Food Archives

August 23, 2007

Melanzane alla parmigiana

About 3 weeks ago I tried a new recipe. The stimulus came from my garden - I had a number of eggplants ready to be used. I tried the recipe then posted it on the Slow Travel message board, in a premium forum. After a few days, I happened to check to see if anybody had tried it and was amazed to discover that I had started a lengthy and passionate discussion about the recipe. The discussion seemed to focus around two issues.

1. Should it be parmigiana or parmiggiana?

2. How to prepare the eggplant slices.

The discussion escalated/degenerated (pick one) into into a massive food fight referred to as the The Great Slowtravel Melanzane War. The discussion is still proceeding, although there is more light than heat at present. It has occurred to me that others, without access to the premium forum on Slow Travel, might be interested in the recipe. So here is my original post:

Baked eggplant with tomato, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

This recipe is from Twelve, a Tuscan Cook Book by Tessa Kiros. I made it yesterday with just-picked eggplants and fresh garlic from my garden.


* 3 medium eggplants cut into 3mm (1/8")slices
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
* 5 ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped, or 400 g (14 oz) tin of peeled tomatoes, chopped
* about 10 basil leaves, roughly torn
* flour for dusting the eggplants
* olive oil for frying
* 300 g (10 1/2 oz) mozzarella cheese, cut into 5 cm (1/4") slices
* 50 g (1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan cheese


* Cut the eggplant slices and put them in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and leave for about 30 minutes to allow the bitter juices to drain away
* Preheat the oven to 180C (350F)
* To make the tomato sauce, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and as soon as you begin to smell the garlic, add the tomatoes and half of the basil. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the tomatoes have melted into the sauce
* Rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly dust both sides with flour. Heat enough olive oil to come 1cm (1/2") up the side of a saucepan. Heat the oil and fry to eggplants in batches until golden brown on both sides, adding a little more oil if necessary. Transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the oil.
* Spoon a little of the tomato sauce into a square or round oven dish of roughly 30 cm (12"). Cover with a layer of eggplant slices. Add a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce, then a layer of the mozzarella cheese slices. Add the remaining basil leaves. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Repeat to use up the ingredients. Put into the hot oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and crusty. Cool slightly before cutting into servings. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves 6

Modifications: I had to double the tomato ingredient to follow the cooking directions. I used Roma tomatoes - perhaps a larger variety would have solved the problem.

How was it?

Deeelish! I'll make it again in about a week when I can use fresh tomatoes, along with the eggplant and garlic, from my garden.

August 26, 2008

Pollo alla romana recipe

This recipe is from Cucina Romana by Sara Manuelli. I made it yesterday. I was looking for a new chicken recipe to try. I was initially drawn to it because I had all the ingredients at hand. Easy to prepare, takes about an hour from start to finish.


- 1 free-range or corn fed chicken, about 3 lb, cut into 8 pieces.
- olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- small fistful of capers, desalted under cold, running water
- pinch of dried oregano
- 1 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 28 oz canned peeled tomatoes
- 1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and sliced (optional)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper


Gently fry the chicken pieces in a large deep pan in some olive oil. Add the garlic, capers, oregano and salt an pepper to taste. Once the chicken has soaked up all the flavours, pour in the wine and allow it to evaporate. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking for about 30 minutes. Stir every now and then to prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan. When the meat has separated from the bones, the chicken is ready.
As a variation, you can add a few slices of red peppers if you wish and let them cook with the chicken for a further 15 minutes.


I used skinned chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken & I cooked some rotini - added the pasta to the chicken before serving.

Will I make it again? Absolutely. Next time, I will try the chicken pieces suggested in the recipe.

October 25, 2008

Escalopes de Porc a la Tapenade

A week ago I picked up a copy of Provence the Beautiful Cookbook by Richard Olney at Costco for $10. It's a large coffee-table format book - one of several other obviously-remaindered titles from a series - but no remaindered marks. My copy was still in its original wraps.

I had never heard of Richard Olney - shame on me. It looks like a great book. The recipe below is the first one I've tried. I have a couple of jars of tapenade from last June's visit to the market market in Vaison-la-Romaine.

