Welcome to the blog for adventurous young chefs! I love how adventurous my students are, both in cooking and tasting what they have made. I say “tasting,” but maybe I should be honest and say “gobbling!” Here are my adventurous young chefs in today’s after-school cooking class…
We continued our Winter White theme with an Endive, Fennel and Gran Padano Salad with Blood Orange Olive Oil & Lemon, followed by a Cauliflower Gratin with Truffle Butter. Both dishes were so popular, it was a struggle to save some for the parents at pickup!
But about the endive. I had no idea that Belgian Endive began as chicory, and then was ripped out by the roots and “forcibly grown” in the darkness! How ghastly that I have been enjoying this pale, delicate lettuce for so long without knowing of the abuse involved? 🙂 Here is Grace chopping the (poor, poor) endive now…
You might be thinking, “there is no way children ate that salad,” and you would, of course, be wrong! Every single one of them cleaned their plate, and a few asked for seconds. Perhaps it was the promise of a thinly shaved piece of that Gran Padano cheese in every bite… or it may have been that incredible Blood Orange Olive oil we got from We Olive in Long Beach… or the fact that the fennel and endive are so crunchy — who knows? Check out the before & after shots of the salad here!
Last week we baked White Chocolate Meringue Cookies and stirred up some incredible White Risotto. I am including a few recipes below, but for more from this series and our Julia Children series, please go to our “Recipes For Adventurous Young Chefs” tab on the left… Bon Appetit!
ENDIVE AND FENNEL SALAD WITH GRAN PADANO CHEESE, BLOOD ORANGE OLIVE OIL AND LEMON
2 endives, sliced thinly
½ cup fennel root, shaved or thinly sliced (remove the core and stalks)
½ cup thinly shaved Gran Padano (Parmesan) Cheese
Blood Orange Olive Oil (Available via telephone @ We Olive in Long Beach) and at Surfas in Culver City
2-3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon
freshly ground pepper
Layer thinly sliced endive on a plate. Top with shaved fennel and shaved parmesan cheese. Drizzle blood orange olive oil and lemon juice all over the salad. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
And here is the recipe for our Cauliflower Gratin, inspired by Ina Garten! Enjoy!
CAULIFLOWER GRATIN WITH TRUFFLE BUTTER
1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tbsp. truffle butter (available at Gelson’s or Surfas)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.
Make Bechamel Sauce: melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened.
Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan. Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the 2 tablespoons of truffle butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.