The Secret Ingredient (Harissa) Part I: Harissa Honey Salmon

RECIPE: Harissa Honey Salmon
Harissa Honey Salmon

Harissa Honey Salmon

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

am personally delighted to introduce this month’s Secret Ingredient because I grew up on it. Harissa is Moroccan ketchup, a North African chili paste, made from spicy red chilies and garlic. Most commonly sold in tubes, like the popular tubed tomato paste, it also looks a bit like tubed tomato paste. But instead of being sweet and tinny, it is fiery and pungent.

Don’t confuse it with hot sauce–it’s not simply hot. It also reeks of garlic and coriander, adding a hot, briny, and heady flavor. It reminds me of my Moroccan grandmother, Mémé, who has this deep russet red hair to match the harissa, and the same saucy, piquant personality. She is also the one who introduced me to harissa as a child by way of her spicy stewed olives.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, The Secret Ingredient
 

French Revolution on Flickr!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words–which is usually how many words it takes me to describe each dish in my Flickr pool! Browse photos of French Revolution food on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/frenchrevolutionfood.

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French in a Flash: "Summer" Lobster Sandwiches with Zucchini Frites and Heirloom Tomato Salad (Part I)

RECIPE: Lobster Salad Sandwiches
Lobster Salad

Lobster Salad. Made for summer, inspired by Spring.

It’s Labor Day! And I think this week’s French in a Flash is the perfect Franco-American extravagance: lobster rolls inspired by the Parisian restaurant Spring, served with summer staples zucchini frites with basil fleur de sel and heirloom tomato salad.

Lobster Sandwich Spring

The original lobster sandwich from Spring

For me, Labor Day is about picnics, and that means sandwiches. When I was at the Cordon Bleu this summer, I hardly ate a thing. I was on my feet nine or ten hours a day, in the kitchen six days a week. Just looking at the food filled me up, and I was never hungry. It’s such a terrible shame, I thought, that I’m in Paris, and I’m not eating a thing.


Zucchini Frites

Zucchini Frites, with Basil Fleur de Sel

We had one Saturday off, and my best friend looked me square in the eye. “Kerry,” she said, “we’re going out and we’re eating.” She’d heard of a place called Spring across town where every Saturday they served nothing but lobster sandwiches with goose fat fries.

The next noon found us sitting at a wooden table in the tiny storefront of Spring, delicately savoring every bite of our lobster sandwiches. The lobster was served in whole chunks, tossed in a light sauce of mayonnaise and fresh orange zest and juice, in a white-wheat baguette. Celery and chives sprinkled in a touch of verdant freshness. And on the side, crisp, hand cut potatoes fried in goose fat, sprinkled with salt and the confetti zests of lime and orange. It was the best sandwich I ever ate.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad, with South of France Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel

So last week, when I saw Florida spiny lobster on sale for $9.99, I had the supermarket steam one up for me (a nice change after my bloody execution of thirty-odd crabs in cooking school), and I came home and tried to recreate the Spring sandwich for summer. I added my own take on it, but it’s still si bon. And I like to serve it with the best zucchini and basil and tomatoes summer has on offer before its officially fall.

You work hard for your lobster; this Labor Day, take a day, like we did in Paris, to stop and enjoy it. For the full recipe and story from my column French in a Flash on Serious Eats, click here. Bon app!

Spiny Lobster

"Eat me!"

Citrus and Herbs

"With these!"

Lobster Salad Sandwiches
2 to 4
Lobster SaladIngredients
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon total of lemon, lime, and orange zests
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon snipped chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced celery
  • 7 ounces lobster meat, cut into very large chunks (about 1 cup total, or the meat from the tail of a 2-pound spiny lobster), steamed and cold
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 wheat baguette
  • Butter, room temperature

