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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

I'd highly recommend both of these. Sorry for the dearth of pictures.
Pan-Roasted Pear Salad with Frisée, Goat Cheese, and Almonds
adapted from Cook's Illustrated Nov/Dec 2007

I doubled this and mixed everything in the bowl (instead of assembling on plates) for ease in serving on a buffet. If I'm making it for a smaller group I'll do it as recommended in the recipe.

3 ripe but firm Bartlett pears, quartered and cored
2 1/2 t sugar
salt and pepper
2 t + 2 T olive oil
4 T balsamic vinegar
1 small shallot, minced (about 1 T)
1/2 medium head green leaf lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into 1-inch pieces
1 head frisée, similarly prepared
4 oz crumbled goat cheese
3/4 C toasted slivered almonds
1/2 C pomegranate seeds (optional)

1. Toss pears, 2 t sugar, 1/4 t salt, and 1/8 t pepper in medium bowl. Heat 2 t oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add pears cut-side down in single layer (I nestled them a bit to keep the side flat against the bottom of the pan) and cook until golden brown, 2-4 minutes. Gently tip each pear onto second cut side; continue to cook until second side is light brown, 2-4 minutes longer. Turn off heat, leave skillet on burner, and add 2 T vinegar; gently stir until vinegar thickens and coats pears, about 30 seconds. Transfer pears to large plate and let cool to room temperature. Cut each slice crosswise into 1/2" pieces.

2. Whisk remaining 2 T oil, 2 T vinegar, 1/2 t sugar, and shallot together in large bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add lettuce, frisée, and cooled pears to bowl; toss and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Divide among individual plates; top with cheese, nuts, and pomegranate, if using. Serve immediately.

Roast Cauliflower
adapted from "Parisian Home Cooking" by Michael Roberts (courtesy of MWR)

I've now made this three times: once with a large head of white cauliflower, once with a large head of romanesco, and once with three small heads of orange and green cauliflower (2 orange, one green), broken into florets. Unless you really like chewy cauliflower, I'd recommend erring on the side of more steaming/parcooking than less.

1 lb cauliflower
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
3 T unsalted butter
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 t salt
1/2 t freshly-ground black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
mustard vinaigrette (optional)

1. If using one large cauliflower, steam for 10-20 minutes or parcook in microwave.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. Combine the oil, butter, lemon juice, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a small saucepan over low heat, swirling until just melted.

4. Place the cauliflower in a dutch oven, baste with butter mixture, cover with lid, and roast for 30 minutes, basting occasionally. Remove cover and continue to cook until a knife can easily be inserted into the core. Serve hot or at room temperature, with the vinaigrette, if desired.

The Perfect Mustard Vinaigrette
adapted from "Parisian Home Cooking" by Michael Roberts (again courtesy of MWR)

1 clove garlic, pressed through garlic press
1 shallot, minced
1 T dijon mustard
3 T white wine vinegar
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 t salt
leaves from 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
freshly-ground black pepper

Whisk together the first four ingredients, then slowly add oil while whisking, then thyme, salt and pepper.

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Blogger The Laundry Queen said...

That pear salad certainly SOUNDS good, but it's hard to tell without seeing how it LOOKS. ; ) I guess you'll have to serve it to me one of these days so I can make sure...

December 12, 2008 at 7:34 AM  

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