Fresh to the Table Recipes

Kir Real


  • 1 ounce crème de cassis
  • ½ ounce tequila blanco
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice Cava or sparkling rosé
  • Lime twists

To prepare

  1. Shake the cassis, tequila and lime juice, then strain into a flute.
  2. Top off with cava and a lime twist. (Makes 1 drink)




Tirosalata Dip, Marinated Olives, Pita



  • 1 large poblano chile pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 to 3 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup goat’s milk yogurt
  • Warm or toasted pita bread for serving

{Marinated Olives}

  • 1 pound mixed olives, drained and patted dry
  • ½ cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 (2-inch) strips fresh orange zest
  • ¼ teaspoon red chile flakes

To prepare


  1. Combine the chopped chile, 1/3 cup oil, lemon juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the feta and yogurt; process until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If too thick, add more oil 1 tablespoon at a time and process until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a bowl. Serve at room temperature with warm or toasted pita.

Marinated Olives:

  1. Place all the ingredients into a small skillet.
  2. Warm over low heat until just heated through but not hot.
  3. Transfer to a covered ceramic crock or glass jar. Store, refrigerated, for up to 4 weeks. Serve at room temperature. (Makes about 2 cups tirosalata and 2 cups olives)

Grilled Sardine, Fava Pesto and Salad with Harissa, Lemon and Mint


{Lemon Zest}

  • Zest from 2 untreated lemons, pith removed
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • {Fava Leaf Pesto}
  • 4 ounces fava leaves (or baby spinach leaves)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 ounce (about ½ cup) grated pecorino romano
  • ¼ cup blanched almonds
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

{Fava-Mint Salad}

  • 4 ounces (about 1 cup) shelled and blanched fava beans
  • 12 mint leaves, washed and torn
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

{Harissa Vinaigrette}

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons harissa (Tunisian red chile pepper paste)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 sardines, filleted, pin bones removed
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To prepare

Prepare the zest:

  1. Blanch the lemon zest in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain.
  2. Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Add the zest and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the zest is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Drain and cool.

Prepare the pesto:

  1. Combine the fava leaves, garlic, cheese and almonds in a mortar with a pestle or a food processor. Grind or pulse to form a coarse consistency.
  2. Add the olive oil to form a loose paste.
  3. Stir in the lemon juice and salt.

Fava Mint Salad:

  1. Place the salad ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine.

Harissa Vinaigrette:

  1. Whisk the harissa vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl.


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the sardines, skin side down. Cook until crisp, 5 to 6 minutes.

To serve:

Place the fava mint salad in the center of a serving platter or individual serving plates. Spoon the pesto and harissa vinaigrette around the salad. Place one to two fillets over the salad. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with lemon zest. Note: If favas are out of season or hard to come by, substitute edamame or limas for the beans and baby spinach leaves for the greens. (Makes 6 large or 12 small appetizers)

Crisp Fingerlings and Charred Broccolini with Fonduta



  • 1½ pounds small fingerling potatoes (such as French, la ratte or banana)
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed but still intact
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • Canola oil to cover, about 4 cups Salt


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup taleggio cubes (about 8 ounces) at room temperature, rind removed (or a locally sourced washed rind cheese such as Cowgirl Creamery’s Red Hawk)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound broccolini, stalks trimmed and reserved for another use
  • 1 teaspoon salt

To prepare

  1. Place the potatoes, garlic and thyme in a large saucepan. Add the canola oil to cover. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook until fork tender, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the potatoes from the oil with a slotted spoon. Do not discard the oil. Allow the potatoes to cool to the touch, then halve lengthwise.
  3. Season with salt and set aside.

Prepare the fonduta:

  1. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it nearly reaches a simmer. Transfer to a blender.
  2. Add the taleggio and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons reserved oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  4. Add the potatoes, cut side down, and cook until crispy and golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons reserved oil in another large skillet over mediumhigh heat. Add the broccolini. Cook until tender and charred, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt.

