Lunds & Byerlys REAL FOOD Fall 2015

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Lunds & Byerlys



















FALL 2015


Tour oĆ’ Italy A culinary journey across the diverse country



NUTS: Flavor and nutrition pack a punch WEEKNIGHT MEALS: Fresh and fast ROOT VEGETABLES: Earthy goodness on the table



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HOW DO I GET RID OF MY DOUBLE CHIN? Charles E. Crutchfield III M.D., Medical Director of Eagan, MN-based Crutchfield Dermatology will be among the first physicians to offer Kybella, the latest non-surgical treatment to reduce the appearance of underchin fullness. Board-certified in dermatology, Dr. Crutchfield is a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He has more experience using injectable medications to dissolve unwanted under chin fat than anyone in the United States and has published a landmark scientific paper on “Lipodissolve Ultra,” a safe, effective technique using injectable medicines for the treatment of double chins and other areas or unwanted fat. Lipodissolve Ultra utilizes phosphatidyl choline and deoxycholate – the FDAapproved active ingredient in Kybella – to dissolve unwanted under-chin fat. Dr. Crutchfield’s important paper details the safe and effective results in the treatment of thousands of patients. The first in Minnesota to offer Lipodissolve Ultra treatments, Dr. Crutchfield joins the first clinics to offer the new, FDA-approved Kybella treatments to treat dreaded ‘double chins’. In the past, patients could only seek surgical intervention or liposuction to treat under-chin fullness. Since Crutchfield Dermatology informed Kybella that Dr. Crutchfield was prepared to utilize the treatment, the clinic’s phones not stopped ringing. The clinic is currently taking contact information to notify interested patients as soon as an opening is available. Crutchfield Dermatology is excited that patients in the Twin Cities can now take advantage of this simple, in office, minimally-invasive procedure using Kybella to melt away their unwanted double chins. According to the manufacturer, Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, “Kybella is a naturally occurring molecule in the body that aids in the breakdown of dietary fat.” Kybella is injected into the submental area (fat below the

chin), which allows the medicine to rupture the fat cell membranes and permanently destroy unwanted chin fat. “In the past, I had specialty compounding pharmacies prepare the mixture for each patient as needed. I am very excited to now offer this commercially-available preparation to patients who want to reduce their double chins without surgery. If my vast experience with over 16,000 Lipodissolve Ultra treatments is any indication, this will be a convenient, safe, and effective treatment to significantly improve the way patients look and feel about themselves,” says Dr. Crutchfield. Side effects are mild and include brief swelling, bruising and tenderness. Downtime is minimal. Each treatment session involves multiple small injections and the treatments are repeated monthly for 6 months for best results. We have had good results using Lipodissolve Ultra to treat jowls, too. “The successful results in my Lipodissolve Ultra patients were permanent. Since this contains the same active ingredient, I am optimistic the results will be long-lasting with Kybella, too.” Visit for more information.


AFTER Patient treated by Dr. Crutchfield

Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, is a graduate of the Mayo Clinic Medical School and a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Dr. Crutchfield is an annual selection in the “Top Doctors” issue of Mpls. St. Paul magazine. He is also the only dermatologist to have been selected as a “Best Doctor for Women” by Minnesota Monthly magazine since the inception of the survey. Dr. Crutchfield has been selected as one of the “Best Doctors in America,” an honor awarded to only 4% of all practicing physicians. Dr. Crutchfield is the co-author of a children’s book on sun protection and dermatology textbook. He is a member of the HETIC AΩA National Medical Honor Society, an expert consultant for WebMD and CNN, and a recipient of the T S AE Karis Humanitarian Award from the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine. L OF APPROVA L SEA

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THE SHOW FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE TO EAT Award-winning host Lynne Rossetto Kasper leads listeners on a journey of the senses and speaks with guests who share their passion for culinary delights. FIND EPISODES AND RECIPES AT SPLENDIDTABLE.ORG LISTEN SATURDAYS AT 6 A.M. AND SUNDAYS AT 10 A.M. @splendidtable


FAST & FUNNY CULTURE TALK An hour long celebration of food, culture and conversation with hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam. FIND EPISODES AND COCKTAIL RECIPES AT DINNERPARTYDOWNLOAD.ORG TUNE IN SATURDAYS AT 3 P.M. @dinnerpartydnld


Those who love to cook make more than food in the kitchen. They make the most of every moment together—sharing stories, creating delicious flavors and simply enjoying the company of close friends. For more than 80 years, Le Creuset has been a part of these special times, and a colorful companion to all who savor food—and life—to the fullest. To learn more about Le Creuset’s classic French quality, and the joys of cooking with premium enameled cast iron, visit


real food fall 2015

Features 18 Go Nuts Nuts add rich flavor and a nutritional punch to dishes from savory to sweet BY ROBIN ASBELL

26 Tour of Italy Take a culinary journey from the pastoral mountains of the north to the warm seas of the south BY ERICA DE MANE

40 Weeknight Meals Quick and delicious meals for families on the go

44 Get to the Root Root vegetables lend earthy goodness to the table RECIPES BY STEPHANIE PEDERSEN, MOLLY CHESTER AND SANDY SCHRECENGOST

52 Chef April Bloomfield This award-winning Iron Chef opens up about her love for the vegetable side of the plate BY TARA Q. THOMAS

Departments 4 Bites Super food snacks RECIPES BY JULIE MORRIS

6 Kitchen Skills A good sauce makes an ordinary meal special BY JASON ROSS

8 Contributors 17 Ingredient Chia: Little seeds big on nutrition BY SOPHIE BURTON

56 Pairings Chianti, the original “super Tuscan” BY MARY SUBIALKA



Our Cover

Tour of Italy (page 26). Photographs by Terry Brennan



VOLUME 11, NUMBER 3 Real Food magazine is published quarterly by Greenspring Media, LLC, 706 Second Ave. S. Suite 1000, Minneapolis, MN 55402, 612.371.5800, Fax 612.371.5801. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Real Food is exclusively operated and owned by Greenspring Media, LLC. Printed in the USA.

The pages between the covers of this magazine (except for any inserted material) are printed on paper made from wood fiber that was procured from forests that are sustainably managed to remain healthy, productive and biologically diverse.


Super Food Snacks Kids Will Love Ditch the potato chips and try these healthy snack recipes the whole family will love.


eptember seems to sneak up on us every year, and the changing leaves often accompany a drastic change in lifestyle. Green turns to orange and suddenly our days turn from relaxed to busy, as we become swamped with kids’ sporting events and new projects at work. The “on-the-go” nature of fall can tempt us to reach for the packaged snack option, which we then set out for our hungry kids after school. However, these snacks we crave are often loaded with sodium, carbohydrates and fat. New York Times best-selling author and natural food chef, Julie Morris, provides alternative healthy ways to satisfy the after-school/mid-afternoon snack cravings in her new book, Super Food Snacks. She stands by the power of whole foods and nutrient rich super foods loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. These snacks are easy to make, delicious, energy boosting, and better yet, you and your kids will love them. Try our favorite savory dip or go sweet with homemade granola bars. — Sophie Burton


Chef’s Choice Granola Bars MAKES 10 BARS

Granola bars have a real carpe diem vibe about them: once you have a solid base (like the recipe here), you, the baker, can get away with adding in all kinds of goodies to give them your own signature flair. From dried cherries to mulberries to hemp seeds, the world of accoutrements is a flexible one. One of my favorite “choices” with this recipe is equal parts of freshly-toasted crushed hazelnuts, cacao nibs and goji berries. 1½ ¼ 2 ½ 1 ½ ¼ ¼ ½ 2 ¼ ¼

cups rolled oats (gluten-free rolled oats may be used) cup coconut sugar teaspoons maca powder teaspoon sea salt teaspoon ground cinnamon cup salted roasted almonds, chopped fine cup chia seeds cup flaxseeds cup your choice chopped nuts, dried fruit or super foods tablespoons coconut oil cup smooth almond butter cup maple syrup

1. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to spill over the sides for easy removal. 2. In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, coconut sugar, maca powder, sea salt, cinnamon, almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds and super food add-ins of your choice. 3. In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Stir in the almond butter. Add in the dry ingredients, mixing to incorporate and warm the ingredients, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the maple syrup, stirring constantly, until all excess liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Transfer the contents to the prepared pan, and spread out evenly. Use the back of a spatula to press firmly into an even, flat layer. Refrigerate for 1 hour to solidify, then cut into 10 bars. Bars can be stored refrigerated or at room temperature (they will remain more firm if refrigerated). Stored in a sealed container, they will keep for up to 1 week.

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Cauliflower Ranch Dip MAKES 11⁄2 CUP, 6 SERVINGS

This is a low-fat, low-calorie, dairy-free ranch dip that is sure to please even the most devoted ranch lover. It goes great with vegetables, especially broccoli florets; in fact I’ve been known to eat an entire crown of broccoli so long as it’s accompanied by this dip. 1½ ½ 2 2 2 ½

cups steamed cauliflower florets* cup unflavored almond milk tablespoons grapeseed oil tablespoons apple cider vinegar tablespoons hemp seeds teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon garlic powder shot of hot sauce, to taste ½ teaspoon sea salt ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced *You can also use frozen cauliflower that has been thoroughly defrosted.

1. Place the cauliflower in a blender, along with the almond milk, grapeseed oil, apple cider vinegar and hemp seeds. Blend for a full minute, or until completely smooth and creamy. Add the Dijon mustard, garlic powder, hot sauce, along with the sea salt and black pepper, then blend to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Add the chives and blend briefly just to incorporate, without processing the chives too much. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl or a resealable container, and refrigerate for 1 hour to chill before serving. It will keep, refrigerated, for 1 week. Serving suggestions: This dip is especially good with fresh vegetables, particularly broccoli and carrots. It may also be enjoyed with roasted sweet potato fries or roasted carrots.

FEEL-GOOD FACT: Cauliflower is an astonishingly good source of vitamin K: 1 cup has a whopping 476.2 percent of the recommended daily allowance. People with higher levels of vitamin K have greater bone density and a lower rate of osteoporosis.

fall 2015 real food 5

kitchen skills

It’s in the Sauce Keep a few staples on hand and easily add a pop of color and flavor to any plate. BY JASON ROSS


good sauce makes an ordinary meal special. They are often reserved for fussier nights when guests come for dinner. And yet, for the chef, sauces are the norm. They make their way onto restaurant menus in dabs and dashes simply because they were in the right cooler at the right time. Some of the classic sauces require considerable time and expense, but others are simpler, often occupying a chef’s kitchen and getting used freely. These base sauces will make your home-cooked meals feel more elegant and vibrant.

Tricks of the Trade: The Classic Sauces Roux is a paste used for thickening some of the classic sauces, made by melting butter and stirring in an equal amount of flour. The longer the paste is cooked and stirred, the browner it gets. For white roux, cook 1 minute or less; for blonde, 2-3 minutes; and for brown, cook 15-40 minutes. These are the foundation for myriad sauces and can be flavored in many ways. Béchamel is milk thickened with white roux. Use a heavy bottomed pot and be vigilant in stirring with a wood spoon. Béchamel has a tendency to scorch on the bottom of the pan. Espagnole is brown veal stock thickened with brown roux, as well as a bit of tomato paste for body and flavor. Of all the classic sauces, this is the most challenging and time consuming to make at home. Veal stock should cook 4-6 hours (some chefs cook even longer). If possible, buy veal stock and use that to make espagnole. While the classic calls for brown roux to thicken, many chefs omit the roux and thicken the sauce by reduction. Hollandaise (above) is warm melted butter made creamy and smooth by whisking it into a bowl of warmed egg yolks. Use pasteurized eggs, because the sauce never gets hot enough to fully and safely cook the eggs yolks. Use a bowl to heat yolks over a double boiler and be ready to whisk vigorously, adding melted clarified butter in a steady stream. Add salt, a squeeze of lemon juice and a tiny pinch of cayenne at the end. Tomato (left) sauce is simply a sauce made from cooked tomatoes. For the classic French tomato sauce, cook bacon and onions in a pan before adding tomatoes and some herbs. Then purée and strain to make the sauce. If the sauce is watery, you can thicken it with a little blonde roux.


