Thursday, February 28, 2019

CLASSIC CAESAR SALAD

The Caesar Salad was created in the 1920s by Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant, and restauranteur. My recipe uses two almost hard-boiled egg yolk to avoid any concerns about the possibility of salmonella bacteria in eggs. You whip it up in a blender and it is just as creamy. 

Lee's Kitchen Hints: To crisp up any limp lettuce, first soak the leaves in a bowl of lukewarm water for 5 minutes. This allows the cells (or pores) in the lettuce to soak up the water and become plump. Drain the lettuce and now soak in ice cold water for another 5 minutes. This allows the cells to close and the results will be crisp lettuce. Spin dry and place in a salad bowl. Any leftover lettuce can be refrigerated in a plastic baggie with a paper towel wrapped around the lettuce.



1 cup cubed (½-inch) crusty Italian bread
2 t olive oil

2 heads Romaine lettuce, torn or cut into bite-size pieces

Dressing
2 large eggs 
3 to 4 anchovy fillets (depending upon your taste)
2 cloves garlic
2 T champagne or white wine vinegar
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 t Dijon mustard
1 t Worcestershire sauce

⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 T grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 slices bacon or pancetta (optional)
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for garnish
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place pieces of bread on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil.
Mix around on the baking sheet to coat cubes with some of the oil
Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir after 4 minutes.
Remove and transfer croutons to a plate and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with water.
Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, and turn off heat.
Let the egg sit in hot water for 8 minutes.

Fry bacon until crisp. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and crumble when cool enough to handle.

Place Romaine in a large salad bowl.

When the eggs are cool enough to handle, remove the yolks from eggs and place yolks in a blender.
Discard the egg whites or save for another use (I chop it up and put it in my dog's food).

Add the anchovies, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon, Worcestershire, and grated cheese. 


Process until smooth. 
With motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil.
If the dressing seems too thick, add a tablespoon or two of water and process again.

Drizzle some of the dressing over lettuce and toss to combine.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the croutons, and toss again.

Divide between 4 salad plates, sprinkle on the bacon bits and add some shaved Parmigiano.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 4

Friday, February 22, 2019

BRUSCHETTE WITH RCOTTA, ARUGULA, & PROSCIUTTO

This is now one of my husband's favorite bruschette.
Bruschetta (with an "a") is singular and bruschette (with an "e") is plural. Since it was just the two of us, I only made 4 appetizers. This also makes a nice lunch with a glass of vino.


1 loaf Italian bread cut into ½-inch slice
Extra-light olive oil for brushing onto each slice
1 whole clove garlic
Fresh whole milk ricotta cheese, room temperature
Freshly ground black pepper
A handful of baby arugula
4 thin slices Prosciutto di Parma
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Brush each slice of bread on both sides.
Heat a griddle or grill pan to medium-high heat. 
Grill the bread until brown on both sides.
Remove and rub the top side of bread with the garlic clove.
Spread with some ricotta, season with a little black pepper, add a few arugula leaves, and top with a slice of Prociutto.

Drizzle with a little exta-virgin olive oil and place on a platter or board and serve. Buon appetito!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

TOMATO & OLIVE SALAD

This is such a delicious and easy salad to make. Toss it all together in a bowl and serve.


1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup black Cerignola or Kalamata olives, pitted
1 small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch chopped Italian parsley
1 small bunch chopped basil
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Toss all of the ingredients together in a salad bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 4

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

CREAMY SCALLOPS & SHRIMP

Sometimes I can't make up my mind if I want scallops or shrimp over pasta. I love sun-dried tomatoes in anything and this was a hit with my husband.



6 sea scallops
12 large shrimp peeled and deveined
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T avocado oil or light olive oil
1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
½ t red pepper flakes
1 cup clam nectar
1 cup cream or half-and-half
½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Rinse scallops and shrimp and pat dry with a paper towel.
Season them generously with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Cook the scallops on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden.
Remove to a plate and set aside.
Cook the shrimp on each side for 2 minutes, until pink.
Remove to the plate with the scallops.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook about 1 minute.
Add the clam nectar, cream or half-and-half, sun-dried tomatoes, and Parmigiano.
Stir to combine, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Return scallops and shrimp to skillet and gently stir to combine and simmer another minute.

Serve with pasta or with crusty bread and a green salad.


Serves 2 as a main course

Sunday, February 3, 2019

SALMON FINGER SANDWICHES

Everyone has heard of bagels and lox...well this is an Italian version of that breakfast or brunch entree.


4 oz package of thinly sliced brined salmon
Thinly sliced multi-grain bread
½ cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3 T minced red onion
3 T rinsed, drained, and minced capers
2 scallions, minced
Grated zest of ½ lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
Fresh chives or dill
Lemon slices or wedges for garnish

Toast bread in a toaster and then cut into finger-size sandwiches. Set aside on a cutting board.

In a bowl add the mascarpone and mix in the red onion, capers, scallions, zest, and lemon juice.
Spread on the bread slices, add a slice of salmon, garnish with chives or dill and serve with lemon slices or wedges.

Makes 9 finger sandwiches