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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tapas for the Conservatory

I had a lot of fun last night for a fundraising event for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory. Last night's theme was Tapas. I presented the following five easy recipes that are great for parties, entertaining, pot luck events, etc.

1. Serrano Ham with Arugula
5 oz arugula, separated into leaves
4 ½ tbs olive oil
1 ½ tbs orange juice
10 oz thinly sliced Serrano ham slices
salt and pepper

Place arugula in a bowl and pour in the olive oil and orange juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste and toss well.

Arrange the slices of ham on individual serving plates, folding it into attractive shapes. Divide the arugula between the plates and serve.

2. Garlic Tomatoes

8 deep red tomatoes
3 fresh thyme sprigs, plus extra to garnish
12 garlic cloves, unpeeled
¼ generous cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425º. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and arrange, cut-side up, in a single layer in a large, ovenproof dish. Tuck the thyme sprigs and garlic cloves between them.

Drizzle the olive oil all over the tomatoes and season to taste with pepper. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the tomatoes are softened and beginning to char slightly around the edges.

Remove and discard the thyme sprigs. Season the tomatoes to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with the thyme and serve hot or warm. Squeeze the pulp from the garlic over the tomatoes at the table.

3. Calamares with no-fail Aïoli

1 lb prepared squid (calamari rings, etc)
all-purpose flour for coating
corn, peanut or canola oil for deep-frying
lemon wedges, to garnish
aïoli, to serve

Dry squid and dust with flour. Do not season as the salt will toughen the calamares. Heat oil to 350 – 375º. Carefully add the rings in batches and deep fry for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on paper towels. Enjoy with aïoli.

1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 tbs white wine vinegar or lemon juice
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
salt and pepper
5 tbs extra virgin olive oil
5 tbs canola oil

Put the egg yolk, vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper in a food processor and blend well together. Slowly add the olive oil with the blade turning. When it starts to thicken, add more oil and blend until it is thick and smooth.

4. Sautéed garlic mushrooms
1 lb white mushrooms
5 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper
4 tbs flat leaf parsley, chopped
crusty bread

Trim off stems of mushrooms. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds- 1 minute, or until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms and sauté over high heat, stirring until the mushrooms have absorbed the oil in the skillet

Reduce the heat to low. When the juices have come out of the mushrooms, increase the heat again and sauté for 4-5 minutes until the juices have almost evaporated. Add lemon juice and season. Stir in parsley and cook for an additional minute.

Serve hot or warm with crusty bread.

5. Potato wedges with roasted garlic dip

3 lb potatoes
2 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp salt

Roasted Garlic Dip

2 garlic bulbs, roasted
1 tbs olive oil
5 tbs sour cream
4 tbs mayonnaise
hot smoked paprika, to taste

Roast the garlic for 25 minutes at 350ºF until caramelized. Let cool enough to handle. Squeeze out and mash. Mix in a bowl with the sour cream and mayonnaise. Season with salt and paprika. Chill.

For the potatoes, cut each potato half into 3 wedges and place in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, garlic and salt and toss well. Transfer to a roasting pan and arrange in a single layer. Roast for 1- 1/14 hours, or until crisp and golden.

Serve immediately with roasted garlic dip.


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