Escalivada of Roast Vegetables

When I first started reading about Catalan food, this is the dish that I kept seeing at the top of every “you must try this” dish. This easy and rustic dish is very satisfying. It works beautifully on its own, or as a pairing to a series of other dishes, or perhaps a platter of roast meats. I chose some of my favorite vegetables to roast, but, you can change up the vegetables by season. Perhaps some asparagus and summer squash in the warmer months. Or leeks in the winter? The best part, you can make this ahead and serve it chilled! This is an amazing quality for a dinner where you are preparing several dishes.

Salt Baked Sea Bass

Seafood is paramount in Catalan cooking! That is why I wanted to serve some whole fish for our Catalan dinner. This simple and beautiful recipe is perfect for a weeknight dinner, but is also impressive enough for any feast! Simply stuff the cleaned, intact fish with a few sprigs of rosemary and encrust them in a mixture of egg whites, salt, bay leaves and thyme. So delicious!

Rabbit Paella with Artichokes

One of the stars of our Catalan dinner was the Rabbit Paella with Artichokes. Many of the dishes on our menu were Pescatarian, a nod to the thriving fish markets in Barcelona and the whole Catalan region. To balance this out, I wanted to add some meat to our menu. Chicken seemed boring, and I have been cooking a lot of lamb of late, so I decided to go with some game. I couldn’t get my hands on more venison in time, so I decided to go for rabbit.

Curried Carrot Soup with Roast Rainbow Carrots

I have been wanting to prepare something bright and colorful, and I came across organic rainbow carrots at Wegmans the other day. The beautiful colors inspired me to go for a curry. Honestly, I wanted the excuse to add some turmeric to see how pretty the soup would be…and I had some ginger laying around in the fridge, waiting for a purpose.

Provençal Greens Soup

Provençal Greens Soup is my get rid of leftovers meal. And it is awesome! I always manage to buy the wrong amounts of kale, or spinach, leeks, or some other green for my recipes and they sit there staring at me from the fridge. I combine them together to create this soup. A couple of eggs help to thicken and bring heartiness to the dish.

Braised Oxtail Stew with Polenta

I have been holding onto a few pounds of oxtails in the freezer, waiting for a good recipe to turn them into. The time has finally come! I decided to cook my oxtails down into a beautiful stew with some leeks and onions.

I like to dredge any kind of shanks or boned meat in flour before browning it, I feel like it browns better and serves to thicken the stew as it cooks. This is almost a Bourgignion of sorts, but not quite. I de-glaze the vegetables with brandy and cook the stew with red wine, but I like the addition of leeks to the standard onion and carrots.

Squid Rice with Shrimp and Aioli

I have been particularly interested in squid ink. I love the idea of it and have wanted to use it for a very long time, I figured this would be my opportunity. Here, we combine squid ink and calamari to create a wonderful tinny, “oceany” flavor. The black rice is enlivened with coral shrimp or prawns (I didn’t have prawns on hand but believe it would be a more delicious flavor/presentation) and a garlicky aioli. Find my Aioli recipe here.

French Onion Soup

I had my first bowl of French Onion Soup during a high school trip to France. It was unexpectedly delicious! I made plans of figuring it out myself one day. As I grew older, I realized it was fantastic for more than it’s flavor. It is a great way to keep from throwing away old produce. What a great way to use up a bunch of onions that are close to death! This recipe also happens to be a good way to use up bread that is a bit too stale and cheese that isn’t large enough for a cheese plate.