Cooking is a wonderful way to express one’s creativity.
Through my ongoing travels I am exposed to new cultures, new people and of course the food. My journey, my learning, my inspiration…continues.
Often times it is the simplicity of a dish that gets my attention. A plate of Farmers Market yellow Squash, sautéd with fresh Marjoram (thanks to Ann at the Santa Fe Market) will do the trick. My kitchen muse is inspired by the season.
I like to start with one primary seasonal ingredient and create a dish from that point of view. Taking this feast or famine approach, I eat tomatoes until their season has ended then not another until the following year.
As the summer season winds down, I am grateful for the abundance I so enjoyed. Here are two of my favorites.
Summer Peaches, Cherry Tomatoes, Buratta,with a Balsamic glaze – Gluten Free
Toss assorted cherry tomatoes with sweet peaches, sliced thin, add some beautiful Buratta or fresh Mozzarella, a few basil or tarragon leaves,then a simple dressing of good quality extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, aged balsamic vinegar. Delicious.
On a recent trip to Yountville, CA., I found a dish at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon that was delightful. The recipe, featured on their summer menu, is simple, seasonal, and complex in flavor.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Cherry Tomatoes,Toasted Hazelnuts, Fresh Figs in a Balsamic Dressing. With Parmigiano Crisps – Serves 4 Gluten Free
24 assorted in color cherry tomatoes
8 whole fresh ripe Figs
1/4 cup Hazelnuts (raw)
Fresh black pepper
1/4 cupExtra Virgin Olive Oil
1-2 tablespoons of Aged Balsamic Vinegar
1. In a pot of briskly boiling water gently add tomatoes and blanch for 5-10 seconds.
Strain the tomatoes and immediately immerse in a bowl of iced water. with a small pairing knife gently remove the skin from each tomato.
2. Toast hazelnuts on stove top in a small pan for about 4 minutes. Let sit for a moment. Rub nuts in a towel to remove skins. Chop nuts in halves and set aside.
3.Slice fresh figs into quarters.
4. Arrange the tomatoes, figs and hazelnuts in small -medium white bowls. In a separate bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, sea salt to taste and extra virgin olive oil. Pour over tomatoes and sprinkle a little fresh black pepper.
Top with a Parmesan crisp and a Basil leave.
cooks note; If concord grapes are available add a few, for color and their amazing flavor.
Parmesan Crisps – They are easy to make and have many uses and always add another level of flavor to accompany a salad or cheese plate. They are Gluten Free.
1/2 cup fresh finely grated parmigiano- Reggiano ( from a moist piece of cheese)
Preheat the oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat. ( you can purchase a Silpat in most cookware shops)
Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the cheese in one corner of the Silpat. Use your fingers to spread the cheese into a 2 – inch circle. Repeat with the remaining cheese. You should have about 10-12 rounds.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Use a small spatula to transfer them to paper towels. They will still be soft when removed but will stiffen as they cool. Store the crisps in an airtight container for up to 2 days.