The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - Part 2
THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods

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RECIPE: Asparagus Salad With Ricotta Salata & Roast Chicken

For dinner yesterday, we made this salad from Discover California Wines, the consumer website of the Wine Institute. Its focus is recipes with wine pairings.

This asparagus salad recipe (photo #1) reminded us to have as much asparagus as we can while it’s in season.

In some parts of the country asparagus is in the market as early as February. April is the peak month for harvesting, and June marks the end of the season.

There always seems to be asparagus in stores, because customers demand it. But out-of-season, the asparagus travels from Chile and Peru, and the extra travel time means less fresh asparagus (less fresh = less flavor).

This salad proclaims springtime. Pick up a rotisserie chicken and dinner is ready to go in 10 minutes. The fun here is that you shave the asparagus: a delightful visual and texture.

It’s also an opportunity to get to know ricotta salata cheese (photo #2—there’s more about the cheese below).

The dressing is perked up with Vietnamese fish sauce, nuoc cham, which adds umami flavor. Thailand’s prik nam pla is a similar fish sauce.

There are many uses for fish sauce in everyday cuisine. Check out some uses below.

But if you don’t have fish sauce and don’t want to buy it, substitute soy sauce, tamari, oyster sauce or Worcestershire sauce.

If you’re a from-scratch cook, you can make your own nuoc cham from scratch.

Discover California Wines recommends a pairing of Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.
Ingredients For 4 Servings

For The Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon Vietnamese fish sauce
  • 1 small clove garlic, very finely minced or grated
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    For The Salad

  • ½ pound (250 g) thick asparagus spears (weight after trimming)
  • 3 ounces (90 g) baby arugula
  • Chunk of ricotta salata cheese (photo #2—substitute feta)
  • Optional: roast chicken (or if you have it, sliced lamb)

    1. MAKE the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, fish sauce and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    2. SHAVE the asparagus, one spear at a time. Lay the spear flat on a work surface and shave it lengthwise into thin ribbons with a sharp vegetable peeler.

    3. PLACE the asparagus in a salad bowl with the arugula. With a cheese plane or vegetable peeler, shave 3 ounces (90 g) of cheese—or as much as you like—into the bowl.

    4. ADD enough dressing to coat the salad lightly; you may not need it all. Toss gently, taste for seasoning, and serve immediately.


    Ricotta salata (photo #2)is a firm Italian cheese with a mildly salty flavor. (If you can’t find it, substitute feta.)

    It’s a table cheese—a term used for any cheese that can multitask: grated, shaved or sliced in appetizers, soups garnishes, salads, as part of the main course and a dessert with fruit.

    Most people are familiar with the fresh, soft form of ricotta. But as a fresh cheese, ricotta has a limited shelf life.

    Long ago, to extend its life, the fresh ricotta was salted, baked and smoked. Today the pressed, salted, dried and aged version of ricotta is known as ricotta salata (salted ricotta).

    The cheese, made in wheels, is milky-white and firm. In addition to salads, grate it over potatoes, rice, soups and grilled vegetables.


    In addition to other Asian dishes like pad thai, fish sauce can be used in:

  • Cocktails: Use fish sauce as a replacement for Worcestershire sauce in Bloody Marys.
  • Dipping sauce: Use it as a simple dipping sauce.
  • Grilled meats: Add it to a marinade for beef or chicken.
  • Stir-frys: Use it instead of soy sauce or salt.
  • Vegetables: Drizzle it over Brussels sprouts or broccoli before roasting.

    *According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, approximately 502.4 million pounds of fresh asparagus was imported in 2017, mostly from Mexico, Peru and Chile. The value of the 2017 U.S. commercial asparagus crop was approximately $73.1 million.


    [1] Shaved asparagus salad with arugula (photo © Discover California Wines).

    [2] Ricotta salata, an all-purpose table cheese (photo © Good Eggs).

    Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
    [3] Nuoc cham, Vietnamese fish sauce with umami flavor. Buy it at an Asian market; or here’s the recipe from Gastronomy Blog (photo © Gastronomy Blog).

    [4] Pick up a rotisserie chicken to turn asparagus salad into a main meal (photo © McCormick).

