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September 2011 COTM, Slater/Tender: Celery through Jerusalem artichokes

Please use this thread to discuss and review recipes from the chapters from celery to Jerusalem artichokes.

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  1. A Simple Sauté of Chicken and Celery, Pg., 158

    It Was a simple sauté indeed. But oh so luscious. Butter, olive oil, garlic, celery, and a combination of any chicken parts you like. Then parsley, dry vermouth. lemon juice at the end for the sauce. I used 3 thighs and 3 drumsticks.

    Melt butter and add olive oil then put well seasoned chicken into the pan. Color the skin side first then turn to other side. Add garlic (4 peeled cloves), cover pan and cook for 45 minutes. In the meantime prepare the celery. One half head, stalks separated and scrubbed are sliced into short pieces. When the chicken has cooked for 20 minutes add the celery and continue cooking.

    Chop a handful of parsley. When the chicken in done remove it and the celery. Pour a glass of vermouth, bring to boil scrapping up the fond as you go. Whisk in a pat of butter, parsley, and a squirt of lemon juice. Return chicken and celery to pan and stir everything together...plate and serve. Oh yes, we loved this. Silky, slightly sticky and syrupy deliciousness.

    I served the chicken on a bed of green leaf lettuce combined with steamed purple string beans lightly dressed with a simple vinaigrette.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      That sounds lovely, and so simple and comforting. Loved that you served this over salad, too.
      I can't wait for my copy to arrive next week, I may actually get to cook along with you all with this one.

      1. re: rabaja

        I certainly hope you are able to cook along this month Rabaja! I've already made several different recipes from 3 of Slater's books and every one has been delightful...

    2. Baked Vegetables with an Eggplant Sauce (p. 221)

      We liked this a lot, but I made a couple of changes: toasted cumin, cardamom, and coriander seeds, along with about an inch of cinnamon stick. Let cool, then ground. Added last 5 minutes of cooking, along with a large pinch of Aleppo pepper. Added a glug of tahini and the juice of half a lemon to the sauce. I think this would have been awfully bland without the tweaks. (didn't salt and let stand the eggplants -- our local ones are perfect right now, and don't need it.)

      1. An aubergine (eggplant) bruschetta, p49 UK edition

        Since our garden is overflowing with aubergines (eggplant) at the moment, I have been working my way through the chapter dedicated to them. This simple recipe was surprisingly delicious and made wonderful leftovers as well, which I added to a frittata.
        Although my aubergines were fresh and not bitter in the least, I still salted the slices and let them drain because it gets rid of some of the excess water. After grilling, they are tossed in a lemony dressing, to which coarsely torn basil and mint is added and the mix is then piled on to thick slices of warm toasted country bread. The lemon zest and juice and mix of herbs cut through any oiliness and made these bruschette disappear in minutes!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Taureau

          Many thanks for thie report, Taureau. Putting this on my to-make list.

        2. Moutabal - a heavenly purée, p50 UK edition

          A Middle Eastern flavour to this aubergine (eggplant) dish. Roast a couple of aubergines in a hot oven until very soft (about 40 mins). When cool enough to handle, remove the flesh and mash in a bowl with 2 cloves of crushed garlic, the juice of a lemon, 3T of olive oil, 2T of tahini and a bit of salt.

          My lemon was very juicy, so I added it to taste as I didn't want the acidity to overwhelm the other flavours.

          This was very nice. I wasn't very hungry tonight after going out for Chinese this lunchtime so I had this with some good bread and called it dinner. How very Nigel! It would be great as part of a meze platter, or with some grilled lamb, stuffed in a pitta or flatbread.

          9 Replies
          1. re: greedygirl

            This is on my list - sounds delicious. Glad it worked out for you, bodes well for us.

            1. re: greedygirl

              OK, so this sounds like Baba Ghanoush which I love. Totally missed it as I went through the book. Thanks GG.

              1. re: greedygirl

                Moutabal - a heavenly puree - p 50 (UK ed)

                This is also known as baba ganouj. This calls for two large aubergines. I used just one, but I suspect my American eggplant might be larger than Slater's, so I used the full amounts of the other ingredients. The garlic I grated, and used about 1/4 of a very large clove. You bake the eggplant in a hot oven - it should be blackened outside and tender throughout. Scrape the flesh out and mix with lemon juice, tahini, garlic. olive oil, and salt. There you go! I used a whisk to mix it - not a fancy balloon whisk, just a plain small whisk.

                Really good. Would it be even better if you cooked the eggplant over hot coals? Sure. But this proves you can do a simple version of this dish and it is still sublime. Add some some parsley or cilantro if you like. Drizzle extra olive oil if you like. This is a solid base to serve as is or embellish as you see fit.

                1. re: MelMM

                  I learned a trick in India how to make aubergine dish tast smokey if you can't grill it first. Place an outer skin of an onion in the prepared aubergine dish and pour a bit of oil into it. Heat up a small stone until very-very hot and put it into the onion skin with oil. Cover the dish for an hour or so. Amazing!

                  1. re: herby

                    That's a fascinating technique, and I'll keep it in mind for the future.

                    1. re: herby

                      You might want to be cautious with this technique. I'm no scientist, but I believe that many stones might contain toxic elements that you wouldn't want coming into contact with your food. Any experts out there who could clue us in?

                      1. re: pikawicca

                        I'm neither an expert nor a scientist, but used to cook on stones all the time during camping trips. We would look for nonporous (not shale, for instance), dry (riverbed and damp rocks can explode when the interior moisture heats up) rocks around the campsite. We'd wash them with soap and water, heat them up on a fire, and cook directly on them. This is a fairly common practice among campfire cooks and I've never heard of any admonitions against it.

                      2. re: herby

                        I like to use smoked salt in these cases. I also find smoked salt really useful when making bean dishes for vegetarians, to add the smokiness I would normally get from meats.

                    2. re: greedygirl

                      I enjoyed this as well, although greedygirl was right to add the lemon to taste. My lemon must have been on the juicy side so it was a bit tangy.

                    3. Baked Finger Aubergines (Eggplant), Yoghurt and Cucumber - p 44 (UK ed)

                      This recipe calls for 8 small eggplant. I had four, so I made a half recipe. The recipe says to bake the eggplant, but in the photo, they have grill marks. A bit of the Batali syndrome here? (where pictures don't match the recipe as written). I baked mine as instructed, split in half and placed cut side down in some olive oil. While the eggplants are baking, you grate some cucumber, salt it, and let drain for 30 minutes. Then you squeeze the cucumber dry, and mix it in with some thick yoghurt (I used a Greek yoghurt). He calls for a clove of crushed garlic to be added. I grated the garlic, and used less than half a clove, as it is very strong when grated. Some chopped mint also goes in, and finally you toast some black onion seeds and add them. The black onion seeds, by the way, are also known as nigella, or black caraway.

                      The eggplant came out very well cooked, soft inside, but crisped up on the cut edge where it was in the oil. This was served with the cucumber yoghurt mix on the side. We just loved this. The cucumber yoghurt was great with the eggplant, but it would be good with other things too, so I think it will make repeat appearance at our table with other dishes.