Blistered Shishito Peppers, Mitsuba, Tiny Watermelon Balls Radish Sprouts, Pistachio, Feta, Lime Vinaigrette, Korean Red Chili Powder, Lime Zest
The namesake of the Venetian Renaissance painter known for his use of brilliant reds and whites, “Carpaccio” was the inspiration for this summer treat. Giuseppe Cipriani, owner of Harry’s Bar invented the dish in 1950, the year of the great Carpaccio exhibition in Venice. It was inspired by the Contessa Amalia Nani Mocenigo, a frequent customer at Harry’s Bar whose doctor had placed her on a diet forbidding cooked meat. The original dish was simply paper-thin sliced raw beef topped with a mustard sauce. In the 63 years since its invention, the culinary term “carpaccio” has come to mean almost any dish composed of thinly-sliced raw food spread out on a platter.
In a challenge to make an elegant watermelon dish, I turn to carpaccio… plus mitsuba, a Japanese herb with a fresh, wild, sweet flavor similar to angelica which adds the herbaceous note. Then smoky grilled shishito balance the cool crisp watermelon. Radish sprouts add a pungent peppery characteristic. Just a little bit of feta adds richness and saltiness, while roasted pistachios add that nutty character. Gochugaru (Korean red chili powder) brings the heat and lime adds the bright citrusy notes. Elegant Watermelon? It’s possible.
You’ve heard the expression “like a kid in a candy store?” Well that kid was me this past weekend at the Farmers’ Market in Palos Verdes. If it looked tasty, I bought it. No restraint whatsoever. From Japanese eggplant to okra to heirloom tomatoes. And asatsuki, carrots, red serranos, beets, patty pan squash, spinach, garlic, Anaheim chiles, Thai basil, mitsuba…I had no plan, no recipe in mind. I was simply vegetable-crazy.
8-layer farmers’ market fantasy
curried fresh carrot juice sauce with blanched okra & mitsuba
grilled green & yellow patty pan squash
sautéed spinach with sesame, garlic, soy sauce
crispy polenta cake
fire-roasted anaheim chile
fresh goat cheese & asatsuki
cumin dusted grilled beet
spicy smoky heirloom tomato & thai basil
roasted japanese eggplant, maldon smoked sea salt flakes
Tofu Salad à la Provençal
Heirloom Tomato, Tofu, Olive, Sweet Pepper, Scallion, Anchovy, Mitsuba
Garlicky Tamari Vinaigrette
WANTED: Colorful summer salad recipes with flair! Drab dull ordinary salads need not apply. Does your salad have what it takes? One that incorporates esoteric flavors and uses summer crops at their peak. Will it make us feel satisfied on the hottest dog days? We’re looking for salads that go well with cold-dry-pink-wine. Must be full-flavored, nothing wimpy! Willing to experiment. Unlimited opportunity. Apply soon, before summer passes us by.