It’s time for another reveal with the Secret Recipe Club. Hard to believe another month has passed.
I’m spending lots of time (still) developing my cookbook proposal – themed around dinners for the omnivore-vegetarian table – and am making good progress. In fact, progress has been strong enough that the agent I’ve been speaking with offered a contract to represent me this past week. There remains much yet to be accomplished before it’s ready for publishers’ eyes, but I’m excited and encouraged beyond reason. Being signed by an agent is a huge task to cross off my “Life To Do List”. Huge.
For the past month, scrupulously prepared dinners for the proposal punctuated long days spent brainstorming, writing, organizing, and editing. But there were also quick dinners requiring little cleanup. One night Myles ran out for take-out; the only way we were eating that night. So when I received my assigned blog a couple of weeks ago, I knew I was looking for good food that wouldn’t be a project. And I found lots to choose from on Life on Food.
First, for the uninitiated, the Secret Recipe Club is a group of around 100 food bloggers, divided into four groups. Every month, Group Leaders assign a blog to each blogger in their group. Once we receive our assignment, we look through the blog, try a few recipes, and post about one in particular. It’s a great idea. There’s an ocean of food blogs out there to visit and potentially follow, with the tide bringing in a new crop every week. Unfortunately, fitting a 36-hour life into a 24-hour day often means visiting the same bundle of blogs I’ve grown to love day after day. Sometimes I need an assignment and a deadline to visit new blogs I’m interested in, but never seem to find the time for.
I’m so glad I found Life on Food, written by Emily. She’s lived in Iowa, Georgia, and Maine; and now, she and her husband (the resident chopper and taste tester) call Connecticut home. Emily loves making things from scratch, and has some wonderful comfort meals posted. I was really torn between her Hearty Vegetable Ragu and Black Beans and Sweet Potato Enchiladas, but ultimately settled on her Broccoli Gribiche.
Gribiche is a French mayonnaise-style sauce made by emulsifying the yolks of hard-boiled eggs and mustard into an oil. The sauce is typically finished with chopped pickles, capers, parsley, tarragon and chervil.
The verdict: this recipe is a keeper and is now in my regular rotation. It’s easy to make and packed with flavor. The crispiness of the roasted potatoes and broccoli add greatly to the texture of the dish, and the broccoli exudes a gentle smokiness from the long roasting. I didn’t have time to play with the dish, and honestly it’s great just as it is. But next time I might add some mustard croutons to the mix, maybe fry the capers, and add some finely chopped gherkins. I’m not sure this wonderful dish needs it, truth to tell. Changing it up is more about kitchen play than anything else.
When I reheated the dish for lunch, the flavors were still wonderful; maybe more so since the potatoes and broccoli marinated a bit in the gribiche dressing. But the crispiness had softened overnight in the refrigerator.
This was a perfect salad, hearty enough to be served as a vegetarian entrée for myself and served with some baby back pork ribs for Myles.
- 4 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
- 1 Tbsp capers, coarsely chopped
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh chervil, chives, or green tops of green onion
- ¼ tsp Kosher salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ pounds fingerling potatoes), unpeeled and scrubbed
- 12 ounces broccoli cut into florets
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher or sea salt
- Place the eggs in a small pot and cover with cold water by about an inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and simmer for three minutes. Turn the heat off, and cover the pot for an additional 10 minutes. Drain the eggs and immediately cool them down with cold water. Peel.
- Remove the yolk of one of the hard-boiled eggs and mash in a medium sized bowl. Whisk the vinegar into the yolk, followed by the mustard, whisking each ingredient into the dressing for uniform consistency.
- Slowly add ½ cup of olive oil beating constantly with a wire whisk; the dressing should look smooth and glossy. Stir in the capers, shallots, herbs, and salt.
- Press the three remaining hard-boiled eggs through a sieve. I used a potato ricer with the smallest holes, and it worked beautifully. Do the same with the leftover egg white from the fourth egg. Stir into the dressing using a fork.
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Cut the potatoes into 1-inch chunks and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Turn onto a baking sheet, and lightly sprinkle with salt. Toss the broccoli florets in 1 tablespoon oil and add them to the second baking sheet; lightly sprinkle with salt.
- Slide both baking sheets into the oven and roast until cooked through and browned (about 30 minutes); do not stir or move the potatoes or broccoli florets during this time for best results. Both should show signs of browning with a slight char on the broccoli.
- Place the warm potatoes and broccoli into a large bowl and gently fold in three-quarters of the dressing.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if needed, adding more of the dressing if desired.