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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

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    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

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TIP OF THE DAY: “Leftovers” Antipasto Plate

We can’t wait to get to Seattle to eat at Chef Ethan Stowell’s restaurants. Until then, we visit the websites and drool over the food photos.

And we get ideas. After spotting this asparagus antipasto plate, we thought of different approaches to antipasto.

Antipasto means “before the meal” in Italian—meaning before the main meal. It’s the traditional first course of multicourse Italian dinner.

Most of us have had one along the way. The contents vary greatly by region, but Italian restaurants in the U.S. often have cured meats, marinated artichoke hearts, mozzarella or provolone, olives, peperoncini and pickled vegetables (giardiniera).

Our mother’s typical antipasto consisted of artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella, Genoa salami, giardiniera, a slice of cantaloupe in season wrapped with prosciutto, olives and our childhood favorite, BQ brand sesame breadsticks.

But back to Ethan Stowell and his team of chefs:

   

asparagus-antipasto-ethanstowell-230

An asparagus-based “antipasto.” Photo courtesy Ethan Stowell Restaurants.

 
His asparagus plate inspired us to create a “whatever” antipasto with foods we had on hand—which happened to include leftover steamed asparagus. We tossed them in a vinaigrette, and placed them on individual plates with:

  • Cheese (we had truffle cheese)
  • Croutons (thin slices of toasted baguette)
  • Dried figs (wish we’d had fresh figs!)
  • Mixed olives
  • Pâté (two varieties, thanks to a sample shipment from Les Trois Petits Cochons)
  • Pickled red onions (made in an hour with this recipe)
  • Sweet gherkins
  •  
    The tasty result seemed like a lot of thought and effort went into it. But really, we just went through the fridge and added a dab or this and that. Don’t hesitate to combine anything with anything else.

     

    greek-mezze-murrays-230

    Assorted Greek mezze. Photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese.

     

    AMUSE-BOUCHE, ANTIPASTO, HORS D’OEUVRE, MEZZE &
    TAPAS: THE DIFFERENCES

    Different but similar: Here’s the scoop on these popular foods:.

  • Amuse-bouche (pronounced ah-MEEZ boosh) is French for “amusing the mouth.” It’s an hors d’oeuvre-size portion plated in a tiny dish, sent as a gift from the chef after the order has been placed but before the food arrives. It is brought after the wine is poured. It is just one bite: A larger portion would constitute an appetizer. Amuses-bouches tend to be complex in both flavors and garniture, and enable the chef to show creativity.
  • Antipasto is a first course of assorted foods, served at the table (some restaurants have antipasto buffets).
  • Appetizer, a first course lately referred to as a starter in fashionable venues, is small serving of food served as a first course. It can be the same type of food that could be served as an entrée or a side dish, but in a smaller portion (e.g., a half-size portion of gnocchi). Or it could be something not served as a main dish, such as smoked salmon with capers.
  • Hors d’oeuvre (pronounced or-DERV) are one- or two-bite tidbits served with cocktails. They can be placed on a table for self-service, or passed on trays by the host or a server. Canapés are the original hors d’oeuvre; they’ve been joined in modern times by hot options such as cheese puffs, mini quiches, skewers, baby lamb chops and many other options. Technically, the term refers to small, individual food items that have been prepared by a cook. Thus, a cheese plate is not an hors d’oeuvre, nor is a crudité tray with dip, even though someone has cut the vegetables and made the dip. The term means “[dishes] outside the work [the main meal].” Several pieces can be plated to serve as an appetizer (first course). Martinets note: In French, the term “hors d’oeuvre” is used to indicate both the singular and plural forms; Americans incorrectly write and speak it as “hors d’oeuvres.”
  • Mezze or meze (pronounced MEH-zay) is an assortment of small dishes served to accompany alcoholic drinks or as an appetizer plate before the main dish. In Greece, expect mezedes of feta, Kalamata olives, pepperoncini, assorted raw vegetables and dips like taramasalata and tzatziki. Many other options include anchovies and sardines, saganaki (grilled or fried cheese) and roasted red peppers. In the Middle East, you’ll typically find dips (babaganoush, hummus), olives, pickles, tabouleh and other items, from raw vegetables to falafel and sambousek, small meat turnovers. Don’t forget the pita wedges!
  • Tapas (pronounced TOP-us) are appetizers or snacks that comprise a wide variety of popular foods in Spanish cuisine. They may be cold or hot, from cheese and olives to chorizo to a tortilla, meatballs, or fried squid. While originally traditional foods, some tapas bars now serve very sophisticated plates. You can order one or more tapas with a glass of wine, or order a series of plates to create a full meal.
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Crostini Appetizers

    Bruschetta and crostini are two of our favorite nibbles to serve with cocktails, wine or beer.

