Delicious Side Dishes

GREEN BEANS w/ VANILLA BALSAMIC   Serves 6-8

1 lb green beans, trimmed
 c onion
 c red bell pepper
1T good quality balsamic vinegar
1T good quality extra-virgin olive oil
2t pure vanilla bean paste
Dash of salt
Steam green beans with peppers and onion until beans are tender-crisp.  Combine remaining ingredients and whisk together.  Arrange vegetables on a platter and drizzle the vinegar mixture over the top.  Toss gently to coat.

Can be served warm or at room temp.

BAKED FENNEL with PARMESAN    Serves 4-6

Finocchio Gratinato
2 lb fennel bulbs, trimmed, washed and cut in half
4 T unsalted butter
1/3 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and Pepper to taste

Cook the fennel in a large pot of salted water until just tender but not mushy.  Drain.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the fennel bulbs lengthwise into 4-6 pieces.  Place them in a buttered baking dish.

Dot with butter.  Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan.

Bake in the hot oven until cheese is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Serve at once.
VARIATION:  For a more substantial version of this dish, sprinkle 3 oz. of chopped proscuitto or smoked

ham over the fennel before topping with the cheese.
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS w/Gorgonzola Sauce                     Makes 8 servings

Brussels Sprouts
2lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
3T extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Sauce
4T unsalted butter
2/3 c hazelnuts, chopped (3oz)
 c minced shallots
1 c heavy cream
2 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2T fresh lemon juice
Minced Zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 475 degrees with foil lined baking sheet inside.

Toss Brussels sprouts with oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Transfer sprouts to hot baking sheet and roast until beginning to brown, 10 minutes; stir and roast 10 minutes more. 

Melt butter in a large saut pan over medium heat.  Stir in the hazelnuts and shallots, cooking until brown flecks appear in the butter, 8 minutes.

Stir in the cream; bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes.  Add the Gorgonzola and lemon juice.  Toss the Brussels sprouts in the sauce to coat, then season with salt and pepper.

Garnish with zest and serve hot.
 
 
MUSHROOM SALAD      Serves 6
10 ounces crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 scallions
 c Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, plus extra for garnish, shaved with vegetable peeler
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
2 t lemon zest
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon zest for garnish (optional)

Thinly slice mushrooms and scallions, including green parts.  Just before serving toss mushrooms, scallions, Parmigiano, lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss gently being careful not to break the mushrooms. 

Distribute onto six plates or on a medium size platter.  Garnish with shaved Parmigiano and threads of lemon zest.

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