My friend came over today. Syd. We leafed through a mountain of cookbooks and chewed the fat. We also celebrated my new celebrity status at food52 with a glass of bubbly (each) and a bar of chocolate (shared - but I ate most of it because I've been sugar deprived), and eventually had to close the blinds because the paparazzi got a little too daring with their zoom lenses and cat calls.
The real star of our little soiree was this hot new salad soon to be strewn over every celeb's plate in tinsel town. Well, at least till this first of the season fruit becomes yesterday's news.
Thanks food52, I've tumbled off the wagon and I'm hooked on sugar again. Just kidding. There was never a wagon. Or a hook.
Have a look: —fo
- Serves mmm, two
2 white nectarines
a quarter-cup hazelnuts
a couple good handfuls of peppery arugula
one shallot - nothing too large
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
4 tablespoons toasted hazelnut oil, i'm using la tourangelle
- Preheat the oven to 350. When it's hot, spread the hazelnuts in a pan and toast for about 7 minutes, or until golden. Meanwhile...
- Dice the shallot, and macerate a tablespoon of them in the vinegar.
- Hello. Check your hazelnuts. They should be done now. If they are, place them in a towel. Draw up the sides to make a sack, then vigorously rub them to peel off their skins. Don't worry if some skins refuse to budge. This adds to their charm.
- Cut the nectarines into slices. Get them into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Not much. Just enough to lightly coat. Now set the oven to broil, spread the nectarines in a single layer in a cast iron pan and pop them under the flame. Roast them until golden. Be sure to let them completely cool before handling for obvious reasons, and because they will be very soft when they come out of the oven. Letting them cool will also allow them to steam a bit and release from the baking surface.
- Now let's make our vin. Get your hazelnuts into a mortar with a large bowl. And crush, stopping when they are the coarseness photographed (photo 7). You know me, I do love to provide step-by-step pictures.
- Add the tablespoon of shallots with a pinch of salt. Now whisk in the hazelnut oil.
- Time to plate. Halve your avo, then slice into strips. Lay them down on the plate, sprinkle with salt & drizzle with a little of the vinaigrette that you just made.
- Now get the arugula into a bowl with a pinch of salt, toss with some of the vinaigrette. Oh, be sure to add your tarragon leaves. No chopping allowed. Just pull of the tender fronds and add them to your bowl.
- Now plate as attractively as you can, even if you've made this salad for one. Every day is a celebration!