Spanish Tortilla with Spinach and Manchego Cheese

Sometimes we just don’t have time to go to the market. Five o’clock rolls around and we open our refrigerator in a panic. Our old standby is often a Spanish tortilla. Guaranteed you will have the ingredients to whip up this easy dinner in no time. In this recipe we use spinach but you can just as easily use mushrooms, zucchini, or broccoli. This Spanish omelet is a great way to take familiar ingredients and turn them into something exotic and international. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal served with warm corn tortillas and guacamole, or for entertaining, cut into wedges and offered as tapas with a selection of Mediterranean olives.

tortilla

4 servings as a main course, 6 servings  as a side
1¼ cups peeled and diced Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 or 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 large eggs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 medium white onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (1 1/4 cups)
1 packed cup of baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup shredded Manchego cheese

Line a plate with paper towels.Place the potatoes in a medium microwave-safe bowl with a lid, and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Cover the bowl and microwave on high for 3½ minutes. Remove the bowl (it will be hot) and shake to loosen the potatoes. Return the bowl to the microwave and cook until tender, about 3½ minutes more. Set aside.If you don’t want to use a microwave, place the potatoes in a small saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and cook partially covered for 5 to 7 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Remove from the heat, drain well, and return to the dry saucepan. Set aside. (You need only 2 tablespoons of butter in total if using this non-microwave method.)

In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, the parsley, and thyme; whisk to blend.

Place a medium ovenproof, nonstick skillet with a broiler-safe handle over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. When it melts and starts to sizzle, add the potatoes in a single flat layer and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Flip the potatoes with a spatula and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the potatoes with a slotted spoon to the paper-towel lined plate, leaving the remaining butter in the skillet.

Set a rack in the upper third of the oven and turn the oven on to broil.

Add the onion to the butter and saute over medium heat until golden brown and tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the spinach and saute for an additional 2 minutes, until wilted. Return the potatoes to the pan and pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Stir quickly to mix all the ingredients together. Cook undisturbed until the edges begin to set, 4 to 5 minutes.

Run a rubber or silicone spatular around the rim of the pan to loosen the sides. Sprinkle the top of the tortilla with the cheese and place the pan under broiler until the cheese is lightly browned, about 2 1/2 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Slide the tortilla onto a platter, browned side up. Let it cool for 5 minutes, then slice into wedges and serve.

Citrus Roasted Chicken with Grand Marnier

According to a recent study chicken recipes are Googled more often than any other recipe in New York State. Yet we’ve found that exciting ones are hard to come by, and if you’ve been waiting to throw a dinner party until you have the perfect one, our Citrus-Roasted Chicken is for you. It’s a stunner and crowd pleaser and comes out of the oven picture perfect every time. Yet this dish doesn’t require spending hours at the stove.

And as for taste, the zestiness of the honey tangerines, the tanginess of the grainy mustard, and the citrusy sweetness of the Grand Marnier add up to a lovely depth of flavor.

chicken

4 servings
1/4 plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh honey tangerine (Murcott orange) juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
3 tablespoons Grand Manier (or other orange liqueur)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 medium red onion, cut lengthwise, then cut into thin half-moon slices
7 or 8 springs fresh thyme
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 or 9 pieces chicken (breasts, thighs, and legs; about 4 pounds)
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1 lemon, washed, thinly sliced and seeded
1 honey tangerine (Murcott orange), washed, thinly sliced, and seeded.

For the marinade, in a small mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the oil, the lemon and tangerine juices, the wine, mustard, Grand Marnier, brown sugar, paprika, red pepper flakes, onion, 2 of the thyme sprigs, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.Place the chicken in a large plastic bag. Pour in the marinade, seal, and turn to coat completely. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, ideally 1 hour before cooking if you have marinated it overnight. Set racks in the middle and upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.Place a colander over a large mixing bowl and drain the chicken, reserving the marinade along with the onion and thyme. Remove the chicken and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Pour the marinade, onion, and thyme into a rimmed baking sheet.In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half the chicken pieces skin side down (do not crowd them) and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, undisturbed, until a dark golden crust forms. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place on the baking sheet, skin side up, on top of the marinade.Wipe the skillet clean. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and repeat with the remaining chicken. Transfer the chicken to the baking sheet, reserving the oil in the skillet. Turn off the heat and let the skillet cool for 1 minute.

Add the garlic to the oil in the skillet and turn the heat to medium. Cook the garlic for 3 minutes, flipping it halfway through until the garlic is lightly browned on both sides. Transfer the garlic to the baking sheet with the chicken.

Arrange the lemon and tangerine slices around and under the chicken. Lay 3 sprigs of thyme on top and season with salt and pepper. Bake on the middle rack for 25 to 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F on an
instant-read thermometer and the juices run clear.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and raise the temperature to broil. Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving platter, leaving the marinade, citrus, onion, and garlic on the sheet. Broil on the upper rack for 4 to 5 minutes, until
the citrus slices caramelize. Remove the sheet from the oven and arrange the citrus, garlic, and onion under, on, and around the chicken. Garnish with a few sprigs of thyme.

