Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jamie And His Veg

Jamie at Home with Jamie Oliver

Winter Salad
Roast Carrot and Avocado Salad with Orange and Lemon Dressing
Winter Crunch Salad with a Mind-Blowing Sauce

Jamie is outside. It’s winter in England and very cold and windy, BUT he’s “still got a fair old bit of salad” in his garden. He slips on the railroad ties that divide up his beds, as he shows us his radicchio. He’s very proud of his treviso, lamb cress, lamb’s lettuce and mustard cress. Goodness, THAT would be an impressive haul in the middle of summer.

He’s determined to make exciting winter salads. Back in the shed-like kitchen, he boils carrots for 15 minutes and drains them. They go into a bowl. They’re pretty – yellow, orange and purple. He going to make a salad that he says will have a Moroccan vibe. SEE?!! I told you, Morocco is the new black.

Into a nifty looking red screw top container, he puts salt, pepper, red chili, and cumin (my FAVORITE spice). He tightens the lid and “gives it a good smash up”. He adds garlic and thyme and does it again. I didn’t know you could deal with garlic by just shaking it vigorously, but he seems to be doing just that. The mixture gets sticky from the garlic, Jamie says, as he adds enough olive and vinegar to make a paste. He shakes it one more time.

He pours it over the carrots and shaky shakes the bowl. He adds the carrots to an old roasting tin with a halved orange and lime. It goes into a 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Jamie peels 2 avocados telling us this dish is a marriage of avocados and carrots. He says most people aren’t used to eating COOKED carrots in a salad. He takes out the carrots. One of them looks like a sausage, it’s so deeply colored and crusty. (That's a good thing.) They go into a bowl. He cuts the avocados and adds them to the carrots.

On to the dressing, Jamie loves cooking the fruit, because it “jamifies” it and concentrates its flavor. Using tongs, he squeezes the orange and lime into a bowl, with the pulp too, if it falls in. He adds an equal amount of olive oil and some salt and a hint of vinegar to tart it up a bit.

He grabs 3 pieces of grilled 1 cm. thick bread (.39 of an inch, in other words, less than half an inch) and breaks it up over the bowl. It gives the salad something crispy and a nice charred flavor.

He pours the dressing over the salad. Jamie mixes the baby lettuces by hand and plates up a serving (by hand.) He says to put a bit of yuh-girt or sour cream over the top plus a sprinkle of poppy seeds or… did he say hempseeds? Are you allowed to do that? Oh, this is England, after all, they have much more liberal laws than we do. Kidding….I think you’d have to down millions of seeds to feel any effects. It looks sublime.

His next recipe is an interesting version of bagna càuda, which means hot bath. It’s a mixture of garlic, anchovies and olive oil into which you dip vegetables. Jamie is making his with milk, which is a different spin, but results in a much milder dish.

He puts 6 cloves of garlic in ½ pint of milk and adds 4 fillets of anchovies. It’s fine to get some of their oil in. He likes to have this with lots of raw vegetables. He cuts carrots in half and slices them super thin. Jamie loves raw beetroot, but tells us it has to be sliced REALLY thin. He does that. He also loves the yellow leaves of celery. (The green ones are bitter.) He slices the celery, making sure to include some of the yellow leaves. He says you can blanch a romanesco cauliflower, but he’s leaving it raw. He slices that up.

Jamie slices fennel like a machine. He exclaims at the size of his black radish. “This is one hell of a…look at the size of this radish.” (Men are always bragging.) He peels and slices it. He likes to use only crunchy vegetables. He grabs a celeriac and tells us sadly that he can’t grow it for some reason. He seems troubled by that. He peels and slices it.

The garlic makes the milk split, so he uses a hand blender to whirl it to smoothness. He drizzles in olive oil and adds a little vinegar. It looks like a thin custard. “Oh, my Lord, it tastes so so good.” He pours it into a bowl and surrounds it by the vegetables. That’s ONE way to serve it.

