When the Side Dish Shines at the Easter Table

Roasted Asparagus and Radishes 2 3339x2656My son, who is in charge of our family’s Easter dinner this Sunday, has called me three times the past week to discuss the menu. He has dismissed ham (last year’s centerpiece) as well as lamb (our main the year before), and was contemplating grilled salmon a few days ago. Today he announced that pasta with lobster and fresh peas in a cream sauce would anchor the meal. Whether this latest remains the plat du jour or not is anybody’s guess. What is certain is a side dish that I plan to bring of roasted asparagus and radishes scented with a light Asian-style sauce.

Several years ago at a summer dinner, I tasted roasted radishes for the first time when friends served them as a side to grilled fish. The radishes had lost their peppery quality, and tasted more like petit turnips. Scented with sesame oil, they made a unique and delicious vegetable garnish. When I decided to roast asparagus for Easter, I remembered those radishes and decided to pair them with the green spears. Continue reading

A Fresh Market Salad for Hot Summer Days

Summer Market Salad 1 1824x1368 1824x1368 1824x1368 In Brittany a few weeks ago, my husband and I had just finished gazing at a sweeping view of the Atlantic Ocean from Cap Fréhel (one of the most visited and certainly one of the most gorgeous sites in that region of France) and wanted to have lunch. If we had blinked our eyes as we drove down a narrow country road, we would have missed La Ribote, a small (think 25 seats) restaurant. The menu announced that the cuisine was prepared with local ingredients, and even listed the names of their suppliers, including fisheries and farms. The single waitress waltzed through the room carrying platters of mussels and oysters, but it was the large bowls mounded high with an incredible salad that caught my eye. Continue reading

Eating Lean After Too Many Indulgences

Winter Greens Salad with Apples, Smoked Trout, and Walnuts 1It’s hard to turn down delicious temptations when you’re in Paris. This week alone, my husband and I have dined out with friends at five different restaurants. At Semilla, the stuffed pintade (guinea hen) served with white polenta and fresh truffles was irresistible, as was my creamy risotto with chorizo and fresh orange segments at Muxu, a Basque restaurant. Petite grenaille potatoes sautéed in duck fat at La Laiterie Sainte-Clotilde, and an incredible apple dessert garnished with lime ice cream and a streusel crust at Pirouette were good for our spirits, but hard on our waistlines.

After eating without counting calories, we felt the need for a light entrée such as the winter salad of mixed greens, sliced apples, and smoked trout that I made a few days ago. It takes only about 20 minutes to assemble, and bursts with flavor and color. I marinated sliced apples, Belgian endive, and radishes in a lemon/mustard dressing, then tossed them with mixed greens. For serving, the salad was mounded on dinner plates, garnished with smoked fish, and sprinkled with coarsely chopped walnuts. Continue reading