CANNELLINI BEAN DIP WITH PAN-FRIED MINT
Flavorful, healthy party food at its finest!
Cannellini beans are incredibly soft when cooked, which is why they lend themselves so perfectly to dips. Here the somewhat bland beans are puréed with garlic and lemon juice — then, for a major flavor boost, topped with pan-fried fresh mint. (And does this dip ever turn out flavorful!)
How to serve your freshly made bean dip? Let me count the ways…
Serve this robust dip with fresh bread slices, croutons, crackers, endive and radicchio Treviso leaves, or raw vegetable sticks. It makes for a sensational hors d’oeuvre, appetizer or antipasto.
active time: 15 min
For the pan-fried mint:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves – large leaves torn in half
For the dip:
3 cups cooked cannellini beans (or navy beans) – well drained
1 large garlic clove – skinned
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and mint leaves. Sauté until the leaves are crisp and dark green, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Transfer to a small bowl and add the balance of the olive oil. Set aside.
Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl once. Transfer to a serving bowl. Make a well in the center of the dip, pour the fried mint and its oil inside, and serve.
Cook’s note: The dip can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
FLASH-FRIED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH GARLIC AND LIME
Crispy, piping-hot deep fried Brussels sprouts — a trend worth trying! From San Francisco to New York, Brussels sprouts are making a special appearance on the menus of trendy restaurants everywhere. The new way to serve the miniature cabbages is…fried! I’ve never been one to follow trends, but after sampling them a few times, my husband, Marc, begged me to make them at home. It took a few weeks for me to consent, but I finally gave in and came up with my own version of deep fried Brussels sprouts.
The reason I was hesitant is simple: the succulent morsels are fattier than the foods I usually like to eat at home, or for that matter, than those I like to publish. But as Marc says, a little oil doesn’t hurt anyone now and then! Who can argue with that? Garlic, lime and cayenne make these fried Brussels the tastiest you’ve ever had!
Here, the Brussels sprouts are flash-fried and then tossed with lime juice, garlic and cayenne. The lime cuts through the richness of the oil while the garlic and cayenne add a wonderful kick to the otherwise sweet-as-candy Brussels. You may not want to make this recipe every day, and you may want to consume it in moderation. But I can promise you that after tasting these fried jewels, you’ll understand why the petits cabbages have managed to seduce so many chefs and foodies alike!
active time: 20 min
1 large garlic clove – skinned and crushed (use a microplane grater)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs (680 g) Brussels sprouts – rinsed, patted dry, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
canola or peanut oil for deep frying
sea salt to taste as garnish
Place the garlic, salt, cayenne, lime juice and olive oil in a small bowl. Whisk until well blended and set aside.
Heat a deep fryer to 375°F (190°C). Place the Brussels sprouts in a wire basket and dip them in the oil. Immediately cover the pan to prevent the hot oil from splattering on you or your counter top (the Brussels have a very high moisture content and intense splattering will occur during the first minute of cooking). Fry the Brussels sprouts for 5 to 6 minutes, until golden-brown. Drain on paper towels and quickly blot them with more paper towels. Place the Brussels in a large bowl. Drizzle with the garlic-lime dressing and toss until well coated. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve piping hot!
Cook’s note: If you don’t have a deep fryer, you can fry the Brussels sprouts in a large skillet on your stove. Pour enough oil to reach 1 1/2” up the sides of the pan. Heat the oil until it reaches 375°F (190°C) and proceed with step 2.
TUSCAN APPLE CAKE
This simple cake is all about fresh apples. More like a flan than a cake, this rustic dessert is chock-full of apples and incredibly moist, making every spoonful a pure delight. The list of ingredients is short, and for good reason: it’s all about the apples!
The delectable apples in this recipe can be cut into super-thin slices easily by using the slicing attachment of a food processor, although a mandoline or a box grater will do the job perfectly too.
Bake it right on the floor of the oven! And unlike most cakes, this one’s perfection begins with it baking right on the floor of the oven. The delicious result: a caramelized skin forms at the bottom of the cake and intensifies the flavors of the sweet apples.
Simple, rustic, succulent… And if there are any leftovers, they make a fantastic breakfast treat to boot!
makes: 1 medium cake or 8 servings
active time: 30 min
4 large Golden Delicious, Gala or other firm flesh apples (1 3/4 lbs) (800 g)
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch sea salt
2 extra large eggs – at room temperature
1 cup organic sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
7 tablespoons unsalted butter – melted and slightly cooled
powdered sugar as garnish
1 – 10″ non-stick round spring-form pan – buttered and floured
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Then using the slicing attachment of a food processor cut them crosswise in 1/8″ slices. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk at medium speed until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is pale and thick, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Fold the flour into the egg mixture with a wooden spoon, until just incorporated. Fold in the milk, then the butter and finally the apple slices. Be sure not to over mix. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Pack the apples into the mold and flatten the surface of the cake with the wooden spoon.
Bake for 10 minutes on the floor of the oven. Transfer the pan to the middle rack and continue baking for 50 to 55 minutes until golden-brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, and run a paring knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the ring of the mold. Cool in its mold to room temperature. Unmold the cake and transfer to a serving platter. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Cook’s note: The cake can be baked up to 6 hours ahead and kept in its mold at room temperature in a cool place. It is best eaten the day it is made.