cocoa nibs, something I'd never heard of. Once I found the recipe, I had to Google "cocoa nibs" to find out what the mystery ingredient was. Turns out they're simply roasted cocoa bean pieces that have a very slightly chocolaty (not sweet) nutty flavor and crunchy texture and can be used in lieu of nuts, in baking, on ice cream or yogurt...basically anywhere you want crunch and rich flavor. And, as so often happens with hard to locate items, Whole Foods hooked me up once again.
The other coolsweet thing that happened today is that I picked up the first batch of my spring salad CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) greens from Hopestill Farm - beautiful baby spinach and kale that were the backbone of tonight's meal. Shout out to Richard Robinson for including me in this opportunity to benefit from and support local agriculture.
Because of Monaco's subtropical climate and mountains, it is a country tourists are naturally drawn to. Seafood, especially cod, is a staple of the country's cuisine. And, due to it's proximity to France and Italy, the cuisine reflects the exquisite pastry and lovely pasta both countries are known for. Vegetables, fruit and grains are all enjoyed in this beautiful country.
Langoustines a la Procencale Recipe (Adapted from Celtnet.org.uk)
1 lb. langoustine meat
10 Tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest
1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup carrots, diced
3/4 cup onions, diced
3/4 cup celery, diced
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
flat leaf parsley for garnish
4 tomatoes, blanched, peeled and diced (I didn't blanche or peel them)
cocoa nibs, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mixed young salad greens
Saute langoustine in olive oil for about 3 minutes until heated through. Remove to keep warm.
Heat remaining oil and saute garlic, orange and lemon zest gently for about 5 minutes. Add carrots, onions, celery and herbs and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft. Remove the bay leaves and thyme then season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the diced tomato and cocoa nibs and allow to heat through. Divide the langoustines between 4 plates, spoon the ragout over and around the langoustine and salad and serve.
Final Assessment: I think I need to go to Monaco to sample more of their cuisine. I love to eat like this - simple, clean food, fresh ingredients, easy to prepare, satisfying and beautiful to look at. A+