[RECIPE] Spring or Summer, Salad is always in Season

Courtesy GQ.

It’s peach season, the star of this new salad at a Harry’s Pizzeria® near you.

“Restraint. Use a couple of ingredients and keep it simple—that’s sort of my philosophy, not just about food but in life,” Chef recently shared with Lang Whitaker from GQ when he asked what the secret was to great salad. “Salad in particular is a delicate thing. I think it’s about the simplicity and the restraint, and then of course proportion is really important, and not overdressing the ingredients.”  Lang also has a point. Writing on (and in our case working in) the food biz requires some strategy if you’re going to be surrounded by all sorts of delicious treats all the time.  Salad can be one of those things.  I like Lang’s — every day for the last few years, he has eaten a vegetarian salad for lunch. Boom. Keeping it simple. Check out his full story “The Easy Secrets to a Good-Ass Salad” here (also with an addictive salad dude GIF on repeat) and since we’ve shared the recipe for Fi’lia’s Caesar salad before here on the blog, try this beauty from Chef’s cookbook, as pomegranates start showing up in the market to put the principles to work at home.  Since persimmon is a fall ingredient, don’t try to find a good one. Customize! Opt for Florida or Georgia peaches, coming into season now.

#MGFDsalad is a beautiful hashtag. Click to see why.

One of the most stunning images from Michael’s Genuine Food, Credit Ben Fink Photography

Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad with Crumbled Ricotta and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

A salad of unusual qualities, this vividly colorful combo celebrates exotic autumn fruit of persimmon and pomegranate. The combination of tastes is awesome: peppery watercress, sweet-spicy persimmon, tart pomegranate seeds, and salty cheese, all held together by a tangy vinaigrette. Leftover pomegranate vinaigrette will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and is goes great with grilled meats.

Serves 4 as entrée, 8 as starter

1 bunch watercress, stems trimmed (about 4 cups lightly packed)
2 medium heads frisée (about 8 cups lightly packed)
2 ripe Fuyu persimmons, peeled and thinly sliced (see Ingredient Note)
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup Pomegranate Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1/4 cup crumbled firm Fresh Homemade Ricotta salata or store-bought ricotta salata
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

In a mixing bowl, combine the watercress, frisée, persimmons, and shallot. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of the pomegranate vinaigrette, tossing with your hands to dress the salad lightly and evenly. Divide the salad equally among chilled plates. Top with ricotta and pomegranate seeds.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette​

Makes about 1 cup

2 cups pomegranate juice
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pour the pomegranate juice into a small pot and place over medium-low heat. Cook until the juice has reduced to 1/4 cup and is thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a small mixing bowl or mason jar, combine the cooled pomegranate syrup, champagne vinegar, balsamic, olive and canola oils; season lightly with salt and pepper. Whisk or shake to blend and dissolve the salt; reserve at room temperature until needed. Keep any leftover vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

[Recipe] Vidalia Onion Marmalade is Sweet on the Cypress Burger at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink

Genuine Burger Month continues its weekly special burger rotation May 8-14 with a true keeper, the Cypress Burger.  The meat is ground chuck 75% fat, 25% lean, with dry-aged beef trimmings that build deep umami flavor in the patty.  What’s stunning about the burger isn’t necessarily that the blend is particularly ingenious, rather how the few special elements it is built on come together to create magic when they’re enjoyed in unison.  The Cypress Burger is so much more than the sum of its parts: cheddar-like Jasper Hill Landaff raw cow’s milk cheese and the Vidalia onion marmalade that it smothers, jacked up on the best caramelizing onions we know.  No added sugar necessary!

Due to the Vidalia Onion Act of 1986, Vidalia is a Trademarked name and an onion can only be called a Vidalia if it’s grown in one of the 20 Georgia counties designated in the act.

The original sweet onion has been cultivated by grower artisans for more than 80 years, a discovery of Great Depression era farmers who were trying to find a new cash crop suitable for Georgia soil.  Vidalia onions became the Official State Vegetable of Georgia in 1990 and get their sweet flavor through the perfect combination of mild winters and low sulfur soil, the unique terroir surrounding Vidalia, Georgia.  It’s only available from April until August, making it a special nearby summer crop when it’s slim pickings down here in the South Florida fields and tropical fruit trees are at their peak.  Over 80,000 Vidalia onion seedlings are hand-planted per acre translating into about 5 million 40-lb. boxes sent out across the country and into Canada each year.

