Thursday, 14 April 2011

Everyday to Entertaining, featuring Arugula Salad with Shaved Fennel and Prosciutto

Arugula Salad with Shaved Fennel and Prosciutto
Mmm, doesn't that look delicious? All my favourite flavours on one chilled plate.

Everyday to Entertaining is a fabulous concept: develop a core set of weeknight dishes that you can make with little time and fuss, and add some extra steps and ingredients to make those same meals into guest-worthy delights for the weekend!

Giving one example from each delicious chapter:
Crab Dip with Artichokes and Jalapeno becomes 
Crab and Goat Cheese Bouchées
Arugula Salad with Grape Tomatoes and Shallot Vinaigrette becomes 
Arugula Salad with Shaved Fennel and Prosciutto
Black Bean and Chorizo Soup becomes 
Caribbean Black Bean Soup with Mango Habanero Salsa
Lemony Fettuccini Alfredo becomes 
Fettuccini with Roasted Asparagus and Tarragon Lemon Cream Sauce
Braised Short Ribs becomes 
Guinness-Braised Short Ribs with Horseradish Cream
White Wine Braised Chicken becomes 
Coq au Vin with Mushrooms, Bacon and Pearl Onions
Ahi Tuna Burgers become 
Ahi Tuna Cakes with Asian Coleslaw and Wasabi Mayonnaise
Corn Fritters become 
Corn, Zucchini and Basil Fritters
Rustic Plum Tart becomes 
Individual Plum Tartlets with Frangipane and Plum Brandy

Talk about kicking it up a notch!

Everyday to Entertaining
200 Sensational Recipes That Transform from Casual to Elegant

Meredith Deeds, Carla Snyder
Softcover, 384 pages

In our KitchenPuppy test kitchen, we served up the Fettuccini with Pesto, Mozzarella and Fresh Tomatoes and served it with Arugula Salad with Shaved Fennel and Prosciutto. Absolutely delicious and definitely guest-worthy. Give these recipes a try!
Arugula Salad with Shaved Fennel and Prosciutto
Arugula Salad with Shaved Fennel and Prosciutto

One of the best reasons to wear perfume is that its scent precedes you. It relays a silent message of great expectations. Similarly, we love how the peppery arugula brings out the best in savory, roasted fennel, with salty prosciutto chiming in. A simple browning of the shallots will give you a vinaigrette with out of this world taste.

Serves 6
Hands-on time
30 minutes
Start to finish
45 minutes

Make Ahead
The vegetables, dressing and Parmesan curls can be made up to 4 hours ahead of time and kept, covered, at room temperature. Toss arugula and dressing together moments before serving.

•    Preheat greased barbecue grill to medium-high
or preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)
•    6 chilled plates

Caramelized Shallot Vinaigrette
2    shallots, peeled and quartered    2
1 tbsp    extra virgin olive oil, divided    75 mL
plus 1⁄4 cup
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp    white wine or sherry vinegar    30 mL
1⁄2 tsp    minced fresh thyme    2 mL
1⁄4 tsp    salt    1 mL
Pinch    freshly ground black pepper    Pinch

2    heads fennel, trimmed and sliced    2
    crosswise into 1⁄8-inch (3 mm) slices
1 tbsp    olive oil    15 mL
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
11⁄2 cups    arugula    375 mL
8    slices prosciutto, coarsely chopped    8
1⁄2 cup    chopped toasted walnuts    125 mL
18    curls Parmesan cheese, preferably    18
    Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved
    with a vegetable peeler

Arugula Salad with Shaved Fennel and Prosciutto
1.    Caramelized Shallot Vinaigrette: Spread shallots on a grill basket if grilling or a baking sheet if roasting in oven. Drizzle shallots with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill or roast for about 15 minutes or until shallots have caramelized and softened. Let cool. Mince and transfer to a large bowl.
2.    Add vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper to shallots. Let stand for at least 5 minutes or for up to 1 hour. Whisk in 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) olive oil. Set aside.
3.    Spread fennel on a grill basket if grilling or a baking sheet if roasting in oven. Drizzle fennel with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Grill or roast for 7 to 8 minutes or until fennel softens slightly. Transfer to a medium bowl. Toss fennel with 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the vinaigrette. Set aside.
4.    Add arugula to a large bowl and toss with 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the vinaigrette until well coated. Be careful not to overdress the salad. There shouldn't be any dressing pooling in the bottom of the bowl.
5.    Divide arugula among 6 chilled plates and arrange roasted fennel decoratively on top. Sprinkle prosciutto and walnuts over top and garnish with Parmesan curls.

Caramelized Shallot. Grilling or roasting the shallot brings out its sweeter nature. Once the sugars have browned, the shallot morphs from sharp to sweet, providing a rich, full-bodied background flavor. Once you've become familiar with shallots, your kitchen will never be without them.

Fashion Plate
Begin with this salad and follow with simple Steak with Simple Deglazing Sauce (page 182), Crispy Potato Cakes (page 304) and Almond Cake with Apricot Filling and Whipped Cream (page 334).

Fettuccini with Pesto, Mozzarella and Fresh Tomatoes
Fettuccini with Pesto, Mozzarella and Fresh Tomatoes

Whether you make your own or buy a good-quality pesto from the grocery store, this condiment is an easy addition that makes a big impact on any dish. In this hearty pasta dish, we combine it with chunky tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese for a taste of summer that you'll yearn for all through the cold winter months.

Serves 4 to 6
Hands-on time
20 minutes
Start to finish
40 minutes

1⁄4 cup    Pesto (page 25) or store-bought    60 mL
1⁄4 cup    extra virgin olive oil    60 mL
1 tbsp    balsamic vinegar (approx.)    15 mL
1⁄4 tsp    hot pepper flakes    1 mL
    Freshly ground black pepper
2    cloves garlic, minced, divided    2
    Grated zest of 1 lemon
21⁄2 tsp    salt, divided    12 mL
1 lb    fresh fettuccine pasta    500 g
3    large tomatoes, diced    3
1⁄4 cup    freshly grated Parmesan cheese    60 mL
1 cup    bocconcini (fresh mozzarella),    250 mL
    cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
2 tbsp    sliced fresh basil    30 mL
Fettuccini with Pesto, Mozzarella and Fresh Tomatoes
1.    In a large pot, bring 4 quarts (4 L) water to a boil over high heat.
2.    In a large bowl, whisk together pesto, olive oil, vinegar, hot pepper flakes, 1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper, garlic, lemon zest and 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) of the salt.
3.    Stir remaining 2 tsp (10 mL) salt into the pot of boiling water. Stir in fettuccine and boil for 4 to 5 minutes or until pasta is tender and cooked through to the center. Drain well.
4.    Add pasta to pesto mixture and toss gently to coat. Add tomatoes, Parmesan and bocconcini and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper or vinegar to taste, if necessary. Serve immediately garnished with basil.

Fresh Pasta. Most grocery stores sell fresh pasta these days. Whether you make your own or purchase it from the grocery store, fresh pasta gives this dish a chewy texture that makes us want to keep eating long after our appetites have been satisfied.

Recipes excerpted from Everyday to Entertaining by Meredith Deeds and Carla Snyder © 2011 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.