Nowhere is that more evident than in Family Dinner; Campanile's Monday night meal. A tradition in Los Angeles, the Campanile Family Dinner is a three-course meal, served family style, naturally, that revolves around a specific theme. These dinners, and the recipes developed for them, have created such a demand that Chef Peel knew it was time to give everyone a chance to enjoy them. Thus was born New Classic Family Dinners, simply a great cookbook full of time-tested recipes that are simple to prepare, yet deeply satisfying. I've chosen a pair that will make for a delightful late winter or early spring dinner.
Chef Mark PeelMark Peel is the owner and executive chef of Campanile restaurant, a Los Angeles favorite for 20 years, and winner of the 2001 James Beard Outstanding Restaurant Award. He has worked in France at La Tour d’Argent and Le Moulin de Mougins and in the U.S. at Maxwell’s Plum, Michael’s, Chez Panisse and Spago. In 1989, he opened both La Brea Bakery and Campanile with business partner Nancy Silverton, where he has earned such accolades as Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chef, six James Beard Award nominations for Best Chef, and the 2005 California Restaurant Association Chef of the Year.
Buy: New Classic Family Dinners
For some reason, Americans don’t use leeks as much as Europeans do. This classic French bistro dish may change your habits. Leeks are sweet, tender, and only mildly oniony; I love their gentle flavor and their pale, translucent green color. This works best if you have a baking pan that the leeks fit snugly into in a single layer. It will keep for several days in the refrigerator, but give it time to come back to room temperature before you serve it or the flavors will be muted.
Leeks2 pounds leeks, white and light green parts only
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1⁄4 lemon, cut in paper-thin slices, seeds removed
3 or 4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
Topping1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 hard-boiled eggs
2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and trim away all but 1⁄8 inch of the root, so that they hold together in one piece. Place in a bowl of cold water and swish to loosen the dirt, then run cold water over them, fanning the layers to wash away any dirt that may linger in between. Lay the leeks side by side, cut side up, in a baking dish. They should fit in one snug layer. Pour on the wine and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Drizzle on the olive oil and place the lemon slices over the leeks. Top with the parsley sprigs.
2. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and place in the oven. Roast for 30 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat to 450ºF, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes, until the leeks are tender but not mushy and are beginning to color very lightly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
3. Using tongs, remove the leeks from the baking pan and arrange in a gratin dish or in a wide bowl or platter. Pour the liquid in the pan into a bowl and whisk in the vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil. Pour over the leeks. Allow to cool, or if serving the next day, cover and chill. For best results, refrigerate overnight. Bring back to room temperature before serving.
4. Press the hard-cooked eggs through a sieve or chop them very fine, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange over the leeks, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.