Forno Bravo Community Cookbook

Roasted Sockeye Salmon With Braised Couscous, Roasted Green Beans, Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil

green beanssalmon

 

Here’s a recipe for making the most of your farmers market’s most ubiquitous offerings: If yours is anything like mine, green beans, tomatoes and basil are at just about every stand. I pickle half the green beans in this recipe, for even more variation in flavor and texture.

When it comes to salmon, in my opinion nothing beats sockeye for taste, texture and pure, simple beauty. If you can get your hands on it, try Alaskan Copper River sockeye. Sustainably wild-caught, Copper River sockeye will have a flesh that is almost ruby red in color, as well as an unparalleled flavor.

2 stalks celery
2 small carrots
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 T butter
1 C Israeli couscous (you may also find it in the store as Palestinian couscous, ptitim or pearl pasta)
1 C white wine
3 C vegetable stock
1 lb green beans, washed and ends trimmed
1 C white wine vinegar
2 C water
1/4 C sugar
1 T salt
2 T pickling spices to your taste (garlic clove, thyme, bay, fennel seed, mustard seed, coriander, chili flake, etc.)
2 T vegetable oil
3-4 various heirloom tomatoes
1 oz fresh basil leaves
4 5-oz portions of salmon
extra virgin olive oil, to taste
salt and black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, start the couscous: Cut the celery, carrots and onion into a small dice and mince the garlic. In a large skillet or shallow, wide pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the mirepoix and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Add the couscous and toast for 1 minute. Add the wine and increase the heat to high. Allow the wine to reduce until the pan is almost dry, then add the stock. Cook until the couscous is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

When your pot of water is boiling, blanch half of your green beans for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove and place in a single layer to cool. To pickle the remaining beans, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pickling spices in a pot. Bring to a boil. Add the remaining green beans and cook until slightly tender but still crunchy. Remove from the heat and allow the beans to cool in the pickling liquid.

While the beans are cooling, slice your heirlooms in whatever manner you find most appealing. I cut mine in quarters and then into thin slices that I could shingle on the plate. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To roast the beans, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large roasting pan in your wood oven. You will want a hot oven for this procedure. Drain the pickled beans from the brine. When your oil is smoking, add the blanched fresh beans and the drained pickled beans to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are just tender and have taken on some nice charred edges, about 4-5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

To cook your fish, heat the remaining vegetable oil in a saute pan in your wood oven. Season the fish with salt only. When the oil is smoking, add the fish to the pan and return to the oven. Sear the fish on one side only – the heat of your oven will be enough to cook the other side. Sockeye is best served medium, which means a skewer inserted into the center of the flesh should come out warm to the touch. This fish will cook quickly, probably 3-6 minutes depending on the temperature of your oven and the thickness of your portions. When done to your liking, remove the fish from the pan to rest.

To serve the dish, place a pile of couscous in the middle of a plate. shingle some heirloom tomato slices along one side. Place the fish, seared side up, on top of the couscous. Top with some of the roasted beans and tear a few basil leaves over the plate with your fingers. Drizzle the beans and tomatoes with some olive oil, and you’re good to go.

I recently came across a white wine variety that was new to me, called Müller-Thurgau, which would pair perfectly with this dish. The particular Thurgau I tasted was from northern Italy, but the grape is also grown in Austria, Germany, Hungary and elsewhere. This crisp, mineral-laden relative of riesling would be a great complement to both the tomatoes and beans in this dish.

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Ricotta Gnudi With Roasted Cabbage and Marconi Peppers

This recipe requires some patience and planning, because the gnudi take three days to make. Before you run for the hills, I should clarify: The gnudi take about 10 minutes to make – they’re really easy – but three days before they’re ready to use. So plan ahead, and your foresightedness will be rewarded. In case you’re asking yourself what in the world a gnudi is, a quick explanation – the word comes from the Italian for “naked,” so named because they are sort of like ravioli without their pasta clothing. The recipe I’m using here for these delicious cheesy dumplings comes from April Bloomfield, chef of the Spotted Pig and other restaurants in New York.

dish

cabbage-1

1 lb ricotta cheese
2 oz heavy cream
2 oz parmesan cheese, finely grated
1-2 C 00 semolina flour or as needed
3 Marconi peppers, or orange bell peppers
2 T vegetable oil
1 head red cabbage, core removed and shredded
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C vegetable stock
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 T fresh chopped savory or thyme
1 T unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste

To make the gnudi, combine the ricotta, cream and parmesan in the bowl of a food processor. Season with salt and pepper and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Cover the bottom of a sheet tray or baking dish with a 1/4-inch layer of semolina flour. Using a 1/2 oz ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, portion the gnudi mixture onto the flour. Give your hands a nice coating of flour and then use your palms to roll each gnudi into a uniform ball shape, placing each back in the layer of flour. Once all the gnudi are rolled, place the sheet tray or baking dish in your refrigerator, uncovered. Allow the gnudi to rest for three days, gently shaking them or re-rolling them once a day to keep a thin coating of flour over their entire surface.