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Velouté is light stock (often chicken) thickened with a light roux. Use the roux sparingly and remember to whisk out any lumps. A thick floury velouté can become the gravy that gets left in the gravy boat.

Gastrique A gastrique is a sweet and sour sauce. It gets heavy use in the fall, pairing classically with game and duck. The concept is simple: Cook sugar until it turns to caramel then add wine vinegar. The sauce balances acidity, sweetness and hints of bitterness. For every one part sugar, use two parts vinegar. It can be used as is, for a glaze, mixed with fruit juices or paired with pan juices for a savory sauce.

Apple Gastrique MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS

Use this sauce with game and turkey, or cooled on a cheese board. cup sugar Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced roughly ½ inch tablespoons cider vinegar cup apple juice tablespoon butter pinch ground black pepper

1. Cook sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat 5 minutes, until starting to melt. Carefully stir with a wooden spoon. 2. When sugar begins to brown, add apples. Sugar will seize and solidify, and apples will give up some of their liquid. Cook 3 minutes, stirring periodically as caramel begins to dissolve. 3. Add vinegar and apple juice. Simmer 10 to 12 minutes until caramel fully dissolves, apples soften, and a thin syrup forms. 4. Stir in butter and pepper until fully incorporated. 5. Store in a sealed container, refrigerated, up to 7 days.

Green Oils Green oils are a chef’s friend, lending big, herby flavor to everything from rib-eye steak and hamburgers to vinaigrettes and dressings. They are easy to make and add a pop of color to any plate. Green herbs, sometimes blanched, are puréed with oil; they are then strained or left chunky for a pesto-like consistency.

Parsley Chive Purée MAKES 8 TO 10 SERVINGS

Drizzle this bright green purée over grilled foods for a pop of color. Or mix a tablespoon into a cup of mayonnaise for an herby dip. ½ bunch parsley ½ cup chives, roughly chopped 1 cup light-flavored oil, such as canola, sunflower or light olive 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. To blanch herbs, boil 10 to 20 seconds, strain into a colander, and run under cold water until no longer hot. Use a kitchen towel or paper towel to squeeze out excess water. 2. In a blender, blend the blanched herbs with remaining ingredients 1 to 2 minutes on high until smooth. 3. Store in a sealed container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.


¼ 2 2 ¼ 1

APPLE GASTRIQUE: PER SERVING: CALORIES 69 (15 from fat); FAT 2g (sat. 1g); CHOL 4mg; SODIUM 15mg; CARB 14g; FIBER 1g; PROTEIN 0g

PARSLEY CHIVE PURÉE: PER SERVING: CALORIES 217 (215 from fat); FAT 24g (sat. 2g); CHOL 0mg; SODIUM 266mg; CARB 1g; FIBER 0g; PROTEIN 0g

fall 2015 real food 7


Robin Asbell

spreads the word about how truly delicious and beautiful whole, real foods can be through her work as an author, cooking teacher and private chef. She likes to add special touches to dishes that range from meat and seafood to beans and grains, with an emphasis on taste. Her latest book is Gluten-Free Pasta: More than 100 Fast and Flavorful Recipes with Low- and No-Carb Options, and she is the author of Juice It!, Big Vegan: Over 350 Recipes No Meat No Dairy All Delicious, The New Whole Grains Cookbook and the New Vegetarian.

Lara Miklasevics

began her food career on the other side of the camera, cooking at the renowned New French Café. Today her work as a stylist is in demand at corporations including Heinz, Target and General Mills, as well as with many magazines. She prides herself on using her experience as a chef to make food as appealing on the page as it is on the plate.

Tara Q. Thomas

Terry Brennan

is an award-winning photographer who has worked for General Mills, Pillsbury, Budweiser, Target and many national advertising agencies. “My real passion lies in editorial work,” he says, “in which a photographer’s freedom to create a story or look through the photograph is much greater.”

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intended to be a chef when she trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, but got sidetracked by wine. She’s been writing about it for nearly 20 years now, most prominently at Wine & Spirits Magazine, where she is Executive Editor. Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine Basics and a contributor to the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Cheese, she lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., juggling laptop and two small children—and still cooks nearly nightly, albeit for a smaller crowd.

Molly Chester and Sandy Schrecengost

are the daughter-mother team behind the traditional foods blog Organic Spark. Molly is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute of Health & Culinary Arts in New York City and worked as a personal chef in Hollywood. Most recently, she and her husband John began farming a 130-acre plot of land in Moorpark, Calif. called Apricot Lane Farms, an organic and biodynamic farming project being designed to provide a voice and a platform to traditional and ecological farming techniques, while experimenting to make these techniques commercially viable. As a young girl, Sandy Schrecengost helped her ailing mother by climbing a wooden stool to prepare simple family meals. That experience, coupled with a beloved grandmother who understood garden-to-table cooking, planted a passion in Sandy to one day nurture her own family with food. After years of transforming her understanding of nutrition, Sandy championed traditional foods and their proper preparation as key to restoration and maintenance of health.

Erica De Mane

became infatuated with cooking as a teenager, drawing inspiration from her Southern Italian-American family’s kitchen. She cooked in restaurants including Le Madri and Florent in Manhattan, and has written articles on Italian cooking for Food & Wine, The New York Times, Gourmet Fine Cooking Gourmet, and other publications. Her cookbook, Pasta Improvvisata, which was published in 1999, was singled out for praise by The New York Times in its twice-yearly cookbook roundup. She is working on a book about Italian savory tarts and also gives private and group cooking classes on Southern Italian cooking and the Mediterranean diet. She lives in Manhattan.

Jason Ross

is a culinary instructor at Le Cordon Bleu in Minnesota and has worked as a consultant to help develop menus at many Twin Cities restaurants. He grew up in New York City but now calls St. Paul home, where he lives with his wife and two young daughters.

Lunds & Byerlys welcome Bloomington: 952-896-0092 Burnsville: 952-892-5600 Chanhassen: 952-474-1298 Eagan: 651-686-9669 Eden Prairie: 952-525-8000 Edina 50th Street: 952-926-6833 France Avenue: 952-831-3601 Golden Valley: 763-544-8846 Maple Grove: 763-416-1611 Minneapolis Downtown: 612-379-5040 Northeast: 612-548-3820 Uptown: 612-825-2440 Minnetonka Highway 7: 952-935-0198 Ridgedale: 952-541-1414 Navarre: 952-471-8473 Plymouth: 763-268-1624 Prior Lake: 952-440-3900 Richfield: 612-861-1881 Roseville: 651-633-6949 St. Cloud: 320-252-4112 St. Louis Park: 952-929-2100 St. Paul Downtown: 651-999-1600 East Side: 651-735-6340 Highland Park: 651-698-5845 Wayzata: 952-476-2222 Woodbury: 651-999-1200



FOOD QUESTIONS? Call our FoodE Experts: 952-548-1400

CLASSES & EVENTS Cooking Classes • 952-253-3409 Catering • 952-897-9800




number of years ago during a visit at our Uptown Minneapolis store, I was talking with a customer about the introduction of our Lunds & Byerlys premium products. When I asked her what she thought about the decision to combine our separate brand names on these products, she immediately said, “If it has Lunds and Byerly’s on the product, it must be twice as good.” Comments like that are a direct credit to our company’s extended family of employees and their never-ending commitment to providing each and every customer with a sensational shopping experience at every one of our stores. When “Lunds” and “Byerly’s” came together in 1997, we made a promise to ourselves and our customers that we would identify and leverage the best practices of each brand to further strengthen the working and shopping experience. During the past 18 years, our commitment to doing just that has evolved and matured to a level where we truly are one company in all aspects of how we go to market. So much so, in fact, it was a natural next step for us to combine our two great brands under one unified name: Lunds & Byerlys.

Each brand was strong individually, and we’re even better together. Wh i l e w e w e re eager to unify our brands because of strong unity throughTres out our company, it Lund was critically important to us to also gather feedback from our customers. Survey data told us 95 percent of our customers already saw us as one brand and would expect the same high levels of quality and service if all stores became Lunds & Byerlys. That data confirmed there was no better time than now to bring our two brands together. Our logo is an important, tangible piece of our new unified brand, but what’s more important to you and us is continuing to use our collective energy and spirit to provide you with extraordinary food, exceptional service and passionate expertise. It’s the foundation that was established by the founders of our brands—Russell T. Lund, Sr., and Donald D. Byerly—more than 75 years ago and will continue to serve as our foundation for the next 75 years and beyond. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to serve you. We hope you continue to enjoy Real Food.

Aaron Sorenson • 952-927-3663

Sincerely, STAY CONNECTED: Sign up for our e-newsletter at Download our app by texting LBAPP to 55955. Join our Text Club by texting DEALS to 55955.

Tres Lund President and CEO real food 9

Red Table artisan cured meats: Integrity you can taste


ocated in Northeast Minneapolis, Red Table uses traditional Italian methods to create authentic, artisan “salumi,” the Italian word for salted and cured pork products, including salami and pancetta. Founder Mike Phillips grew up in a small, rural farming community and saw the hardships that local farmers faced firsthand, and that powerful sense of community never left him. As years went by, he worked as a chef at local restaurants, owning Chet’s Taverna in St. Paul for seven years before moving to the Craftsman restaurant, where he won multiple awards for his commitment to local ingredients and local farmers. However, finding quality cured meats for his recipes proved to be difficult. When he realized that chefs around the country sourced their pork from right here in Minnesota and Iowa, he began reaching out to local farmers in the hopes of making his own pork products. “I had traveled to France and Italy, and in every region people were making their own things out of their own pigs,” Mike recalls.

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“People are so proud of what happens in those regions—wine, cheese, meat. My thought was, why not in Minnesota? Why don’t we have that same sort of thing here? Not to mention I just like to eat it.” Mike went on to partner with five local hog farms that raise heritage breed pigs in small, sustainable settings, believing that the happiest pigs produce the best pork: “The quality of the pig makes a huge difference.” What does he look for in a farmer? Mike says, “I get to know them and have good conversations with them about their farming practice. I see how they raise the pigs. Just by looking at the pigs, looking at their joints, their muscle structure, I can tell if they’re stressed. I can tell if they have a good life.” The pigs used for Red Table meats are hormone free and are only fed antibiotics if they’re sick. The pigs are allowed to be outside when they want to be and inside when they want to be. They’re unconfined and pasture fed, which means they are free


Ready for the best salami of your life? Look no further than Red Table Meat Co.

Lunds and Byerlys deli WE OFFER THE FOLLOWING VARIETIES OF RED TABLE SALAMI: The Vecchio: A simple salami flavored with garlic, black pepper and white wine. Delicious in sandwiches, on pizza or in salads. Named after Mike’s mentor, salumiere Francois Vecchio, who taught Mike the art of restraint when it came to spices, in order to let the meat’s flavor shine through. to forage for their own food in the grass and dirt. At the end, they are fed a diet of peas and barley to give them a harder, more saturated fat that works well for salami. In the words of Mike, “They’re happy pigs.” What makes Red Table salami different from regular grocery store salami? “A lot of the stuff you see on the shelves is really dry and old,” Mike explains. “Salami is meant to be eaten young and fresh, like a cooked sausage, not over dried like beef jerky. You want to be able to taste the meat, not just the salt and spices.” Red Table meats are also different because of the way they’re made in the traditional Italian style. Back in the days before refrigeration was invented, people would kill the pig, cut it apart and hang the parts above the fireplace, taking pieces to eat as they needed it. As the days heated and the nights cooled, the pig would dry and cure naturally. Red Table products are cured in the same way, mimicking this process by using cycles of fluctuating humidity and temperature to draw out the moisture from the meat. The meat is delivered fresh to Red Table. Before curing, it’s ground, mixed with seasonings and stuffed into a natural casing. Over time a natural mold develops on the outside of the casing, which helps change the pH of the meat and make it really flavorful. The casing also helps keep the salami shelf-stable for a long time. To serve, simply cut off the white outer casing and enjoy. Tip: If you’re having any trouble removing the casing, just wrap your salami in a slightly damp paper towel for about an hour. The casing will peel back in a snap. Once opened, small to medium salamis taste best within the first one to two weeks.

