I’m gathering some useful recipes on one page for easier access.
fiori di zucca (zucchini flowers)
- zucchini flowers
- salt, ideally maldon flakes or similar
- vegetable oil
Heat up at least 1cm of vegetable oil in a pan or pot, to just below the smoke point. Meanwhile wash the flowers, slit them down one side, and lay them out flat; stems can be kept on. Mix flour with water in a bowl using a fork to create a light batter with the consistency of whipping cream. Ensure there are no lumps. Test oil temperature by putting in a drop of batter. When oil is hot, dip the flowers in the batter, put in the pan or pot, and fry until golden, using tongs to turn if needed. Lay the fried flowers on a paper napkin lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Eat while hot.
gazpacho or salmorejo
- tomatoes, heirloom ideally, super ripe
- 1 cucumber, cut roughly into chunks
- 1 anaheim or similar pepper, cut roughly into chunks
- 1/2 vidalia or other sweet onion, cut roughly into chunks
- garlic, 1 clove, crushed and chopped
- jerez (sherry) vinegar, at least 2 tsp
- olive oil
- sea salt
Ideally, blanch the tomatoes briefly in boiling water and peel, removing also any hard bits near the stem. Put the onion and garlic in a food processor and blend. Add the tomatoes and cucumbers. Blend until properly smooth. Add salt and vinegar while blending. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while blending until the color and texture are right. Chill for several hours.
Nice things on top when serving: some drops of olive oil and/or fried jamon serrano and/or fried zucchini flowers.
Salmorejo variation: requires stale bread; and skip the cucumber, onion, and potentially the pepper. After pureeing the tomatoes, put the stale bread, broken into chunks, in the blender, and let soak for 5 minutes. Then blend again, adding salt and vinegar, then olive oil.
beans and clams
- Some clams
- 2 andouille or chorizo sausages, ideally smoked
- 1 small piece smoked black cod
- 1 large (ideally heirloom) tomato
- White wine
- 2 cans white beans
- A few cloves garlic
- Italian parsley
- Olive oil
- Chili flakes
- Crusty bread
Portuguese-inspired bean, sausage and clam dish easy to make on Orcas, with ingredients mainly from Buck Bay.
Slice and fry sausages in a bit of olive oil. When you turn the discs over, add crushed garlic and fry along with, taking care not to darken the garlic (keep it around the edge of the pan). Add roughly chopped tomato (it should be very ripe) and reduce at high-ish heat until syrupy but avoiding burning. Add a little salt (but not too much as the other ingredients will also be salty). While reducing, add chili flakes and chopped smoked black cod (with skin and any bones removed). When reduced, add white wine, deglaze, add clams, and stir for a minute or two. Meanwhile, put thickly sliced bread on baking dish, drizzle on olive oil, and put in the oven at 350 to toast. (Make sure it doesn’t burn.) Add the cans of beans to the pan and stir again, then put the lid on and wait for all of the clams to open. Take lid off and cook just a little bit more, stirring. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with the bread.
Combine equal parts water and oat milk in a saucepan. Crush and put in:
- Star anise
- Cardamom pods
- Cinnamon sticks
- Slices of fresh ginger
- Fennel or aniseed
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add a generous amount of black tea. Simmer until fully infused. Strain into cups. Add honey (it needs plenty).
- 2 cups milk
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch
- roasted pistachios, crushed
- pomegranate syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- rose petals
Put milk, cream, and rosewater in a saucepan and heat until hot, but not boiling. Whisk in sugar, cornstarch, and cardamom. Add a pinch of sea salt. As it thickens and boils, whisk 3–5 minutes. While still hot, pour into 6–8 glass containers and refrigerate uncovered overnight. Garnish with pomegranate syrup and crushed pistachios before serving.
Milk and cream can be replaced with full fat coconut milk or coconut milk + coconut cream.
To make pomegranate syrup, combine
- 4 cups pomegranate juice
- 1/3 cup sugar
- juice of a lemon
in a pot and simmer for about an hour. (Corrections for sweetness or acidity may be needed.)
