Canal House Cooking Vol. 3

Canal House Cooking

It doesn’t get much better than this!  The third volume of Canal House Cooking arrived on my doorstep just a few days before the arrival of spring and warm weather.  This latest volume in a series from Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer offers recipes for winter and spring, but judging from the cover, their hearts are in spring. Although there is this recipe for Cassoulet, the “it” dish of the recent winter season I’d say…

Right now I’m ogling the photo for roasted spring onions. I want to go to there.  These are the bulbous onions with the long green stems I saw at every produce stand in Florence, some were white, some rosy purple.  I’ve found them here only occasionally, so I’ll be haunting Whole Earth Center and other places looking for them.  They are immature storage onions, so the farmer has to be willing to pull them early – but they’ll sell for a premium.

If you find some, here’s what to do with them, right from page 52:

6-8 whole spring onions, long green stems attached

Extra-virgin olive oIl

Salt & pepper

Balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 500°. Arrange the onions in a single layer in a heavy roasting pan.  Douse them with some olive oil and generously season them with salt and pepper.

Roast the onions until deeply browned all over, about 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 250° and continue roasting them until the bulbs are tender, 10-15 minutes longer.  Remove the onions from the oven and drizzle them with a couple small spoonfuls of balsamim vinegar, turning them in the pan to coat them with the pan juices.  Season with a little more salt.  These are equally declicious served warm from the oven or at room temperature.

Right there at the end, that is why I have such high regard for these two authors.  Many dishes are as good or better at room temperature, when the flavors shine.  All food at the table does not have to be burning hot or icy cold. I’ve been trying to convice people of that for years, so it’s nice to hear the real pros say so.  Same with most baked goods. I like pie (and many baked goods) better if never refrigerated.

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