A CONDIMENT TO PUT ON EVERYTHING

I first discovered this truly addictive whipped tahini at a dinner hosted by Ashley Christensen as a part of her book tour for her (inventive and very cook-able) book Poole's: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner. It's a cinch to make and has since become a staple in my refrigerator. This ethereally smooth condiment works as a dip, spread, sauce, or just as a snack to eat by the spoonfull. I often use it to gussy up a piece of simply cooked meat or fish, but here I paired it alongside some lightly roasted spring vegetables. 

WHIPPED TAHINI

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From Ashley Christensen's Poole's Diner cookbook

  • 1 1 ⁄2 cups tahini, well shaken
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, crushed 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

In a food processor, combine the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and process for four to six minutes, until the mixture lightens in color. With the motor running, gradually add up to one cup water, processing until the mixture is super smooth and creamy, like mayonnaise; the mixture will seize at first before emulsifying into a smooth spread. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

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RADICCHIO + PEAR SALAD WITH PARMESAN VINAIGRETTE

When I was little, I used to pick the "icky" bits of radicchio out of the salad mix my mom would serve with dinner most nights. If you had told me at the time I'd learn to love the super bitter green enough to eat a whole salad bowl full of it, I'd call you crazy. This simple parmesan vinaigrette is so good, it'd make you a convert to just about any "icky" food you put it on. Radicchio is the perfect complement - the sharp, tangy vinaigrette mellows out the bitterness in a nice, unexpected way. 

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For the Salad: 

  • 2 heads radicchio
  • 1 bosc pear - thinly sliced
  • handful of parsley - chopped 

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan 
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 clove garlic 

First, make the vinaigrette - add the parmesan, garlic and lemon juice to a food processor. Pulse until garlic is pulverized. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside. 

Remove any bruised outer leaves from the radicchio. Separate the remaining leaves in place into a large mixing bowl along with the pear and chopped parsley. Toss with the vinaigrette and taste for seasoning. Separate into individual bowls and top with shaved parmesan.