Tag Archives: mint

Lemon Mint Risotto

Lemon Mint Risotto TasteFood

~ Lemon Mint Risotto ~

Here is what I think about risotto: A good risotto should be creamy, but not soupy. The rice should be tender, but not mushy. Its accompanying ingredients should be minimal without overwhelming and reflect the season. This recipe  for Lemon Risotto with Mint is firmly planted in spring. Redolent with lemon and mint, the puckery citrus cuts the inherent creaminess of the risotto, while flecks of fresh mint add freshness and aroma. I like to serve small plates of this as an elegant first course to a nice meal.

Lemon Risotto with Mint
Serves 6

6 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest, plus extra for garnish
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves, divided

Bring stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to lowest setting and keep warm.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and oil in a deep skillet or pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened without coloring, 2 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat. Add wine. Cook, stirring, until the wine evaporates. Add stock 1 cup at a time, stirring until nearly all of the liquid is absorbed before adding the next cup. Continue until the rice is tender but not mushy. Remove pan from the heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter, 1/2 cup cheese, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add 2 tablespoons mint leaves. Serve immediately in bowls garnished with extra cheese, zest and mint.

You might also enjoy these recipes from TasteFood:
Fregola Sarda with Asparagus and Lemon
Greek Couscous Salad
Farro Pilaf

White Peach, Almond and Arugula Salad with a side of Salume

~ White Peaches, Almonds, Arugula, Mint, Thyme, Parmigiano ~

Summer food is simple food. Fresh salads are frequent centerpieces on our dinner table. Little else is needed except an assortment of cheese, salumi and a chilled glass of wine to round out the meal when no-cooking is advised. This salad is inspired by the sweetly perfumed white peaches and feisty mint that vied for my attention this morning at the local farmer’s market. It was perfectly offset by a selection of salame I recently recieved from  Columbus Salame with a selection of artisan and classic salame – perfectly timed for al fresco summer dining.  Continue reading White Peach, Almond and Arugula Salad

Blackberry Spritzers and a Mojito



~ Blackberry, Lime and Mint Spritzers~

It’s summertime and the living is easy. And what better way to enjoy the sultry season than with a refreshing, thirst-quenching drink? During this window of time when blackberries are prolific, I like to make a syrup which I add to drinks and use for desserts.  Depending on the mood or time of day, I’ll stir a few spoonfuls of the vibrant, tangy syrup into icy glasses of Prosecco or sparkling water. If we’re feeling extra festive, I’ll muddle a jigger-full with mint, lime and rum and call it a mojito. It’s all good. Just be sure to make extra to freeze as ice cubes to pop in drinks or thaw later in the year for a sip of summer.

Blackberry Syrup
Makes about 1 cup

12 ounces blackberries
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until blackberries soften and release their juices, about 10 minutes. Cool. Purée in a food processor, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Discard the seeds.

Blackberry Spritzers
Makes 1 

Ice cubes
1 part blackberry syrup
2 parts sparkling water, white wine or Proscecco
Lime wedge and mint leaves for garnish

Fill a wine or cocktail glass with ice. Add syrup and sparkling water. Stir. Garnish with lime and mint.

Blackberry Mojito
Makes 1 

1/2 lime, cut in 4 wedges
2 sprigs mint, plus extra leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) blackberry syrup
Crushed ice
1.5 ounces white rum
Sparkling water
1-2 blackberries for garnish

Muddle 2 lime wedges, mint sprigs and syrup together in a sturdy highball glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Pour rum over ice. Top with sparkling water to taste. Garnish with whole blackberries, remaining lime wedges and mint.

Lemon Risotto with Mint

I have an opinion about risotto. A good risotto should be creamy, but not soupy. The rice should be tender, but not mushy.  The ingredients should be minimal without overwhelming. My ideal risotto reflects the season, and elegantly plays a role in a meal as a first course or side to a main. Lemon Risotto with Mint accomplishes all of this. It’s planted firmly in spring, redolent with lemon and fresh mint. It’s not too heavy, but creamy and rich enough to keep you coming back for more.

Lemon Risotto with Mint
Serves 6

6 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion or 2 spring onions, white and pale green parts only, finely chopped
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves, plus extra for garnish

Bring stock to a simmer. Reduce heat to lowest setting and keep warm.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and oil in a deep skillet or pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, 2 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat. Add wine. Cook, stirring, until the wine evaporates. Add stock 1 cup at a time, stirring until nearly all of the liquid is absorbed before adding the next cup. Continue until the rice is tender but not mushy. Remove pan from the heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add mint leaves and serve immediately in bowls garnished with extra cheese, lemon zest and mint.