    Both are Italian traditions, and can be made from scratch or topped with leftover cheese, meat, seafood and/or vegetables. Bruschetta can be made indoors or on the grill. Crostini, which are smaller and can fall through the grill grate, are made indoors under the broiler.

    BRUSCHETTA VS. CROSTINI: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

    The answer is twofold: the size of the slice, plus grilling versus toasting. Bruschetta (three or four inches in diameter) are cut from a baguette and grilled; crostini (about two inches in diameter) are cut from a thinner loaf (called a ficelle) and toasted.

    Bruschetta (pronounced broo-SKEH-tuh) are grilled bread slices rubbed with garlic and topped with any variety of items. The toppings can be as simple as extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, to diced tomatoes and basil, to almost any spread, vegetable, cured meat or cheese—even fruit.

    Bruschetta originated in the Tuscany region of Italy; in modern times is a popular snack or appetizer. It may have been the original garlic bread.

       

    crostini-with-havarti-castelloUSA-230

    Crunchy crostini with summer vegetables and melted cheese. Photo courtesy Castello USA.

     

    The word comes from the verb bruscare in Roman dialect, which means “to roast over coals.” If you have access to a grill, grill the bread for authenticity. If not, you can toast it.

    The word bruschetta refers to the grilled bread, not the topping. Some American manufacturers and others in the food industry misuse the term, using it to refer to the topping only and selling jars of “bruschetta” (it should be bruschetta topping). Show your superior knowledge and don’t allow the term to be distorted.

    Crostini (cruh-STEE-nee) are croutons—not in the American sense of small toasted cubes of bread used to garnish soup or salad, but thin slices of toasted bread. The word is the plural of crostino, “little toast” or “little crust.”

    Smaller than bruschetta, the slices are typically cut from a ficelle, a thinner baguette one to two inches wide (the word is French for string). The slices are brushed with olive oil, toasted and then topped with spreadable cheese, pâté or other ingredients. Plain crostini are served with soups and salads, (in the manner of the formerly fashionable melba toast) or set out with cheese.
     
    WHY USE FRENCH BREAD WITH AN ITALIAN RECIPE?

    Bruschetta began as peasant food, thought to originate in medieval times when it was common for Italian peasants to eat their meals from slices of bread instead of using expensive ceramics plates. The originators would have used any bread available to them.

    Over time, the recipe became refined as an appetizer (antipasto), on more easily handled small toasts. While both countries make a large variety of delicious breads, the Italian repertoire didn’t include long, thin loaves like baguette (the French word for stick) or ficelle (the French word for string).

    Here’s an overview of the differences between French and Italian breads.

    Now, let’s eat! The crunchy, cheesy appetizer recipes that follow are from Castello Cheese, which has a website full of recipes with cheese.

    The first recipe uses their Aged Havarti; the second their Creamy Havarti. You can substitute any semi-firm cheese that can be shaved (examples: Alsatian Muenster, Gouda Monterey Jack, Port du Salut, Reblochon, Tilsit, Tomme de Beaumont).

    Prep time is 30 minutes.

     

    havarti-crostini-bacon-castelloUSA-230

    Crostini with bacon and havarti. The recipe is below. Photo courtesy Castello USA

     

    RECIPE: CROSTINI WITH SUMMER VEGETABLES

    Ingredients For 18 Crostini Servings
     
    For The Crostini

  • 1 ficelle or slender baguette, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  •  
    For The Topping

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 1¼ cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 4 mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 poblano or Anaheim chile pepper, seeded, stemmed
    and finely chopped
  • 8 ounces Castello Aged Havarti, shaved thinly
  • Preparation

    1. MAKE the crostini: Preheat the broiler to high. Brush the bread slices with olive oil and arrange them, oil side up, on a baking pan. Place under the broiler until the bread turns a golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove and season the crostini with chives and salt. Set aside.

