Kohlrabi Remoulade

About Kohlrabi…
Mentioning Kohlrabi typically doesn’t often light up people’s faces, but this highly underated vegetable is enjoyed in dishes around globe. It also grows exceptionally well here in the Hudson Valley.  The literal translation means “cabbage turnip” in Germany and “ugly root” in Africa. It’s flavor is anything but “ugly” offering a blend of all the wonderful flavor profiles of its cruciferous vegetable family ( broccoli, turnip, cabbage, brussels sprouts, rutagaba), and it has all of the protective phytochemicals and antioxidants they share.

So what to do with this “alien” root?

Immediately get to the tender and delicous flesh under that tough protective exterior. There is a chewy fiberours layer under the hard outer skin, so be sure to peel thoroughly down to the crisp and moist flesh. Use a paring knife to trim ends, and then work down the hard outer body to delious edible portion using a vegetable peeler.

1) Raw: Using a madoline, sharp knife, or cheese grater, slice it very thinly or shred it and eat it raw. Enjoy it on a crudite plate with a dip or use it as you would cabbage by preparing a slaw.

2) Puree: Chop, boil and and puree it then enjoy with some olive oil or butter and seasoning. Pureed kohlrabi also blends with mashed potatoes, mashed root vegetables (kohlrabi and carrots is a personal favorite).

3) Roast: Chop or slice into “fries”, toss with a bit of olive oil, season with salt and peper, and then oven roast until caramelized and tender.

4) Add to soups, stews and braises:  Kohlrabi adds flavor and nutrients to any/all cold weather cooking. Chop it and add it to your favorite bubbling winter meal. Its flavor holds up well to intense seasoning, and it’s particulary good in curries or other full flavored dishes.

5) Gratins and “pies”and quiches: Slice thinly and layer into gratins or grate then saute (with or without other vegetables) to fill pies and quiches.

Here’s one of my favorite preparations, a rift on the classic celeriac remoulade, which is a perfect winter salad:

Kohlrabi Remoulade

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 medium, kohlrabi (about 1 ½ pounds)
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt to season
3 tablespoons of good quality mayonnaise*
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt preserved capers, rinsed
Pinch cayenne pepper
Finely shredded parsley to garnish

Directions

Working quickly, trim the ends from the kohlrabi and peel. Cut into halves and finely grate using a cheese grater or a food processor fitted with the shredding blade. Transfer to a medium bowl and immediately toss with lemon juice to prevent browning. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, and garlic; season with salt and cayenne. Fold the mixture into the bowl with the kohlrabi. Serve immediately or allow to sit, refrigerated, in a nonreactive airtight container, for 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Variations:

Add: shredded apples and/or cornichons

 

Wine Weekly – Côtes du Gascogne

One of the captivating things about Gigi Trattoria’s wine list is that it is forever changing. Last week we introduced a Primitivo from Italy.This week we take a trip to France to feature a Côtes du Gascogne.

Côtes du Gascogne is a wine growing district in Gascony, the South West region of France.  This region is best known as the Armagnac producing region or the Pays Basque.The climate of the Basque Region of France is influenced by not only the Mediterranean but the Atlantic as well. This results in a wet spring but generally a sunny rest of the year making for alluvial soil with some clay and sand. Mostly white wines, like the Côtes du Gascogne are produced here.

This 50% Colombard and 40% Uni Blanc is rounded out by 10% Gros Manseng. Colombard and Uni Blanc were traditionally used to make Cognac.Colombard had become less popular in France during the 1970’s but when Californians started using it, it came back into fashion. It has an off-dry characteristic that pairs nicely with the floral notes of the Gros Manseng and the high acidity of the Ugni Blanc or Trebbiano. This wine has notes of pineapple and a bit of a grassy undertone that pairs well with salads and lighter greens. We recommend trying it with the Mela salad.  The fruit of the wine brings out the sweetness of the Mead Orchard apples while the acidity compliments the fattiness of the bacon and creaminess of Ewe’s Blue Cheese dressing.