Enjoy the Cypress Burger’s unique combination of specialty ingredients next week at lunch and dinner, between a hard roll bun skewered with a cornichon.  You may find it hard not to sit in admiration like its butter lettuce and sliced heirloom tomato do to the side.  Ok, maybe not that hard!  Follow along at #mgfdburger #genuineburgermonth and #onlyvidalia.

Deeply delicious onion marmalade fresh from the range chills out in the walk-in cooler.

Vidalia Onion Marmalade

Built on the recipe for caramelized onions that form the base of the dip for Thick Cut Potato Chips and decorate Chicken Liver Crostini at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, this condiment has many applications beyond a burger topping.  But we challenge you to find one more epic!

Makes 1 quart

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 Vidalia onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the onions along with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally and cook until the onions are deeply golden brown and caramelized, roughly 20 minutes. Watch carefully so as not to allow the onions to burn. Add the red wine vinegar and stir to deglaze until the liquid cooks off, about 3 more minutes. Set aside and let cool.

[RECIPE] Have a Ball Today & Make Sure It’s Triple Meat

The Schwartz Meatball. One way, three meats

We can never get too familiar with a meatball, especially on National Meatball Day.  Harry’s Pizzeria® set the Schwartz benchmark; it’s all about the ball, pure and simple, with a pedestal of zesty tomato sauce and just a touch of Parmigiano to finish.  After the perfectly balanced blend of three meats was dialed in over the years, we were ready to up the game when Fi’lia came along.  Not much has changed.  The ball is virtually identical at its core. Michael combines three different types of meat to create a sturdy yet irresistibly tender texture. They’re quickly pan fried to seal in the juices and rendered even more luxurious when brought up in this ridiculously flavorful and punchy tomato sauce.  Fi’lia’s slightly more luxurious take is thanks to the addition of whipped ricotta and decadent garlic bread.  The healthy dollop just adds a special something, melting into the bowl for a creamy softness and pretty color contrast. The crunch from garlic bread ties this magical combination together, the perfect utensil to soak up luscious sauce.

Meatballs with Whipped Ricotta and Garlic Bread

Serves 6

1 pint whole milk
3 eggs
6 slices stale white bread, crust removed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly cracked pepper
½ cup grated Parmigiano
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pounds ground pork
Canola oil for frying
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cans of high quality crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 whole garlic clove, smashed
6, ½-inch thick slices of country-style sourdough
2 cups whole milk ricotta
Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Whisk milk and eggs together in a large bowl. Add the bread, breaking it up in your hands until the liquid is fully absorbed. Add the salt, pepper, cheese, garlic and parsley, and continue to mix thoroughly with your hands until combined. Add the three ground meats and continue to mix using your hands until fully incorporated. Turn out onto a large sheet of plastic wrap, wrap up securely and refrigerate until chilled, at least an hour. Remove from refrigerator and using an ice cream scoop or large tablespoon, portion into balls, gently cupping them in your hands to form uniform spheres and setting in rows on a baking sheet while you work. Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat with ¼ inch of canola oil. Place the handle side of a wooden spoon in the oil. Once bubbles form around the edges it’s ready. Pan fry the meatballs, working in batches to brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove balls as they’re ready with a slotted spoon and set to drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Add the oil to a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat, and sweat the onions for 5-7 minutes, cooking until translucent. Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Add the basil and meatballs, and simmer for 20 more. While the sauce is cooking, preheat oven to 300F.

Add the garlic to the olive oil. Place sourdough slices on a baking sheet, lightly drizzle with the garlic-infused oil and bake for 8 minutes or until crisp but not browned.

Serve meatballs warm from the stove, family-style or plated in individual bowls, layering some sauce as a base and topping with spoonfuls of ricotta, crostini to the side and freshly torn basil.

Frank Goodness for Meatloaf

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And on every shelf.

“Let’s say you fall in love with a vegetarian,” it begins.  When it comes to Michael Schwartz, a no more fitting recipe introduction could be conceived for a meatloaf book if you ask Frank Bruni.  The request came in something like this, in spring of ’15.

I write with what I hope is a small and not-too-bothersome request and maybe even falls into the realm of fun invitation. I’m wondering if you have a meatloaf recipe of your own… that you’d be willing to add to the book. It could be red meat, poultry, a fish loaf, even a meatLESS loaf. If it’s from you, it’s a triumph.

