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Thursday, 30 September 2010

Tuna Steaks In Wine, With Fennel Seed, Sage, Lemon & Wild Caper Sauce

 Its important to have good capers, and good herbs for this. And obviously the fish matters too!

1st step;
Dip the steaks in white wine and a pinch of sage and marinade for 1hr. discard the sage from the marinade after its ready to cook.

2nd step;
5-6 leaves fresh sage chopped,
pinch of fresh parsley chopped,
1 sprig fresh rosemary chopped,
a little salt & plenty black pepper,
juice of 1 lemon,
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Wild capers in salt (Dont use vinegar or brined ones, just the ones in dry salt, and de-salt them first in a cup of water, rinsed)
pinch of fennel seeds
pinch of good oregano (throubi)
A little olive oil.

stir all the above (without the capers) well with a fork or in a mortar & pestle. They ll make a coarse salsa.
The capers will be added just before you serve.

-When the Tuna is done marinading & you re ready to eat ;
pad the steaks dry, and keep a little of the marinade.

-Heat a griddle pan til smoking hot.

-Rub a little of the herb salsa on the tuna, and add salt - cook on the very hot griddle pan 1 minute each side or less, and take off the pan & keep warm.
-Turn the heat down and deglaze any juices with the remaining marinade (wine). add the rest of the salsa and the capers, and a drop of water, stir and spoon the sauce on the tuna.

Serve with potatos sliced thin & roasted in lemon and oregano, with sauteed pomodorini & fine beans

Friday, 24 September 2010

Sage Lemon Keftedes on Anchovy-Lemon Rigatoni

 4-5 leaves fresh sage,
1/4 white onion
2 cloves garlic
salt & pepper
a pinch red pepper flakes
1/3 cup bread soaked in milk
juice of 1 lemon
tablespoon of balsamic glaze, or teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
pinch of oregano

Blend in a mortar & pestle or mince in a blender & mix well with the meat. Any poultry mince will work well, pork too, i use turkey breast mince and sometimes veal. The quantities above are good for around 500 grams of meat, only use 3-4 meatballs per person, and refriregate the rest of the mixture for the next day, it will simply marinade better. Season well.

Leave at least 30 minutes to marinade lightly, shape into small balls and roll each one in a lightly floured surface.

Shallow fry for a couple of minutes, in a little olive oil, shuffling the pan or turning them over to cook evenly. Put out with a splash of white wine, and add the juices to the sauce below before serving.

- The pasta sauce

1/2 cup white onion finely chopped
1/2 cup shallots finely chopped
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsp tomato puree
3 tbspn olive oil
A pinch of Capers In Salt, de-salted ; use good wild salted capers, not those in vinegar or brine, or ommit.
2 pomodorini halved
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, whole.
4 whole anchovy fillets, broken into bits
low salt chicken stock, or fresh chicken stock
3 small courgettes, sliced thinly & sauteed in a griddle or a little oil.
5 sage leaves

start by gently sauteeing half the onion and the shallots together with the garlic clove in the olive oil.
A minute in, add the anchovies and red pepper flakes and cook very gently, without touching the anchovies, let them sit still.
About 3-4 minutes later when the anchovies look like they d disolve if you moved them, add white wine and let evaporate.
Add tomato paste, lemon, the sauteed courgettes, the pomodorini, the capers and the stock, bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer gently for around 30-40 minutes, stirring and adding water when dry. Thicken the sauce with some of the pasta water.

Just before serving, add the remaining sage to the sauce.

- For the pasta, cook just under the package instructions and shock in cold water, then when sauce is ready spoon half of it out of the pot & keep warm with the keftedes, finish cooking the pasta in the sauce, then serve with the rest of the sauce spooned with the keftedes.
Serve with Grana padano, grated, or just some more sage & lemon

Monday, 20 September 2010

Fresh Borlotti -or Green- Bean Pennete A La Grecque

The 'a la grecque' obviously indicates vegetables slowly stewed in tomato and olive oil, and this is indeed a perfectly symmetrical cross between my mother's way of stewing fresh beans in tomato, and a nearly classic pasta e fagioli (φασολι)

use fresh borlotti (χανδρες) podded, or beans, unpodded.

* A relatively novel way of using onions in a tomato sauce, which again hails to Mother, is to add half the onion later, after the first half (shallots in this case) was sauteed, which brings a far deeper richer and more raw onionness to the dish.
The crushed tinned borlotti are used as a thickener, and to add some more beany meatiness to the dish. Much in the way half of the borlotti's are crushed in a typical pasta e fagioli, but again, greeks go that extra mile, stewing it it all much longer, and softly.

I am pretty sure this would also marry well with fat egg pappardelle, or lasagne sheets broken in squares, though i havent tried it yet.

 Time; 1 hour and a bit.

You ll need ;
-2 banana shallots, (or one pink or white onion) finely chopped.
-1/4 white or pink onion, very finely chopped, or grated on a grater.
-2-3 plum canned tomatoes
-3 tbsp tomato puree
-olive oil
-good oregano
-bay leaf
-two handfulls of either podded fresh borlotti beans, or un-podded but trimmed chunky green beans, purple beans or what have you fresh
(about a bowl and a half's worth un-podded)
-red pepper flakes, a pinch
-Pennette, or penne if you cant find pennette
-pecorino romano
-1/2 cup canned borlotti beans, mashed (by hand or machine, just squeeze them with your fingers).

Start by gently heating the shallots in a healthy bit of oil, with the garlic just roughly crushed for a couple of minutes.
Then add the tomatoes ; squeeze out the pips with a sieve underneath, and crush them in your hand; then put in the pan, to cook with the onions, covered for the 1st 5 minutes on low heat.
Add the bay leaf, and red pepper flakes, and the beans. Add a cup of water or enough to cover the beans, and the finely chopped raw onion.
add salt generously, cover, bring to boil and lower heat once in full boil, to your lowest simmering setting.
Now take the lid off, and leave it ajar, not covered, not open. Simmer gently.
Leave, checking and stirring to make sure nothing is charring, for at least 30 minutes. If you re using fresh borlotti simmer at least an hour. Top up with water when dry.

Meanwhile ; Cook the pennette for 2 minutes less than the packet's cooking time. Drain and shock in cold water, drizzle some oil & stir, keep it till sauce is ready.

As around an hour has gone by, the sauce should be thickening - Add the mashed borlotti's and stir.
Add water from the pasta pot if needed, it should be a thick but generously moist sauce.
Add the pasta and cook for a couple of minutes, adding water when dry, until pasta is al dente - 1-3 minutes.

Add a drizzle of olive oil and some pecorino romano, and serve immediately. Best eaten once its not too hot and the flavours are settling.
And dont be embarassed to dip a slice of bread in the juices, its practically impossible to resist.