Thursday, January 27, 2011

Trippa alla Parmagiana in Photos

I'm not sure what's gotten into me of late, but I've cooked more offal in the last two weeks than I've ever eaten in my life.  Maybe it's a quarter life crisis I'm going through.  Or maybe it's the weekly six-plus inch snowfalls that NYC has been experiencing of late.  Or maybe it's the impending financial armageddon that all those loud mouths on CNN and Fox News keep speaking of that's persuaded me to master cooking the less desired cuts of meat.  Whatever's causing my recent fascination with offal, I'm enjoying the challenge.

My latest offal experiment was Trippa alla Parmigiana, a tomato-based stew full of the rubbery stomach lining of a cow that we all know as tripe.  It's a classic Italian dish, and I used Andrew Carmellini's recipe from Urban Italian.  Below is a photo log of the technique for making this simple stew that is so full of flavor that  those who are horrified by the thought of tripe might not even hate it all that much.

I have to admit, tripe is not one of the better-looking cuts, even as offal goes:

The rest of my mise en place:

First, I boiled the tripe in salted water for about 15 minutes:

Then I cut up the tripe into medium-size strips:

Next, I moved onto making the stew.  First up was the onions, which I sauteed in olive oil:

Then I coated the tripe pieces and the onions with a mixture of melted butter and red pepper flakes:

I added a white wine, a can of San Marzano tomatoes, and a mixture of veal and chicken stock and brought everything to a boil.

I then covered the stew and popped it into a 300F oven for 3 hours.  Once out, uncovered it, added a bunch of sliced carrots and celery, and allowed it to simmer on the stove for another hour until it was nice and thick:

I seasoned the stew and voila:

Oh wait, it needs one more thing to make it perfect:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Red Curry Snapper Soup

I love a traditional Southeast Asian curry made with coconut milk and served over plenty of Jasmine rice.  But if you want to lighten it up and make something that is just as flavorful, you can make curry soup by using pretty much the same ingredients, but subbing out the coconut milk with water, just like I have done here using my recipe for red curry paste.  While I find the curry flavors complement seafood, curries made with coconut milk tend to overpower the fish, so I used the opportunity to make a curry soup with a whole red snapper that I marinated in lime juice.  Although the dish has a soupy consistency, it is best served over a bed of steamed Jasmine rice to sop up all the liquid.

Red Curry Snapper Soup
Serves 4

For the curry paste:
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed (use another teaspoon if not using coriander root)
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • 5 dried Thai chilies, seeded and soaked in warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp galangal, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp lemongrass, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp Kaffir lime rind, thinly sliced (discard the green peel and use the white pith)
  • 2 tsp coriander root, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste  
  1. Toast the cumin, coriander seeds, and peppercorns in a dry skillet over medium heat until they are fragrant and begin to pop.  Place them in a mortar and pound them with a pestle until they are finely ground.  Remove the spices from the mortar and set them aside.
  2. Add the dried chilies and salt to the mortar.  Pound the chilies to a paste.
  3. Add the shallots, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, lime rind, and coriander root to the mortar.  Pound the ingredients with the pestle until they form a paste.  
  4. Return the ground spice to the mortar along with the shrimp paste and use the pestle to mix the paste together. 
  5. Set three tablespoons of the curry paste aside for the curry.  The remaining paste can be frozen for up to 6 months. 
For the soup:
  • 1 whole red snapper, cleaned and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 batch curry paste, see above
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • salt, to taste
  • palm sugar, to taste
  • leaves from 1 bunch of Thai basil
  1. Place the snapper in a nonreactive bowl.  Toss it well with the lime juice and allow it to marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the curry paste and cook, stirring frequently so that it does not burn.  Cook until the curry paste is deeply fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the snapper, its marinade, the lime leaves, and the water to the pot.  Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, flipping the snapper pieces occasionally, until the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the Thai basil and taste the soup for salt and palm sugar.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bay Scallops with Orange Sauce

 I'm not usually a fan of citrus-based sauces, which are all too often much too sweet for my taste. I was apprehensive about making this dish—sweet scallops combined with an orange sauce sounds like a cloyingly sweet combo—but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  Thanks to the smart inclusion of a bit of lemon juice in addition to the orange juice, the sauce has tart undertones, and the addition of herbes de Provence and dried oregano give it just the right savory notes to ensure that it stays well shy of being a melted creamsicle.  I wish I could pat myself on the back for creating the perfect citrus-based sauce, but all credit goes to Andrew Carmellini and his cookbook in which the dish appears, Urban Italian.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ribeye with Thyme, Shallot, and Garlic Pan Sauce