Mostly oven time, but takes 4h + 2h refrigeration.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 large red onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 10 mushrooms, sliced
- 3 pounds brisket (preferably second-cut), chopped into bite-size pieces
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 sprig rosemary
- About 4 cups (2 cans) Guinness
- 8 ounces freshly grated cheddar
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2.25 teaspoons baking powder
- 0.75 teaspoon salt
- 4oz very cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
Prepare the pastry: sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Quickly work the butter into the dough until it is the texture of coarse meal. Add ice water, a splash at a time, until a firm dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large, ovenproof pan with a lid, sauté onions and garlic in 2 tbsp butter until soft. Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms and remaining 2 tbsp butter and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are dark and the moisture released by them has evaporated, about 15 minutes.
Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Add the beef, flour and rosemary to the pan and cook over high heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.
Add enough Guinness to just cover the beef. Cover the pan and put it in the oven for 90 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir. Return to the oven and cook for 1 hour more. If it remains thin, set the pan over medium-low heat, remove the lid and reduce the liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in half of the cheddar.
Take out the dough. Place it between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll to 0.75cm. Pour the stew into an 8‑inch-square, 2‑inch-high Pyrex dish or a deep 9‑inch pie pan. Scatter the remaining cheddar across the top. Place the dough on top of the pie and pinch it closed around the edges using the tines of a fork, then slash the center lightly with a knife. Brush with the egg yolk, place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until the pastry is puffy and golden.
tomato chicken cream curry
- olive oil
- large onion, chopped
- 2 chicken breasts, chopped
- 2 tomatoes, chopped (first blanched and skinned ideally)
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp garam masala or curry powder
- chili powder or paprika
- cilantro to garnish, plucked
- rice to accompany
Put on the rice. Fry onion. Add garlic and fry briefly. Add garam masala or curry powder and paprika, salt, and pepper and fry briefly to release fragrance. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until reduced a bit. Poach chicken in sauce until fully cooked (10 minutes?). Add cream and reduce a bit. Garnish and serve.
halibut in tomatoes with tahina
- a piece of halibut
- olive oil
- tin of DOP tomatoes or fresh tomatoes
- tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- caraway seed, generous amount
- fresh red chili
- urfa biber
- za’atar, optionally
Season halibut with a bit of salt and pepper. Set aside. Fry slices of red chili. Add garlic, urfa biber, and caraway seeds and fry until garlic is golden. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and a dash of salt. Simmer 15 minutes, until sauce is thick. Add fish, cover the pan, and cook for 10 more minutes, until fish is done.
Meanwhile, make tahina with lemons, tahini, olive oil, a bit of salt, and a little bit of water.
If sauce has thinned, take out fish and reduce. Spoon sauce over fish, drizzle tahina over it, garnish with za’atar and cilantro, serve.
thai red curry
- 1–2 chicken breasts, cut into thin discs
- 2 cans coconut cream
- zucchini, cut into spears
- eggplant, cut into cubes (or use the small kind)
- red pepper, cut into hooks
- mae ploy red curry paste
- basil (thai ideally), plucked
- lime leaf
- fish sauce
- sugar (palm ideally)
Put on rice. Prep chicken and vegetables. Fry red curry paste in the wok until fragrant. Add chicken and fry. Add coconut cream (skipping the clear liquid), fish sauce, sugar, and lime leaf. Blend everything together. Add red pepper and eggplant; cook for a bit. Add zucchini and cook briefly. Adjust sugar/fish sauce. Add basil at the end and serve.
roastie chicken with mushroom sauce
- vegetables to roast, including any of: potatoes, carrots, parsnips, brussels sprouts, cabbage
- chicken breast
- marsala wine or cognac
- olive oil
Preheat oven to 400. Cut up vegetables as needed, coat lightly in oil, sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper, put on a baking sheet (on tin foil to avoid carbonizing); roast in the oven for a little while. Add the chicken breast (also rubbed with olive oil and some salt) and roast for a while longer. Meanwhile, make the sauce: saute mushrooms, add marsala or cognac (if cognac flame off a bit), add a dash of salt and a bit of mustard, mix, add cream, reduce a bit. The sauce goes on the roasted chicken.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1.5 cups milk
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla
Boot up waffle iron. Mix dry ingredients. Melt the butter, then add milk, eggs and vanilla; mix with dry ingredients. Cook.
