Wednesday, January 22, 2020

PAN SEARED SCALLOPS WITH PANCETTA & VERMOUTH OVER RISOTTO

If you've ever been to Digby, Nova Scotia, you probably have eaten those wonderful large scallops. They are harvested from the Bay of Fundy, which has the highest and lowest tides in the world. These scallops are so sweet and tender. If you can't find them, buy East Coast sea scallops.
I served them over risotto, but polenta or mashed potatoes would be equally delicious.




Low tide at the Bay of Fundy

2 oz pancetta, diced
10 Digby or East Coast sea scallops
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T unsalted butter
1 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
1 shallot, finely diced
½ cup dry Italian vermouth
Juice of ½ lemon
2 T unsalted butter

Fry pancetta in a large skillet until crisp. Transfer to a plate and discard the grease.

Rinse scallops under cold water and place on a double layer of paper towels.
Pat completely dry.
Season scallops with salt and pepper on both sides.

In the same large skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat.
Add the scallops in a single layer, not touching each other.
Brown on one side for about 2 minutes.
Do move scallops until they are brown, you can peek under one to see.

Turn scallops over with tongs and brown on the other side for another 2 minutes.

Remove scallops to a plate and set aside.

Lower heat in skillet to medium-low and sauté the shallot for 2 minutes.
Add the vermouth and lemon juice.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook for a minute or two, stirring with a wooden spoon.
Add the two tablespoons of butter, then return the scallops to the pan and cook another few seconds to warm the scallops. Do not overcook the scallops.

Spoon sauce over scallops and top with diced pancetta.

Serves 2




Saturday, January 11, 2020

QUICK TUSCAN BEAN SOUP

There’s nothing like a steaming bowl of hot soup to warm you on a cold autumn or winter evening. This soup is made with canned beans instead of dried beans, making it quick and easy to prepare. Any variety of white canned beans will be great with this soup, from the smaller navy bean to the medium great northern bean and the larger cannellini bean. 


2 oz pancetta, finely diced 
2 T extra-light olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together with 
cotton butcher’s twine
2 bay leaves
8 cups chicken stock
3 (14 oz) cans great northern or 
any white beans, rinsed and drained 
1 (3-inch) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
Chopped Italian parsley, for garnish
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

In a large pot or Dutch oven, fry the pancetta over medium heat until golden. Pour off most of the grease and discard.
Add the oil to the pot and sauté the onion until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. 
Add garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the thyme sprigs, bay leaves, chicken stock, beans, and cheese rind.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer for about 25 minutes.

Remove the thyme sprigs, bay leaves, and cheese rind. 
Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with parsley.

Serve with grated Parmigiano cheese and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

Serves 4 to 6 


Saturday, January 4, 2020

CLASSIC CHICKEN PICCATA

Chicken Piccata is on the menu in most Italian restaurants, and it is so easy to prepare at home. The recipe originated in Italy with veal. Serve this with pasta or Risotto alla Milanese.




2 medium lemons
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 T freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
¼ cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup capers, rinsed and drained
3 T unsalted butter, room temperature
2 T chopped Italian parsley

Cut one lemon in half and cut the half into thin circles.

Squeeze the juice from the remaining one and a half lemons and set aside.
Cut each chicken breast in half, lengthwise and remove the tenderloin, saving for another use.
Using freezer wrap or zippered plastic bag, gently pound the meat with the flat side of a meat mallet to ¼-inch thickness.

In a shallow bowl, add the flour and grated cheese.

Season generously with salt and pepper. 

Dredge chicken in the flour mixture, shake off excess and set aside on a platter or pizza pan. 


Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
Add the chicken to the skillet and fry for about 4 minutes on each side, until golden. 

Transfer chicken to a heatproof platter and place in oven.
Add the shallot and garlic to the skillet and cook 30
seconds.

Add the wine to deglaze the pan while stirring.

Pour in the chicken stock, and lemon slices.
Simmer a couple of minutes.
Stir in the lemon juice and capers and simmer one minute.
Remove skillet from heat and stir in the butter and allow to melt. 
Pour sauce over cutlets, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Serves 2