Hugh Acheson

tasty tuesday: pan roasted pork tenderloin, barley and mushroom braise, roasted brussels, spinach, onions

Pork barley

Man, it feels like it has been a minute since I’ve been here. Since my last post, we’ve had lots of great food, from authentic Latin American fair to farm-to-table classics and the best of Charleston. Through all of that, I found some inspiration to make tonight’s dish, combining flavors and techniques I’ve experienced from both Sean Brock’s Husk and Hugh Acheson’s Five and Ten. But really, its not much more that good ingredients, nicely seasoned, and simply prepared. That combination goes a lot further than you make think.

I love pasta dishes. I can’t escape it. And for some reason pairing barley or farro with pork and Brussels just stuck out in my mind. It is very similar to a dish at Five and Ten I had about a year ago and it just popped in my head as a very memorable dish. It goes well with the mushrooms I had at Husk, braised with broth and greens. Fantastic all.

As this blog turns two, we thank you for staying with us and helping us grow. Let us know what else you want to see!

On to the food.

Pan roasted pork with braised barley and mushrooms, spinach and onions, roasted brussels

1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of any fat and connective tissue
1 cup pearled barley
1 quart chicken stock
5 portabella mushrooms
1 sweet onion, chopped into thin slices, 1/4 finely chopped
2 tbsb butter
1/4 cup spinach
10 sage leaves
8 brussels sprouts, stems removed and halved.
1/8 cup cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
salt, pepper, white pepper
Olive oil to coat pan twice

Start with the barley. In a deep pan, melt butter over medium and add the grains of barley and two pinches of salt. Toast for 2 minutes. Add the fine onions and vinegar. Heat 4 minutes, or until vinegar is absorbed. Add 2 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low and cover 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chop mushrooms into thin slices. Add to barley and add 1/2 the remaining stock and sage. Simmer additional 20 minutes, until barley is tender.

Season the pork with a heavy coating of salt, pepper and white pepper.

Heat a large pan to medium high and coat with olive oil. Heat oven to 300. Place the sprouts in the hot oil insides down and sear for 3 minutes. Turn and heat for 2 minutes. Place sprouts on a cookie sheet lined with foil and place in oven for 20 minutes.

In same large pan, add more oil to coat. Place the pork in the oil and sear 5 minutes per side (three sides). Reduce heat to low and cover pan for 2 minutes. Remove pork from pan.

In same pan, add more oil and remaining onions. Press garlic and add to onion. Add spinach and stir 1 minute. Add remaining stock and cook until spinach is wilted. Remove mixture from pan.

Cut the pork into very thin pieces. Return to pan with remaining pork and chicken stock mixtures. Baste with jus for 2 minutes, until pieces reach desired doneness.

Plate with spinach and onions in center of plate. Top with barley and mushroom mixture then pork. Place sprouts around the side and top with rogue brussels crispies and sage.

Enjoy!

tasty tuesday: smothered pork chop with shiitakes, quick-fry okra, cauliflower and potato mash, and pickled cucumber

photo(9)This Tasty Tuesday, I took a challenge: pork chops.  I cannot tell a lie–I typically avoid pork chops on menus as I look at them with a skeptical eye.  Will the kitchen overcook them?  Will they taste like chewy tires?  Put simply, they’re usually not that appealing to me.  In recent years, however, I’ve stolen bites of Alex’s pork chops at Downtown Grill, and I have been impressed with every one.  I think my new appreciation for pork chops stems from a simple difference in preparation: the avoidance of cooking them well done.

