I usually start to prepare a meal with a question: “What is available?” That leads to several attractive ingredients, each of which I try to prepare in a pleasing way, and then with an eye to integration, I put it all together into a supper. I even did a flow chart/mind map for you with tonight’s meal as an example:
The first part was easy: reheat the lentils and cabbage once again as an appetizer, while I considered the next stage. I did want to cook the beets, and potatoes are always a favorite, so I went down that path. I had in mind the open bottle of Minervois, so the flavors of the meal needed to merge nicely with the warmth and pleasing fruit of this Southern French Carignan/Grenache red wine.
I had purchased some lovely organic zucchini at Trader Joe’s yesterday, which quickly brought to mind the Zucchini in Umido recipe of which I’ve written before (that’s the Venetian part of this meal) , so I now had my plan:
Appetizer: Lentils with Braised Cabbage and other veggies
Main Dish: Zucchini in Umido, Chopped Arugula, Steamed Beets with bean crema, and potatoes steamed, then sautéed in olive oil and a little garlic, pan deglazed with red wine vinegar and olive oil. Enhanced with Sicilian sea salt from Trapani.
Wine: 2010 Château Coupe Roses Minervois La Bastide.