Monday, February 16, 2009

Rosemary Roasted Plums, Roasted Celeriac, and Frisee Salad with Shallot and Toasted Walnuts - Valentine's Day Part 3

On to Valentine's Day Part 3.
So today I am going to recount the delicious side dishes that accompanied our main duck dish on Valentine's day.

Have you ever had celeriac? The first time I saw it I thought it was a joke; this weird grey tuber looks just like a brain and is pretty large. I have been meaning to buy some for a while but whenever I pick one up, something about its menacing look makes me second guess the veggie, and I opt for potatoes instead. Luckily for this modest plant, Valentine's Day was a chance to expand our culinary expertise, and it was really good! Celeriac is the root of a celery plant; so naturally, it tasted like a mix between celery and a potato. The heaps of butter and thyme it roasted in didn’t hurt it either.

The second side dish was my favourite, and possibly the best food I have eaten all year. Roasted plums with rosemary and a port reduction. Uhhhh, just writing the words is making me salivate. They were so good paired with the duck, which naturally does well with fruits, but I really wasn’t expecting them to pack such a punch, and nearly left them out of the dish altogether. Thank gosh I didn’t. Also, don’t go thinking that you have to wait till plums are in season, I bought three semi ripe plums in the dead of winter, imported from who knows what country half way around the world, and they were still incredible.

Finally the last side was a simple frisee salad with shallots and toasted walnuts. Oddly enough, with all this extravagant food Ian found this side to be his favourite. But then again he likes anything with a lot of acidity.

So I hope you had fun reading about our wonderful day, we had a blast cooking and eating.

Rosemary Roasted Plums, Roasted Celeriac, and Frisee Salad with Shallot and Toasted Walnuts
adapted from Anthony Sedlak's book "The Main" 2008

Roasted Plums
3 plums, halved and pits removed
2 tbsp sugar
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup port

Roasted Celeriac
2 large bulbs celeriac
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper

Frisee Salad
1 head frisee
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 small shallot, finely minced
1-1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil

Roasted Plums
Preheat oven to 400. In a bowl, toss to combine plums, sugar, salt, rosemary and olive oil. Arrange plums in pan and roast until plums are soft, 30 mins. Transfer plums to serving dish. Deglaze plum roasting pan with port and bring to simmer, reducing volume by half. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over plums.

Roasted Celeriac
Peel and cube celeriac into large bite sized pieces. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Sear celeriac until light golden on all sides; add butter and thyme sprigs. Transfer to baking dish. Season to taste with salt and pepper and roast in 400 oven until outside is golden and insides are tender, about 30 minutes.

Frisee Salad
Combine shallot, red wine vinegar and olive oil in a medium mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add frisee and top with toasted walnuts. Toss well.

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