Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Rosti with a Green Salad on Top

I’m all for encouraging more people to cook their own meals at home. So, I was delighted to see the newest book from the Canal House team: Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On of which I received a review copy. This book is full of simple, classic dishes that home cooks can learn from and use to build confidence in their cooking skills. Hirsheimer and Hamilton of Canal House describe themselves as “salt and pepper cooks.” They like to stick to the basics of great flavor pairings and highlighting the deliciousness of the season. While there is simplicity to their approach, the results of their recipes are always stellar. Over the years, I’ve accumulated several favorite recipes from Canal House books. I recall in the early days of reading their work, I noticed the frequent use of preserved lemon which I loved. A salmon salad and a lentil dish, both with preserved lemon, come to mind. I remember a lemon-butter sauce that was perfect for sockeye salmon. It was their recipe and technique for making a quick puff pastry that finally sold me on the concept. It’s the only way I make it now. I’m also a devoted fan of their quick cioppino, and it was their lasagne with fresh-made spinach pasta sheets that was one of our favorite Christmas Eve meals of all time. This new book sticks to their tried-and-true cooking point of view with recipes for all sorts of meals, sides, starters, and desserts and even a Grilling chapter that made me want to stock up on hardwood charcoal. Right away, you see their knack for flavor pairings with all the suggested toppings for deviled eggs like asparagus tips and preserved lemon(!); smoked salmon, black pepper, and fresh dill; and sliced cherry tomato, olive oil, pepper, and fresh basil. Likewise, there’s also a delectable list of toppings for small toasts or crackers to serve as appetizers such as roasted red peppers, capers, and currants; blue cheese and watercress mash; and lima bean and lemon mash. I should mention the photos show how deliciously lovely each of these looks. The soups chapter distracted me since we’ve had some chilly weather. I was pulled in by the description of a simple dinner involving the Hearty Squash and Bean Minestrone with a Green Sauce made from arugula served with warm bread and had to recreate it for a Sunday dinner at home. And, it was the photo of the Caramelized Apple Galette that made me try that recipe too. But, it’s the Salads chapter I want to tell you more about today. The Rosti with a Green Salad on Top was an ideal combination of flavors and textures with a lemony-anchovy dressing and a generous garnish of smoked salmon. 

If you just saw the photos of the salads in the book, you would think “those look so great with beautiful ingredients that have been simply plated.” But, when you read about how the salads are made and then look at the photos, the whole story becomes apparent. That straightforward tomato and fennel salad is actually a warm salad with peeled, fresh tomatoes that were briefly sauteed in olive oil just to warm them. The fennel was sauteed longer until tender and topped with lemon-anchovy vinaigrette, and the two were plated with a nice slab of feta. Little details of putting each salad together make each one special. For this salad on rosti, I had some local potatoes that I grated and mixed with chopped green onion and salt and pepper. The grated potato mixture was cooked in melted butter and pressed into flat cakes. Each cake cooked for a few minutes per side. I made the salad with arugula and opted for the Lemon-Anchovy Vinaigrette that’s made with supremed lemon segments. The lemon juice was caught in a bowl while cutting the segments. Chopped anchovies, olive oil, and crushed red pepper flakes were added, and the lemon pieces were broken up while stirring the vinaigrette. The option of adding a “flourish of silky smoked salmon” made this a meal. 

Like every Canal House recipe I’ve ever made, this one was a winner. I get excited to cook as I flip the pages, see the photos, and read the great ideas. I’m not surprised that the variations on Loose Ravioli have inspired me, but I didn’t expect to want to attempt Duck a L’Orange. There’s something for everyone and for every occasion here. 

Rosti with a Green Salad on Top 
Excerpted with publisher's permission from Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On Copyright © 2019 by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, photographs by Christopher Hirsheimer. Used with permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York. All rights reserved. 

Rosti is a Swiss potato pancake. A big russet potato on the kitchen counter was our inspiration. 

Grate 1 large, peeled, russet potato (about 1 pound), on the large holes of a box grater into a bowl. Add 4 chopped scallions, and season with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, pressing them into a flat cake. Fry until golden, about 10 minutes. Cover the skillet with a large plate and flip the skillet and the plate over so that the rösti is cooked-side up on the plate. Add 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet and slide the rösti back into the skillet. Fry until golden, about 10 minutes. While the potato cake finishes browning, toss bibb lettuce, radicchio, and parsley leaves in Another Anchovy Vinaigrette. Divide the rosti between dinner plates and pile the salad on top. Add a flourish of silky smoked salmon for garnish. —serves 2–4 

Lemon-Anchovy Vinaigrette  
A lighter, brighter option for all Caesar salad lovers. This vinaigrette involves supreming the lemon, a French technique (they always know how to refine things) that removes the peel and the pith, then cuts the juicy fruit out from the membranes. This method works well with all citrus fruits. 

makes about 2/3 cup

2 lemons 
4 anchovy filets packed in oil, drained and finely chopped 
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Using a sharp knife, cut off and discard all the peel and white pith from the lemons. Working over a medium bowl, cut lemons along sides of membranes to release the segments into the bowl. Squeeze the juice from the membranes into the bowl, and discard the membranes. Stir in the anchovies, oil, and crushed red pepper flakes, breaking up the lemon segments against the side of the bowl with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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