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Thanks for visiting Sauce du Jour. Feel free to share a great recipe, leave a comment, or make me dinner. I'll bring hors d' oeuvres and the wine! To visit my website go to Thanks for visiting the Sauce ~Tammi

Mar 23, 2014

Tomato Napoleon Salad with Kalamata Tapenade + Sweet Basil Vinaigrette


 Look at that! I mean, just look at that!!!!

The only way it could have been any better is if it were August and I had just picked those tomatoes and that basil out of my own garden, and if I had just came back from Italy, hand carrying that fresh Mozzarella, olive oil, and those Kalamata olives; and if TSA had let me pass through without a cavity search, and if this freaking winter would end so that any tomato north of the equator actually stood a snowballs chance in hell of RIPENING!

Well...never mind that. The thing is this:  Tomato Napoleon Salad with Fresh Mozzarella, Kalamata Olive Tapenade and Sweet Basil Vinaigrette  is a wonderful salad even if you live in the polar vortex, next to a twenty foot snow drift, by an ice sculpture that resembles the Big Horn Mountains. Make it now and then promise to make it again in late summer when juicy tomatoes and leafy basil are begging for it, and the creek is running, and the sun shines hot, making your tomatoes pop.

Sous chef Scott took a detour through Whole Foods in Fort Collins and scored those pretty yellow heirlooms just a day or two before our Mediterranean Cooking Class, so here in Hickville we were able to thumb our nose at the Polar Gods and have a slight taste of summer. Stack em three or four high if you want, making this salad go from a wintery first course to a summer entree.

Click here or on the "Soups & Salads" link at the top of this page for the recipe.

 Napoleon Salad photos courtesy of SdJ sous chef and super photographer, Kitt.

PRINT RECIPE:  Tomato Napoleon Salad

Mar 16, 2014

Cooking 111 ~ Eating and Drinking Our Way Through the Mediterranean

The February cooking class was "Flavors of the Mediterranean," meaning fresh, lovely produce; rich, creamy cheeses and tangy vinegar and lemons. There are a lot of countries in the Med region but we only drank ate from a few: mostly Greece, France, Italy, and Spain.

I stuck to the traditional formal Italian meal, in full form, meaning we knocked back about ten courses, starting with an Aperitivo of Baked Feta and Prosecco and finishing with a Dolce of Balsamic Laced Stawberry Parfaits with Mascarpone, Lemon Gelato and Amaretti Cookie Crumble, and then five, count em, five digestivos, which I think is Italian for doing shots after dinner. 


Our Antipasto course was a Fig Compote, Prosciutto, and Mozzarella Panini. No recipe needed, just do it.
 Here's Brandy working the panini grill.
For our Primo I created a dish I called Pasta Limone. It was a big hit and since then I have made it a few more times and have passed it on to friends who have made it and who are now showering me with love and flowers and chocolate and pig candy.
     This recipe is super easy to make; its light and fresh and the best news it that only one bowl and one pot get dirtied in the making.

While the pasta is boiling put the olive oil, lemon juice, zest, Parmesan, spinach, and red pepper flakes in a big bowl. 

When the pasta is al dente toss it in the bowl with the lemon, spinach, etc, adding a bit of pasta water if needed. Garnish with some more parm, lemon zest and fresh basil and call in the troops for dinner.

Here's Lisa making Pasta Limone, and she did bring me flowers last week!

Our Secondo was a Sicilian Tuna. I love that this dish takes in so many flavors of the Med ~ lemon, garlic, anchovy, tomatoes, capers, kalamata olives, basil....The Sicilian Sauce is delicious and would be great on a white fish too, such as halibut or mahi-mahi.  I posted this recipe a couple of years on the "Seafood" tab. Scroll all the way down.

Ok, what the hell is that, I know you're probably thinking. was the Med we were in and artichokes are abundant in the region so I was desperate for an artichoke dish. I wanted my Contorno (side dish) to be artichokes and not the steamed-drag-your-teeth-over-variety. This my dears is Artichoke Creme Brulee.

Think savory, not sweet. Think Parmesan cheese crust, not burnt sugar crust. Think this is brilliant, not she's a wackjob. It took me five six seven attempts before I was finally happy with the end result. Think creamy texture, artichoke/Parm flavors and toasty crust. Think I'm a genius!?  (The Big Guy, who doesn't like artichokes anyway, is going with wackjob, but he doesn't get to judge because even if I put chrome on an artichoke he wouldn't touch it.)

The Insalata (our 7th course) was a wonderful Tomato Napoleon Salad with Fresh Mozzarella, Kalamata Olive Tapenade and Sweet Basil Vinigrette. Scott brought me some beautiful yellow heiroom tomatoes from Whole Foods and really made this dish shine. It's almost too pretty to eat! Or maybe it's so pretty you can't help but eat it. I'll share that recipe at a later date. Promise!

We finished the night by doing shots with espresso/cappuccinos and sampling the different countries digestivos. 
     I had a great time, thanks SdJ sous chefs for coming!

Click here, or on the "Pasta" tab for the Pasta Limone recipe, and keep the flowers, chocolate and love coming!