Cottage Cooking Club: June 2015
Finally after a long, long winter, fresh local vegetables are starting to be plentiful around these parts. Mostly what we’re seeing is Greens, Greens, and more Greens, though spring roots like radishes and salad turnips are being harvested too. I tried to align what’s available with the recipes I picked from Kitchen Lioness Andrea’s lineup for Cottage Cooking Club this month. The recipes we cook from British chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s cookbook, River Cottage Veg celebrate vegetables, sometimes in familiar ways, and often with an unfamiliar twist, which has been fun.
I chose two recipes this month. The first was New Potato Salad “Tartare”. I love potato salad, especially ones made in the French style with a vinaigrette. My signature salad is a Dijon potato salad (which I’m shocked to find I’ve never blogged about), but I’m always up for trying a new version. The flavorings in the salad were inspired by tartar sauce, without the mayo. What a refreshing twist! Chopped cornichons, capers, and fresh herbs (dill, chives, and parsley) are added to potatoes along with a simple vinaigrette. Quartered “soft” hard-boiled eggs add the final touch. I was even able to use chives and parsley from my back door herb garden!
The only thing I’d change about this is the cooking method for the potatoes. Whenever I boil potatoes for potato salad, I’m unhappy. The potatoes always seem water-logged. I have much better luck with steaming them. I followed the recipe and tried boiling them as directed, but I should learn by now to stick to my preferred method.
Other than this hiccup, I loved the end result. The contrast of the salty tangy pickles to the fresh verdant flavor of the herbs make a winning combination. I’ll definitely be making the River Cottage version of potato salad again this summer!
The second recipe was the Greens and Ricotta Tart. I couldn’t find beets with greens the day I went to the farmers market (just a tad too early in the season), but I found beautiful Swiss chard from Kimball’s Farm. I also couldn’t find ricotta salata where I looked, so I substituted another sheep’s milk cheese: Spanish Manchego. Savory tarts are another favorite of mine. In the summer, I make one almost every week. Again, I’m always happy to try a new combination and learn something new.
I love when a recipe that uses both the stems and the leaves of greens. It always feels wasteful to discard the stems which they are perfectly edible, though not always in the recipe at hand, and try to do “nose-to-tail” cooking of vegetables when possible. For this tart, thinly sliced stems are sautéed with the onion and garlic before adding the leaves to wilt. The custard for this tart is made richer with egg yolks and cream.
The pastry crust was interesting in its use of cold milk instead of water. I found the dough to be easy to work with and the final pastry had a flaky texture. The crust didn’t brown as I would have expected, but I’ll admit I’ve been having some issues with my oven temperature and it was probably that, not the recipe.
My intuition told me to use a larger tart pan than called for, so I chose an 11-inch instead of a 9-inch. This was the right call. The crust fit into the larger pan with no trouble, and I had custard leftover. I ended up making a mini-crustless tart with some already cooked broccoli rabe and the extra custard.
I was very lucky in my choices this month: two winners that I will definitely make again this season.
One of my favorite parts of this group is seeing the other participants’ results with the recipes I didn’t choose to make. It helps me narrow down the other winners in the book that I must try. If you’d like to see their posts, you can see them here.
Posted on 28 June 2015, in Cottage Cooking Club, Farmers Market and tagged Cottage Cooking Club, greens, potatoes, salad, tart. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.
Dear Betsy, you certainly picked two winners there – the Tart is absolutely wonderful and very versatile and your are absolutely right about the tart case being suitable for a larger tart pan. I took measurements and I decided to use my beloved pan with the high sides, . good call – it worked – no ricotta salata at the cheese monger either but regular creamy ricotta also does the trick. (I am still looking for those beet tops…I will find them some day and make this again) – I used sorrel and spinach and we loved it.
The potato salad is fantastic – our favorite these days. Yours looks terrific with all those fresh herbs – love your presentation in your beautiful bowl.
So nice to read that you loved your choices, dear friend – now if only I could munch away on a slice of your tart right now…
Have a great week and “see” you very soon,
Hi Betsy, another interesting month on different style preparations. I too make a Dijon Potato Salad. I’m eager to give this Tartare a go this evening as it seems to be met with mostly positive response and am fond of the ingredient combination. Love your steaming idea on the potatoes, I used to do that, and I’m thankful for you bringing it up because you have just brought back a process I thought was quite good, yes, thanks. Thought the tart was lovely too with the ricotta and chard and would also serve well as a luncheon dish. See you around. Thanks for another nice month.
I also was happy to be posting this month with some old FFWD colleagues and all my CCC group. It was “comfortable” in the best of ways. DId you notice, Betsy, that my couscous salad bowl and your potato salad bowl look the same? I think I picked up my bowl, which might be a bit larger, at our Aspen thrift shop. Anyway, food looks pretty in it, don’t you think? I also made the potato salad and will certainly make it often this summer. I never thought about steaming the potatoes but will give that a go also. Relying on your good judgment always. Everyone but moi made the tart. And, the revelation that you make savory tarts often during the summer will inspire me to at least try this recipe and do others. Bet you have a tart idea or two in your cookbook. (Nope, I just looked and you only have the sour cherry tart. You do have, however, the Dijon Potato Salad.) Such a delightful post with some good tips. XOX
Betsy, both of those dishes look fantastic! I too made the potato salad and I didn’t think of steaming the potatoes. Definitely a better idea as I agree that the texture of boiled potatoes is not my favorite (unless I’m going to mash them!). That tart with manchego as a sub sounds lovely. I’ll have to try that out. YUM!
Both dishes look wonderful Betsy. I, too, prefer vinaigrette dressings on potato (or any) salad but this one was particularly good. How nice that you were able to add your garden fresh herbs to it. The tart is a winner too. I think any combination of greens and cheese would work well in it. I like your idea of making one per week – it’s such a delicious way to use vegetables.
Great choices, and that tart is a winner all round!
Hi Betsy, both of your dishes look delicious, wish I had made the tart after seeing and reading about yours. Such a great idea about steaming the potatoes. Will use that method when I make mine next time, otherwise I am standing by the stove top waiting and waiting because the second I walk away I forget. Another great month.
I have never tried steaming potatoes. Now I’m intrigued. No pressure, but I do hope you have a chance to blog about your Dijon potato salad. I’m a sucker for anything with mustard….I read right past the “salata” part and made the tart with fresh ricotta. It was excellent. I’m so glad it’s finally time for summer vegetables!
Great choices, Betsy! That tart was a winner for me…loved the flavors! I used kale and spinach in mine…no fresh looking beet greens. And we both loved the potato salad! Both your dishes look delectable!
It was nice blogging along with some of our French Friday buddies this month!! BTW…my Sun-chokes are growing nicely…I was surprised to see them coming up! Pictures soon!
Lovely choices this month, Betsy. I had hoped to make the salad, but ran out of time. It sounds so very delicious; and don’t you just love being able to walk out back and cut what herbs you need for a recipe? The tart looks good too. Sounds like it was a hit with many of you – I’ll have to make a note to try this one for sure.