Salbando: A hot soppressata-style salami, more coarsely ground, flavored with crushed red pepper, garlic, black pepper and white wine. Great in sandwiches, or try it in scrambled eggs. Named for the former Oakland Athletics third baseman. Chet’s: A classic, spicy, fennel and garlic salami. Coarsely ground and seasoned with crushed red pepper, fennel, garlic, black pepper and white wine. Great in pasta with tomatoes. Named for Mike’s St. Paul restaurant. The Chuck Fred: A smoky, spiced salami with Eastern European influences. Softly spiced with nutmeg, allspice, garlic, black pepper and white wine. Wonderful on its own or as a topping on fresh pasta or greens. Named after Mike’s friend and inspiration, an artist who went by the name Chuck Fred, who smoked until the very end.

We also offer Red Table’s delicious pancetta. Look for the Red Table Meat Co. display in the deli department in many of our stores. ■

RED TABLE MEATS ARE AVAILABLE AT THE FOLLOWING LUNDS & BYERLYS: Chanhassen Eagan Edina - France Avenue - 50th Street Golden Valley Maple Grove

Minneapolis - Downtown - Northeast - Uptown Prior Lake Ridgedale Roseville

St. Louis Park St. Paul - Downtown - Highland Park Wayzata Woodbury real food 11

Lunds & Byerlys produce

Passion for Produce The Story Behind our Locally Grown Fruits and Vegetables BY COLIN LYONS Produce Buyer


If you’ve taken a walk through our produce aisles, you know about our colorful displays, endless variety and our high-quality standards. But did you know about our passion to source locally grown produce? Lunds & Byerlys’ commitment to local farmers is evident in the many seasonal varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables offered at every store. Whether it’s fresh vegetables from Elk River, Amaize sweet corn from Brooklyn Park, crisp apples from Lake City or juicy tomatoes from Northfield, we value the delicious produce and the relationships we have built with the local growers who are responsible for it. Our dedication to local growers started many decades ago when our produce team would visit the Minneapolis Farmers Market to hand-select the finest local produce for our stores each day. The relationships that began there have only deepened over time. Supporting local, family owned growers is in our DNA given we are also a local, family-owned company. Because of our strong commitment to sourcing and promoting locally grown products, we were honored to be named this year’s

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Minnesota Grown Retailer of the Year by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. This is the fourth consecutive year we have been awarded this honor. We Minnesotans tolerate some very harsh weather conditions every season. Despite this, our local growers are able to supply us with high-quality produce throughout the year. Whether it’s local apples in the fall, potatoes and onions in the winter, scallions and rhubarb in the spring or delicious sweet corn in the summer, you can always find some local items in our produce departments. So the next time you’re looking for a new fruit to sample or fresh veggies for dinner, take a little time to learn about some of your local growers—you’ll find stories about many of them throughout our produce departments. You can also learn more about them at Our local growers work extremely hard to provide all of us with delicious produce. We’re thrilled to offer you their products and shine a spotlight on their stories. Thank you for supporting Minnesota-grown products! ■

Lunds & Byerlys

We’re Better Together! After growing together for 75 years, we’ve taken the next big step. We’re excited to bring our two great store brands together under one unified name: Lunds & Byerlys.

To learn more about our story, please visit real food 13

Lunds & Byerlys

what’s in store

SAFFRON ROAD SIMMER SAUCES Ready to take a gourmet trip around the globe? Saffron Road Simmer Sauces provide the convenience of delicious meals in minutes, with flavors that capture the best of authentic world cuisine. Six flavors are available in no-waste, easy-to-use, single-serving pouches to eliminate those pesky, half-used bottles of sauce in your fridge.

Tip: To enjoy Saffron Road Simmer Sauces, simply heat the sauce in a skillet, stir gently and simmer until it begins to bubble. Flavors include lemongrass basil, harissa, Thai red curry and tikka masala.

DRY SPARKLING With a clean ingredient list and exotic flavors, DRY is an unexpectedly crisp sparkling beverage. DRY’s many flavors offer a sophisticated, nonalcoholic option for your next party. You can also impress your guests by using this beverage to create signature cocktails that sparkle.

Tip: DRY sparkling makes a great complement to a meal. Just glance at the side of the package for different pairing ideas that fit your tastes.

ROBERT ROTHSCHILD FARMS ORGANIC GOURMET SAUCES Dinner will never be the same thanks to the new Robert Rothschild Farms Organic Gourmet Sauces. The six flavors are as versatile as they are unique and are made with all-natural ingredients so you can feel good about using them for everything from salads to marinades—or even pizzas.

Tip: The blueberry balsamic sauce can be used as a spread on gooey paninis, a rich sauce for meatballs in the crockpot, or the perfect sweet and tangy salad dressing. Other flavors include Sriracha teriyaki, pineapple habanero BBQ and white wine Creole.

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Lunds & Byerlys what’s in store

LUNDS & BYERLYS PREMIUM MUSTARDS Our Lunds & Byerlys Premium Mustards offer a unique variety of flavors to enhance your favorite sandwiches and entrées. Top a ham and Brie sandwich with tangy sweet honey Dijon mustard. Dip pretzels and crisp veggies in our German mustard. Top chicken with a dollop of Vidalia onion mustard before baking. Stir our horseradish mustard into cooked hot new potatoes.

Tip: The footed glass jars make


perfect beverage glasses after you’ve enjoyed the mustards.

SONOMA ICED TEAS Sonoma Iced Teas are created from freshly harvested fine wine grape skins from beautiful Sonoma County, Calif. The wine grape skins are used in place of traditional tea leaves and provide nuanced, sophisticated flavors that are perfect for guests—or just for you. All three flavors —rosé, Chardonnay and Cabernet—are caffeine- and alcohol-free so you can enjoy them day or night.

Did you know? Sonoma Iced Teas contain multiple polyphenols—healthy macronutrients—that make the teas a great addition to a balanced diet.

Perfect Fit Meals are fresh, portioncontrolled meals designed for the busy person. The BPA-free packages are easily stored in the fridge and ready to pop into the microwave anytime—no prep work necessary. The meals are dietitiandesigned and hand-crafted by chefs who use lean proteins, satisfying whole grains, vibrant fruits and vegetables, and healthful cooking oils to ensure that these wholesome meals taste great and are made with high-quality, goodfor-you ingredients. Some of the many Perfect Fit Meals you’ll find in our deli department include lemon pepper chicken, turkey enchilada casserole, feta cream chicken, bunless turkey burgers, Asian style pork and Havana chicken.

Tip: Perfect Fit Meals stay fresh in the fridge for nearly a month, which allows you to get the most out of your money and reduce food waste. real food 15


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Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia And no we’re not talking about your favorite childhood pet BY SOPHIE BURTON



hile your first experience with chia might have involved watering a pet plant, today, this super seed is making big waves in the health food market. Why? For starters, one tablespoon of chia seeds has more antioxidants than blueberries, more calcium than a glass of milk and more Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. What’s more, chia is also high in fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Consumption of these tiny, mildly nutty seeds can be traced back to ancient times. First harvested by the Aztecs in 3500 B.C., chia seeds became a staple of their diet as a grain enhancer and an energy-boosting snack for ultra-athletes. We now know that chia’s energizing property is much more than a myth, and it stems from the variety of the seed’s energy boosting nutrients listed above. The power of chia continues: In addition to its super food qualities, chia has recently gained attention for its ability to promote weight loss. Chia seeds are tiny and low calorie, but because they are packed with soluble fiber, they expand in your stomach, making you feel fuller longer, decreasing your desire to reach for empty-calorie snacks in the pantry. Whether you are looking to lose weight, increase your energy level, or just stay healthy, chia’s got you covered. Chia can be consumed in a variety of tasty, nutritional ways: BLEND IT: Need a healthy option to satisfy your mid-morning or mid-afternoon craving? Add a tablespoon of chia seeds to your mix to make a filling, energy enhancing smoothie. Go green by mixing chia with spinach, kale, apple, cucumber and lemon. Go nuts by mixing chia with almond milk, almond butter, agave and banana. Or, keep it simple and make it fruity with chia, frozen strawberries, banana, agave and hemp milk. Whichever combination you prefer, be sure to drink these smoothies right away in order to avoid drinking a glass of gelatinous goo—when chia seeds get wet, they form a gel and can expand up to nine times their size. SPOON IT: Start your morning off right with a big bowl of healthy goodness. Chia seeds go great with a bowl of your favorite cold cereal, oatmeal or yogurt. Add 1⁄2 cup of chia

seeds, plus some almonds and coconut into a bowl of granola, or stir them into oatmeal or yogurt, adding in some fresh berries. Prefer a plate to a bowl? Mix chia seeds into almond or peanut butter to spread on toast. BAKE IT: Add chia seeds to your favorite recipe for bread, bars, scones and more to add protein, Omega-3s and antioxidants to foods traditionally low in these nutrients. Get creative in the kitchen and bake some almond and rice flour bars with chia raspberry jam, a banana chia seed cake or a lemon poppy seed chia loaf. Whether you spoon, blend or bake it, just remember that chia seeds are hydrophilic—they absorb water—so if you decide to incorporate this super food into your diet be sure to drink at least eight to 12 glasses of water a day in order to stay properly hydrated. ■

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go nuts

Nuts add rich flavor and a powerful nutritional punch to dishes from savory to sweet BY ROBIN ASBELL


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20 real food fall 2015


ave you had your nuts today? If you have ever passed on nuts because you thought they were too fattening, you will be relieved to hear that eating nuts is associated with weight loss, not gain. Studies show that people

who eat a handful of nuts every day lose more weight than those who skip them. No longer are nuts relegated to just party mixes and desserts. Spreading the nutty goodness into salads, side dishes and main courses is a fantastic way to add intriguing tastes and textures to meals. Nuts can be puréed to create a smooth, creamy dressing. Pesto is a popular sauce employing pine nuts as a base. Sub in walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans or almonds for a new taste sensation. Throwing a handful of crunchy nuts on a green salad is always a good idea. But why stop there? That nutty topping is equally appealing on cooked vegetables, grains and mains. A creamy soup is made more exciting when topped with smoked-paprika toasted almonds. Stir-fries, curries and pilafs all benefit from a sprinkling of crunchy nuts, as do chicken and fish dishes.

Spaghetti with Broccoli and Creamy Almond Sauce MAKES 4 SERVINGS

If you love the taste of almonds, this pasta dish is for you. Lightly toasted nuts make for a luscious sauce as well as a crunchy topping. If you want to make a meal of it, sauté some chopped chicken breast or shrimp with the shallots, then proceed with the recipe, simmering the sauce until the meat is cooked through. 3⁄4 1 1⁄2 1⁄2 1 1⁄2 1 2 8 8 1 1⁄2 1⁄4

cup slivered almonds cup vegetable or chicken stock teaspoon salt teaspoon pepper tablespoon extra virgin olive oil cup chopped shallot clove garlic, chopped teaspoons fresh lemon zest ounces whole-wheat spaghetti ounces broccoli large carrot, julienned cup shredded Parmesan cup chopped parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta. Spread almonds on a sheet pan and toast 10 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. 2. Using a food processor, grind ½ cup almonds to a fine powder. With the machine running, gradually pour in stock to purée. Add salt and pepper, and set aside. 3. In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté 5 minutes, until soft and starting to brown. Add garlic, stir, and cook 2 minutes. Add nut mixture and lemon zest, and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook 3 minutes, until thick. 4. Keep warm over low heat. 5. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Add broccoli and carrot to pot to cook when 2 minutes remain. Drain well and add to almond sauce. Add Parmesan and toss well. Serve topped with remaining almonds and parsley.