Escalopes de Porc a la Tapenade
(Pork Cutlets with Tapenade)

- 4 pork cutlets, each about 1/3" (8mm) thick
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 tablespoons tapenade
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- semidried bread crumbs
- peanut oil or corn oil, for frying
- 1 lemon, quartered

- Press the cutlets firmly with one side of a large knife blade to flatten them slightly. Sprinkle on both sides with salt and pepper. Spread 1 tablespoon tapenade on one side of each cutlet. Cover and chill to firm up the tapenade.
- Assemble side by side: a plate spread with half the grated cheese; a soup plate in which the eggs, olive oil and a few drops of water have been beaten with a fork; and an opened newspaper spread abundantly with bread crumbs. Place a cutlet,tapenade side up, on the bed of Parmesan. Sprinkle some of the remaining Parmesan on top, pressing it in lightly with the palm of your hand. Transfer the cutlet to the beaten eggs, spoon some of the egg over the top and lift the cutlet rapidly to the bread crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs generously over the top and press on gently. Repeat with the remaining cutlets and leave the cutlets on the bed of crumbs to dry for an hour before frying.
- In a large frying pan over high heat, pour in oil to a depth of 1/2" (12mm). Slip in the cutlets and turn down the heat to medium or medium-low if necessary to prevent the cutlets from browning too rapidly. When they are golden around the edges, turn them by piercing, near the edge of the cutlet, with a single tine of a long-handled, two-pronged fork. When both sides are golden and crisp, after about 8 minutes, use a spatula to transfer then to paper towels to drain. Serve accompanied with the lemon quarters.

- I enjoyed the preparation process and of course having tapenade on hand was a bonus.
- I followed the directions pretty closely, but used 6 cutlets instead of 4, and just used dried bread crumbs. It seemed like a lot of work for 4 cutlets. Also, next time I'll turn the heat down a bit more. The cutlets browned quite quickly & ended up a bit darker than "golden brown".
- Run, don't walk, to your nearest Costco to see if they have any titles left.


December 14, 2008

Recipe: Fusili with Sausage, Fennel & Red Wine

From At Home in Provence by Patricia Wells. I made this a week ago.


1 pound (500 g) bulk sausage meat, broken into small pieces
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups (50 cl) dry red wine, such as Chianti
2 eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup (1 ounce, 30g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sea salt
1 pound (500 g) dried Italian pasta, such as fusil or penne
About 1 cup (25cl) pasta cooking water


1. In a skillet large enough to hold the pasta later on, brown the meat with no additional fat over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes. With the end of a spatula, continue to break up the sausage pieces into fine bits of meat. Add the fennel seeds and tomato paste, toss to blend, and cook over moderate heat for 2 minutes to allow the flavours to blend. Slowly add the wine, pouring it all over the surface of the pan. Adjust the heat to bring the liquid to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, until most of the wine – and alcohol – have cooked off, about 15 minutes from the time the liquid comes to a simmer. Taste for seasoning.

2. Place the eggs in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Whisk in the cheese and a generous grinding of pepper. Set aside.

3. In a large pot, bring 6 quarts (6 l) of water to a roiling boil. When the water boils, add 3 tablespoons of salt and the pasta, stirring to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook until tender but firm to the bite, 9 to 11 minutes. Carefully drain the pasta, leaving a few drops of water clinging to the pasta to that the sauce will adhere. Reserve 1 cup (25 cl) of cooking water.

4. Add the pasta to the skillet with the sausage meat and use two forks to toss thoroughly, evenly coating the pasta with the sauce. Remove the pan from the heat and, working quickly with two forks, stir in the egg mixture. Continue to toss until each pieces of pasta is evenly coated with the sauce. (The pasta should not be dry; if it is add the pasta water, tablespoon by tablespoon, tossing after each addition, to create a smooth, clinging sauce.) Serve immediately in warmed shallow soup bowls. Pass the pepper mill.

Four to six servings


The recipe worked well. I opted for penne over fusili. I was a bit dubious about using raw eggs, but I would do so again. I likely doubled the amount of tomato paste. What am I going to do with half a small can? I thought the instructions about the water and the pasta were a bit precious, but then again I didn’t need to add any more water. Most of the ingredients were at hand – only had to remember to pick up some sausage meat and fennel seeds the day before I made the dish.

Recommended for a cold evening meal – and we have plenty of cold evenings up here in Canada.

December 18, 2008

Mignonettes of Pork a l’Ancienne

From Pedaling Through Burgundy Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase. I made this last weekend.