To serve: Spoon a little fonduta into the center of a serving dish. Arrange the broccolini and potatoes over the fonduta. Season with additional salt to taste. (Serves 6)

Roasted Lamb Chermoula with Frisée and Sunflower Seeds



  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups Italian flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 1 cup cilantro sprigs
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ cup Meyer lemon juice 
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil Salt

1 (4-to 5-pound) bone-in leg of lamb

  • 2 large heads frisée
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds

To prepare

Begin marinating the lamb one day before serving.

  1. Place all of the chermoula ingredients, except the lemon juice and olive oil, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to coarsely chop.
  2. Add the lemon juice.
  3. With the motor running, add the oil in a steady stream. Transfer to a bowl and add ½ teaspoon salt.
  4. Place the lamb in a large bowl and season all over with salt.
  5. Rub ¼ cup chermoula all over the lamb. Cover lamb and refrigerate overnight. Cover remaining chermoula and refrigerate.
  6. One hour before grilling, remove lamb from refrigerator.
  7. Prepare the grill for direct cooking on the flame on high heat and indirect cooking with ambient temperature on medium-low heat. Sear the meat on all sides over direct high heat, turning as needed.
  8. Transfer to indirect medium-low heat (about 325°F) and cook until the internal temperature reaches 140°F for medium-rare, turning occasionally.
  9. Remove from heat and let rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
  10. While the meat is resting, trim the outer leaves from the hearts of the frisée. Quarter the hearts and toss in olive oil.
  11. Grill over direct medium heat until lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  12. Add a few handfuls of raw frisée leaves, add 3 tablespoons chermoula and toss to combine.

To serve: Arrange the frisée in the middle of a serving platter or dinner plate. Place the lamb slices in the center. Top with raw frisée leaves and sunflower seeds. Drizzle with collected lamb juices. Note: Liberman uses puntarelle for this recipe when it’s in season. We substituted frisée, as it’s available at farmers’ markets throughout the summer. (Serves 6)

Almond Savarin Cake with Strawberries and Cream



  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 7 large eggs
  • 14 ounces almond paste (not marzipan)
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • ¾ cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted, cooled to room temperature


  • Juice of 2 oranges, about ½ cup
  • 1/3 cup sugar


  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved, quartered if large
  • 2 tablespoons sugar


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Orange zest for garnish

To prepare

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line with parchment and butter the parchment.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Place the eggs, almond paste and zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium.
  4. Add the butter to the electric mixer bowl in a very slow and steady stream (this will keep the batter emulsified).
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the electric mixer bowl and mix on low speed just until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake on the middle rack until light golden and cooked through, about 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
  8. While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup. Heat the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack. Poke the top of the cake all over with a wooden skewer, then brush the top of the cake with some of the syrup. Cool the cake completely in the pan.
  10. Cut the cake into circles with a 3-inch ring cutter.
  11. Toss the strawberries and sugar in a large bowl.
  12. Beat the cream and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire attachment until soft peaks form.

To serve:

Smear a cake circle with a heaping teaspoon of cream and top with another cake circle. Place on a dessert dish and repeat. There will be 6 double stacks. (Alternatively, you can serve 12 single stacks for smaller portions.) Top each stack with another dollop of whipped cream. Spoon the strawberries around the cake. Garnish with orange zest. If any syrup is remaining, drizzle a little around and over the strawberries. Serve immediately. Note: The cake rings may be prepared up to 1 day in advance. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before proceeding. (Makes 6 regular or 12 small portions)

Lynda Balslev

Lynda Balslev is an award-winning food writer, editor and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay area. She authors the nationally syndicated column and blog TasteFood, and co-authored the cookbook Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture (2015 Silver Medal Winner Independent Publisher Awards). She is the 2011 recipient of the Chronicle Books Award (Recipe Writing) to the Symposium for Professional Food Writers, and a 2018 Fellowship Award recipient to the Symposium for Wine Writers at Meadowood, Napa Valley. Lynda’s writing and photography have been recognized by the New York Times Diners Journal, the Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post and more.