Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness.
– Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®
The color of the year is inspired by the satiation that can only come from a truly great meal. Similarly, I am continually inspired by the colors at play in the foods I eat (as evidenced here and here). But, I’ve never thought about inspiration traveling in the opposite direction. Could a single color inspire a new recipe?
I was skeptical. Particularly given the subdued hue at hand. Besides the obvious chicken Marsala, the only immediate associations I was making with the restrained color were none-too-culinary, (um, chili dogs, anyone?) Further complicating the issue, this color is really hard to pin down – is it red, brown, or really burnt sienna in disguise??
And yet, in the thick of winter, I kept finding myself drawn to its warm, inviting nature. It reminds me of a shade you might see dancing on a wooden floor in front of a freshly-lit fireplace. It’s sophisticated and easy. I suppose that’s fitting…just like its namesake, Marsala Italian wine.
And so I embraced the marsala, and found my way to three new recipes featuring ingredients which share its color value…or at least, very close variations. Each one has that same hint of sophistication and ease. In fact, each recipe can be prepared in three steps or less, which is hardly enough time to pour yourself that glass of Marsala wine. But, one can try. My skepticism has been proven wrong before.
Here they are. My three new, easy (but deceptively sophisticated) ways to eat marsala:
1. Paleo balls with coconut and carob chips, starring dates and dried cranberries
Ingredients (makes about 16)
- 1 packed cup dried pitted dates
- 1 cup nut of choice (almonds, cashews or walnuts)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more to roll in
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup carob chips
- Process dates, almonds, coconut, honey and sea salt in a food processor. Add a tiny bit of water if mixture gets too dry. Add in cranberries and carob chips at the end for a final blend.
- Roll into balls.
- Keep in an airtight container. I usually keep mine in the refrigerator, but this isn’t necessary.
2. Rosemary root vegetable saute, starring beets
Ingredients (3-4 servings)
- 1 bunch of beets (about 1 lb.) washed and cut into cubes
- 1 yukon potato, cut into cubes
- 1 kohlrabi, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 medium red onion, cut into chunks
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into medium slices
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 T rosemary
- 2 T olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F then toss all vegetables in a large bowl with the garlic, rosemary and olive oil until coated.
- Spread vegetables evenly on a cookie sheet and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 45 minute to an hour, stirring at least once midway through. Serve immediately.
3. Spinach pomegranate salad, starring red heirloom spinach
Ingredients (3-4 servings)
- 1 bag of red heirloom spinach (I spied mine at Trader Joe’s)
- 1/2 medium red onion, cut into medium slices
- Seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, slightly toasted
- Red balsamic vinaigrette dressing
- Divide spinach evenly into salad bowls. Layer with onions, pomegranate seeds and walnuts. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt.
- Serve with red balsamic vinaigrette. (Marsala red wine balsamic, if you’re fancy.)
Have any marsala or marsala-ish foods that you love? Let me know in the comments if I left out your favorites!