2 pounds lean pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 shallots, minced
½ cup dry white vermouth
1 ¼ cups heavy (whipping) cream
3 tablespoons imported coarse grained Dijon mustard
Sea or coarse salt, salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley


1. Cut the pork into thin strips 2 inches long and ½ inch wide.
2. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the pork in batches until seared on all sides and just cooked through the centre, 5 to 7 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter and keep warm.
3. Add the shallots to the skillet and sauté for 2 minutes. Pour in the vermouth, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cream and blend in 1 ½ tablespoons mustard and season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Return the pork strips to the pan and stir to coat with the sauce. Stir in the parsley just before serving and serve immediately.

Additional information:

The recipe is similar (identical?) to a dish served at the Restaurant des Arts Deco in Beaune. “While the richness of this dish might best be savored after a vigorous day of Hautes-Cotes biking, it shouldn’t be missed as it is one of the few irresistible and oh-so-Burgundian recipes that is easy to make. Tender strips of beef, and even chicken or turkey, may be substituted for the pork, if desired. Serve with a simple accompaniment, such as white rice.”


Of course, the main issue with this recipe is the cream sauce. Next time I’ll work off the calories before I make the dish.

I have 2 cookbooks by Sarah Leah Chase - Pedaling Through Burgundy & Pedaling Through Provence. They are two of my favourites. More than most they transport me back to the south of France, seemingly without effort. The format, illustrations & commentary all work well. I got my copies at a local auction a couple of years ago. Get them if you can.

Highly recommended. I served this dish with white rice and Brussel sprouts as a vegetable.

December 24, 2008

Gigot Farci – Stuffed Leg of Lamb

A Provencal recipe from France the Beautiful Cookbook: Authentic Recipes from the Regions of France. This is a large format hard-cover book, part of a series ("The Beautiful Cookbook") from Harper Collins. This title was originally published first in 1989. I got my copy at Costco a couple of months ago for the remaindered price of $9.99. Great bargain.

Recipes – the Scotto sisters


• 8oz (250g) wild mushrooms
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 2oz (50g) lean smoked bacon, finely chopped
• 1 heart of fennel, about 3oz (100g), chopped
• 4 tablespoons chopped parsley and fresh chervil, mixed
• 2 pinches dried thyme
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 3 pinches of freshly grated nutmeg
• 1 oz (25g) white sandwich bread, crusts trimmed
• 1 clove garlic
• 1 leg of lamb, about 3lb 10oz (1.8kg), trimmed and boned
• 1 teaspoon peanut oil
For the potatoes
• 3 ½ lb (1.7kg) boiling potatoes
• 3oz (80g ) butter
• ½ teaspoon dried thyme
• 1 clove garlic


• Trim the mushroom stems. Wash the mushrooms quickly under cold water and pat dry; chop. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a non-stick sauté pan and lightly brown the bacon for 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the fennel, cover and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add the mushrooms, the parsley mixture, thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook, half covered, until the fennel is very tender and all the liquid has evaporated.
• Grind the bread to coarse crumbs in a food processor. Remove the sauté pan from heat. Mix in the crumbs and the crushed garlic.
• Stuff the leg of lamb with this mixture and sew the opening with kitchen thread. Coat the lamb with oil and season with salt and pepper. Make very shallow crisscross cuts over the surface of the leg. Preheat oven to 450F (230C). Peel the potatoes, rinse and pat dry. Slice into very thin rounds. Melt the butter in a 13 x 9-in (32 x 22-cm) baking dish. Add the thyme and the garlic, crushed in a garlic press. Toss the potatoes in this flavored butter to coat well. Spread the slices in the pan and smooth the surface.
• Place the leg of lamb on the bed of potatoes, rounded side down. Roast for 30 minutes. Turn the lamb and potato slices over and roast 25 minutes longer. Turn off the oven and let the lamb rest in the oven for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8

Continue reading "Gigot Farci – Stuffed Leg of Lamb" »

December 29, 2008

Crisped Salmon with Mustard Mousse

From Pedaling Through Burgundy Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase

Crisped Salmon with Mustard Mousse


Mustard Mousse
2 large shallots, minced
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons imported coarse grained Dijon mustard
3 large egg whites
Sea or coarse salt, salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons imported smooth Dijon mustard

