I’ve been kind of obsessed with pine nuts lately, sprinkling them on everything from salads to sautéed chicken breasts and grilled steak. This past Friday I went to my friend Barb’s for an impromptu cooking night. We had emailed, exchanging ideas and sharing what we both had on hand. We each agreed to pick up a couple of ingredients and figure it out later. With a little help from Mark Bittman and his book How to Cook Everything (and maybe that white burgundy we were working on), we created a pretty tasty dinner in no time at all.
Barb is one of those home cooks who just gets food. She’s a bit of a “recipe-savante” and is often called in a panic when something isn’t working or a substitution is in order. She can hear a recipe and know immediately that it needs “a little Worchestershire” or maybe just a “skosh” of Dijon mustard. She’s truly amazing and it’s fun to share not only her food but her kitchen (a newly remodeled one that is!)
I wish I could remember exactly what we did with the chicken. It’s not that I wasn’t in a remembering state (ahem), but we were working in tandem and tripping over Dottie…let’s see…it definitely involved green beans, a shallot, some fresh rosemary, butter and olive oil of course, a bit of flour, white wine, chicken broth (yep, both!), black olives and, of course, “just a skosh” of Dijon mustard. And the pine nuts were sprinkled at the end along with a squeeze of lemon juice for freshness. We were quite proud of the results!
The salad, oh the salad…fresh tomatoes (refusing to let go of summer just yet), an avocado, a drizzle of olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and a final garnish of black olives, chopped basil and the toasted pine nuts. I added some crumbled goat cheese but was really just gilding the lily at that point.
1 farm market tomato, sliced
1 one avocado
10 Kalamata olives, chopped
1-2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (350° oven, 5-8 minutes, watch closely to avoid burning)
1 tablespoon chopped basil or parsley
juice of 1/2 a lemon
a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (a teaspoon or so)
a sprinkle of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
crumbled goat cheese (optional)
You can prepare this salad in advance and let it sit on the counter to absorb the flavors. However, don’t peel and slice the avocado (or add the lemon juice) until just before serving, to avoid browning.
Make this quickly, before tomato season ends. I don’t think you’ll regret it. In fact, I just might make this a bruschetta, by chopping it and serving on baguette toasts, for a tailgate on Friday. I told you, I’m obsessed!
And I’ll work on that chicken recipe for a later post because, it too, is not to be missed.
I can’t wait for our next cooking club à deux. Neither can Dottie.