (yes I have one, mock me if you must) as something that I had to get and watch and fall in love with. After reading on Criterion’s website that it’s another perfect modern-day take on Jane Austen in the vein of aforementioned Clueless, albeit more verbose and less Valley Girl, I had to see it–and I must say that it takes on what’s arguably considered the least-loved of Austen’s novels, Mansfield Park, and modernizes it in a way that’s credible, funny, and true to all of the characters contained therein.
Outside Horn & Hardart (screencap mine)
Also: the characters visit an Horn & Hardart automat towards the end of the film. Automats were dying out by the 80s, but a small few clung on in New York until the last one shuttered in 1991, a year after this film was released. It’s such an anachronistic touch; the only other time I’ve personally seen an automat referenced on film was in That Touch of Mink from 1962.
Long-dead restaurant concept references aside, Metropolitan‘s delightfully cynical tone was a perfect pairing with one of the dishes that the characters likely feasted on in spades during all of the debutante-related parties they went to in the course of the story: oysters.
Insalata di Caprese featuring Kumatoes
Having access to great food stores means we can usually get our hands on some pretty unique ingredients. Sometimes the best can be found at the Greenmarket, while others can be hiding next to something as innocuous as grapefruit that you only see because you’re making a beeline for the good deal on peaches just beyond that display.
This is precisely how we stumbled across the oddly colored kumato. Read More
Calamares alla Plancha
I have extolled the virtues of squid here before. Alton Brown has also devoted not one, but two episodes to this tasty cephalopod. I tend to put this critter in the no-guilt category: it’s inexpensive, sustainable, high in protein and low in, well, bad stuff. I don’t have a deep fryer, nor do I seek one, and my grill pan, when properly imbued with thermal fury, makes a tasty ring or tentacle. This preparation was initially brought to my attention from the supremely awesome tapas knowledge repository that is the Barcelona cookbook. Read More