    2. MAKE the vegetable topping: Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and pan fry for 1 minute. Add the onion slices and continue cooking until they soften and become translucent.

    3. ADD the tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms and chiles and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and top the crostini with vegetable mixture, then with thecheese.

    4. PLACE the crostini under the broiler just before serving, until the cheese melts, about 1 minute. Serve warm or room temperature.
     
    RECIPE: BACON & HAVARTI CROSTINI

    This recipe takes less time than the vegetable crostini: 16 minutes. Castello used its Creamy Havarti.
     
    Ingredients for 8 Servings

  • 8 slices of diagonally cut baguette
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, dill, parsley and rosemary
    (you can use a combination)
  • 8 slices smoked bacon, cooked
  • 2 ounces havarti, shaved thinly
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRUSH one side of the bread slices with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and herbs.

    2. ARRANGE the slices on a baking pan and place under a broiler until the edges of the bread crisp to a golden brown, about 3 minutes.

    3. REMOVE the pan from the heat and top each slice of bread with a layer of crumbled bacon and shaved cheese. Return the pan to the broiler and heat until the cheese melts, about 3 minutes.

    4. REMOVE and immediately sprinkle with remaining chopped herbs. Serve while hot or at room temperature.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Salmon Sashimi Hors d’Oeuvre

    salmon-sashimi-tuille-maille-230

    Delicious bites. Photo courtesy Maille.

     

    Maille, the venerable French producer of fine mustards, added a European spin to this, placing Japanese-style raw fish on a Parmesan tuile. It also combines substitutes the traditional wasabi for Maille Dijon Mustard With Honey.

    If you don’t eat cheese, or want to shave time from making the recipe, instead of making tuiles you can substitute KA-ME Rice Crunch Crackers in Original, Seaweed or Sesame.

    You can serve these bites anytime, from brunch to cocktails to a first course. Prep time is 25 minutes, including making the tuiles.

    Serve with beer, Martinis, saké or wine.

    RECIPE: SALMON SASHIMI HORS D’OEUVRE

    Ingredients For 24 Pieces

  • ½ cup Maille Dijon Mustard with Honey (or other honey mustard)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 8 ounces salmon fillet, skin removed and salmon cut into 24 thin slices
  • 4 ounces coarsely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped basil leaves
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

    2. COMBINE the mustard with soy sauce in medium bowl; gently stir in the salmon. Let stand 10 minutes.

    3. MAKE the tuiles: Drop the cheese by teaspoonfuls into 24 mounds onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and looks lacy. Remove the baking pan to a wire rack and let cool.

    4. COMBINE the basil, mint, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper; set aside. To serve:

    5. ARRANGE the tuiles on serving platter, then top each with piece of salmon. Garnish with the herb salad and a piece of cherry tomato.
     
    Find more delicious recipes at Maille.com.
     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Oysters & Pearls

    The great chef Thomas Keller, inventor of “Oysters and Pearls,” created a splendid first course with fresh-shucked oysters in a pearl tapioca sabayon, garnished with osetra caviar (today it’s domestic white sturgeon caviar, due to import restrictions).

    Here’s a video, here’s the recipe).

    Keller’s inspiration was a box on tapioca pearls he noticed on a shelf. He turned the tapioca into something savory instead of the conventional sweet pudding, thinking “Where do pearls come from? Oysters.”

    The iconic dish came together just like that.

    While we can’t get enough of Oysters and Pearls, here’s an easier take on the dish that you can make for Mother’s Day or other special occasion.

     

    pearls-in-oysters-chalkpointkitchen-230sq

    An easy version of “Oysters and Pearls.” Photo courtesy Chalk Point Kitchen | NYC.

     
    You can serve as many oysters on a plate as you like: a minimum three, up to a dozen oysters on the half shell if your guests are like Diamond Jim Brady.

    Serve this course with a dry white wine or saké.
     
