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Red Cabbage Salad with Anchovies

Red Cabbage Salad with Anchovies

This refreshing salad needs to pickle in a vinegar solution for 24 hours before you add the dressing. The end result is tangy with a rich mouthfeel. It has a very Mediterranean flavor.

It should come as no surprise then that the recipe is from Clifford A. Wright’s wonderful collection “Little Foods of the Mediterranean,” which is sadly out of print though used copies can be found on the Internet.

Wright offers a short history of the salad: “This Catalan recipe, called amanida de col llombarda amb seitons, literally means ‘salad of Lombardy cabbage with anchovies.’ Lombardy cabbage refers to red cabbage. I’ve adapted this recipe from Marimar Torres’ ‘The Catalan Country Kitchen,’ published in 1992. It is best served at room temperature.”

In my haste to get a number of dishes out for a recent party, I forgot the parsley. It didn’t seem to be needed. Leftovers also keep well, though you should bring it up to room temperature after removing it from the refrigerator.

Red Cabbage Salad with Anchovies

1 pound red cabbage, cored and finely shredded
3 tablespoons fine sherry wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
6 salted anchovy fillets, rinsed
1/4 cup extra-virgin  olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped freshly parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan, combine the cabbage, vinegar, salt and water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until a lavender color, about 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, at room temperature for 24 hours.

Place the anchovies and olive oil in a small food processor or blender and process until smooth. Drain the cabbage and squeeze out the excess moisture. In a large mixing bowl, toss the cabbage with the anchovy mixture and parsley. Correct the seasonings and toss again with black pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings.

From “Little Foods of the Mediterranean” by Clifford  A. Wright

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Grilled Portobello Pizzas Are Easy and Versatile

A portobello pizza on the grill

If you’re trying to avoid pizza crust because of too many carbohydrates or too much gluten, there is a solution. Fralo’s Art of Pizza in Leon Springs offers a portobello mushroom pizza that’s not on the menu, but it is available if you know to ask for it.

I tried to make my own version the other night for a quick dinner and found it both easy and delicious, with that almost marrow-like quality of the portobello shining through.

This dish can be an appetizer or a main course with a tossed salad alongside it.

And like any great pizza, you can tailor it to fit your tastes, with everything from green olives to anchovies to ham and pineapple.

Grilled Portobello Pizzas

1 clove garlic, minced
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
Tomato sauce
Dried oregano or basil, to taste
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Your choice of toppings
Mozzarella cheese

Light your grill and get it hot. Spray with oil.

Sauté the garlic — and onion or green pepper, if you’re using — in the olive oil.

Portobello pizzas before hitting the grill

Brush the portobello caps on both sides with the oil. Place the caps with the top down on a plate. Sprinkle the garlic on the cap. Cover with a little tomato sauce, about 2 tablespoons, but not enough to make the cap soggy. Add oregano or basil, salt and pepper to taste. Top with onions, pepper, black olives, anchovies, pepperoni or whatever topping you choose. Top with mozzarella cheese (you can use shredded or a deli slice to cover the top).

Turn the grill down to medium-low heat. Place the mushrooms on the grill and close the lid. Let cook for at least 7 minutes so the cheese can melt. When the cheese has melted, remove from the grill and serve.

Makes 2 pizzas.

Adapted from Fralo’s Art of Pizza

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Warm Eggplant (Aubergine) and Anchovy Salad (Ensalada Templada de Berenjenas y Anchoas)

Use small egplants in this warm tapas recipe.

Look for small eggplants to use in this recipe, not the ones generally used in eggplant Parmesan.

Warm Eggplant (Aubergine) and Anchovy Salad (Ensalada Templada de Berenjenas y Anchoas)

3 eggplants (see note)
1 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
3 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and crush
Juice of 1 lemon, strained
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Peel the eggplants – although this dish is delicious if they are not peeled – then cut them into slices about ¾ inch thick, sprinkle with salt and place in a colander. Leave for 1 hour to draw out the juices, the rinse off the salt and pat dry.

Heat the oil in 1 or 2 skillets or frying pans over low heat and arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer so they have plenty of room. Cover and cook, turning once, for 20 minutes, or until the eggplants are tender and softened. Drain off nearly all the oil, leaving just enough to prevent the slices from sticking. Sprinkle the garlic, parsley and salt over them.