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1oz (30g) butter
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup water
Preheat oven to 475ºF. Mix dry ingredients. Rub in the butter with the fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs; do not over-handle. Pour in the milk and water and mix lightly and quickly to form the dough. Turn it out onto a floured surface, knead lightly and pat to a 2cm thickness. Cut into cylinders with a floured champagne flute. Put the cylinders on a lightly greased cookie sheet, packed in close, and brush with a bit of milk. Bake about 10 minutes, or until done. While baking, whip some cream and find the jam.
- 2 cups fine cornmeal
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 2 large eggs, ideally at room temperature
- 2 cups buttermilk, ideally at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a pan. Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and honey together until smooth and thick. Then, whisk in the egg until combined. Finally, whisk in the buttermilk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined, but avoid over-mixing. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 20 minutes or until crispy edges, golden brown on top, and the center is cooked through. Use a toothpick to test. Allow to cool slightly before slicing.
- 1.5 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 4 tbsp powdered sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/3 cup milk
- 2/3 cup water
- a dash of vanilla or a grating of lemon rind
Mix dry ingredients. Separately mix wet ingredients; add to well in dry ingredients and combine, being careful not to overmix but avoiding clumps. Make crepes, preparing crepe pan with butter.
While they’re making, whip some cream, wash berries, and squeeze lemons. Powdered sugar optional.
- 6 eggs
- 2.5 cup milk
- 1.5 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
Beat eggs with an electric mixer until thick, 3–5 minutes. Stir in milk and melted butter. Gradually add sifted dry ingredients. Cook thin, smaller-than-crepe pancakes (flipping once) on a buttered griddle at higher heat than one would crepes, aiming for a cauliflower-like finish with slightly crisped edges.
Original post. Note, this requires a special popover baking form.
- 8 eggs
- 1 quart bread flour
- 1 quart milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup oil
- ½ tbsp salt
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix all ingredients with a whisk for about 2 minutes (I use the kitchen mixer). If time allows, allow to warm to room temperature before baking. Brush the cups of the popover form with butter, and fill each cup to the rim with batter. Bake 40–50 minutes or until browned. Don’t remove prematurely or they’ll fall.
- 1 large eggplant, diced
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 long red chili, sliced (can substitute chili flakes)
- 1 large can DOP Roma tomatoes from Sarnese-Nocerino, or good fresh ones
- 2 small to medium zucchini, cut into half moons
- Olive oil
- Cumin and/or ras el hanout
- Poached or fried egg (optional)
Dice the eggplant into cubes and sprinkle generously with salt. Leave for 15–20 minutes.
Fry onions, chili, and bell peppers in olive oil for 12 minutes or so, adding cumin and/or ras el hanout. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes more. In the meantime, dice the zucchini and set aside.
Rinse the eggplant under water and pat to dry a bit with a kitchen towel. In a separate frying pan, fry the eggplant in oil for 4–5 minutes until browned off.
Remove the eggplant and add a little more olive oil. Fry the zucchini for 4–5 minutes as well.
Finally, add the eggplant and zucchini to the pot with the tomato mixture and stir through. Cook together for 25 minutes over medium-low heat.
Let it sit for 5 minutes after cooking before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley. Can be served with a poached or fried egg on top.
These are fluffy dinner crepe-like things from Nice; one can put all kinds of things on top. Feeds 4:
- 1 3/4 cups chickpea flour
- 3 egg whites
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- cherry tomatoes
- white onions
- tarragon and/or thyme
- crème fraîche or yogurt
Combine chickpea flour, water, 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and some pepper in a bowl. Hand whisk until homogeneous. In a separate bowl, whisk separated egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gently fold into the batter. In a nonstick pan on high heat, wipe a little bit of olive oil, and cook pancakes, using 1/4 of the batter for each, turning once when air bubbles are on the surface and edges are dry. (The pancakes are delicate and fluffy but considerably thicker than crepes.)