6 salmon fillets (6 to 8 ounces each)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter; melted
½ cup dry white wine
1 ½ teaspoons coarsely cracked coriander seeds
Sea or coarse salt, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 424 F
2. To make the mustard mousse, place the shallots, vinegar and wine in a small skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until the liquid has almost entirely evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and swirl in the coarse mustard.
3. In a medium-size bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Gently but thoroughly fold in the hot mustard and shallot mixture. Season the mousse to taste with salt and pepper and enhance the mustard flavor by folding in 1 or 2 teaspoons of smooth Dijon mustard. Keep the mousse warm by placing the bowl over a pan of hot but not boiling water.
4. Arrange the salmon fillets in a roasting pan and drizzle them with the melted butter and wine. Sprinkle the cracked coriander seeds evenly over the top and then season with salt and pepper. Roast the salmon until lightly crisped on the top and just barely cooked through the center, about 10 minutes. Serve the fillets hot from the oven, drizzled with any pan juices and accompanied by a generous dollop of the mustard mousse.

Makes 6 servings

Continue reading "Crisped Salmon with Mustard Mousse " »

January 6, 2009

Scallops Provencal

From Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten. I made this simple recipe a few days ago.

Scallops Provencal


1 pound fresh bay or sea scallops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
½ cup chopped shallots
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 lemon, cut in 1/2


1. If you’re using bay scallops, keep them whole. If you’re using sea scallops, cut each I in half horizontally. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss with flour, and shake off the excess
2. In a very large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat until sizzling and add the scallops in 1 layer. Lower the heat to medium and allow the scallops to brown lightly on 1 side without moving them, then turn an d brown lightly on the other side. This should take 3 to 4 minutes total
3. Melt the rest of the butter in the pan with the scallops, then add the shallots, garlic and parsley and sauté for two more minutes, tossing the seasonings with the scallops.
4. Add the wine, cook for 1 minute, and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Makes 3 servings

Continue reading "Scallops Provencal" »

January 7, 2009

Foie de Veau Campagnarde

Calf's Liver with Herbs and Mushrooms from French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David

A very simple, excellent, but not generally known way of serving liver. For two people you need 4 to 6 thin and evenly cut slices of calf's liver, 4 medium-sized mushrooms and a little parsley, some chives and tarragon when available, a little piece of shallot or garlic, flour and seasonings, oil.
Chop the cleaned mushrooms very finely with the parsley, the shallot or garlic and the herbs.
Season the liver; dust it with flour. Heat about 1 oz of butter in a frying-pan with a teaspoon of olive oil. Let the liver take colour quickly on each side, put in the herb and mushroom mixture and cook another 3 minutes or so over a gentle flame, shaking the pan so that the liver does not stick. Turn into a hot serving dish; squeeze over a little lemon.
The mushroom and her mixture is the old-fashioned version of fines herbes
Lamb's liver can be cooked in the same way.

Continue reading "Foie de Veau Campagnarde" »

May 21, 2009

Sole Bercy - Sole with shallots and white wine

From French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David.

Put not much more than a teaspoon each of freshly chopped shallot and parsley into a well-buttered oval gratin dish. Add two tablespoons of white wine. Put it in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, so that the shallot and wine cook a little and amalgamate. Now, put in your sole, skinned on both sides and seasoned with salt ans pepper. On top put a tablespoon of butter in small pieces. Cover with buttered paper. Cook in a low oven, Gas No. 3, 330 deg. F. for 15 minutes, for a medium sized sole weighing about 3/4 lb. Spread some of the shallot and juices on top of the sole and put the dish under the hot grill for 2 minutes so that it acquires a light glaze. Serve in the same dish.
It is quite possible to use dry vermouth instead of white wine for this dish.

Quick and easy and quite good. Nice aroma to the dish. I'll definitely make it again. I only had sole fillets. I would like to try the whole fish.

July 13, 2009

Paupiettes de Veau - Stuffed Veal Bundles

Paupiettes de Veau - Stuffed Veal Bundles

From A Culinary Journey in Gascony by Kate Hill


8 veal scallops, cut thin (or pound as needed)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lb lean pork sausage
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bottle (750ml) sweet white wine
bouquet garni (thyme, bay leaf, parsley and sage)
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon orange zest


