Walnut, Herb and Anchovy Sauce

Walnut-Herb-and-Anchovy-SauceI came across this recipe which originates from Puglia, in the early 90’s, in a copy of Elle Decoration – a magazine I adored. The issue is long gone but I have never forgotten how wonderful this sauce tasted.  I can remember feeling genuinely surprised that something so simple and uncooked could have such depth of flavour. Well, that will be the anchovies – when blended like this, there is no fishy odour or taste – just a deep, satisfying undertone to a bright and summery sauce.

Now, I haven’t tried this but I am pretty sure that you can substitute tamari sauce for the anchovies – this would make it vegan/vegetarian and keep it wheat free too. Tamari and Soya sauces are both made with fermented soybeans but soy sauce includes wheat and is saltier.

The recipe does require a lot of herbs but these can be bought so easily nowadays – in the supermarkets, in the green grocers and in the ethnic food shops too and they add so much flavour and colour to other dishes that you won’t regret it. Trim the stalks and keep them in a vase/tumbler of water and they will last quite a while.

Walnut-Herb-and-Anchovy-Sauce

As daffodils and cherry blossom are coming into bloom, this bright, zingy sauce seems just the thing to herald the much anticipated Spring season. This Walnut, Herb and Anchovy Sauce would also be delicious slathered on fish or lamb.

29 May 2014 – I am really thrilled to say that this recipe is a Community Pick over on Food52 and that California Walnuts have asked to use it on their website!

Walnut-Herb-and-Anchovy-Sauce

Walnut, Herb and Anchovy Pasta Sauce

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of toasted walnuts
  • 6 anchovies preserved in oil (or substitute Tamari sauce starting with 1 Tbsp and adjusting the flavour to your palate)
  • 100 g flat leaf parsley including the stems
  • 40 g basil leaves
  • 40 g mint leaves
  • 20 g tarragon leaves
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • ¼ c water
  • lemon juice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whiz the toasted nuts in food processor until coarsely chopped.
  2. Add the anchovies, herbs, garlic, shallot, water and pulse until it becomes a coarse puree.
  3. Then add the olive oil and whiz until combined.
  4. Stir in 1 Tbsp of lemon juice.
  5. Taste and adjust the flavour, stirring in additional lemon juice, salt and pepper to make the sauce sing.

Uses

  1. Toss into hot pasta, thinning with a little of the pasta water and finishing with a drizzle of good EVOO.
  2. Slash a whole fish and slather in the cavity and in the slashes; roast in the oven or cook on the barbecue.
  3. Top fish fillets or steaks with a spoonful of sauce and a dribble of wine; bake in parchment (thanks Tish!)
  4. Serve on the side with roast lamb or fish steaks.
  5. Spread baguette slices with a creamy goats cheese and top with a slice of roasted red pepper and little of the sauce; finish a drizzle of EVOO.

Kale and Chickpea Soup with Lemon

kale-and-chickpea-soup-with-lemonAfter all the feasting and merriment comes the overwhelming urge to eat lightly and healthfully. I picked up a bag of kale and thought to make some sort of virtuous salad from it. But outside, it’s blowing a gale and a salad just doesn’t cut it – I wanted something warm and filling. Just not rich. A quick inspection of my cupboards revealed a tin of chickpeas and a soup was born. Warm, filling, with a slight bite and a sharp edge.  I don’t like using too many ingredients in a pureed vegetable soup as it sort of muddies the flavour. I suppose you could swirl in a spoonful of creme fraiche or a little double cream but I don’t think it needs it. The blitzed chickpeas makes it quite creamy in any case. This Kale and Chickpea Soup with Lemon is perfect to take to work in a flask or spill proof container to heat up in the microwave for lunch. Delicious, virtuous and thrifty!

Thrilled to stay that his recipe is a Community Pick over on Food52!     http://food52.com/recipes/25867-kale-and-chickpea-soup-with-lemon

 

kale-and-chickpea-soup-with-lemonYou could substitute other beans like butter beans or cannellini beans too. You could also use thyme leaves instead of the rosemary and omit the chilli flakes and use freshly ground pepper instead. This is one of those recipes that you can use as a base – use half the stock to make it more of a thick puree than a soup and serve with a nice thick slice of oven roasted (responsibly sourced) cod or halibut atop for instance…

Kale and Chickpea Soup with Lemon

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Prep time 15 minutes. Cook time 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 banana shallots (or one onion)
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 2 stalks of rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp of chilli flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 410g tin of chickpeas drained and throughly rinsed
  • 200g bag of chopped kale
  • 800ml hot stock (a cube or powder is fine – I used a combination of Marigold powder and vegetable stock)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt to taste

To Serve:

