Sunday, January 10, 2010

Italian Tuna Dinner

Salad: Goat Cheese Truffles, with blanched arugula and peperonata. The Babbo Cookbook: pg. 35

Main: Cumin-seared tuna with "Tapesto" sauce

Side: couscous with lemon & olives.

Dessert: Panna Cotta with Balsamic Vinagar

Couscous with Olives & Lemons

Good couscous side.

  • use kalamata olives instead. They are easier to find, cheaper, and not so bitter.
  • Grape tomatoes are also nice.
  • Would also be good with basil

Good with most Mediterranean mains.

Tapesto (?)

Makes ¾ cup sauce, somewhere between a tapenade and a pesto, hence the name. Good on fish.

  • 12 kalamata olives
  • ¼ c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ bunch of parsley
  • 1.5 tsp capers
  • 1 tsp good balsamic vinegar
  • .75 ounce package of fresh basil
  • Zest of ¼ lemon

Add all ingredients except basil and lemon zest to a food processor. Process till coarsely chopped. Add basil and lemon zest, and continue processing until the consistency of a tapenade; you should still be able to identify the different ingredients, but they should be very finely chopped.

Serve with seared fish, such as tuna (with cumin).

Spanish-ish Lobster Dinner

Appetiers: Foie gras and fig canapés

Soup: Spicy tomato soup (from The Butcher Shop)

Main: Poached lobsters with aioli, and Espinacas

Poached Lobster

Serves 2

  • Two 1.5 pound live lobsters
  • Aioli or hollandaise sauce (recommend adding tarragon to hollandaise)

Bring water to a boil. Place lobsters in boiling water for 6 minutes. Remove from water and serve immediately. If you want to eat the tomalley (the green liver), cook for an additional 2 minutes).

Note: If you want to decrease the amount of struggling on the part of the lobsters when you put them in the pot, you can put them in the freezer for around ½ an hour first. They will be very lethargic when you pull them from the freezer and still alive. Of course, this is not exactly nice either, but it does make it slightly less traumatic for the chef.

Foie Gras Canapes

Serves 4 generous appetizer portions

  • 8 thinly sliced (1/3") pieces of brioche loaf bread, toasted.
    • For Boston residents, Flour bakery sells whole brioche loaves which freeze very nicely.
  • Foie Gras Mousse (source: 1080 Recipes, Simone & Ines Ortega)
    • 3.5 ounces foie gras pate (canned is fine)
    • 1 T evaporated milk or heavy cream, lightly beaten
    • 1 T brandy
    • ½ teaspoon paprika
    • Or (for Boston residents) Use pre-prepared foie gras terrine from The Butcher Shop.
  • Fig jam, heated to a warm syrup

Cut toasted bread into quarters.

  • If using pre-made terrine: Cut terrine into 1.5" 1.5" x ¼" pieces. Place each piece on the brioche bread
  • If making mousse, mix all mousse ingredients. Spread, or pipe onto brioche bread using a pastry bag.

Spoon ~ ½ tsp fig jam syrup on top of each canapé. If using terrine, allow to soften before serving.

Pairings: Sidecar, Tokaji, Sauternes, champagne.

Shrimp and Cheesy Grits

Serves 2-3

Cheesy Grits

  • ½ cup quick grits
  • 2 ¼ cup water
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese cut into ½" cubes (you can use reduced fat cheese for this recipe, and it still tastes great)
  • Garlic salt (to taste)
  • Cayenne pepper (to taste)

Instructions: Bring water to a boil. Stir in grits, cover and cook over med/low heat until thick and bubbly (12-14 minutes). Add cheese and mix until completely melted. Add garlic salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Cover and set aside if done prior to shrimp.

Shrimp (prepare all ingredients while grits are cooking)

  • 1 pound medium shrimp (31-40/pound), peeled and deveined
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 T. butter
  • 3 Roma or on-the-vine tomatoes diced, (2 tomatoes if larger size)
  • 1 red pepper, cut into a large dice

Instructions: Melt 1 T of the butter in a non-stick sauce pan. Once foam subsides, add garlic and sauté over medium-high heat until beginning to turn golden. Return heat to high. Add shrimp and sauté with butter just until pink on both sides. Add all tomatoes and continue to sauté over high heat until tomatoes form a thick sauce. Add an additional T butter if needed to achieve this thickness. (4-7 minutes)

Service: Place grits in a pasta bowl. Add shrimp and tomato sauce over the top. Divide cut red peppers over each dish.

Optional: Add ¼ cup 1/6" diced dried chorizo. Add during last minute of sautéing tomatoes & shrimp.