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Monday, January 10, 2011

Painting by Numbers

It's funny to me to take note of how people talk and share stories about food and meals, recipes in particular. Typically if I receive a recommendation for a recipe, it's because there is some family history to it, or its been copied on to a scant, wrinkled sheet of paper with little to no attachment to its original source. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. Food should be inspired and original. Nine times out of ten, I would say that citing off chef, cook book, and page number is less likely to make motivate me to try a recipe than hearing someone describe at as similair to a dish their grandmother made, or a recipe they could do something unique and interesting too.

For Christmas this year, Daniel and I received a plethora of cookbooks, including Nancy Silverton's Breads, Michael Ruhlman's Ratio, and Fergus Henderson's Nose to Tail Eating and Beyond Nose to Tail.With books like Breads and Ratio, it's easy to adapt recipe and personalize them to your own tastes. A cookie is a cookie by any other name, and a baguette is a baguette. These are framiliar, comfortable. This may not be as true with Fergus Henderson (more on that later), but there are still elements of framiliarity and comfort that give you courage to try something new, go out of order, add or subtract components, and basically make something your own.

Every once in awhile though, a recipe just catches your eye that I think you have to go at verbatim, teaspoon by teaspoon, step by step. It's these recipes that remind me of the 'paint by number' paintings I remember doing growing up. I'm much more comfortable with a pen and paper to write, than I am with a paintbrush and pallete to fill. Similairly, I'm much more comfortable whipping up a delightful dessert or warming soup than I am creating a silky veloute to combine with some odd meat puree. But, it's in these moments of unfamiliarity that you can be comforted (I think anyway) by the culinary delights created by others, and reawaken your culinary curiosity.

Mortadella Smear  Taken from this recipe in the Jan/Feb Edition of Saveur
1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 lb mortadella without pistachios
1/3 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 small loaf of a crusty sourdough
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp crushed pistachios
1/2 cup arugula

1. Reduce vinegar by half in small saucepan over medium heat.Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and continue whisking for one minute. Slowly whisk in stock and cook until thickend to make veloute. Set aside to cool.
3. In meat grinder or food processor, process mortadella until pureed. Transfer to bowl and fold in whipped cream and veloute sauce. 
4. Rub bread with olive oil and toast. 

To Serve: Smear the bread wit the mortadella, garnish with arugula, pistachios, and a drizzle of balsamic. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Published by Saveur, and originally taken from Chicago's Purple Pig restaurant, this produce a delightful and "devastatingly addictive" treat. A simple creamy, meaty, satisfying mortadella spread atop a toasty baguette, topped with a little bit of peppery arugula, nutty pistachios, and a splash of reduced balsamic for the tiniest hint of sweetness. Truthfully, this new recipe is nothing earth-shattering. If you've never tried mortadella, its basically an Italian bologna that looks, smells, and tastes, pretty much like bologna if you sample the variety without pistachios. Even if you're thrown off by the bologna comparison, it truly is an intriguing delight.When selecting the next post to blog about, someone may have scoffed at my desire to share this verbatim rendition of a recipe, but it struck me as something new, and something I may not have tried if someone hadn't drawn the lines and numbered the color palette or taste palate for me.


Drick said...

and that is why recreating a worthy recipe is so enjoyable - that is no ordinary bologna spread ... good to see you getting back in the groove, any update or news of a restaurant?

Dawn@CocinaSavant said...

Thanks for the comment and for asking! Bit, sadly no news yet, we're still working at finding a location actually, which has been a long ardous process. But, all in good time :)

Ana Powell said...

Happy New Year.
Wishing you all the best.
Outstanding dish ♥

Angie's Recipes said...

What a brilliant idea! Beautiful plating.

Pegasuslegend said...

My son eats mortadella every day for work, he is going to love this thanks for the recipe!

Monet said...

What a beautiful dish! I usually adapt my recipes to my own tastes, but every once in a while I find a recipe that I know I must follow precisely! Thank you for sharing and for visiting my blog! Many blessings on you and yours this weekend!

Anonymous said...

A beautiful plate, love the presentation of this delicious appetizer!

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