Napa and Kale Salad with Creamy Cashew Dressing and Sriracha Cashews MAKES 4 SERVINGS

Raw cashews are the secret to this amazing dressing, which is as rich and creamy as its dairy-based counterparts. These nuts are white instead of brown, and are found in the produce or bulk section. The fluffy napa cabbage, creamy dressing and spicy crunch of Sriracha cashews make for a salad with a kick. Salad 1⁄2 cup raw cashews 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided 1⁄2 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon canola oil 4 leaves kale, stems removed and thinly sliced 4 cups shredded napa cabbage 2 medium carrots, julienned Sriracha Cashews 1 tablespoon canola oil 2 teaspoons Sriracha 1⁄2 teaspoon salt 1⁄2 cup roasted cashews 1. For the salad: Using a food processor, finely grind cashews. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice, salt and oil, and process to a smooth paste. With the machine running, add 7 tablespoons water individually until purée is smooth and pourable. Transfer to a small bowl. 2. In a large bowl, toss kale with remaining lemon juice, and knead and massage to tenderize. When kale is slightly wilted, add cabbage and carrot. 3. For the Sriracha cashews: Combine oil, Sriracha and salt in a large sauté pan. Add cashews and stir to coat. Place over medium heat, stir, and cook 4 minutes, until nuts are well coated and hot to the touch. Spread on a plate to cool. 4. Just before serving, add dressing and toss to coat. Top with Sriracha cashews.

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Curried Chicken in Creamy Almond Sauce with Basmati Pilaf and Cashews MAKES 4 SERVINGS

Cooking with almond milk is not a new trend. Long before cartons of it started squeezing into the dairy case, cooks were extracting the richness of nuts with water and using the “milk” to make delicately spiced yet creamy and satisfying dishes like this one. 1 1 1⁄2 2 1 2 1⁄4 1 2 1 1 1 1 1⁄2

pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed tablespoon unbleached flour teaspoon salt tablespoons canola oil cup chopped onion teaspoons curry powder teaspoon cayenne tablespoon minced ginger cups cubed sweet potato cup unsweetened almond milk teaspoon fresh lemon juice teaspoon light brown sugar cup frozen peas, thawed cup cilantro, coarsely chopped

Pilaf 1 teaspoon canola oil 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric 1 cup basmati rice 1⁄2 teaspoon salt 1⁄2 cup raisins 1⁄2 cup roasted cashews 1. In a large bowl, toss chicken, flour and salt. In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sear 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate. 2. Add onion to pan, stirring to incorporate any browned bits. Add curry powder, cayenne and ginger, and stir 5 minutes, until onions are soft. 3. Add sweet potato and stir. Add almond milk and stir. Add chicken and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes. Uncover, stir and test sweet potato for doneness by piercing with a paring knife. If needed, cover and cook 2 to 3 more minutes. 4. When sweet potato and chicken are cooked through, add lemon juice, brown sugar and peas, and simmer 3-5 minutes, until thickened. Add salt to taste. 5. For the pilaf: In a 2-quart pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add brown mustard seeds, cumin seeds and turmeric, and stir until fragrant. Add rice, 1½ cups water, salt and raisins, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 15 minutes. When water is fully absorbed, remove from heat and fluff rice. 6. To serve, stir cashews into pilaf. Place curry on top of pilaf and garnish with cilantro.

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF NUTS Nuts of all kinds are packed with healthpromoting elements. Their unsaturated fats support heart health by lowering unhealthy LDL cholesterol and promoting healthy HDL cholesterol. They are also a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which lower triglycerides and prevent plaque buildup in the arteries. Nuts are high in fiber, which protects your health and keeps you feeling full longer. They are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, selenium and other phytochemicals that protect your cells from oxidation and inflammation. What’s more, people who eat nuts have lower rates of several types of cancers. Pistachios are high in resveratrol, an antioxidant also found in red wine. These and other nuts also contain arginine, which helps relax arteries and increase blood flow. Nuts also contain plant sterols, which can improve cholesterol.

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Wheat Berries with Roasted Cauliflower and Spinach and Roasted Pepper Walnut Sauce MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS

Muhammara is a classic Turkish sauce that combines roasted red peppers, walnuts and spices. This simplified version packs all that nutty richness using a streamlined recipe with fewer ingredients. Instead of smearing it on pita bread, the sauce gets tossed with a lively assortment of crunchy wheat berries, tender, roasted veggies and fresh spinach for a satisfying side dish. 1 2 3⁄4 5 1 1⁄2 3⁄4

cup wheat berries cups cauliflower florets cup carrots, chopped (about 1 large carrot) tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided clove garlic cup toasted walnuts cup (about half 12-ounce jar) roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry 1⁄2 teaspoon salt 2 cups baby spinach, shredded 1⁄2 cup toasted walnut halves

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1. In a 2-quart pot, combine wheat berries and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 40 to 60 minutes, until tender. Drain and let cool. 2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°F. On a sheet pan, toss cauliflower, carrot and 1 tablespoon oil. Roast 20 minutes, stir, and roast 5 to 10 more minutes to brown. Remove from oven and let cool. 3. Using a food processor, process garlic, toasted walnuts, red peppers and salt until smooth. Scrape down jar sides, add remaining oil, and process until smooth. 4. In a large bowl, toss wheat berries, vegetables, roasted-pepper purée and spinach. Top with walnut halves before serving.

Triple Nut Caramel Tartlets MAKES 12 SERVINGS

Tartlets are a fun size and are easy to pack and take along. Ground pecans grace the crust, and the rich caramel filling is studded with walnuts and almonds for a truly nutty dessert. These tartlets are made in a muffin pan for ease. Tartlet Shells 1 cup pecans 1⁄2 cup rolled oats 1 cup unbleached flour 1⁄2 teaspoon salt 1⁄4 cup melted butter 1⁄4 cup honey 1 teaspoon vanilla Filling 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons light corn syrup 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, sliced, at room temperature 3⁄4 cup heavy cream, at room temperature 1⁄2 teaspoon coarse salt 1 cup toasted walnuts 1 cup whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped 1. For the tartlet shells: Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously grease a 12-cup muffin pan and set aside. Using a food processor, finely chop pecans. Add oats, flour and salt, and process to finely mince. Combine butter, honey and vanilla, add to food processor, and pulse to mix well. 2. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Squeeze and knead to create a dough. Scoop 2 rounded tablespoons into each muffin pan opening, pressing into bottom and evenly up sides just below rim. Chill 10 minutes. 3. Poke bottoms of shells with a fork several times. Bake 15 minutes, until tops are golden brown and bottoms look dry. If any have puffed up, gently press back down with a spoon. Let cool completely. 4. For the filling: In a 2-quart pan, combine sugar and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring, for about 2-3 minutes, until dissolved. Bring to a boil and swirl over heat 6 minutes, until mixture darkens a shade. Remove from heat. Stir in butter, cream and salt, taking care as ingredients may boil up or spatter. Return to medium heat and whisk until smooth. Stir in nuts and divide among shells. Chill until set. 5. Use a paring knife to loosen tartlets from pan. Store tightly covered in refrigerator up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.


Cook's Note: When making the filling, the cooked sugar hardens but dissolves again in the cream when returned to the heat. Make sure to bring both butter and cream to room temperature before using, which takes about 45 minutes. ■

SPAGHETTI W. BROCCOLI: PER SERVING: CALORIES 468 (174 from fat); FAT 20g (sat. 4g); CHOL 10mg; SODIUM 1024mg; CARB 58g; FIBER 10g; PROTEIN 21g

NAPA & KALE SALAD: PER SERVING: CALORIES 287 (190 from fat); FAT 22g (sat. 3g); CHOL 0mg; SODIUM 786mg; CARB 19g; FIBER 3g; PROTEIN 8g

CURRIED CHICKEN: PER SERVING: CALORIES 498 (183 from fat); FAT 21g (sat. 3g); CHOL 70mg; SODIUM 874mg; CARB 47g; FIBER 6g; PROTEIN 33g

WHEAT BERRIES W. WALNUT SAUCE: PER SERVING: CALORIES 412 (246 from fat); FAT 29g (sat. 3g); CHOL 0mg; SODIUM 336mg; CARB 36g; FIBER 7g; PROTEIN 9g

TRIPLE NUT CARAMEL TARTLETS: PER SERVING: CALORIES 473 (289 from fat); FAT 34g (sat. 12g); CHOL 47mg; SODIUM 220mg; CARB 41g; FIBER 3g; PROTEIN 7g

fall 2015 real food 25

Touroƒ Italy

Take a culinary journey from the pastoral mountains of the north to the warm seas of the south.


hen people ask me about my lineage, I usually say, “My family is from Southern Italy.” But you’d never hear that in Italy. You’d more likely encounter

“I’m Roman,” or Venetian, or Tuscan, or Sicilian. In fact, I’m part Campanian, part Puglian and part Sicilian—three places I’ve spent a good amount of time. Those compact regions have commonalities, but in my experience, the temperaments of their people are different. They seem less carefree in Sicily than the buoyant Campanians. And their food reflects this. Puglia and neighboring Campania embrace the tomato, a New World fruit, and their cooking has a touch of spice. Sicily, being more formal, retains many dishes that date from pre-tomato times, and many of them bear a subtle sweetness—a legacy of Arab and Spanish rule. Campania’s cooking seems more casual, like the glorious pizzas that were born there. Only Sicily could have created the cassata, an elaborately constructed and decorated cake that feels almost too beautiful to cut into. If I visualize Italy, I see mountains, valleys and pale skin in the cooler north, a pastoral and artistic world in Central Italy, and the Mediterranean climate’s open seas and warmth of the south. Three big patches of land. This, of course, is an extreme simplification. Italy has 20 regions, and each one holds intimate distinctions. Cooking and eating in Italy is very localized. There is some overlap between neighboring regions, but for the most part, Italians eat the creations of their own areas, and often of their own cities or towns. Even as McDonald’s and other global brands extend their tendrils into Italy’s remote areas, culinary traditions persist with a wonderful stubbornness. I’ve chosen five of my favorite Italian regions—Sicily, the Veneto, Valle d’Aosta, Lazio and Tuscany—and feature a dish from each that says something about who the people are and how they’ve traditionally felt about the land in which they live, work and love. Plus, I highlight pasta favorites and include a recipe from two of the regions. How a local cuisine evolves can say so much.


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Valle d’Aosta “Northern” Italian restaurants were all the rage in New York in the 1960s and ’70s when I was a kid. On special occasions, when something more elegant than a “red sauce joint” was called for, the northern-Italian style restaurants were where my family dined. My mother often ordered a veal chop filled with melted fontina cheese. It was crisp on the outside, tender and oozy within, and like nothing I ever ate at home. She learned how to make it, and it became one of her signature dishes. When I began traveling to Italy’s North, I realized that this fancy veal chop was a real regional specialty from a land of mountains and valleys—the smallest region in Italy. It’s a place where cows happily graze in the meadows, so the area produces excellent milk and cheeses. Real Val d’Aosta fontina, a cheese I doubt my mother was able to obtain back then, is a sweet, nutty, salty, tender, melting thing of beauty and it flavors much of the region’s cooking. They have harsh winters in Valle d’Aosta, and their cooking is designed for warmth. Polenta often replaces pasta as a first course. Fonduta, a sauce made with melted fontina and milk, can be poured over hot polenta, and topped, if you’re lucky, with shavings of white truffles. Other favorite ingredients are cabbage, milk, butter, buckwheat, chestnuts, mushrooms and honey.