On the day your gnudi are ready, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, roast the peppers in your wood oven until soft and charred all over. Remove, place in a bowl, cover and allow to steam for 10 minutes. Peel and slice into thin strips. Set aside.

Preheat a large skillet or roasting pan in your wood oven. Add the vegetable oil and heat until just smoking. Add the shredded cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes more. Stir in the vegetable stock, mustard, savory and sliced peppers and bring to a boil.

At this point, add your gnudi to the pot of boiling water. Cook until the gnudi float, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the gnudi from the water and add them to the cabbage pan along with the butter. Cook one minute more to allow the liquid in the pan to tighten up slightly and coat the gnudi. Transfer to a serving platter and enjoy the fruits of your extended, albeit light, labor.

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Risotto Milanese

Ingredients
2 cups Arborio rice (don’t use long grain rice; it won’t work) 
1 onion, finely chopped
2 TBS cooking olive oil
1 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and chopped 
6 cups beef stock, still hot 
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
Pepper

1. Add the olive olive, onions and garlic to a steel, cast iron or aluminum pan and set in a hot oven for a few minutes. Don’t burn the garlic.

2. Add the rice, and stir to coat the rice with the olive oil. Return the pan to a hot oven for a few minutes to saute the rice. Do not let the rice turn brown.

3. Add 2 cups of the stock and the wine to the rice and stir the mixture. Return the pan to the oven. The technique with Risotto is to continue to stir the rice and to keep the mixture wet with stock — this allows the rice to absorb the liquid, and the liquid to mix with the rice’s starch to become creamy.

4. Add 1 cup of stock a a time, stir the mixture and return to the oven.

5. When you have 1 cup of stock left (it should take about 20 minutes), your rice should be nearly ready, but a tiny bit crunch on the inside. Don’t forget that one of the characteristics of Arborio rice is that is stays firm in the center, and doesn’t go mushy. At this point you are ready to finish the dish.

6. Add the last cup of stock and half (1/4 cup) of the Parmesan and stir. Return to pan to the oven for only a few minutes, to melt the cheese and heat the dish through.

6. Cover with the remaining Parmesan a little cracked pepper, and serve immediately.

Hints and Tips

Your Risotto will continue to cook and absorb the liquid after you have taken the pan from the oven, and it is at its best when it is moist and creamy, not dry or chewy. Have everything else ready and bring the Risotto out last.

I have been struck by how wet the great Italian Risottos are. Don’t be afraid to serve your a little soupy. It will firm up as it rests, and it is a more authentic dish.

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Baked Rice with Vegetables

 

  • 1 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped (no seeds)
  • 1 tomato, cored and chopped (no seeds)
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 cups hot beef or chicken stock

Preparation

Fire your oven until it reaches 700ºF, and then allow the temperature to fall to about 500ºF, maintaining a bed of coals for sautéing the rice and vegetables and to bake the rice.

Heat a terracotta baking dish in a moderately hot fired oven, and then add olive oil.

Sauté the chopped vegetables for 3-4 minutes, or until soft and lightly brow, then remove from the pan. Alternatively, you can sauté the vegetables in a pan on your cook top.

Add the onion, garlic, and more olive oil to the empty terracotta pan, and bake for 2-3 minutes, until translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat, and then sauté the rice for 2-3 minutes. Do not brown the rice.

Bake for 20-30 minutes. Rotate the dish a few times if you have coals or a fire in your oven, and one side is hotter than the other.

 

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Baked Risotto with Asparagus and Swiss Chard

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups loosely packed chopped fresh chard leaves
  • Chard stems from chard leaves, diced
  • 1 lb young asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into diagonal slices
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Preparation

Fire your oven, and let the temperature fall to about 400-450ºF.

