Thursday, May 4, 2017

Summer Salad of Anise Bulb, Yukon Gold and Purple Peru Potato with Tarragon Vinaigrette

     A Tasty Summer Salad That Pairs Well With Seafood!
     Today's composed salad is perfect for the late spring and summer seasons.  I used to make a similar anise root salad at a fine dining seafood restaurant in a Florida beachside resort.  For today's recipe, colorful slices of Yukon Gold Potato and Purple Peru Potato were added to the recipe.  The potatoes make the salad a bit more hearty and this is an asset since this salad is designed to be paired with a seafood entrée.  The Provence region of France is renowned for great seafood specialties and  Salade Nicoise requires a potato garnish for the Tuna, so in a gastronomical sense, a salad made with chilled boiled potato is well founded.
     Since a few colorful Peruvian hybrid potatoes have finally been offered at markets, the plain white potato or red bliss potato are no longer the only alternative options.  Natural varieties of potatoes were hybridized by the Incans and earlier South American civilizations.  There are hundreds of ancient potato hybrids from Peru that have not yet been marketed at grocery stores.  One that I would like to see marketed is the Peruvian Calico Potato, because it is multi colored.  Calico potatoes look nice on a plate.
     Anise Bulb (Fennel Bulb or Florence Fennel) has a nice light anise flavor, which pairs well with a Tarragon Vinaigrette.  Tarragon has been cast aside by many chefs in recent years, because for some unknown reason many customers shy away from this herb.  Even so, there are still a majority of fine dining clientele that relish the thought of tasting classic food preparations that feature tarragon.  Tarragon is a strong tasting herb, so it is best to keep the flavor balance in mind when using this herb.  I have had many customers say that they really liked the flavor of tarragon in entrées that I prepared, even though the customers usually do not like tarragon at all.  The secret to pleasing such customers is to use a light touch when adding tarragon to a recipe.  This is all it takes to renew interest in this fine herb.

     Yukon Gold Potato and Purple Peru Potato Preparation:  
     This recipe yields 1 garnish portion.
     Do not peel the Yukon Gold or Purple Potatoes before boiling, or the color of the potato will fade.  The skin can be left on the potatoes for this salad.  If peeled potatoes are preferred, these colorful small potatoes are much easier to peel after they are boiled, because the skin can be scraped off with the bak of a paring knife. 
     Step 1:  Place 1 small Yukon Gold Potato and 1 small Purple Peru Potato in a small sauce pot.  (The potatoes should weigh about 3 ounces apiece.)
     Cover the potatoes with water.
     Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Simmer the potatoes till they are fully cooked, yet still firm.
     *The Purple Potato usually will finish first, so remove it from the pot and finish cooking the Yukon Gold Potato.
     Step 3:  Cool the potatoes under cold running water.
     Chill the potatoes in a refrigerator to about 50ºF.
     Cut each potatoes into 4 thick slices and set them aside.

     Tarragon Vinaigrette: 
     This recipe yields almost 1 cup.  (4 portions)
     Step 1:  Place 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 pinches of white pepper and sea salt.  (to taste)
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard.
     Add 1 tablespoon of small chopped green onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced fresh tarragon.
     Step 2:  Stir the ingredients together.
     Set the bowl aside for 5 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Step 3:  Measure 2/3 cup of olive oil.
     Slowly add a thin stream olive oil while whisking, to start the vinaigrette emulsion.
     Continue adding the olive oil while whisking till it is all combined.
     *This vinaigrette should be emulsified, so the ingredients remain in suspension.  
     Step 4:  Set the Tarragon Vinaigrette aside for 5 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     *Any extra vinaigrette can be chilled in a refrigerator for up to 1 week. 

     Summer Salad of Anise Bulb, Yukon Gold and Purple Peru Potato with Tarragon Vinaigrette:
     This recipe yields 1 salad entrée.
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of mixed baby lettuce in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 small thin sliced Button Cave Mushroom.
     Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of the Tarragon Vinaigrette.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Place a 4" ring mold on the center of a plate.
     Place the lettuce mixture in the ring mold.
     Step 3:  *Evenly space these items around the plate and alternate the colors!
     Garnish the plate with 4 thin Bermuda Onion slices.
     Garnish the plate with 4 plum tomato slices.
     Garnish the plate with 4 anise top green leaf sprigs.
     Step 4:  Arrange the Purple Potato Slices and Yukon Gold Potato Slices on top of the garnishes on the plate around the ring mold of lettuce.
     Step 5:  Place about 1/2 cup of thin sliced Anise Bulb (Fennel Bulb) in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 teaspoons of the Tarragon Vinaigrette.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 6:  Mound the dressed Anise Bulb Slices on top of the lettuce in the ring mold.
     Remove the ring mold from the salad plate.
     Drizzle 1 or 2 teaspoons of the Tarragon Vinaigrette over the onions, tomatoes and potatoes on the plate.

     The potatoes add color and warmth.  Tarragon Vinaigrette is perfect with sliced fresh Anise Bulb.  This is a delicious summer salad!

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