Thursday, June 30, 2016

Andrew's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

         One of the great joys of summer is that Andrew is back at the beach and back into baking.   It’s not that we don’t have temporary bursts of wonderful cakes, pies and cookies at other times of the year, but in Summer he settles in a routine which revolves around at least a dessert a weekend.  These are either served to our guests or taken to our hosts at the dinner parties that are as much a part of our summer as sunshine.  His selections often follow what is freshest and at its flavor peak as the season progresses.  
         These few past few weeks that’s meant Rhubarb, tart and tangy and grown just over the hill from our house.  And then there are the strawberries from the same farm. Once you have even looked at these two things there is no question that they are not from the supermarket.   And then there’s the taste: Sublime strawberry sweetness and juiciness unlike anything we taste in berries shipped 2500 miles (at least) to get here.  Rhubarb is an even more seasonal treat: it simply isn’t sold except for these few fleeting weeks early in the growing season. Combined, these two fruits were baked into a Demerara sugar encrusted lattice work pie, melding sweet and tart and tangy all together.  The only thing missing was the essential scoop of Vanilla ice cream that seems to exist only to make Strawberry Rhubarb pie irresistible.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Salt and Pepper Salmon with Smashed Potatoes, Peas, Lemon, Pearl Onions and Mint

I’d go back to Ireland in a New York minute, but it wouldn’t be for the food. We never got anywhere near Darina Allen's Culinary Course and aside from a wonderful Thanksgiving feast that we prepared ourselves, a dinner at Fallon and Byrne in Dublin and an Irish Breakfast at Merv Griffin’s St. Cleran’s Hotel, we basically had dreadful food.  So imagine my surprise at discovering that when Tyler Florence  was working on a recipe for Salt and Pepper Salmon, his reference point was “Colcannon”.  According to LaRousse, “Colcannon” is “a very popular Irish dish made from mashed potatoes and green cabbage, mixed with butter or milk and strongly flavored with chives, parsley and pepper”.  Since there is virtually nothing easier to cook than a salmon filet, it is a perfect dish to serve now while the heat is rising and you want to get in and out of the kitchen fast. I strayed a bit, both from Colcannon and Tyler.  But the result was spectacular: Crispy seared salmon liberally seasoned with salt and pepper on a bed of new potatoes, sweet peans and crunchy pearl onions topped with fresh mint, all of which was on the table in about 30 minutes.