It's been a glorious summer so far. There have been few days when it is so hot, I question whether I should be in my kitchen baking. That's not the case at all this year. I've been able to bake like crazy. The dew point, much of the time, would even allow meringues! My kitchen has produced many sweet and savory tarts, and one of my favorite has been this Pea and Salmon Tart that made use of freshly picked peas from my garden. For me, there is just nothing better than walking out back and picking dinner.
We have been eating every evening meal alfresco. Until a couple of nights ago, we weren't even bothered by Minnesota mosquitoes. Ideal conditions!
Fresh dill from my herb garden, above. Hydrangea, below, also from my backyard gardens.
This is the first time in many years that we have been home in Saint Paul over the 4th of July holiday. As my husband knows, I really dislike going anywhere during the summer months. I wait all winter... long Minnesota winters... for my kitchen garden. And to leave just when the haricot verts are ready to pick turns me into quite the curmudgeon.
• 1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 4 tablespoons ice water
• extra flour for rolling pastry
• 1/2 cup fresh garden peas
• 1 poached, baked, or grilled wild salmon fillet, skin removed, and cut into pieces
• grated zest of 1 lemon
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
• 4 large eggs
• 1 cup fresh ricotta
• 1/4 cup heavy cream
• 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Pulse 1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour and salt in a food processor. Add butter; pulse until pea-size lumps form. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water over the mixture. Pulse until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by drips if dry. Gather dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic; chill 2 hours or overnight.
2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Transfer to a round or square tart pan (I used a 10-inch-by-10-inch pan); gently press onto bottom and up sides of the tart pan. Wrap in plastic and freeze while preheating oven to 400˚F.
3. Line dough with foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 17 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Return to oven and bake until crust is golden. Remove crust and reduce oven temperature to 375˚F.
4. In a medium bowl, gently mix together the peas, salmon, lemon zest, dill and shallot. Transfer the mixture to the tart crust and distribute evenly over the crust. In another bowl, whisk the eggs to break up. Add the fresh ricotta, heavy cream, Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste; whisk to combine. Pour evenly over the peas and salmon.
5. Place the tart on the middle rack of the oven and bake until set, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.
TAKE a LOOK:
I finally got around to making this colorful dish of Salmon with Rhubarb and Red Cabbage. I have had this recipe squirreled away for years, always running across it when rhubarb season was over and all of my red cabbage had been used up or given to friends. But this time my (rather unorganized) recipe files (found on all three levels of my house) didn't get the better of me. I ran across the recipe at the most opportune time -- when I was again wondering what I should do with all of my rhubarb. Of course, it is far too early to be eating red cabbage from my garden; the plants only went in two weeks ago. But this dish will certainly be on my menu again this summer.
I made some slight changes to the original recipe. Instead of roasting the salmon in the oven, it was grilled outdoors on a cedar plank. And assorted garden lettuces were tucked under the tender red cabbage that was simmered in a syrup of orange and spices. I can also see this rhubarb and cabbage served with an herb encrusted pork tenderloin, seared and finished in the oven. So many possibilities.
+ Grilled Salmon with Rhubarb and Red Cabbage +
• adapted from a recipe in Bon Appetit | April 2010
• 4 teaspoons black or yellow mustard seeds
• 1 1/4 cups fresh orange juice
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup water
• 2 tablespoons finely grated orange peel
• 4 teaspoons coriander seeds
• 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
• 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
• 3 cups 2-inch-long, 1/4-inch-thick matchstick-size strips of rhubarb (from 12 ounces trimmed rhubarb)
• 8 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (from about 1/2 medium head)
• 1/2 cup Sherry wine vinegar
• 1/2 cup dry red wine
• 6 6-ounce salmon fillets with skin
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 cups assorted lettuces
• 3/4 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1. Stir mustard seeds in small dry skillet over medium heat until beginning to pop, about 3 minutes. Transfer to small bowl; reserve.
2. Bring orange juice, sugar, 1/3 cup water, and orange peel to a boil in a large skillet, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium; add reserved mustard seeds, coriander seeds, caraway seeds, and ginger. Simmer until syrupy, 10 minutes. Add rhubarb; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until rhubarb is tender but intact, 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rhubarb to microwave-safe bowl; reserve.
3. Bring syrup in skillet to a simmer. Add cabbage, vinegar, and wine; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer until cabbage is soft and most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 45 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
4. Place salmon pieces on a pre-soaked cedar plank. Brush salmon with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill salmon over medium-low heat until it is just opague in center. Rewarm reserved rhubarb in microwave just until warm.
5. Divide lettuces among 6 plates or shallow bowls. Scoop cabbage onto the lettuce. Lift the skins off of the salmon fillets and place a fillet atop the cabbage. Spoon a dollop of Greek yogurt onto the salmon; arrange strips of rhubarb on the yogurt.
TAKE a LOOK:
After a week of warmth and days spent in the garden, I welcomed the recent rain and cooler temperatures. Sweet peas, various lettuces, French Breakfast radishes, and dill + cilantro seeds have been planted. The remaining seeds will go into the ground this weekend.
When warm weather arrives and I start planting the vegetable garden, everything in the house seems to be ignored. Meals are many times an after thought, I'm sad to say. But the rain has allowed me a few days in my kitchen and I made two of my favorites that we haven't eaten in a long while... Black Bean Pumpkin Soup + Roasted Potato and Onion Focaccia.
My desire to be indoors has been short lived, however, and I'm now hoping for sustained warmth so I am able to plant the entire vegetable garden. I will also take some photos soon of the potager and its progress so far this spring. I know this for certain... my eight rhubarb plants are already ridiculously huge. It was my foolish goal last summer to keep them under control, but no matter how hard I tried or how much rhubarb syrup, tarts, pies, breads, muffins, cakes, slush or chutney I mixed up in my kitchen, it was useless. I failed miserably. I expect to see many containers of rhubarb in the freezer this coming winter. In addition, I may be forced to set up a rhubarb stand on the corner of Pinehurst and Davern, like I threaten every year.
The Black Bean Pumpkin Soup includes dry sherry and ham in its ingredients.