Mix the anchovies with the lemon juice and season with a little pepper. Pour this over the eggplants, covering them evenly, and serve.

Note: Don’t look for the large eggplants often used in eggplant Parmesan. Look for smaller eggplants, about 8 inches in length and 3-4 inches in diameter.

Makes 4-6 servings.

From “The Book of Tapas” by Simone and Inés Ortega

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Wild Mushroom and Anchovy Fricassee (Fricasse de Setas con Anchoas)

Use oyster mushrooms or a combination in this tapas recipe.

This tapas recipe gets a kick from garlic mixed with anchovies into a paste.

Wild Mushroom and Anchovy Fricassee (Fricasse de Setas con Anchoas)

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 ¼ pounds porcini or other wild mushrooms, cleaned and cut into large pieces
12 canned anchovy fillets, drained
2 cloves garlic
1 cup stock (chicken, beef or vegetable)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a flameproof earthenware casserole or a large skillet or frying pan, add the mushrooms and pan-fry over low heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put the anchovies and garlic in a large mortar and crush them to a paste.

Stir the stock and the contents of the mortar into the mushrooms and season with pepper. Cover the pan and let simmer over low heat for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the parsley into the pan, re-cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve hot, either in a serving dish or on small plates.

Makes 4 servings.

From “The Book of Tapas” by Simone and Inés Ortega

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Give Your Appetizers an Added Richness with Anchovies

You never know who the anchovy lovers will be.

“Tapas originated in Andalusia, southern Spain, but they are now common all over the country,” Inés Ortega writes in “The Book of Tapas” (Phaidon, $39.95). “Originally a small, free tapa was served with drinks in bars, and it was often a piece of sliced cold meat such as cured ham or chorizo, or a piece of cheese. According to culinary legend, these tapas were used to cover wine glasses to keep the aroma in and to keep the flies and insects out. The word ‘tapa’ originally meant ‘cover,’ a reference to this practice. Nowadays, however, tapas can also be small portions of any of the dishes that make up Spain’s wide and varied cuisine. For example, it is common to find paella being served in small portions as a tapa.”

Tapas, or small plates, are now served worldwide. But the versions you find in Spain still set the standard. One ingredient that you’ll find in many tapas is anchoas, or anchovies, which are used in numerous ways. Some of the recipes that the mother-daughter team of Simone and Inés Ortega use in this book call for fresh anchovies, others call for salt-cured. The recipes linked below all call for canned anchovies, the easiest version to find on our shores. In each of these, the fishes are used to add a richness of flavor to sauces or dressings and won’t be as noticeable as the main ingredients, such as figs or eggplant.

There is always someone vocal in opposition to these salty little treats, but also be aware that there’s at least one anchovy lover in most every bunch. I put out at least one tin’s worth at every party I throw, and the dish never fails to be clean by the end of the party.

If the salt or the oil from the tinning is too much for you, rinse the anchovies in gently running water and dab dry with a paper towel.

Hard-boiled Eggs with Anchovies and Mayonnaise (Huevos Duros Rellenos de Anchoas y Mayonesa)

Fig, Anchovy and Cheese Tapa (Tapa de Higos, Anchoas y Queso)

Warm Eggplant (Aubergine) and Anchovy Salad (Ensalada Templada de Berenjenas y Anchoas)

Wild Mushroom and Anchovy Fricassee (Fricasse de Setas con Anchoas)

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Hard-boiled Eggs with Anchovies and Mayonnaise (Huevos Duros Rellenos de Anchoas y Mayonesa)

Anchovies add richness to deviled eggs.

Give your deviled eggs a savory makeover.

Hard-boiled Eggs with Anchovies and Mayonnaise (Huevos Duros Rellenos de Anchoas y Mayonesa)

9 eggs
1 ounce canned anchovies in oil, drained and chopped
¼ cup mayonnaise, or more, to taste
1 generous teaspoon stone-ground mustard
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Parsley sprigs or watercress, to garnish

To boil the eggs, pour enough water to cover them into a large pan, add 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil. Add the eggs carefully and stir gently with a wooden spoon so that when they set, the yolks will be in the center. Cook medium-sized eggs for 12 minutes. (Add 1 minute for bigger eggs and subtract 1 minute for smaller eggs.) Drain off the hot water, fill the pan with cold water and leave the eggs until required.

