Monday, August 29, 2011

Steamed Mussels with Fennel and Ouzo

2 pounds cultivated mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 bulb fennel, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
1 ripe beefsteak tomato, diced
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup ouzo
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grilled bread, for serving

Heat olive oil in a large pot over high heat on the grates of the grill. Stir in shallots and garlic and cook until tender. Stir in fennel and tomato, and continue cooking about 5 minutes. Add white wine and ouzo and reduce by half. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Stir in mussels, 1/2 the basil and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook until the mussels are open, discarding any that do not. Stir in the remaining basil and serve in large bowls with grilled bread.


Blackberry-White Chocolate Fool with Toasted Hazelnuts

4 cups fresh blackberries
1/4 cup sugar, plus 3 tablespoons
1/4 cup cassis
1 1/2 cups very cold heavy cream
3 ounces white chocolate, melted
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
Mint leaves, for garnish

Place berries in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cassis, stir well, and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remove half of the berries and mash with fork until pureed. Strain the mixture into a bowl.

Whip heavy cream, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoons cassis in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold in the white chocolate and strained puree and chill for 1 hour.

Layer goblets with berry-cream mixture and whole macerated berries. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and garnish with mint.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New York Strip with Blue Cheese, Vidalia Onion Jam and Warm Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Onion Jam:
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
3 Vidalia onions, peeled, halved, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapeno chile, finely diced
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons creme de cassis
2 tablespoons grenadine
Honey, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat grill to high. Heat a cast iron skillet until hot, but not smoking. Add the drippings, heat, and then the onions, garlic, jalapeno, wine, vinegar, cassis, grenadine and salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid mixture is thickened and jam-like, about 20 minutes. Taste and season with honey, salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley, transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

Warm Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette:
2 1/2 pounds red new potatoes
1/2 pound slab bacon, cut into lardons and cooked until golden brown and crisp, 2 tablespoons drippings reserved
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
2 cloves chopped garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons roughly chopped basil leaves
2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and season with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender when pierced with a knife. Drain, let cool for a few minutes and quarter

While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the drippings, vinegar, mustard, honey, garlic, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, and then stir in the chopped basil and parsley.

Add the warm potatoes and the bacon to the vinaigrette and gently fold to combine. Serve with the steak.

Grilled NY Strip:
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
Canola oil
4 NY Strip steaks (12-ounces each) removed from the refrigerator 20 minutes before grilling
3/4 pound wedge blue cheese (recommended: Cabrales), room temperature
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Handful parsley sprigs
Heat the grill to high. Mix together the salt, pepper and thyme in a small bowl. Brush the steaks with oil on both sides and season with the salt mixture. Grill steaks until golden brown and slightly charred on both sides and cooked to medium-rare doneness.

Just before the steaks are done, use a fork to mash the cheese with some of the cream, so that it is chunky but a bit creamy. Mound some on each steak, and let melt very briefly, so the steaks don't overcook. Remove to a platter and let rest 5 minutes before serving. Top with parsley sprigs and serve.


Blackberry Shakes

1 pint fresh blackberries
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar (depending on berries sweetness)
1 pint vanilla ice cream
12 ounces pomegranate juice
1 cup milk

Combine all but a few blackberries and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until the sugar has melted and the berries are soft and just starting to break down.

Put the cooked berries, the ice cream, pomegranate juice and milk in a blender and puree until thick and creamy. Pour into tall glasses and garnish each glass with a few berries.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Shrimp 2 Ways: Soy Sauce-Grilled Shrimp with Spinach Salad and New-Style Scampi

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 limes, juiced
2 teaspoons honey
2-inch piece fresh ginger, finely grated
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for brushing
For Soy Sauce-Grilled Shrimp with Spinach Salad:
12 ounces large (21-24) shrimp, peeled, tail-on, and deveined
1/2 recipe base
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Spinach Salad:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
8 ounces baby spinach
1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts

For New Style Scampi:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 recipe base
2 limes
Canola oil, for brushing
12 ounces large (21-24) shrimp, peeled, tail-on, and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

For Soy-Sauce Grilled Shrimp:

Whisk the soy, lime juice, honey, ginger, garlic and canola oil in a medium bowl until combined. Transfer half to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and set aside. Add the shrimp to the marinade in the bowl and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

While the shrimp marinates, whisk together the rice vinegar, soy sauce, canola and sesame oils, scallion and cilantro in a small bowl.

Heat the grill to high. Remove the shrimp from the marinade, brush with canola oil, and season with salt and pepper. Skewer the shrimp and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until just cooked through.

Toss the spinach with some of the vinaigrette and mound in the center of a serving platter. Arrange shrimp around spinach and spoon over more of the dressing. Scatter the peanuts over the salad and shrimp.

For the New-Style Scampi:

Add the butter and red pepper flakes to the marinade in the food processor, and pulse until combined. Scrape the mixture into a small saucepan and put on the grill just to melt the butter.

Trim the ends from the limes and halve. Brush with canola oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill, flesh side down, until marked and slightly softened, 4 to 5 minutes.

Skewer the remaining shrimp, brush with canola oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until just cooked through. Slide the shrimp from the skewers into a shallow bowl, pour over some butter sauce, and toss to coat. Scatter the cilantro over the top, and arrange the grilled limes around the shrimp.