    [5] Enjoy your salad with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris (photo © Tommy Bahama | Facebook).




    Pizza Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe For National Grilled Cheese Day

    [1] A pizza grilled cheese sandwich with pepperoni (photo © Emily Ellyn).

    [2] Sliced mozzarella cheese (photos #2 and #3 © Frigo Cheese).

    [3] Ricotta cheese is blended with marinara sauce for the sandwich and for dipping.

    Caprese Sandwich
    [4] A Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich—the grilled cheese version of the Caprese Salad. Here’s the recipe (photo © Cooking Classy).


    April 12th is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day.

    While we’ve printed many a grilled cheese sandwich in the 17 years of publishing THE NIBBLE, here’s one we haven’t published:

    Pizza Grilled Cheese. We’ve made it often with mozzarella, pasta sauce, sliced tomatoes and fresh basil—a grilled cheese Caprese sandwich.

    But this recipe, by Emily Ellyn, Retro Rad Chef, uses a classic pizza approach, with mozzarella, pepperoni and any other favorite toppings.

    Find more of her recipes at

    Thanks also to Frigo Cheese, which shared this recipe with us.

    In this recipe, ricotta is blended with marinara sauce to create a creamy pizza sauce.

    Prep time is 5 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes.
    Ingredients For 4 Sandwiches

  • ½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, plus extra for dipping
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 8 slices sourdough bread or Italian country bread
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ball (16 ounces) fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup mini pepperoni slices
  • Other pizza toppings, as desired

    1. COMBINE the ricotta and the marinara sauce in a small saucepan, heating gently on low until you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches.

    2. BUTTER both sides of each bread slice and lightly sprinkle them with the garlic powder. Place the slices in a large skillet or on a griddle set to medium-low heat. Cook the slices for 3–4 minutes or until the bread is browned on one side.

    Cook in batches, if necessary, and hold the finished sandwiches on a sheet tray in an oven set at 300°F.

    3. FLIP half of the slices of bread and spread each with 1–2 tablespoons of the ricotta-marinara sauce, slices of mozzarella and a tablespoon of pepperoni slices. Add any additional pizza toppings. Top with the remaining slices of bread, toasted-side down.

    4. FLIP the sandwiches and continue to cook them on medium-low heat, until the bottom slices of bread are toasted. Then, flip and cook the sandwiches until the mozzarella is melted.

    5. TO PLATE, cut the sandwiches in half and serve them with marinara sauce for dipping. (Note: Personally, we pass on the dipping sauce and avoid the dripping.)

  • Beer Battered Grilled Cheese & Bacon Sandwich
  • Blackberry Grilled Cheese
  • Brie, Strawberries & Balsamic Grilled Cheese
  • Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese
  • Dessert Grilled Cheese Recipes
  • Four Pages Of Grilled Cheese Recipes
  • Gourmet Grilled Cheese
  • Grilled Cheese Benedict
  • Grilled Cheese With Mozzarella, Blue Cheese & Raspberries
  • Halloumi Reverse Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • How To Make The Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Lobster Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Macaroni & Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Mascarpone Grilled Cheese With Chocolate Soup
  • Poutine Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Turkey, Tilsit & Brussel Sprouts Grilled Cheese



    Fondue Vs. Fonduta: What Is The Difference?

    April 11th is National Cheese Fondue Day.

    Fondue, a melted cheese dish (photo #1), originated in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel.

    (Don’t confuse Neuchâtel with Neufchâtel, a soft cheese made in Neufchâtel-en-Bray, a commune* in the French region of Normandy.)

    Fondue, which derives from the French verb “fondre”, meaning to melt, is an 18th-century dish that enabled farm families to stretch their limited resources during the winter months. With some bits of cheese, some stale bread for dipping, and a dash of wine, the family had dinner [source].

    The dish found its way from the farms to towns and cities: There are 26 cantons in Switzerland, each with its own variation of the recipe.

    Modern fondue is generally made from at least two varieties of cheese, plus alcohol and a bit of flour or cornstarch to keep the melted cheese from separating. Garlic and other seasonings can be added.

