Eric and I (yes, the Man of the House has a name) have been making small-plate suppers since we first met. Sometimes we would have a variety of cheeses, charcuterie, olives and bread; other times we’ll make a spread of other small dishes like the ones we had last night: caprese salad made with burrata cheese and pesto, gigantic beans with rosemary and garlic, grilled Brussels sprouts, pan-fried sardines with romesco sauce and of course, a crusty baguette. I love these types of meals because they force us to slow down and breathe; really enjoy the food and savor good conversation over a nice glass of wine. I feel that in this day and age where everything happens so fast and there are so many distractions vying for our time, the time spent together sitting and enjoying a meal is so important. It doesn’t need to be complicated or fancy, just prepared with love.
|Pan-fried sardines with romesco sauce|
I used semolina for these, but I’ve also dredged them in corn meal with very successful results.
Romesco Sauce is a red pepper based sauce from Catalan, Spain. It is very easy to make and took only a few minutes and it is delicious served with fish. This recipe was found in Williams-Sonoma’s Seafood cookbook and it’s my go-to recipe. It was also a great way to use a stale baguette.
|Grilled Brussels Sprouts|
The simplest preparation. The sprouts were sliced in half and drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and placed on a hot grill. They took about 5 minutes. After removing from the grill, I squeezed a little fresh lemon juice over them. They got a little more charred than I’d planned, but that only increased the sweetness of the sprouts.
|Gigantic Beans with rosemary and garlic|
I saw these “Gigantic Beans” at Trader Joe’s and wanted to give them a try. I just placed them in a pan with two sprigs of rosemary, minced garlic, olive oil, and a little salt and pepper. The beans were packaged in a tomato sauce.
Last but not least, a lovely twist on a Caprese salad using slow roasted tomatoes, Burrata cheese and pesto made from basil we grew in the garden. This salad is luscious. Burrata cheese is made from the leftovers from making fresh mozzarella mixed with cream. The outside has a very soft skin and the inside is soft and creamy. I was able to find this burrata cheese at Trader Joe’s. Eric makes pesto the traditional way, with a mortar and pestle. Our basil was ready for a trim so I picked a good amount to make this salad. Both purple basil and sweet basil were used in the pesto, which gave it its interesting color. This recipe was inspired by Chef Nancy Silverton of Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles.
|Burrata Caprese Salad
Roast roma or campari tomatoes (or other small to medium sized tomato) in a 300 degree oven for one and a half hours.