The Herbal KitchenCooking with Fragrance and Flavor
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2005 Jerry Traunfeld
All right reserved.ISBN: 0060599766
Green Bean, Basil, and radish salad
Fillet beans, the slender green beans that are sometimes called haricots verts or "French beans," are perfect for this salad, but you can use other types of fresh beans, like Romano beans or runner beans, if you angle-cut them into bite-sized pieces. Just be sure they're snappy, tender, and sweet.
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 pound fresh fillet green beans
1 bunch radishes, cut into wedges (about 2 cups)
½ cup coarsely chopped basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup thin shavings Parmigiano-Reggiano
Stir the shallots and vinegar together in a large mixing bowl and let them sit to mellow the raw bite of the shallots.
Boil the beans in a large pot of heavily salted water until just tender but still have some crunch. Drain the beans and then plunge them into a large bowl of ice water. Drain again and dry on paper towels.
Add the beans to the bowl with the shallots. Toss in the radishes, basil, olive oil, salt, and a few grindings of black pepper. Turn out onto a serving platter and top with the shaved cheese.
In place of the basil, add 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped tarragon and top the salad with crumbled goat cheese instead of Parmesan. Or add ¼ cup coarsely chopped dill and top with crumbled feta.
Steamed Mussels with lovage
2 servings as a main course;
4 servings in a multicourse meal
The booming celerylike flavor of lovage might seem too strong for seafood, but it really complements most kinds, especially shellfish. I think mussels and lovage are a triumphant combination.
Lovage is an Old Faithful of an herb. You plant it once and early every spring it shoots from the earth and soars 6 or 7 feet in a couple of months — if you let it. The trick is to keep cutting back the flowering stalks so that it continues to produce young leaves, which are the only ones that are good to cook with. As the leaves get older and turn pale green or yellowed they become bitter and unpalatable.
2 pounds mussels, washed and beards removed
½ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped young lovage leaves
2 cups diced ripe tomatoes, or halved cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Generous grinding of black pepper
Put everything but 1 tablespoon of the lovage in a large skillet or saucepan and cover.
Cook over high heat until most of the mussels open up, then shake the pan and continue to cook for another minute. Spoon the mussels and their liquid into large serving bowls, sprinkle with the lovage that was set aside, and serve with crusty bread.