    What makes one recipe different from the next?

    The particular blend of cheeses, the alcohol (wines, liqueurs, spirits) and the seasonings. Traditionalists will tell you that one of the cheeses has to be Swiss Gruyère (photo #2).

    Switzerland designated fondue a national dish† in the 1930s.

    The World Fondue Championships (Mondial Fondue) was established in 2015, and is held every other year.

    In 2019, more than 120 competitors combined different cheeses and wines, hoping to carry off the honors in professional and amateur categories.

    (In the Championships, the cheese component must be at least 50% Swiss Gruyère.)

    Fondue crossed the pond some time after World War II with numerous other European dishes. It became extremely popular in the U.S. during the 1960s. American stores did quite a business in fondue pots.

    Here’s more about fondue.

    Fonduta is the Italian version of fondue—i.e., melted cheese—but it’s not the same.

    Instead of Gruyère, fonduta is made with Fontina (photo #3), a young cows’ milk cheese that melts easily and tastes similar to Gruyère.

    Fontina cheese—and hence fonduta—is a specialty of Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta, both at the north of Italy, just over the border from Switzerland.

    The big difference between Swiss fondue and Italian fonduta is that the Italian recipe does not include alcohol, garlic, or a cornstarch/flour thickener.

    Instead, the Fontina is blended with butter and milk, and egg yolks are used as the thickener, making it more custardy.

    The classic Italian finishing touch is a shaving of white truffle—or for most of us, a drizzle of truffle oil instead.

    Similar to fondue, fonduta is served with crostini (toasted bread slices, as opposed to untoasted bread with Swiss fondue); boiled fingerling potatoes and cornichons (photo #4).

    Here’s a recipe.


    *French communes are analogous to civil townships and incorporated municipalities in the United States and Canada.

    †Rosti, thinly grated potatoes that are pan-fried until crisp and golden, is another of Switzerland’s national dishes. It’s another dish with farm origins: Farmers in the canton of Bern would traditionally eat it for breakfast [source].


    [1] Fondue…or is it fonduta? Read the details! (photo © iGourmet).

    [2] Swiss Gruyere cheese, at Murray’s Cheese (photos #2 and #3 © Murray’s Cheese).

    [3] Fontina val d’Aosta, at Murray’a Cheese.

    [4] Cornichons are delicious with cheese dishes, the vinegar in the pickles an excellent counterpoint to the fat in the cheese (photo © The Nibble).




    Baileys Colada, Like A Piña Colada But With Baileys Irish Cream

    [1] A frozen Baileys Colada. The recipe is below (photos #1 and #2 © Baileys | Diageo).

    [2] You can have a dessert of Baileys Colada on the rocks.

    [33] For a grander dessert, top vanilla ice cream with Baileys Colada (photo © Carmela Ice Cream).


    For Piña Colada lovers and Irish Cream Liqueur lovers, here’s some limited-edition excitement:

    Baileys Piña Colada, a new flavor from Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur.

    It’s a great Mother’s Day gift; and you may want to buy more than one for yourself.

    It’s available now through the summer, while supplies last.

    Drink it from a shot glass, on the rocks (photo #2), in an ice cream float

    …or in a frozen drink (recipe below).

    Options with ice cream:

  • Pour the Baileys over vanilla ice cream.
  • Soften a pint of vanilla and blend in Baileys to taste.
  • If you churn your own ice cream, replace the vanilla extract with 3 tablespoons of Baileys (more to taste).
    Here are 12 more ways to use cream liqueur.

    The difference between a Baileys Colada and a classic Piña Colada is rum versus Irish whiskey, and a different creamy base.

    A Piña Colada uses coconut cream, a Baileys Colada uses dairy cream*.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3-1/2 ounces Baileys Colada liqueur
  • 1-1/2 cups crushed ice
  • Garnish: pineapple wedge

    1. ADD crushed ice and Baileys Colada to a blender. Blend to a smooth consistency.

    2. POUR the cocktail into a colada glass (photo #1), another tall glass or an oversized wine glass.

    3. GARNISH. Make a slit in a small pineapple wedge to affix to the rim of the glass.

  • Baileys Light Liqueur
  • Flavored Whipped Cream
  • More Baileys Recipes





    *Baileys Irish Cream is a liqueur made with Irish whiskey, cream and cocoa.




