I've been stock-piling carrots from our CSA for 3 weeks now. Why? Because cleaning and peeling carrots is a drag! I finally tackled the task yesterday (netting 4 pounds of carrots) - in fact, spent a few hours in the kitchen cleaning veggies and preparing dinner. It's so nice to be back in my element. And my Sunday dinner turned out surprisingly delicious.
The line-up: grilled porkchops, roasted carrots & fennel, and a grilled flatbread dish from a Santa Barbara restaurant that I attempted to recreate. Back in November, I tagged along with Todd to a work conference in Santa Barbara. While he was stuck in a room full of geeks discussing boring things, I gallivanted and had dinner at Julienne, arguably the best restaurant around there. It was a wonderful meal. I sat at the tiny bar with the chefs cooking right in front of me and plowed my way through 5 courses. Full by course 3, I ended up giving my leftovers to a transient on the walk back to the hotel. I hope he liked duck!
My favorite course of the night was a grilled flatbread topped with grilled radicchio, lardo and parmesan-pine nut butter. Bitter, smoky, salty, and sweet all on one plate - it was the perfect little dish. My pine nut butter didn't turn out exactly like Julienne's but I had to guess what was in it based on a 5-month-old memory. I think that this is still a good interpretation though.
If you try this recipe, let me know what you think!
Salty-Sweet-Smoky-Sharp Grilled Flatbread
radicchio or endive (I used endive since it showed up in our CSA share last week; radicchio will hold up to the grill heat better)
flatbread (2 6-inch rounds, or more if you want to spread the pine nut butter thinner)
1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted
2 Tbsp grated parmesan
agave nectar or honey
To make the pine nut butter: In a food processor, chop pine nuts until very fine. Add the parmesan, a few drops of olive oil and a few drops of agave nectar/honey. Process until smooth and creamy. Add any additional oil to achieve nut butter consistency and additional cheese to taste.
Brush the flatbread with olive oil. Grill the radicchio over a high flame to achieve a char but don't cook it beyond recognition. Grill the flatbread until charred.
Assemble: Spread pine nut butter on flatbread. Top with prosciutto and then radicchio. Drizzle/spray with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.