Dressing for green beans a la Simon Hopkinson

I reported a dressing for green beans just recently, the star of which was two mustards. Since then I’ve been rereading Simon Hopkinson’s Week In Week Out and noticed his take on a dressing for green beans.

Ingredients

  • 1 tblesps Dijon mustard
  • 1 tblesps red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • a few anchovies
  • water
  • olive oil 150 mls
  • peanut oil 150 mls
  • finely chopped shallot

Method

Pulverise the first four ingredients, adding a little water to thin the mixture. Then add the oils in a thin stream as one  might with mayonnaise, beating at the same time. Eventually you will have a thick, creamy dressing.

Steam the beans, until suitably done for a salad, strain, cool under running water.

Serve with the dressing drizzled over the beans and the shallot sprinkled on top and a few whole anchovies for decoration.

Hopkinson suggests some sort of mechanical method for mixing. I simply vigorously stirred them after mashing the anchovies with a fork first. I added far less oil than he suggested, perhaps 1 tblsp in lieu of the 300ml he recommends. There is a variation on this recipe on his site. Instead of the peanut oil he uses cream. No anchovies, but a little parsley. Here he doesn’t cool the beans under water, but just lets them adjust to ‘warm’. That was my inclination too.

I guess my adapting this to a very low oil content really changes the nature of the dressing, but it was delicious and far less calorific. We had this dish with new season boiled potatoes and sausages. The dressing went well with both these. It’s a real winner and overall I think I prefer it to the two mustards dressing.

 

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Green Beans with Two Mustards

Looking to make salads recently in this warm autumnal weather in Geneva, I had all the ingredients for this dish, another from Madhur Jaffrey’s Food for Family and Friends.

Ingredients

  • 3 tblesp lemon juice
  • 1 tblesp Dijon mustard
  • pepper and salt to taste
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • 6 tblesp olive oil
  • 1 11/2 tblesp yellow mustard seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thin slivers
  • 675g green beans, ends trimmed

Method

  • boil salted water
  • mix the lemon juice, mustard and spices
  • heat oil in a small pan and when hot add the mustard seeds, then, as soon as they begin to pop, the garlic. Stir until the garlic is light brown, cool briefly and add to the rest of the dressing. Beat to a creamy texture.
  • put the beans into the boiling water and boil vigorously for 3-5 minutes. They should remain crisp-tender.
  • drain thoroughly, add to the dressing and toss
  • if making ahead, refrigerate and take out 30 minutes before serving so that they aren’t fridge cold

I used maybe half the amount of oil asked for and I used grape seed oil. It was a big hit served with potato salad and a chickpea and carrot salad.

three salads

Chickpea and carrot salad

There are many recipes available for this combination. I started with this from manella on allrecipes and made a couple of changes based on my available ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 3 tblsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed. I peeled them too.
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • fresh coriander leaves washed and chopped in lieu of parsley
  • 2 teasp ground dhanna jeera mix 60% coriander 40% cumin in lieu of ground cumin
  • spring onion, one white finely chopped

Method

Thoroughly whisk all ingredients except the carrot and chickpeas, which are then added. Refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving.

Fabulous and the bit that was left over was great for b/f in the morning.

Served it with potato salad and a cold green beans dish. Worked really well as a combination.

three salads

Potato salad with yoghurt dressing

One of my favourite cookbooks is Madhur Jaffrey’s Food for Family and Friends. I’m surprised I haven’t already made note of this recipe on my blog, having made it for many years.

She calls this ‘The Best, Lightest Potato Salad’ and says the waxier the potato the better.

The dressing

1 cup of plain low-fat yoghurt
1 tblesp vegetable oil
1/2 teasp cumin seeds
1 tblesp yellow mustard seeds
salt and pepper
the white of a spring onion cut into very fine rounds

The potatoes

Boil, cool and peel. Cut into pieces.

Method:

  • In a small pan, sizzle the cumin seeds in the heated oil, just for a couple of seconds, add the mustard seeds and as soon as they start popping…
  • tip the contents into the yoghurt which is in a serving bowl.
  • Mix in along with salt and pepper and onion. Stir in the potato pieces.
  • Refrigerate until needed.