When the eggs are cool enough to handle, shell and halve them lengthwise, then scoop out the yolks with a teaspoon, without piercing the whites.

Mix the anchovies, mayonnaise and mustard with the egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper, but remember the anchovies will be salty. Using a teaspoon, fill the egg white halves with the anchovy mixture and place in a serving dish. Garnish the serving with sprigs of parsley or watercress and chill in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours. (Any longer and the mayonnaise will become dry.)

Makes 18 deviled eggs.

Adapted from “The Book of Tapas” by Simone and Inés Ortega

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Fig, Anchovy and Cheese Tapa (Tapa de Higos, Anchoas y Queso)

Fresh figs and goat cheese make for a simple yet flavorful tapa.

You can make the cheese spread ahead of time, but have it at room temperature so you can spread it easy on the just-toasted bread.

Fig, Anchovy and Cheese Tapa (Tapa de Higos, Anchoas y Queso)

3 canned anchovy fillets, drained
½ clove garlic
3 ½ ounces goat cheese
2 slices thick country-style bread, quartered
Olive or sunflower oil
9 ounces figs, peeled and coarsely chopped

Preheat the broiler to high. Pound the anchovies, garlic and cheese with a pestle in a large mortar, or process briefly in a blender, until well blended, then set aside.

Toast the bread slices for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Brush each with oil on one side, then spread with the anchovy mixture and top with pieces of fig. Serve immediately or the toast will become soggy.

Makes 4 servings.

From “The Book of Tapas” by Simone and Inés Ortega

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Grilled Caesar Salad

Garlic makes the dressing for this Grilled Caesar Salad.

Use both direct heat and indirect heat from the grill to make this special Caesar salad.

Grilled Caesar Salad

2 egg yolks
2 cloves garlic
3 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups 1/2-inch cubes ciabatta bread
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 heads romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

To make the dressing: Place the egg yolks, garlic, anchovies and mustard in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for 10 seconds. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. Add the cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Season with salt and pepper and pulse until combined. Refrigerate.

To make the croutons: Heat your grill. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop, add the garlic and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, making sure to not let the butter brown. Strain the butter into a small bowl. Add the bread cubes, season with salt and pepper, and toss together. Place the bread on the perforated grill pan and grill over direct heat for 2 to 3 minutes, turning constantly, until toasted light brown on all sides. Using barbecue mitts, remove the grill pan from the grill and allow the croutons to cool.

To make the salad: Brush the inside of each lettuce half with light olive oil. Place the lettuce on the grill, cut side down, over indirect heat. Close the lid and grill for 1 minute, or until lightly browned. Remove and let cool.

To assemble: Place a lettuce half on each plate, grilled side up. Pour the desired amount of dressing over the lettuce and top with croutons and cheese. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

From Garrett Stephens/The County Line

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Griffin to Go: Getting Slowly Back into the Kitchen

Putting the finishing touches on a pizza.

Most of my recent days have blurred into one endless repeat of the day before. It’s all because I’ve been working seven days a week and accumulating as much overtime as I can possibly get.

Working a steady job will do that to me. I love the structure of reporting to work at a certain time of day (although 6 a.m. is a bit much for me, as I am a night owl by nature). I even love it when I work for days on end, though I have to bear in mind that this is only a temporary job that will end in just a few weeks.

The day-in-day-out routine has had a drastic effect on my cooking life, and I have heard a similar comment from a co-worker who is a culinary school grad. I haven’t had the drive to cook or eat much at the end of the day. I just teeter on home, spend a few minutes with my bird and head off to bed. I can sympathize with all of you who face the same and yet have to put together something for your family each evening.

While cooking may not be on the agenda, dreaming about what I would like to cook has been.

First and foremost is a savory zucchini cobbler with sundried tomatoes and basil leaves in a buttery filling with a corn meal topping.

Another is a decadent dessert with homemade peach ice cream atop a blackberry-peach crumble. Both ingredients are in season, so why not enjoy them while they are at their freshest.

And I would just to fire up the grill and fill it with three or four ears of corn rubbed with a hot chile before dredging it through melted butter and lime juice.

But they are likely to be dreams for a few more weeks.