    RECIPE: OYSTERS & PEARLS

    Ingredients

  • Oysters on the half shell
  • Seaweed or microgreens
  • Salmon caviar (vegan option finger lime pearls)
  • Yuzu or rice wine vinaigrette
  • Optional: halved cherry or grape tomatoes, lime wedges
  •  
    Preparation

    1. DRESS the seaweed with some yuzu or rice wine vinaigrette so it can be eaten as a salad.

    2. CREATE a seaweed bed on each serving plate, topped with the oysters.

    3. TOP each oyster with pearls of caviar. Decorate the plate with the cherry tomatoes and lime wedge.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Tortilla Chips & Steak Appetier

    GrilledSalsaSteakAppetizer-beefitswhatsfordinner-230

    Crunchy and beefy! Photo courtesy National
    Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

     

    This isn’t exactly an authentic Mexican recipe, but it’s close enough for Cino de Mayo.

    Presented by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (“Beef, it’s what’s for dinner”), it’s a stylish, fresh way to serve guacamole or salsa with tortilla chips. Just add some steak to it!

    The total recipe time is 35 to 40 minutes. It’s delicious with beer, savory cocktails and wine.

    Find more steak-sational recipes at BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

    RECIPE: GRILLED SALSA STEAK APPETIZER

    Ingredients For 24 Pieces

  • 2 flat iron steaks, about 8 ounces each
  • 1 cup thick-and-chunky salsa, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 24 large corn (restaurant style) tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup guacamole
  • Optional garnish: 24 fresh cilantro leaves
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the beef steaks and 1/2 cup of the salsa in food-safe plastic bag; turn steaks to coat. Close the bag securely and marinate in the refrigerator 15 minutes to 2 hours.

    2. COMBINE the remaining 1/2 cup salsa and chopped cilantro; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

    3. REMOVE the steaks from the marinade; discard marinade (always discard a marinade when finished; bacteria, which die when the protein is cooked, can remain present in the marinade). Place the steaks on a grill over medium-hot, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 10 to 14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 12 to 16 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally.

    4. CARVE the steaks into thin slices; cut the slices into bite-size pieces.

    5. ARRANGE the tortilla chips on a platter. Top each chip evenly with the reserved salsa mixture, a piece of beef and topping of guacamole. Garnish with a cilantro leaf. Serve immediately.

     

    WHAT IS FLAT IRON STEAK?

    Flat iron steak (also called top blade or patio steak) is cut from the shoulder of the steer (the top blade roast), producing a cut that is flavorful, but a bit tougher because it’s cut with the grain. It thus requires marinating and cooking to no more doneness than medium; but produces a piece of beef with deep, rich flavor.

    If it seems like a newer cut, it is. It was developed by teams at the University of Nebraska and the University of Florida, with research funded by the National Cattleman’s Beef Association.

    The problem presented to the university researchers was the best way to use a challenging cut of beef from the shoulder of the steer. Though a flavorful and relatively tender cut of meat, the top blade roast has a serious flaw in the middle of it; an impossibly tough piece of connective tissue running through the middle.

     

    flati-ron-geecheemeatmarket-230

    A flatiron steak. Photo courtesy Ogeechee Meat Market.

     

    To make the flat iron steak, the top blade roast is separated into two pieces by cutting horizontally through the center to remove the heavy connective tissue. The result: the roast was turned into tasty, tender, economical steaks.

    See our beef glossary for the different cuts of beef.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pimento Cheese Ball With Pecans

    It’s National Cheese Ball Day. Here’s a classic recipe to whip up and serve with wine or cocktails. The cheese ball serves 5-8 people.

    The recipe is from Taylor Takes a Taste for EatWisconsinCheese.com.

    RECIPE: PIMENTO CHEESE BALL WITH SALTED PECANS

    Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 ounces pimentos, drained and chopped
  • 3 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  •  

    Pimento-Cheese-ball-pecans-wmmb-230

    Pimento cheese ball with pecans. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

     

    Preparation

    1. MELT the butter in a non-stick skillet. Add the pecans and toast until fragrant, but not burned. Remove from the heat and toss in the salt. Allow to cool, then chop into medium to small pieces. Set aside.

    2. PLACE the remaining ingredients into a large bowl. With a fork, mix until creamy. Chill for 1 hour.

    3. LAY about 12 inches of plastic wrap on a level surface. Scoop out the chilled pimento cheese and form into a ball on top of plastic wrap. Roll the cheese ball in the chopped pecans, making sure the entire surface of ball is covered.