Yesterday I had very young potatoes and didn’t peel them before chopping. I use full fat yoghurt.

Pictured here with her Green Beans with Two Mustards Salad and a Chickpea and Carrot salad.

three salads

Variations on Japanese spinach (2) hourensou no gomaae

I can’t believe I put the first variation on my blog in 2013. Eeeek!

My friend S-L got me into a site called Just Bento long ago. S-L is a diligent Bento Box preparer, I’m not. I don’t know if this is an explanation or an excuse, but I don’t leave the house to go to my work desk. Cooking lunch in my kitchen is a normal part of my routine. That doesn’t mean I don’t use the recipes. In summer we often have a simple bowl of rice and spinach done one way or another. Last night it was as follows.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. white sesame seeds toasted and roughly ground. Reserve a few whole to decorate the top of the dish before serving.
  • 1/2 Tbs. mirin
  • 1/2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce (I use Tamari)
  • spinach for two, washed and blanched, squeezed to rid it of excess liquid and chopped
  • rice

Method

The spinach can be prepared ahead. It can be blanched with just a teensy amount of water added, length of time will depend on the age of the spinach. We like it chilled, but it can be room temperature.

While the rice is cooking, make the sesame dressing – in fact we had enough spinach that I made a double quantity. It’s all terribly moreish. Mix the seeds, mirin, sugar and soy. I make this with Thai Jasmine rice lightly salted.

We also have these spinach dishes with Soba Noodle Salad Stephanie Alexander style.

Just Bento points out that Westerners often eat spinach raw, whereas Japanese people never do. Yes, she says, some nutrients are lost, but on the other hand, a lot more spinach is eaten. True. We ate far more cooked last night than we would have eaten raw. My understanding is that cooking spinach helps the absorption by the body of some of the goodness, so in fact maybe this means a balance of raw and cooked spinach is the best path.

Summer Yoghurt and Green Pea Soup

Madhur Jaffrey’s Cookbook Food for Family and Friends sees a different side of this heavily relied upon author-cook. It constructs menus which are for a Western dinner table, but of course with a strong South Asian and Asian accent.

I first had something like this in Geneva, where, as is often the case hereabouts, restaurants/cafes have a very heavy hand with soups. Stodgy in winter, so thick in summer one could turn the plate upside down and it would sit there unmoved. I like soups to be much lighter, at least some of the time, and surely in summer. About a drinking-out-of-cup-thinness. Certainly not the ‘eat this soup with a fork approach’ so often seen in Geneva.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds, tied in cheesecloth or inside a tea-ball
  • a knob of peeled fresh ginger chopped – 1/2 an inch or so
  • 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetarian equivalent)
  • fresh green (for colour consistency) chilli to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups (200g) shelled peas, fresh or frozen
  • 30g/1 lightly packed cup fresh green coriander
  • 12 good sized fresh mint leaves
  • 150 ml plain yoghurt blended until smooth with 4 tablespoons of water
  • salt to taste

Method 

Put the potato, onion, cumin, ginger, stock and chilli in a large pot, bring to the boil. Cover and lower to a simmer for 30 minutes. Take out the cumin and add the peas. Bring to the boil, and then to a simmer for 2 minutes. Add the coriander and mint. Turn off the heat.

Blend/puree the soup until smooth. Pour the soup into a clean bowl, and after it is cool add the yoghurt and mix. Season with the salt. Cover and chill in the fridge. Serve cold.

In retrospect, I wonder if the coriander should perhaps be added, and the soup pureed, after it has cooled somewhat. Simon Hopkinson is totally against the idea of cooking fresh coriander and I can see why. Ditto with basil.

This is lovely and unaccountably I have failed to make it this summer.

 

leek vinaigrette repurposed

You must imagine the scene. Large wide white bowl, a mix of salad leaves on the bottom, with artfully placed hard boiled quartered eggs and leeks on top, and drizzled over them the vinaigrette. That’s the photo.

In practice, I chopped up the salad leaves and leeks, adding to them the same weird cold soft-boiled eggs that have to be scooped out of their shells that I mentioned in my previous post. Mixed in the left over vinaigrette. Tasted divine. Looked like a vegetarian dog’s dinner.

Tip: the salad is better without bits of egg shell in it.