Hot Title Alert: The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook

There’s nothing like the first warm summer day to get you itching to travel, but sometimes we get so busy that even a few days of relaxation are out of reach. The next best thing to actual travel is a virtual escape— especially if it is through delicious and fresh food! We have to think that some of that wanderlust has been driving all the buzz around The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook, on sale this week.

1Featuring 150 recipes selected from restaurants all throughout the state, the book has captured the essence of Connecticut’s food culture and in doing so has ignited excitement all across the state. Just this morning, Co-author Tracy Medeiros made Lemon-Lavender Macaroons from the famous Zest Fresh Bakery on NBC Connecticut. At another recent event at Stew Leonard’s in Norwalk, co-authors, Tracy and Christy Colasurdo signed copies of the book for an overflow crowd of excited home chefs.

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The two food gurus behind this book, Tracy Medeiros and Christy Colasurdo, have done book signings all across the lovely Nutmeg State. Part cookbook, part travelogue, The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook “shines a spotlight on Connecticut’s wealth of farms, farmers, and locally-sourced foods.”

The praise for the book, which was just released yesterday, does not stop there. City Lights commended it as being “the best of regional and farm-to-table cuisine from food producers and purveyors whose commitment to sustainability and quality is evident in everything they do,” and The Westerly Sun described it as “a travel guide to Connecticut food producers, markets,and restaurants.”

With this kind of glowing feedback, it is not surprising that co-authors Tracy and Christy have their plates full of upcoming events! They will be appearing on The Debbie Nigro Show, WGCH Connecticut/Westchester on 6/15, doing a TV cooking demo for WTNH news 8/CT Style on 6/26 and they have been invited to be a part of the Greenwich Wine and Food Festival in September!

Check out this exclusive recipe, Connecticut River Shad with Asparagus, from The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook below! In their notes, the authors write “It’s a sure sign of spring when shad start running in the Connecticut River. Once considereShadd a “poor man’s” food, shad’s reputation as a delicacy has increased as the annual catch has dwindled. Here’s a great way to prepare them.”

The recipe came from Jean-Pierre “JP” Vuillermet, chef-owner of New Haven’s Union League Café, a seasoned chef whose French upbringing inspires his commitment to using local produce in season. The authors gush, “So much has been written about Union League Café, one of Connecticut’s most enduringly romantic and lavishly lauded restaurants, that there’s not much more to add, except: Go!”

Notes: You can substitute herring (smaller) or mackerel or freshwater bass for the shad. You can also substitute spinach plus lemon zest or arugula for the sorrel.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch sorrel (see Notes), washed, thick stems discarded, and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 (6-ounce) shad fillets (see Notes), skin removed, deboned
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

 

  1. To make the asparagus: Cut the asparagus into 4-inch lengths. Blanch in salted boiling water for 1 minute. Strain and place in ice water.
  2. To make the sorrel sauce: Place the wine and shallot in a medium-size saucepan, ad bring to a boil over low heat, about 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and reduce until most of the wine has evaporated, whisking frequently. Slowly whisk in the butter. Add the copped sorrel and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375*F. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-innch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the fish and season with salt and pepper. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for about 3 minutes (the fish should be slightly undercooked.) Remove from the oven, cover with foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. To finish: Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil inn a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Add the asparagus and sauté until heated between two plates, arranging them in the center of each plate. Place the shad on top of the asparagus and drizzle the sauce over the fish and asparagus, to taste. Serve at once.

The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook is on-sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Walmart, as well as at many farmer’s markets, boutiques and restaurants. It retails for about $17.

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