As you can guess I am in no way a vegetarian, that’s just crazy talk. At the same time, tho, protein rich dishes all the time will inevitably slow you down and bring on a filthy case of the meat sweats. Pork fat glistening down your forehead is no good, not all the time anyways, so last week I decided to create a dinner comprising 5 or 6 vegetarian items for myself, Megs, my Mom, and Aunt Kim. Again, none of us are vegetarians, but my Ma has all sorts of silly food allergies and my Aunt Kim always gives me hell for serving veal or lamb. On the menu:
Olives and Asiago Pressato (a silky Asiago much softer than the typical variety)
Fava and Cannellini Salad with Pineapple Sage and Lemon Juice
Hearts of Romaine with Apples, Pears, Feta and Balsamic
Pan Seared Salmon with Taziki
Oven Roasted Asparagus with Fried Eggs
My Pan Roasted Mushrooms I’ve posted a few times, this time with Shitake and Cremini.
Here are two of the above recipes so you can prepare a veggie-extravaganza the next time you feel your arteries closing up (it happens to the best of us).
Fava and Cannellini Salad
1 lb Favas (fresh if you can find them or high-quality canned variety)
1 Large Can of water packed Cannellini Beans (drained and rinsed)
Small Handfule of Basil, Mint, or Pineapple Sage (regular sage is far too strong for this)
Olive Oil, Chile Flakes, Salt and Pepper
Fava Beans are a little tricky. The pods can be humongous, sometimes 6-7 inches long. Tear off the top and run your finger down the pod to expose the beans inside (above). The pods are inedible so toss those but collect all the beans. Each little fava has an exterior skin that is a bit leathery and unappetizing unless they are incredibly young. To remove this skin you can waiste 15 minutes skillfully peeling them off one by one…OR you can blanch them in boiling water for 10-25 seconds which will loosen the skin and slide right off (below).
Once your favas are peeled and cooled, toss into a bowl with the rinsed cannellinis, juice of one lemon, 4 or five good gluggs (tbs if you wanna be fancy) of olive oil, the herbs torn apart, plenty of chile flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and allow to cool in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.
2 Small Plain Greek Yogurts…things (what would you call those little cups they come in? cups?)
Handful of Mint
1 Large Cucumber
Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper
Start by dicing your Cucumber into the smallest dice possible. I have a feeling grating the cucumber could work really well too, but I haven’t tried it so don’t hold me to that. Combine the diced cucumber, yogurt, juice of 1 lemon, and chopped handful of mint together with salt and pepper to taste. Chill for 30 minutes before serving with a bosh drizzle of great olive oil on top.
The meal was heady to say the least. The yogurt of the Taziki, which ended up on top of almost everything, replaced the richness of high-fat proteins like beef or pork. Oozing fried egg dripping over crispy, nutty asparagus next to mid-rare lobes of salmon atop crunchy slices of pear and apple…a hefty steak was the last thing on our minds. The bean salad is refreshing and sinful only in flavor, with plenty of heat from the chiles and pop from the herbs.
So am I going Vegetarian, expelling meats of all kinds and sticking to only what grows out of the fertile soils of mother earth? F to the No! But, I am planning on eating more pot-luck style veggie meals this year…gotta shed these pounds some how…