Instead of using the traditional veal, I always make these fontina-filled chops with pork. The dish is rich, so for a side I recommend a simple green vegetable or a salad. 4 bone-in center-cut pork chops, about 1½ inches thick 1⁄2 pound Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese, rind removed, cut into 4 slices 12 small sage leaves salt freshly ground black pepper ½ cup all-purpose flour a few big gratings of nutmeg, or 1⁄4 teaspoon ground 1 extra large egg, lightly beaten 1 cup homemade breadcrumbs, or high quality store bought 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 garlic clove, peeled 1. Make a long slice in each chop as if to divide it into two chops half as thick, but leave the meat attached at the bone. Now you’ll have two flaps. Place a slice of fontina and three sage leaves in each chop. Close the flaps and pound the chops gently with a meat mallet. This will help to seal the pocket. Season both sides with salt and black pepper. 2. Place flour on a plate, and season it with the nutmeg. 3. Pour the egg onto another plate, and breadcrumbs onto a third plate, seasoning the crumbs with a little salt and black pepper. 4. Dredge the chops in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip them in the egg, and then into breadcrumbs, pressing the crumbs in to help them stick. 5. In a large skillet, melt butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and stir once or twice. When the oils are hot and foaming, add the chops, browning well on one side, about 4 minutes. Flip and brown the other side, about another 4 minutes. You’ll want them to remain a bit pink toward the bone so they stay juicy. If the garlic gets too dark at any time, just take it out. Serve immediately. Wine Pairing Wines from this region are hard to come by in the United States. I have seen Torrette, a light red made from the Nebbiolo grape, on occasion, but a Barbera from neighboring Piemonte would also be great with this dish.



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Costolette alla Valdonstana



The Veneto My big culinary discovery when I first visited Venice was how they made their risotto. I had never loved risotto, always finding it thick and gummy. Even in good New York restaurants it just seemed like a sticky mound on a plate. But in the Veneto, the area around Venice, they make it all’ondo, which translates roughly as “on the wave.” It’s a method that produces a looser, less cheese-heavy result, with firm grains of rice and a creamy sauce that runs a little to the bottom of the plate. Risi e bisi, a very loose risotto with spring peas, is a Venetian specialty. I’ve also had risotto with shrimp and radicchio, which was spectacular, and one with scallops and really skinny asparagus. One secret of those dishes is the region’s Vialone Nano rice. I have sworn by it since I first saw it in this country a dozen or so years ago. It holds its shape and bite and gives off less starch than other risotto rice. It allows me to make Venetian-style risotto at home.

Risotto with Radicchio di Treviso, Prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano MAKES 5 SERVINGS AS A FIRST COURSE

Radicchio is one of the most famous products of the Veneto. There are four varieties recognized as DOP (Demoninazione Origine Protetta), which guarantees quality. The ball-shaped Chioggia is most familiar in our markets, but the two long, elegant Treviso varieties are my favorites. I love their juiciness and delicate bitterness. They go by the names Precoce and Tardivo. Either would be my choice for this risotto, but the round type will also do wonderfully. 5 1 3 1 1½


½ 3 ½






Cook’s Note The best pan for making risotto is one that’s wide and has straight, not-too-high sides, which will provide enough room for good evaporation and even cooking.

cups light chicken broth or vegetable broth tablespoon extra virgin olive oil tablespoons unsalted butter large onion, cut into small dice cups Vialone Nano rice (Arborio or Carnaroli will also make a good risotto) salt freshly ground black pepper large radicchio di Treviso or 1 round radicchio, cored and cut into medium dice big pinch sugar (about 1⁄8 teaspoon) cup dry white wine very thin slices prosciutto, trimmed of excess fat and cut into thin strips cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. Pour chicken broth or vegetable broth in a 2-quart saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and keep it at a simmer. 2. Heat a separate pan over medium heat. (See cook’s note.) Add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the mixture is hot and frothy, add onion, and let it soften for about 1 minute. Add rice, season with salt and black pepper, and sauté until it’s shiny, about another 2 minutes. (This step puts a light seal on the rice, ensuring that it cooks up separated and glossy.) Add the radicchio and stir it into the rice, seasoning with a little salt, black pepper and sugar. Add white wine, and boil until liquid is almost evaporated. 3. Add about 1 cup hot broth, and stir rice a few times. You needn’t go crazy stirring risotto constantly. The main thing is not to let it stick to the bottom of the pan; simply test it periodically with a stir. 4. When the rice looks almost dry, add 1 cup broth and stir. Keep the broth at a constant, lively bubble until the rice is just tender but still has a little bite, and the consistency has become creamy, about 17 or 18 minutes. (If you run out of broth, just add a little hot water; the amount depends on doneness of rice and liquid level.) 5. Add prosciutto, stirring it into the rice. Taste for seasoning. 6. Remove risotto from heat and add remaining butter and about 2 heaping tablespoons grated Parmigiano, and stir to incorporate. Then add another small ladle of broth to ensure it doesn’t get dry; amount again depends on level of dryness. Give it a few fresh grindings of black pepper and a final stir. 7. Ladle risotto into warm serving bowls and sprinkle with Parmigiano. Serve immediately. Wine Pairing Soave, one of the best-known wines from this region, would make a perfect match.

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Tuscany is the land of the Sangiovese grape, the fruit that produces Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano—just about my favorite red wines in Italy. The first time I drove through Rome the beautiful, hilly area, I could smell the sweet acidity of the grapes in the air, and it made my friend and me hungry—maybe just for a panini or some fruit and cheese, but nearly every place we stopped displayed signs in English reading “No Light Lunch.” You either ordered four courses or got nothing. I found it hard to believe we couldn’t get a little something. Eventually we got up the nerve and went into a nice looking inn and ordered ribollita, which I gathered was some type of local soup. The waiter Catania then said, “And?” And nothing, I was thinking, but he had a rather perturbed look on his face. I glanced down at the wine list and, as if on automatic pilot, chose the most expensive wine they had. “And a bottle of your Brunello di Montalcino, per favore.” The waiter was so happy. Suddenly our light lunch was completely permissible. That’s the way it goes in wine country. And what a great lunch it was. Ribollita turned out to be a thick, hearty soup made with beans, vegetables and herbs, and features cavolo nero, Tuscan black kale—a regional specialty—a long dark-greenish plant that when simmered turns rich and earthy. Ribollita means “reboiled,” as this lovely soup gets boiled again after cooking, and dry Tuscan bread is then added, giving a great, traditional soup its thick, warming texture.


Tuscan black kale is becoming easier to find in America. I often see it labeled as Lacinato kale or dinosaur kale. If you can’t find it, Swiss chard or regular kale will make a good substitute. extra virgin olive oil medium onion, cut into medium dice cup peeled and diced carrot celery rib, diced, plus a handful of celery leaves, chopped garlic cloves, sliced cups home-cooked cannellini beans, or use drained canned ones 1 15-ounce can plum tomatoes, well chopped, with the juice 1 dried red chili, crumbled 5 thyme sprigs, the leaves chopped

1 ½ 1 2 1½

1 bay leaf, preferably fresh salt, to taste 1 quart light chicken broth or vegetable broth 3 cups stemmed and chopped Tuscan kale, Swiss chard or regular kale 3 thick slices day-old Italian country bread, cut into cubes 5 sage leaves, chopped 6 large sprigs flat-leaf parsley, the leaves chopped Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving

1. In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery plus leaves, and sauté until everything is soft and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, and soften, about 1 minute. 2. Add beans, tomatoes, chili, thyme and bay leaf. Season with salt, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the broth, and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low heat and cook at a low bubble for 15 minutes. Scoop out about 1 cup of the soup and purée it in a food processor. 3. Return the puréed soup to the pot, and add kale or chard. Simmer until the kale or chard is wilted and tender, about another 10 minutes. You can make the soup up until this point and refrigerate it, if you like. 4. When you’re ready to serve, bring the soup back to a boil, and add the bread cubes. Stir a few times, and let them meld into the soup. They should swell up but not break down completely into the broth. Add the sage and parsley and a bit more salt, if needed. The texture should be thick but still pourable; if it becomes too thick, add a little water, or more broth if you have it. Finish with a big drizzle of fresh olive oil. 5. Ladle into big soup bowls and top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Wine Pairing A good Tuscan Sangiovese-based wine such as a Chianti or a Rosso di Montalcino would be great with this soup.

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Rome has supplied me with many culinary firsts. I ate fregola di Rome bosca, little wild strawberries, which were as sweet as candy, and I thought they couldn’t be real. I also tried rigatoni with pajata, a lamb-intestine sausage, for the first time in the Eternal City. It was rich and earthy, and I loved it. In the winter I’ve eaten punterelle, a type of curly chicory served with a strong anchovy dressing. Catania The pastas are almost tooth-cracking al dente, and I love to cook pasta at home this way. Another classic Roman dish I’ve enjoyed was spaghetti tossed with only Pecorino and black pepper, yet it was so creamy and intense I couldn’t believe it wasn’t loaded with butter. I ate the area’s pizza without tomatoes, and was introduced to wine poured from a spigot on a wall. Tripe, oxtail ragu and guanciale (pigs’ jowl) were all exotic dishes I encountered in Rome and decided I wanted in my life. The first time I had a whole fried artichoke or zucchini blossoms was in a Roman trattoria. I love the urban peasant feel of the cooking in Rome and the Lazio region around it, as it reflects the ancient, pastoral land that once was there.

Pollo alla Trasteverina MAKES 4 SERVINGS

This chicken dish made in Rome’s Trastevere part of the city is traditionally made for the Festa de’ Noiantri, a celebration of their local Madonna, in mid-July. The defining flavors in this braised chicken preparation are roasted sweet peppers and marjoram, an herb not used much in Italian cooking except in Rome and around Genoa. Marjoram is a floral cousin to oregano and is my favorite herb. It adds a gorgeous bouquet to the chicken. extra virgin olive oil 4 whole chicken legs, separated into thigh and drumstick salt 1 approximately ¼-inch-thick round of pancetta, chopped 1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, chopped 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced 1 fresh pepperoncino (a medium-hot red chili), chopped (remove the seeds if you want less heat) 3 red bell peppers, roasted, skinned, seeded, and cut into thick strips ½ cup dry white wine (Frascati would be perfect, but any non-oaky white will be fine) 1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, well drained and chopped ½ cup chicken broth 5 or 6 large sprigs fresh marjoram, leaves lightly chopped 1. Set a large skillet fitted with a lid over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When hot, add the chicken, skin side down, season with salt, and brown it well, about 6 minutes. Turn the pieces over, and brown the other side, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove chicken from the skillet and place on a plate. 2. Pour off any excess fat. Add pancetta and let it start to crisp, about 4 minutes. Add onion, and cook until softened, about another 4 minutes. Add garlic, pepperoncino and sweet peppers, and sauté until everything is fragrant and tender, about 4 minutes. 3. Return chicken to the skillet and add white wine, letting it simmer over medium heat, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and chicken broth and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover the skillet, and simmer until the chicken is just tender, about 20 minutes. Add the marjoram and a bit more salt. Taste for seasoning. Drizzle with a thread of fresh olive oil. Serve hot, with good crusty bread to soak up the sauce. Wine Pairing Lazio is known for its white wine. Try this dish with a glass of Frascati.

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I eat Southern Italian food at home frequently, but somehow it tastes different in Sicily. The Sicilian-style bread I grew up eating in New York, with a hard crust and coated with sesame seeds, had a cinnamon flavor when I ate it in Sicily. A lamb stew prepared by a family friend in Trapani also bore the unmistakable taste of cinnamon. But I discovered that no cinnamon was used in either preparation. It’s not even a spice grown in Sicily. How to explain it? I can’t. Likewise Pecorino, a sheep’s milk cheese made in Sicily, always tastes stronger and sweeter there. And the pistachios taste like butter. Is it just my romance with the island? It’s hard to say. The flavors in Sicilian cooking can be intricate and mysterious. Olive oil is the prominent cooking oil. It’s green and lush, with a hint of almond. Olives, capers, raisins, pine nuts, pistachios, almonds, bay leaf, basil, blood oranges and all sorts of amazing citrus, fennel, mint, fish and sheep’s milk ricotta are all signature flavors of the island.