My friend Steven Fulbright, a fellow Hugh Acheson acolyte, asked me yesterday if I’d ever made Hugh’s recipe for smothered pork chops with chanterelles from A New Turn in the South.  When I told him I hadn’t, he raved about how great they were, so I knew that I had to try them out.  What I ended up with was a take on Hugh’s simple, yet elegant dish, both out of creativity and necessity–I couldn’t find chanterelles at the Fresh Market, so I selected shiitakes instead.  I changed up a few other things, but the simple cooking directions for the meat in Hugh’s recipe made these pork chops, in my humble opinion, pretty darn great.  Seared on the outside and cooked through to medium on the inside, these bone-in chops are simple to make and saved by the accuracy of a meat thermometer.  If you don’t have one, you can buy an inexpensive one at the grocery store or at your local kitchen store–Maconites, go to Robinson Home, of course!

The simple olive oil, salt, and pepper combination on the pork chop allows the meat to shine on its own merit.  The addition of the thin mushroom gravy adds an earthiness to the dish.  The pork chop is set upon a half-and-half mash of baked cauliflower, yukon gold potatoes, and garlic, and some quick-fry okra adds a crispiness to the smooth mash.  The pickled cucumber adds just a touch of sour to cut the creaminess of the mash and stands up nicely to the smooth flavor of the gravy.

Moral of the story: if you think you don’t like pork chops, try, try, again.

Smothered Pork Chop with Shiitakes, Quick-Fry Okra, Cauliflower and Potato Mash, and Pickled Cucumber

Serves 2

2 bone-in, thick cut pork chops (about 6-8 oz. each)

1/2 head cauliflower

2 small yukon gold potatoes

5 garlic cloves

3 Tbsp. olive oil (2 Tbsp. for chops, 1 Tbsp. for cauliflower and potatoes)

2 cups fresh okra, sliced lengthwise

1/3 cup pecorino or parmesan cheese

3 green onions, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. butter (1 Tbsp. for gravy, 1 Tbsp. for mash)

2 Tbsp. half and half, separated

1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1 cup chicken stock

1 Tbsp. flour

1 tsp. fresh thyme

juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper

handful of pickled cucumbers slices, cut into 1/4 inch vertical slices (I thinly sliced up one cucumber on Sunday and threw the slices in a pickle jar with leftover pickle juice–easiest thing ever.  The crispness of the cucumber is still intact!)

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Rough chop the cauliflower and potatoes into golf ball-sized pieces.  In a small bowl, add the cauliflower, potatoes, unpeeled garlic cloves, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper and mix to combine.  Wrap the veggie mixture in a makeshift aluminum foil pouch, place the pouch on a cookie sheet, and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.  In a food processor, add the baked potato and cauliflower pieces.  Also add the garlic, but be sure to squeeze the cloves out of the garlic paper before adding them to the bowl of the food processor.  Next, add 1 Tbsp. butter, the pecorino cheese, 1 Tbsp. half and half, green onions, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper to the bowl.  Pulse until desired consistency is reached; set aside.

Raise the heat in the oven to 400 F.  Heat a frying pan to medium-high heat and add 2 Tbsp. olive oil.  While the oil is heating, lightly salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops.  Sear the pork chops on both sides (about 4 minutes each), then place the pork chops on a raised roasting pan and let finish in the oven for about 7-10 minutes.  To check to see if they’re done, place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thicker pork chop, right near the bone.  When the temperature reaches 150 F, you know that they’re at medium.  Take the out of the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes.

While the chops are in the oven, add the sliced okra to the remaining olive oil you seared the pork chops in.  Stirring occasionally, let the okra cook up for about 10 minutes, browning on the edges.

During this time, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium pan over medium-high heat.  When the butter starts to bubble, add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Next, add the flour and stir to combine, then slowly whisk in the chicken stock.  Turn the heat down to low and let reduce for about 4 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the thyme, 1 Tbsp. half and half, and lemon juice.

To assemble: add about 1 cup of cauliflower potato mash to the plate.  Lean the pork chop on the mash, then arrange some okra around the pork chop.  Add your desired amount of mushroom gravy to the top of the chop, then sprinkle some of the picked cucumber on the top.  Enjoy!

meatless monday: fresh corn and cauliflower bowl, basil stuffed grilled tomato, charred okra and snap beans

Summer.