1. Flatten the veal scallops with the blade of a large knife. Salt and pepper generously.
2. Place a spoonful of sausage on each scallop one-third of the way down the scallop. Roll the scallop around the sausage, tucking the meat around the stuffing until well-rolled. Taking about two feet of kitchen string, place the bundle in the middle of the string, and tie; turn one-quarter and tie again; turn again and tie again. When you have a neatly tied packet of veal and stuffing, clip off any excess string and set aside.
3. Place the veal parcels in a single layer in a hot, deep saute pan with the oil. Brown on all sides and remove from the pan.
4. Saute the chopped onion and shallots in the oil left in the pan. Stir until they start to colour, then add the flour and tomato paste. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture starts to color, then add nearly the whole bottle of wine (remember, it's okay to reserve a glass for the chef.)
5. Place the veal paupiettes and bouquet garni in the sauce, cover and simmer slowly for 45 to 60 minutes.
6. Add the sliced mushroom and orange zest to the sauce and cook for another 15 minutes. Serve with rice or pasta.


I made this dish for dinner this evening - pretty easy, if a bit lengthy in preparation - but it was worth it. This was a big hit.

This is an interesting book - several additional recipes I plan to use.

I also like the narrative and anecdotes that accompany the recipes

I like the information that this dish is also called "alouettes sans tetes" - "larks without heads."

I was able to pick all the herbs for the bouquet garni, except for the bay leaf, from my herb garden.

August 6, 2009

Carottes Glacé au Vin de Rosé

Carrots Glazed with Rosé Wine

From A Culinary Journey in Gascony by Kate Hill


1lb (455 g) fresh carrots
1 cup (8 fl oz/240ml) dry rosé wine or dry white wine
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 leaf verveine (lemon verbana; available dried as a tea)
1 tablespoon sweet butter


1. Peel and trim the carrots, leaving them whole if not too large, or cut them in 3-inch (8 cm) lengths. Put the carrots in a lidded saucepan and barely cover them with water. Cook covered for 10 to 15 minutes over medium-high heat.

2. Drain the water and add the wine, rosemary and verveine. Lower the heat to low and continue cooking. When the carrots are almost done, cover and let sit for 5 minutes or until ready to serve.

3. To serve the carrots, add the butter, return to high heat, uncovered, and reduce the wine almost completely. Do not brown the carrots. Gently shake the carrots in the sauce until they are glazed. Serve hot with a garnish of fresh lemon verbena or mint.


The carrots & rosemary are from my garden - decided to try to find different ways of consuming the bounty at this time of the year. I used small carrots - just cut off the ends, scrubbed them clean & bisected down the middle. No lemon verbana - used a bit of lemon juice instead.

October 30, 2009

Pickling garlic

I decided to pickle some of my crop of garlic this year - I usually end up discarding a lot of it the following spring. I used this recipe. It calls for fresh rosemary and orgeano - which I still have in abundance in my patch of herbs.


January 18, 2010

Veal Marengo

This recipe is from Nantucket Open-House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase, pp 179-180

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flower
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 pounds boneless lean veal, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 very large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons fine strips orange zest
  • 12 ounces fresh small button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1. Season the flour with salt and pepper and lightly coat the veal cubes with the seasoned flour. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy casserole over medium high heat. Add the veal in batches and quickly brown on all sides. Remove the browned veal to a large plate.
  • 2. Add the onion to the pan and sauté over medium heat just until limp, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in the wine and chicken stock and stir to scrape up any brown bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Return the veal to the pot and add the tomatoes, garlic, tarragon, thyme and orange zest. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the veal is very tender, for about 1 1/4 hours.
  • 3. Stir in the mushrooms and simmer 10 to 15 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. if the sauce seems too thin at this point, remove the solids with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Reduce the sauce over high heat until thickened to keep the proper consistency. Return the solids and stir to combine. Sprinkle the stew with parsley and serve with hot buttered noodles.
  • Makes 8 servings.

    I made this yesterday with scallops instead of 2" cubes. I searched for a veal recipe using ingredients on hand and this was it. The cooking time was shortened because of the scallops and most of the other ingredients were reduced because I wasn't making 8 servings. Also, I skipped the buttered noodles and had a veg and a salad. Pretty good dish and easy to prepare. I'll make it again.
    One other thing. I have 3 of Sarah Leah Chase's cookbooks - like them all.


