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Take your place at the table


Things have completely settled down from the holiday-ness of the holidays and with the work rush that also comes with the holidays. Mom has arrived safe and sound back in Richmond, and is getting herself all settled there. I’ve been waiting for this. At least I’ve said that I have been waiting for this. But it’s so quiet. It’s so calm. It’s so rarely so, that I always forget that I’m not all that great with calm and quiet. I’m not a very still person. Frenetic might be a better word to describe me. I generally like to keep moving and doing. I always have lists and projects. I’m lost without them.

Now, I do realize that this is not exactly a good thing. I also realize it drives Fred crazy.
I’ve never claimed to be a walk in the park.

So imagine my delight when I received a project in the mail last week - my pals up at Columbus Salame sent me a sample of their Finocchiona, which had just won big at the 2013 Good Food Awards for best charcuterie! What to do, what to do...

At first I thought maybe a mac ‘n cheese carbonara of sorts, substituting the salumi for the bacon. But I’m (lamentably) really, really trying not to eat that kind of food right this minute. Sad, but true. Then, after a couple more days of research, I discovered an Italian bread called Casatiello, which is stuffed with salami, provolone, olives and what not. Fred and I tried twice and failed miserably. Miserably. I emailed the recipe to Mom to see if she could impart some sage advice, some help, from across the country. She basically told me this was clearly a varsity level baking recipe and to consider something else.

Gee, thanks, Mom.

This brings us to last night. I was planning on cooking a brick chicken and using up as much produce as possible from last Sunday’s farmers’ market haul. When I unearthed the tiny, purple Brussels sprouts that I had almost forgotten about, I knew something was stirring. And then Fred figured it all out.

So because of this one, little package that fortuitously arrived in the mail, I suddenly had an entire week of a mission, a project, and with it I had fun, research, frustration, failure and finally, success. And all in the kitchen. Just like I like it.

The meal that we had last night was a brick chicken with a chervil-parsley pan sauce, smashed & crisped baby potato medley with garlic & rosemary and roasted purple Brussels sprouts with salami and pine nuts. And it was all very, very good.

So, now what...


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Salami

serves 2 as a side dish

2 1/2 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
5 slices salami, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp bacon drippings (or butter)Coarse salt & pepper
¼ cup pine nuts
grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place cast iron, or oven safe dish on middle rack in oven until hot, hot, hot.

Combine the Brussels sprouts, salami, bacon drippings (or butter), salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well.

When oven is preheated and cast iron is hot, hot, hot, add mixture Brussels sprouts mixture. 

Place in oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until  Brussels sprouts are slightly browned and cooked through.

Garnish with Parmesan and pine nuts.

Printable recipe.

One year ago: Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Two years ago: Mercantile
Three years ago: Swiss Fondue with Truffle Essence
Five years ago: The Hungry Cay - Santa Barbara


Read the original on: F for Food

F for Food, Elliott Shaffner

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I write about all things food. And wine. There is often wine. I eat and drink and write my way through recipes and restaurants everywhere I go in the world, and in my kitchen.