capers

Grilled Artichokes With Remoulade

by Anne Maxfield on May 28, 2018

Accidental Locavore Grilled ArtichokeOK, your first thought, like the Accidental Locavore’s, is probably – artichokes are time-consuming enough to cook, why would I want to grill them, but trust me, you do.

And, you want to grill them on charcoal. I’m only slightly a charcoal snob, because there are many times when time is at a premium and it’s faster to toss something on a gas grill. For this, the smoky taste from the charcoal is really the reason you’re grilling them in the first place, so go light some charcoal!

While you’re waiting for the grill to be ready, wash and trim the artichokes. I had two big ones; figure on at least 1/2 per person depending on the size and what role they’re playing in your meal (appetizer, main course, side dish). You can save a lot of time, by wrapping them in either Saran Wrap or parchment paper, and steaming them in the microwave for about 8 minutes (again depending on size and microwave strength) until the stem end is tender and gives when you touch it.

Once they’re cool enough to work with, cut them in half. Using a small spoon, carefully remove the choke and the smallest inner leaves (if you want to, the choke can be removed before you cook them, but it’s easier this way). Brush the artichokes with either a little melted butter, some of the remoulade you’re going to eat with them or a little good olive oil.

Grill them, cut side down, for about 5 minutes, then flip and grill the other side for about 5 more minutes. Serve with the remoulade sauce below, or your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

My verdict: These were great! Absolutely worth doing over charcoal, and definitely worth grilling! This may sound silly, but it’s awfully nice to have the chokes already removed so you can just zip though them. My quick version of a remoulade may or may not be terribly authentic, but it sure tasted good! I think it’s one of those things that takes well to improvisation. Probably having some homemade mayo helped too, but by this point I hope I’ve convinced you ages ago that it’s the only way to go.
Accidental Locavore RemouladeRemoulade 

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
  • 3 anchovy filets, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon chives, finely minced (or scallions)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust to suit your palette.

 

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A Recipe for Capers From Dandelion Buds

by Anne Maxfield on May 21, 2015

Accidental Locavore BudsOne of the most interesting things the Accidental Locavore ate on the recent Croatian trip was the dandelion buds that the chef at Toklarija had pickled. At first, they looked like capers and tasted a bit like them, but with a more interesting, complex flavor. As we toured the kitchen, he told me how he makes them.

As it turns out, when I got back it was just the right time to look for the buds (and there were plenty!). They’re generally in the center of the plant, although some may have multiple buds. You want them small and tight, otherwise they’ll come apart in the pickling process. I picked about a cup of them over the course of several dog walks. Here’s the process:Accidental Locavore Dandelion Buds in Salt

  • Rinse and dry the buds
  • In a shallow container, put a generous layer of kosher salt. Add the buds and cover completely with another layer of salt. Leave them for 2 days.
  • After 2 days, put the buds and salt in a sieve and rinse throughly.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, put ½ cup white vinegar, ½ cup water, and ½ cup kosher salt. Heat until the salt is dissolved and the brine is simmering.
  • Put washed buds in a small jar (I used a 1 pint Ball jar) and pour the hot brine over them until the jar is almost full (leave about 1” of space). Cover and let cool.
  • When the jar is cool, refrigerate. They’ll need a day or two to pickle.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Dandelion CapersMy verdict: Really good! Added bonus—possibly the yard will have a few less dandelions next year. It may be too late in the season to find buds, but as I was researching this, I learned that you can do this with a variety of buds, including chives and nasturtiums. As it turned out, my chives were just beginning to bud, so I clipped a few and added them to the jar. Where the dandelion buds were just slightly bitter, the chive buds had a hint of onion to them. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

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Celery Root Remoulade Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on October 3, 2013

Accidental Locavore Celery Root RemouladeOne of the Accidental Locavore’s favorite salads, not easily found outside of France, is celery root remoulade. It may be that it’s a little difficult to find celery root and it’s definitely not going to rank high in the lists of attractive vegetables (which may be why it’s not easy to find – we like attractive, perfect produce), so when my CSA had celery root last week I snatched it up! Here’s how I made my remoulade.  (Make the dressing first as the celery root will tend to discolor.)

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 knobs of celery root, peeled and grated (see below for peeling and grating ideas)

In a medium bowl, mix together the mayo, mustard, lemon juice and capers. Add the celery root, mix until well coated with the dressing, taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Celery Root RemouladeMy verdict: So good, took me right back to Paris! I used the grater disk on my food processor to grate the celery root, but you could use a grater or mandoline. To peel the root, cut off the top and bottom and peel the sides with a very sharp peeler (something I don’t own) or a paring knife. I remember the celeriac remoulade in France having capers, so I tossed some in, that’s up to you. And as always, homemade mayo is easy and makes the dish. If anyone has a recommendation for a really good vegetable peeler, please let me know. I have a drawerful of crappy ones.

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Roast Chicken With Ramps, Asparagus and Capers

by Anne Maxfield on May 17, 2012

Accidental Locavore Spring RampsHave you been taking the easy way out and picking up pre-roasted chickens? Well, the Accidental Locavore is going to change your mind about doing it yourself at home! This is an easy, no-fuss way to roast a bird with nice crisp skin and added bonus: the veggies are roasted along with the bird.  I adapted this from the New York Times and added asparagus. Feel free to add whatever is in season, just add them in sooner if they need more roasting time. If you don’t do this in the next five minutes, while ramps are in season, substitute scallions, which should work almost as well.

Roast Chicken With Ramps, Asparagus and Capers

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 50 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
The Accidental Locavore adapted this easy way to roast a chicken from the New York Times. An easy main course recipe for chicken roasted with spring vegetables: ramps and asparagus.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, 4-41/2 pounds, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bunch ramps, about 6 ounces, washed
  • 1lb asparagus, washed and cut into 3" lengths
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon capers

Directions

Step 1
Rub the chicken inside and out with the salt and pepper. If you have time, do this 2-3 hours ahead of time and refrigerate uncovered (this will help the skin crisp up when you cook it). Place a large (10" or bigger) cast iron skillet in the oven and heat to 500 degrees. Leave the chicken out to warm to room temperature while the oven heats up.
Step 2
Prep the ramps: trim the roots from the bottoms and remove the outer layer of skin. Separate the leaves from the bulbs. Cut any bulb fatter than a pencil, in half lengthwise. Cut the leaves into 3" pieces and set aside.
Step 3
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, breast side up. Cut the skin connecting the legs (thighs actually) to the body. Spread out the legs until you feel the joints pop on each side. Place 2 of the lemon quarters in the cavity of the chicken. Remove the skillet from the oven and carefully place the chicken in it, breast side up. Remember the pan is really hot! Press down on the legs so they lie flat on the bottom of the pan. Drizzle the oil over the bird. Roast for 30 minutes.
Step 4
Add the ramp bulbs, asparagus, garlic and capers to the skillet. Stir to coat with the juices from the pan. Roast until the ramps and asparagus are tender and the chicken is cooked through, 10-20 minutes more (total cooking time 40-50 minutes).
Step 5
Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. While the chicken is resting, add the ramp leaves to the pan and stir until just wilted. Cut the chicken into serving pieces, and serve with the vegetables and the pan juices. Add the juice from the remaining lemon if desired. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: a great way to roast a chicken and having the side dish made at the same time is a big plus! Use a good quality chicken here, you’ll be able to taste the difference. Because I had them, I used Meyer lemons, which gave it a wonderful mellow lemon flavor that worked well with the ramps and asparagus. Tossing a few small potatoes in at the beginning might work but I would need a bigger cast-iron pan. What do you think?

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