Pour the liquid from the baking sheet into a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce reduces by a third, 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve the chicken warm with the sauce passed separately.

Maple-balsamic Root Vegetable “Fries”

We think everyone likes–-no, maybe loves, French fries. But we all pretty much try not to indulge—they are after all, salty, deep-fat-fried potatoes. Although we do love what our brother/son Michael says about them, “I love French fries, but how often are you going to cook them? It’s too hard and messy. So there’s something in the very nature of home cooking that keeps us from getting into trouble.”

So true, but here’s an even better solution—our French fry “cheat”, our Maple-Balsamic Root Vegetable “Fries” recipe. Root vegetables are so nutritionally dense, very affordable, and available year round–– for most, the peak season is fall through spring, so they are a great winter ingredient.

What’s great about this recipe is that you can really substitute any root vegetables that you like, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, turnips, red beets, yams… The slight sweetness from the maple syrup, the tanginess of the balsamic vinegar, the salt and thyme, give these “fries” such delicious flavor.

fries

4 to 6 servings
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick sticks, 2 to 3 inches long
1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick sticks, 2 to 3 inches long
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick sticks, 2 to 3 inches long
2 medium golden beets, peeled, each cut into 8 wedges
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.In a large mixing bowl, combine the carrots, celery root, parsnips, beets, and thyme sprigs. Add the oil and mix to thoroughly coat the vegetables.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the maple syrup, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper; mix well. Pour the mixture on the vegetables and toss to coat.

Arrange the vegetables in single layers on the two baking sheets. Roast on separate racks for 20 minutes.

Remove them from the oven and, using a spatula, flip the vegetables. Return the sheets to the oven, switching their positions (upper rack and lower rack). Roast until the vegetables are light brown and caramelized, an additional
15 to 20 minutes.

Discard the thyme sprigs, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Pollan Signature Salad

We call this our Signature salad because it really is our signature. We not only serve this at all of our large family gatherings but we also bring it to many potluck dinners. The wonderful thing about this salad is that it’s so easy to swap out the greens or the fruit depending on the season. It’s delicious with peaches, apples and Asian pears. We sometimes use arugula, romaine or Boston lettuce. The caramelized walnuts can be substituted with pecans, hazelnuts, cashews…the list goes on. The key to this salad is the addictive dressing, it is light, crisp, and both vinegary and sweet. The mix of ingredients in this salad comes together in a beautiful way.

salad

6 servings
For the dressing
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar, champagne vinegar, or sherry vinegar
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
5 to 7 ounces mesclun or mixed baby greens
1/2 cup chopped Caramelized Walnuts
1/2 Bosc pear (cut lengthwise), cored, and thinly sliced
1/3 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

For the Dressing
In a glass jar with a lid or in a small mixing bowl, combine the vinegars, mustard,
grapeseed oil, olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and pepper to taste. Shake the jar vigorously or whisk in the bowl to emulsify.
For the Salad
Place the mesclun in a large salad bowl. Pour on half the dressing and toss the greens to coat. Add the walnuts, pear, and more dressing to taste (taking care not to overdress) and toss again. Top with the Parmesan cheese shavings and serve.

Golden Baby Artichokes with Lemon Zest

We have a number of men in our lives who just refuse to eat artichokes—the thistles, the choke, scraping the meager “meat” off the leaves with your teeth—frankly they think it’s too much work for too little reward. Add to this the idea of cooking artichokes scares a lot of people. What do you do with the choke? What are the things that prick your fingers? Why should I bother? Artichokes are intimidating! However, the beauty of these babies is that not only are they easy to prepare but you can eat the whole thing. They are so delectable and satisfying, we dare you to resist our golden sautéed baby artichokes.

artichokes

4 servings
¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 pounds baby artichokes (about 9)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 small cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large mixing bowl with cold water and add ¼ cup of the lemon juice. Peel off all the dark outer leaves of each artichoke until you reach the pale green inner leaves. (You might be tempted to leave some, but they will be too tough to eat.) Cut off the bottom ¼ inch of the stem, leaving the rest intact. With a vegetable peeler, remove the dark outer layer of the stem until you reach a pale green layer. Cut 1 inch off the top of the artichoke. Quarter the artichoke lengthwise and put it in the bowl of lemon water to keep it from turning brown. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Drain the artichokes and add them to the pot. Boil until tender when pierced with a fork, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and pour in the oil. When it is shimmering, add the artichokes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook, flipping the artichokes occasionally until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes more.

Sprinkle on the remaining teaspoon of lemon juice, the lemon zest, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for 1 minute more. Serve hot.