Pesce Spada Agrodolce MAKES 4 SERVINGS

Agrodolce, “sweet and sour,” is one of the signature flavors of Sicilian cooking, a legacy of ancient Arab and Spanish settlers. Swordfish, so prevalent on the island, is a classic for this treatment, which combines sugar or honey with vinegar, wine and sometimes citrus to produce deep flavor. If swordfish is not available or you prefer other fish, tuna, halibut, mako shark or any firm fish that will keep its shape while pan searing can be substituted. 5 1 2 2 ½

tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced tablespoons sugar tablespoons Spanish sherry vinegar cup dry white wine juice and zest from 1 orange salt freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup golden raisins, plumped in a little warm water if dry ¾ cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted 4 swordfish steaks, about ½ inch thick (about 13⁄4 pounds) ¾ cup all-purpose flour sprinkling hot paprika 12 basil leaves, cut into thin strips

1. For the sauce: In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil at medium heat. Add onion and sauté until it starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and vinegar, and bubble mixture for a few seconds. Add wine and orange juice and zest. Season with a little salt and black pepper, and simmer until the onion is soft and the sauce has a sweet and sour flavor. Add raisins and almonds. The sauce shouldn’t be too sweet, so adjust it with a few drops of vinegar if necessary. Some liquid (about 3 tablespoons) should remain in the skillet. If it gets too cooked down, add a little warm water. Turn off the heat, and let the sauce sit in the skillet. 2. Dry swordfish with paper towels. Pour flour onto a plate and season it with salt, black pepper and paprika. 3. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil at high heat. 4. Dredge swordfish steaks in the flour. When oil is hot, place fish in the skillet, and brown well on one side. Flip fish, lower heat to medium and brown other side. Cook about 5 minutes total, depending on the steaks’ thickness. The fillets should be just cooked through and tender. 5. Reheat the agrodolce sauce, adding a little water if it has become too thick. 6. Lift fish from the skillet with a slotted spatula, and place on a serving dish. Pour the hot sauce on top. Garnish with basil, and serve immediately.


Wine Pairing Sicilian Grillo, a crisp, minerally white, would be perfect with this dish. COSTOLETTE ALLA VALDONSTANA: PER SERVING: CALORIES 844 (445 from fat); FAT 50g (sat. 21g); CHOL 281mg; SODIUM 497mg; CARB 17g; FIBER 1g; PROTEIN 78g

RISOTTO: PER SERVING: CALORIES 403 (131 from fat); FAT 15g (sat. 7g); CHOL 29mg; SODIUM 396mg; CARB 52g; FIBER 1g; PROTEIN 15g

RIBOLLITA: PER SERVING: CALORIES 311 (89 from fat); FAT 10g (sat. 2g); CHOL 0mg; SODIUM 465mg; CARB 44g; FIBER 8g; PROTEIN 16g

POLLO ALLA TRASTEVERINA: PER SERVING: CALORIES 522 (240 from fat); FAT 27g (sat. 9g); CHOL 202mg; SODIUM 643mg; CARB 25g; FIBER 7g; PROTEIN 45g

PESCE SPADA AGRODOLCE: PER SERVING: CALORIES 690 (345 from fat); FAT 40g (sat. 6g); CHOL 99mg; SODIUM 135mg; CARB 48g; FIBER 4g; PROTEIN 38g


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Pasta Sampling Tour Some Italian regions, such as Lazio and Sicily, are better known for pasta dishes than others, but every region makes them. Here are some wonderful, traditional ones from the regions we’ve featured.



Caserecce with Zucchini, Mint and Ricotta Salata

Spaghetti alla Carbonara


Here’s the true carbonara, made without cream. The eggs, cheese, and heat from the pasta mesh to make the sauce feel creamy.

salt 1 pound caserecce, or another short pasta 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling, preferably a Sicilian brand 1 small onion, diced 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 5 medium zucchini, cut into thin rounds 4 anchovy fillets, minced freshly ground black pepper ¼ cup dry Marsala ½ cup shelled unsalted pistachios 12 large spearmint sprigs, leaves lightly chopped, plus a few large sprigs for garnish ¼ pound ricotta salata cheese 1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta. Add a generous amount of salt. 2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook about 3 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and zucchini, and sauté until zucchini is tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the anchovies, sprinkle black pepper over entire mixture, and let anchovies melt into the zucchini. 3. Drop the caserecce or other pasta into the boiling water, and stir to prevent sticking. 4. Add Marsala to the skillet, and let it boil about 1 minute. Add pistachios. 5. When pasta is cooked al dente, drain, save about ½ cup of the cooking water, and pour it in a large serving bowl. 6. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil and chopped mint to the pasta. Toss gently. Add zucchini and enough pasta cooking water to loosen it (about 3 tablespoons). Season with salt and black pepper to taste. 7. Shave the ricotta salata over the top, and toss again. Garnish with mint sprigs. Serve hot or warm. Wine Pairing Grillo, a fresh, uncomplicated Sicilian white wine, would be a good match for both dishes. 38 real food fall 2015

salt 3 large organic eggs ¼ cup fresh grated Pecorino Romano cheese (try to find one that’s not too sharp) ½ cup fresh grated grana Padano cheese, plus extra for the table several large scrapings of nutmeg or 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ½ cup very lightly chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves coarse black pepper, freshly ground, to taste 1 pound spaghetti extra virgin olive oil ¼ pound guanciale or pancetta, cut into medium dice 2 small garlic cloves, very thinly sliced ½ cup dry vermouth 1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Add a generous amount of salt. 2. Place eggs, Pecorino, grana Padano, nutmeg, a generous amount black pepper to taste, and parsley in a large, warmed serving bowl, and mix together well. 3. Drop spaghetti into the pot of boiling water, and give it a quick stir to make sure it doesn’t stick. 4. In a medium-size skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add guanciale or pancetta, and cook slowly until it is very crisp and has given off much of its fat, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté about 1 minute, just until it gives off fragrance. Add vermouth, and let it simmer for about 30 seconds; you don’t want to boil it away completely but just enough to loosen all the caramelized skillet bits so you can incorporate them into your sauce. 5. When the spaghetti is al dente, drain it, saving about ½ cup of the cooking water, and add the spaghetti to the bowl with the egg mixture. Toss well. The heat from the pasta will lightly cook the eggs. Add the guanciale or pancetta and all the skillet juices, and toss again. Add an extra drizzle of fresh olive oil, a few more grindings of coarse black pepper (black pepper is a main player in this dish), and a little of the cooking water to loosen the sauce, if needed. Taste to see if you need more salt. Serve immediately, with extra grana Padano brought to the table if you like. ■


Sicily excels at pairing pasta with seasonal vegetables. This zucchini treatment is one of my favorites. It transforms a rather bland vegetable into something vibrant. Mint and pistachios are a wonderful flavor combination. Caserecce is a short, twisted pasta similar to gemelli, which is a perfect substitute. Or you can use penne or ziti.


CASERECCE W. ZUCCHINI, MINT & RICOTTA SALATA: PER SERVING: CALORIES 790 (215 from fat); FAT 25g (sat. 7g); CHOL 29mg; SODIUM 928mg; CARB 113g; FIBER 10g; PROTEIN 30g

SPAGHETTI ALLA CARBONARA: PER SERVING: CALORIES 785 (324 from fat); FAT 36g (sat. 12g); CHOL 149mg; SODIUM 785mg; CARB 83g; FIBER 5g; PROTEIN 27g

Pasta Bites THE VENETO is known more for its risotto dishes, but it has some unique pastas. Bigoli, a thick whole-wheat spaghetti is served with an anchovy and onion sauce, or with one made from chicken livers. Pasta tossed with red borlotti beans is also a regional classic. VALLE D’AOSTA This is an area known more for its polenta, but there are good pastas made with hearty grains, such as Pizzoccheri, a buckwheat fettuccine tossed with sauces made from various local ingredients, such as mushrooms and cream, fontina and walnuts, rabbit ragu, cabbage or Swiss chard. TUSCANY Egg pasta is popular here. Pappardelle sull’Anatra, is a long, wide, egg pasta tossed with a duck ragu. Wild boar, cannellini beans or porcini mushroom sauces are also classics. Pici, a hand rolled type of spaghetti is another signature pasta.

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Weeknight Meals Delicious midweek meals for families on the go.

night meals, the easier the better. While it may be tempting to reach for the prepackaged foods, wholesome and nutritious meals made from scratch can be easy, too. Here are some quick, delicious recipes to try the next time you find yourself in a bind at dinnertime. Each of these meals takes under an hour to prepare (most under 30 minutes), leaving you more time to unwind after your long day. Whether you are in the mood for comfort food or Asian zing, look no further. These zesty stir-fries and hearty egg dishes are made with simple ingredients you may already have on hand and are sure to impress the whole family. — Sophie Burton


1 5 2 1 14

tablespoon cornstarch tablespoons orange juice, pulp free tablespoons soy sauce tablespoon vegetable oil ounces tender beef, cut into strips 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks 2 cups prepared mixed stir-fry vegetables of your choice, chopped if large salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon sesame seeds boiled egg noodles to serve

1. Put the cornstarch into a small bowl and gradually whisk in the orange juice followed by the soy sauce to make a smooth mixture. Set aside. 2. Heat the oil over high heat in a large skillet or wok. Add the beef strips and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes. Stir in the ginger, vegetables, and a splash of water and stir-fry until the vegetables are just tender and the beef is cooked to your liking. 3. Add the orange juice mixture to the wok and stir-fry until thick and syrupy—about 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle the sesame seeds over. Serve immediately with boiled egg noodles. 40 real food fall 2015


Busy lives mean that when it comes to week-

Weeknight Meals: Stir-Fries


2 12 1 1 2 3 1 ½

tablespoons vegetable oil ounces pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips red onion, thinly sliced red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced carrots, cut into thin strips tablespoons sweet chili sauce tablespoon white wine vinegar cup chopped canned pineapple slices, with 2 tablespoons juice reserved a large handful of bean sprouts ½ tablespoon sesame seeds a large handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped salt and freshly ground black pepper boiled long-grain rice to serve

1. Heat the oil over a high heat in a large wok or skillet. Add the pork, onion, red pepper and carrots and stir-fry for 3–5 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are softening. 2. Stir in the chili sauce, vinegar and reserved pineapple juice and bring to a boil, then stir in the pineapple chunks and bean sprouts and cook until heated through. 3. Check the seasoning. Scatter the sesame seeds and cilantro over and serve immediately with rice. SAVE TIME As with all stir-fries, have everything sliced and ready before you start cooking.


9 3 1 1¼ 1¼ 3 3 9 2

ounces wide rice noodles tablespoons satay sauce tablespoon sweet chili sauce cups thinly sliced snow peas cups thinly sliced sugar snap peas eggs, beaten tablespoons chili soy sauce, plus extra to serve ounces cooked shelled jumbo shrimp tablespoons roughly crushed dry-roasted peanuts lime wedges to serve (optional)

1. Put the noodles in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water, and soak for 4 minutes, or according to the package directions until softened. Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside. 2. Heat a wok or large skillet until hot. Add the satay and sweet chili sauces and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the snow peas and sugar snap peas and cook for 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a bowl. Put the wok back on the heat, add the eggs, and stir-fry for 1 minute. 3. Add the soy sauce, shrimp and noodles to the wok. Toss well and cook for 3 minutes until piping hot. Put the vegetables back into the pan, cook for 1 minute more until heated through, then sprinkle with the peanuts. Serve with extra soy sauce and lime wedges to squeeze over, if you like. SAVE EFFORT Chili soy sauce can be replaced with 2 tablespoons light soy sauce and ½ red chili, finely chopped.


