Escape From NY

22 Jul

I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but here? It’s hot. Again.

Way too hot for sleeping, and for walking. Too hot for cooking or for lying on the couch and watching TV. Too hot to read and far too hot to sit at the computer.

So, it’s time to escape. Tomorrow Isaac and I are packing up and leaving the city; first by train, then by car, to meet my family up in the Adirondacks.

I know it’s a great luxury to be able to escape to the woods and mountains once each summer; to be able to slow down and cool off for a few days. So, in case you can’t do the same, I wanted to leave you with two dishes that will, in their simplicity and ease, help keep you cool and nourished as the heat wave rolls on.

First, please try this chilled Cucumber, Radish & Buttermilk soup from Gourmet. It’s been sitting on top of a pile of pages pulled from magazines on the living room floor that, someday, I hope to file away into a semblance of order. It’s been there for months (sadly).

And then, on Saturday, while I was in the city hunting for dill with which to pickle, it finally caught Isaac’s eye. I felt my phone jiggling around inside my purse. When I pulled it out and checked the message, there was a picture of this recipe staring at me. It was brilliant!

It’s very sophisticated and pretty and didn’t taste nearly radish-y enough for us. So for those that are worried about it being too radish-y, don’t worry. With a piece of pan-fried fish, a little chervil garnish and some hearty multi-grain bread, it felt like a were supping at midnight somewhere in Scandinavia.

Second, I give you an homage to one of the best sandwiches in New York; the tuna sandwich at ‘wichcraft, but in salad form. It’s the combination of thinly sliced lemons, with the skin on, meaty, briny olives and alluring raw fennel that really makes this sandwich sing. But in salad form, without tuna, it needed a little oomph, so I added dried chile flakes, which have the additional benefit of helping you cool down.

So I hope you manage to keep cool in the midst of this ridiculous heat wave. See you in a week!

Head below the jump for the recipe for Mediterranean Fennel Salad.

Mediterranean Fennel Salad

prep time: 15 minutes ~ cooking time: none!

  • 2 lbs of Fennel — approximately 1 1/2 large or 3 baby bulbs
  • 2 Lemons, zested and juiced
  • one small handful of Dry-Cured Olives, pitted and chopped
  • one large handful of Meaty, Delicious Olives of your choice, pitted and chopped
  • A few handfuls of Chervil, picked and washed
  • Dried Chile Flakes
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Seasoned Rice Vinegar

Trim the fennel tops, lop off the bottom, remove any dirty outer leaves and cut out the fennel’s core. Halve the fennel and slice it as thinly as possible. A mandoline on its thickest setting or a food processor would be helpful here. Wash the fennel and allow to drain.

Toss the fennel, lemon zest, lemon juice, olives, chervil and dried chile flake to taste in a bowl. Season with salt a large glug of olive oil and a few shakes of rice vinegar. Mix and set aside to allow the flavors to deepen. Taste again just before serving and adjust seasoning if necessary. Enjoy!

13 Responses to “Escape From NY”

  1. Mary Coleman July 22, 2008 at 6:21 am #

    Oh that soup and that salad look divine! It’s “hotter than the hinges on the gates of Hell” (as my mother so eloquently puts it) here in Tennessee. I would love to escape to someplace cool, but alas it’s not in the cards. Ya’ll have a great time!

  2. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) July 22, 2008 at 8:28 am #

    I’m still not quite in love with raw fennel, so I might saute this briefly to take the edge off. And how about adding some orange slices — that would make it over-the-top Mediterranean.

  3. Julie July 22, 2008 at 11:13 am #

    The Adirondacks should be heavenly cool right now — just the antidote to the hot, steamy city. Enjoy yourself!

    Between Deb’s radish and snap pea saute and your soup, I’m suddenly thinking radishes. Go figure. I never think radishes.

  4. michelle July 22, 2008 at 12:39 pm #

    loving the soup. the more radishes, the better.

    i have an enormous bunch of dill from last week’s CSA. and i don’t like dill.

  5. EB July 22, 2008 at 4:15 pm #

    Oh so you took our heat! For whatever reason it’s verging on downright cold here. But the fennel salad… that could warm any cold soul.

  6. Ann July 24, 2008 at 10:47 am #

    I’m jealous. Even the storm hasn’t brought the sort of relief we need. Love the salad!

  7. Marie July 25, 2008 at 4:57 pm #

    Oh, thank you! radishes are one of my (many) favourite things, and so is buttermilk. Brilliant – I would not have thought of it.

    Thinly sliced,salted radishes on brown bread with a thick, cool schmear of butter are divine, too, on a hot day, but this soup I will make tomorrow…

    And the fennel salad looks delicious – a bit like one that accompanies the little chicken at Al di La…

  8. Christine July 26, 2008 at 10:03 pm #

    The fennel salad looks delicious! Of course, Anthony doesn’t particularly care for fennel (raw or cooked) so it will be mine. All mine!

    You know, for a second I thought one of the olives in your image was a piece of oily anchovy. And now all I can think of is this fennel salad with anchovies (or sardines in olive oil!) Yum!

  9. ann July 28, 2008 at 6:27 am #

    Mary — Oh man, that’s a great saying! I hope your mom won’t mind if I use that from time to time. :-)

    Lydia — Oranges would be good, but I think some thinly sliced Meyer lemons would best! Sauteeing is a good idea by the way.

    Julie — Your sister was right, it was wonderfully cool and crisp up there! It’s funny that radishes are all the rage at the moment… Personally I love them, but I know that they’re not a lot of some people’s cups of tea!

    Michelle — But dill is magic! Dill makes pickles! Just kidding…

    EB — I hope it’s still cool down there!

    Ann — At least it’s cooled off a bit now, right?

    Marie — Oh radishes with salt and butter are so heavenly. I’ve never made it into Al di La yet, which makes me quite sad, but I guess it’s nice to know that I created a little piece of it on my own :-)

    Christine — I’m not sold on adding little fishes to salads, but I know someone in this household that would endorse your idea quite heartily. I’ll have to mention it to him :-)

  10. chefectomy July 28, 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    WOWWW…that soup looks sensational. I love radishes and this is such a great idea. I’m on the other coast so its a bit cooler although my NYC cousins are suffering along with you…thanks for this great post.

    –Marc

  11. Paula July 29, 2008 at 11:45 am #

    Love the color of that soup. It looks great. It’s hot here in AL as well, I’d love to be in the mountains right now too!

  12. Toni August 2, 2008 at 2:01 pm #

    Ann – Your trip sounds wonderful, and your photos are, as ever, a joy.

    And the soup? What perfect timing! I just bought cucumbers and radishes on sale. This soup is happenin’ this week – thanks!

  13. ann August 3, 2008 at 8:15 am #

    Chefectomy — My pleasure!

    Paula — It was even prettier in person.

    Toni — Oh, I hope you love it, it was really delicious, and so pretty.

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