Like a beautiful woman, a great piece of beef needs little done to it to make it drool-inducing.  Here, I used my usual sear on the stove, roast in the oven method for steak on a well-marbled ribeye, serving it with a buttery thyme, shallot, and garlic pan sauce.  Oh yeah, and fingerling potatoes roasted in duck fat.  It was date night with a beautiful steak, and boy was she delicious.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Prosciutto-Mozzarella Frittata

Prosciutto, mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes go well together in almost anything, whether it be a pizza, a salad, or a panini.  Frittatas happen to be my favorite vehicle for playing the game of "let me throw a bunch of ingredients together and see what happens," so when I spotted this recipe from Food and Wine for a frittata containing the Italian quartet of ingredients, I couldn't resist.  As expected, they worked flawlessly together even when mixed together with lots of eggs, producing a very filling and satisfying brunch dish.

As a note, I make all of my frittatas using Calphalon's frittata pan, a two skillet set that allows you to flip the frittata without creating a mess.  Given my tendency to be a klutz in the kitchen, the frittata pan has saved me many hours of wiping eggs from my stove and walls.  I highly recommend it.

Prosciutto-Mozzarella Frittata
Adapted from Food and Wine
Serves 6

  • 10 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped basil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper 
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 plum tomato, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 4 slices prosciutto, cut into strips
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
  1. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, Pecorino Romano cheese, basil, salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in the deep half of a frittata pan over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook until they soften, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the prosciutto and tomato and cook for a minute.  Use a spatula to spread the tomatoes and prosciutto across the bottom of the pan so that they are well distributed.
  3. Add the egg mixture to the pan.  Use a spatula to push the cooked pieces of egg to the middle of the pan and allow the uncooked eggs to flow to the outer edges.  Cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Poke the mozzarella cheese into the eggs so that the cubes are evenly distributed.  Continue to cook the frittata until it is nearly set, another 5 to 7 minutes.  During the last 2 minutes of cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the shallow half of the frittata pan set over medium heat.
  5. Place the shallow pan on top of the deep pan and flip the frittata.  Keeping the shallow pan covered with the deeper pan, cook the frittata for 4 minutes. 
  6. Uncover the shallow pan and continue to cook the frittata until it is completely set, approximately 5 minutes.
  7. Use a spatula to slide the frittata onto a plate and cut it into wedges for serving. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lamb Tongue Confit with Lentils and Gremolata

After posting about my lamb tongue confit last week, the reaction I received ranged from intrigue to disgust.  This post is more for those who were curious as to how I would serve the lamb tongues, although I hope that it just may win over a few of you horrified readers as well.  An under-appreciated (at least when it comes to the culinary world) organ like tongue deserves a similarly under-appreciated accompaniment, so I served it over a humble bowl of lentils.  In order to brighten up both the flavor and the color of this heavy, brown dish, I topped each bowl with a spoonful of gremolata.  The one rule to follow with lamb tongue no matter how you serve it is to disguise it by slicing it thinly.  The meat is delicious—distinctively lamby and not too far off from lamb shank—and has surprisingly appetizing texture, but no one really want to be confronted with a shimmering tongue on a plate.  So whether you tell them about the mystery meat or not, do your guests a favor and slice it thin.  That way, few will complain when you slip them a little tongue. 

Lamb Tongue Confit with Lentils and Gremolata
Serves 4

For the lentils:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup French lentils
For the gremolata:
  • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  1. To make the lentils, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown, approximately 10 minutes.  Season the vegetables with salt and pepper as they cook. 
  2. Add the tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaf to the pan.  Stir to coat all of the vegetables with the tomato paste and let the mixture cook for about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the water into the pan and bring to a boil.
  4. Stir in the lentils and let the mixture return to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. 
  5. Partially cover the pan and cook until the lentils are tender, 30 to 45 minutes.  Taste the lentils for salt and pepper and keep warm over low heat.
  6. As the lentils cook, make the gremolata by combining the parsley, garlic, and lemon zest in a small bowl.
  7. Heat the lamb tongues (a minute or two in the microwave works fine) and slice them thinly.
  8. Serve the lentils in individual bowls, topped with slices of lamb tongue and a spoonful of the gremolata.  

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    Shrimp Wrapped in Pancetta and Sage

     For my weekday meals, I tend to fall into a monotonous rotation of sauteed chicken breasts and pork chops served with not very imaginative pan sauces.  It's not that I especially love these meals (although I have been known to throw together a darn good pan sauce), it's just that after a long day of work, the last thing I want to do is to struggle with a new recipe, so I stick to the familiar.  I'm always excited when I do go out on a limb and discover a new recipe like this one for shrimp wrapped in pancetta and sage that is simple enough for weeknights.  Thanks to my Manhattan stomping grounds, I do have the luxury of having a market between my office and my apartment that sells both very fresh shrimp and high-quality pancetta, so assuming you can find those two components of the ingredient list, this recipe is as easy as it gets.  It is also quite tasty with the shrimp and crispy pancetta creating somewhat of a high-end hot pocket, perfect for eating on the couch after a harrowing day. 

