Cheap-Ash Meals With Ashley Archer: 2

by in View All Posts, February 11th, 2009

Here’s another Cheap-Ash Meal (check out the first one here), just in time for  Valentine’s Day. 4 courses of dinner, then breakfast the next day, for 2 people:

  1. Crispy Shallot and Watercress Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
  2. Warm Green Beans and New Potatoes with a Poached Egg and Bacon Vinaigrette
  3. Grilled Skirt Steak with Roasted Shallot puree
  4. Ricotta, Honey and Pear Tart (with leftovers for breakfast, with remaining bacon)

= $22.73

Click through for recipes and receipt:

Crispy Shallot and Watercress Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup vegetable, canola, or other neutral oil
3/4 bunch watercress, washed
Juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

Toss the sliced shallots in the flour and shake off any excess. Heat the 1/2 cup of oil in a small saucepan. Use a tester shallot to make sure the oil is hot. It should sizzle and float to the top of the oil. Add the remaining shallots and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. Set the shallots on a paper towel lined plate to drain and season with salt.

Place the watercress in a bowl and squeeze the lemon juice over the top. Pour over the olive oil and toss to coat. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper and top with the crispy shallots.

Warm Green Beans and New Potatoes with Poached Egg and Bacon Vinaigrette

6 small new potatoes
2 pieces bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 tablespoons white wine or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Tiny pinch of sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat
2 eggs
1 handful of green beans, trimmed and blanched
1/4 bunch watercress, washed and torn into manageable pieces (optional)
Salt
Pepper

Place the potatoes in a pot, season with a large pinch of salt and cover with water. Bring the potatoes to a boil and then simmer until they are tender but not mushy. Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool slightly.

Cook the bacon in a small sauté pan until crispy and set aside to drain on a paper towel and reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.

Combine 2 tablespoons of the vinegar, mustard, and sugar in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and bacon fat and season with pepper.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Reduce the heat so that the water is at a low simmer and carefully add the eggs to the water and poach until the eggs have set, about 3 minutes.

Slice the warm potatoes in half and add to a bowl with the green beans and the watercress. Pour over the vinaigrette and toss to coat.

Divide the salad between two plates and top each salad with an egg and crispy bacon, and season with salt and pepper.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Roasted Shallot Puree

5 shallots
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon white or red wine vinegar
10 to 12 ounces piece skirt steak, trimmed of excess fat and cut in half

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the whole shallots on a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Fold the foil over the shallots to make a packet and place in the oven. Roast the shallots until they are tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes. Remove the shallots and set aside to cool slightly.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Season the skirt steak with salt and pepper and place on the grill. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare, depending on the thickness of the steak. Set the steak aside to rest before slicing against the grain.

Remove the skin and the root end from the shallots and cut the shallots into quarters. Place the shallots in a blender along with any juices, vinegar, and butter. If the mixture is too dry add a tablespoon of water.

Place a heaping spoonful of the puree on the bottom of each plate. Slice the steak and lay over the puree.

Ricotta, Honey and Pear Tart

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in the fridge
Bench flour
1 large pear, sliced thin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoon honey
2 eggs yolks
*Walnuts or pecans or a drizzle of melted chocolate would be a nice addition to this dessert.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Lay the puff pastry on a floured surface and use a rolling pin to smooth out the creases.

Starting a half inch from the edge of the puff pastry sheet, score the sheet all the way around so that it makes a border, this will be the crust. Place the puff pastry on a sheet pan and bake in the oven until just golden brown and puffy, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Cut along the score marks along the edge of the tart shell and push the inner square down to the base of the tart.

Reduce the oven temp to 350 degrees F.

Toss the sliced pears with the lemon juice. Heat a large sauté pan and add the butter. When the butter begins to foam add half of the honey, the pears, and toss to coat. Cook until just heated through and set aside to come to room temperature.

In a large bowl, whisk the ricotta to remove any lumps. Whisk in the remaining honey and the egg yolks. Smear the ricotta mixture along the base of the tart and evenly distribute the pears over the top.

Place the tart back into the oven and cook until the ricotta has set and the pears have caramelized, about 10 to 12 more minutes.

Receipt here (+ $0.60 worth of green beans, which I bought elsewhere) — click to enlarge:

Ashley Archer, Culinary Producer

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