Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Florentine Pancakes: with Soles, Tomatoes and Green Beans

You're warned, I invented this recipe as I had to find a way to use a left-over cooked (pan-fried meunière-style) sole. And it turned out to be really good (nay, a scumptious recipe!) and as I don't want to forget it, I'm writing it down here. Obviously, you can do it starting with a fresh sole and cooking it either whole in a pan meunière-style (as I did, that means it's floured and cooked in a pan with sizzling butter) or filleted in a hot oven with a little white wine.

Here is what my recipe looks like (I asked my husband to take a picture with his smart phone):

Hmmm, not the best of pictures but believe me, it's really good and looks very nice on the place!

Ingredients: for 4 persons

  • 2 soles filletted - you should have 8 nice fillets of sole, cooked.
  • 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, each cut in 2 or 4 (depending on size, the pieces need to be small)
  • 1/2 cup of cooked green beans, cut in small bits, about the size of your tomato bits
  • 2 tablespoons of cream cheese (I use Mascarpone because I live in Italy and it's a wonderful, creamy cheese - but any good cream cheese will do. Barring that, use heavy cream!)
  • 1/2 small glass of white wine (this you have to see how much you need, the sauce, at the end, needs to be fairly liquid - in anyc case, not cream-heavy!)
  • 2 spring onions (or any kind of onion) chopped very small
  • herbs to taste - I used basilic but you can use oregano
  • pancake batter to make 2 American-style pancakes per person NOTE: the batter should not be done with sugar but with a pinch of salt instead!
  • grated parmigiano cheese
  • olive oil and butter
  • salt and pepper as needed

1. Cook the cherry tomatoes in an open pan, with a little olive oil, herbs and the chopped onion.

2. When they have released their juice, turn off the fire, add the green beans and sole fillets broken in small pieces.

3. Add the cream cheese and wine until your sauce is abundant and with the right consistency (fairly liquid)

4. Pre-heat the oven at 200° (hot!)

5. Arrange in a pyrex dish (butter it) ready for the oven: pancakes, 2 per person, interspersed with the tomato-green-bean-sole mixture.

6. Finish with the mixture on top of each pancake and sprinkle with plenty grated Parmiagiano.

7. In the oven, about 10 minutes, until the top turns golden. Serve piping hot!

Buon appetito!

PS: Obviously the recipe would work for any kind of fish or mix of fish and seafood...

Friday, December 5, 2014

Hollandaise Sauce with a (mustard) Kick

Smoked salmon eggs Benedict
Yesterday, I served salmon steaks for lunch and I was looking to do a quick sauce to give them a kick. But not your usual hollandaise. I thought I'd experiment, and this is what I did:

1. Use an egg yolk or two, in a small saucepan;

2. Beat in with a whisk 2 or 3 tablespoonfuls of white wine;

3. Cook over a very, very slow fire (it shouldn't burn!), whisking continually and you'll see it turn into foam;

4. Once it's really foamy, take it off the fire and add small pats of butter, about 2 tablespoonfuls.

5. Add one tablespoon of French Dijon mustard (the refined kind - no seeds in it!)

6. Adjust to taste with salt, pepper and a dash of lemon.

Et voilà. Scrumptious with fish or any white meat or over Eggs Benedict, for a nice change of pace, if you served them over smoked salmon instead of ham!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cottage Pie Italian Style

Cottage pie
Sheperd's Pie or Cottage Pie is done with beef, this one is done with pork! You can use leftover pork provided you chop it up really fine.

Then, the secret ingredients to give it its special Italian flavor are:
  • rosemary, the leaves from one twig
  • 1 cup chopped onion or leek (one)
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms (I use porcini but any tasty mushroom is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons peas (even the frozen ones will do)
  • 2 cups minced pork (roasted - or if using fresh meat, it needs to chopped and stir-fried in the pan where you've started cooking the vegetables - if it's a leftover already cooked, add it only at the very end, just to warm up)
  • mashed potatoes, done the usual way with milk and butter added only after it's nice and smooth (with one whole egg beaten in at the end - optional)
  • left-over pork roast sauce, or lacking it, add Knorr concentrated broth (one spoonful)
  • one small glass of white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste (careful with the salt!)
The above is good for 4 persons.

  • stir-fry the vegetables in olive oil (one small spoonful), together with the rosemary, in a big pan;
  • add one small glass of white wine
  • add the meat to the pan, early in the process if your meat is fresh and you need to cook it; late if you use leftover meat;
  • flavor with leftover meat sauce from the roast or Knorr meat broth
Now you need to warm it up in the over:
  • In a baking dish, start with a layer of the stir-fried meat and vegetables
  • cover well with mashed potatoes
  • sprinkle with Parmesan cheese - be generous with it!
  • Put in oven, turn on the grill and watch it turn golden.
Serve piping hot, accompanied by a nice, full-bodied Chianti.

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