He prefers to serve it another way. He mixes all the vegetables together in a colorful tangle of crunch and crispiness. He says the way they do it in his restaurant is to serve the plate of vegetables, and the waiter (or waitperson) comes around and pours over the very hot sauce and you dress it yourself. Jamie says, “You won’t get a more incredible salad and if you don’t believe me, try it.” He drizzles over a bit more olive oil.

THAT is a really nice variation – bagna càuda made with milk. Centuries ago, we learned to degorgé our anchovies in milk. It made them sweeter and less salty, but you didn’t USE the milk after. This recipe is a mellower version of an oil-based bagna càuda. Think about the difference between cooking garlic in oil, where it would have a very robust flavor and cooking it in milk, which would give it a much more delicate flavor. Interesting, Jamie.

His last dish is a tuna ceviche. He describes it as “Modern, cool, refreshing, looks flashy.” He’s using beautiful blue fin tuna.

First he slices a thumb-sized piece of ginger. (I don’t like phrase, it makes me think of slicing off my thumb.) He cuts the ginger into tiny matchsticks. He slices cloves of garlic. The garlic goes into hot oil and he watches it carefully. He takes it out when it’s just browned and puts in on brown paper. (Even the paper in his kitchen has that organic look.) The ginger goes in for a bit more time.

Meanwhile he cuts the tuna in half with a thin-bladed knife, and continues to cut skinny slices. I just noticed he’s cooking the ginger on top of a wood burning stove, it looks like, while he’s seated. He plates the tuna. (Or use salmon.) He says he likes having a funky plate. Oh, he’s not talking about the china (it IS a big funky platter though), he’s talking about the DISH.

Jamie goes on rapturously about yuzu and how he can’t get it easily. It’s what those wild guys on Top Chef use all the time and it is on the menu of Jamie’s London restaurant. He says it tastes like a mixture of clementine, lime and grapefruit.

He’s going to make an approximation himself. He mixes together lime, tangerine and grapefruit juices. He tastes it and says it needs to be “sharper”. He adds more lime juice and salt. “It’s not as good as yuzu, but it’s not so far off.” He tops the tuna with sprouts, the garlic chips and ginger. It does look gorgeous.

Jamie’s done it again. On a cold winter day, he’s made fresh, flavorful salads from his garden. I guess the lesson is gorgeous ingredients make great dishes.

A year ago today...
Nigella, Nigella, Nigella


JustMelanie said...

I believe Jamie was using his "Flavour Shaker" which has a ceramic ball in it to help smash up the garlic.

Sue said...

Hi JustMelanie,

Thank you so much for that info. I really appreciate it. That would explain the garlic being pulverized. It is the coolest thing I've seen in awhile. And the color is gorgeous. I like the purple one too.

Emiline said...

You can learn so much from this guy. Watching his show is worth your time, you know?
I love that the whole show was focusing on vegetables. I love my vegetables!

I've never had yuzu before. Wasn't that what the glacier was made out of on Top Chef?

Au revoir!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Jamie makes me sort of angry. How dare he cook all of those fresh foods from his own garden! How dare he have a garden! How dare he have a garden in the winter!

Okay. Envy isn't a healthy emotion. Got it off my chest.

I still wish I could grow my own vegetables like that.

michelle @ the smackdown said...

bagna cauda with milk? must try.

and i need that flavor shaker.

i still haven't seen this show, since i'm so disillusioned with the food network that i rarely flip to it anymore lest i accidentally have to see guy fieri's annoying mug. i need to figure out when jamie oliver's on so i can catch him.

Sue said...

Oui, Emiline,

Yuzu must be the new pink...

Jamie is so great. He makes almost no concessions in using the freshest ingredientss possible. Of course, it helps that he only has to walk outside a few yards to get whatever he wants, but still...

Hi Rach,

Yeah, it's really not fair, but I have to say I prefer my kitchen to his shed.

Hi Michelle,

I wasn't familiar with milk in Bagna Cauda either, but then I looked around and it is used in some recipes. Jamie's on at 9:30 am on Saturday mornings in the Eastern time zone.