Mise en Place: Apricots

July 1, 2011

Welcome to Mise en Place, a journey of culinary delight where anything can happen. Based on the Colorado Department of Agriculture's list of food by month, KRCC takes a look at farmers, chefs, and fodder, all with a Centennial State bent.

Each month, the state’s agriculture department highlights a commodity and provides a recipe using that product. We take it a step further.

Vibrant and very orange apricots are nearly ready to harvest. KRCC's Ellen Mahoney visited with Elaine Andrews, who co-owns Andrews Family Farm, a CSA in East Boulder, with her husband, Rich. Ellen also visited the Arugula Bar e Ristorante in North Boulder, where Chef Alec Schuler prepared a colorful spinach and apricot salad.

See below for recipes for a Spinach and Apricot Salad from Chef Alec Schuler of Arugula Bar e Ristorante, and for Apricot Shortcake from the Colorado Department of Agriculture.


Spinach and Apricot Salad
Chef Alec Schuler, Arugula Bar e Ristorante, Boulder, CO

Ingredients

1 lb. fresh spinach (local baby spinach is ideal)
1 bulb fennel (sliced very thin, preferably on a Mandolin slicer)
8 fresh apricots (pitted and cut into wedges)
½ lb. crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 cup toasted, sliced almonds
1 cup Champagne-Tarragon vinaigrette

In a large bowl, toss spinach and fennel with one cup of Champagne-Tarragon vinaigrette. Use less if a lightly dressed salad is preferred.
Top salad with apricots, Gorgonzola cheese and almonds; serve immediately. Yields 6 servings.

Champagne-Tarragon Vinaigrette

Ingredients

½ cup Champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1 small shallot
1 small garlic clove
¼ cup fresh tarragon
Salt & pepper to taste
¾ cup canola oil (or other bland-tasting oil)
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

In a blender mix all ingredients except the oils. Process on low and then add both oils slowly to emulsify. Note: if vinaigrette is too thick add a small amount of water. Yields about 2 cups.

Recipe from the Colorado Department of Agriculture

Colorado Apricot Shortcake
Chef Jason K. Morse, C.E.C., 5280 Culinary, LLC

Serves 6

Apricots:
12 ea. Apricots, pitted and sliced, do not peel
1 cup White Sugar
1/2 cup Apple Juice
3 cups Whipped Cream

Cut the apricots in half, remove the pit and slice. In a large bowl, place the sliced apricots, cover with sugar and mix well. Add the apple juice and combine. Allow the apricots to marinate in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Prepare the Vanilla Drop Biscuits according to the recipe below.

Vanilla Drop Biscuits:
2-1/3 cups Bisquick Mix
2/3 cup Buttermilk
3 tbsp. Vanilla Paste
3 tbsp. Butter, melted
3 tbsp. Dark Brown Sugar
4 tbsp. White Sugar

Preheat oven to 425° F. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except white sugar and mix well using hands. Use an ungreased thick cookie sheet pan to prevent scorching. Using a large soup spoon put a heaping drop of biscuit batter onto the sheet pan. Use white sugar to dust tops of biscuits. Bake at 425° for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, take off cookie sheet and cool on a rack.

Assembly:
Slice each biscuit in half and save the top piece. Scoop some of the apricots and juice onto the bottom half of the biscuit (be sure to evenly divide the liquid and apricots among the 6 biscuits). Place a dollop of whipped cream on top. Place the biscuit top on and drizzle with any remaining liquid. Serve chilled.