Tuesday, April 24, 2007

go fish

I love pasta. I love tomatoes. I love Mediterranean food in general, and as the New York Times pointed out in the article attached to this recipe, anchovies are loved in almost every country -- except for ours. What's not to love about these savory little filets? I'll tell you -- because the NYT told me, and I've confirmed it.

They claim that the population does not enjoy anchovies because they are buying the wrong kind (the kind that is packed in tins in oil), and that to really enjoy anchovies, you need to buy the right kind. What's the right kind? That's easy: the kind that comes in a glass jar, packed in Spanish or Italian olive oil.

This recipe will entice even the most staunch anchovy-hater you can find...enjoy:

  • 10-15 whole cloves peeled garlic
  • 1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 10 anchovy filets (more or less, to your liking)
  • 10-12 oz. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 lb. tubular pasta (penne rigate, rigatoni, etc.)
  • **Good to have on hand: tomato paste.

1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add pasta and boil until al dente (~10 minutes).

2) Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a skillet for 1 minute.

3) Add the garlic cloves, and brown lightly.

4) Add the anchovy filets, and stir until filets have dissolved.

5) Add the red pepper flakes and incorporate into the oil.

6) Reduce heat to low, then add the halved cherry tomatoes, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until pasta is done.

7) If you wish, add 1 T. tomato paste + 1/3 C. pasta water, to make the sauce go further.

When the pasta is al dente, mix with the sauce. The anchovy filets will have dissolved to create a deeply savory flavor for the tomatoes. The garlic cloves will have softened completely, and are fragrant and sweet. I promise, this is going to be a new favorite! Go fish!

Monday, April 23, 2007

the french do it

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-J.R.R. Tolkein

There is nothing complicated about this meat and potatoes French feast. It is good and satisfying food, and it is boldly flavorful. I can think of nothing nicer than impressing your guests with this devilishly simple and good meal. Enjoy...

Steak au Poivre
Serves: 6

You'll need:
  • 6 - 6 oz. filets mignon

For the sauce:
  • 2 C. beef stock
  • 1 cube chicken boullion
  • 1/2 C. heavy cream
  • 4 T. butter, cut into 1 T. pats
  • 3-4 T. cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 C. red wine, or 1/4 C. sherry

For the sauce:
1) Melt 1 T (1 pat) of butter over medium-high heat, until it foams.

2) Add the peppercorns, and stir.

3) Add 2 C. beef stock + 1 cube chicken boullion.

4) Boil until the liquids reduce some (about 8 or 9 minute).

5) At the same time, add 1/4 C. cream and 1/2 C. wine (this allows the cream to cook down some).

6) Allow the sauce to boil and reduce further.

8) Place the filets on a broil pan, with your broiler on high broil, for 3-4 minutes per side if you like medium-rare steaks.

9) Taste sauce, add additional wine or cream to your liking.

9) When the steaks are done to your liking, serve them with 1-2 T. au poivre sauce. It's potent stuff, so a little goes a long way, but is a simple and fantastic complement to a nice cut of red meat.

French Potato Salad
Serves: 6

You'll need:
  • 2 lbs. red potatoes (I like the waxy, small ones)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 2 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1/4 C. Olive Oil
  • 2 T. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 T. White wine or champagne vinegar
  • 2 T. Parsley
  • 2 T. salt
  • 1 T. black pepper

1) Boil the potatoes until edible but not mushy, let cool, and chop into 1 inch pieces.

2) Skewer the peeled garlic cloves and poach them whole in the boiling potato water. (4-5 mins).

3) Chop the onion and the parsley finely.

4) Remove the garlic, and when it cools, press it through a garlic press...then add:

5) Mix the onion, parsley, vinegars, oil, mustard, salt, and pepper.

6) Lightly toss the potatoes with the onions, parsley, oil mixture.

7) Refrigerate for up to overnight, allow it to come to room temperature before serving.