After arriving in North Port, Nokomis, Bradenton and Palmetto, Aldi opened its first Sarasota store earlier this month in the former Lucky's Market space in the Westfield Siesta Key mall. If you've never been to an Aldi and are unsure what to snap up and what to leave on the shelf, you might want to pick up a new cookbook from Jeanette Hurt, a food writer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The Unofficial Aldi Cookbook: Delicious Recipes Made With Fan Favorites From the Award-Winning Grocery Store is stocked with dozens of recipes that are based on the specific goods available at the German grocer, and it's being released today.
Hurt grew up going to Aldi. Her mother would buy hard-to-find specialty items at a local food co-op and then pick up all the family's basic necessities at Aldi. When Hurt was working as a reporter fresh out of college, she began shopping at Aldi herself because of the store's exceptional deals.
Hurt says the attraction of Aldi is simple: low prices and a limited selection. You won't find 10 different varieties of the same item, which makes filling your cabinet simple.
"Tomato paste is tomato paste," says Hurt. "You don't need a brand name for tomato paste."
Aldi was first known as Albrecht, named after the German family that founded the company in 1913. It grew to include more than 100 German locations by 1955 and, after the name changed to Aldi, it came to the United States in 1976. Having grown tremendously in recent years, the store has earned a devoted following of online Aldi heads, who share tips on when new products are being released and what to do with your purchases once you're home.
Having noticed cookbooks showcasing what to make with products from Trader Joe's, Hurt, who has published several books on topics like cheese, wine and cocktails, pitched her publisher on a cookbook devoted to Aldi. The result is a book with nearly 60 recipes, covering everything from drinks to appetizers, breakfasts, lunch and dinner entrées and desserts.
Hurt says most of the recipes are intended to be easy weeknight dishes that can be pulled together with little fuss. She lists specific Aldi packaged ingredients in her recipes, but emphasizes that products can be swapped out if necessary. Others can be upgraded with ingredients that simply can't be found at Aldi. (Aldi, for example, doesn't sell liquor, but Hurt recommends adding booze to her sangria recipe.)
Some of the dishes in the cookbook have been in Hurt's Aldi repertoire for years. Others she adapted to highlight Aldi ingredients. She says personal highlights include a roasted asparagus recipe that "makes asparagus taste like candy"; a maple vinaigrette that can improve any salad; chicken, spinach and mushroom enchiladas; and a "cannoli dip." Hurt shared a simple recipe for baked salmon that she loves with Sarasota Magazine. "I've been making this for years," she says.
Here it is:
Baked Salmon With Dijon-Parmesan Sauce
I owe the genesis of this recipe to my former boss at the YMCA, Kim. She mentored me as a water aerobics instructor, and she also taught me this straightforward combination of awesomeness for a quick weekday salmon recipe. —Jeanette Hurt
Yield: 6 servings | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes
1/3 cup Burman’s Dijon mustard or other Dijon mustard of your choice
1/3 cup Burman’s mayonnaise or other mayonnaise of your choice
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 pounds Fresh Never Frozen Atlantic Salmon or other fresh salmon of your choice
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In medium bowl, whisk together mustard, mayonnaise, Parmesan and pepper.
3. Lay salmon filet on cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil or a silicone baking mat. Spread sauce on top of salmon using spatula. Sprinkle paprika on top.
4. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle green onions on top.
- Although Burman’s is the Aldi brand of mayonnaise, I know that some Aldis in different parts of the United States also sometimes sell Hellmann’s and Duke’s, and I know mayo lovers who have very strong opinions about those two brands. Use whatever brand you prefer.
- If you have fresh dill from your garden or dried dill in your cupboard, you can also sprinkle that on top of the salmon (about 1 teaspoon fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried).
- You can slice up a package of two zucchini, season with salt and pepper, add some sauce on top, and bake the veggies with the salmon for a complete meal.