Friday, April 18, 2008

the un-panzanella

I always have this (incredibly faulty) notion that I'll remember how I've cooked something that I really liked. That I'll remember which food blog I got a recipe from and how I changed it and whether or not I'd do it again. I never do, and I think I've lost some good recipes because I lack the discipline to write down what I've done. Kelsey has set up a blog for us to record recipes for food and cocktails we've liked (or have not liked and would please never like to try again, thankyou) but I can never remember my username or password so I try to do it over here a bit too. Well, tonight the kiddies are in bed, Kelsey's watching a horrible-looking movie and I'm sitting down with some new bourbon to write about what we had for dinner tonight.

(cue Law and Order DU-DUN)

I found a delicious looking recipe over at Smitten Kitchen for a spring panzanella but when I stood in front of the raw ingredients, they seemed to want me to do something else to them, not to mention the fact that I would be using fresh bread instead of stale for the croutons and also bread that I had made, with my own two hands, and making croutons out of it seemed, well...wrong. It was still warm, is all I'm saying and also I really really like my leeks on the caramelized side of things.

So. Here it is.

For the body of the salad:
3 leeks
1 large bunch asparagus
1 can white beans
4 slices bacon

For the dressing:
1/4 red onion between diced and minced
spoon tip of dijon
juice from 1/2 lemon
few shakes white wine vinegar
olive oil

I cut the green ends off of the leeks but ended up peeling them down to the innermost bits and slicing them and cooking them in olive oil until they were dark, almost too dark. The rest I sliced in half and then in half again to rinse out any sand or dirt and then cut them into 1 1/2 inch long pieces. Into the pan with the green ends. When fairly soft, throw in a bit of water and cover to simmer for a bit. Remove lid and season with s&p. Continue to cook to desired coloration and sweetness. Remove from pan. Add 1-2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and add asparagus. Cook until starting to brown and then toss in a little water and cover for just a minute. Remove cover, season and remove from heat before they're too soft. While the asparagus is cooking, cook the lardons of bacon and then add to beans (note: in the future, I will cook my own beans because a little firmness of bean would be nice. The cannellini beans I used this time were too soft by the time they'd heated up with the lardons). Cut asparagus in three.
While the leeks are cooking there's ample time to make the dressing. All is thrown in except the oil which is whisked in.
Croutons would be lovely with stale bread but if the bread is fresh slice and drizzle with olive oil and place in 350 oven until just toasted.

To combine:
Beans and bacon on bottom of bowl; leeks; asparagus; dressing; bread on the side.

And voila! C'est simple et tres delicieux.

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