Summer.

Yesterday we were driving back from Athens, my other favorite Georgia city, listening to an album that I haven’t heard in years (incidentally the only album released by the band Panic at the Disco–Pretty. Odd.), and thinking about the simple joys in life–good people, good music, and good food. Part of what makes these things such simple joys is that the are intimate and individual– that combination of favorite things is different for every person. And that drive is something that always brings those things into focus for me. A road so often travelled that brought me to my favorite person and my favorite place–a road that no matter which way I go it takes me home.

Now when I travel to Athens it is usually to seek culinary delights and this may have been the best yet. We managed to hit both Cinco y Diez and 5 & 10 and the Four Coursemen successor Coterie and Tie (Eleta will be doing a full report on this in a later entry). It was a gustatory wonderland. (Considering we started the weekend with dinner at Dovetail we really had a weekend to envy food-wise).

But, to the point, all this really brought into focus the need to focus on the simple, even when it comes to food. Fresh, simple, well seasoned food. It is so easy and makes you so happy when done well. Nothing can make you instantly happy like a great bite a food, and there is no better way to do that than using fresh ingredients in their time.

So, for meatless monday, I concocted a fresh corn bowl using some of the techniques we saw over the weekend with the garnishes. Easy prep, fresh flavors, delicious meal.

(For what it is worth, I listened to Cooley’s “Fool on Every Corner” while I cooked. Good folks, Good Music, Good Food.)

Corn and Cauliflower Bowl

2 ears fresh corn
1/2 Head Cauliflower
1/2 stick butter
Tbsp salt
Tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
6 cloves garlic
1 sprig rosemary
8 large okra
Handful of fresh snap green beans
2 fresh tomatoes
6 leaves basil
Olive oil, salt, pepper.

Begin by bringing a pot of water to a boil.

Shuck the corn and remove silk. Cut the corn off the cob midway through the kernel into a large bowl. Milk each ear by scraping down the ear with the back of the knife. Grate the floret part of the cauliflower with a fine cheese grater into the bowl. Add the salt, pepper, paprika, and cumin. Stir and set aside.

Blanch the beans in the boiling water for about 2 minute. Remove from heat into an ice bath. Let rest.

Heat a grill pan or stove top grill over medium high heat.

In a deep, heavy bottomed pan, add the butter and heat over medium heat until it bubbles and browns. Add the garlic and rosemary and reduce heat to medium low for about 3-4 minutes. Remove the rosemary. Add the corn mixture to and and stir. Raise heat to medium and cover about 10 minutes. You can add extra butter if you like. this is very much a choose your own adventure flavor wise.

In a bowl, coat the okra with olive oil and salt. Place on the grill and cook 7-8 minutes per side, until well charred and soft throughout. Add the green beans and grill until lightly charred, about 6 minutes.

Remove the stem side of the tomato, about 1/4 inch until the seed beds are exposed. Stuff 3 basil leaves into each tomato in the soft seed sections. Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper and place cut side down on the grill for about 4 minutes.

Plate as seen above.

The real question with this dish is what the corm mixture is more like. It has a texture more like risotto or grits  than creamed corn. The corn kernels should keep their integrity and have a slight crunch. The flavor has way more freshness than either risotto or grits, though.

The flavors really mesh well, especially the spiced corn and the aroma of the basil tomato. The sweet juice of the tomato mixing with the corn has a similar effect to a fried egg influencing and elevating to other flavors of a more savory plate.

All told, simple and delicious. In the middle of summer, all was golden.

tasty tuesday: cherry vinegar chicken with pearl onions, orange, and spinach

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Unless you’re a first-time reader, I don’t have to remind you that Alex and I are kind of obsessed with Hugh Acheson, particularly his cookbook A New Turn in the South.  After a marathon of a Monday (complete with a four-hour class) and a super busy Tuesday, I knew that I wanted to choose thoughtfully for tonight’s dish, yet go with a trusted source.  This recipe has caught my eye a few times when thumbing through Hugh’s cookbook, mainly because it sounds so strange.  Vinegar chicken?  With oranges?  As weird as it kept sounding, I knew that Hugh wouldn’t steer me wrong.  I also had a few of the ingredients on hand already, so I took it as a sign to try this one out tonight.

