Ventresca with Green Garlic-Tomato Concassé and Lemon-Caper Mayonnaise

In celebration of the fact that the temperature was in the 60’s today and we’re still getting fresh tomatoes here(!), I decided to toss up a summery plate of Ventresca (sustainably line-caught yellowfin tuna bellies) with green garlic-tomato concassé, lemon-caper mayonnaise, balsamic glaze and a relish of roasted peppers, black olives and fresh herbs..

Ventresca with Green Garlic-Tomato Concassé and Lemon-Caper Mayonnaise

For the Concassé

1-2 bulbs green garlic, including tops, thinly sliced
1 large plum tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, preferably from the Ventresca tin
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Very slowly soften green garlic in olive oil over low heat, then add tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper and continue to warm until softened.  All to cool in mesh strainer, reserving the oil for the mayonnaise.

For the Mayonnaise

6-8 oz reserved olive oil
1 small pastured egg yolk
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon baby capers, mashed
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
saffron threads, soaked

Soak the saffron threads in 1 teaspoon of cold, filtered water for 15 minutes, then whisk together with the lemon juice, egg yolk and salt.  Add the oil in a very thin stream, whisking continuously to form an emulsion.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For the Relish

2 tablespoon roasted and pickled bell peppers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon ripe black olives, pitted and slivered
1 teaspoon fresh chiffonade-cut basil

Toss all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Balsamic Glaze

1/2 cup aceto balsamico tradizionale

Using a double boiler to prevent scorching, reduce unadulterated balsamic vinegar until reduced in volume by about half.  The resulting syrup will thicken as it stands.

To assemble, spoon tomato concassé onto a serving plate, then top with a layer of Vetresca and dress with mayonnaise.  Add a second layer of concassé, tuna and mayonnaise and top with roasted pepper relish.  Dab the plate with balsamic glaze and finish the dish with coarse sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper.

Chili Lime Delicata Fries, Avocado Mayonnaise

Wedges of oven-roasted delicata squash, seasoned with smoked chili powder and fresh lime, served with homemade avocado mayonnaise.

Makes a great side for Smoked Beef Brisket..

Chili Lime Delicata Fries, Avocado Mayonnaise

Chili Lime Delicata Fries, Avocado Mayonnaise

Split delicata squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Split halves into wedges, arrange skin-side down in a heavy skillet.  Season with fresh lime juice and smoked chili powder and roast in a 350 degree oven until tender/crisp and golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.

For the mayonnaise

1 pastured egg yolk at room temperature
1 teaspoon homemade mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 to 1 cup raw organic avocado oil
1/2 ripe avocado, mashed
generous pinch of sea salt

In your food processor, place egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice and salt and process until well blended, about 30 seconds.  With the motor running, add oil in a very slow, thin stream.  The mayonnaise will thicken as it stands.

Gulf Crab Cakes w/Orange Habanero Mayonnaise

Although some restaurants in the Chesapeake Bay area of Maryland and Virginia may not disclose it, most whole blue crabs sold there are shipped in from North Carolina, Louisiana, Florida and Texas.  Lucky me!

Cilantro, fresh lump crab, bell pepper, saltines, seasoning blend containing sea salt, mustard seed, celery seed, garlic, onion, chili pepper and black pepper, mayonnaise (or make your own), scallions, celery and an egg.

Lightly sauté celery, scallions and bell pepper and set aside to cool.

Toss together crab, cooled vegetables, herbs and seasonings, mayonnaise, a beaten egg and crushed saltines. Mixture should be moist but hold together when shaped.

Form mixture into patties about 3/4 inch to 1 inch thick then place in freezer for 15 minutes to firm. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 1/4 inch of peanut oil in the bottom of a small, heavy skillet.

Lightly coat the crab cakes with additional crushed saltines then sauté until light golden brown on bottom. Turn cakes over and finish in oven (about 8-10 minutes).

Finely mince 1/2 of a seeded and ribbed habanero and combine with 1/4 cup of mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons of orange juice.  Add a few drops of honey if its too hot for you.

Serve crab cakes with a salad of broccoli microgreens, slivered radishes and orange sections.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ +

Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches

Red onion, lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, pepper, curry powder, eggs, celery and cilantro.

Place eggs into pan and cover with cold water.  Turn heat on high.  As soon as the water begins to boil, cover the pan and remove from the heat.  Allow to sit precisely 10 minutes (f you want to see a perfect soft-boiled egg, pull one out at 6 minutes. Top it and season with S & P).

Pour off the hot water and transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water. Allow to sit until thoroughly cooled, at least 10 minutes.  Tap egg on counter and roll back-and-forth.  Beginning from the large end, peel the shell away in a near-continuous strip.  Yeah, right.

Dice eggs and add the rest of the ingredients and toss with a fork until just combined.  Adjust seasoning with S & P if needed.

Serve with field greens on toasted pumpernickel.  The egg salad isn’t actually green, by the way- that’s just a photo/lighting anomaly.

Because I’m weird, though, I eat my egg salad sandwiches with lots of Mexican hot sauce.