Gentleman's Relish and meyer lemon salsa

gentleman's relish

meyer lemon salsa

Looking for something new and fun to do for a dinner party, I cracked open my copy of Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin. I had a really lovely piece of locally caught halibut and she has a recipe for a fresh herbal meyer lemon salsa to serve with halibut, so I thought I’d try that. Then, a few pages away, I found a recipe for Gentleman’s Relish. A Victorian-era spread once thought unsuitable for ladies’ palates, it’s really just an anchovy herb butter – and that just sounded amazing. So I made that, too, to spread on pieces of sourdough baguette before dinner. Both things went over well.

butter

Any recipe that starts with a bowl of butter is fun to make.

anchovies

This was also a good excuse to buy some new anchovies (we were out). This jar should last us a while.

fresh garden herbs

Both the relish and salsa are perfect things to make this time of year, when the chives are coming up and the mint is beginning to explode out of the ground. The salsa calls for savory, which I don’t currently grow, but Goin recommends substituting with equal parts fresh thyme, mint and rosemary, so I did that. The result, with the spicy-tart meyer lemons, was quite fabulous. I liked it with the halibut, but I liked it even more spread on pan-fried rainbow trout the next day. I wonder what else it would be good on – chicken, maybe?

The Gentleman’s Relish was amazing, too – I played a little loose with the quantities, but I think it could have taken quite a bit more anchovy. We put the little bit of leftover spread on steaks a few days later, which was absolutely all right. Also on steamed asparagus. Although it rapidly becomes all to easy to eat a vast quantity of butter this way. If you think that’s a problem.

Gentleman’s Relish

from Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table by Suzanne Goin

  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp minced anchovy
  • 2 tsp minced shallot
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 tsp minced parsley
  • 1 tsp minced chives
  • salt and pepper to taste

Let the butter soften, then add all the other ingredients and mash it up together. Serve at room temperature for easy spreading.

gentleman's relish

Meyer Lemon Salsa

from Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table by Suzanne Goin

  • 2 meyer lemons
  • 2 Tbsp minced shallot
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced savory (or equal parts thyme, mint and rosemary)
  • 1 Tbsp sliced mint
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

Cut the rind off the lemons and remove the membranes from each section, keeping any juice that is expressed. Set aside the lemon sections, cutting them into smaller pieces if you like. Put the reserved lemon juice in a bowl with the shallots and a pinch of salt. Whisk in the olive oil, then stir in the lemon pieces and other ingredients.

supreming meyer lemons

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fish and butter

dinner

This was dinner last night: Chilean sea bass* in a sour orange beurre blanc, potatoes and sweet potatoes roasted in olive oil, and sauteed cabbage. The cabbage was actually a slaw left over from our shrimp tacos the previous night, marinated in lime juice and serrano chiles, but tossed in a hot wok it was really delicious, especially with the beurre blanc.

sea bass with beurre blanc

This was my first time making beurre blanc, and I didn’t even realize that’s what I was doing until I was halfway through it. I was following a recipe in Moro East and wasn’t quite sure if it was working correctly, so I referred to James Peterson’s Sauces and saw that I was basically approaching it the right way, just with some unusual seasonings. The recipe uses Seville oranges, but allows substituting a mix of lemon and orange juice if you can’t get them. I combined the juices in a small pan, added a bay leaf, some thyme, finely grated orange zest and a sprinkle of cinnamon, heated it all to a simmer, and whisked in an improbable amount of butter. The sauce wasn’t particularly thick, but it didn’t break, and it had a wonderful tart orange flavor that went gorgeously with the fish and cabbage and sweet potatoes. Not an every day sort of sauce, but nice to know how to do.

about to be roasted

*Yes, I realize Chilean sea bass is not the best choice, as it’s been red-listed by sustainable seafood advocates. I have bought it maybe twice in my life, both times from a local family-owned fish market that primarily sells only their own catch. But the Moro recipe specifically called for sea bass and I wanted to see what it was like (and it was, in fact, wonderful). As Rob DeBorde says in Fish on a First-Name Basis, “if the darn thing didn’t taste so good, we wouldn’t have to fret over eating it. Stupid fish.”

Parisienne gnocchi

dinner

What are the holidays for if not to take on elaborate cooking projects that involve plenty of butter? Exactly. This week I decided to try out a gnocchi recipe from Bouchon, Thomas Keller’s tome on bistro cooking. Instead of the more typical potato or ricotta gnocchi, this is a Parisian dumpling made from pâte à choux, the same dough that makes gougères and cream puffs. It was much easier than I expected, although we did have to walk down to the kitchen store for a pastry bag, as we didn’t appear to own one.

squash

Once the gnocchi are cooked and chilled, you could use them lots of different ways, or freeze them for later. This particular recipe combines pan-fried herbed gnocchi with squash, fresh sage and shiitake mushrooms. Keller wants you to use butternut squash, which is certainly easy to work with, but you could use any sweet squash. We had delicatas and what I think are Carnival squash, or perhaps Little Dumpling, that we bought at the farmer’s market in October – I used a delicata. They’re very mild, but I like how they do in this sort of recipe.

wine

We served our gnocchi with a simple pork chop and a very nice aged Italian wine. It was delicious and festive – I’d definitely recommend it for a holiday dinner. And since I’d made a full recipe, there were plenty of leftovers…

breakfast

…which made a very, very fine breakfast with an egg on top. Mmmmm. Buttery.

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night of butter

Casey

The theme for Casey Schanen and Tom Saunderson’s class at Gretchen’s last week was ostensibly Seafood with Wine Pairings. If you ask me, the real theme was Butter.

mise

This was some of our mise en place – see that pile of butter pats on the plate? We used most of that over the course of the evening.

a little something to start with

We put together an appetizer plate for the guests so they’d have something to nibble on right away. There were fresh radishes and turnips, Nell Thorn bread and rosemary crackers, all being dunked into an amazing dip of butter whipped with green olives. Yes, it looks like guacamole – but it ain’t. Caution is advised, as this stuff is addictive.

scallop with endive

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a first attempt at tarte Tatin

tarte Tatin

For some unknown reason, I had never tasted tarte Tatin until recently, and it was a revelation. I like apple pie, but often find it a bit bland. Tarte Tatin is not at all bland: the apples are soaked with caramel, chewy around the edges, and the crust has a wonderful shatteringly crisp quality that I’ve never encountered in a regular fruit pie. As soon as I tasted it, I vowed that I would try making one myself.

Braeburn

The basic concept really isn’t too complicated, and there seems to be some flexibility, based on the difference between the various recipes I looked up. The foundation is a caramel sauce made with sugar and butter, the apples are laid on the caramel, and pie crust is laid on the apples before baking, then the whole thing is turned upside down before serving. I found variations involving cooking the caramel in a separate pan, then mixing it with the apples, but I went with an approach of cooking the butter, sugar and apples together in a skillet, without stirring, until the sauce caramelized with the juice from the fruit. Continue reading

butter chicken

butter

I picked up a wonderful book last month with my Village Books birthday discount, called Fat. It does my heart good (while, no doubt, clogging my arteries) to look at all the beautiful pictures of pork fat and cracklings. And shortbread. And bacon sandwiches. Mmmm.

 I was feeling oddly guilty about having not made anything from the book yet, and decided that I would pick one thing to try, just to start out: butter chicken.

butter chicken and rice Continue reading