There’s a word game played during long car trips called “I’m Going on a Picnic …”. It’s also a drinking game played at parties. I’ve played both, though not recently. Perhaps you have too?
And, it’s this month’s Creative Cooking Crew challenge … a virtual picnic.
Really? Does anyone go on picnics anymore?
It seems so last century. In my world, that idyllic picnic has been replaced with backyard bbqs and/or restaurants that provide outdoor dining.
And what is traditional picnic food anyway?
I don’t recall ever going on a “traditional” picnic, except for the Spanish family picnics that I’ve written about before. I thought about doing a modern version of the Empanada Gallega shown, but I did that here. It actually would be a really good picnic food though — just not much of a challenge for me.
Most readers in America relate to fried chicken, potato salad, corn, and watermelon as popular picnic items. In other parts of the world, the picnic basket is filled with totally different food so I’m imagining the picnic I was invited to is on the banks of the Seine.
My picnic dish is transportive literally* and figuratively – and, of course, it’s something I wanted to eat.
• • •
Seared Foie Gras, Raspberry Coulis, Cornichon Mustard
and a Fresh Dandelion Salad with Toasted Nuts and Edible Flowers
This was my first time cooking foie gras and it was really easy. I started with flash frozen pieces imported from France which I defrosted, scored and placed in a very hot skillet till both sides started to release the fat and began to sear and brown (about 1 minute total). I then topped each piece with a few drops of sherry vinegar glaze and put them in the preheated 350-degree oven for just a few minutes more.
Fresh raspberries were pulsed with a little honey and a few drops of fruity extra virgin olive oil and ground red peppercorns.
For the dandelion salad, I just sprinkled a tiny bit of the duck fat (oh yes I did) on the freshly washed greens, tossed them with some whole raspberries and sprinkled finely chopped nuts.
*If you wanted to literally transport this to a picnic, I would carry each component separately and compose onsite.
I’ll be setting the entire picnic table with Creative Cooking Crew’s dishes on May 22 — just in time for Memorial Day and the start of the outdoor eating season. Come back for the round-up.
A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!
I've always been a culinary improvisor which means I get my kicks out of recipe development. In the FOODalogue kitchen each meal is an adventure and the journey is as exciting as the destination. My favorite kitchen tools are imagination and intuition. I rarely look at a recipe, not even my own!
On these pages, I suggest food pairings and techniques to be experimented with...in your own kitchen...to your own spice levels...and to your preferred portion sizes.