Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fried Asparagus with Miso Dressing

Found on Food 52, I made an adaptation of their adaptation of Nobu Matsuhisa's recipe in his cookbook "Nobu's Vegetarian Cookbook". I used onions instead of leeks and my sauce was thicker and reminiscent (in its consistency) of  Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche. Sauce Gribiche is a classic French sauce - a mayonnaise-based dressing with chopped boiled egg, herbs, and cornichons. I also used only about a 1" depth of oil for frying in a 10" skillet. My cooking compatriot (Lynn) wasn't as delighted with overall dish as I was, she loved the dressing and would also use it on a salad (I agree).

In Chef Matshuhisa's recipe, the leeks are deep-fried until browned, and then the asparagus is fried for a minute or two (depending on its thickness). While the asparagus tasted great, and except for the fact that the asparagus tips get crispy in such a delightful, delicious way, I will - while I will definitely make the other elements as indicated - likely roast the asparagus instead of frying it the next time. I fear neither the technique of frying nor the oil, but I hate dealing with a bunch of oil post-fry. I know you can re-use it but I use oil infrequently in that quantity. Yeah, a little lazy that way, but practical. If you do fry them, you will want to snap off all of the fried tips, dip them in a little dressing and eat them yourself. Just sayin'...


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Friday Dinner: Chicken Pot Pie with Savory Crumble Topping

Typically, chicken pot pie comes with a pastry topping that never seems to provide a good ratio of topping to filling once you've served everybody. America's Test Kitchen solved this by creating a recipe that provides a savory, crunchy topping for all. Besides the crispy, tender biscuit-y topping, it's the type of pan in which it's baked that really does the trick. You want a 13" x 9" pan with sides no more than 2 1/2 to 3 inchies high.

I don't think I'm telling tales out of school but if asked, Lynn (my cooking cohort) would be happy with topping, gravy and baby peas. The girl LOVES her baby peas! The topping is comprised of savory biscuit pieces that are first par-baked and then fully browned when the casserole goes into the oven. In fact, all of the filling ingredients are par-cooked and then baked  with the topping to heat everything up and provide the time for the biscuit bits to brown.

We've made this dish three times now. The first time around we made it as written and found it delicious- with two notes: not enough salt and felt it would benefit from some herbs. The second time, it seemed like there wasn't enough filling - and we adjusted the salt and added some thyme (but not enough for us). In between and before we cooked it last Friday, I looked at the recipe. It calls for "3 medium carrots, about 1 cup". Three medium carrots is definitely more than 1 cup so our adaptation includes more salt, the addition of a diced russet potato, herbs and some modification in how the amount of ingredients are defined.

This time was wonderful - although we still think we could increase the amount of herbs. The entire recipe as published calls for 1/2 teaspoon of salt, at one point during cooking the vegetables. It does call for adjusting the seasoning for the gravy to taste but  - and I didn't invent this - it is a conventional recommendation to season as you go.