5.06.2017

Pink on Pink

It's getting towards summer and that always makes us me think of travel.

Where can we go? What new adventures await?

Because of job requirements, summer isn't the easiest time to travel. And, honestly, summers can be very crowded wherever we go.

Thus, we head to the table as a means to transport us to faraway places. This week, it will be no surprise to you that our destination is Provence. After all, the first Saturday of the month is when I pair a Provençal wine with food.

We had our friends and neighbors Lee and Bill to dinner. We enjoy being with them immensely and have much in common, including interests in the fine arts, travel, family backgrounds on the East Coast, and love of the desert.

Especially, we all love good food and wine. Lee is a wonderful cook (she is also a great potter), and we are inspired to cook fun and interesting food when we get together.


Most recently, I made a Provençal-themed dinner, all based on pink. Pink food, pink wine. Well, dessert was kind of gold... but you get the idea.

I was gifted three different rosé wines from Mirabeau en Provence to test and let you know what I think of them.* They are all wonderful wines, and you can read about the pairings on the Provence WineZine.

I started with potted salmon - a recipe based on one from The Littlest Anchovy, a former blogger in Australia. It is a perfect combination of creamy and tart and savory. Lee contributed the brilliant idea of using leftovers to make potted salmon rolls, à la lobster rolls!

The main course is a dish I devised for Mark and myself one quiet Christmas Eve - a ragoût of fennel and langoustine tails seasoned with saffron, and served in a puff pastry box; a perfectly wrapped gift. I used some precooked langoustine tails, which we love and are readily available for us at Trader Joe's. The dish is just as good with nice, meaty shrimp.

And dessert? I revisited and refined a recipe that our friend Barbara and I devised while we were in Tuscany in 2011. Absent the local Italian butter cookies, for the crust I used the Girl Scouts' Trefoil cookies (which are, oddly, quatrefoils). You will have to wait till spring for this recipe, as I will post it when Girl Scout Cookies are once again on the market.

In the meantime, light some candles, dine outside if weather permits, and please enjoy the potted salmon and the ragoût of fennel and langoustines!

~ David

Potted Salmon

3 cups water
1 cup white wine
6 fresh bay leaves
1 pound boneless, skinless salmon fillet
4 ounces cured salmon (lox), diced
1 cup crème fraîche
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus additional for garnish
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon Piment d’Esplette
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
bread, small toasts, or crackers to serve

Bring water, wine, and bay leaves to a boil. Remove from heat, add fillets and cover. Set aside to for 15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily but retains some firmness. Remove from poaching liquid and let cool fully in a colander. Discard poaching liquid.

Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Gently flake the cooled fillets over the cream mixture and season with salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Fold the salmon flakes gently into the cream, taking care not to break up the salmon.

If not using immediately, store refrigerated in a covered glass container for up to 4 days. If using the same day, place in a serving dish and garnish with dill. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve with sliced bread, toasts, or crackers.

Serves 6-8 as a heavy appetizer or first course.

Ragoût of Fennel and Langoustines with Saffron
     
about 1 pound all-butter puff pastry, either homemade or purchased
3 tablespoons butter
2 large fennel bulbs, topped, cored, and diced
2 large shallots, peeled and diced
3-4 tablespoons water
3/4 cup seafood stock
3/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
3 large plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 pound cooked langoustine tails
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375°F. Make 6 boxes from the puff pastry (about 4 1/2-inches square). I use a sharp knife to cut around the edges and create a box with handles. See my illustration above in the post. (It might help to do a test using a square piece of paper so you can begin to understand the folds.) Use a little egg white to attach the strips to the bottom. Score the inside edge of the box with a sharp knife. Brush bottom with egg white, being careful the egg white doesn’t touch the sides or they won’t puff. Bake for 20-25 minutes until deep golden-brown. While they are baking, make the ragoût.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the fennel, shallot, and 3 tablespoons water; cover with a piece of rumpled parchment and cook over low heat, stirring once or twice, until the fennel and onion soften, about 10 minutes. Add another tablespoon of water, if needed, to keep it moist, but don't be concerned if it browns a little. That will add to the flavor and color to the ragoût. Add the stock, cover again with the parchment, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the wine and saffron, cover once again with the parchment, and let simmer 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the tomatoes, peas, and langoustine tails and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring, until peas are cooked but stll brightly colored, and the langoustine tails are warmed through. Adjust seasoning and add cream. Bring to a simmer.

