The original MTNMAMA

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Grilled Fennel Salad with Oranges, Olives and Cilantro

 My Day at the CIA----Culinary Arts Institue!!

Sorry for my two week blogging absence but I took a small trip to the Napa/Sonoma Valley to celebrate a good friends' significant birthday....(No Numbers Allowed!!)
We had lots of fun....the weather was phenomenal, sunny and crisp, along with beautiful winery's and vineyards to tour and taste but my highlight was the day I got to spend taking a class at the CIA in St Helena, CA.  The class was on "Grilling Favorites"  We cooked in teams and everyone got lots of "hands on" time.  

The CIA in CA is located in the old Christian Brothers Winery.  It is an exquisite a monastery or castle. Built of rough stone it looks hundreds of years old. It has been remodeled to teach the students of the CIA. 

 My friend, Mary Beth and I are escorted into the great foyer and await the day ahead.

 The kitchen area is massive and will accommodate several large groups of students at one time.  We were welcomed with pastries and muffins...fuel for our day of cooking.

Here I am at the outdoor cooking grill arena with our teacher, Chef Paul.  I am grilling fennel for my salad.  It was so much fun to learn the difference between BBQ and grilling.  We learned about fuel sources and how to use them to cook your recipe the best way you can.

I want one of these Italian Pizza Ovens in my backyard!!!

Men and Women at's a hot job but we all loved doing it!

My group putting our salmon fillets presentation side down to get grill marks before placing them on cedar planks.  We even had a demo on how to fillet an entire LARGE salmon.  That was very interesting.  We were taught how to choose fish and what signs tell if they are old.

Potato Skewers with a chive-dipping sauce.  Chef Paul keeping the food moving and the fire hot.

Now for plating and eating ...the best part of the day.  We had two other classes going that day so we all displayed our food together and shared.  There was CIA Favorites, Grilling Favorites and Cookies.

Grilled fruit Skewers

Cedar Plank Salmon with Zinfandel Huckleberry Sauce

Steamed Rockfish and Vegetables

Deep Fried Zucchini Blossoms


Grilled Raddichio and Orange Salad

Grilled Beet Salad

Grilled Fennel Salad with Oranges, Olives and Cilantro

This was my project for the morning.  I enjoyed grilling the fennel because it is something I don't often choose to use in my everyday cooking.  The presentation was nice and the flavors fresh.

Grilled Fennel Salad with Oranges, Olives, and Cilantro

3 Fennel Bulbs
1/4 cup thin sliced red onion
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp colander
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
3 orange segments
1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/3 cup oil cured black olives

1. Preheat gas grill to medium heat; leave one burner off.
2.  Trim the fennel to remove the tops (reserve some of the tops for garnish) and some of the root end.  Cut the fennel into quarters or sixths.  Trim some of the core from each piece, leave enough core to hold the fennel together on the grill.
3.  Combine the red onion and the red wine vinegar (1 TBSP) and the onions rest until they turn a bright pink, about 20 minutes.
4.  Blend together the remaining vinegar, the orange juice, olive oil, salt, pepper  coriander, and cayenne.  Add the trimmed fennel and toss to coat evenly.  Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
5.  Remove the fennel from the marinade, reserving the marinade to baste the fennel as it grills.  Grill the fennel over the indirect heat, turning every 10 minutes and brushing with some of the marinade, until tender, about 20 minutes.
6.  Move the fennel to the hottest part of the grill, and cook over direct heat until the fennel is browned and fully cooked, another 10-15 minutes.
7.Combine the grilled Fennel with the oranges, olives, cilantro and reserved fennel fronds.  Drizzle with any remaining marinade, top with the red onions, serve at room temperature or chilled.  

What a fun day!!    The cookie class proved lots of yummy desserts!!

If you ever get the chance to go to the CIA I would highly recommend it.  There are classes you can participate in and demonstrations you can watch.  There is also a lovely gift shop and restaurant where you can dine.  I am already dreaming of going back........This place was made for foodies like me!!

Happy Trails,

Mtn Mama

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