Monday, August 1, 2011

Flageolets Salad with Goat Cheese and Bread

This is a very nice, complex, satisfying salad and it's very good for you too. Adapted from an old Bon Appetite recipe and something I read on the splendid table.
Flageolets Salad with Goat Cheese and Bread
(serves 4)
  • 1 cup flageolets or other white bean (flageolets are best, trust me), soaked in cold water overnight
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 yellow onion, halved
  • 1 rib celery
  • 1 carrot, halved
  • 2-4 sprigs parsley
  • Water to cover
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Drain the beans and place them in a covered pot with the onion, bay, celery, carrot, and parsley. Cover with water by 2" and cook 2 hours. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. You can do this days in advance and just keep the beans in the fridge.
  • Herb Dressing and Salad:
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
  • 1 cup Cerignola olives, cut from the pits
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 large fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clamshell fresh field greens
The dressing is for both the beans and for the salad. To make the dressing, whisk the 2 T. EVOO and 1 T. of lemon juice together. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, and half the parsley and whisk in. Taste for balance and adjust with more olive oil or lemon. Toss half of the dressing with the greens and Cerignola olives.
To finish the beans, in a small skillet, a heat the remaining dressing for a few minutes, until the herbs and garlic sizzle a bit. Add the bean cooking liquid and the beans, increase the heat to high, and boil for 30 seconds or until warmed through, then simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Add the remaining lemon and remaining olive oil, if any and salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange the greens on plates, and mound a half cup of beans atop. Scatter the remaining parsley and basil over the salad. Serve with fresh goat cheese on toasted French or Italian bread. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Bachelor's Blackened Chicken Salad

Those who know me, know that virtually all my cooking is from scratch, especially sauces and dressings. Not this one. This dinner is super fast, and super simple. I use the mildly sexist term "Bachelor" as a metaphor anyone who has limited time for or interest in cooking and who's cooking skills pretty much end at the grill

This is a perfect summer dinner with a lot of flavor, and not too many calories. Prep time should be less than 30 minutes

Feeds two.


1 t. paprika (use a bit more if sweet, less if hot)
2+ t. salt
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1 t. black pepper
1/2 t. dried thyme
1 t. dried oregano
1 split (i.e. both halves!) boneless, skinless Chicken breast.

1 summer tomato, wedged or 2 "Campari" tomatoes out of season.
1 head romaine (fresh from the garden is great, but hearts from the store are fine).
4T. Best quality jarred blue cheese dressing (or to taste).
1t. red wine vinegar

Start the fire. It should be hot and on one side of grill (a.k.a. "indirect grilling method"). Mix the spices together with a fork on a large plate. Lightly salt the then coat the chicken breast with the blackening rub. Be generous. Tip: If the chicken breasts are quite large, or if you have very little time, cover with plastic wrap on a cutting board and pound down to a uniform 3/4" thickness.

Quick version: Grill the chicken until done.

Long version: Grill the chicken over direct fire for 3-4 minutes on one side, then turn and grill another 3-4 minutes. The breasts should be just barely charred. If they are firm to the touch, move off the fire or even off the grill to a warm plate. If the chicken is still resilient to the touch, turn and move just off the fire, and grill indirectly for another 3 minutes. If firm, move to a warm plate to rest. If not, turn and repeat until done. A pounded, thin breast will grill much more quickly. A very cold, large breast is going to take more time. Don't rush it.

While the chicken is resting, arrange your lettuce and tomatoes on the plates. Drizzle with the vinegar and the blue cheese dressing. Slice the chicken breasts across the grain and plate atop the lettuce. Serve.

Serve with a pinot noir or any red that can handle spice. I suspect that a vino verde will work well for white wine fans.