This one-pot dish has a great depth of flavor.  When the cherry vinegar thickens and cooks with the chicken stock and the tiny pearl onions, the chicken thighs soak up all of the yummy goodness.  The spinach and orange pieces brighten up the dish, and the citrus is surprisingly mild.

I served this dish alongside some homemade mashed potatoes.  A word on mashed potatoes: I don’t often make them, but when I do, I try to keep them as light as possible while still making them taste good.  I boiled four small, cut up Yukon Gold potatoes, drained them (reserving about 1/2 cup of the starchy boiling water), mashed the potatoes, then added 2 Tbsp. butter, the starchy cooking liquid, and about 1 Tbsp. half and half.  Then I added some crushed garlic, salt, and pepper.  The fat-to-potato ratio really isn’t that high here, and this version will leave you satisfied with flavor but not plagued with guilt or bloated with fullness.

Cherry Vinegar Chicken with Pearl Onions, Orange, and Spinach

Adapted from A New Turn in the South

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

salt and pepper

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

about 20 pearl onions, peeled

1/4 tsp. paprika

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 cup cherry vinegar (this is not a typo–I do mean cherry rather than sherry); available at Fresh Market

1 cup chicken stock

2 large navel oranges, sliced into large bite-size pieces

1 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves

2 cups fresh spinach, stems removed

Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken thighs.  Heat the butter over medium heat in a heavy pot that had a lid (leave the lid off for now).  When the butter is melted, add the chicken skin-side down.  Cook for 7 minutes, then turn the thighs over and add the paprika, garlic, and onions.  Cook for 5 more minutes, then add the vinegar and cook until the vinegar reduces by half.  When that happens, add the chicken stock, cover the pot with the lid, then cook for 20 minutes.  Lastly, add the spinach, orange pieces, and mint.  Stir for about 30 seconds or long enough for the spinach to slightly wilt.  Serve with mashed potatoes or as a stand-alone stew.

tasty tuesday: pan-roasted duck breasts with blueberries, arugula, caramelized vidalias, and molasses vinaigrette + quick-fry okra and almonds

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Hugh Acheson has now made two nights special in our kitchen.

Last night, Alex created something so delicious that I just handed him my plate and he knew that I demanded seconds.  Our favorite Top Chef retweeted Alex’s post from last night, and now our fanboy/girldom is at an all-time high.  Yes, we’re food nerds–but you knew that already, right?

Tonight’s two dishes come (with a few modifications) from Acheson’s cookbook, A New Turn in the South.  We’ve mentioned it on the blog before, but let it be known that this cookbook is certainly worth having.  The boiled peanut recipe, for instance, has revolutionized my idea of the tasty morsels we love to eat in the summer.

But, I digress.  Tonight’s meal was a lovely Tasty Tuesday, if I do say so myself.  If you want to create a fancy meal for company that’s not difficult at all but looks like you know what you’re doing, this should be your go-to.

My last post before my GHP departure was duck tacos with caramelized onions and fava beans.  I was super jazzed with the way they turned out, and I was equally happy that cooking duck was not the arduous task I thought it might be.  That said, I’ve gained some confidence in the area of cooking water fowl, and duck is oh-so-tasty.  If you like dark meat chicken (and if you don’t, we can’t be friends), you’ll love duck breast.

The okra dish takes no time at all to make and gives you the same salty, crunchy experience of fried okra with less grease and a more grown-up feel.  It’s a perfect summer side dish, and the texture makes it an excellent pairing for the indulgent duck breast, silky caramelized vidalias, and bright blueberries.