March 4, 2010

Wild Salmon with Orange-Butter Sauce

Salmon Sauvage au Beurre d'Orange - Wild Salmon with Orange-Butter Sauce

From A Culinary Journey in Gascony by Kate Hill


salt and white pepper
2 pieces fresh salmon fillet
I tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 orange (blood orange if available)
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup (2 oz/55 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
salt and white pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon


1. Salt and pepper both sides of the fillets. Place a little oil in a heavy sauté and put the salmon in the cold pan. Begin cooking over a slow fire. When the salmon is lightly coloured on one side, turn, cover, and finish cooking as it steams in its own juices.
2. Squeeze the juice from the orange and the lemon. While the fish continues cooking, put the butter and the juices in a small saucepan. Slowly soften over low heat while beating with a fork until the liquid reaches the consistency of heavy cream. Add salt and pepper and the chopped herbs at the last minute. Remove from the heat. (The butter should be hot but not boiling.)
3. Place the cooked salmon on hot plates (it will be cooked thoroughly yet still soft) and dress with the orange-butter sauce.6.


Ultra simple recipe with an excellent result from a favourite source - the Paupiettes de Veau recipe from the book is a big hit with guests. We are visiting the Dordogne in September. I plan to try several additional recipes before we go.


March 7, 2010

Boeuf Beaujolaise

From Pedaling Through Burgundy Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase

Boeuf Beaujolaise


3 tablespoons dry mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely cracked black pepper
6 boneless shell, strip or sirloin steaks (10 to 12 ounces each), at least 1" thick
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
4 shallots, minced
1 rib celery, minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
2 whole bay leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons drained coarsely cracked green peppercorns
2 1/2 cps red Beaujolais wine
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons marc de Bourgogne or brandy
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley


1. Preheat oven to 325 F
2. In a small bowl, stir together the dry mustard, black pepper, and 2 tablespoons salt. Rub this mixture lightly into both sides of the steaks to season them.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter with the oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steaks to the skillet and sauté 4 to 5 minutes per side for rare to medium-rare meat. Transfer the steaks to a platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and keep warm in the oven while making the suace. (The steaks will continue to cook a bit, so keep this in mind when deciding how long to cook them.)
4. Add the shallots, celery, carrot, tarragon, bay leaves, and green peppercorns to the skillet and sauté over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the wine and boil until the liquid is reduced by half, 10 to 12 minutes. Discard the bay leaves, and stir in the garlic and marc de Bourgogne or brandy. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the remaining 5 tablespoons butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, to make a lightly emulsified sauce. Season with salt and stir in the parsley.
5. Slice the steaks 1/2 inch thick and fan them out onto dinner plates. Nap generously with the Beaujolais sauce and serve at once.

Makes 6 servings


Another favourite cookbook. Vive la France!

Our first thought was to barbeque the sirloin steaks we decided to have; then I came up with this better idea.

I used fresh, instead of dried tarragon since I had some on hand; and used dried, rather than fresh parsley, since I didn't.

No green peppercorns.

I cut the recipe in half for 3 of us.


April 9, 2010

Sautéed Swordfish or Salmon Steaks with Capers and Vinegar, Stimpirata Style

From Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
Sautéed Swordfish or Salmon Steaks with Capers and Vinegar, Stimpirata Style


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup onion chopped very thin
6 tablespoons celery chopped very fine
2 tablespoons capers soaked and rinsed if packed in salt, drained if packed in vinegar
Vegetable oil for sautéeing the fish
2 pounds swordfish, salmon, or other fish steaks
2/3 cup flour, spread on a plate
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
1/4 cup good-quality wine vinegar, preferably white


1. Put the 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan, and turn the heat on to medium. Cook and stir the onion until it becomes coloured a pale gold, then add the chopped celery. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the celery is tender, 5 or more minutes. Add the capers and cook for about half a minute, stirring steadily. Turn off the heat.

2. Put enough vegetable oil in a frying pan to come 1/2 inch up the sides and turn on the heat to medium high. When the oil is hot, dredge the fish on both sides in the flour and slip it into the pan. Do not crowd the panat one time with more fish than will fit comfortably without overlapping. Cook the fish briefly, about 1 minute per side or a little longer if thicker than 1/2 inch, then transfer it to a platter, using a slotted spoon of spatula. When all the fish is done, add salt and a few grindings of pepper.

