You will never see it on a restaurant menu. The TV Food Network is unlikely to devote an hour to its history and preparation. It is one of the great forgotten foods of American culinary culture. I’m talking about the shad. The sole remnant of its once mighty role in the diet of Americans is …
After getting back from California we wanted to catch our breath with a simple dish that wouldn’t require a lot of effort. If it went with the the crazy New England weather this week, warm or cold, all the better. Herewith Flageolet Soup with Crème Fraiche, Tarragon and Mustard. Flageolets (fla-as in flag-zhay-oh-lay) are a small, delicate bean, usually (but not always, as you can see in the photos) an alluring pale green. If you examine them closely they’re covered with faint green stripes. They’re removed from the pod before reaching full maturity, which contributes to their delicate flavor. My first encounter with them was an impulse purchase – how could I not buy a package of beans the color of young grasshoppers?
We eat A LOT of asparagus. I see it on sale, buy an armful, steam it lightly, then use it to fill out other things–steel-cut oats and an egg, a lunch salad with cannelloni beans, a way to gussy up a croque monsieur so I don’t feel like Lonely Guy eating grilled cheese in an empty house. But Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Pesto is something else altogether. You set this platter in front of friends who aren’t afraid of getting a little messy when everyone’s standing around in the kitchen with a beer (my preference with asparagus, by the way)* or glass of wine, carrying on while you cook. Serious finger food.
When Jody and I signed up for the cycling fund-raiser the PanMass Challenge last year we stepped up our game when it came to exercise. Speaking exclusively for my Falstaffian self, I thought it might not be a bad idea to drop a few pounds ahead of the actual 200-mile 2-day ride. That’s how we ended up making dishes like Steel-Cut Oats with Eggs, Preserved Lemon and Olives.
But it was a journey to get there.