    Shrimp Wrapped in Pancetta and Sage
    Serves 2 to 3

    • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
    • pepper
    • 1 bunch sage
    • 1/4 lb pancetta, thinly sliced
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    1. Lay the shrimp out on a cutting board.
    2. Season the shrimp with pepper.  There is no need to salt the shrimp as the pancetta is very salty.
    3. Place a sage leaf on top of each shrimp.
    4. Wrap a slice of pancetta around each shrimp.
    5. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet until just before smoking.
    6. Gently place the shrimp in the skillet.  Cook without disturbing for 2 minutes then flip each shrimp using a spatula.  Cook the other side until the shrimp are pink and no longer translucent, another 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove the shrimp from the pan and serve immediately. 

    Thursday, January 6, 2011


    As the second weekend of the new year approached, I’m assuming that everyone’s resolutions to eat better are about to be postponed until January 1, 2012.  Who wants chicken breasts and brown rice when you can have a succulent pork shoulder wrapped stuffed with fennel and onions and wrapped with pancetta?  It’s time to fall of the wagon and have some porchetta.

    Although the traditional porchetta involves roasting a whole pig, I decided that that may be just slightly too ambitious to do in a studio apartment, so my porchetta only uses meat from shoulder, one of the most flavorful and economical cuts of the pig.  Porchetta comes in many shapes and forms, and I like to keep mine simple so that the meat shines rather than the filling.  The only thing to really focus on is the pork.  Be sure to pick out a well-marbled pork shoulder with a thick fat cap on top which will keep the meat moist throughout the cooking process.  A fatty piece of pork will make falling off the wagon for porchetta all the more worth it. 

    Serves 6 to 8

    • 1 3 to 4 lb. boneless pork shoulder, butterflied
    • salt and pepper
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
    • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
    • 1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
    • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, toasted
    • 1 tbsp black peppercorns, toasted and ground
    • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 lb. pancetta
    1. Preheat the oven to 350F
    2. Season the pork on all sides with salt and pepper.
    3. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
    4. Add the fennel, onion, garlic, fennel, rosemary to the skillet and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the onion and fennel from the pan and allow to cool to room temperature in a medium bowl.
    5. Once the fennel and onion mixture is at room temperature, mix in the fennel seeds, peppercorns, breadcrumbs, and egg, stirring well to combine.
    6. Tie the pork shoulder with butchers twine, tying knots spaced one-inch apart across the length of the pork shoulder.
    7. Put the pork shoulder in a small roasting pan or large skillet so that the fat cap is facing up. Drape the pancetta on top of the pork loin so that it is entirely covered. You will likely have some pancetta leftover. 
    8. Roast the pork shoulder until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the meat reaches 160F, 1.5 to 2 hours.
    9. Remove the porchetta from the pan and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
    10. Slice the porchetta in 1-inch thick pieces and serve with the crispy bits of pancetta.  

      Tuesday, January 4, 2011

      Lamb Tongue Confit


      My curiosity tends to get the best of me when I see strange cuts of meat at the butcher.  I may be in line to buy pork chops, but if I see duck hearts behind the glass, all thoughts of pork go out the window. God help me the day I spot a bull penis.

      The other day, I went to one of my favorite butcher's, Dickson's Farmstand Meats, to pick up some pretty standard fare: lamb chops, bacon, and pork shoulder.  As I was picking out my lamb chops, I noticed a small pile of what looked exactly I imagined a lamb tongue would look like.  Sure enough, the butcher confirmed that the ugly things that looked just like tongues, were indeed tongues.  I never imagined that one could even eat a lamb's tongue, so after seeing them, I had to buy them.  I purchased all seven of the tongues, which I assume must be exactly how many lambs the shop had butchered in the past few days because who else in their right mind would purchase the things?

      Being from Dickson's, the lamb tongues I purchased were from local, sustainably raised lambs, which I'm going to assume hope means that my tongues had only touched wholesome things (one can only imagine what Lindsay Lohan's tongue must taste like...eek).  In other words, I had to do these tongues justice.  My first thought was to braise them which is usually the method I choose when I have no clue how else to cook something, but I wanted do something that was less familiar.  After doing some research, I found that confiting was a popular method of cooking lamb tongues.

