Last month I discovered Heidi Swanson and her latest book Super Natural Every Day. I have been trying to make my lunches and dinners a bit on the health side lately, and that is how I came across Heidi’s site. Her focus on primarily natural, whole foods and ingredients that can be used and prepared at home. Now I cannot pretend to be giving up butter, sugar or chocolate, but I do believe that balance is important an in order for me to get away with baking as much as I do, I need to balance all the indulgent baked bounty with some nutritious, good for you, give your arteries a hug healthy stuff. The good thing is that I do really enjoy healthy food. I love vegetables and quinoa and brown rice (even when its not in pudding form) and I am quite happy to often cook vegetarian.
So when I got hold of Heidi’s book and started reading about the virtues of quinoa, tofu, soba noodles and chickpeas, I did start making an mental inventory of what is in my brimming cupboards at home. I do have white flour and sugar, and I could certainly make an effort not to eliminate these as a lot of baking demands these components, but to mix things up a bit. Start mixing in whole flours and brown sugars and even more nuts and fruits and good stuff. I can do that 🙂
So I had to choose a first recipe out of the book to make. An inaugural adventure into the wholefoods world. I had quite a few pages bookmarked with the few recipes that initially took my fancy, but how to choose one? eeek, decisions decisions. I had narrowed it down to two and it was crunch time for a final decision, and I decided to go with roasted potatoe and brocolli gribiche. I adore brocolli and I rarely cook with potatoes really, normally preferring couscous, pasta or quinoa as my starch of choice. Maybe its leftover rebellion from a childhood where nearly every meal had a potato component, whether they were boiled, mashed, or roasted. I didn’t mind at the time, but as I did not rebel as a child, maybe I’m making an unconscious silent protest now.
I had not heard of a gribiche sauce before reading this recipe and I found the concept quite interesting. It is defined as “a mayonnaise-style cold egg sauce in the French cuisine, made by emulsifying hard-boiled egg yolks and mustard with a neutral oil like canola or grapeseed. The sauce is finished with chopped pickles, capers, parsley, chervil and tarragon. It also includes hard-boiled egg whites cut in a julienne.” Mayonnaise-style huh? Hmmm, risky. Looking back on it now, I should have made the sauce in my food processor as my whisking ended up bein inadequate, and my sauce did split a little, but it tasted good so I was not overly concerned. I will class it a practice round and have to schedule a round II to re-attempt the sauce methinks. I hate being defeated, even if it is only by egg yolks and oil.
The colours and the fresh flavours of this dish are just wonderful. Don’t worry too much about what herbs you use. I just grabbed a couple of handfuls from the biggest plants in my pots outside, and although the recipe says tarragon and parsley, I used parsley, coriander and oregano, and it was still delicious, so feel free to experiment. Chop em up and throw em in. Just make sure you wash your herbs and watch out for caterpillars. I almost had a little fat green one becoming an undesirable component of my gribiche sauce. I’m all for whole and natural foods, but I draw the line at bugs.
Roasted Potatoes & Broccoli Gribiche: (from Super Natural Every Day)
What you will need:
1 1/2 lb. of small potatoes, cut into 3/4″ cubes
1 lb. broccoli, cut up into florets
kosher salt & olive oil for roasting the vegetables
4 hard boiled eggs (I cook mine 11 minutes)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
handful of chopped parsley
handful fresh herbs (I used parsley, oregano and coriander)
handful of capers, chopped
2 small shallots, minced
salt & pepper
What to do:
On 2 separate roasting pans, lay out your potatoes and broccoli florets. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and roast at 400F. The potatoes should take about 30 minutes (shaking the pan after 15 minutes), and the broccoli should take about 20 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, make the sauce.
Start by taking one egg yolk and mashing it with a fork in a medium size bowl.
Slowly add the mustard, vinegar and olive oil to the egg yolk and whisk until glossy and the dressing is emulsified.
Add the herbs and capers to the sauce.
Chop the remaining 3 hard boiled eggs and 1 white into rough pieces and gently fold into the sauce.
Transfer the warm potatoes and broccoli to a large bowl and toss with this wonderful sauce. Season with salt & pepper.