    4. WRAP the ball tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Before serving, allow the frozen ball to thaw for half an hour. Serve with your favorite crackers, chips or pretzels.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Hummus Salad

    hummus-salad-chalkpointkitchen

    Use hummus as the base of a salad. Photo courtesy Chalk Point Kitchen | NYC.

     

    Last month we featured 20 different ways to use hummus. But we left off at least one: this hummus salad.

    This appetizer concept, by Executive Chef Joe Isidori of Chalk Point Kitchen in New York City, piles crunchy veggies atop a base of hummus, served with a side of pita wedges.

    First, consider the hummus. Chef Isidori makes his own, but if you’re buying yours, check out the myriad of flavored hummus—everything from roasted garlic to spicy chipotle.

    Cut up your “salad”—beets, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, olives, pickled vegetables (Chef Isidori used pickle onions, we used dilly beans), radishes, etc.—and toss it lightly in a vinaigrette. You can top the hummus with romaine or other crunchy lettuce before adding the other vegetables.

    For a final flourish, top with minced fresh herbs and some optional feta cheese, and serve with toasted pita chips.

    You can easily turn this into a light lunch or vegan dinner, and feel good that you’re eating healthfully, sustainably and tastily.

     
    We’ve also got 20+ ways to make a hummus sandwich.

    EASY VINAIGRETTE RECIPE

    There’s no need to buy bottled vinaigrette. Just open a bottle of olive oil and a bottle of vineagar—two kitchen staples—measure them in a ratio of 3:1 and whisk vigorously.

    Start with 3 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and a pinch of dry mustard. The latter helps the emulsion stay together and contributes a wee bit o flavor.

    The magic comes when you use different oils—flavored oils, nut oils—and vinegars; substitute lemon or lime juice for some or all of the vinegar; and add other flavor dimensions such as condiments (chopped olives, mustard, relish), heat, herbs and sweetness (honey, maple syrup).

    Here’s our master article on how to create great vinaigrette.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Raw Scallops With Grapefruit

    raw-scallops-grapefruit-estela-glen-allsop-230r

    Raw scallops and grapefruit. Use dill or fennel fronds for decoration. Photo by Glen Allsop courtesy Estela Restaurant | NYC.

     

    Before the tastiest citrus goes away until next season, consider this super-easy yet elegant (and low-calorie!) first course. Estela Restaurant in New York City made it with small “cocktail” grapefruits, but we added some blood orange (rosy red) and cara cara orange (deep pink) for color.

    Sauvignon blanc white wines are known for their grapefruit or grassy notes. We poured one of each style—a grapefruity wine from California, a grassy one from France—although you’ll need to consult your wine store if you want to be sure your wines have these flavor profiles.

    A drizzle of olive oil, expecially a grassy one, is a great complement.

    RECIPE: RAW SCALLOPS WITH CITRUS

    Ingredients

  • Sea scallops, the largest you can find
  • Citrus of choice (blood orange, cara cara orange, pink/red/white grapefruit)
  • Sea salt
  • Seasoning of choice: chili flakes or fresh-ground pepper, fresh dill, other favorite
  • Optional condiment: extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional garnish: dill sprig or citrus zest
  • Preparation

    1. PEEL the citrus and remove the pith. Slice the fruit into widths that will match the scallops (to the extent possible).

    2. RINSE the scallops and slice horizontally. Your can choose how thick or thin to slice them, but aim for four slices per scallop.

    3. PLATE the fruit and scallops. Depending on their comparative sizes, you can plate them as shown in the photo, or place the scallops atop the sliced fruit.

    4. DRIZZLE a small amount of the optional olive oil over the food, or in a circle or droplets around it. Sprinkle with sea salt and optional chili flakes. Garnish as desired (you can grate citrus zest over the dish, or sprinkle it around the rim of the plate) and serve.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Prosciutto Salad, The Sophisticated Ham Salad

    prosciutto-salad-olionyc-230

    Slices of prosciutto topped with a salad of
    baby arugula and watercress, topped with
    Parmigiano-Reggiano. Photo courtesy Olio e
    Piú | NYC.