Using a small spatula, take off the tops off the inner part of the box (where you scored the pastry). Fill the boxes with ragoût, letting some spill over onto the plate. Replace the box top and serve immediately.

 Serves 6.

* As always, all opinions regarding the wines are my own.


28 comments:

  1. Oh dear ! This is great ! Thank you so much !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank YOU so much! Glad you enjoyed it!

      Delete
  2. When I saw the photo of the potted salmon I immediately thought of Anna from Littlest Anchovy. And then you mentioned her! I know this would be delicious, even if you did adapt it a little, as Anna brought some over to our place once for a get together.

    And the ragoût, David! So deliciously elegant. Oh I wish we were detouring to Tucson after we leave Central America!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John - I miss Anna! I keep hoping that littlest anchovy will reappear in my inbox, but no such luck. If you talk to her, please say hi for me!

      Mark and I wish you were detouring here, too. Or that we were going someplace you were going. Another time, I suppose - right?

      Delete
    2. John, whatever happened to Anna? I really miss her posts.

      Delete
  3. Your photos are just amazing! And the recipe, oh my gosh, wonderful! Thanks for sharing, and have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Cecilia! I am so glad you like my photos - and the recipes! Enjoy your weekend, too!

      Delete
  4. David, I love this post so much. Everything from the diagram of the pastry, to the recipe with the langoustine tails. Yum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Liz - I am hopeful that the diagram makes sense!

      Delete
  5. 2 fantastic recipes instead of one, I can already tell it's going to be a great day. I've often wondered about the langoustine tails will have to pick some up at Trader Joes, love the boxes too. Great post David.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so sweet, Cheri - I think you will love the langoustine tails!

      Delete
  6. I have pescatarian family coming for their 1st visit in 30 years and have been stewing over what to cook for them. Thank you SO MUCH for these stunning recipes and for the great tip about TJ's selling langoustine tails, as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your really nice note, MK! I hope you and your family enjoy these recipes!

      Delete
  7. Wow your guests must have been blow away!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, Carolyne, they enjoyed it and no one suffered too greatly... although it was rich so maybe the suffering came later? :)

      Delete
  8. I like that your version of potted salmon - flakes vs the customary paste. Dill is a beautiful herb, too often neglected. Curious now to see the Tuscan-inspired dessert (what is the name of the Tuscan butter cookies u used?).
    Stefano - www.italianhomecooking. co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stefano, if you like, I will send you my tart recipe now - just don't want to post it till Girl Scout Cookie season (to help them out with their sales!). I am pretty sure we used Molino Bianco Galletti, but it was 6 years ago and you know how the memory fades...

      Delete
    2. mulino bianco galletti!! :)) ..yes! pls do send me your recipe when u have time (+about exchanging recipes: I replied to u: I do have few versions of the chard tart u mentioned: Lucca chard recipe + but if u want a jumpstart: there is a version on david lebovitz) thanks david, nice of u. s

      Delete
  9. Two beautiful recipes, just perfect, what a wonderful meal...I'm jealous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Caroline - wish you could have been here, too!

      Delete
  10. I just polished off a massive bowl of pasta, but, after looking at your post, I'm now starving.
    Job well done, D! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Colette! I can always count on you to put a smile on my face! xo

      Delete
  11. That pastry is my kind of comb over, I mean fold over! GREG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, I can't even dream of a comb over any longer...

      Delete
  12. The ragout is so beautiful, I wish I liked fennel. But the salmon I would do in an instant!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could make the ragoût using onions instead of fennel!

      Delete
  13. A gorgeous post and gorgeous photos David! Both dishes/recipes look and sound so good and appetizing! Those nuggets of langoustine tails look delish! Such a fun idea to have a pink themed dinner. I'm thinking of making a "black" Lao dish and it's inspired me to entertain the idea of a black themed dinner. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the idea of your black-themed dinner, Ngeun! I will look forward to that post!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

If you would like to receive follow-up comments, simply click the "Subscribe by E-mail" link to the right of the "Publish" and "Preview" buttons.