Food & Drink

In The Kitchen: Moroccan Ratatouille, Strawberry Spinach Salad

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Treat your taste buds to these delicious dishes, just in time for summer.

Moroccan Ratatouille
Use deep sided rondeau, sauce pan or Dutch oven:
Sauté in (regular) olive oil or vegetable oil:
Diced onion
Minced garlic

Add:
Crushed tomatoes (canned ok)
Zucchini, large dice or chunks
Yellow squash, large dice or chunks
Red, yellow and/or green peppers, long strips or diced
Eggplant, (skin ok), large dice or chunks
Simmer on low heat until smell wafts and vegetables are heated through

Add:
Fresh thyme, mince
Fresh basil, chiffonade
Salt and pepper
No cheese
Taste, adjust salt and pepper

End of cooking:
De-pit and add
Dry dates, roughly chopped, about ¼ amount of peppers added
Heat until warm

Delightful Spring Strawberry Spinach Salad

Baby spinach
Mango (optional)
Dried apricots, soaked briefly in fruit juice (optional)
Strawberries, whole, cut ½ or ¼ if large
Cheese (choice): Fresh mozzarella, feta or goat cheese
Red onion or sweet (vidalia) onion, thin rings
Pecan halves
Cayenne/salt
Sugar
Citrus dressing: see below

1. Preheat oven 350˚
2. Mix sugar with a bit of salt and cayenne (optional) and toss with nuts. Spread on sheet pan and toast in oven about 5-7 minutes until sugar melts (wafting smell signals the finish). Watch closely; nuts burn quickly. Cool nuts and hold. Store leftovers in an airtight container.
3. Clean (de-stem) baby spinach leaves
4. Cut mangos in shape of choice, batonnets are large matchsticks. Dice or chunks will work.
5. Chop dried apricots, reconstituted in a little apple or pineapple juice. (optional)
6. Rinse sliced red onions under cold water. Dry on paper towels. No need if using sweet/Vidalia onions. Rinsing removes some of the sulfur or “bite” of red onions.

Citrus Vinaigrette
Dijon mustard
Honey
Lime juice and zest (green part only)
Apple cider vinegar
Orange juice (pineapple or pomegranate juice may be sub’d)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt/pepper

1. Gather large bowl and wire whisk, or use blender. Put dab of mustard in bottom.
2. Add small dash of honey, about ½ teaspoon. Mix
3. Add lime zest and juice. Whisk.
4. Add dash of vinegar and juice.
5. Constantly whisking or running blender, drizzle in EVOO (about three times amount of oil to other liquid).
6. Add Salt/pepper. Taste, adjust salt, pepper and honey.

Assembly
1. In same bowl vinaigrette prepared, toss spinach with dried fruit, mango and onions.
2. On cold salad plates, scoop some of spinach mix onto plates, trying to get as much height to salad as possible. Arrange cheese, strawberries and pecans.
3. Serve.

Susan Delbert joined The Fourth Estate Restaurant at the National Press Club as Executive Chef after working at The Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington, D.C. as Sous Chef for several years. Delbert has worked in several Washington restaurants, including The Oval Room, BeDuCi in Dupont Circle and Gerard’s Place. She started her culinary career as a Front of the House Maitre d’ in Clyde’s of Chevy Chase. She trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., where she graduated at the top of her class. She was an invited participant in an Italian regional cooking program sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission.

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