Last night I had the pleasure of presenting the following recipes for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy with the MLCC. Bonnie Tulloch, Education Coordinator for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, lead the discussion on plants of the region. Pairings coming up on this site later today.
1. Crostini Toscani
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, roughly chopped
1 lb chicken livers, membranes removed
1 tsp small capers, drained but not rinsed
4 anchovy fillets
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 loaf ciabatta, cut into 8 - 10 slices, lightly toasted
1 tbs minced flat-leaf parsley
Warm the olive oil in a sauté pan wide enough to hold the livers in a single layer over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until lightly coloured, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken livers and brown them on all sides, cooking until medium-rare, about 5 minutes. Add the capers and anchovies. Cook, stirring to prevent scorching, for 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until reduced but not dry, 2 - 3 minutes.
Pour the contents of the skillet into a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Reserve the juice to add some of it to the livers if they are to dry.
Turn the contents out onto a cutting board and chop roughly until they are well incorporated and the mixture is spreadable. If it appears too dry, spoon some reserved cooking liquid over it and chop again. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl.
Spread some chopped liver on each slice of toast. Sprinkle some chopped parsley over each one. Serve at room temperature.
2. Sage Butter pasta (Burro e salvia)
Bunch of fresh sage leaves
80g grated Parmesan
Wash and dry the sage leaves. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the sage. Cook very gently over a low flame taking care not to let the butter burn. Pour over cooked pasta and stir through well together with freshly grated parmesan. This super-quick sauce is ideal with 'naked ravioli' (ravioli filling without the pasta) but is also suitable with any short pasta. In this case, drain the cooked pasta keeping back a little of the water. Return the pasta to the saucepan, add the sage and butter and stir over a low heat for a minute.
Remove from the heat and stir in a good helping of grated Parmesan.
The sauce should look smooth and creamy; if it has dried out too much, add a few drops of milk or fresh cream. Grind a little black pepper over when serving.
3. Tuscan Squash Salad
1 lb squash (butternut, hubbard, or any small firm variety except spaghetti), peeled, seeded and cut in 5-inch slices
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs honey, warm and divided into two parts
½ cup chopped walnuts
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs walnut oil
½ tsp kosher or sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
~ 6 cups mixed baby greens, lightly packed
½ cup crumbled feta
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Toss the squash and olive oil in a large bowl. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and lightly brush with half of the honey. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn and brush with the remaining honey. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the squash is cooked through. Some varieties take longer to cook.
While the squash is baking, toast the walnuts lightly. Whisk together the lemon juice, walnut oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Toss the greens with the vinaigrette in a large bowl and place on serving plates. Top with 3-5 slices of squash. Sprinkle with the walnuts and feta, season and serve while the squash is still warm.
4. Zabaione (Zabaglione)
100ml dry Vin Santo (or sherry).
Beat the egg whites in a bowl until they form stiff peak. In another, larger bowl beat the yolks and sugar together until frothy, creamy and pale yellow. Add the egg whites to the yolks and blend thoroughly until the mixture is smooth and even; add the Vin Santo. Serve in dessert goblets with the biscuits.
This dish is rather rich and filling and is therefore a good snack for children who have lost their appetite or for those whose work is physically demanding. Luckily children also love it, though I would suggest leaving out the Vin Santo or sherry Zabaione (Zabaglione)