Roasted Red Potatoes with Garlic, Lemon and Mint

Roasted Red Potatoes

Do not underestimate the power of the side dish. Roasted potatoes are meat’s best friend and a dependable side kick in any season. I serve these potatoes frequently when it’s summer and fresh mint is abundant. The grill is always going, these potatoes are a perfect accompaniment to grilled meat, chicken and fish. The fresh mint and lemon elevate the mild red potato and perfume it with flavor. Be sure to toss the potatoes with the garlic, lemon and mint when they are warm from the oven, so the heat will coax out the aroma of the garnishes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Roasted Potatoes with Mint, Lemon and Garlic
Serves 6-8 as a side dish

2 pounds (1 kg.) baby red potatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 F. (190 C). Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange in one layer in a baking pan. Roast in oven one hour. Transfer potatoes to serving bowl. Toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and mint. Serve immediately or cool slightly.

Grilled Lamb Loin Chops with Lemon Mint Salsa Verde and Flageolets

Lamb Chops

You say spring and I say lemons. I also say lamb – and mint. Put all of that together, and you might end up with this lamb dish. It’s a bright and assertive variation on a classic combination of ingredients, with the added kick from the salsa. I like to serve this dish with flageolets, another traditional complement to lamb. The flageolets offer a homey, mellow palate that gently offsets the lamb and the piquant salsa verde.


Grilled Lamb Loin Chops with Lemon Mint Salsa Verde and Flageolets

This recipe is quick and easy to prepare – perfect for a weeknight dinner. Serves 4.

8 lamb loin chops
4-5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
3 spring onions, green parts only, finely sliced
3 anchovy filets, rinsed and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed, chopped
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Flageolet beans – optional (recipe below)

Arrange lamb in one layer in a deep dish or pan. Coat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle on all sides with salt and pepper. Let rest at room temperature while you prepare the Salsa Verde.
Combine mint, parsley, green onions, anchovies, garlic, capers, lemon zest and crushed red pepper in a bowl. Gently toss to blend well.
Mix 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl. Pour over the salsa. Toss to combine.
Heat a cast-iron grill pan or a skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add lamb in one layer. Brown on both sides, turning once, about 6 minutes for medium rare. Remove from pan.
If serving with flageolet beans, spoon beans into center of plate. Arrange lamb over beans. Top with Lemon Mint Salsa Verde.

For the flageolets:
2 cups flageolet beans, picked over and rinsed
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
1 onion, peeled, quartered
1 carrot, peeled, cut in large chunks
3 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Place the beans in a large pot. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Bring to a boil; boil one minute. Turn off heat. Cover and let beans sit at room temperature for one hour. Drain and rinse.
Place drained beans, garlic, onion, carrot, thyme and bay leaf in a large pot. Add enough cold water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, 1-2 hours, depending on age of beans. Remove from heat. Stir in one teaspoon salt. Let beans cool in liquid. (Beans can be prepared one day in advance. Refrigerate in cooking liquid.)

To serve, drain beans, reserving liquid. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add beans and cook, stirring to coat until beans are heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup reserved liquid and heat over medium-low heat. Before serving, stir in chopped parsley.

Mint and Feta Stuffed Leg of Lamb with Balsamic Blood Orange Sauce

Lamb Mint Feta

Lamb, mint and feta are a match made, if not in heaven, than at least in Greece. One of my favorite preparations of lamb is to simply butterfly a leg, smear it with olive oil, garlic and salt and roast it in the oven or on the grill. In this case, I have taken the simplicity of this recipe one sweeping step further to integrate feta, mint and blood orange. A mixture of feta, mint, garlic and blood orange zest is spread on the inside of the leg, which is then rolled up and seared before roasting in the oven. While the lamb finishes in the oven, a sweet-tart reduction is made with blood orange juice, red wine and balsamic vinegar. The final flourish is a garnish of fresh mint and blood orange zest, brightening the entire dish. The angels are singing.