For toppings, ahead of time:
Cut lots of cherry or grape tomatoes in half, put them cut face up on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, and roast in a preheated 275 degree F oven for about 30 min.
White onions, thinly sliced and sauteed with thyme or tarragon until golden, with a bit of vinegar added at the end.
Rucola and crème fraîche are good.
chocolate lava cake
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 18 tbsp cacao
- 10.5 oz butter, melted
- 4 eggs
- vanilla to taste
- polenta (optional)
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Mix dry ingredients. Pour in the melted butter and eggs. Fill in bake form that has been buttered and coated with finely ground polenta (should be <1″ thick). Put into oven. Bake only until center is still glistening; should remain a bit liquid on the inside. Serve with barely sweetened whipped cream and fresh berries.
Note: it turns out one can use a lot less butter (like 4oz; even none, though 4oz seems best) and it still works.
quick and good lentil soup
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 lb green lentils
- 32oz stock
- 1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
- 2 lemons, juice of
- ras el hanout
- yogurt (to serve with)
Saute onion, carrots and celery in olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until fragrant. Add salt, garlic, tomato paste, and spices and cook for two more minutes, stirring.
Add tomatoes, lentils and stock, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.
Add zucchini and cook until just tender. Remove from heat, and add lemon juice. Serve with (optional) yogurt and spicy stuff.
barak’s matzoh ball soup
- 1 Fryer chicken
- 1 Onion
- 5 Carrots
- 5 Celery stalks
- 8 Large eggs (or 10)
- Matzoh meal
- Dried or fresh dill
- Kosher salt
- Set a large pot of water to boil.
- Cut up a whole fryer, discard the back. Also remove any big globs of fat/skin that are easy to cut off, but do leave most of skin/fat on.
- Add chicken. Turn heat way low. Skim off foam on top.
- Cut up a whole onion into large chunky segments, plus 2 carrots and 2 celery stalks, also in big chunks, add all of this to the pot.
- Simmer covered for as many hours as possible. Minimum 2 hours, ideally 3–5 hours.
- Strain soup through a large soup sieve.
- Allow chicken pieces lots of time to cool off.
- This is when you should prepare the matzoh dough, so that the dough has plenty of time to chill in the fridge.
- From the cooled stuff you strained out of the soup, pick out only the finest cleanest chunks of mostly white meat from the chicken, tear the pieces gently by hand into bite sized chunks, avoiding veins, pieces of skin, cartilage, tendons, etc.
- Add these selected pieces of meat to the broth, discard everything else.
- When you are less than 1–2 hours from serving, let the broth with chicken meat warm back up to near boil at a very low simmer.
- This is also when you want to start heating a separate pot of water for the matzoh balls.
- Once chicken broth is near boiling again, add 3 carrots and 3 celery stalks, cut into neat bite size pieces. Let simmer for 1–2 hours (not more than that, to keep the carrots and celery just a little firm.)
- Now is when you want to take the matzoh dough out of the fridge, to start forming it into balls.
- This is also the point where you should slowly add to the soup broth lots and lots and lots of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste.
- Drop the balls into boiling water, simmer covered for 35 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer each ball into the soup broth.
- Add plenty of dried dill to taste.
- Stir for at least 15 minutes, then serve!
Below is a large recipe making ~50 balls (and in parentheses mega recipe making ~65 balls).
- Slightly beat 8 large eggs (10 eggs) (don’t over beat, just a gentle blending).
- Gently and slightly blend in 8 tablespoons oil (or 10 tablespoons).
- Mix 2 cups matzoh meal + 4 tsp kosher salt (or 2.5 cups, and 5 tsp).
- Slowly add dry mix to oil/egg mix, again stir very slightly, stop the moment they are blended.
- Add 8 tbls soup stock (10) and mix just until uniform.
