Food & Entertaining - Garden to Table

Cooking with chicories

Add some kick to your meals with chicories

Radicchio, Green Bean & Cherry Tomato Salad with Hazelnuts
Serves 4
This is a crunchy, colourful summer salad with lively flavours. It pairs nicely with simply prepared grilled fish or chicken.

Salad
1/4 cup (60 mL) whole hazelnuts
2 cups (500 mL) green beans, tailed and halved on the diagonal
2 small heads radicchio
1 medium bunch watercress
2 cups (500 mL) cherry tomatoes, quartered
2-3 oz. (50-75 g) chèvre (goat cheese), crumbled
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Vinaigrette
2 tbsp. (30 mL) white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. (30 mL) maple syrup
1 shallot, chopped
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp. (30 mL) hazelnut oil (or substitute 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil)
2 tbsp. (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

1. Place hazelnuts in a dry skillet over medium-high heat; toast for 8 to 10 minutes or until they begin to brown. Wrap hazelnuts in a tea towel and rub to remove skins. Coarsely chop peeled nuts and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, cook beans in a small pan of boiling, salted water until just tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again.
3. Prepare vinaigrette: place first four ingredients in a blender. Purée until smooth. With motor running at the purée setting, slowly add oils and blend until emulsified. Reserve.
4. Tear 12 leaves from radicchio. Wash, dry and set on 4 plates to form cups. Tear remaining radicchio into pieces, trim stems from watercress and wash and dry leaves.
5. Toss radicchio, watercress, green beans, cherry tomatoes and hazelnuts in a salad bowl with the vinaigrette. Spoon salad into radicchio cups; top with chèvre and pepper.

Belgian Mussels
Makes 4 dinner servings or 6 to 8 appetizer servings
Belgian endive and Dijon mustard provide the punch in this lovely mussel dish. Be sure to have plenty of crusty bread on hand to mop up the sauce.

1 tbsp. (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. (30 mL) butter
1 large leek, white part only, halved and sliced
3-4 small cloves garlic, halved
1 tsp. (5 mL) dried thyme
1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine
2 tbsp. (30 mL) Dijon mustard
4 lb. (1.8 kg) mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 cups (500 mL) Belgian endive, julienned
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
1/2 cup (125 mL) 15% cream
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Heat oil and butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add leek, garlic and thyme; sauté, stirring continuously until leek softens, about 5 to 10 minutes. Do not brown.
2. Stir in wine and mustard, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add mussels, endive and carrots to pot. Stir to mix thoroughly. Cover pot and cook mussels until they open, about 5 to 6 minutes.
3. Transfer mussels to soup bowls using a slotted spoon. Add cream to mixture in pot and heat through on low for 5 minutes. Add pepper. Pour sauce over mussels. Serve immediately.

Minestrone with White Beans & Italian Dandelion Greens
Makes 4 dinner servings or 6 to 8 appetizer servings
Spinach is often added to minestrone soup to provide colour and flavour. In this recipe, sharp-tasting Italian dandelion leaves, a type of chicory, are the green of choice.

2 tbsp. (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, sliced vertically, then horizontally
1 small fennel bulb, chopped
1 small zucchini, sliced vertically, then horizontally
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. (2 mL) each dried oregano, basil and thyme
1/4 tsp. (1 mL) red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
4 cups (1 L) vegetable stock
2 cups (500 mL) canned tomatoes with juice
1 19 oz. can white (cannellini) beans
3 cups (750 mL) torn Italian dandelion leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, potato, carrot, fennel, zucchini and garlic; sauté for about 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Stir in dried herbs and spices. Add stock and tomatoes. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat, cover pan and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until vegetables soften.
3. Add beans and leaves. Simmer soup for an additional 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; serve immediately.

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