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tablespoon vegetable oil ounces skinless smoked haddock, cut into chunks handfuls of baby spinach extra large eggs tablespooons heavy cream teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg freshly ground black pepper finely chopped fresh chives or parsley ½ cup grated cheddar cheese mixed green salad to serve


2 3 1 8 3 3

pounds potatoes, peeled to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil onion, finely sliced eggs tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leafed parsley bacon slices salt and freshly ground black pepper green salad to serve

1. Put the whole potatoes into a pot of cold salted water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes until almost cooked. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them thickly. 2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 7-inch non-stick skillet (suitable for use under the broiler). Add the onion and fry gently for 7–10 minutes until softened. Remove from the heat and set aside. 3. Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl and season well with salt and ground black pepper. 4. Heat the broiler. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet then layer the potato slices, onion and 2 tablespoons of the chopped parsley in the pan. Pour in the beaten eggs and cook for 5–10 minutes until the omelet is firm underneath. Meanwhile, broil the bacon until golden and crisp, then break into pieces. 5. Put the omelet in its pan under the broiler for 2–3 minutes until the top is just set. Scatter the bacon and remaining chopped parsley over the surface. Serve wedges of the omelet with a green salad.

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1. Heat the oil in a 9-inch skillet with a flameproof handle and fry the fish, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for 3 minutes longer, or until wilted, trying not to break up the fish too much. 2. Heat the broiler to medium. Put the eggs, cream, nutmeg and plenty of ground black pepper into a large bowl and beat together. Add most of the chives or parsley, if you like. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and use a wooden spoon to spread it evenly between the fish. Cook over a low heat for 3–5 minutes until the egg is set around the edges. 3. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the frittata and broil for 3–5 minutes more until the egg is cooked through and the cheese is golden and bubbling. Sprinkle with the remaining herbs, if you like. Cut the frittata into wedges and serve hot or at room temperature, with a green salad.


1 12 4 8 4 ¼

Weeknight Meals: Egg Dishes


1 1 1 1 2 1 1

tablespoon oil red onion, thinly sliced red chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped garlic clove, crushed cans (15-ounce) crushed tomatoes teaspoon sugar can (15-ounce) kidney beans, drained and rinsed a large handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish 8 eggs salt and freshly ground black pepper sour cream and crusty bread to serve 1. Heat the oven to 400°F (350°F for convection ovens). Heat the oil in a large skillet and gently cook the onion for 10 minutes until softened. Stir in the chili and garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. 2. Add the tomatoes, sugar and kidney beans and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper. 3. Transfer to a large, shallow baking dish suitable for serving from. Make a small indentation in the mixture and crack an egg into it. Repeat with the remaining eggs, spacing them apart evenly. 4. Bake the eggs for 15–20 minutes until the whites are set. Garnish with cilantro and serve with sour cream and some crusty bread.



fall 2015 real food 43

44 real food fall 2015

Nutritious root vegetables lend earthy goodness to the table fall 2015 real food 45


ho would have thought that so many nutrients could be grown underground? Root vegetables—a step beyond your leafy

greens—such as carrots, beets, potatoes and parsnips, are nourishing veggies that develop under the soil. There’s a good chance you’ve snacked on them before, but these hearty vegetables are more than just a side dish. Filled with robust and earthy flavors, they have the potential to be the main event on your table—and since root veggies are packed with more nutrients than you can count on one hand, both your stomach and health will be thanking you for it. — Kelcie McKenney

Healthy Winter Gratin MAKES 6 SERVINGS

Everyone loves a gratin. This one goes together quickly, is highly nourishing, and is addictive. 2 1⁄2 1⁄2 3⁄4 1 1 1⁄2 1⁄4 1⁄4 3⁄4

medium parsnips (about 4 small) medium celery root pound sweet potatoes pound russet (baking) potatoes teaspoon salt teaspoon finely chopped garlic teaspoon black pepper teaspoon pumpkin pie spice cup reduced-sodium chicken broth cup heavy cream optional garnish: chopped parsley or chives

1. Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. 2. Peel vegetables and cut into one-inch cubes. Transfer to a large bowl. 3. Add salt, garlic, pepper, pumpkin pie spice, broth and cream, tossing to combine. 4. Transfer to gratin dish or casserole dish, spreading evenly. 5. Cover gratin with a lid, a piece of parchment or foil. Bake until gratin is bubbling all over and vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 to 40 minutes. 6. Uncover gratin and cook for 5 to 10 more minutes to create a golden brown surface.


46 real food fall 2015



Lemon Chicken and Cinnamon Glazed Root Vegetables MAKES 4 SERVINGS

This heart-healthy chicken dish is so easy to make, and let’s just say these veggies might be replacing the candied yams at your next holiday meal. non-stick cooking spray 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all visible fat discarded 1 lemon 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper 1⁄2 teaspoon dried parsley 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano 1 small raw sweet potato, cut into 1-inch cubes, peeled if desired 1⁄2 cup baby carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 small turnip, cut into 1-inch cubes 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon light tub margarine 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon brown sugar 1. For the chicken: Pound chicken to even thinness (about 1 inch). 2. Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray, place over medium heat. 3. Add chicken to skillet and squeeze juice of ½ the lemon over the chicken. 4. Sprinkle pepper, parsley and oregano over the chicken. 5. Cook for 5-10 minutes on each side 6. For the vegetables: Preheat oven to 400°F. 7. Combine vegetables in a medium mixing bowl and toss with olive oil to coat. 8. Spread vegetables on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. 9. Stir vegetables and bake an additional 20 minutes until vegetables are tender (pierce easily with a fork) and are lightly browned. 10. Return vegetables to mixing bowl and add margarine, cinnamon and brown sugar. 11. Toss until margarine is melted and vegetables are coated with cinnamon and sugar.


WHAT ARE ROOT VEGGIES? Hearty, healthy and nutrient-packed, root vegetables are the foods that grow deep under the soil. While many are commonly recognizable—such as beets, carrots and potatoes—other varieties, such as the sweet and starchy Mexican jicama, also make up the veggies known for the way they grow. Apart from finding nourishment and growing underground, there are two distinctions between root vegetables: whether they have roots or tubers. The main difference is that tubers have an enlarged stem instead of an enlarged root, but both are considered root vegetables for culinary purposes and pack similar nutrients. Some of the most popular root vegetables include beets, carrots, rutabaga, radishes, parsnips, turnips and jicama, while tubers include potatoes, yuca, ginger, sweet potatoes and yams. Whether you’re snacking or cooking with roots or tubers, both are an easy way to get healthy complex carbohydrates that give your body energy, particularly directed towards the brain and nervous system. These veggies also contain a variety of potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C. As for tubers, serving them with the skin on adds extra fiber to the dish. Packed densely with vitamins, beta carotene, potassium, flavonoids and anti-oxidants, root vegetables are a healthy option for adding to stews, salads, side dishes or main courses. Most can be eaten raw—such as jicama, turnips and carrots—while others are best cooked into delicious and hearty dishes.

— Kelcie McKenney

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Seared Scallops with Creamy Carrot Purée MAKES 4 SERVINGS

Scallops are delicious, “fancy” and take just minutes to cook. Growing up a vegetarian in landlocked Atlanta, I spent my first few carnivorous years hesitant to dive into seafood. But after taking the scallop plunge, I was hooked. Here are a few tips for success: First, don’t overcook them. Second, a hot pan is very, very important; they should release from the pan when they are somewhat firm and bouncy without being hard. And third, avoid crowding the pan. Cook in two batches, if necessary, dividing the oil between each. Try once or twice, and you will have this easy but upscale, entertaining-friendly dish mastered! For purée: 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup diced shallot 1 teaspoon minced garlic 2 cups peeled and thinly sliced carrots ½ cup water ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste a generous pinch of cayenne pepper ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice 1 tablespoon butter

For scallops: 12 large sea scallops (about 1 pound), thoroughly patted dry and brought to room temperature ½ teaspoon sea salt, divided ½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper, divided 3 tablespoons ghee (see below) 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

1. To make the purée: In a large-size cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat, warm the oil until glistening, then add the shallots. Sweat the shallots for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. 2. Add the carrots, water, sea salt and cayenne. Raise the heat to bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low to maintain a rolling simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, until the carrots are softened. Carefully pour the sauce into a blender. Add the orange juice and blend until creamy. Pour the sauce into a small-size saucepan (you’ll use the cast-iron skillet for the scallops) over low heat and add the butter, stirring until melted. Re-season with sea salt to taste. Keep over low heat while cooking the scallops. 3. To make the scallops: Wipe the cast-iron skillet with a paper towel. Evenly sprinkle the tops of the scallops with ¼ teaspoon of the sea salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Over medium-high heat, heat ghee and garlic until the ghee is very hot but not smoking; the ghee will be glistening and the garlic will be sizzling fairly aggressively. 4. Add the scallops to the hot pan, seasoned side down, and remove and discard the garlic clove, which has done its work by flavoring the ghee. Sauté for 2 minutes, seasoning the tops with the remaining ¼ teaspoon sea salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. 5. After 2 minutes, flip the scallops with tongs; they should release easily. Sauté an additional 2 minutes, until firm and slightly opaque, but not hard. 6. Spread the carrot purée onto 4 plates and top with 3 scallops each. Serve warm.

Ghee: Butter’s Kin



HEALTHY WINTER GRATIN: PER SERVING: CALORIES 212 (84 from fat); FAT 10g (sat. 6g); CHOL 33mg; SODIUM 512mg; CARB 30g; FIBER 5g; PROTEIN 4g

50 real food fall 2015

When butter is gently simmered over low heat, the milk solids eventually fall to the bottom, leaving behind a clear yellow, clarified liquid called ghee. Because the milk solids have been removed, ghee has a higher smoke point than butter does and can be used to properly fry foods. The absence of milk solids also means that many lactoseintolerant people can tolerate ghee. As with butter, we prefer to use ghee made from the butter of grass-fed cows. Scallops brown beautifully with ghee, as in the Seared Scallops with Creamy Carrot Purée. ■




April Bloomfield

A Girl and Her Greens BY T TARA Q. THOMAS

The highest scorer ever on Food Network’s Iron Chef Chef, not to mention the Best Chef in New York City 2014 according to the esteemed James Beard Awards, opens up about her lifelong love for the vegetable side of the plate.


Recently, Eater declared The Spotted Pig one of the 25 most important New York City restaurant openings of the last 50 years. That’s quite a feat for a little restaurant on a quiet corner of NYC’s West Village, where, back in 2004, an unknown cook named April Bloomfield presented a menu built on deviled eggs and pots of pickles, pork rillettes and grilled skirt steaks. Within days, the sidewalks fronting the little three-story townhouse were swarming with people wanting to get a table. It wasn’t just that Sarah Jessica Parker was sitting at the bar; it was that the food was outrageously good in a completely unpretentious, relaxed sort of way. The burger, a simple beef patty gilded with Roquefort cheese, was uncannily delicious, and quickly considered one of the best in the city. “Gnudi” quickly entered the local vocabulary, as diners flocked to taste the ethereal little pillows of ricotta and Parmesan. People thrilled to the meaty pork rillettes and crisp pig’s ears dressed with lemon and capers, the bacon-wrapped prunes, steaks and sweetbreads. And there were the vegetables. They didn’t make the news much (Pete Wells, the restaurant reviewer for The New York Times, mentioned Bloomfield’s “often-overlooked skill with vegetables” in a review of Tosca Café, her San Francisco restaurant, in 2014), but regulars to the Pig have long considered the “plate of five vegetables” a must-have regardless its unassuming name. It’s not about health: It’s all about deliciousness. Bloomfield does things like roasts little Tokyo turnips whole, the greens still attached, their chlorophyllic savor highlighting the sweet, tangy bases; carrots take on a steak-y richness with garlic confit and thyme. Tender arcs of fennel might find a place next to burgundy-hued beets; there may be a pool of buttery mashed potatoes or Jerusalem artichokes. The plate is a crib sheet to what’s in season, and a window into what excites Bloomfield the most. If you haven’t been to “the Pig,” as she affectionately calls her flagship restaurant, “then it feels a little sneaky maybe,” she says, referring to her recent book, A Girl and Her Greens. I’ve caught her on her cell phone at a particularly busy moment: Not only does

