Wednesday, July 21, 2010

back from the country

Getting my hands on fresh shallots is a rare and wonderful treat. Country Gardens farmstand in Bridgehampton has been growing them for years and it is one of the highlights of my summer when I grab up a bunch. After making fresh tomato sauce I wanted to make another dish that would continue to feature the shallots. This farmstand is also famous for their fresh broccoli rabe so I decided to do a simple saute to enhance the fresh flavors of the two summer treats with garlic and olive oil.
Broccoli rabe and shallots make a nice combination.
My cooking plan was loose. I started with olive oil in a saute pan, added some sliced garlic, a dried chili and the sliced shallots. I cooked the mixture down till the shallots began to turn golden.

The broccoli rabe is tender and cooks quickly. I added it to the pan and allowed it to wilt down and simmer for eight minutes or so. For extra flavor I poured in the dregs of a bottle of sparkling Rose wine (about 1/4 cup) and then spooned in a couple of tablespoons of the fresh tomato sauce. Allowing the flavors to mingle for a few minutes in the pan will bring this dish together. I started eating it with a fork right out of the pot, but stopped myself before consumng the entire thing to consider how I would serve it as the main part of a meal. Ususally I gravatate towards pasta but this time I opted to bake a potato and serve the broccoli rabe and shallots on top with a few dollops of goat cheese. 

So satisfying and really tasty! The potato is a great vehicle for getting the sauteed greens to your mouth. I really love this improvisational style of cooking where you don't have a specific plan, just some wonderful ingredients and a hungry point of view.

I love your improvisational style of cooking. It always seems to work! Today I did something so simple but was actually quite yummy. Yesterday, I brought leftover brown rice into work for lunch. Nothing in it, just leftover from a Chinese restaurant. I didn't get a chance to eat it. Today, I happened to bring in a perfectly ripe avocado. Not knowing what to eat for lunch today (the avocado was intended to be a snack), I decided to heat up the brown rice and add chopped up avocado and salt. I know, I know. Doesn't sound exactly scrumptious. But guess what? It was pretty good! The avocado melted a little into the hot rice and I was happily satisfied in spite of my hunger pangs. The brown rice filled me up and the fat in the avocado helped! And I felt so incredibly healthy eating this lunch.

I love the Cristalino Rose that Deb used for her dish. This is a Cava - Spain's answer to Champagne. This sparkler is delicious, and about as fine a value that can be found. Typically the Cristalino can be found for about $7.99 per bottle. Cava, like Prosecco, is a great alternative to Champagne. It's perfect for brunches and mimosas. In the shop, we like to recommend it for wedding and baby showers.

Since Deb used this particular Cava for her recipe, I would choose that to sip alongside it. It is not a complex wine, but it has some serious red fruit flavors to it. Makes a perfect accompaniment to appetizers and light dishes like omelets and salads. The Cristalino Rose offers bright strawberry and cherry flavors and is a wonderful summertime sipper.

If you are in a "still wine" frame of mind, I would suggest a new favorite of mine, if you can find it. Chateau Montaud Cotes de Provence Rose - a blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah. It's $9.99 and is a terrific bargain. The Wine Spectator gave the wine a 90 point rating. If you can source it, it is one to try! And it would be an ideal match for a light, summertime dish like Deb's Broccoli Rabe!

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