Bonjour Mes Amis,

Celebrate the 1st day of Spring like a Parisian!

It’s tradition around the world for bakeries to give out free macarons on the first day of Spring. To help us celebrate, Ami Varsanyi of Luv Macarons will be handing out free macarons to our customers TOMORROW Friday, March 20th from 11 am to 1 pm…

à la vôtre !
Catherine Reynolds
Halibut Steaks Poached in Olive Oil with Mushrooms, Anchovies & Capers fromMediterranean Clay Pot Cooking by Paula Wolfert $34.95
The first of the spring season wild Alaskan halibut has hit the Pike Place Market! You can cook this in a tagine or a cazuela. Since it calls for 2 cups of oil, Paula says you can preserve the leftover olive oil in a covered container in the fridge for a week–for poaching more fish or in a fish salad.

1/2 cup dried porcini
2 Tbs salted capers, preferably from the island of Pantelleria
2 cups extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, bruised
1 fresh thyme sprig
3/4 to 1 lb halibut steak, cut 1 inch thick
Sea salt
1 tsp crushed hot red pepper
8 oil-packed anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and coarsely chopped
2 Tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice

Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup warm water to cover for 20 minutes. Drain them, reserving the liquid. Rinse the mushrooms to rid them of any sand; then chop them finely. Strain the liquid through a paper filter to remove all the sand. Separately, soak the capers in water for 20 minutes & drain.

Meanwhile, add the olive oil, garlic & thyme to the cazuela & heat slowly to 200 degrees. Quickly rinse the halibut, pat dry, and slip into the oil. (The temperature will drop to about 175.) Poach the fish at this temperature for 12 minutes, or until the flesh just begins to flake along the edges. Transfer the tagine or cazuela from the heat to a wooden surface or folded kitchen towel to prevent cracking. Use a wide spatula to transfer the fish to a side dish. Lightly dust the fish with sea salt. Pour the poaching oil into a jar & set aside. Return the fish to the warm tagine or cazuela & cover loosely.

Transfer the garlic to a small conventional saucepan. Add the hot pepper, anchovies, and mushrooms along with their soaking liquid. Quickly boil over high heat until reduced by half, crushing the garlic & anchovies to a smooth paste. Reduce the heat to medium, Add the drained capers, parsley, and lemon juice and return to a boil. Enrich the sauce with 2 Tbs of the poaching oil. Pour the sauce over the fish & serve at once.

FRENCH OLIVE OIL

Barral Extra Virgin Olive Oil $13.99 1/2 liter, $24.99 liter
This new olive oil from Nice is in heavy rotation in my kitchen. It’s flavorful enough to use as a finishing touch, yet inexpensive enough to cook with. 100% Cailletier (also known as Taggiasca in Italy)–these are the olives used to make the famous Nicoise salad. Buttery, smooth and ultra-versatile. And a handsome bottle to display on your counter…

CHEESE OF THE WEEK

Don Mariano, Spain $24.99 LB

Someone from San Juan Island just contacted me, hoping we could find some ‘stinky cheese’ for her. I recommended this beauty… Raw milk artisan goat cheese from Southern Extremadura on the Portuguese border. This is massaged by hand for 60 days, resulting in a pungent rind that packs a punch. Inside, the cheese is creamy, piquant & spicy. This gets rave reviews from lovers of super-strong cheese.

NEW WINES TO TRY

Domaine de Pellehaut Harmonie de Gascogne Rose 2014, Gascony $8.99
Wines from Gascony are a true bargain. Made with Tannat & Merlot from a historic family-owned domaine & the first independent producer in the region. Fresh strawberry compliments savory pepper & herbs.

Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rose 2014, Pays d’Herault $11.99

This is rose with a sense of place. A medium-bodied blend of 25-50 year old Grenache, Carignan & Syrah grown along the Gassac River. Loves bold flavors like anchovies, olives, saffron, Salade Nicoise, pate & charcuterie. 

Albert Biochot C’est la Vie Pinot-Syrah 2012, Vin de Pays d’Oc $11.99

File this under dangerously easy to drink. 60% Pinot Noir/40% Syrah that’s the life of the party. Cherry, raspberry, violet, earth & herbs. Quintessential bistro wine.

Chateau d’Arcole 2009, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru $25.99

Chateau d’Arcole was the first in Saint-Emilion to farm organically. This is a traditional right bank red made with 70% Merlot & 30% Cab.
“Take all your preconceptions about merlot, and Bordeaux blends, and throw them out the window before tasting the 2009 Chateau D’Arcole. Spicy, soft, refreshing and gorgeously exotic…the 2009 will reward cellaring or decanting with pure fruit notes of blueberry and kirsch without any of that mouth-coating heaviness you might expect.” -Katherine Cole, The Oregonian

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