Pan-Roasted Duck Breasts with Blueberries, Arugula, Caramelized Vidalias, and Molasses Vinaigrette

2 duck breasts, skin-on

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1/2 Tbsp. canola oil

1/2 Vidalia onion peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 Tbsp. whole grain mustard

1 tsp. grated fresh ginger

1 Tbsp. molasses

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

2 cups arugula

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Using 1/4 tsp. of the salt, season the duck breasts on both sides.  On the skin side, create a crosshatch pattern with a sharp knife.  Heat a large pan to medium heat and add the oil.  Cook the duck breasts skin-side down for 8 minutes, then flip them cook for about 3 more minutes.  Using these times, the duck should be about medium rare.  This is the way we like it, but if you’re rare meat averse, I’d recommend cooking the second side for a few more minutes.  When you’ve cooked the duck to your desired temperature and color, remove the breasts and let them rest on a cutting board.

Don’t throw away that glorious duck fat, though–the fun is just beginning!  Add the sliced onions to the remaining oil in the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

During your wait for the onions, make the vinaigrette.  Grab a small bowl and whisk the molasses, mustard, and ginger together.  Next, slowly mix in the olive oil, cider vinegar, and 1/4 tsp. salt.

In a small bowl, combine the arugula and blueberries.  Pour about 3 Tbsp. of the vinaigrette over the greens, toss, and set aside.

Slice the duck breasts along the crosshatch marks you made earlier.

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Top with the arugula and blueberries…

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Then the onions and another drizzle of vinaigrette…

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Then eat your way to happiness with some okra on the side.

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Quick-Fry Okra and Almonds

1 lb. okra, stems trimmed and sliced lengthwise

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter

1/4 cup roasted almonds, chopped

1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

Heat the olive oil and butter in 12-inch pan on high heat. When the butter is melted, add the okra and cook for about three minutes.  Next, add the chopped almonds and salt, stir, and cook for about another minute.  Serve immediately.

meatless monday: “birdless nest” with crispy rice, braised collards with a garlic soy vinegar sauce, shiitake mushrooms, cashews, fried egg

So much flavor.

So much flavor.

So, I was in Athens on Saturday. I checked instagram and saw that Hugh was in town at Five and Ten. We didn’t get reservations and didn’t get to go, but my mind went back to a delicious brunch I enjoyed at ESS on the day after my birthday. His “Farm Egg” with a fried egg, crispy rice, greens, and pork belly. It was delicious and I thought I would pay homage to one of my favorite people to internet stalk.

Of course, I couldn’t do pork belly to flavor and add extra protein to the dish so I had to make some moves of my own. I took the the flavors of Asia with fantastic results.

I started this meal with cooking the rice, which this time was part brown basmati and part long grain white with a little quinoa. Cooking the normal way first (boiling water, adding the rice, bringing back to boil, simmering until the water is gone (about 15 minutes)) and then frying it in canola oil to make it crispy. After boiling, remove the rice from the pan and stir to allow it cool. Heat a pan with enough oil to cover the rice over medium heat. Add the rice in spoonfuls and even out. DO NOT STIR. Allow to fry until the popping slows. Remove from the oil and drain. It’s that easy!

While the rice is boiling, its time to cook your collards. You’ll need:

3 tbsp olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
5 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tsp soy sauce
1/2 cup water
Red Pepper Flake
Salt and Pepper

Clean the collards and pull until the pieces are about bite sized. Heat a pan with the olive oil and add the shallot and garlic until both have color. Add the collards and allow to saute until they wilt. Add the liquids and spices and stir. Allow the liquids to boil and cover for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

At the 10 minute mark, your rice should be ready to rest and you can then get your mushrooms ready. Cut the shiitakes into strips and add directly into the collards and stir. Keep the braise going for a couple of minutes and then add 1/4 cup of cashews to the pan and stir. Keep simmering for five minutes.