We have a limited supply of this treasure of Gascony so you must stop by Gigi Trattoria and try it soon!  For only $8 a glass or $28 this delicious white blend is sure to please.  If you come by on Wednesday, all our bottles of wine are 30% off!  If you happen to miss the Côtes du Gascogne at Gigi Trattoria you can also try it Gigi Market by the ½ Carafe!  Wherever you sip it, it will surely take you on a trip to France.

Gigi-Pure Mountain Fig Vinaigarette

If you haven’t stopped in to Rhinebeck’s hottest new store, check out Pure Mountain. They sell the most amazing naturally flavored 12-year old balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy, made in the traditional style that makes them rich, subtle syrupy and delicious. We’re using them in our cocktails (yes!), sauces, soups and you’ll be seeing this lovely vinaigrette on some of our fall salad specials.

I developed this Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette as part of the tasty and healthy seasonal fall menu for Just Salad. It is light and delicious with a great depth of flavor.

Gigi-Pure Mountain Fig Vinaigrette

Makes 8 to 10 servings

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoon Pure Mountain Dark Fig Balsamic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¾ cup canola, safflower oil blended oil oil (extra-virgin, while delicious, takes over the subtle fig flavor notes)
¼ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

In a small mixing bowl, combine the mustard, lemon juice and salt. While whisking, slowly add the oil. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary, and add black pepper.

Wine Weekly – Gavi

In Piemonte, Gavi ranks as one of the most enjoyable white wines.  This seems to follow suit at Gigi Trattoria as Stefano Massone’s Vigneto Masera Gavi is definitely a best seller on our wine list.  It wouldn’t surprise any of our avid Gavi drinkers to know that Massone only grows a single grape varietal, the Cortese grape used to make Gavi.  This close attention to detail ensures no compromises are made when creating the Vigneti Masera Gavi. 

At Massone’s estate, quality comes first.  Both of Massone’s Gavi vineyards are grown organically with no use of herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers or systemic chemicals.  Rows of vines are sown with a ground cover which is either tilled or mown and yields are kept very low to assure ripeness.  Sulfite usage is kept to a minimum as well.  Massone takes extreme pride and care when growing the Cortese grapes.

The result of Massone’s delicate touch and organic growing is a lively wine that is definitely a crowd pleaser.  The Gavi is similar to a white Burgundy with ripe fruit but also a clean minerality.  Pear and citrus notes create a lovely nose and an excellent crispness.  This 100% Cortese wine is aged in oak barrels giving it another layer of depth.  We recommend drinking this wine on its own or paired with the Salmone as the citrus of the wine brings out the sweetness of the fish and the minerality balances the saltiness of the olives in the salad. 

It will only take one sip of the Gavi and you will understand why Paul Massone takes so much time caring for his vineyard.  This balanced white is sure to be your “go to” wine if it isn’t already.  For just $10 a glass and $30 a bottle, you cannot find a better deal especialyl on Wednesdays when the Gavi and all our bottled wines are 30% off!

Learn more about Gavi here.

Watermelon-Fennel Salad

This is a great end of summer salad. It provides a refreshing contrast of flavors and textures – crunchy sweet watermelon and fennel; salty, creamy feta; and ever so slightly bitter greens. It is perfect with grilled or seared fish or chicken, or simply on its own as simple first course. Don’t be afraid to add or substitute. Experiment!

Makes 4 servings

2 cups watermelon, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch chunks
¼  red onion,very thinly sliced
¼ fennel bulb,thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon diced jalapeno pepper
Juice and grated zest of 1 lime
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Salt and pepper to season
1 cup crumbled Farm feta
4 cups baby greens

In a mixing bowl, combine the watermelon, onion, fennel, mint, jalapeno, lime juice and zest and grapeseed oil. Season with salt and pepper and gently stir. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. When ready to serve, mound about 1 cup of baby greens on each plate; divide the watermelon-fennel salad over the greens. Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the salad.