Stacked Watermelon and Feta Cheese Salad

Nothing says summer more than watermelon and it’s one of our favorite summertime fruits. However, we can’t tell you how many times we’ve come home in the summer with a 20-pound watermelon and have been forced to throw out half of it because we can’t eat it fast enough! Last summer, we went to a restaurant and for the first time ordered a savory watermelon salad. It was so different and delicious that we decided to create our own version. We experimented combining watermelon with different ingredients and discovered that salty feta cheese enhances the sweetness of the watermelon. We added basil and finished it off with a balsamic vinegar glaze. This is our new “go to” summer salad because it’s so refreshing on a hot day. This summer we want to try mixing yellow and red watermelon together for an even more spectacular presentation.

stacked watermelon salad4 servings
1/3 cup basil leaves (16 to 18 leaves), sliced into chiffonade (thin strips), plus 8 whole leaves for garnish, optional
1/4 watermelon (4 pounds), rind removed and cut into eight 2 1/2 by 2-inch rectangles, 1/2 inch thick
8-ounce block good-quality Feta cheese, cut into eight 2 1/2 by 2-inch rectangles, 1/4 inch thick
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar glaze, or Saba
Freshly ground black pepper

To assemble each stack, scatter approximately 2 teaspoons of the basil chiffonade on an individual salad plate. Place a watermelon rectangle on top, followed by a Feta cheese rectangle, and 1 teaspoon more of the basil.Repeat with another layer, stacking the watermelon, Feta cheese, and basil. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil, then 1/4 teaspoon of the balsamic vinegar glaze on top.Finish with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Repeat these steps for each salad, garnish with whole basil leaves as desired, and serve.

Micaela’s Nirvana Bars

Our kids all love a good meal—they all do really walk in the door and ask, “What smells so good?” And as they’ve gotten older they’ve started to emulate us and take photos of things they’ve cooked or great meals they’ve had––they send them to us and we continue to connect over sustenance even when they are far away—or just in Brooklyn.

So, when we started to write the cookbook they were so sweet and a bunch of them asked if they could contribute one of their favorite dessert recipes. We loved this idea so much that we asked each of them to make a contribution and the results were all amazing.

These Nirvana Bars are from Lori’s youngest, Micaela (aka Mica). This is what Mica had to say about her recipe:

“My mom always made these bars as a teenager, so I decided to give them a try and make a batch for my friends in my homeroom. After a couple of tries I made my own edits to the recipe and brought them into class the next day. Following the consumption of the first couple, word of the bars quickly spread and soon I was being swarmed by hungry teenagers attracted to the smell of chocolate, nuts, coconut, and all the rest of the chewy, crunchy deliciousness. Within five minutes the container was empty and I was already taking orders from people for more the next day. Now, these Nirvana bars have become a favorite middle of the night treat for friends that sleep over and have a tendency to sneak into the kitchen.”

––Micaela

nirvana_bars

Makes 3 dozen 1-1 1/2 inch bars
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted
9 full graham cracker sheets, crushed into coarse crumbs
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup chopped raw walnuts or pecans
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup white chocolate chips
½ cup bittersweet or dark chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened shredded or flaked coconut
½ of a 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, graham cracker crumbs, and salt; stir to mix well. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the baking pan. Layer on the chopped nuts, then the semisweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and bittersweet chocolate chips. Sprinkle the coconut evenly on top. Lastly, drizzle on the condensed milk, covering everything with a thin layer.

Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan, then cut into 1½-inch bars. Store in an airtight container.

Raspberry Pudding Cake

Raspberries are my favorite berry and the origin of that love dates back to a bright summery day spent picking raspberries at a Pick Your Own farm in Connecticut. I got there early and spent hours walking through the rows of bushes loaded with ripe fruit. By afternoon–my face a bit stained with berry juice–I had pints and pints to take home and turn into luscious pies and jam.

Though puddings have always struck me as great for the nursery, I find them a tad boring. But our pudding cake is full of flavor, light and airy, and definitely for grown ups. And this cake is such a dream to make that even a novice will have luck.   It’s also a touch magical. You pour the berry sauce on top of the batter and when you remove the cake from the oven you’re surprised and delighted to discover that the sauce has dispersed throughout. We like to serve the pudding in individual footed stem glasses, topped with a scoop of our favorite ice cream.

raspberries

6 servings
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus extra for greasing the pan
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 cups fresh raspberries
½ cup raspberry jam
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 large egg
½ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.In a small saucepan over low heat, stir together ¼ cup of the sugar, ¼ cup of water, the lemon juice, and cornstarch and bring to a simmer. Add the raspberries and the raspberry jam and cook, stirring, for an additional 3 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and the remaining ½ cup of sugar.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Spread the batter into the baking pan and top with the raspberry sauce.

Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake just comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes and serve.