Well, this turned out even better than I’d hoped! I had wanted to make a “salad” D had made from “Simple Italian Snacks” from the restaurant ‘ino in NYC. I loved this when D made it over a year ago.
We bought a loaf of Pain de Mie from Acme Bakery last Saturday, and I cut the 1 1/2″ or so cubes (or so) from the end of the loaf, plus the top, that did not fit into our freezer container well, and so got cut off. I left these, semi-covered, to dry till today (Wednesday). Notably, the cubes in an open dish with 1″ sides, covered by an arched plastic sheet, dried out pretty completely, but the ones in the Corning Ware dish, with the glass cover askew, were still somewhat moist. Both worked, just noting this for future reference (which is what this entire blog is about, after all). The croutons are soaked in milk – I used 2 cups – for at least an hour, and then squeezed to remove excess milk. Then they are placed on a sided baking sheet (I used our small two, that fit in the 18″ oven, and switched their positions a few times) and drizzled with olive oil, and baked 15-17 minutes (one tray took longer) with frequent (set the timer for 5 minute intervals) shaking (I used a pancake turned to turn them over. They stuck to the tray the first time.). Was that a sentence?
Part 2: The recipe calls for escarole, but D used endive the first time he did this and I thought it was great. Bitter greens is the essential part. For us, I used two large endives, and just pulled their leaves off one by one. I put about 2 Tbps olive oil in a saucepan just large enough for the endive leaves to congregate nicely (3 qt Revere), heated on medium 2 minutes as instructed (try med-low next time) and then added the endive leaves and two large cloves garlic, sliced thin. I covered the pan, but opened it to stir the leaves a few times during their 8-10 minute cook. After more then 5 minutes, I decided to add a bit of water so the leaves would wilt better. Escarole would do this more easily.
To serve: wilted endive leaves, then very thin sliced red onion (I used more of the Italian sweet one D bought the other day, which weighed more than a pound[!]) then drizzle with olive oil, then top with crisped croutons. Delicious! However, I should have added salt to the endive. Recipe says 1 tsp; I think for these amounts, perhaps 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. We salted at the table successfully.
Salmon: easy! The label says “Fresh Wild Copper River Sockeye Salmon Fillet.” So there. It was really terrific partly b/c I salted adequately before grilling. First I rubbed the two fillet pieces with olive oil on boh sides, then I salted and peppered the non-skin side. I preheated the grill 5 minutes on high, applied the salmon skin-side down and turned the grill down to medium, and covered it. After five minutes, I used a spatula to turn over the salmon, and found that the skin was crunchy and loosened from the flesh, so I was able to remove it. I grilled on the second side about 4-5 minutes, then served. Interestingly, the salmon and the endive salad went very well together!
Berkeley Bowl has a display of this wine, Entre-Deux-Mers (Sauvignon/Semillon, from Chateau Moulin de Ferrand), on their fish counter, which is a wise thing, and fortunate for me on this occasion. We had had it and loved it before, but did not have any now. I bought a bottle and chilled it in the freezer (i.e. quickly), and by dinnertime it was just the right temperature, and terrific with the meal. Yay! In the back is an Acme Sourough Batard we bought earlier today, but we didn’t actually have any for dinner.