Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tonight's Fine Meal

We had some left over green garlic risotto last night and based on a few past experiences, we decided to shape it into patties before sticking it in the fridge. We also soaked some scarlet runner beans just in case.

When I got home from work tonight, I started flipping through my cookbooks looking for ideas on what to do with sorrel and decided on the following menu:
We had the carrot fries as an appetizer. For the main course we stacked the spinach and beans (tossed with the sorrel sauce) on the risotto cakes. Comments around the kitchen were "I just don't remember enjoying eating carrots. Even the crispy bits are good." and "This is the kind of meal where a carnivore wouldn't notice anything missing."

The baked carrot fries from the 101 Cookbooks blog are really, really, really exceptional. I don't remember liking cooked carrots either, but this recipe takes them beyond palatable all the way to an amazing treat. The combination of the green garlic risotto, spinach, and the beans in sorrel sauce was also fortuitously tasty. Here are the related recipes (click the links above for the magical carrots):

Risotto Cakes

Shape leftover risotto into patties and refrigerate over night. Fry them as you would a burger. We found that searing them on each side in a non-stick pan with some olive oil, followed by a rest in a hot oven (~350 degree fahrenheit) was just the ticket. These do take a significant amount of oil or they will stick to the pan, then fall apart.

Sauteed Spinach

Heat a bit of olive oil in a large pan, add some sliced garlic and stir until it begins to sizzle. Add washed spinach, with whatever water is clinging to it, and cover the pan. Allow spinach to steam and wilt for a few minutes then remove the lid and stir occasionally till the water has evaporated and the spinach is done to your liking.

Sorrel Sauce, from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

4 cups of sorrel leaves, washed with stems removed
2 tablespoons butter
pinch salt

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low to medium heat, add the salt, then add a few tablespoons of water and the sorrel and stir frequently. The sorrel will turn from bright to forest green and the leaves will disintegrate into a sauce. We stopped when the sorrel sauce was the consistency of ketchup.

Scarlet Runner Beans in Brown Butter and Shallots, adapted from Aliza Green's The Bean Bible
... serves 4 to 6

8oz dried scarlet runner beans, reconstituted
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon thyme
salt and pepper

Drain the soaked beans and cook, covered by 2" or so of water, till tender (~1 hour); drain and set aside. Brown the butter in a saute pan. Add the shallots and stir till they start to brown. Add the thyme and the beans; mix well. Add the sorrel sauce and again, mix well.

When all the pieces are ready, layer the spinach and the bean mixture over the risotto cakes and serve.

1 comment:

  1. When I got home from work tonight, I started flipping through my cookbooks looking for ideas on what to do with sorrel and decided on the following menu.
    I've got some good French sorrel recipes. Maybe you will find them useful.