This week we made mandarin aigre doux and another giardiniera. It was a good week for us because we learned a lot about canning and cooking. Three pounds of mandarins does not seem like much in the colander. But once you peel the first one and see all the pith, you realize you’re going to have to take every little piece of pith off of every little segment without piercing them. You also realize, as you are removing the pith, one piece at a time, those little threads stick to your fingers. You’re putting as much back on the segments as you’re removing. It takes a long time.
Aigre-doux is a condiment so we decided to make a pan roasted cod and use the aigre-doux two ways. We emulsified some with olive oil to make a sauce. Then we removed the fruit from the jar, reduced the liquid by half over medium high heat and returned the mandarins to the reduced liquid. The sauce was perfect over the cod and would also be delicious as a salad dressing over arugula, olives and sweet red onions. The whole segments were also delicious with the cod but we thought it might be even better with a meatier fish or roasted chicken. We served the cod with buttered farro using the recipe from the Ad Hoc cookbook. We have made farro before: simmer in stock and serve. This recipe called for sauteeing onions in canola oil, then toasting the farro before you add the stock. Simmering until firm but tender, draining the stock, reserving a bit, returning the reserved stock to the pot with the farro and adding butter, chives and parsley. Something quite magical happens with the addition of the butter at end. It brings out the nutty flavor of the favor but it’s creamy like a risotto. Once again, thank you, Thomas Keller. There were leftover haricot verts and chunks of celery root from the giardiniera. Using a lesson learned from Sandy’s future son-in-law, the chef, we parboiled the celery root while the giardiniera was in the canner put it in a container to use later. This might seem like a smart, simple and obvious step in preparation, but it hadn’t occurred to us before and what a difference it makes when you’re ready to cook. It saves time and allows you to cook at a much leisurely pace. We sauteed the celery root and haricot verts in canola oil, until the beans were crisp tender and the celery root was browned. We seasoned it with Braggs Liquid Aminos. Something we learned at our Farmers Market. It was probably the best meal we’ve made so far.
We also canned another giardiniera using root vegetables- celery root, turnip, rutabaga, radishes, and carrots. For color we added haricot verts and tiny, little zucchini that we found at Trader Joe’s.
THE MENU: PAN ROASTED COD WITH MANDARIN AIGRE-DOUX, BUTTERED FARRO (from the Ad Hoc Cookbook), SAUTEED HARICOT VERTS & CELERY ROOT, HOT FUDGE SUNDAES.
MANDARIN ORANGE AIGRE DOUX:
Prepare a hot water canner with 5 pint jars
- 5 tsps. black peppercorns
- 9 cups peeled mandarin segments
- 1 750 ML bottle Beaujolais (all Gamay)
- 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
In a non-reactive pot bring wine, wine vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Keep hot.
Remove hot jars from canner. Fill with mandarin sections, add 1 tsp. peppercorns to each jar. Pour brine into jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace in each jar. Check for air bubbles. Wipe the rim of each jar. Top with lids and screw bands. Return to canner. Bring water back to a boil and process for 15 minute
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 tblsp. salted butter
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix the cream, brown sugar, cocoa powder and corn syrup in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, cook, stirring frequently, for 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and butter, stirring until melted and smooth. Add vanilla. Serve warm over ice cream. (It will seem thin but as it cools, it thickens)