While the rice is frying and the collards, shrooms, and cashews are simmering, fry your eggs. In a non-stick pan, melt 1 tbsp butter PER EGG over medium heat. Once the butter begins to bubble slowly crack the egg into the pan and let it set. Reduce the heat to medium low and allow to slowly cook through, covering shortly to lightly cook the top.

Assemble the dish with rice on the bottom, collard mix, and then the pretty egg.

Feel free to make the collards and mushrooms however you like, but the soy and vinegar really work well. Shiitakes are your best bet for that route because they will compliment the dish and complement the soy. Add meat if you must, but it doesn’t need it!

Happy Monday!

 

tasty tuesday: okra and country ham risotto, blackened chicken cutlets, fried egg, bacon garlic oil

Yeah...

Yeah…

Sometimes you are just inspired. Sometimes the right ideas come along and force you into a dish that you might say is the best thing you’ve ever made, and among the best things you’ve ever had. Sometimes the right advice hits you at the right time.

I have to thank Hugh Acheson, 29 South, and esquire for their recipes tips and inspiration for tonight’s food.

Since the first time I made risotto, I wanted to make it better. Since I had a wonderful carbonara with a duck egg, I wanted a similar taste, ever since I read I had been frying eggs wrong, I had to prove myself. Wins all around.

I also wanted to feed my dear friends Tim and Amanda before they left my beloved Macon.

So, I made this lovely risotto and chicken meal that knocked my socks off.

I started with cutting everything our for my Hugh inspired risotto:

Take a taste or two, you've earned it.

Take a taste or two, you’ve earned it.

I tweaked his recipe for country ham, okra and boiled peanut risotto to include rosemary and, sadly, remove the peanuts. Other than that, I followed his recipe to the letter so, out of deference, I will not post it here.

But I will show you that it started out like this:

Like butta

Like butta

While that was cooking I started my personal invention, bacon garlic oil. Taking three strips of thick sliced bacon, start rendering the fat:

It makes everything better...

It makes everything better…

And cook it for about 5 minutes, until most of the fat is gone. Once the pan has a a good layer of grease you are ready for the next step. Peal three cloves of garlic and then fry the garlic in the bacon grease. This will take about 10 mins, until brown on all sides:

You heard me.

You heard me.

Once the garlic is soft, strain the grease into a food processor with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the garlic and pulse until it is smooth and set aside in a microwavable bowl.

Now that is done, it is time the sauté the chicken cutlets. The key to the cutlet is the cut. Using a boneless breast, start at the fatter neck end and cut from the top corner toward the middle on the diagonal. One breast should net four good cutlets following this course. Pound the cutlets to tenderize and coat them in olive oil. I used a pre-made blackening seasoning packet as a short cut, but it is essentially a spicy rub with salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, and chili powder. Cook over medium high heat for about 2 mins per side, until cooked throughout, but still tender. It should squish a little bit.

Now that you have your chicken, it’s time for an egg!

I fried one egg per plate in butter in a non-stick pan. Over medium low heat, slowly crack the egg so it doesn’t spread all over the pan. Once all three are down, cover for about 4 mins so the tops cook, but the yolks stay runny. If you keep the heat low, the egg will cook perfectly, but not burn or even brown on the bottom.

Since you have been stirring and watching your risotto, it is now time to finish it off and plate. Add the risotto to a pasta bowl, then top with two of your cutlets. Place the egg and drizzle with the bacon garlic oil. I topped it with some parsley from Bungalow garden and shared with my dear friends.

This meal was divine. I highly recommend.