3. Turn the heat to medium under the pan with the celery and capers. When the contents of the pan begin to simmer, add the sautéed fish from the platter, turn it gently to coat it with the sauce, then add the vinegar. Let the vinegar bubble for a minute or so, then transfer the entire contents of the pan to a warm platter and serve at once.


a) I used salmon steaks - will try swordfish when I can get some.

b) Quick and easy recipe - had all the ingredients on hand, even the white wine vinegar.

c) I was inspired by the Pomodori E Vino group on facebook to try more recipes from this cookbook


April 18, 2010

Sautéed Breaded Veal Chops Sicilian Style with Garlic and Rosemary

From Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
Sautéed Breaded Veal Chops Sicilian Style with Garlic and Rosemary


2 eggs
6 veal chops, the bones trimmed clean and the meat flattened
1 1/2 cups fine, dry, unflavored bread crumbs spread on a plate
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Rosemary leaves, chopped very fine, 1 tablespoon if fresh, 2 teaspoons if dried
4 garlic cloves, lightly mashed with a knife handle and peeled


1. Lightly beat the eggs in a deep dish, using a fork or a whisk.

2. Dip each chop in the egg, coating both sides and letting excess egg flow back into the plate as you pull the chop away. Sprinkle the chops with the chopped rosemary, then turn the meat in the bread crumbs as follows: Press the chop firmly against the crumbs, using the palm of your hand. Tap it 2 or 3 times, then turn it and repeat the procedure. Your palm should come away dry, which means the crumbs are adhering to the meat.

3. Choose a sauté pan that can subsequently accommodate the chops without overlapping. If you don't have a large enough pan, you can use a smaller one, and do the chops in 2 or even 3 batches. Put in the butter, oil and garlic, turn on the heat to medium high, and when the butter foam begins to subside, slip in the chops. Remove the garlic as soon as it becomes colored a light nut brown, either before or after your have begun sautéing the chops. Cook until a dark golden crust forms on one side, then turn and do the other side, altogether about 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chops. Transfer to a warm platter and sprinkle with salt. Serve promptly when all the chops are done.


a) I chose to follow the directions for the Sicilian variation of the classic Milanese style because I liked the idea of using rosemary and garlic in the recipe.

b) I don't have the correct style of pounder as indicated on p. 37. I'll get one.

c) The novelty of this recipe is the main ingredient - pretty sure this is the first time I've prepared veal chops. Very good result.

April 22, 2010

Breaded Calf's Liver

From Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
Breaded Calf's Liver


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds choice, pale pink calves liver, cut into slices no more that 1/4" thick
3/4 cup fine, dry, unflavored bread crumbs lightly toasted in the oven or a skillet
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
Lemon wedges at table


1. Remove any of the thin, stiff skin that may still be on the liver. it would shrink while cooking, and keep the liver from lying flat in the pan. if you find any large white grisly tubes, remove those also.

2. Put the oil and butter in a large sauté pan and turn on the heat to medium high. Turn the liver slices in the bread crumbs on both sides, pressing the liver against the crumbs with the palm of your hands. Do not put in any more at one time than will fit loosely, without overlapping.

3. Cook the liver until it forms a crisp, brown crust on one side, then do the other side. Altogether, it should take about 1 minute. As you do one batch of slices, transfer them with a slotted spoon or spatula to a cooling rack to drain or to a platter lines with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and slip another batch into the pan, repeating the same procedure, until all the slices are done. Transfer to a warm platter and serve at once.

Serves 6


a) The most difficult part of cooking calf's liver for me usually is getting the correct thickness. Problem solved as I went to a local butcher who ran frozen liver through his saw. I'll never try to do it myself again. Plus, the rather unpleasant directions in #1 above were irrelevant.

b) I thought the recipe looked a bit bland so I added a couple of cloves of garlic (sliced) to the oil & butter and some thyme to the bread crumbs before breading the liver. Please don't tell Marcella.

c) Very popular with my crowd who ranged in age from 23 months to 91 years. Simple, easy and an excellent result.

d) The introduction to this recipe indicates that thin slices of liver are in the Italian style and breading slices of young liver is an excellent way of preserving the moisture in cooking. Agreed.

Continue reading "Breaded Calf's Liver" »

April 24, 2010

Sautéed Fillets of Breast of Chicken with Lemon and Parsley, Siena Style

From Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
Sautéed Fillets of Breast of Chicken with Lemon and Parsley, Siena Style


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 tablespoons butter
3 whole chicken breast, filleted
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
The freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Garnish: 1 lemon, sliced thin


1. Put the oil and 3 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet and turn on the heat to medium high. When the butter foam subsides, slip in as many of the chicken fillets as will fit loosely. Cook them briefly on both sides, less than 1 minute altogether. Transfer the fillets to a warm plate, using a slotted spoon or spatula, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat the procedure until all the fillets are done.

