Tony and Sarah Nasello
FARGO — I love crostini, an Italian appetizer consisting of slices of toasted bread that can host an endless assortment of toppings. Their versatility makes them a perfect party food, as you can adapt the toppings to suit any menu. And, depending on the toppings and how thickly you slice the bread, crostini can be light and delicate, or strong and hearty, like today's Wild Mushroom Crostini.
I often receive emails from our readers who will ask questions about a recipe or culinary technique or share a memory about a dish we recently featured. Many of you have the same questions, and I am excited to introduce our new Q & A series, which will be featured every four to six weeks in this column.
Every year around this time, my mind invariably fills with thoughts of France. In my former life as a cruise director, Tony and I spent several spring seasons sailing around the western coast of France, visiting famous port cities like Bordeaux, Rouen and Saint-Malo, as well as some lesser-known stops like Belle-Île, a summer haven for the French but secluded enough to stay off the tourist trail, and Île d'Aix, the tiny little island of approximately 250 residents, where Napoleon spent his last night on French soil and the only cars allowed still today are service vehicles.
FARGO — Even though it's snowing as I write this, April has arrived and with it, the season for springtime salads. This week's Symphony Salad was thus named because it is a beautifully composed salad, which means that it is built and dressed in layers, rather than tossed.
FARGO — Most people dream of spending their March break in warm and sunny places, like Florida, Arizona, Mexico or the Caribbean. But not Tony's older brother Emanuele, a teacher at Lakeshore Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Canada. For as long as we can remember, Emanuele's spring break dream has been to spend it with us, here in Fargo. Last week, that dream finally became a reality.
March 14 is known around the world as Pi Day in recognition of the Greek symbol used to represent the mathematical constant known as Pi, or the never-ending number of 3.14 plus, plus, plus. Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, and regardless of the circle's size, the ratio will always equal pi, or approximately 3.14. Math lovers around the world mark this occasion by participating in mathematical competitions, running 3.14 miles, wearing clothing with the pi symbol or the face of Albert Einstein, whose birthday just happens to fall on March 14.
FARGO — Pork Milanese with Lemony Buttered Noodles is a weeknight favorite in our house. Aside from being just plain delicious, this is a quick and easy meal that can be made in about 45 minutes, especially if you follow my handy timeline included at the end of this article.
Back in our cruise ship days, we used to visit Québec City several times each summer and fall during our Canada-New England season, which took us on 10-day cruises from New York City, all the way up the eastern seaboard and then into the St. Lawrence Seaway before concluding in Montreal.
A French specialty called pissaladière is the inspiration for this week's Savory Onion and Mushroom Tart. Provençal in origin, a traditional pissaladière features a combination of caramelized onions, olives and anchovies, which are added whole, as a topping, or in the form of the anchovy paste (pissalat) from which the dish receives its name. While anchovies feature prominently in an authentic pissaladière, our version uses just one anchovy, which we finely chop and toss with cherry tomatoes before roasting, a simple step that adds great flavor without overpowering the tart.
FARGO — Love is in the air, and this week we've crafted a three-course Valentine's menu featuring ingredients believed to possess aphrodisiac qualities: Asparagus Bleu Cheese Soup to start the meal, Linguine ai Frutti di Mare (Seafood Linguine) as the main course and Flourless Chocolate Torte for a flourishing finish. Each recipe has been previously shared here in our column, and we are delighted to present them in a new way for this occasion.