     

    When you hear the words “ham salad,” you think of diced ham, possibly the leftovers from a holiday ham or Sunday dinner.

    Diced or minced ham is mixed with diced bell pepper, celery and onion or other favorite raw vegetables; perhaps with some hard-boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, pickle relish or green peas; and bound with mayonnaise (we use a mayo-Dijon blend).

    It’s one of those traditional Anglo-American sandwich salads, along with chicken salad, egg salad and tuna salad.

    It’s also served sans bread on a bed of green salad ingredients, perhaps with a scoop of another protein salad or a starch-based salad such as potato salad, macaroni salad or chopped vegetable salad.

    But there’s another, more sophisticated way to serve ham salad: as a first course with prosciutto or Serrano ham.

    Prosciutto, or Parma ham, is classically served as a first course with melon in Italian cuisine.

    At Olio e Piú in New York’s Greenwich Village, the chef takes a different direction, adding a salad of vinaigrette-dressed bitter greens (we like baby arugula, watercress or a mix) atop the prosciutto and topping it with some fresh-shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

     

    WHAT ARE BITTER GREENS

    Bitter greens are part of the larger family of leafy greens, which include the lettuces, known as “sweet greens.” The bitterness can be mild or strong. Greens harvested earlier in the season tend to be less bitter than more mature plants harvested later.

    Many bitter greens are dark green in color, although some are pale (endive, frisée) and some are red or have red accents (amaranth, chard, radicchio). If you like your veggies, you’ve likely had more than a few of these:

     

  • Amaranth
  • Arugula
  • Belgian endive
  • Beet greens
  • Broccoli rabe/rapini
  • Chard
  • Chicory
  • Cress
  • Collard greens
  • Curly endive
  • Dandelion greens
  • Escarole
  • Frisée
  • Kale
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard greens
  • Nettles
  • Radicchio
  • Spinach
  • Tatsoi
  • Turnip greens
  •  

    red-white-belgian-230

    Not all “bitter greens” are green. Above, white endive and red endive, the latter also known as radicchio. Photo courtesy Endive.com.

     

    PROSCIUTTO & SERRANO HAMS: THE DIFFERENCES

    Both prosciutto and Serrano hams are dry-cured: salted and hung in sheds to cure in the air. Both are served in very thin slices. Country ham, preferred in the U.S., is smoked, and a very different stye from dry-cured hams.

    While prosciutto and Serrano hams can be used interchangeably, they are different.

  • Prosciutto, from Italy, is cured for 10-12 months with a coating of lard. Serrano, from Spain, can be cured for up to 18 months (and at the high end, for 24 months). The differing times and microclimates affect the amount of wind that dries the hams, and thus the character of the final products.
  • They are made from different breeds of pigs: Prosciutto can be made from pig or wild boar, whereas Serrano is typically made from a breed of white pig.
  • The diet of the pigs differs. Parma pigs eat the local chestnuts, and are also fed the whey by-product of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  • Italian-made prosciutto is never made with nitrates. American made prosciutto, as well as both domestic and Spanish Serrano-style hams, can have added nitrates.
  • Prosciutto is considered more salty and fatty. Serrano is considered more flavorful and less fatty.
  •  
    MORE HAM

  • The different types of ham
  • American hams
  • Serrano ham vs. jamón ibérico
  •   

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Sushi Lollipops

    Here’s a fun idea from RA Sushi in Orlando: sushi lollipops!

    While you may not have the skill to roll your own, it’s easy enough to buy ready-made sushi rolls and add this special spin to enjoy with cocktails.

    Just pick up some bamboo skewers and mix a dipping sauce. It could be as simple as soy sauce and wasabi or soy sauce, grated ginger, sesame seeds and minced chives (wasabi optional).

    Depending on the rolls, you could use sweet chili sauce or citrussy ponzu sauce.

    Here’s a recipe for homemade ponzu sauce—so much more delicious than store-bought (except for the deluxe ponzu sauce from Yakami Orchard).

    As always, have fun with it!

     

    sushi-lollipops-RASushi-orlando-230sq

    Sushi lollipops with a sweet chili dipping sauce. Photo courtesy RA Sushi | Orlando.

     

      

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