2. Add the lemon juice to the skillet, and let it simmer briskly over medium heat for about 20 seconds, while scraping loose cooking residues from the bottom and sides of the pan, using a wooden spoon. Add the chopped parsley and the remaining tablespoon of butter, stir rapidly for 4 or 5 seconds, then turn the heat down to low and return the fillets to the pan together with any juices they may have shed in the plate. Turn them over in the pan juices 2 or 3 times, then transfer, together with the juices, to a warm platter. Garnish with the thin slices of lemon and serve at once.

For 4 to 6 servings


Sometimes I've been using this book as an alternative to the usual way we cook certain staples. Last evening, I was going to barbeque some chicken breasts, looked & found this simple recipe. We used it to make chicken burgers on a flatbread bun. Please don't tell Marcella.

April 27, 2010

Veal Scaloppine with Tomato, Oregano, and Capers

From Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
Veal Scaloppine with Tomato, Oregano, and Capers


2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 pound veal scaloppine, cut from the top round
Flour, spread on a plate
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, chopped, with their juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon fresh oregano OR 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons capers, soaked and rinsed if packed in salt, drained if in vinegar


1. Put the oil and garlic in a skillet, turn on the heat to medium, cook the garlic until it becomes colored a light nut brown. Remove it from the pan and discard it.

2. Turn the heat to medium high, dredge the scaloppine in flour, shake off the excess flour, and slip the meat into the pan. Brown them quickly on both sides, about half a minute per side if the oil and butter are hot enough. Transfer them to a warm plate, using a slotted spoon or spatula,and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Over medium-high heat, add the wine, and while the wine simmers use a wooden spoon to loosen all cooking residues on the bottom and sides. Add the chopped tomatoes with their juice, stir to coat well, add the butter and any juices the scaloppine may have shed on the plate, stir, and adjust heat to cook at a steady, but gentle simmer.

4. In 15 or 20 minutes, when the fat floats free of the tomatoes, add the oregano and capers, stir thoroughly, then return the scaloppine to the pan and turn them in the tomato sauce for about a minute until they are warm again. Turn out the entire contents of the pan onto a warm platter and serve at once.

For 4 servings


Very good results. I think I like any recipe that includes capers.


May 11, 2010


Into Ottawa this afternoon to look for ingredients for some of the recipes I'm responsible for on Pomodori e Vino. My haul included pappardelle, conchiglie, ziti, mortadella, panchetta, unsmoked ham, anchovies, dried porcini mushrooms and three types of cheese - ricotta, romano and fontina. My recipe selection over the next few days will be dependent on which ingredients I will have to use the soonest.


July 3, 2010

Batticarne Doppio Uso

I've lived a long time without a lot of kitchen gadgets, but now that I'm part of the Pomodori e Vino project I find I can't get along without a pastry cutter, meat pounder and spice grater. Oh, not the usual meat pounder used to pummel a perfectly innocent piece of meat - one of those has always been around - but the kind recommended by Marcella Hazan in Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, one with a smooth surface designed to stretch the meat, thinning and evening it out without tenderizing it. Anyway, the kind I got today does both. It's a batticarne doppio uso.


July 12, 2010

Zucchini blossoms

Just picked a dozen zucchini blossoms for a Pomodori e vino recipe - made sure I picked only the male blossoms. And to think, a short time ago I didn't know zucchini blossoms came in 2 sexes - another sign of a misspent life.

That's a male blossom (with the stem) on the right. Female blossoms are the ones on the ends of the zucchini.


November 26, 2010

Making Daube

I'm making Daube de Boeuf Gasconne from Kate Hill's "A Culinary Journey in Gascony" - started yesterday will be ready tomorrow - first time I've ever cooked a dish over 3 days!


November 27, 2010

Daube Done

Well, I've made & consumed Daube de Boeuf Gasconne - 3 days in the making for a special dinner with family members, accompanied by Chateau de Mille wine from the Luberon. It was worth worth the time - the most authentic recipe from the south of France that I have prepared - took me back to Café Gaby in Lourmarin. In fact I think I am pretty sure this version (Kate Hill's from A Culinary Journey in Gascony) is better. I loved it - will make it again and again.

The pic below shows the daube in the pot topped by the recommended cornmeal dumplings. Buy Kate Hill's book - every recipe I've tried has been a winner.


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