Surprise your beloved with these recipes that are sure to spark romance any day of the week!
Celery Root and Apple Salad with Smoked Salmon
This recipe makes a beautiful starter course. Celery root is one of those under appreciated ingredients that deserves more love. Pick celery roots that are heavy for their size, which means there won’t be a hole in the center. Taste the celery root after cutting, and if it seems tough or too strongly flavored, then blanch it for a few seconds in salted boiling water followed by a dunk in ice water to retain its crunch. This is delicious with any Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay and something special to share.
1 medium celery root (1 to 1-1/2 pounds or so) 1 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup buttermilk 2 tablespoons each whole grain and smooth Dijon mustard, or to taste 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste 2 teaspoons sherry or brown rice vinegar Salt and freshly ground pepper 1 large Fuji or other tart-sweet apple peeled and cut into julienne 1 pound very thinly sliced cold smoked salmon 3 – 4 ounces fresh salmon caviar (or sturgeon caviar) Chervil or dill sprigs
Peel, thinly slice and chop the celery root into a thin julienne. In a separate bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, mustards, lemon juice, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste until smooth. Stir in celery root and apple to evenly coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This is best done at least an hour ahead and chilled for the flavors to develop.
Mound the celery root mixture on plates and artfully arrange the salmon on top. Top with caviar and chervil sprigs and serve immediately.
This dish exemplifies how just a few fine ingredients can create a superb dish. The key in this recipe is to use a quality pancetta or bacon. Bucatini is spaghetti-shaped, but a little thicker and hollow in the center. You could certainly use regular spaghetti of good quality, too. All kinds of variations are possible within this recipe; including the addition of finely chopped ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced and sautéed onions, tender spinach leaves. Pair with a glass of Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir!
1 pound dried bucatini or thick spaghetti 6 ounces good quality thick sliced pancetta or bacon cut into matchsticks 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (4 ounces) Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring 3 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the bucatini and cook till just tender but firm to the bite (al dente).
While the pasta is cooking add the olive oil to a large sauté pan large enough to hold the pasta later on. Over moderately high heat, sauté the pancetta till browned and nearly crisp. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
Quickly drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and add to the sauté pan. Using tongs, toss with the bacon. Add the parsley, zest and cheese and toss again adding the reserved pasta water. Cover and let rest for one minute on very low heat to allow pasta to absorb the flavors. Serve immediately in warm bowls with grindings of black pepper to taste.