During summertime in the South of France, nothing beats this Provencal classic “tuna salade nicoise” sandwich. Pan Bagnat – meaning “bathed bread” – is a thick, round local bread stuffed with quality tuna, bright vegetables, anchovies, Nicoise olives, hard boiled eggs and drenched in a tangy vinaigrette. Whether in Nice, Cannes, Juan Les Pins or Theoule, up and down the Cote d’Azur happy seaside vendors sell these delectable stuffed bundles of goodness. The locals all make them at home too – perfect for an Alpes Maritime or local beach picnic. The trick is to make the sandwiches ahead of time , wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, chill overnight or a few hours and place something heavy on top (such as a bottle of wine while in your picnic tote). This technique allows the vinaigrette and fresh ingredients to meld together beautifully.
Recipe for Pan Bagnat (provencal Tuna Sandwich)
2 – 5 oz cans of Italian oil packed tuna, drained
2 crusty kaiser rolls, ciabbata or French baguette
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
4 Thick tomato slices
4 Green leafy lettuce leaves
10 haricot vertes, cooked
Anchovies or tapenade spread
12 Nicoise olives
1 shallot, minced
4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 TBSP S&T Elegant Salad Blend
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine shallots, vinegar, Dijon mustard, S&T Blend, together to make vinaigrette. Add olive oil by wisking to incorporate. Salt and pepper to taste. Generously spread 1 TBSP vinaigrette on each half of bread. Layer tuna, vegetables, hard boiled eggs, olives and anchovies or tapenade. Wrap sandwiches tightly in plastic wrap and chill, topped with something heavy. Makes two sandwiches. Bon Appetit!
Spring is on its way and with it comes a more hectic schedule for parents: kids sports games, special holidays and the final school push until summer. Although I adore long, slow-braised dishes in the winter, come spring I am ready to switch it up! Quick cooking grains and proteins are the answer. They offer substantial health benefits, time saved in the kitchen and deliver lighter cuisine to the family. The key is to use exciting flavors. Use S&T’s special blends to add the needed punch and character to simple dishes. In this recipe, I have used bold paprika,S&T Special Rice and Paella Blend as well as the intensely sweet, dried purple Nora pepper from Spain. The meal hits the spot for a quick dinner…and just in time to head outside for the last bits of sunshine
Recipe for Spicy Chicken & Shrimp Couscous
3 TBSP Extra virgin oilive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 slces of thick bacon, sliced into lardons
1 TBSP sweet paprika
1 1/2 cups of good quality chicekn stock
2 TBSP S&T Special Rice and Paella Blend
1 dried Nora pepper, whole
2/3 lb boneless chicken breast, diced into 1 inch cubes
1/2 lb peeled and cleaned shrimp, chopped
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 plum tomato, chopped
2 TBSP italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)
Add 1 tbsp olive oil and bacon into a large Dutch oven. Cook on medium low heat until somewhat crisp. Add onions, garlic and remaining olive oil and saute until softened. Add paprika, saute for 1-2 minutes. Turn heat up to medium high and stir in chicken stock, peas (optional), S&T Rice and Paella blend and Nora pepper. Bring to a boil. Add chicken and shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in couscous, cover wth tight fitting lid, turn off heat and let steam for 5 minutes. Once couscous is cooked, keep the Dutch oven on medium heat for 5 minutes to crisp up the bottom of the dish (you want a drier, crunchy texture than steamed couscous). Garnish with chopped tomato and parsley.
At this time of year, like so many others, my family is trying to eat more healthy fish and vegetables. My young son adores salmon so I am always trying new recipes to keep things interesting for him.
I also enjoy inventing unexpected recipes. In this recipe, I have used S&T’s special omelette blend – fragrant with tarragon, coriander, parsley and onion – to add new dimension to oven-poached fish. It’s a delightful combo and so easy to prepare. The sauce also pairs well with any white fish (cod, tilapia, halibut, etc), just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Recipe for Tarragon Mustard Salmon (Serves 2)
2 – 5 oz salmon filets
3 tbsp greek yogurt
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp S&T special omelette blend
1 shallot, minced
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup white wine
Chopped scallions for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Salt and pepper salmon and place in glass baking dish.
Pour white wine over the fish.
Combine yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, special omelette blend and shallots in a small bowl to make a sauce.
Spread the sauce evenly over the fish filets.
Cover and bake/poach for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thinkness of the fish.
Everyone tends to think that cajun seasoning is super spicy and crazy hot. The truth of the matter is that “cajun seasoning” really just means “well seasoned” as a friend from the Bayou properly informed me years back. Cajun cooking (Cuisine Acadienne in French) is a rustic cuisine from Lousiana inspired by the French settlers that came from Acadia in Canada. It is a wonderful blend of classic French tradition and technique coupled with the freshest local ingredients, simply prepared. Every year, my sister and her husband enjoy a great food and culture weekend get-away in the great city of New Orleans while I gladly look after my nephews. But don’t get me wrong, I too need some of that good cuisine, right quick, with 3 boys underfoot! Here I use S&T’s Special Cajun Blend to make a ridiculously simple yet divine Grilled Cajun Salmon. The S&T blend has a pleasant level of heat but is mild enough for the whole family. The perfect balance of paprika, celery seed, Italian herbs, curry powder, tumeric, cardamon and more will transport you to the South – in all of 15 minutes.
Recipe for Grilled Cajun Salmon
4 salmon fillets
4 tbsp S&T Special Cajun Blend
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Generously season the samlon fillets with cajun blend plus salt and pepper. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil on top of each fillet. In a screaming hot grill pan or grill, place all the fillets on the grill at the 10 o’clock postion. After 3-4 minutes, move the fillets to the 2 o’clock position. What we are trying to do is get those beautiful cross-hatch marks that make grilled food so gorgeous to look at. After 3-4 minutes, place the fillets in the 4 o’clock position. Then after 3-4 minutes place the fillets at the 8o’clock position. Adjust time up or down depending on the thickness of the fillets. Serves 4.
Serve with potatoes and broccoli or better yet, with spicy red beans and barley or rice.
Classic shrimp cocktail is a perennial holiday favorite. Its presence on the menu typically signals that it’s a special celebration. Every year I like to create a new twist on this favorite appetizer. The shrimp are roasted and the dipping sauce mimics a sweet and flavorful tartar sauce. Serving it in a martini glass with a scallion straw is a fun surprise. It takes 10 minutes to make….which is the best part of all.
Recipe for Shrimp Martini S&T Style
1 pound 21-25 count shrimp, peeled and deveined (tail on) Olive oil Salt and pepper 2 tsp Herbes de Provence
Dipping Sauce: 6 oz Greek yogurt 2 tbsp mayonnaise 1 tbsp S&T special fish blend (minus star anise chunks) 2 tsp pure maple syrup good squeeze of lemon for tang Scallion pieces
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place shrimp on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Herbes de Provence. Roast 6 minutes until shrimp are pink.
For sauce, combine all ingredients. Serves 6 (appetizer portions)