In the school gardens we are harvesting beets. The kids are so excited pulling the beets out from the ground. Soon we are peeling, slicing and eating them raw. Our fingers are stained a deep red. “I can taste the earth and the sweetness” says James.
Working with chefs Suzanne Goin and David Lentz in their garden is so inspiring. There are dandelion greens, oranges, and carrots growing. Here is Suzanne’s delicious recipe for harissa-grilled chicken with carrot puree, oranges and black olives (dandelion greens too!)
harissa-grilled chicken with carrot purée, oranges and black olives serves 6 6 each half chickens, boned out except for wing tip 1 ¼ cup harissa (recipe follows) 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 oranges carrot purée (recipe follows) 8 ounces young dandelion greens, cleaned 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced ¾ cup pitted nyons, throubes or other oil-cured olives 1½ cups fresh squeezed orange juice ½ teaspoon granulated sugar 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Coat the chickens all over with all but ½ teaspoon harissa and set aside or refrigerate until ready to cook.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ½ teaspoon harissa, the sherry vinegar and 3 tablespoons olive oil.
Using a sharp knife, cut both ends from the oranges. Place them, cut side down on a cutting board. Following the contour of the fruit with your knife, remove the peel and cottony white pith, working from top to bottom, and rotating the fruit as you go. Holding the oranges over a bowl, carefully slice between the membranes and the fruit to release the segments in between. Set aside.
Heat the carrot purée in a medium pan, cover, and set aside.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brush with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Grill the chickens skin side down for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until the skin in golden and bubbly. Turn the chickens over and grill a few more minutes until just cooked through.
While the chicken is cooking, toss the dandelion greens, sliced shallots and olives with the vinaigrette, salt and pepper to taste.
Bring the orange juice and sugar to a boil in a medium sauté pan. When the juice has reduced by half, turn the heat down to low and quickly whisk in the butter, ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Remove from the heat.
Spoon the carrot purée onto 6 large dinner plates. Place 1/12 of the salad on each plate, next to the purée. Cut the chickens in half (to separate leg and breast) and place the leg on the plate, leaning up against the salad. Divide the rest of the salad among the plates, piling it up next to and partly over the leg. Lean the breast pieces up against the salad. Stir in the orange segments into the sauce and spoon it over the chicken.
harissa 6 dried ancho chiles, seeded 1/3 cup san marzano canned tomatoes ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and pounded 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 teaspoon smoked paprika a healthy pinch cayenne ½ teaspoon sherry vinegar ½ cup extra virgin olive oil ½ lemon, for juicing kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add the chiles to the pan and dry-toast them for a few minutes until they are blistered and slightly darkened. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover with very hot water. Let them sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Return the pan to the stove and add the tomato. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the juices reduce and the tomato is slightly darkened. Drain the chiles well and place them in a food processor with the cumin, garlic, tomato, paprika, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Purée until well combined. With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and blend until incorporated. Season with a healthy squeeze of lemon juice, and more salt if you like. carrot purée 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ inch rounds a handful of cilantro stems, plus ¼ cup leaves ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 cup diced white onion kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper Steam the carrots with the cilantro stems about 20 minutes, until tender. When the carrots are almost done, heat a Dutch oven over high heat for 1 minute. Pour in ½ cup olive oil, and add the onion. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and cook the onion about 5 minutes, stirring often, until it’s translucent. Add the steamed carrots and cilantro leaves and cook another 8 minutes, stirring and scraping te pan with a wooden spoon, until the carrots are lightly caramelized. Purée the mixture in a food processor until it’s smooth. With the motor running, slowly pour in the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, and process until the oil is incorporated and the purée is very smooth. Taste for seasoning.
In chefs Suzanne Goin and David Lentz’s garden we have all kinds of citrus trees growing. David uses lemons in his delicious Hungry Cat cocktail Luke’s Lemonade. Recipe below;
the luke’s lemonade
2oz Vodka 1oz Lemon Juice .75oz simple syrup 8 mint leaves
GLASSWARE: Double Old Fashioned GARNICH: Lemon Wheel
Gently press mint leaves in Double Old Fashioned Glass. In separate mixing glass, combine vodka, lemon juice and simple syrup. Shake and serve into Double Old Fashioned Glass – use a bar spoon to Gently stir the ice to mix with the mint.