      This marked my first time confiting anything, but the method is pretty standard no matter what meat you choose to confit.  The first step is to cure the meat in a mixture of salt and herbs.  I purchased about a pound of lamb tongues and used one-and-one-third teaspoons of salt, a minced shallot, a minced garlic clove, a teaspoon of black pepper, and a teaspoon of herbs de Provence.  So long as you keep the meat to salt ratio the same, you can experiment with any combination of seasonings.  I rubbed this mixture all of the lamb tongues, covered them, and placed them in the refrigerator overnight to soak in all the good flavors.

      The next day, I removed the tongues from the refrigerator, rinsed off the seasonings, and patted them dry.  I then place the tongues in a cast iron pot, covered them with olive oil, covered the pot, and placed them in a 225 degree oven.  I cooked the tongues until they were tender, which took about 3 hours.  I then let them cool enough so that I could handle them. 

      Once cool enough to handle, I peeled the skin off of each tongue and cut off the core.  I have to admit that this part made me slightly squeamish as the tongues feel like...tongues.  Once I got over that, it was easy as the skin peels right away. Here is how they looked after removing the skins:

      I then placed the tongues back into the oil, making sure that there was enough oil to cover them, and put them in the refrigerator for a later use.  They will keep for a couple of weeks.

      Now that I have a container full of lamb tongue confit, I have a few ideas of how to use them.  In salads or over lentils or beans are my first thoughts, but what about you?  How would you serve lamb tongue confit?

      Sunday, January 2, 2011

      Lamb Chops with Artichokes, Olives and Capers

      After having this blog for over two years, I've managed to cook a lot of foods that I otherwise might not have attempted if I did not have the blog to keep me searching for challenges.  Artichokes are one ingredient that I had not yet gotten myself to cook.  With their green pineapple-like appearance, they just look like they would be a lot of work to prepare.

      While I like artichokes, I do not love them, and I assumed the effort they would take to cook would outweigh they satisfaction they would bring. However, it being New Year's Day yesterday, I was feeling particularly ambitious despite being slightly under the weather from the previous evening's debauchery.  I had purchased some lamb chops and wanted to do something interesting and festive with them.  I spotted a box of baby artichokes at the store and recalled a recipe in Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home that paired lamb chops with artichokes.  Given my apprehensions about cooking artichokes in the first place, I'm not sure why I even considered a Thomas Keller preparation, which surely would be extremely nitpicky about trimming the vegetables just so and take twice as long as any other recipe; I'll blame my decision on the alcohol from the night before. 

      To my surprise, even going by Chef Keller's precise directions, the preparing the artichokes was no more difficult than peeling a carrot (and a lot less dangerous!).  Trim off the stem.  Cut off the outer leaves at the base. Trim the top 1/2 inch of the artichoke, and then they are ready to cook.  It's exactly as easy as it sounds.  As for the lamb chops, well they went perfectly with the Mediterranean sauce of the artichokes, olives, capers, and tomatoes.  I can only hope that this dish bodes well for 2011.

      Lamb Chops with Artichokes, Olives and Capers
      Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home
      Serves 2

      • 6 baby artichokes, cleaned and trimmed as per the instructions above
      • juice of 1 lemon
      • salt and pepper
      • 4 lamb loin chops
      • 3 tbsp olive oil
      • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and skin left on
      • 4 thyme springs
      • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
      • 1 tbsp capers, drained
      • 1/4 cup canned roasted tomatoes
      1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
      2. Put the trimmed artichokes in medium bowl and cover with the water and lemon juice.  Stir the artichokes for a few seconds.
      3. Pour the artichokes and lemon water into a medium sauce pan.  If necessary, pour in additional water to cover.  Add a pinch of salt and place a damp kitchen towel on top of the artichokes to ensure that they remain completely submerged. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until the artichokes are completely tender, 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove the artichokes to a medium bowl and add just enough of the cooking water to cover.  Set aside.
      4. Season the lamb chops on both sides with salt and pepper.
      5. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
      6. Add the lamb chops and cook until well-browned on one side, 3 to 4 minutes.  Flip the lamb chops and cook the other side until well-browned, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the garlic cloves and thyme to the pan.  Baste the chops occasionally with the fat in the pan.
      7. Place the skillet in the oven and cook until the lamb chops are cooked through, about 7 to 8 minutes for medium-rare.  Remove from the oven and allow the chops rest for 5 to 10 minutes. 
      8. While the lamb chops are in the oven, prepare the sauce.  Pour 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat.  Add the artichokes and cook for about a minute.  Add the olives and capers and cook for another 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.  Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
      9. Serve the lamb chops immediately, topped with the artichoke sauce. 


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