The other night I made a great summer dinner (if I do say so myself). I stormed into a friends rather large kitchen + roof deck with scallops, 2 ideas for salads, potatoes, an array of farm fresh produce and spices from India. The deal was: I cooked and he was my sous chef/grocery shopper/kitchen bitch. Tough life? I think so.
I made the scallop dish of which I shared the recipe in my last post. Definitely the best scallops I ever made and ever tasted. Please see the recipe and note the use of bacon and sage. Genius!
Now, the salad I created was just perfect for summer: cooling, refreshing, tart and tasty. Here’s the recipe (courtesy of: Me!)
Fresh peas and Orzo Salad with a Lemon Dill dressing
1 cup of Greek Orzo
1 cup of fresh peas (get them at the farmers market, you will have to shuck them yourselves if you don’t have a kitchen bitch)
1 cup diced fennel
1 and 3/4 diced English Hothouse cucumber (skin on)
1/2 cup minced dill
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup good olive oil
Salt to taste
1. Boil salted water and cook the orzo until tender. Drain the orzo and reserve water for peas.
2. Boil peas for about 5 minutes or until tender.
3. In a separate bowl, combine minced dill, olive oil and lemon juice.
4. Combine orzo, peas, fennel, cuckes and the dressing.
5. Toss, cool in fridge for about 20 minutes and serve.
This salad goes well with most anything – chicken, seafood, meat. Hell, you can even toss it with pasta for a light summer dish.
The next dish I made was a Chili-Lime Mashed Potato. I was inspired by an Argentinean chef who came in to my office this week to cook for us:
Chili-Lime Mashed Potatoes
4 Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1.5 lbs)
1 tsp chili power
1/4 cup whole milk
salt to taste
1. Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut into 2 inch cubes.
2. Wash the taters again. Put them into a pot of cold salted water and boil until tender (mashable)
3. Drain the taters and mash with a masher. Pour a bit of milk at a time to assist in the mashing process
4. Add the juice of 1/2 a lime and add 1/2 tsp of chili power. Taste.
5. Add salt to taste.
6. Continue to add lime juice and chili power until you are satisfied with the heat and acidity.
Viola! There you have a perfect summer mash. I really want to try this with a grilled steak. I think it would be a great collabo.
Remember guys, the key to cooking fabulously is to keep on tasting your dish as you cook it and season it properly. No recipe can tell you if something tastes good – only you can tell you. So don’t be scared to veer off the recipe path and try something different. Don’t like peas? Try green beans. Don’t like lime? Don’t use it. Good luck and may the gastro gods be with you…