she now run three more popular NYC destinations in addition to the Pig—The Breslin, John Dory Oyster Bar and Salvation Taco— plus San Francisco’s iconic Tosca Café—but she has just signed on to her biggest project to date—a suite of restaurants occupying four floors of a 1931 Art Deco building in lower Manhattan. Nonetheless, the tension slips out of her voice as soon as she starts talking about vegetables. “I love veggies and have always loved them,” she enthuses, ticking off favorites. She acknowledges that this may not be the most obvious fact, given the reputation she’s developed for meat—after all, it’s not for nothing that her first book is titled A Girl and Her Pig Pig, and sports a photograph of her with one of the pretty pink animals slung over her shoulder. But, as she puts it in her greens book, “lamb shoulders and suckling pigs are like action films, with lots of explosions and excitement.” They are great every once in a while, but not all the time. Nothing makes her as happy, day in and out, as vegetables. Bloomfield scoffs at the idea that this is a love of convenience, hatched just in time to take advantage of the current vogue for vegetable-based foodstuffs; her affection for vegetables goes back to when she was a kid. Back then, growing up working-class in Birmingham, the second largest city in England, she had her fair share of frozen broccoli and carrots, so she always looked forward to dinner at her grandmother’s house. “My nan was a great cook, and she

always cooked fresh veg,” Bloomfield says. There would be a roast, too, but the standout for her were the great heaping portions of well-cooked vegetables. “The broccoli and cauliflower at her house were amazing.” Bloomfield would find beauty even in more everyday experiences, too. She took an early shine to the button mushrooms that come on a typical British breakfast, as well as the sautéed tomato, relishing the burst of acidity that would relieve the fatty richness of the requisite sausage. She loved her mom’s marrow, “a sort of watery, overgrown zucchini, as big as my forearm,” which she stuffed with ground meat and baked into creamy submission. The tomatoes that grew among the pansies in their backyard were a treat, but even frozen vegetables had their bright points.“It’s not a shameful thing, growing up on frozen vegetables,” she says. “I grew up eating a lot of frozen carrots, which aren’t that good, and frozen peas, which I still love—if there’s one vegetable to buy if you have to buy frozen, it’s peas—they are consistent and can be quite luscious,” she says. This is the thing about April Bloomfield: For her there is no right or wrong way to cook a vegetable. She looks at a vegetable with generous goodwill, and tries to identify all the myriad ways she might draw out its inherent goodness. Getting to this point took a little doing, she admits. Back in culinary school at University College Birmingham in the UK— which she went to only because she’d missed

fall 2015 real food 53

—April Bloomfield

The Spotted Pig

Tosca Café

54 real food fall 2015

were exciting, vibrant. I felt like I didn’t know what I’d been doing for the last 10 years. I fell in love with it, and their whole ethos of simplicity.” “Simple” at the café might be as elemental as a purée of kale with garlic and olive oil, tossed with pasta—a dish with so few ingredients and steps it barely qualifies as a recipe. Simple, however, is not necessarily easy. “That sauce was really what made me want to work at The River Café,” Bloomfield says. “I saw them make it on the TV and I loved to watch them—I loved how Rose would move, very matter-of-fact; she’d just toss a handful of Maldon sea salt into the boiling water, then put in the cavolo nero—and it turned so bright and green. I wanted to make it so badly.” She did, the very next day. “And of course it was nowhere near as good,” Bloomfield says. After she began working at the Café, she realized what was missing: “They had amazing Tuscan olive oil and amazing salt; their cavolo nero came from Italy. My olive oil was cheaper; the pasta wasn’t right.” When the ingredients are good, Bloomfield realized, they need very little gilding. As she writes in her book, “The higher your standards, the better your food will be.” It’s not possible to be too picky. She suggests you take a quick walk through the market before buying anything— “really get a wiggle on!” she urges—to spot the best-looking stuff, and have enough time to go back and snap it up before it’s all gone. Taste when you can, she advises, and ask questions both when buying, and later when you’re cooking it. “Wonder what it was about this zucchini—perhaps it was a big honking thing—that might have warned you it would taste so bland.” Look for the details that might tip you off to why a particular tomato tastes so good. In other words, pay attention. When Bloomfield gets really great produce, often she likes to do nothing more than boil them. Yes, you read that right: Boil is not a fourletter word in Bloomfield’s kitchen. “In the culinary profession we call it blanching, which sounds slightly better than ‘boil,’” she offers,“but still... Boiling is so underrated. I love it just for the simplicity. Boiled broccoli, cooked just to that point between crisp and tender—or whatever texture you like—for me, it depends on my mood, but generally when it flips between creamy and firm—with just a little sprinkle of sea salt. Or boiled asparagus: It gets so juicy, with that perfect texture when you hit it on the nose.” She’s talking faster now, a barrage of ideas pouring from the phone. “Or boiled fennel. Sometimes I’ll boil fennel before roasting it, to give it a little helping start. It gives a slightly


“I really wanted to show this in the book, how you can make a simple, clean vegetable into something rustic and hearty but without taking anything away from the vegetable. The vegetable is still the star; the ingredients are just there to fortify and buck up the deliciousness.”

the deadline to apply for the police academy and thought it a better option than becoming a florist, her mother’s suggestion—it was cooking vegetables that filled her dread. “There was so much pressure to keep them green!” she explains. At the time, her teachers advocated adding baking soda to the water, which helps keep green vegetables bright, but can also turn them mushy.“I didn’t like that idea, didn’t understand it, and didn’t know I could get the same effect by throwing small handfuls at a time into a pot filled with boiling salted water,” she says. “But over time, you get to learn the possibilities,” she points out. “You don’t always have to have crisp, bright green beans. The Italians stew them; they would never serve crunchy green beans,” she explains. Central to her wide-open appreciation for vegetables was her time working at The River Café in London. There, owners Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers were transforming the British relationship to food and vegetables with their vibrant interpretation of Italian cooking. “Something happened to me there,” Bloomfield says.“There was something about their food that just made your tongue come alive; the flavors

different color, an extra creamy golden brown instead of a deeper more masculine flavor.” Taking a breath, she blurts out, “I’m sorry! I got excited,” and I laugh, as I did, too. Although she has a reputation for being one of the most modest and quiet chefs around, when it comes to describing food—whether on the page or in person—she lets herself go with contagious enthusiasm. But back to the fennel: She’s hit on an idea that’s central to her book: that, while there’s beauty in a vegetable unadorned, it takes a little more effort to build dishes satisfying enough to be the main event. Contrast is central to her philosophy: “There’s always that flip between rich and bright,” she says of her dishes, “a play between sweet and tart so it’s not overpowering.” Her fennel salad is a masterful example. “I think a whole salad of raw fennel is sometimes hard to face if you’re not used to it,” she says, “so I keep some raw to show its light, crisp, floral side, but then roast some to bring out the creamy, sweet side. I wanted the dish to run the edge of light and vibrant and hearty; I was hoping by incorporating the two, to find a bit more balance.” A sprinkle of fennel seeds and fennel pollen add yet more dimensions of fennel flavor to the dish, while blood orange, lemon and arugula add brightness and bottarga, an Italian salted mullet roe, adds umami. The final dish is a symphony of flavor, all played in the key of fennel. That’s the point, she says.“I’m always talking about chile, anchovy, capers, Parmesan— things that will add that essence of umami to a dish,” she says. “I really wanted to show this in the book, how you can make a simple, clean vegetable into something rustic and hearty but without taking anything away from the vegetable. The vegetable is still the star; the ingredients are just there to fortify and buck up the deliciousness.” ■


Roasted and Raw Fennel Salad with Blood Orange and Bottarga MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS AS A SIDE

4 large fennel bulbs (about 3 pounds with stalks and fronds), stalks and outermost layer discarded, tender fronds reserved, root end trimmed of brown bits 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped 1⁄2 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely crushed in a mortar 3 dried pequín chiles, crumbled, or pinches of red pepper flakes 1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 11⁄2 teaspoons Maldon or another flaky sea salt, plus more for finishing 4 blood oranges 1 tablespoon lemon juice several turns of freshly ground black pepper a five-finger pinch of mint leaves (preferably black mint), coarsely chopped at the last minute 1⁄4 cup unsalted roasted pistachios, very coarsely crushed 1 teaspoon fennel pollen* 1 ounce bottarga di muggine (salted mullet roe), finely grated on a rasp** 1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450˚F. Halve two of the fennel bulbs through the root end, then cut them through the root nub (so each wedge stays intact) into approximately 1-inch-thick wedges. 2. Combine the wedges in a mixing bowl with the garlic, fennel seeds, chiles, 1⁄4 cup of the oil, 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt and 1⁄4 cup water, and toss well. Spread the mixture in a heavy enameled baking dish (large enough to hold the fennel in a single layer with a little room to spare) and cover tightly with foil. Roast the fennel until it is tender (it should meet with almost no resistance when poked with a knife) and golden brown on the bottom, 25 to 30 minutes. 3. Remove the foil and roast just until the golden brown color gets a shade or so darker, 3 to 5 minutes more. Let the fennel cool to room temperature. 4. Meanwhile, halve one of the oranges, squeeze out 3 tablespoons of juice, and transfer the juice to a small bowl. Use a sharp knife to cut off just enough of the top and bottom of the remaining oranges to expose a full circle of the flesh on either side. Stand them on a flat end, and cut along the border where the flesh meets the pith, following the curve of the fruit to remove the pith and peel. Repeat the process until all you have left is a nice round, naked fruit. If you’ve missed any white pith, trim it off. Slice the fruit crosswise into 1⁄4-to 3⁄8-inch-thick rounds. Flick out any seeds. 5. To the blood orange juice in the bowl, whisk in the lemon juice, pepper, mint, the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon salt. 6. Slice the remaining 2 fennel bulbs crosswise into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices (only remove the core if it’s very tough) and separate the layers with your fingers. Toss the raw fennel, roasted fennel (and any oil and browned bits left in the pan) and dressing in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to give it all a gentle scrunch—just to help the flavors come together. 7. Very coarsely chop enough of the reserved fennel fronds to give you a handful. Add the fronds and pistachios to the bowl, and toss again. 8. Spoon some of the fennel mixture onto a platter, arrange some blood orange slices here and there, then add another layer of fennel and oranges. Sprinkle on the fennel pollen, bottarga, and if you’d like, a healthy pinch of salt. Serve straightaway. *Editor’s Note: Ground fennel seed may be substituted. Adjust quantity to taste. **Editor’s Note: Found at Italian specialty stores or online. Optional.

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Chianti The hardworking traditional Tuscan BY MARY SUBIALKA


overing the central portion of Tuscany from Florence south to Siena, Chianti has a long history of commercial winemaking dating back more than 600 years. But Chianti’s reputation was hurt in the 1960s and ’70s by producers who tried to turn a large profit and compromised quality, churning out mass quantities of this popular wine, easily recognized in its squat, straw-covered bottles called fiaschi—which doubled as snazzy candleholders when empty. However, changes in winemaking laws in recent decades have led to richer, more flavorful selections. Producers in the Chianti Classico area, the heart of the region responsible for many of the best wines, replanted their vineyards with new clones of Sangiovese (san-joh-VAY-zeh) grapes and updated field and cellar techniques. Distinguished by a black rooster seal on the label, Chianti Classico must include 80 percent to 100 percent Sangiovese. The remaining 20 percent of a blend can consist of native grapes including Canaiolo and Colorino or international grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot—which lend fruity flavors that nicely complement Sangiovese’s earthiness. Chianti produced with 100 percent Sangiovese can make for a rich wine with a spicy finish. Chianti is a classic pairing with pasta tossed with red sauce or mushroom risotto but also makes a good match with grilled steak. And while those straw-covered bottles have mostly been replaced with Bordeaux-style bottles, you may still find some offerings sporting the old school look on the outside for fun, but the wine on the inside is taken more seriously. ■


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