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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Around Dorie Greenspan's French Table

My father in law has been visiting and I have used that as a good reason to break out Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

Now, many of you may remember Dorie from her best known cookbook, (or at least the one I knew the most about), Baking with Julia.  But let me tell you, there's so much more to Dorie than baking, or Julia Child, for that matter.

This is an absolutely fabulous cookbook.  In fact, it's so good that I'm going to urge you all to go out and buy it -- now.  I've already made several recipes from this cookbook and one has been better than the next.  What better endorsement do you need?

I am so thrilled with Around My French Table that I have joined an online cooking club called French Fridays with Dorie.  Every Friday (or as many as I can get my act together to do it), I will be blogging about a recipe from Around My French Table.  There are lots of other participants, all of whom will be blogging about the same recipe as I am.

Sounds fun, don't you think?

There's a catch.  I can't give you the recipes.  You have to go out and buy the book (or search the internet) to get the recipes.  I know it sounds mean, but I like this because I think we should all own cookbooks.  There's just nothing quite like paging through a cookbook to come up with the perfect menu.  Now, I am as guilty as the next chef, of checking with my good friend Google when I am in need of a quick recipe.   But I have to tell you that most of the time I use cookbooks.  I love cookbooks -- maybe more than I love shoes-- and we need to support the publishing industry by occasionally going out and buying a real live book.  (Or downloading one, if you're into that sort of thing).

I'm going dangle a little carrot now.  To get you excited about acquiring Around My French Table, I'm going to give you a recipe from the book.  After making this, you'll have no choice but to buy the book so you'll be able to cook along me or join French Fridays with Dorie yourself.

This recipe for Salmon with Basil Tapanade was a big hit with my father-in-law.  Along with the salmon, I served Helene's All While Salad (page 108),  Lemon Barley Pilaf (page 383), and green beans, which need no recipe at all.

Recipe:  Salmon With Basil Tapenade
(Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal, Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan)

Ingredients & Directions:

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Mince 4 tablespoons basil and set aside; zest and juice 1 lemon and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together 4 tablespoons black olive tapenade, 2 tablespoons minced basil, ½ the lemon juice and ½ the lemon zest; season with pepper. Spoon all but 1 generous tablespoon tapenade mixture into small Ziploc bag; seal and snip off a small corner to use as a piping bag. Reserve remaining tapenade for later use.

Lay 4 salmon fillets (center cut, skin on) on a clean workspace. Working with one fillet at a time, cut two slits, each about 1-inch wide, near the plump middle of the salmon. Holding the filled Ziploc bag, squeeze a bit of tapenade into each slit. Season fillets lightly with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over high heat, then slip the fillets into pan, flesh side down. Cook for 2 minutes, turn, cook for 2 more minutes, then slide the skillet into the oven. Roast for 4-6 minutes, or until fillets give just slightly in the center. Remove from heat, cover skillet with foil and let fish rest 5 minutes.

To make sauce, stir 3-4 tablespoons olive oil into reserved tablespoon tapenade mixture. Add remaining lemon zest and remaining 2 tablespoons minced basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle sauce over each fillet and serve immediately.

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