Ni├žoise Inspired Salad


My mom got me these sardines as a little treat. Because those are the kinds of gifts we give each other ­čÖé . So I made this ni├žoise inspired salad. It’s not really a ni├žoise because it doesn’t have olives, green beans or tuna but I replaced those with capers, cornichons, beets and sardines.

{serves 1}

  • 2 handfuls of greens
  • 1 soft boiled egg
  • 4 cornichons
  • spoonful of capers
  • 3 sardines packed in olive oil (we love matiz)
  • 4 small tomatoes
  • a couple of slices of leftover beet terrine (or just roasted beets and goat cheese)
  1. soft boil the egg (or a couple to have on hand); my theory is to boil a small pot of water then turn it down to a simmer, add the eggs gently and cook for 7 minutes then remove w/ a slotted spoon and put in an ice bath for a few minutes
  2. in a bowl put washed greens, sardines, sliced beet terrine (or simply slices of beets and crumbles of goat cheese)
  3. top with capers, cornichons and tomatoes and dig in!

© 2017, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Mussels in White Wine Tomato Sauce

This meal is one of the most easy and elegant meals I’ve ever made. White wine and mussels provide a heavy dose of French flavor for this classic, with limited ingredients.


serves 2

  • 4 small/medium sized RIPE tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 4 leaves basil
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • pinch salt/pepper (to season)
  • 8 crimini mushrooms (cleaned)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped (dry) chorizo or spicy salami
  • 1/2 pound mussels
  • 1 demi-baguette
  • linguine for 2 people
  • 3/4 tbsp caper juice
  1. in a medium sized saute pan heat olive oil and a little butter
  2. chop tomatoes as finely as possible and add them to the pan, add 1/2 cup white wine
  3. add herbs, chili flakes salt and pepper and cook down until it has a paste-y consistency
  4. let cool then remove from pan. meanwhile clean mussels
  5. transfer tomato sauce into a bowl, heat butter and garlic in that pan
  6. slice bread and brush the garlic butter mixture over and toast (in toaster oven)
  7. quarter and slice zucchini, clean and slice mushrooms and chop onions
  8. heat olive oil in a saute pan and cook the veggies
  9. heat water in a pot for pasta, cook linguine according to directions
  10. move the sauteed veggies into another bowl and heat 2 tbsp butter and 1 clove garlic over medium high heat
  11. when good and melted add the mussels, add 1/2 a cup white wine and the caper juice. meanwhile chop chorizo finely and add to tomato sauce
  12. when mussels start to open, add the tomato sauce back into the pan
  13. drain pasta and transfer it to a pot, coating it in butter or olive oil
  14. add veggies back into the tomato-mussel sauce, let cool for a minute
  15. serve over pasta with bread and more white wine


© 2015, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Seafood Stew


Seafood Stew is one of those impressive restaurant meals that is actually quite affordable and not too tricky to make at home. Luckily I had a chef on hand to dispel any anxieties I had about cooking shellfish but I assure you, you can do it too.

serves 2

  • 2 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 3 small smoked dried roasted tomatoes*
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tomato (fresh)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (from concentrate)
  • 6 large shrimp (cleaned)
  • 1 handful mussels
  • 1/2 lb cod or any white fish
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • bread to soak (baguette recommended)
  • 8 leaves homegrown basil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped cilantro (w/ stalks)
  • 1/2 lemon

*if you don’t have dried smoked tomatoes on hand, you should probably get some, but if you can’t find any, a tsp smoked paprika would be a good sub

  1. chop onion and dried tomatoes, dice fennel bulb
  2. in a saute pan melt butter over medium high heat, then add onion, dried tomatoes and fennel
  3. chop and drain capers, dice fresh tomato and add that along with tomato sauce (in batches) to the pan, stirring occasionally
  4. slice basil and add to sauce along with salt and pepper (to taste)
  5. clean any barnacle-y type stuff off of mussels and add to pan, then add shrimp
  6. once mussels start opening, turn heat down to low
  7. in a separate small pan heat olive oil and slice fish filet into 4 pieces and cook over medium heat until it’s browned on the outside and cooked through
  8. dice cilantro and add to the tomato sauce
  9. squeeze juice of lemon over fish and tomato sauce
  10. brush bread with olive oil and toast
  11. plate tomato mixture with fish on top

© 2015, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

  • 2 cups hazelnuts
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. roast hazelnuts for 15 minutes at 350┬░F, on a lined baking sheet
  2. let cool then add to Vitamix with half of the cocoa powder and agave nectar

© 2014 – 2015, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

Marinated Goat Cheese Balls with Artichokes, Olives and Tomatoes

I got this recipe from the Food & Wine website in a French picnic slide-show. I made it for the sangria party night. I was especially interested in it because not only do I love all of the elements but the piment d’Espelette┬áis a specialty of the Basque region near where I spent the first half of the year studying abroad. There I tried everything with the special chilli flavoring, from chocolate to cheeses.
summer bulgur-heirloom tomato salad

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh goat cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme
  • 1/2 tsp piment d’Espelette pepper or hot paprika
  • salt
  • 1 quart evoo
  • 20 cooked baby artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup red cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup Ni├žoise olives
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350┬░. Spread the pine nuts in a pie plate and bake for 10 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  2. In a standing mixer, using the paddle, blend the goat cheese with the toasted pine nuts, rosemary, thyme and piment d’Espelette. Alternatively, blend the cheese in a bowl using a wooden spoon. Season with salt. Shape rounded tablespoons of the seasoned cheese into balls.
  3. Pour 1 inch of olive oil into a tall 1-gallon glass container. Layer the cheese balls, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes and olives in the container with enough of the remaining olive oil to cover. Let marinate at room temperature for 24 hours. Serve with the toasted baguette.

Original recipe:

summer bulgur-heirloom tomato salad

© 2014, domenicadreamsofcalamari. All rights reserved.

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