Northshore Magazine

Northshore December 2018

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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111 DINNER FOR FOUR Northshore asked Barbara Lynch to put together a menu for an intimate holiday celebration. So invite a couple of friends, crack open a bottle of bubbly, and enjoy. Start with baked tomatoes and cheese, which looks beautiful with stems on the tomatoes. Serve it with black olive "crackers," or with Lynch's favorite focaccia—a light meal in itself with a hearty salad. Follow that with poulet au pain and a beautiful seasonal radicchio salad, along with slow-roasted carrots. For dessert, serve a light, indulgent saffron panna cotta. I N G R E D I E N T S 1 cup Pitted black olives, such as kalamata or niçoise 1/4 cup Extra-virgin olive oil D I R E C T I O N S 1. Combine the olives and olive oil in a small food processor or in a blender. Process on high until puréed, 1 to 2 minutes. 2. This will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month, stored in an airtight container with a thin layer of olive oil on top…but mine is always devoured long before that. I N G R E D I E N T S 12 Medium Tomatoes, preferably heirloom, or 48 cherry tomatoes, preferably with some of their vine still attached ⊲ Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the "crackers" 9 oz. Cheese, cut into pieces 2 to 3 Tbsp. Heavy cream (if needed; see notes) Baked Tomatoes and Cheese Serves 4 Black Olive Paste Yields 1 cup I especially like Humboldt Fog goat cheese for this rustic dish, but just about whatever cheese you have on hand (well, not American) will work, including a mix of cheeses. In fact, I always make this after a party; it's a delicious and practical way to use up all those bits of cheese lefto- ver on the cheese board. e tomatoes look prettier without their skin and are nicer to eat, but you can leave the skin on if you don't feel like peeling them. If there are vines on the tomatoes, leave them attached; they look cool rising up from the cheese. e "crackers" here are really bread sliced thin and crisped to become cracker-like. You can make your own olive paste (recipe follows), which takes about a minute, or use your own favorite jarred olive paste or tapenade. Serve the tomatoes from a single baking dish, with the crackers nearby to dip. 1/2 loaf Ciabatta or other rustic bread, sliced as thin as possible 2 to 3 Tbsp. Black olive paste (recipe follows) or good-quality ⊲ Fleur de sel ⊲ Purchased tapenade ⊲ Pinch of sugar, if needed D I R E C T I O N S 1. To peel the tomatoes, cut an X into the bottom of the tomato with a small paring knife. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil and have a bowl of ice water nearby. Put the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 30 seconds, or until the skins begin to pucker, and then immediately plunge them into the ice water. The skins will peel off easily and may be discarded or fried up as a garnish. 2. Heat the oven to 325°F. Put the tomatoes on a small baking sheet with edges. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes and season them with salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes are not very sweet. Bake until the tomatoes begin to soften, about 12 minutes for medium tomatoes and 8 minutes for cherry tomatoes. 3. Meanwhile, crumble the cheese into a medium baking dish suitable for presentation. Put the tomatoes on top of the cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted, 5 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a little fleur de sel and some pepper. 4. For the black olive "crackers," heat the oven to 375°F. Brush the bread slices with a little olive oil and bake on a sheet pan, turning once, until crisp and golden brown on both sides. Let them cool briefly, spread on some black olive paste, and serve with the warm baked tomatoes. Notes: If you're using an aged, hard, or more dense cheese, you may need to add some cream to the pan to help the cheese melt into a spreadable consistency. You can bake the tomatoes (without the cheese) up to a couple days ahead. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you're ready to use them. *Baked Tomatoes and Cheese with Black Olive "Crackers" From Stir: Mixing It Up in the Italian Tradition, By Barbara Lynch, Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt For all the recipes from the dinner party, visit northshoremag.com

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