Friday, November 4, 2011

Book Fifty-Six: The Best of Gourmet: Featuring The Flavors of San Francisco

by Gourmet Editors

Baby Greens with Warm Goat Cheese,
Roasted Salmon, Cauliflower Purée, and
Chocolate Rum Pudding

A feast fit for a Queen; and I am the Queen of my castle...

While thumbing through this book I came upon Dinner for One: Be Your Guest, which was perfect since I was on my own for dinner this evening. Under this section they have two options to choose from. Though we just had salmon the night before, I chose the salmon dinner rather than the steak dinner.

The menu consists of Baby Greens with Warm Goat Cheese, which I have always wanted to try and glad I did. Roasted Salmon (which I forgot to top off with the snipped chives and tarragon!), Cauliflower Purée, which turned out more like baby food than mashed potatoes like the picture showed, but very flavorful, and Chocolate Rum Pudding.

I found cooking for one was a bit of a challenge. With minimal amounts to whisk, stir, simmer, etc., you need to use smaller pots, pans, and utensils. Thank goodness for all the mini tools I received in my Christmas stocking over the years and the small pots and pans that get pushed to the back of the cupboard from little or no use.

You can easily double everything and share this wonderful meal with the King of your castle.

Success meter (1-3): 3

This pan is no bigger than
the burner itself.

When you need to pour with one hand,
while whisking constantly with the other,
it helps to place a towel under your bowl
to keep it from sliding around.

Baby Greens with Warm Goat Cheese
Serves 1

1 large egg white (reserving the yolk for the pudding if making)
1 tsp. water
2 (1/3-inch-thick) rounds soft mild goat cheese,
   cut from a cold log
2 Tbl. plain dry bread crumbs
    (preferably Japanese panko)
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. Dijon mustard
pinch of sugar
1 Tbl. plus 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups mesclun (1oz)

Whisk together egg white and water. Dip cheese rounds in egg, letting excess drip off, then dredge in bread crumbs, pressing lightly to adhere. Chill 15 minutes.

Whisk together vinegar, salt, mustard, sugar, and a pinch of pepper in a small salad bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.

Heat remaining teaspoon oil in a small nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté cheese, turning once, until golden, about 1 minute total. Remove skillet from heat.

Add greens to dressing and toss gently to coat.

Serve salad topped with warm cheese.

Cooks’ note:
The easiest way to cut goat cheese is with a piece of dental floss.

The Best of Gourmet: Featuring the Flavors of San Francisco/Gourmet Editors

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Roasted Salmon
Serves 1

1 (5-oz) piece salmon fillet with skin
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
½ Tbl chopped fresh chives
½ Tbl fresh tarragon leaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Rub salmon all over with 1 tsp oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast, skin side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet in upper third of oven until fish is just cooked through, about 12 minutes.

Cut salmon in half crosswise, then lift flesh from skin with a metal spatula and transfer to a plate.
Discard skin, then drizzle salmon with additional oil and sprinkle with chives and tarragon (if using).

The Best of Gourmet: Featuring the Flavors of San Francisco/Gourmet Editors

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Cauliflower Purée
Serves 1

½ lb cauliflower florets, chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/3 cup chicken broth
½ tsp salt
2 Tbl heavy cream
1 tsp unsalted butter

Simmer cauliflower, garlic, broth, and salt in a small saucepan, covered, until cauliflower is very tender, about 10 minutes.

Purée mixture with cream and butter in a food processor until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), or mash with a potato maser or a fork.

The Best of Gourmet: Featuring the Flavors of San Francisco/Gourmet Editors

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Chocolate Rum Pudding
Serves 1

1 large egg yolk
1 Tbl plus ½ tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole milk
6 Tbl heavy cream
1 ½ oz fine –quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
1 to 2 tsp dark rum
¼ tsp instant-espresso powder (optional)

Vigorously whisk together yolk, 1 tablespoon sugar, flour, and a pinch of salt until well blended.

Heat milk and 3 tablespoons cream in a small heavy saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add about one third of hot milk to yolk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Add remaining milk, whisking, then transfer to saucepan. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, then continue to simmer, still whisking constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat and add chocolate, rum (to taste), and espresso powder (if using). Let stand until chocolate is melted, about 30 seconds, then whisk until smooth. Transfer to a glass and chill, covered, at least 30 minutes (to cool quickly to room temperature).

Just before serving, vigorously whisk remaining 3 tablespoons cream with remaining ½ teaspoon sugar in a small bowl until it holds soft peaks. Top pudding with whipped cream.

Pudding can be make 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

The Best of Gourmet: Featuring the Flavors of San Francisco/Gourmet Editors

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