  • Paper thin lemon slices
  • Grated parmesan cheese (omit if vegan)
  • Toasted crusty bread (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Set a dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat, pour in the olive oil.
  2. Finely dice the shallots and add to the pan, stirring to coat with the oil.
  3. Make 4 or 5 long horizontal slices in the celery stalk and dice. Add this to the pan and stir.
  4. Finely chop the rosemary leaves and stir into the pan together with the bay leaf and the chilli flakes.
  5. Peel the garlic clove and using the flat of your knife and the heel of your hand, crush so that it is still whole and add to pan.
  6. Add the chickpeas and the kale and stir. Pour in the hot stock, let it come to a boil and turn down the heat.
  7. Let it simmer for 20 minutes until the kale is tender. Squeeze in  the juice of half a lemon. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste. You might want more lemon or salt – it all depends on what you have used for the stock.
  8. Working in batches or in the pan itself if you have a stick blender, blitz until you have the texture you like. I like mine to still have a few chickpeas and pieces of kale through it so I set aside a couple of ladlefuls and used a stick blender to blitz the rest.
  9. Serve hot, floating a couple of slices of lemon on top of each serving and pass round the parmesan cheese for everyone to help themselves. Lovely with toasted crusty bread.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

kale-and-chickpea-soup-with-lemon

Quick Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares | Selma's Table

Photo by James Ransom for Food52

My recipe for  Quick Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares was a Community Pick over on one of my favourite food sites – Food52!  This is what they said about it –

Food52 Review: This recipe takes the classic chocolate and peanut butter pairing and turns it into a no-bake bar cookie. It’s the perfect dessert recipe to have in your back pocket for bake sales, picnics, large gatherings of any kind, or just when you need a sugar fix — stat.– A&M

And it was so beautifully photographed by the amazing James Ransom too! Lots of lovely comments and helpful tips in the comment section as well.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate SquaresThese Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares are really quick to make and are delicious pick-me-up with a mid-morning espresso.  I think that they would be rather lovely with a glass of milk too. They are not too sweet, with that unmistakeable savoury peanut butter flavour; chocolatey with a little hit of  salt. The body is given by the Saltines which are an American cracker with a light sprinkling of salt on them. Saltines are very dry and very crisp –  in fact a Saltine Cracker Challenge exists, to eat 6 crackers in one minute without any water – easy to crunch up but very hard to swallow! I remember getting them, wrapped in their cellophane with a bowl of soup at The Hudson’s Bay in-store diner where I used to escape to during my lunch hour when I worked in retail. Saltines are available to buy on-line in the UK here but if you don’t want to wait, I have found that Sainsburys sell an Italian version called Doriano which is what I used for this recipe.

Saltine Cracker substitute

Saltine Cracker substitute

Bookmark my recipe for Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares, for the festive season if you have a peanut butter loving friend; popped into one of those cellophane bags, this makes a lovely gift with the added bonus of being quick to make during the time constrained weeks leading up to the big day!

PB and Choc Sqs

These are so simple to make; blitz the crackers, melt the butter with the sugar and milk; pour onto crackers and peanut butter; mix and pat into a pan; cool, then cover with melted chocolate and sprinkle with flaky salt.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares | Selma's Table

Quick Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares

  • Servings: 16 squares
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 450 g/2 cups caster sugar
  • 12o ml/ ½ cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons/45g butter
  • 240 g Doriano crackers/Saltine crackers, finely blitzed in a food processor or crushed in a plastic bag with a rolling pin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 340 g smooth peanut butter
  • 200g dark chocolate broken up into small pieces (use semi sweet or milk chocolate if making for children)
  • 45ml/3tbsp double cream
  • Flaky sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper or non-stick foil. I have a really easy way to do this in Tips and Tricks – in the baking section. Leave a little overhang so that you can pull up on it later.
  2. Blitz or crush the crackers into fine crumbs, depending on how much texture you want in your squares. Doing this in a food processor took me about 2 minutes, pulsing for the last 30 seconds to check on progress.
  3. Empty into a large mixing bowl then scrape out the peanut butter and dump it on top of the crumbs.
  4. Place the sugar, milk, and butter in a saucepan over medium low heat, stirring from time to time. It needs come to a boil slowly. Once it comes to a full boil, set the timer for 1 minute. The mixture will froth and foam so don’t panic and take it off the heat.
  5. When the minute is up, carefully pour the extremely hot sugar mixture over the crackers and peanut butter.
  6. Add the vanilla and then stir with a spatula until it is really well combined.
  7. Scrape it into the prepared pan, pat it in and smooth it out and leave it to cool for about an hour.
  8. Slowly heat the cream in a pan until it just comes to a boil. Take it off the heat and stir in the pieces of chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and it’s all looking lovely and glossy.  Pour onto cooled peanut butter mix and cover, using a spatula to even it out.
  9. Sprinkle with sea salt while the chocolate is still warm.
  10. Pop into the fridge to allow it to set, then remove from the tin and using a large knife, cut into 16 squares  or whichever size you like.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Squares