On cook top, heat the olive oil and add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the rice, stirring to coat with the oil. This can also be done in the oven. Add the stock, wine, chard leaves and stems, asparagus, nutmeg, teaspoon of salt and bring to a simmer. Stir in half of the cheese.

Transfer to a buttered heat-resistant terracotta casserole and smooth out the top. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and cover with foil.

Place the baking dish on the floor of the oven near the center. Bake until the rice is cooked through and has absorbed most of the liquid, 20-30 minutes or so. The rice should be moist but not soupy. Remove the foil cover for the last 10 minutes of baking to create a beautiful golden crust and to add smoky flavor.

Serve immediately.

 

 

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Risotto al Porcini

Ingredients

2 cups Arborio rice (long grain rice won’t work) 
1 onion, finely chopped
3 TBS cooking olive oil
1 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and chopped
1 cup fresh mushrooms — button Portobello, etc., chopped
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms 
6 cups beef stock, still hot
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
Pepper

1. Before you start, hydrate your dried porcini mushrooms in 1 cup of warm water. The dried mushrooms would like 20 minutes to freshen up. Chop the mushroom and put them in bowl, and reserve the liquid (it will be a little gritty, so either pour carefully to leave the grit behind, or pour through a strainer).

2. Add the fresh mushrooms and 1 TBS olive oil to a steel, cast iron or aluminum pan and set in a hot oven for a few minutes. Add the white wine, and cook for a few minutes, until the wine is reduced, but not gone. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, and add them to the porcini mushrooms (where they will pick up flavor by hanging out together).

3. Add the remaining 2 TBS olive olive, onions and garlic to the pan (don’t bother to clean it) and set in a hot oven for a few minutes. Don’t burn the garlic.

4. Add the rice, and stir to coat the rice with the olive oil. Return the pan to a hot oven for a few minutes to saute the rice. Do not let the rice turn brown.

5. Add 2 cups of the stock to the rice and stir the mixture. Return the pan to the oven. The technique with Risotto is to continue to stir the rice and to keep the mixture wet with stock — this allows the rice to absorb the liquid, and the liquid to mix with the rice’s starch to become creamy.

6. Add 1 cup of stock a a time, stir the mixture and return to the oven.

7. When you have 1 cup of stock left (it should take about 20 minutes), your rice should be nearly ready, but a tiny bit crunch on the inside. Don’t forget that one of the characteristics of Arborio rice is that is stays firm in the center, and doesn’t go mushy. At this point you are ready to finish the dish.

8. Add the mushroom, the last cup of stock and half (1/4 cup) of the Parmesan and stir. Return to pan to the oven to melt the cheese and heat the dish through.

9. Remove the pan and cover the rice with the remaining Parmesan and a little cracked pepper. Serve immediately.

Hints and Tips

Use a mix of fresh and porcini mushrooms. You will get great flavor without the expense of using all porcini’s (which are even expensive in Italy).

Have everything else ready and bring the Risotto out last. Your Risotto will continue to cook and absorb the liquid after you have taken the pan from the oven, so it will be at its best the second you take it from the oven — moist and creamy, not dry or pastey.

I have been struck by how wet the great Italian Risotto’s are. Don’t be afraid to serve yours a little soupy. It will firm up as it rests, and it is a more authentic dish this way.

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Baked Mediterranean Rice

phot_bakedrisotto

1 cup Arborio rice
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled, smashed and chopped
1 red pepper, chopped (no seeds)
1 tomato, cored and chopped (no seeds)
1 zucchini, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups hot beef or chicken stock

Fire your oven until it reaches 700ºF, and then allow the temperature to fall to about 500ºF, maintaining a bed of coals for sautéing the rice and vegetables and to bake the rice.

Heat a terracotta baking dish in a moderately hot fired oven, and then add olive oil. In the heated pan, sauté the chopped vegetables for 3-4 minutes, or until soft and lightly brow, then remove from the pan. Alternatively, you can sauté the vegetables in a pan on your cook top.

Add the onion, garlic and more olive oil to the empty terracotta pan, and bake for 2-3 minutes, until translucent. Add the rice and stir to coat, and then sauté the rice for 2-3 minutes. Do not brown the rice.

Bake for 20-30 minutes. Rotate the dish a few times if you have coals or a fire in your oven, and one side is hotter than the other.

Previously appeared in the Forno Bravo Wood-Fired Newsletter, May 2010: http://www.fornobravo.com/newsletter/2010/may.html#article_two

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