Ina Garten is #39 on Gourmet's list of Women Game-Changers in Food. She is known for using fresh ingredients and de-mystifying recipes so that the average home cook can truly make them. Her circular path to the top of the Food Empire is well-known. She spent years in Washington D.C. as a White House Nuclear Policy Analyst. Somewhere along the way there was a seemingly impulse buy of the Barefoot Contesssa (A gourmet food store) in the Hamptons. (This is one smart woman - not sure how much of an "impulse buy" this truly was!) The Barefoot Contessa led the way to creating recipes for her store. She was mentored by such luminaries as Eli Zabar (from Eli's Manhattan in NYC) and Martha Stewart. Cooking and catering led to cookbooks. Cookbooks led to a cooking show and Garten remains on the map as a mover and a shaker in the food world.
I own two of her cookbooks. My husband's side of the family is - numerous! When I have a family gathering 40-45 people of all generations will show up.That is not the time to try out your 12-step recipe! I have found her recipes add elegance to the proceedings and her food is packed with flavor - because the woman is not afraid of using fat!
It's been written that the ease and success of her recipes is because she is very careful to have the recipes tested by others again and again before she publishes them. I chose Garten's Warm Mushroom Salad from Barefoot in Paris. In the opening paragraph, Garten admits, "It's Italian!"
"Does this mean it will snow for 8 months next year," asks my daughter.
"Does this mean we will have 100-degree weather all summer," I muse.
A smart person would tell us to turn off our thoughts, get outside and enjoy the early warmth. Think of this March as a gift - instead of worrying what Mother Nature in Minnesota is really planning!
Ina Garten's Warm Mushroom Salad - serves 4
16 ounces cremini mushrooms, wiped clean (use your favorites)
2 tablespoons butter (I used Earth balance and I used less)
4 tablespoons olive oil - divided (I used less)
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked pepper
4 bunches (I used 4 cups) fresh arugula - cleaned
8 slices good Italian prosciutto (I used 4)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I used a little less but oh do love sherry vinegar!)
Chunk of Parmesan cheese for shaving
8 sun-dried tomatoes - drained and cut into slivers
Italian parsley for scattering
In a large saute pan, melt the butter and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When all is bubbly add the mushrooms, salt and pepper. Saute 5 minutes over medium heat - stirring. Lower the heat and saute another 2-3 minutes until cooked.
Arrange arugula on plates - 1 cup for each plate. Drape your prosciutto over the arugula. When the mushrooms are cooked, add the sherry vinegar and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir. Spoon the warm mushrooms on top of the arugula and prosciutto. With a vegetable peeler, shave parmesan on top of all. Sprinkle Italian parsley and sun-dried tomatoes about. Finish with a bit more of the salt and pepper. Serve.
It's perfect. It's spring. It's robins in my backyard, ducks in my front yard and geese flying overhead.
Please check out what the other bloggers are doing for Week 39 of Female Chef Gourmet Game Changers. And if you want to join in the fun, e-mail Mary at One Perfect Bite. Mary started this delectable journey.
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds,
Linda A - There and Back Again,