- Cover in fridge for at least 20 minutes (60–90 minutes is best).
- Bring salted water to a boil.
- Take matzoh dough out of fridge, and quickly form them into small round spheres. Try to handle them as lightly as possible, each one should be barely a teaspoon amount (they expand a lot).
- Drop balls into boiling water.
- Cover and reduce heat when back at rolling boil.
- Cook (covered) for 35 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to add them to the soup!
ottolenghi’s gigli with chickpeas
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 tsp cumin
- fresh thyme, finely chopped
- ~7 anchovy fillets
- 1 lemon, skin finely shaved, and juice of
- 2 400g tins of cooked chickpeas, drained
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 400ml chicken stock
- gigli pasta
- 50g baby spinach leaves
- 15g flat-leafed parsley
- za’atar to taste
Start a large generously salted pot of water to boil.
Put olive oil in a saute pan on high heat. Add onion, garlic, cumin, thyme, anchovies, lemon skin, salt and pepper. Fry 3–4 minutes until soft and golden.
Reduce heat to medium high, add chickpeas and sugar, and fry for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas brown and begin to crisp up.
Add chicken stock and lemon juice and simmer 6 minutes, until sauce has reduced a bit. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Cook the pasta.
Stir spinach and parsley into the chickpeas; their residual heat should wilt the spinach. If it doesn’t wilt, heat just enough to.
Combine with the pasta. Serve into 4 bowls. Sprinkle za’atar on top. Finish with drizzle of oil and parmigiano.
polenta con scampi (aka shrimp & grits)
- peeled shrimp
- peeled san marzano tomatoes
- smoked paprika
- white wine
- parsley, lots
- olive oil
Slice shallots thinly and cook very slowly in butter until browned and starting to crisp. Cook discs of chorizo separately and pour the fat into the shallots. (Fried chorizo can be served with prime or added to the dish at the end.) Put in shrimp, coat thoroughly with smoked paprika, and cook, turning once to turn them white. Take out shrimp. Deglaze with white wine. Add tomatoes, mash. Cook slowly and reduce. In a pot, make polenta. Chop up parsley and green onion. Put green onion into sauce. When polenta is done and sauce is reduced, put shrimp in. Pour polenta onto serving dish; make a well in the center. Put the shrimp with sauce in the well, and cover with parsley. Serve.
- 4 chickens, 2½ pounds each, quartered
- 1 head of garlic, peeled and finely pureed
- ¼ cup dried oregano
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 cup pitted prunes
- ½ cup pitted Spanish green olives
- ½ cup capers or caperberries with a bit of juice
- 6 bay leaves
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white wine
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
In a large bowl combine garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces and coat completely with the marinade. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, several hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with the sauce. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest point, yield clear yellow juice (not pink).
With a slotted spoon, transfer chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Add sauce and sprinkle with parsley.
coq au vin
- 8 chicken thighs, either whole or cut up
- 1.75 cups red wine
- 1 cup stock
- 1/4 cup brandy
- bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 4 carrots cut into 2cm pieces
- 6 garlic cloves crushed and minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- fresh thyme
- 1 cup mushrooms, cut into chunky pieces
- 1 cup shallots, peeled
- flour and butter
- Put the chicken in a bowl with the wine, brandy, and stock to marinate.
- Prep the vegetables.
- Cook the bacon in the Le Creuset; remove it, leaving the fat in the pan.
- Keeping the marinade, put the chicken in the hot pan, skin side down, and fry until golden (batches if needed). Use salt and pepper. Take the chicken out.
- Add sliced onion, carrots, and shallots, and cook until golden brown, 7 minutes or so.
- Add garlic and cook briefly. Then put in the paste and cook / caramelize briefly.
- Deglaze with the marinade, then remove the shallots, and add the chicken back in. Add the thyme. Cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms in a bit of olive oil (or some reserved fat).
- Add the shallots back to the stew and cook for 10 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, put 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons flour in a small pot and make a roux.
- After the 10 minutes, remove the chicken, and add the roux, stirring to thicken the sauce.
