My first day of the new year turned out to be a fine day for revised approaches to favorite dishes. The surprise was that they were anchored by a rosé from Corsica.
For lunch I decided to select a jar of tuna fish from deep storage. I’ve been using tins of Luças Portuguese Ventresca Tuna as my primary source for tuna salads, but since the jar had been in storage for a long time, I figured it was time to bring it out.
The tuna looked very good, so I set about assembling the other elements to make lunch:
- finely diced red onion
- chopped plum tomato
- chickpeas from a jar
- Castelfranco Radicchio, finely sliced
- Treviso Radicchio, finely sliced
- Hondarribi zuri bittersweet Basque vinegar
- Moroccan olive oil
- sea salt and pepper
- chopped dill
The savory nature of this dish seemed to call for a rosé. With a quick trip to the wine cooler, I was able to locate a Corsican rosé, a 2020 Clos San Qulico from Patrimonio, which I found a few monts ago at Winestone, a great boutique wine shop in Brookline.
In keeping with the unorthodox selection of the tuna, I studied the origins of that jar and the chickpeas. The tuna had a legitimate Italian title. “Tonnino”, so I was surprised to find that its origin was Costa Rica. Nevertheless, it was real Ventresca and quite delicious.
The chickpeas were organic, and sourced in Italy. I had previously tried this brand (Jovial) at Whole Foods, and I found them to be as good or better than anything I could make from dried chickpeas.
I tossed all the ingredients together, filled my salad plate, and poured some wine. Life is good!
Dinner time was just a few hours later. After discussing a variety of alternatives (including several, well-worn leftovers), we settled on a baked vegetables and rice dish, inspired by Spanish cooking from the past. The impetus for the dish was a large eggplant which needed to be used, and it was also an opportunity to clean the refrigerator — with several small portions of a plethora of vegetables. Here’s what the final components were:
- eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch cubes, flavored with olive oil, Greek oregano, Spanish pimenton. salt amd pepper, and roasted in a 400° F. oven
- thinly-sliced hearts, extracted from 2 fresh globe artichokes, roasted with the eggplant
- thinly-sliced cabbage, sautéed in a hot skillet with olive oil and garlic
- 1/2 zucchini, dices and sautéed
- 4 large cremini mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
- wax beans, cut in 1″ segments and boiled until crisp-tender
- homemade dried breadcrumbs
- shredded Manchego cheese
- Spanish Calasparra rice, steamed
- a small chunk of unused plum tomato, diced
These elements were all mixed together in a large bowl and then baked/roasted in a cazuela in a 425° F. oven until the breadcrumbs and cheese were lightly browned and crisp, finishing with a short blast under the broiler. The Corsican wine was every bit as good with this dish, as well.