Appetizers for Dinner!
Chris Cosentino—chef at San Francisco's Incanto restaurant and author of Beginnings; My Way to Start a Meal (Olive Press; $25)—gave us this simple salad recipe. Because each ingredient shines, it's important to use super-fresh vegetables and top-quality olive oil and cheese.
1. Fill a large bowl halfway with cold water and squeeze in juice from 1/2 lemon. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, break off outer leaves at the base. Continue removing leaves until only innermost tender yellow leaves remain. Cut artichokes crosswise and discard prickly tips. Trim all but 1 in. of stem, then trim outer layer of stem and the base to remove any dark green bits. Put into lemon water.
2. Mix remaining 3 tbsp. lemon juice, the oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, blot dry, then shave lengthwise with a mandoline or a vegetable peeler into the oil mixture.
3. Add arugula and mint to artichokes; toss to coat. Divide salad among plates, then shave cheese over each.
Sunset MARCH 2012
Chris Cosentino—chef at San Francisco's Incanto restaurant and author of Beginnings; My Way to Start a Meal (Olive Press; $25)—likes his eggs with soft yolks, and here he nestles them into lemon-scented toasts. Instead of using ordinary canned anchovies, he uses marinated white anchovies, which have a fresher, cleaner taste.
1. Fill a bowl with ice water and salt. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and lower in eggs with a spoon; cook 6 1/2 minutes for a softly set egg. Transfer eggs to salted ice water (salt helps the shells come off more easily) and cool completely, about 5 minutes. Peel eggs and set aside.
2. Preheat broiler with a rack set 4 in. from heat. Brush baguette with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toast bread, turning once, until warm and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Rub cut side of bread with whole lemon to extract oils from peel.
3. Use a 1 1/2-in. round cutter to cut 4 evenly spaced holes in each baguette half, or use a knife and scoop out with a spoon. Slice bread crosswise between holes into 8 pieces.
4. Cut eggs in half crosswise and set an egg into each hole. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper. Lay 2 anchovies over each and sprinkle with parsley and chives.
*Find in well-stocked grocery stores or Italian markets, or substitute good-quality regular canned or jarred anchovies that you've tossed in a little sherry vinaigrette.
Sunset MARCH 2012
This recipe comes from Chris Cosentino—chef at San Francisco's Incanto restaurant and author of Beginnings; My Way to Start a Meal (Olive Press; $25). We doubled this appetizer recipe so it could serve as a main course. Lamb loins are amazingly tender and flavorful, but expensive; we found that cheaper lamb shoulder roast (although tougher) works too. Just cook it a little longer—about 10 minutes more.
1. Make butter: Put ingredients into bowl of a mixer and beat until smooth.
2. Prepare lamb: Preheat oven to 425°. Heat a large cast-iron frying pan over high heat until very hot. Add oil and swirl pan to coat. Put lamb in center of pan. Put garlic halves on either side of lamb, cut sides up, and lay mint over garlic. Cook lamb, turning once, until well browned, about 4 minutes on each side.
3. Put pan with lamb in oven to roast until meat reaches 125° on a meat thermometer, 12 to 14 minutes for medium-rare.
4. Transfer lamb to a cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with mint and garlic on the side and a dollop of anchovy butter on the warm lamb slices.
Sunset MARCH 2012
Artichokes with Mint and Lemon
Egg and Anchovy Crostini
Spring Lamb Roasted with Mint and Garlic
After all, appetizers are everyone's favorite course. And with this rustic yet modern menu--adapted from San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino's new book of starters, Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal--you really won't miss the mains.
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