food

I’m gath­er­ing some use­ful recipes on one page for eas­i­er access.

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.

chai

Com­bine equal parts water and oat milk in a saucepan. Crush and put in:

  • Star anise
  • Cloves
  • Car­damom pods
  • Cin­na­mon sticks
  • Slices of fresh gin­ger
  • Fen­nel or aniseed
  • Pep­per­corns

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).

malabi

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 5 table­spoons sug­ar
  • 6 table­spoons corn­starch
  • rose­wa­ter
  • 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.)

guinness pie

Most­ly oven time, but takes 4h + 2h refrig­er­a­tion.

Stew

  • 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

Crust

  • 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.

waffles

  • 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.

scones

Orig­i­nal post.

  • 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.

Make tea.

cornbread

  • 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.

crepes

  • 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.

swedish pancakes

  • 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.

popovers

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.

pisto

  • 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
  • Salt
  • Cumin and/or ras el hanout
  • Pars­ley
  • 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.

socca

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
  • ruco­la
  • 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

Orig­i­nal post.

  • 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

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.

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
  • thyme
  • mar­jo­ram
  • 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
  • Oil
  1. Set a large pot of water to boil.
  2. 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.
  3. Add chick­en. Turn heat way low. Skim off foam on top.
  4. 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.
  5. Sim­mer cov­ered for as many hours as pos­si­ble. Min­i­mum 2 hours, ide­al­ly 3–5 hours.
  6. Strain soup through a large soup sieve.
  7. Allow chick­en pieces lots of time to cool off.
  8. This is when you should pre­pare the mat­zoh dough, so that the dough has plen­ty of time to chill in the fridge.
  9. 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.
  10. Add these select­ed pieces of meat to the broth, dis­card every­thing else.
  11. 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.
  12. This is also when you want to start heat­ing a sep­a­rate pot of water for the mat­zoh balls.
  13. 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.)
  14. Now is when you want to take the mat­zoh dough out of the fridge, to start form­ing it into balls.
  15. 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.
  16. Drop the balls into boil­ing water, sim­mer cov­ered for 35 min­utes.
  17. Using a slot­ted spoon, gen­tly trans­fer each ball into the soup broth.
  18. Add plen­ty of dried dill to taste.
  19. Stir for at least 15 min­utes, then serve!

Mat­zoh Balls

Below is a large recipe mak­ing ~50 balls (and in paren­the­ses mega recipe mak­ing ~65 balls).

  1. Slight­ly beat 8 large eggs (10 eggs) (don’t over beat, just a gen­tle blend­ing).
  2. Gen­tly and slight­ly blend in 8 table­spoons oil  (or 10 table­spoons).
  3. Mix 2 cups mat­zoh meal + 4 tsp kosher salt  (or 2.5 cups, and 5 tsp).
  4. Slow­ly add dry mix to oil/egg mix, again stir very slight­ly, stop the moment they are blend­ed.
  5. Add 8 tbls soup stock (10) and mix just until uni­form.
  6. Cov­er in fridge for at least 20 min­utes (60–90 min­utes is best).
  7. Bring salt­ed water to a boil.
  8. 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).
  9. Drop balls into boil­ing water.
  10. Cov­er and reduce heat when back at rolling boil.
  11. Cook (cov­ered) for 35 min­utes.
  12. 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
  • shal­lots
  • polen­ta
  • peeled san marzano toma­toes
  • smoked papri­ka
  • white wine
  • chori­zo
  • pars­ley, lots
  • but­ter
  • 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.

chicken marbella

Orig­i­nal post.

  • 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
  1. Put the chick­en in a bowl with the wine, brandy, and stock to mar­i­nate.
  2. Prep the veg­eta­bles.
  3. Cook the bacon in the Le Creuset; remove it, leav­ing the fat in the pan.
  4. 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.
  5. Add sliced onion, car­rots, and shal­lots, and cook until gold­en brown, 7 min­utes or so.
  6. Add gar­lic and cook briefly. Then put in the paste and cook / caramelize briefly.
  7. 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.
  8. Mean­while, saute the mush­rooms in a bit of olive oil (or some reserved fat).
  9. Add the shal­lots back to the stew and cook for 10 min­utes more.
  10. Mean­while, put 2 table­spoons but­ter and 2 table­spoons flour in a small pot and make a roux.
  11. After the 10 min­utes, remove the chick­en, and add the roux, stir­ring to thick­en the sauce.
  12. Add the chick­en back in, and the bacon. Com­bine, and done.

fish stew

Orig­i­nal post.

  • 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)
  • Saf­fron
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pern­od.

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:
  • Monk­fish
  • Salmon, in chunks cut from a steak is eas­i­est
  • Spot prawns
  • Clams
  • Mus­sels

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.

fennel gratin

Orig­i­nal post.

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.

seafood risotto

Orig­i­nal post.

  • prawns
  • bay scal­lops
  • lemons
  • pars­ley
  • but­ter and olive oil
  • shal­lots
  • gar­lic
  • anchovies
  • 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.

red sauce

Orig­i­nal post.

  • 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.

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