Cassoulet Kit, Live Monterey Crabs, Nic’s Waffles
Crabs finally showed up! Be careful not to get pinched! We recommend dropping the crab into boiling water that has been seasoned with Old Bay seasoning and salt (in the small cellophane baggie). Cook for 11-13 minutes. The tell is if you look at the back leg and it’s half red, then it’s done. Clean out the insides and serve. I like it plain but its also good with some melted butter and lemon. Would also be good with some garlic bread. I like to grill slices of bread and then top them with raw garlic and olive oil..
This week Brandon and I got a beautiful pig from Linda’s Tasty Pigs in Carmel Valley. Linda raises heritage pork breeds that have exceptional flavor and most of her pigs go to the top restaurants in SF. We’ll be featuring various cuts over the next few months, but this week Brandon made the mild French sausage we needed for the cassoulet!
Cassoulet is a classic French white bean baked dish that always involves duck confit and usually some sort of pork. Soak the beans overnight (twice as much water as beans). The next day, cook the beans in salted water or stock until just tender. Drain the beans and then toss them with the sofrito, and maybe some olive oil and a few whole garlic cloves and rosemary. Put the mix in a baking dish along with the duck legs and sausage (you want everything submerged ideally). Then top with bread crumb mixture and bake for about 45 minutes at 375. There should be enough left over to reheat again in the oven, this is one of those dishes that just gets better every time you reheat it.
I thought I’d make a baby spinach, red onion, and cherry tomato salad this week. If you have some goat cheese you can add that or some roasted beets if you have some left from last week. You can use some of the vinaigrette if you don’t use it on the celery root, or just lemon juice and olive oil.
Celery root can be a bit intimidating, but we love the flavor of it. You need to peel the outside until you end up with a nice clean root. My favorite preparation is to cut it into matchsticks and toss it in the mustard vinaigrette and eat it as a salad or side. If you let it sit a day in the vinaigrette it will soften up more. You could also cut it into pieces and steam it and put it in the food processor or blender with a pear and some butter and make a nice puree.
My uncle Nic is famous in our family for these Belgian waffles. They are more like a cake or cookie than what most people think of as Belgian waffles but my family is from Belgium so these qualify as official Belgian waffles. Dip them in your morning coffee or tea, or heat them in a toaster oven and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Broccoli greens are good sauteed or braised. Depending on how you like your greens they are good still a bit crunchy (less cooked) or soft (more cooked). I like to splash my greens with just a tablespoons worth of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice once they are cooked.
Castelfranco is a nice bitter green. It’s good in slaw or salad. I also like the Belgian baked dish of chicory leaves, rolled with some ham or cheese and baked in bechamel sauce.
As always, if you want more ideas, how to’s, or a better explanation of how to prepare any of these ingredients we always love to hear from you.