Posts tagged ‘Food’

P.E.I. Mussels w/ Chorizo & Crispy Oven Baked Fries w/ Sweet & Spicy Dipping Sauce

This recipe was supposed to be my very first post…but there were no good mussels to be found anywhere so I had to make some pasta. But now I got me some…and they are amazing. The mussels from Prince Edward Island in Canada are exceptional…big, meaty, plump and tender and somehow have the least amount of grit in them, which makes for a more pleasant eating experience. Best of all, P.E.I mussels, a top quality ingredient is $3-4 a pound. I buy 1 pound per person so a meal for two costs me $6 in mussels! That’s as inexpensive as it gets so take advantage of it. Make sure you try and get a piece of chorizo with every bite…its ridiculously delicious!

Oven Fries Ingredients:

I think I prefer these fries to deep fried fries. If done well, they are every bit as delicious and possibly even better.

2 Russet Potatoes (good rule of thumb, buy 1 potato per person)

Olive Oil

Paprika

Salt & Pepper

Sweet & Spicy Sauce:

Heaping Spoonful of Mayo

Heaping Spoonful of Ketchup

1 Teaspoon of Siracha Sauce (Asian chili sauce)

1 1/2 Teaspoons of Honey

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The fries will take 40 minutes to cook so start them first. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Scrub your potatoes under water to get some of the dirt off them and dry them off. Slice the potato in half and then cut into wedges. Put the wedges in a bowl and run under cold water until the water runs clear. This helps to wash away a lot of the starch in the potatoes and it helps them crisp up when they cook. The longer you keep them in water, the better but you can use them right away.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread the fries out. Add oil, salt, pepper and paprika and toss to cover. Space them out on the baking sheet so most of the surface of the potatoes are making contact with the foil so they get nice and crispy. Throw them in the oven and bake for 40 minutes turning them half way through cooking. After about 40 minutes or when they look browned and crisp, take them out of the oven and plate with the dipping sauce.

Sorry for not having any pictures for the sweet and spicy dipping sauce, didn’t know if it would come out good so I didn’t shoot it. It turned out to be so good so I kept it. To make it, add a heaping spoonful of mayo and a heaping spoonful of ketchup, about a teaspoon of Siracha sauce and about a teaspoon of honey in a bowl and mix to combine. Taste it and adjust…if its too spicy add more honey, if its too sweet add some spice…you want a nice balanced sweet and spicy sauce.

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Mussels Ingredients:


2 Lbs of Fresh Prince Edward Island Mussels, Rinsed and De-bearded (or about 1 lb/person)

1  – 1 1/2 Cups of Good Quality Chorizo, Sliced into Half Moons

1 Spanish Onion

5 Garlic Cloves, Halved and Thinly Sliced

1 Cup of Good White Wine (One you’d like to drink)

2 Tablespoons of Cream

Handful of Flat-Leaf Parsley

A Knob of Butter

Salt & Pepper

Olive Oil

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First you’ve got to clean and de-beard your mussels. The beard is basically the mussels umbilical cord that attaches to things when they are growing. Its not yummy to eat so find it along the side of the mussel and just kinda yank it off. Also look for mussels that aren’t tightly shut…if they don’t close when you grab them then they are dead and need to be tossed. Then just go through the rest and scrub them under cold water with your thumbs. Toss them in a bowl of cold water and refrigerate it until your ready to use them.

Halve and slice the chorizo and garlic.

Chop the top off the onion, slice it in half, make vertical cuts across the onion then dice.

So your fries should be in the oven now and your mussels are prepped and ready to go. Your gonna want to start the mussels about 20 minutes before the fries are done so everything comes together at the same time.

Get out a heavy bottomed pot or a dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat. When its hot, add some olive oil and toss in the chorizo to brown. Once browned, use a slotted spoon to transfer to some paper towel then add the onions and garlic to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. After the onions and garlic are soft, add the wine and cream and cook for about a minute.

Add the mussels, give it a quick stir and then put the lid on and let the mussels steam for 8-10 minutes or until they are fully opened. Once cooked, add 3/4 of the chorizo and  3/4 of the parsley (reserving some to sprinkle on top when plated) and butter.

