Side Dish

Spring Vegetable Tots

Spring Vegetable Tots

Somehow I've gone 33 years without making tater tots. Don't ask me how that's possible. It's just the way it is. It's not that I'm opposed to them, but if I'm going the potato route, fries are what often call to me. I'm happy to announce, however, that I'm on "Team Tots" now. Or should I say #teamtots? Are hashtags still in? 

My friend Dan isn't just a blogger, cookbook author, and TV star (he won Guy's Grocery Games last year), but he is king of tots. He's so into them, in fact, that he's written a book featuring fifty creative ways to use them. I decided to give my first go at a spuddy dish with this bowl of my favorite spring-time vegetables. Potatoes and mushrooms and fiddleheads and ramps. What more could one ask for? 

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Spring Vegetable Tots

 

SPRING VEGETABLE TOTS

Servings:
Serves 4-6 as a side

Ingredients:
1/2 lb fiddleheads, washed thoroughly
2 handfuls of ramps, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 lb oyster mushrooms, any large ones sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons butter
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
40 frozen tater tots
Salt
Black pepper
Cooking oil 

Directions
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add fiddleheads and cook for 8 minutes. While they're cooking, prepare a bowl of ice water. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fiddleheads to the bowl to shock them. After a few minutes, drain all the water from the bowl and set fiddleheads aside. 

In a saute pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and ramps and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add fiddleheads and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour in lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, as well as most of the rosemary, leaving a little for garnish. 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly coat with cooking oil and spread tots on top in an even layer. Bake in the oven for 24-26 minutes, until golden brown. 

Transfer tots and cooked spring vegetables to serving bowl and mix together. Garnish with remaining chopped rosemary.

 

Moroccan Carrot and Lentil Salad

Moroccan Carrot and Lentil Salad | A Thought For Food (www.athoughtforfood.net)

Since the beginning of April, our weekends have been consumed by trips to the Cape. We're getting close to the end of the major work. The main bathroom has been gutted, which is probably our biggest obstacle at this point. There are a few exterior elements... an outdoor shower that's being constructed and some painting... that remain. It's both exciting and slightly overwhelming. But that's home ownership, right? I decided to take this past weekend off, opting to stay home and get projects finished up and some cooking done. I've taken a much longer hiatus from the blog than I'd intended, but I have a few things lined up these next couple of weeks. I'm starting off with a bowl of Moroccan spiced carrots and lentils. While it feels very fall, this is a year-round dish... and an excellent side for an outdoor feast.  It's savory and sweet with a hit of acidity from the citrusy dressing. I've eaten plenty of it on its own, but it certainly feels like the perfect pairing for a platter of grilled chicken or fish.

Moroccan Carrot and Lentil Salad | A Thought For Food (www.athoughtforfood.net)

Moroccan Carrot and Lentil Salad

Servings:
6-8, as a side dish

Ingredients:
1 cup dry green lentils, rinsed and drained
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut at a bias into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil
Salt
Black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup currants
Chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions
Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the lentils and turn the heat down to medium, letting it simmer for 20-25 minutes, until cooked (but not mushy). Drain of any remaining liquid. Transfer lentils to a serving bowl to let cool.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the cumin, cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the carrots to a separate bowl and toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil, followed by the spice mix. Spread carrots over the prepared baking pan and transfer to the oven. Cook for 30 minutes, giving the carrots a stir halfway through. 

While the carrots are cooking, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a pan set over medium-high heat. Cook the onion for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer onion to the serving bowl with the lentils.

Prepare the dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, chopped dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour over the lentils and onion and carefully stir to combine, making sure not to mash up the lentils. 

Once the carrots have finished cooking, carefully toss them with the lentils, along with the currants. Season with salt, to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve warm or at room temp.

Olive and Shiitake Mushroom Spanish Tortilla

Olive and Shiitake Mushroom Spanish Tortilla - A Thought For Food

This post is sponsored through the Have an Olive Day campaign featuring olives from Spain. Thank you for supporting these partnerships. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. 

My first taste of a Spanish tortilla was during our trip to in Madrid last fall. Not a bad way to be introduced to a dish, right? We tried quite a few during our five-day stay. Most were traditional: potatoes, onion, egg. Sometimes the egg was a bit runnier (like a custard) and other times it was firmer. The best one was speckled with salt cod (obviously it made an impact if I'm still thinking about it). As we dug into each of these, I kept thinking about ways I could replicate it at home. When we returned, I quickly got to work on a pan and was more than satisfied with the results (which is good because we had to consume it for quite a few days). After that initial success, I played around a bit, swapping the regular potatoes for sweet. This quickly became a favorite side of the fall.

I had plans to put something together months ago and share it with everyone, but I never got around to it. When I was asked to make something for the Have an Olive Day campaign utilizing Spanish olives, I knew it was finally time to put together a tortilla. Here I've incorporated Queen olives, a large green varietal. It has everything I love in an olive: a bit briny at the front but with a smooth, creamy finish. But that's not the only addition... scattered throughout are sautéed shiitakes and a hearty amount of parsley, rosemary and thyme.  

Olive and Shiitake Mushroom Spanish Tortilla - A Thought For Food
Olive and Shiitake Mushroom Spanish Tortilla - A Thought For Food

OLIVE AND SHIITAKE MUSHROOM SPANISH TORTILLA

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:
1 small yellow onion, halved and cut, lengthwise, into 1/4-inch slices
5 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps cut into 1/4-inch slices
1.5 pounds yellow potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
6 extra large eggs
3/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
7 oz jar pitted Spanish Queen Olives, drained and quartered
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
1/4 cup whole parsley leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3/4 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt
Black pepper

Directions:
On the stove, set a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, followed by the onion and mushrooms. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl with 3/4 of the olives. 

Return the skillet to the stove and heat 3/4 cup oil over medium heat. Add potatoes and press down so they are submerged in oil. Once the oil reaches a low boil (it will start to sputter slightly), reduce heat to medium-low and cook, turning occasionally, until tender. Drain potatoes of oil using a colander, reserving two tablespoons of oil. Transfer potatoes to mixing bowl with onion and mushrooms. 

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the chopped parsley, thyme, and rosemary, until combined. Pour eggs over warm potato and onion mixture and gently stir together, being careful not to break up the potatoes. 

Move oven rack to the second row from the top. Preheat broiler to high.

Heat the pan over medium-high heat for one minute. Add reserved 2 tablespoons oil to the pan. Pour in the egg and potato mixture, smoothing out the top with a spatula. Cook until the edges begin to crisp and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for another 6 minutes, until the eggs have mostly set. Transfer pan to the oven and cook under the broiler for another 5 minutes.

While the tortilla is cooking, combine the sliced fennel, remaining chopped olive, and whole parsley leaves in a small mixing bowl. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt, to taste. 

Remove tortilla from oven and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with fennel and olive salad. 

Olive and Shiitake Mushroom Spanish Tortilla - A Thought For Food