Ms. Waters does not give specific instructions for “stewing” escarole. What I did was to chop the amount of escarole that I had into 1-inch strands. I add approximately ¼ cup of olive oil to a 12-inch saucepan with lid. I chopped the onion and sautéed it along with the garlic and red pepper flakes (to taste). Although we like garlic, I preferred a bit less than what was called for.
Once the mixture was softened and starting to brown, I added the escarole and covered the pan. As the mixture wilted, I seasoned with salt and pepper. When done, the instructions called for “enough red wine vinegar to make them sharp to taste.”
As you may recall, I cook my pizzas on my gas grill. I prepared the pizza dough and par-cooked it just until the bottom was starting to turn brown. I removed it from the grill and topped with a layer of escarole, capers (rinse under water to wash away brine), grated mozzarella and fontina cheese and chopped Kalamata olives. The olives are bitter and I thought it would have a better taste than ordinary black olives.
The pizza looked good coming off the grill, however, it was missing something. The greens needed more flavor from either an herb or more red wine vinegar. Perhaps a fresh bay leaf or two, a sprig of fresh rosemary or a rind of Parmesan cheese during cooking the escarole might have added more flavor. Although we ate the whole thing, greens are good for you, we were disappointed with this recipe.
Another recipe I prepared last week was a Strawberry Tart with Beurre Noisette. This vintage recipe is from the August 1981 issue of Bon Appétit Magazine. I hadn’t made this recipe in a very long time. Although I haven’t had any local strawberries, the ones that I have been purchasing at Wegmans have been coming from Florida or California ($4.99 for 2-pound container) have been plump and delicious.
I was invited to a friend’s house for dinner and offered to bring dessert. In addition to the strawberries, you’ll need flour, sugar, salt, unsalted butter, eggs, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and strawberry preserves. The recipe called for using a flan mold, but I used a tart pan with a removable bottom.
The tart base is a pâté sucrée which is a French dough that is cookie like in texture. The butter is cut into the flour, sugar and salt until it resembles coarse meal. Using my food processor made light of this step. Once the dough is made it must chill for one hour, or up to three days. While my dough chilled, I prepared my beurre noisette (brown butter). This thin filling also has sugar, flour and vanilla.
Time to pull this tart together! I rolled the dough out and placed it every so carefully in the tart pan, trimmed off the excess and added the filling. After approximately 40 minutes it was done. The instructions were to arrange the strawberries in overlapping rows. As I was doing this, I wasn’t sure if I needed an expert baker for advice or Tommy Silva, of This Old House, to help me shingle the strawberries on this tart. I finally gave up and went in a circular pattern.
Yum, yum, my tart was a hit at dinner. Despite its richness from all the butter, it tasted light and refreshing. The richness was balanced with the juiciness of the strawberries. I can’t wait to make it again.
Strawberry Tart with Beurre Noisette
Bon Appétit Magazine, August 1981
6 to 8 servings
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
10 tablespoons (1-1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 egg yolks
2 eggs, room temperature
¾ cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, warmed until medium brown, then cooled
Dash of vanilla
3 cups thinly sliced strawberries
½ cup strawberry preserves, melted and strained
Combine flour, sugar and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. (I used my food processor). Add yolks and mix until dough just holds together. Flatten into disc. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to three days.
Butter 4-1/2 x14-inch rectangular flan mold. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface into 8x16-inch rectangle, 1/8-inch thick. Fit dough into pan, pressing gently; trim and form edges. Freeze until firm (or up to 1 month).
For beurre noisette:
Preheat oven to 450° F. Whisk eggs, sugar and flour in medium bowl. Add butter and vanilla. Pour into crust. Bake 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325° F. Bake until firm, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool. (Can be prepared early on day of serving and stored at room temperature until ready to use).
To assemble: Arrange strawberry slices in overlapping rows atop tart. Brush with preserves. Serve within 2 hours.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.