ROSÈ, or THE HEGEMONY OF MOOD

I tend to shop at the market in one of two ways. If I’m in a hurry, I’ll reach instinctively for things that I know I can incorporate into any meal: tortillas, eggs, spinach, potatoes, ham, pasta. If I’m feeling leisurely, I’ll methodically survey everything on offer and choose only the freshest, most enticing things: ramps, Morel mushrooms, rhubarb, pork cheeks, scallops, breakfast radishes. This past weekend, I took a different approach: I shopped maniacally for things that would complement a Provençal rosé I had been waiting all winter to enjoy.

Never get in the way of a grown man in the mood for rosé. He behaves like a well-trained pig on the scent of a truffle, grunting past thorn and thicket as if nothing else mattered. With dozens of market vendors proffering thousands of goods, distractions abound. FRESH HAND ROLLED DONUTS! LOCAL FREE RANGE CHICKEN EGGS! WORLD’S BEST CHEESESTEAKS! All of them distractions, designed to ensnare his wet snout. His mind is lucid with the promise of rosé — crisp with a hint of strawberries, utterly refreshing, dry and pale as can be. Item by item, a meal begins to take shape: first a carton of colorful tomatoes, then several bunches of green garlic and basil, Vidalia onions, one whole rabbit, salty knobs of cheese, and the season’s first cherries. From this, a feast fit for rosé:

TOMATOES with BASIL

PASTA with CHEESE & BLACK PEPPER

ROAST RABBIT & VIDALIA ONIONS with GREEN GARLIC SAUCE

CHERRY TART

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TOMATOES with BASIL

2 large handfuls of ripe cherry tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
aged balsamic vinegar
kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper
a small handful of basil leaves

In a large bowl, drizzle the tomatoes with just enough olive oil to coat. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar, adding just enough to accentuate but not overwhelm the tomatoes’ flavor. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the tomatoes on a platter and scatter the basil leaves on top.

BUCATINI CACIO e PEPE

6 oz. bucatini (or spaghetti)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup of hot pasta water
3/4 cup grated Grana Padano cheese
1/3 cup grated Pecorino cheese
freshly cracked black pepper
kosher salt

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until not quite al dente. Drain the water but reserve about 1 cup. Heat a large non-stick skillet and add the butter. Once it has melted, add 1/2 a cup of hot pasta water and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and gradually add the cheese until it melts and coats the pasta. Season very liberally with black pepper. Add salt to taste.

ROAST RABBIT & VIDALIA ONIONS with GREEN GARLIC SAUCE

for the rabbit:
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
5-6 Vidalia onion bulbs, diced
several sprigs of thyme
kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper
1 whole rabbit (or chicken) cut into pieces

for the sauce:
1/2 cup of green garlic, chopped
1/2 cup of basil leaves, packed
about 2/3 cup of grapeseed or light olive oil
1/2 tsp dried red chili pepper flakes
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper

Heat the oven to 400. Season the rabbit with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and oil in a large oven-safe skillet. Add the onions and thyme and cook for 3-4 minutes. Push the onions to one side and add the rabbit pieces to brown in the pan. Once the rabbit is nicely browned, transfer the skillet to the oven and finish roasting for about 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile blend all the ingredients for the green garlic sauce and set aside. Remove the rabbit from the oven and serve with the caramelized onions and sauce.

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CHERRY TART

recipe from The Kitchn:
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup of sugar
1 1/4 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
2 1/2 cups pitted fresh cherries
2 eggs
1-2 cups half and half (depends on amount of cherries used)

Preheat oven to 375. Cream the butter and sugar – cream it well, so that the butter is pale, light, and fluffy looking, about 5 minutes. Sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder, and add to the butter and sugar mixture and and mix briefly. The mixture should be crumbly but moist enough to hold together when pressed. Set aside 1/4 cup of the mixture, and press remaining dough into tart pan, making sure the sides are strong and even. Add the cherries, spreading them evenly over the bottom of the pressed in dough. Sprinkle the reserved 1/4 cup of dough mixture over the cherries, carefully place the tart pan on a baking sheet (being sure not to accidentally push up on the bottom of the pan, which would dislodge your crust), and slide it into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a bowl, then add the half and half and whisk until it is well combined. After 15 minutes, open oven door and pull the baking sheet half way out of the oven. Carefully and quickly pour the custard mixture over the tart, then carefully and gently push the baking sheet back in, and close the oven door. Bake the tart for another 25 minutes, until the crust is a deep golden brown and the custard is set and beginning to brown.

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