Thus began the journey of the Kasha Loaf now on pages 167-171, nuzzled between Zucchini and Borlotti, with words of encouragement spun so convincingly success is inevitable, the silver tongue few others than Mr. Bruni can conjure.  And there is so much more prose to charm on these pages thanks to what mutual feelings on the subject inspired with collaborator, friend and New York Times colleague Jennifer Steinhauer.  Their love letter to an iconic dish close to their hearts, A Meatloaf in Every Oven, is now out as of February 7 in hard cover (Grand Central Life & Style/Hachette), a comfortable clutch-able ode to this familiar comfort food with illustrations by Marilyn Pollack Naron that say, “It’s ok, you can do this. It’s going to be fun, and you’ll learn something Mom would want you to know while you’re at it.”  We are salivating to fan the pages like a globe and point.  Enjoy where Michael landed below and snatch your copy ASAP from your neighborhood bookseller.  We called Books & Books in Coral Gables this morning, and they have a couple in stock. Perfect.

Kasha Loaf

Testing in Michael’s home kitchen a couple of years ago, now realized for your own.

Michael Schwartz’s Kasha Loaf with Caramelized Onion Gravy

Serves 8

1 ½ cup kasha (coarse granulation)
4 large eggs
3 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
4 cups minced white onions
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 pound cremini mushrooms, washed, stems removed and pulsed 10x in food processor
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 pound spinach, blanched, cooled, squeezed and finely chopped (you may substitute frozen, well squeezed)
3/4 cup ricotta
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Caramelized Onion Gravy (recipe below)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
2. To make the kasha, start by adding the vegetable stock, butter, salt and pepper to a pot and bring it to a boil. As the liquid is heating, lightly beat one of the eggs and add to the kasha in a medium sized bowl, stirring to coat the kernels. In a large skillet over high heat, toast the egg-coated kasha, stirring often for 2-3 minutes. Pour into the boiling stock and reduce flame to low. Stir kasha and cover. Cook for 8 – 10 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the kasha is tender. Let sit for 10 minutes covered, then transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.
3. To make the loaf, place a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a deep golden brown and caramelized, roughly 20 minutes.
4. Add the mushrooms and garlic to the onions and sauté for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring regularly. Add tomato paste, thyme, Worcestershire and soy sauce and simmer for 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from heat. When the mixture has slightly cooled, add to the kasha along with spinach, ricotta and Parmesan. Lightly beat the three remaining eggs and add to the bowl. Mix thoroughly and adjust for seasoning.
5. Turn into a non stick loaf pan and pack down using a spatula and by lightly tapping the pan on the table. Bake for 1 hour, until the loaf is brown on top and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before turning out. Slice and serve with Caramelized Onion Gravy and a bitter greens salad

Caramelized Onion Gravy
makes 3 cups

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups minced onion
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable stock

1. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil and butter.
2. When the butter has melted, add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a deep golden brown and caramelized, roughly 20 minutes. Add flour and stir for 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer for 2 – 3 minutes.
3. Purée the mixture and season to taste.

Shop & Eat Genuinely for Wellness in the Schools on Tuesday, January 10

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It’s a New Year’s Resolution that’s easy to get behind.  Shop at Miami-area Whole Foods Markets and dine at any of Michael’s Miami restaurants on Tuesday, January 10 to help kids eat better in South Florida Schools.

As we shared in October, Michael is the South Florida ambassador for Wellness in the Schools (WITS), a non profit dedicated to improving school lunch and educating kids about healthy eating.

As it enters South Florida for the first time this school year, the program is expanding upon a relationship with Whole Foods Market that began in New York City in order to generate awareness, further galvanize the community in support of this incredible cause, and raise essential funds to support its in-school work.

To that end, Whole Foods Market has committed to donate 5% of net day’s sales on Tuesday, January 10 from all six Miami stores (Pinecrest, Coral Gables, Downtown Miami, South Beach, North Miami, Aventura) to Wellness in the Schools. And we’re proud to share that Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink, ella, Cypress Tavern, Harry’s Pizzeria® and Fi’lia at SLS Brickell will be doing the same!  Also on this 5% Day, Michael will be teaching a bean themed WITS Cooking Lab at the Coral Gables location, making vegetarian chili with students from Liberty City Elementary.

Fun times and good eating for all.  Every bite counts.  Let’s do this!  For more information, visit wellnessintheschools.org

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