Malibu Beach Recovery Diet: An Amazing Three Course Meal
Wow friends and family with this incredible meal straight from the MBRC kitchens
Have you sometimes noticed how a simple single component can be the shining star of a dish? Sometimes all you need is a stellar fruit or vegetable at the peak of its ripeness, with all its natural qualities enhanced by the time that it spent on a tree, the knowledge of the farmer that grew it, the care of the person who brought it to your marketplace and the respect that you give it when you put it on the plate.
Nowhere is this more apparent than at the farmers’ market where most of the resellers are also the growers or part of the family that owns the land.
I enjoy going to the farmer’s market for those reasons. It is always better to go at the very beginning or at the very end. Both have their specific benefits: in the very early hours of setup, the farmers are eager to display their newest products and are not yet tired of the incessant questions and bargaining of their patrons. At the very end, you get a chance to score quality products at a better price, just because the farmers would rather get rid of them rather than pack them back up again.
Farmers are always eager to share with you stories about new products, along with corresponding recipes and associations. I discovered from my favorite salad grower, Scarborough Farms at the Brentwood Market, who also happens to deliver to the most nature-conscious and ingredient-driven restaurants in Los Angeles, that one of the best lettuce on the market is also one of the most eclectic. The Lola Rosa will grow in significantly smaller amounts than other heads of lettuce, but it is prized beyond all others because its frilly deep red leaf ends are crunchy, slightly acidic and juicy while its bright green body, closer to the core is sweet and almost nutty allowing you to have a mix of both tastes in one. To plate the Lola Rosa with a simple dressing and let it speak for itself is a reward on its own. But you have to move quickly as it is in season for a very brief time.
Another ingredient that I love to show off in a special way is the zucchini. While many will argue that zucchinis are not known for their specific taste, the preparation of the attached recipe will blow you away and quickly become one of your favorite summer recipe. One of my first comments when I tasted this chilled soup is how great it would be in small, one gulp glasses for an outdoor party or picnic. However, as I packed it for my office lunch, I was surprised at how filling and satisfying it was at the same time. One recipe and many uses, I am sold.
When you are in the presence of a great ingredient, often less is more. Let it shine and give it your full attention, dress it smartly with a light touch and let it become the star of the plate. You will sometimes rediscover the beauty and taste that you had taken for granted and you will appreciate more completely the abundant diversity that Mother Nature has provided us to grace our table.
As always, enjoy cooking!
Chilled Zucchini Soup
1 large onion
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 shallot, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
3 large green zucchini
1 lemon peel
1 tsp mild imperial curry
6 cup vegetable stock
1 small seedless cucumber
2/3 cup English peas, fresh or frozen
5 leaves of tarragon
1 cup baby spinach
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat soup pot over medium-low heat. Peel and chop onion, then drizzle olive oil into the pot. Add onion to the pot, then roughly chop garlic, shallot and add to the pot.
Stir the vegetables so they cook evenly and “sweat”, about 5 minutes. Remove outer leaves of a stalk of lemongrass and bruise it with the back of your knife. Add it to the pot.
Prepare the zucchini by cutting the tops and bottoms, then cutting in half crosswise and then in slices. Trim the outer green skin and some of the white flesh of the zucchini for the soup, leaving the interior for another use. Give the “sweating” onion mixture another stir and add salt and pepper followed by a lemon peel and curry. Add 3 cups of vegetable stock and bring to a simmer.
Add zucchini to the pot along with 2-3 additional cups of vegetable broth. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes. As the soup is simmering, prepare the cucumber for garnish by slicing into thin rounds.
Blanch the peas for garnish by bringing a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the peas to the water for only 10 seconds. Then, drain and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Meanwhile, remove soup from heat and pour into a large bowl to go into another ice bath. Add tarragon and spinach to the soup while it’s cooling down in the ice bath.
Once soup has chilled, remove lemongrass and lemon peel. Place soup in a blender. Add a drizzle of olive oil as the soup is blending. When soup is pureed and smooth, taste to adjust the seasonings. Pour soup into a serving bowl. Garnish with goat cheese, peas and cucumber slices.
Grilled Salmon with Lime Butter Sauce
• 6 (6-oz) pieces center-cut salmon fillet (about 1 inch thick) with skin
• 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lime zest
• 6 tablespoons lime butter sauce
Prepare heavy bottomed pan and heat on medium-hot flame.
Season salmon all over with salt and pepper. Add 1 Tbsp oil to the pan and then the salmon, skin side down and grill for 4 minutes.
Turn fillets over and grill until just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes more.
Sprinkle fillets with zest and top each with 1 tablespoon lime butter sauce.
Lime Butter Sauce
• 1 large garlic clove, chopped
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
Purée garlic with lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. With motor running, add melted butter and blend until emulsified, about 30 seconds.
This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for one week and can be used on top of vegetables, over a piece of bread before toasting, even over mashed yams.
Vanilla Poached Pears
4 ripe pears, preferably Bosc.
1 cup sparkling apple juice
1/4 cup palm sugar
2 strips of zest taken from 1 lemon, preferably organic
1 vanilla bean
Whipped cream (optional)
Peel, halve and core the pears.
Place in a deep saucepan with the sparkling apple juice, the palm sugar, the lemon zest and the vanilla bean.
Bring to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes.
Drain the pears and continue boiling the syrup until thicker consistency is obtained.
Pour the syrup over the pears and chill.
Serve the pears with the vanilla syrup. Top with whipped cream if desired.