Procedure

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the citrus juices—which must all be freshly squeezed—the citrus zests, the mayonnaise, chives, and celery. Taste the dressing and season accordingly with salt and pepper, not forgetting that the lobster is slightly salty itself.
  3. Take your steamed lobster tail and cut it into large chunks, about four to six pieces for the whole tail. Leave the claws whole. Gently fold the lobster meat together with the dressing, and set it in the refrigerator.
  4. Cut the wheat baguette in half horizontally almost all the way through to create a hinged sandwich roll. Very lightly butter both sides with soft sweet cream butter. Stick it under the broiler for just a couple of minutes, until it is just lightly golden and a little bit crusty. Most importantly, allow the bread to cool.
  5. When the baguette is back to room temperature, take the lobster salad out of the fridge, and scoop it, brimming, into the bread. Serve it with zucchini frites and an heirloom tomato salad.
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Categories: 15 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Easy, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Sandwiches, Series
 

French in a Flash: "Summer" Lobster Sandwiches with Zucchini Frites and Heirloom Tomato Salad (Part II)

RECIPE: Zucchini Frites with Basil Fleur de Sel
Zucchini Frites

Zucchini Frites, with Basil Fleur de Sel

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Zucchini Frites with Basil Fleur de Sel
Zucchini FritesIngredients
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into French fries
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 basil leaves, sliced into a fine chiffonade
  • 3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel

Procedure

Fill a cast iron skillet halfway up with vegetable oil, and heat it to 350°F.

While the oil is heating, toss the zucchini sticks with the flour in a large baggie.

Fry the zucchini in batches, shaking off any excess flour before slipping them into the oil. They should take about 2 to 4 minutes to become crunchy and golden on the outside, and soft within. If you are making zucchini chips, the cooking time will be lower. Just remove them when they are golden. Drain the fries or the chips on paper towel.

While the zucchini is frying, combine the basil leaves and fleur de sel. Sprinkle it over the zucchini while it is still hot.

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Categories: Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Series, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian
 

French in a Flash: "Summer" Lobster Sandwiches with Zucchini Frites and Heirloom Tomato Salad (Part III)

RECIPE: Heirloom Tomato Salad with Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel
Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad, with South of France Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel
Heirloom Tomato SaladIngredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes of assorted colors, sliced
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Fleur de sel for seasoning

Procedure

Arrange the rainbow of sliced tomatoes on a platter. Drizzle with the best olive oil you have, and finish with fleur de sel. This would be a fun place to use basil oil, or garlic oil, or even lemon oil.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Salad, Series, Sides, Soup & Salad, Vegetables, Vegetarian
 

The Secret Ingredient (Squid Ink) Part III: Black Clams Casino

RECIPE: Black Clams Casino
Black Clams Casino

Black Clams Casino

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Black Clams Casino
serves 4 to start
Black Clams CasinoIngredients
  • 24 little neck clams, shucked, and 12 clam shells
  • 1 thick slice bacon, finely diced
  • 1/2 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • The leaves of 1 stem of thyme
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 grams squid ink
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Procedure

Preheat the oven to 500°F.

Set the 12 clam shells on a baking tray, and lay 2 clams in each shell. You may want to line the tray with rock salt to keep the shells steady.

Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan, sauté the bacon on medium heat in 1 teaspoon of olive oil. When it has begun to render its fat, but before it is crisp, add the shallots and the garlic, and season with salt and pepper. When the shallots are translucent, turn off the stove, and add in the thyme, white wine, and squid ink. Stir to evenly distribute the ink. Add in the fresh crumbs, dry bread crumbs, parsley, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Take the crumbs and pack them into the shells. Drizzle with a touch of extra olive oil.

Bake for 10 minutes, and serve warm.

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The Secret Ingredient (Squid Ink) Part II: Spicy Squid Ink Risotto

RECIPE: Spicy Squid Ink Risotto
Squid Ink Risotto

Spicy Squid Ink Risotto

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Spicy Squid Ink Risotto
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Small pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 8 grams squid ink
  • 1/2 pound calamari tubes, diced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Procedure

In a sauce pot, bring the stock and water to a simmer.

In a wide pan with high sides, melt the butter into 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add in the shallots, garlic, and chili flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Sweat the shallots until just translucent. Then add the rice and toast for 1-2 minutes.

Once you have used all the stock and water, the rice should be tender and creamy, and the calamari should be opaque. Add in the Parmesan and parsley, and stir. Drizzle with a final 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and serve right away.

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