Plate the mussels in a bowl along with some of the yummy broth and sprinkle on the remaining chorizo and parsley.

All that’s is left to do is eat and enjoy…let me know what you think!

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Toasted Gnocchi & Mozzarella/Rainbow Chard/Cannellini Bean/Tomato Sauce

Maybe one of my favorite pasta dishes. Its got everything, nutrition from the rainbow chard, protein from the beans, cheesiness from the mozzarella, deliciousness from a good homemade tomato sauce. Best of all, you don’t have to get out a big pot of boiling water to cook the gnocchi. Toasting them gives them a good flavor and makes your life easier. If this shot below doesn’t make you want this, you may have problems!

Ingredients:

1 Package of Shelf Stable Gnocchi

2 Cups of Tomato Sauce (Please don’t use jarred tomato sauce, its too easy to make, see previous post)

1 Can of Cannellini Beans (White Kidney Beans)

1 Bunch of Rainbow or Swiss Chard, Washed and Chopped

1 Cup of Good White Wine, Approx.

1 Onion, Thinly Sliced

5-6 Cloves of Garlic, Halved and Thinly Sliced

1 Ball of Fresh Mozzarella

Olive Oil (and Truffle Oil if you’ve got it, I do)

Salt & Pepper

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As always, get your stuff together. Halve and thinly slice the garlic and the onions.

Trim off the rough ends and rinse the chard and pull the leafy green parts from the stem, reserving the stems for sauteing. Although I have no picture to illustrate it, you should roughly chop the chard, my bad. Then stack up all the steams and  finely chop then add it to a bowl with the onions and garlic.

Drain and rinse your beans.

You’re all set…get cooking…heat a big skillet on medium-high heat. You want to make sure you pan is hot enough or when you add the gnocchi to toast, it will stick and not be good…so be sure its hot enough and then add the gnocchi. Once it starts to get some color and looks toasted, transfer to a plate.

Lower the heat to medium and add another lug of oil. Add the onions, garlic and chard and season with salt and pepper. Once those get soft, deglaze the pan with the white wine (by deglaze, I mean using a liquid to grab all the little bits stuck to the bottle of the pan, that is pure flavor).

Cook the wine for about 2 minutes then add the chard, season with more salt and pepper and put a lid on it. Cook it for about 5 minutes until its wilted down and mixed into the onions, garlic and chard.

Turn on the broiler in your oven and add the tomato sauce, the beans and the gnocchi, mix together and taste it to check for seasoning.

Slice up some mozzarella then place it on top of the gnocchi mixture, you can also add Parmesan cheese if you have it, but I forgot it here. Once your broiler is blazing, throw it in the oven and let that mozzarella toast until it has nice color.

To plate this, spoon some out into a bowl and drizzle a little bit of truffle oil, not too much. If you have none, you can use olive oil.

It’s just too easy to put together for you to not try this dish. DO IT, you are only depriving yourself if you don’t. Let me know how it went, what you think and what you might do different (scusato@gmail.com).

Pan Roasted Halibut w/ Creamy Lemon and Spinach Farro w/ Toasted Pine Nuts

I’d dare to say that most of you don’t know what Farro is. Understandable. If you do, then you should agree with me that it’s an amazing thing. It’s a delicious grain that is hard to find in a lot of major supermarkets. I get it at specialty stores like Agata & Valentina’s on 79th and 1st and you might be able to get it at Whole Foods. It may be difficult for you to track down but you should definitely try. If you don’t find it anywhere near you, just buy it on Amazon, you could get a 3 pack of Roland Semi Pearled Farro from Italy for $21, do it, it’ll last. I first learned about it about 6 months ago and it immediately became one of my favorite things to eat. Every recipe online said to soak it for couple hours then boil it for another couple hours.  I’m not about to do that, no way, no how. To me, it looked like Arborio rice (risotto rice) so I thought to cook it like risotto. First time I used it I made Red Wine “Farrotto”, ridiculous. But I drink white wine more than red so yesterday I made the following recipe with spinach. I usually use Kale or Swiss Chard but they’re a pain in the ass sometimes to clean. Spinach is easy. I personally think its best with Kale, booming with health and deliciousness. Put a piece of fish on top and you’re a pro. I guarantee, once you try this recipe, Farro will be a staple in your kitchen! Looks hard to make? Its actually stupid how easy it is!