- Add the chicken back in, and the bacon. Combine, and done.
- An onion.
Fry in olive oil. Add:
- Cumin seed
- Coriander seed
- Several sprigs of thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Fennel seed
- Several cloves garlic (pressed or finely chopped)
- Sea salt to taste
When onions are golden add:
- 1 can of San Marzano DOP tomatoes (can be chopped beforehand, and can substitute fresh Roma tomatoes if sufficiently good ones are available)
Cook down for a good 20 minutes. Then add:
- Chicken broth or fish stock till the base is as thick or thin as you like.
- When that’s cooked about 20 minutes, add assorted seafood. Typically:
- Salmon, in chunks cut from a steak is easiest
- Spot prawns
I use the prawn shells and heads to make the stock.
For extra joy, I also add sea scallops at the end, which I’ve seared in butter and flamed with Pernod.
This should be served with a crusty bread.
Take bulbs of fresh fennel and wrap them tightly in tinfoil with no leaks. Roast them in the oven at 375°F for a good while. Open them carefully over a bowl, as you want to save any liquor that may escape. The bulb should be soft and juicy all the way through.
Cut each bulb in half lengthwise and put into a ramekin, cut side down (or use a baking dish). Don’t leave too much surrounding space. Mix any juice with lots of heavy cream and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; pour over the fennel. Put these ramekins or baking dish back into the oven at 400–450°F. When done, run them under the broiler if needed to lightly char the upper surface.
- bay scallops
- butter and olive oil
- arborio or vialone nano risotto rice
- white wine
- parmigiano reggiano
Peel and devein shrimp, keeping the peelings in a small pot. Just cover the peelings with water, and put on gentle boil to make a simple stock.
Grate the peel off the lemons, making a bed from the peels in a bowl. Juice the lemons, and set the juice aside. In a heavy risotto-friendly pot, sauté the shrimp in butter and olive oil. When just done, pick them out and put them in the lemon peel bowl.
Drain the scallop juice into the stock, and sear the scallops, using a bit more butter as necessary. The point of using small bay scallops here is to maximize the caramelizable surface area without needing to cut them open, which I’ve found can dry them out. Toss the caramelized scallops into the bowl with the shrimp, and pour the lemon juice over them, then olive oil on top to protect. Mix in plenty of chopped parsley. This oil won’t be cooked, be sure to use your good stuff.
Chop up the shallots finely and fry in the risotto pot, again adding butter as needed. Here I violated a rule and added crushed garlic as well (the rule being to avoid the use of onion/shallot and garlic in the same dish). When transparent, add a couple of anchovies, and continue to turn over until this flavor base is light gold. Add the risotto rice and stir, searing it. When ready, pour in white wine, stirring with emphasis. Pour yourself a glass too. When it has bubbled away and turned creamy, begin the usual lengthy process of slowly adding stock and stirring, making sure the risotto doesn’t stick and keeps the right consistency. Keep adding water as needed to the stock pot. At this point you’re talking with your friends while stirring, and you’re on your second glass.
When the risotto is done, swirl in the lemon/oil/shrimp/scallop mixture. There should be enough fresh olive oil in there to make it unnecessary to do the usual trick of dropping a bunch of butter in at the end (“mantecare il risotto”). Although traditionally one doesn’t use Parmigiano with seafood risotti, I thought adding a bit at this stage didn’t hurt at all. Another rule broken. I found comfort in this wonderful cookbook from the south of Italy, in which Wanda Tornabene confesses to also breaking this rule on occasion.
For general advice on making risotto, consult Marcella Hazan’s bible on classic Italian cooking.
- an onion
- if very good fresh sauce-friendly tomatoes are available, use these; otherwise, tinned San Marzano tomatoes only DOP from the Sarnese-Nocerino area.
- a stick of butter
Cut the onion in half and combine it with the tomatoes and the stick of butter, preferably in a wide, shallow pan. Simmer slowly. Use a masher to macerate the tomatoes as you go, and if there are skins, remove them.
When the sauce is done, remove the onion, and serve with pasta.