Mint and Feta Stuffed Leg of Lamb with Balsamic Blood Orange Sauce
Serves 4 to 6

2 pounds boneless half leg of lamb, butterflied, excess fat removed
3 garlic cloves; 1 cut in slivers, 2 minced
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1/4 mint leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated blood orange zest
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons light brown sugar

Blood Orange and Mint Gremolata (see below)

Arrange lamb, fat-side down, on a work surface. Place a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment over lamb. Pound with a mallet or heavy skillet to flatten lamb in thickest parts. Remove parchment. Make shallow incisions with a small knife in the fat. Insert garlic slivers in incisions. Rub lamb all over with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle cumin, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper all over lamb. (The lamb may be prepared to this point up to 12 hours in advance. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine feta, mint, orange zest and minced garlic in a small bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Place lamb on work surface, fat-side down. Spread feta over lamb, leaving a 1″ border all around. Roll up meat to enclose filling, tucking in ends if possible. Tie with kitchen string in 1-2 ” intervals.

Heat one tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb, seam-side down. Sear on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to baking pan. Roast in oven until instant read thermometer reads 140 F, basting occasionally, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes.

While lamb is roasting, deglaze skillet. Add red wine to pan, scraping up any bits from lamb. Reduce by half. Add blood orange juice, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Simmer, stirring, until thickened. Strain. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste.  Discard strings from lamb. Cut in 1″ slices. Scoop up any extra cheese that may have oozed into the pan, and spoon it over the lamb. Serve drizzled with balsamic blood orange sauce and garnished with Blood Orange and Mint Gremolata.

Blood Orange and Mint Gremolata

1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons blood orange zest
1 small garlic clove, minced

Toss the ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve with lamb.

Grilled Feta with Blood Orange, Red Pepper and Mint Salsa


Feta
This recipe for grilled feta is a perfect contrast in textures and temperatures. Thick feta slices are grilled in a bath of olive oil until golden brown, then served warm with a cool, crunchy, citrus-y salsa. The dish can be served straight from the oven, or if you wish, arrange the feta on a serving plate and spoon the olive oil around it. This rustic appetizer is meant to be eaten family style, so plop the plate in the middle of the table and pass everyone a spoon. Scoop out chunks of feta, spread it on a slice of rustic bread and top with salsa and a dribble of olive oil.Grilled Feta with Blood Orange, Red Pepper and Mint Salsa

Feta cheese lends itself well to grilling; it browns nicely and softens somewhat, but doesn’t lose it’s shape. Serves 4 as an appetizer.

For the salsa:

1 blood orange, skin, seeds and membrane removed, cut in 1/4″ pieces
1 small sweet red pepper, stemmed and seeded, finely dinced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix well to combine.

For the feta:

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 pound block of feta cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh whole mint leaves for garnish

Toast cumin and coriander seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a mortar with pestle. Add peppercorns. Grind until fine.
Preheat oven broiler. Drain feta and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Pat spices on all sides of feta. Cut in 1/2″ slices. Arrange feta slices in a baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Grill in oven until edges turn golden.
Arrange slices on a serving plate. (I like to try and return it to its original block shape.) Spoon olive oil around feta. Top feta with salsa. Garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately with pita bread, crostini or peasant bread.

Playing with My Food

 

Playing with food 009

 

This morning I brought home my usual overstuffed shopping basket from the farmer’s market.  It tumbled over with relief when I placed it down on the kitchen counter, and a few eager ingredients escaped the crowd and rolled before me.  These included some sweetly perfumed white nectarines, a floppy bunch of intoxicatingly aromatic mint, and a snow-white fennel bulb crowned with frizzy green fronds.  As I reached for them I stopped and thought: What a wonderful combination of color, texture and fresh flavor.  The leaves of mint were enormous, begging to be left intact.  Obligingly, I gathered one and cupped the leaf realizing it would make a perfect vessel.  I sliced the nectarine thinly and did likewise with the fennel, reserving its dill-like tips as garnish.  I imagined the crunchy, juicy, fresh and bright textures and taste. Now to balance this combo, a little salt and a little bite were needed.  I knew exactly what to dig for in my cheese drawer: a chunk of Pecorino Romano Pepato I had purchased the previous week at my favorite Italian specialty store.  If you do not know this fantastic cheese it is a Pecorino Romano studded with whole black peppercorns.  The combination of the salty sheep cheese and the sharp bite of black peppercorn is addictive.  I shaved a few slivers off, collected any wayward black peppercorns and combined them with the other ingredients cupped in the mint leaf.  To pull it together, I reached for a lemon on my window ledge and cut a wedge of it, squeezing the fresh citrus juice over the mint, followed by a light drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.  And suddenly I had a perfect summertime amuse-bouche. If you prefer more substance to your bite, this would go nicely on top of crostini.