Bacon garlic oil:

3 strips thick sliced bacon, fat rendered
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

Meal was served with Honeycrisp Apple Wheat Shock Top and finished with Sandeman Tawny Port. Cheers.

tasty tuesday: salmon with marinated vegetables+salmoriglio with a side of curry chickpea soup

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If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking, “what the heck is salmoriglio?”  Well, we can be each others’ good company, because I only found out when I looked at the recipe that salmoriglio is simply a lemon and herb sauce originally from Southern Italy.  If you love the flavors of lemon, garlic, olive oil, and herbs together, you’ve probably made one before anyway.  Perhaps now we’ll both get it right on Jeopardy!?  Oh wait, are we the only ones who watch Jeopardy! under the age of 70?  Moving on…

I was searching for a springtime recipe, and this one hit all of the right notes–salmon, veggies, lemon and herbs–plus I wanted to use some of the tasty herbs in our small backyard garden.  I love the pop of color from the succulent tomato and the crunch from the thinly sliced celery!  This only-slightly-adapted recipe comes from Hugh Acheson‘s A New Turn in the South cookbook.  You might recognize Hugh from Top Chef on Bravo TV, or from his Athens restaurants (Five & Ten and The National), or from his new eatery in Atlanta, Empire State South.  Alex and I went to Empire State South for his birthday last December, and if you haven’t been, pick out a dull weekend and make it your destination.  It’s definitely worth the trip!

The soup is the warmer complement to this springtime meal.  I found the recipe on a blog called palate/palette/plate, and I am looking forward to exploring her blog more!  I started looking for a curry chickpea soup after I had a lovely cup on Saturday from Macon’s own The Rookery.  They change their soup of the day frequently, so if you go and they have the African Curry soup, definitely check it out!  I especially appreciate the broth version of a curry soup as opposed to a creamy version made with coconut milk.  I like that version fine, but I enjoy the texture of the broth version much better.  This soup has tender chickpeas and mushrooms with a slight crunch of almond.

Tonight’s Tasty Tuesday is leaving no taste bud behind!

Salmon with Marinated Vegetables and Salmoriglio

Adapted from Hugh Acheson’s A New Turn in the South

10 fresh green beans, blanched until tender

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small yellow squash, cut thin

2 celery stalks, cut thin

4 asparagus stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 carrot, julienned

1 scallion, cut on the diagonal

1/2 cup Shallot-Thyme Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)

1 tsp. Kosher salt

1 tsp. chopped fresh mint leaves

1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1 tsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 (5 to 6 oz.) wild salmon fillets, skin removed

1/2 cup salmoriglio (recipe to follow)

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Cut the green beans into 1-inch lengths and place in a large bowl.  Add the tomatoes, squash, celery, carrots, asparagus, and scallions.  Add the vinaigrette and gently toss.  Season with 1/4 tsp. of salt and add the herbs.  Set aside at room temperature while you roast the salmon.

In a large oven-safe fry pan warm the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Evenly season the salmon fillets with 3/4 tsp. salt.  When the oil is just about smoking, place the salmon in the pan.  Let the salmon cook for 3 minutes, then turn it over.  Cook for 3 minutes more, turn again, and place in the oven for 4 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and place a salmon fillet onto each plate.  Sauce with the salmoriglio and a heat of the marinated vegetables.

Salmoriglio

3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. lemon zest

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp. Kosher salt

1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously.  The sauce will also keep for a week in the refrigerator.

Shallot-Thyme Vinaigrette

6 stems of fresh thyme

1 shallot, minced

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2/3 cup white wine vinegar

2/3 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

Place all ingredients into a Mason jar, shake, and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  Remove the vinaigrette from the refrigerator and strain the solids out of the dressing. Discard the solids and place the vinaigrette back into the jar.  Shake well before using.

Curry Chickpea Soup

Adapted from palate/palette/plate

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
3 tsp. curry powder
dash of cayenne pepper, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Fresh cilantro, for garnish

In a medium pot, heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic and almonds and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add curry powder, stirring to coat; cook an additional 2 minutes.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and saute mushrooms until moisture is released; they should be browned and soft.

When the onions, almonds and curry are fragrant, add chickpeas, chicken stock, sauteed mushrooms and a dash of cayenne pepper to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Ladle into bowl and use cilantro for a garnish!