Serves 2 w/ leftovers

1 8-10 oz Wild Halibut fillet, cut into two pieces (Arctic Char is the best fish to use in my opinion but it looked pale, disgusting and not fresh at all at the market so I pulled an audible and grabbed Wild Halibut, go with whatever looks fresh, don’t settle for crap)

1 cup of Semi pearled Farro

1 large bunch of Organic Spinach (Make sure it’s cleaned, if not, clean it…feel free to use Kale, Swiss Chard, or any other leafy green…try something new for a change)

1-2 cups of White Wine that you like to drink

1 Onion chopped

4-6 cloves of Garlic, halved and thinly sliced (The more the better!)

½ cup Toasted Pine Nuts

1 Lemon

4 cups of Vegetable Stock, on standby

A heaping pinch of Red Pepper Flake (Optional, I like it but I forgot to use it here just add it w/ the onions)

A drizzle of Agave Nectar or Honey (Optional, adds a little sweetness)

Salt and Pepper

A knob of Butter (I happened to have truffle butter, so I used that amazing shit)

First and foremost, get your stuff in place (see Mise en Place in the previous post) Slice cloves of garlic in half, peel off the paper, then thinly slice it (always be practicing your knife skills)

When you chop an onion, keep the stem connected and slice the top off. Slice in half, making several slices cross-wise up the onion, then slice it vertically, then run your knife through the onion to chop…it’s hard to explain…just look at the pictures.

So you got your onions and garlic prepped, just measure out your pine nuts and you got all your stuff in place and your ready to bang this dish out!

Put you big skillet on medium-high heat and when its hot, add a 3 count of olive oil, the chopped onions and sliced garlic and cook them until soft.

Add the Farro and try to get every grain nice and covered in oil.

Once the Farro gets nice a toasted (Do not burn it!), squeeze half of a big juicy lemon in, no seeds, and then add a cup or two of the white wine. When the wine starts to evaporate, add about 3 cups of the vegetable stock, no need to measure it, just use your judgment. If later you find you need more, you can always add it…its no problem. Keep and eye on it and cook, stirring every now and then, until it doesn’t taste raw in the middle. It supposed to be a little chewy, that’s one of the characteristics of Farro, its kind of why I love it!

While that cooks, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan (I encourage you try and show off and practice tossing, its part of what makes cooking fun). I like the use the same pan I intend on cooking my fish in. Just wipe the pan out with a paper towel when its done. Reserve 1/3 of pine nuts to sprinkle onto to finish the dish.

Keep checking the Farro and after about 20-30 minutes, it should be pretty cooked, if you can taste its still not cooked, let it go longer and if it needs more moisture, add more stock. When you think the Farro only needs a few more minutes, start prepping your fish. Since Halibut is a diesel sized fish, I usually ask for one nice sized filet and I cut it down the middle into two easy to cook pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the same pan you toasted the nuts on medium-high heat,  add a lug of olive oil and drop the fish in the pan and season the other side with salt and pepper. Don’t fuss with them, let’em sear until they get some nice color, about 2-3 minutes a side in a nice preheated pan. Check the doneness by sorta peeking into the center of the fish and if it looks just undercooked, get it out of the pan because its perfect. Let it rest and it will continue to cook through and be moist and delicious.

If you planned it right, once you leave your fish out to rest, most of the stock should be absorbed and the Farro should be just about done. Add some of the Agave or honey, the spinach, 2/3 of the pine nuts, a knob of butter (I’m using truffle butter, oh yes!), a big ole handful of Parmesan cheese and season to taste. To plate, make a nice mound of Farro and top with the Halibut, one more squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of the remaining pine nuts.

Cook this recipe tomorrow and tell me how it went, what you think and what you might do different!