    RECIPE: Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing Is Turned Into Waffles

    Our favorite holiday is Thanksgiving; not just to remember to give thanks for all that we have, but for the foods we don’t make at any other time of year.

    Why ask why, but as much as we love stuffing and cranberry sauce, we only make them in late November.

    Perhaps we should mark the calendar to have a Thanksgiving-style dinner in the spring. (More about that in a minute.)

    But until we get that organized, here’s some food fun that we couldn’t resist:

    Stuffing waffles!

    The recipe was developed by Jenni Field of Pastry Chef Online, using Idaho® Yukon Gold potatoes instead of bread cubes.

    These potato stuffing waffles taste like yummy Thanksgiving sausage stuffing, with accents of dried cranberries, and crumbled sausage.

  • Enjoy them for brunch with eggs, or for lunch with a green salad.
  • For dinner, pick up a turkey breast. We like the brined turkey breast from Diestel, seasoned and ready to pop into the oven. It’s packaged in a BPA-free bag that locks in all of the bird’s natural juices.
  • At 3.75 pounds, there should be enough left of the Diestel for turkey sandwiches!
  • Don’t want turkey? Make roast chicken or ham.
  • You can add the other Thanksgiving fixings, or just enjoy the waffles.

    Thanksgiving is November 25, 2021.

    If you want to start a fun tradition of “midyear Thanksgiving”—as we’ve decided to do—the date to make the turkey dinner is May 25, 2021.

    We tip our hat to our friend Kimberly, who started a “Christmas in July” tradition many years ago. Turkey and all the trimmings, a Christmas tree (artificial, of course) and Santa bringing gifts.

    We love sage in our stuffing, so we added a tablespoon to Jenni’s recipe.

    Ingredients For 4 Waffles

  • 2 medium Idaho® Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and dried
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 small breakfast sausages casings removed, cooked and crumbled (or 6-ounce bulk breakfast sausage, cooked, drained, and crumbled)
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour*
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1½ teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage

    1. PREHEAT the waffle iron. If your waffle iron has heat settings, set it to the highest setting. You can use either a regular waffle iron or a Belgian waffle iron.

    2. HEAT the oven to 250°F. Peel the potatoes and grate on the coarse holes of a box grater, onto a lint-free kitchen towel.

    3. GATHER up the edges of the towel and squeeze out the excess liquid.

    4. ADD the dried potatoes to a large bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or a spatula.

    5. SPRAY the top and bottom plates of the waffle iron lightly with pan spray. Spread ¼ of the waffle mixture onto your waffle iron (about ½ cup). It will not spread like regular waffle batter, so spread it on with a knife or offset spatula.

    6. CLOSE the lid and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the waffle is deeply golden brown. Remove from the waffle maker and place in the oven to keep warm.

    7. REPEAT with the rest of the potato mixture. There should be no need to spray your waffle iron with pan spray in-between each waffle.

    8. SERVE with sliced roast turkey and gravy…or as you wish.

  • Gluten Free Waffles: You can use a gluten-free flour blend to keep these waffles gluten free.
  • Mashed Potato Waffles: You can make these waffles with leftover mashed potatoes instead of grated potatoes.
  • Storing Waffles: The waffles keep in the fridge for 4-5 days. Reheat in an oven or toaster oven at 350°F until heated through.


    [1] Serve these stuffing waffles with a turkey or chicken dinner. We had them for breakfast with maple syrup instead of gravy (photos #1 and #2 © Jenni Field | Idaho Potato Commission).

    [2] Enjoy the waffles with a turkey dinner, or at brunch with eggs.

    Yukon Gold Potatoes
    [3] Yukon Gold potatoes are our favorite (photo © Bonnie Plants).

    Dried Cranberries [4] Dried cranberries are a sweet counterpoint to the sausage (photo © King Arthur Flour).

    [5] Breakfast sausage from Esposito Sausage, available at Goldbelly (photo © Goldbelly).




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