The good folks over at The Ingredient Finder recently emailed me to let me know about their nifty website: geared towards those of us home cooks who unfortunately may not have easy access to the more esoteric, less common ingredients that are sometimes required for certain recipes, The Ingredient Finder is a great tool. While I am located in New York City, there are still some things I can’t always just run out and pick up at the store easily, so this is great even for those of my readers in NYC!
Inviting me to test out the site, they also sent me over a Spanish-themed goodie package containing saffron from Spain, piquillo peppers, Cataluna spice blend, and a container of pimenton de la vera or sweet paprika. I decided to take a shot at making some Spanish goodies, realizing I actually don’t cook much stuff with a Spanish flair to it.
And so it was on Super Bowl Sunday that I found myself whipping up goodies to eat while watching the game alone.
First up, I decided I wanted deviled eggs. This was super easy, just a little twist on deviled eggs. If you don’t already know how to make them, it’s really simple: hard boil some eggs (I did only one because it was just me); cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the yolk. Mix the yolk – here I used a bit of mustard, a bit of mayo, sweet pickle relish, some diced onion, lemon juice, diced up piquillo pepper, salt/pepper and a bit of paprika. Then scoop the yolk back into the egg white ‘shell’ and serve! I sprinkled a bit more paprika on top for color.
Delicious, and easy! The piquillo peppers added a lot of sweetness to the creamy yolk mixture, while the paprika brought a little smokiness to the table.
Next up, stuffed piquillo peppers. Be sure to rinse the peppers of any leftover seeds and pat them dry- the seeds won’t hurt you, but could be unpleasant to bite if you’re not expecting them. This was just a random mixture I threw together: salmon with St. Andre Triple Creme, a bit of salt & pepper. I could have added some paprika but I wanted to keep it simple. If you don’t have St. Andre Triple Creme, I would use cream cheese – in fact, I might use that next time anyway, because the St. Andre, as mild as it is, interfered a little with the flavor of the peppers. Otherwise, this was a great little bite-sized snack to munch on while watching the game. Yummy.
And last but not least, I made garlic-tarragon quick bread to smear with tapenade.
So easy, it’s hard to call this a recipe.
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 can of black olives, drained
3 piquillo peppers, rinsed and drained
Paprika, I think I used 2 teaspoons
Whirl together in a food processor until consistency is spreadable. Add olive oil as necessary. Taste to check for seasoning – you may want to add some freshly cracked black pepper, though you probably won’t want salt as olives are pretty salty as it is. YUM.
Tarragon Garlic Quickbread – from Savory Baking, Mary Cech, Chronicle Books
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 a stick)
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a loaf pan with some non-stick spray. Put the garlic and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat just long enough to melt the butter. Set aside.
Stir the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, sugar, and tarragon together in a medium bowl. Crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk in the sour cream and buttermilk. Pour the egg mixture and garlic butter over the flour mixture and stir just until moistened through.
Spoon the dough/batter into the prepared pan and place it in the oven. Bake until the top springs back when gently touched in the center, 45-55 minutes (I made this twice; first time at 45 it was too raw, but second time at 50 it was perfect). Put the loaf on a cooling rack until just warm; unmold the loaf and wrap it in plastic film.
Yes, I baked again. Aren’t you proud of me? And it tasted pretty good, though the tarragon flavor was muted a bit. The second time I made it, I added way more garlic and more tarragon and was better pleased with the results.
You might not think it, but wow, the tapenade was absolutely perfect on the toasty warm bread. The flavors really melded well together… I was one happy girl. I mean, funny enough, I made the bread with the tapenade in mind, but when they came together, it was like they really were made just for each other. SO good.
But honestly, the recipe I threw together of which I am the most proud was definitely the salmon linguine with saffron cream sauce.
Just look at how awesome that is.
Take a good, long look, because you know this is what you’ll be eating for dinner tonight, right?
I shamefully admit that though I made enough for 2-3 meals, I wound up standing over the pan in the kitchen and ate more than one person’s share that first night. Mmm. So damn good.
Salmon Linguine with Saffron Cream Sauce
1/2 package linguine
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 large Spanish onion, minced
2 healthy glugs of a nice white wine (remember, if you wouldn’t drink it, you don’t want to cook with it; and I used a sweet Riesling)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Pinch of saffron threads, steeped in hot water (reserve the water)
1 tablespoon sour cream
Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 can good quality salmon, drained and broken up a little in the can
Cook the linguine according to the package directions. Reserve a half cup or so of the cooking water for later use.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in the bottom of a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion to the skillet, letting it soften before adding the wine. Allow the onions to absorb some of the wine and some of the wine to evaporate before adding the heavy cream. Then, add the saffron – including the water it was steeped in – and let meld together before you whisk in the sour cream. Let come to a bubble. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Add the linguine as it finishes cooking, tossing in the sauce to coat each strand with the amazing flavors. Add about a tablespoon of the pasta water to help thicken the sauce; if the sauce is too thin, add a bit more until it is the right consistency. As all of this finishes and comes together, add the salmon from the can directly into the pan, tossing together to evenly distribute the salmon. Cook until the salmon is heated through, then turn off heat.
Serving suggestion: alongside some crusty baguette, with a bit of parsley flakes sprinkled on top (like above). So good! I was blown away by just how little saffron you need to perfume the entire pot of deliciousness. Mmm, I think I might make this again tonight… (and yes, you can use fresh salmon, which I tried the following week, but you’ll have to stay tuned for that recipe!)
But wait… there’s more! The Ingredient Finder has graciously agreed to host a contest for all of my lucky, lovely readers! That’s right, you have a chance to win a goodie pack of your very own (items included may or may not be the same as what I received, at the discretion of The Ingredient Finder).
All you have to do is check out The Ingredient Finder yourself and share in the comments below what your dream ingredient prize from the site would be, and what you would make with it. Or you can tell me what you’d make if you had the ingredients I received (hey, help a girl out here, so I can make more food to share with you, my darling readers!). You have until midnight EST on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011, to leave your comment and be entered! At that time, I will use Random.org to pick a winner from the comments.
Good luck and as always, happy eating!
Please note that I received no monetary compensation for this post, and that I was under no obligation to post an opinion, positive or negative. I express my own thoughts herein; thanks again to The Ingredient Finder for your generous goodie package, it was a lot of fun to play with the ingredients and come up with new things!