I did get back into a kitchen this past Sunday, thanks to a monthly Bible study group that I’ve been a part of for years. We had decided to have a pizza party before we began our regular reading.

One member, Sandy, made a series of doughs, including whole wheat with basil to white with Parmesan cheese. Erica brought a garlicky tomato sauce for the base. David, Angie, Judy, Steve, our hostess Sue and others brought an assortment of toppings and other treats: sausage, peppers, onion, mushrooms, turkey pepperoni, green and black olives, spinach, chicken, you name it. The cheese list featured mozzarella, feta, provolone, grana padano and Jalapeño Jack. I brought along the anchovies, which only I wanted, as well as artichoke hearts.

Pizza with spinach, chicken, artichoke hearts and feta.

I had signed up for a salad and ended up tossing together the simplest one I could think of: cucumber slices and apple in rice vinegar, a touch of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Fresh mint leaves were torn over the top. That’s it, yet it was simply delicious.

It was also something I could do while being exhausted and I will likely make it again in the near future for that very reason. I may vary the ingredients a little. Daikon radish would be good and maybe other herbs from the backyard, such as lovage or parsley.

What mattered most was helping put together the pizzas. There was something therapeutic about handing the dough Sandy made and helping to spread it out on the cookie sheets we used as well as assembling the pies with the various toppings, whether it was a sausage and peppers pie or one with an assortment of meats and cheeses.

Of course, we made way too much. But that’s the beauty of pizza, isn’t it? Who can resist a breakfast of cold pizza with sautéed spinach, chicken and artichoke hearts on top?

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Griffin to Go: Lunch on a Budget

I recently started working for the census bureau. Don’t look for me on your doorstep, though. I’m in the office, not pounding the streets with questionnaires in my hand.

Going back to an office setting has meant a few changes, one of which is having to prepare a meal every day for work. I don’t do this the night before, like some mothers I know do for their kids. I don’t plan my meals out in advance, so I buy different treats to make the meals diverse and light.

I wait to the last minute, when it seems I’ll be late for work. “Oh, no!” I say. (Well, I don’t use the word “no,” but I think you get the idea.) “What am I going to eat today?”

So I grab a handful of zip-top bags and head for the fridge. I haven’t had a lot of leftovers lately to heat up, but there’s some salami. That’s a good meat choice, I say. And there’s a block of Jarlsburg cheese, from which I cut a hefty chunk. I reach for the mini-pickles at the back of the fridge or some leftover olives and dump them into another. I rinse off a pint of blackberries and stuff it in the same bag I used the day before. Why the same? Because there’s a bag of raw almonds inside as well as some leftover cookies in case I get the munchies or want a dessert (or both).

Lunch is ready in a matter of two minutes. And I’m out the door quicker than I ever thought imaginable.

Eating lunch with others, especially people you only know slightly, can be an interesting way of getting to know them better. Remember that scene in “The Breakfast Club” when Molly Ringwald pulled out her bento box with sushi for her detention lunch? When I saw it for the first time, some in the audience were making gagging noises, because sushi wasn’t as popular as it is today. Me, I wanted to reach a pair of chopsticks over and help myself to a taste.

Something similar happened my first few days at work. The first day, a co-worker announced that he had never seen anyone eat an avocado cut in half and topped with salt. “We’re getting all primeval,” he said.

My thought was that it was easy and required no cleaning time on my part. And it was so good I repeated it the following day. Different people, similar lunch, vastly different response: The two people in the break room that day were envious. The creamy green meat of the perfectly ripe avocado made them question their own choices.

I was glad to see someone else bring in an avocado a few days later.

I treat lunch the way I treat dinner: I like lots of small tastes of different things, sometimes piled on each other. It could be apple and celery side by side with a piece of cheddar cheese. Or peppery arugula with salami and a handful of nuts. Those blackberries, which have been so affordable lately, work well with both savory and sweet items. In the end, I have a kind of makeshift cheese plate with plenty of complementary tastes.

But I want to know what other ideas I can use in a last-minute lunch. What do you pack when you’re brown bagging it? Post some ideas below.

I haven’t grabbed a tin of anchovies yet. Ths salty fishes are just perfect for olives and a hard-cooked egg or two. I wonder what my co-workers would think of that.

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