Serving suggestions: Serve the watermelon-feta mixture chilled on its own or over baby greens.

Variations:

* Mix it up using a combination of yellow and red watermelon.
* Substitute any young soft cheese, such as goat cheese, for the feta.

Nutrition: Watermelon gets its vibrant color from lycopene, the same potent antioxidant found in tomatoes. It is also a good source of vitamins A and C and potassium.

Note: This recipe can be found in the Gigi Good Food Cookbook, Hudson Valley Mediterranean.

Kale Two Ways

Tuscan kale, also known as Lacinato kale, Tuscan cabbage, Italian kale, Dinosaur kale, cavolo nero, and black kale, thrives during all three growing seasons of the Hudson Valley. It’s especially available during these steamy summer months, and we’re taking full advantage….  We present it to you direct from Migliorelli Farms in our retail cases at Gigi Market and throughout our menus in both locations.  I thought I’d give you two different approaches to enjoying it; cooked and raw.

Cooked Kale

Gigi ‘LACINATO’: Sautéed Kale with Towne & Country Sausage

This is a new lunch and dinner side at the Trattoria in Rhinebeck, and part of our new summer menu.  Enjoy this sautéed Italian black kale with Towne and Country spicy sausage or simply with garlic and Gigi extra-virgin olive oil.

Makes 2-3 servings

1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 ounces (about 2 links) Towne and Country spicy sausage, sliced or crumbled
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ pounds Tuscan kale, stems removed and leaves chopped, then rinsed and spun
Salt
2 tablespoons white wine
1 cup water

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the shallots, sausage, and red pepper flakes, and cook until the shallots and sausage just begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and toss to combine. Stir in the kale and season with salt. Cook the kale, tossing or stirring to evenly wilt, then add the white wine and cook until fully evaporated. Add the water and cook until the kale is tender and the pan is almost dry, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy hot or at room temperature.

Click here to watch a brief video of this dish being made.

Raw Kale

Massaged Kale Salad

My friends (and Gigi devotees :)) Peter Amendola and Jerry Paglieri, shared this “massaged” raw kale salad with me, saying they often make it when entertaining and receive consistent raves from their guests. The acidity in the lemon juice “cooks” the thinly sliced kale making it tender and flavorful. Jerry became a fan when first trying Aati Sequeira’s recipe; as a confident cook he fined tuned it to his tastes and made it his own.

Makes 4 servings

1 large bunch Tuscan kale stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
fresh juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
freshly ground black pepper
2 ripe peaches or nectarines, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds

In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the maple syrup and a healthy amount of freshly ground black pepper. Stream the olive oil into the bowl while whisking.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the peaches and pumpkin seeds. Toss and serve.

Enjoy!

-Laura

Wine Weekly – Côté Est Catlan

At Gigi Trattoria we are always changing our wine list. With that said, there is one wine that is not only a crowd-pleaser but also a staff favorite.The Lafage Côté Est Catalan is a lovely blend from the Roussillon region of France. This 50% Grenache, 30% Chardonnay, and 20% Marsanne is perfect for summer. The crisp and aromatic blend of wine expresses notes of citrus, white flowers and light minerals.

The young Jean-Marc Lafage has found a way to produce beautiful blends of wine. Though only in his thirties, he has almost 15 years of experience creating juicy and flavorful wines on his 200 hectares of land overlooking the Pyrenees of France and Spain.

Côté Est Catalan & a Bianca Skizza

This wine is best enjoyed chilled (especially on the Gigi patio.)  It pairs well with our mussels, Pollo con Tostone, Barbina salad, most fish specials, and our personal favorite, the Bianca Skizza.  It is also refreshing and delightful on its own and would be a perfect picnic accompaniment. Sold for $9  by the glass and $27 by the bottle, you must try out this gem of the Roussillon region next time you are in Gigi Trattoria. And if you happen to be dining with us on a Wednesday, a bottle of Côté Est Catalan or any of our bottle wines are 30% off!

Chin chin!