THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for June 26, 2012

PRODUCT: Cetara Anchovies, Among The Best

Anchovies get a bad rap in the U.S. They typically appear on “most hated foods” lists. That’s because many people were first introduced to cheap, oily, odoriforus, overly salty and “fishy” tasting examples on pizzas or in Caesar salads at the local diner. (One reason they’re so intense is that casual restaurants don’t take the time to rinse the anchovies, but just scoop them up from the oil.)

But in fact, these little fish can be truly delightful—still with a strong flavor, but one that’s delicious.

The 144 species of anchovies, a salt-water fish related to herring. They live in many of the world’s oceans and seas, including the Atlantic, Indian, Mediterranean and Pacific.

The good brands are things of beauty. Italians—who not only make some of the world’s best food, but as a society have among the most demanding palates—use them as a backbone in many recipes.

If you’re willing to try again—or if you’re already an anchovy fan—you can get absolutely delicious anchovies from Gustiamo.com, an importer of Italian delicacies.

 

Anchovies: quite lovely, actually. Photo by Kaan Tanriover | SXC.

 

The anchovies come from Cetara, an enchanting fishing village along the Amalfi coast, on the Gulf of Salerno. They are packaged by Nettuno, a family-run company. Production is completely by hand, using simple but precise traditions of local anchovy preserving.

The best anchovies are caught between March and July, when their flesh is at its most plump; Nettuno only fishes during this period. The fresh anchovies are immediately placed in oak barrels layered with water and sea salt and cured for about five months. The salt used by Nettuno is the exceptional sea salt that is hand-harvested in the salt panes of Trapani from, uncontaminated Sicilian waters.

The result: anchovies that are are soft, moist and plump. It takes only a few seconds to rinse them in cold water and then put them too use.

Get your Cetara anchovies here.

And if you’re a true anchovy lover, try a bottle of Colatura, a descendent of the favorite Roman condiment, garum.

RECIPE: PENNE PASTA SALAD WITH ANCHOVIES

This recipe is courtesy La Cucina Italiana and Chef Andrea Tiberi. It serves 4.

Ingredients

  • Coarse sea salt—Trapani or substitute
  • 2.75 pounds plum tomatoes
  • 1.1 pounds penne or other short pasta (Chef uses Martelli brand)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (Chef uses organic Pianogrillo olive oil)
  • 3 ounces mixed baby greens (about 5 cups)
  • 8 ounces Piennolo tomatoes (you can substitute San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 12 salted anchovy filets, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon salt-packed capers (rinse and soak capers for 10 minutes, then rinse again)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chervil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped marjoram
  • Fresh ground black pepper
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    Preparation

    1. Heat oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    2. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Drop plum tomatoes into water and boil 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove tomatoes from pot (reserve water); drain, peel, cut in half, and seed.

    3. Place tomatoes on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake until tomatoes are partially dried and flavor is concentrated, about 3 hours.

    4. Return water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, transfer to a large bowl, and toss with a drizzle of oil and pinch of salt. Set aside to cool.

    5. Remove tomatoes from oven; transfer to a cutting board and finely chop. Add to bowl with pasta. Add greens, Piennolo tomatoes, 3 tablespoons oil, anchovies, capers, chervil and marjoram; toss to combine. Arrange on plates. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and some fresh-ground pepper.

      

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    COOKING VIDEO: Healthy Chips And Dip

     

    As a nation, we love crunchy snacks and creamy dips. As calorie counters, we don’t.

    In this video, chef Curtis Stone shows how easy it is to make your own lowfat baked chips (commercial chips can have 30% fat) and lowfat, low-calorie dips.

    They taste good and keep you looking good (Chef Stone looks great!).

    See our Snacks Section with healthful snacks and recipes.

       

       

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Crunchies Healthy Snacks

    Addictively good and good for you snacks. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Crunchy, freeze-dried vegetable and fruit snacks have been growing in popularity. They taste good, provide the crunch factor, are full of fiber and moderate in calories. If you haven’t tried them, you’re missing out.

    One of our favorite brands is Crunchies, A selection of all natural snacks that are gluten free and available in kosher-certified and organic-certified versions.

    Fresh fruits and veggies are placed in a refrigerated vacuum chamber that removes up to 97% of the moisture. The process retains a high percentage of the nutritious enzymes that are lost through conventional heat-drying dehydration and provides an extra-crunchy texture.

    While snacking on the crunchy delights by the handful is the original intent, they make most excellent additions to everyday foods and recipes, from yogurts and salads to tea and hot chocolate.

    Read the full review to see all the different ways we’ve used Crunchies in recipes.

    See all of our favorite snacks in our Gourmet Snacks section.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Your Own Corned Beef & Pastrami

    Some home cooks just like to go the extra yard. Why buy corned beef and pastrami when you can make your own?

    You can create the complex flavors and tender texture that will bring kudos from others at the dinner table while you get deeper in touch with your inner chef.

    The first time you make corned beef or pastrami from scratch, you may want to rely on a kit of ingredients and instructions that walks you through the process of curing and cooking a brisket (the base of corned beef and pastrami). Even professional chefs use this Corned Beef & Pastrami Kit from Leener’s.

    The kit comes with everything you need except the brisket: Morton Tender Quick, a very effective meat tenderizer, curing salts, plus spices, wood chips and a tenderizing tool. While you can certainly come up with your own tenderizer, black pepper, garlic powder, mustard seed, paprika and and other spices, this Make It kit is a turnkey cookbooks with simple instructions.

     

    BYO brisket and make corned beef and pastrami with this kit. Photo courtesy Leeners.

     

    There’s enough in each kit for up to 10 pounds of brisket. The only caveat is that you need to cure the seasoned meat in the fridge for five days per each inch of meat thickness. In our packed apartment-size fridge, we’d have to toss all the condiments to make space!

    It took Leener’s, which specializes in “Make It” kits, six months to perfect the Corned Beef and Pastrami Kit. “We tried many recipes and methods of making corned beef and found that the traditional brine method produces the highest quality corned beef possible,” says company president Jim Leverentz. “Our goal is to bring back the old-fashioned goodness and flavors of a more patient time along with the satisfaction of making it yourself. You will be enjoying the best corned beef and pastrami sandwiches you have ever eaten.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Although it goes without saying, you also need a top-quality brisket.)

    In fact, the company also makes kits for the other ingredients of a Reuben sandwich: an Artisan Bread Kit to make deli-style rye, a Sauerkraut and Dill Pickle Kit, a Deluxe Cheese Kit for the Swiss cheese and a Mustard Making Kit. Pair the Reuben with your choice of brews from Leener’s Home Brewery System.

    The Corned Beef & Pastrami Kit is sold in a four-pack for $32.95, or $8.00 and change per brisket. You can give any extra kits to people who invite you over for barbecue or other meat-centric meals. Kits are also fun gifts for anyone who likes to cook.

    Get your kits now.

    BRISKET 101: A beef brisket consists of two parts, the flat and the point. Traditionally the flat is used to make corned beef for slicing. The point, while cured in the same way, is smoked to make pastrami.

      

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