Since those of us who grow mint currently have too much, here are two of my favorite recipes that employ it in abundance (reprinted from that column):
CUCUMBER WITH FETA AND MINT
The Foods of Greece by Aglaia Kremezi
1 large cucumber, half-peeled in lengthwise strips to give striped appearance
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
Wash and dry the cucumber and cut it into very thin crosswise slices. Place the slices in a salad bowl, sprinkling with the feta and mint. In a small bowl whisk the oil and lemon juice with the salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and toss thoroughly. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
SPAGHETTI WITH RICOTTA, MINT, & THYME
La Cucina Siciliana di Gangivecchio by Wanda & Giovanna Tornabene
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups drained ricotta*
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped, plus 2 sprigs for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped, plus 2 sprigs for garnish
Salt & freshly ground pepper
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil. While waiting for the water to boil, heat the olive oil and butter with the garlic cloves in a large skillet over low heat, stirring often. When the garlic cloves begin to turn golden, discard them and stir in the ricotta with a wooden spoon.
2. Add the tomato sauce, chopped mint, and chopped thyme, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir 1-1/2 tablespoons of salt into the boiling water and add the spaghetti. Cook until al dente, stirring often.
4. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and add it, 1/4 cup at a time, to the pasta sauce, until the sauce is the desired consistency. Transfer the spaghetti, drained, to a serving bowl. Add 1 cup of the sauce and toss. Pour the remaining sauce over the top and toss well. Garnish the bowl with a little bouquet of fresh mint and thyme sprigs, and serve with Parmesan cheese. Serves 4.
*To drain ricotta: Wrap it in a double thickness of cheesecloth set it over a fine-mesh sieve suspended on the rim of a bowl. Refrigerate overnight and discard the liquid in the bowl.
Alabama White BBQ Sauce?
Just when I think I know all there is to know about regional barbecue styles, I come across this entry on serious eats about Alabama white bbq sauce. I haven’t tried it yet, but I can see how it would be fabulous. If you’re familiar with it, let me hear from you.
summer wine classes in flemington
If, like me, you’ve already spent all your summer vacation time and are looking for something fun to get you through the slog that is August, wine expert (and all-around nice guy) George Staikos of The Educated Grape has lined up three evening wine classes at 55 Main Restaurant, each featuring 6 wines and 3 dishes. You can sign up for individual sessions at $70 a pop or the series for $180.
Aficionados of Cab won’t want to miss the first one, on 7/31: The Great California Cabernet Vintages of the Last Twelve Years. For complete details on all classes visit The Educated Grape or phone George at 973.699.2199.