Batter Licker

December 29, 2011

bacon fat-roasted fingerling potatoes stuffed with beet horseradish ricotta

I realize stuffing fingerling potatoes sounds a little … crazy. And it totally is. I admit it. But don’t freak out and leave yet! I have a solution. Just because I’m nuts doesn’t mean you can’t maintain your sanity while still enjoying the delicious benefits of this recipe.

In other words, this would work equally well for stuffing a potato the size of your closed fist. Or even those mini potatoes that are bigger than fingerlings but not quite as big as your fist – you know, the ones that would still be appetizer friendly but also wouldn’t drive you mad trying to stuff them.

The only other fussy component is the beet horseradish, but there’s a way around that too if necessary. I’ve never seen the beet version in a store in real life, although I probably wasn’t looking because I didn’t even know it existed. But it was among the several gallons of pickled items my friend May shipped me from The Pickle Guys in New York as a wedding present. Aside from being slightly sweeter than regular horseradish, the beet horseradish had an incredibly bright pink fuchsia color, which I thought would be fun to punch up this otherwise brown and white dish. If you can’t find some, substitute regular horseradish, or make your own beet concoction.

Whatever you decide, procure some bacon fat. It makes a difference. (more…)

April 8, 2011

asparagus, radish and smoked trout salad with lemon, dijon and balsamic vinaigrette

I remember picking radishes out of my mother’s garden as a child. And I’m almost certain that I did not clean them with as much diligence (and an entire bottle of hand soap) as the first baby carrots I ever pulled out of the ground. Rather, I brushed off the dirt with my shirt, twisted off the ugly root, and dove right in. Crunchy and spicy, I enjoyed the radish in its freshest and rawest state without any adornments. But unfortunately, I never thought to approach asparagus in the same way.

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Fresh asparagus, as I appreciate it now, signals the decline of thick greens and hearty root vegetables, and ushers in the lighter, more uplifting assortment that spring has to offer. However, in my childhood memories, I recall asparagus as a rather sad, drooping and stringy set of spears that were often overcooked, as that is the easiest and most frequent method of preparing a veggie that barely needs any time to cook. Except for eating it raw. (more…)

December 27, 2010

spice-boiled shrimp and cocktail sauce

I’ve had a lot of bad shrimp cocktails in my life. You know, the ones where the shrimp is rubbery from overcooking, the $19 restaurant appetizer features only four measly little creatures, the shrimp has absolutely zero seasoning whatsoever, or the cocktail sauce tastes like ketchup and ketchup only. But all those shrimp cocktail mishaps (especially the ones at renowned, expensive fish restaurants!) were for the better because they encouraged me to start making shrimp cocktail at home.

In other words, this is not one of those disappointing, lackluster recipes.

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This shrimp cocktail may be unlike any one you’ve ever had in that the shrimp, while boiled, is actually seasoned. A little lemon, some very flavorful Creole seasoning from my Jambalaya recipe, and a tiny bit of salt infuse the shrimp with the subtle flavor you may not have realized you were missing. And with just two minutes of cooking time and a quick shock in ice water to prevent shrimp from continuing to cook and becoming rubbery, this dish comes together in mere minutes.

The cocktail sauce also comes together with a quickly whisked combination of sweet ketchup, spicy horseradish, fresh lemon juice, and a little Worcestershire sauce, chili powder and salt to round it out. (more…)

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