Tuesday, June 3, 2008
As I was driving home from work I saw a farmer's market that had just popped up in the parking lot of a local mall. As if by instinct, I was draw to it without even making a conscious decision (I apologize to the drivers behind me!!). One Straw farms had the first local strawberries I've found (most have been shipped up from the Eastern shore, so they were picked before reaching their peak). As any foodie knows, there is nothing quite so irresistible as a fresh, perfectly ripe local strawberry. Hence I am the proud, albeit temporary, owner of 3 gorgeous pints. There was also some crisp and deep green spinach that caught my eye. Followed by a quick trip to Trader Joe's, this menu was the result. And might I say, it was fabulous.
Halibut and White Beans over Lemon Pepper Papperdalle with Spinach and Brown Butter Balsamic Sauce
Serves 3 - 4
Balsamic Brown Butter Sauce
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
zest of one lemon
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
juice of one lemon
1 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
salt to taste
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow butter to cook until it takes on a golden color, without letting it burn. Add garlic and lemon zest and cook 30 seconds. Carefully add balsamic and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce until sauce has lost half its volume. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
2 large bunches fresh spinach
1/2 lb. Trader Joe's lemon pepper papperdalle or other pasta
1 14 oz. can small white beans, rinsed and drained
2 halibut steaks, brushed with olive oil, seasoned and grilled
Remove spinach leaves from stems. Tear into manageable pieces. Fill large sink basin with cold water. Soak spinach in water for 5 minutes, swishing around several times to remove dirt. Drain thoroughly.
Bring water to a boil and cook pasta as directed, to just al dente. About a minute before pasta is done, add spinach to pot. Drain pasta and spinach. Meanwhile combine beans and sauce in pasta pot. Toss with pasta and spinach. Top with flaked grilled halibut.
Fresh Strawberries with Crème de Menthe Crème Anglaise
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup white creme de menthe
1/2 cup 1% milk
vanilla bean, split and seeded, all parts reserved
mint leaves for garnish
Whisk eggs and sugar together in a heat proof bowl until well combined. Heat cream, creme de menthe, milk and vanilla bean with seeds over medium heat in a heavy saucepan until mixture reaches a simmer. Slowly, whisking constantly, add warm mixture in a thin stream, tempering the eggs. Return to the pan and bring mixture up to 175 degrees F. Let cool to room temperature, then chill at least one hour.
Pile strawberries in a sundae dish. Top with crème anglaise. Garnish with mint leaves. Devour and smile and go back for more.