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Sand Dabs with Roasted Love Farms Squashes, Provençal Sauce and Sauteed Purslane

Charlie Palmer, Dry Creek Kitchen, Healdsburg, and Aureole, New York and Las Vegas

Serves 4 as an entree


For the Provençal Sauce

3 Tbsp   olive oil

2              garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1              onion peeled and chopped

½ cup     white wine

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1              zucchini, chopped

1              crook necked squash, chopped

4              poquillo peppers (canned), chopped

2 tbsp     olive oil


For the Sand Dabs

3 Tbsp   cooking oil

1 knob    unsalted butter

                wondra flour

4              Sand Dabs

For the Squash

2 pts.      various baby squash

1              red onion

3 tbsp.    extra virgin olive oil

½ cup     black olives, dry cured and pitted

1 bunch purslane

a few stems of fresh herbs


To Prepare the Provençal Sauce
Heat the olive oil in a medium sized sauté pan and add the garlic and onions with a good pinch of salt.  Cook the onions and garlic over medium heat until they have begun to soften, approximately 5 minutes.  Toss them occasionally to keep them from coloring and reduce the heat if necessary.  Add the thyme sprigs and sauté for a good few seconds to release its aroma and then add the white wine and reduce by 2/3.

Add the squashes and cook down slowly for with the onions until all ingredients are very tender, approximately 15 minutes.  Add the poquillo peppers and just heat through, season with salt and freshly ground white pepper and then remove from the heat.

Remove and discard the thyme sprigs, puree the vegetables until very smooth either in a blender or food processor.  Drizzle in the second amount of olive oil with the puree to smooth it out a bit.  Adjust seasoning and reserve in a saucepot for service or cool down and refrigerate if being made in advance.

To Prepare Remaining ingredients and Assemble the Dish


Pre-heat oven to 325˚.

Wash the various squashes and cut into appropriate sizes, in half lengthwise with the zucchini, quarters or halves for the patti pans, etc

Cut the red onion into ¼ inch thick strips.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the squashes and onions, season and give a few tosses to coat all of the vegetables and then transfer to the oven to roast for 12 minutes, tossing once halfway through the cooking.

Begin to cook the Sand Dabs while the vegetables are roasting.  Season the portions with salt and freshly ground pepper, and then dust lightly with the wondra flour.  Heat some cooking oil and a good knob of butter together in a sauté pan and add the fish over high heat (a good cast-iron pan works great for this).  As soon as the fish begins to color reduce the heat to medium and add the fresh sprigs of herbs.  Baste the fish with the butter and herbs and as the fish cooks.  Carefully turn the fish with a spatula after 4 minutes of cooking and continue to cook for an additional 4 minutes.  Then remove the fish from the pan to a warm plate and tent with aluminum foil.

Heat the sauce through.  Remove the pan from the oven and add the olives.  Adjust the seasoning but take care to keep in mind the saltiness that the olives will impart.  Toss in the purslane to lightly wilt.

Ladle the sauce onto heated entrée plates to form large pools.  Mound the vegetables and purslane into the center of the plates, forming a bed for the fish to sit on.  Top with the fish and serve.

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