An easy mussel dish that can be served on pasta. And it isn’t bad with just some good bread. This recipe comes from an interesting region of France – Brittany.
Rinse the mussels. Pull off beards and discard any with opened or broken shells.
In a pot big enough to hold the mussels, sauté the chopped onion and chopped garlic in oil until it softens. Add the parsley and butter. Stir until butter melts. Add salt, black pepper and wine. Put the mussels in the pot and stir to coat them with the liquid.
Steam them until they open, (throw away any that don’t open) stir and serve.
Clean shrimp and thoroughly dry them so they don’t steam. Season with salt and black pepper. Boil the shells in a cup of water and save it. (* If you don’t have shells substitute chicken, vegetable or fish stock. ) Lightly sauté shrimp in olive oil until lightly pink and remove. Add the anchovy and cook until it dissolves then sweat the onion and garlic. Add the tomato paste and blend.
Pour in the white wine and burn off the alcohol. Add ½ the stock and return the shrimps to the pan.
French Roast is one of our favorite Upper West Side restaurants. Open from early to late they’re available for breakfast, lunch/brunch, dinner and late night. They also have a full bar with beer on tap.
Onion soup, escargot, moules and steak frites are some of our favorites. The Friday plat de jour, bouillabaisse is something special.
You can watch life go by on Broadway from their outdoor seating. If you’re in New York, keep in mind that there’s more to the city than Midtown and Times Square. Try the Upper West Side.
Pesce Spada Alla Siciliana (Sicilian-Style Swordfish)
This recipe is perfect for swordfish but works for any other thick fish steak.
In a pan large enough to hold the steak, heat oil and add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is lightly browned. Remove from heat – Add olives, water, capers, oregano and red pepper flakes and stir.
Season swordfish with salt and pepper and place it on top of onion olive mixture. Return the pan to medium-high heat, cover and cook for 3-5 minutes. Turn swordfish, cover and continue to cook until fish is cooked through, 3-5 minutes more.
This is a simple and quick recipe that I got from Bon Appetite.
Pat chicken thighs dry and season well with salt and black pepper. Place in a large resealable plastic bag and add vinegar. Seal bag and gently massage chicken to ensure thighs are coated in vinegar. Chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°. Remove chicken thighs from bag and pat dry with paper towels. The drier the skin, the crispier it will be when cooked.
Place chicken thighs, skin side down, in a dry large cast-iron skillet and set over medium heat. Cook undisturbed until they easily release from the pan, about 4 minutes. Continue to cook, moving chicken around occasionally to ensure the skin is cooking evenly, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
Set skillet over medium-high heat add garlic and cook lemons, cut side down, until edges are deeply charred about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate and let cool slightly.
Return chicken to the skillet,skin side down and bake until it’s cooked through, 10–12 minutes.
Squeeze lemon juice into a small bowl; add garlic, honey, and red pepper and whisk to combine. Whisk in oil and any accumulated juices on plate with chicken. Strain and season vinaigrette with salt and black pepper.
Drizzle half of vinaigrette on a platter and set chicken on top. Serve with remaining vinaigrette alongside.
A pork chop is as good an any steak if it’s prepared correctly. So here’s how to prepare a perfect pork chop.
Bring the chop to room temperature. Score the edges so the fat renders when it cooks. Blot dry and season with salt and black pepper. Heat a little oil in a pan and holding the chop with tongs and sear all the edges with the heat on high.
Then as one side browns add 2 pats of butter and some more oil. When the butter melts, tilt the pan and spoon it over the meat. Make sure that the hot pork fat, olive oil and butter sears every crevice. Do the same on the other side.
It’s a thick chop so give it another 3-5 minutes on each side on medium heat.
Remove the chop and let it rest. Pour out most of the fat from the pan add some oil, 2 pats of butter, the vermouth and currant jelly. Deglaze the pan, whisk the sauce and pour over the chop.
My friend Joe gave me two recipes, one for sausage and peppers and the other for gnocchi, that he found in the Wall Street Journal of all places. When I hear Wall Street Journal I think of finance, markets and banking, not Italian recipes. I tried them and they were both very good.
Sausage and Peppers
You can make sausage and peppers by simply frying some sausage and peppers. But a little extra effort can make it something special. In this version by Chef Mashama Bailey of the Grey, in Savannah, the key ingredient is the vinegar. It really brightens up the flavor. I adjusted her recipe down a bit from four lbs. of sausage to one.
Cook sausages until browned on all sides. Remove them and set aside. In the same pot, add peppers, onions and garlic. Sauté until vegetables soften, about 15 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes and vinegar. Return sausages to pot and stir gently to coat. Simmer until tomatoes reduce, adding splashes of water if pot looks dry.
Until I saw this recipe from Gail Monaghan, gnocchi were round, made with potatoes and boiled. Here they’re square, made with semolina and baked in the Roman style. The finished product reminded me of polenta. You can serve these with different kinds of sauce. We used a simple marinara.
Bring milk and nutmeg to a simmer. Off heat, whisk in semolina. Cook over low heat, stirring, until mass pulls away from pan, 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in 8 tablespoons butter, 1 cup cheese and yolks. Season with salt and pepper. Pour hot semolina mixture onto a foil-lined, buttered sheet pan. Use an offset spatula to spread mixture into an even rectangle ½ -inch to 1-inch thick. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 degrees with rack in the highest position. Use a sharp knife or pizza wheel to cut semolina into 2-inch squares.
Set gnocchi ½-inch apart on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Dot with remaining butter and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until golden, 15 minutes. (a minute or two under the broiler at the finish isn’t a bad idea)
Here I go again with another obscure brand of soda (4/3/18Manhattan Special). Cheerwine is obscure only if you’re not from the South and particularly it’s home state, North Carolina where it’s very popular. It’s an excellent wild cherry soda that’s been around since 1917.
It’s tasty, sweet, bubbly and not alcoholic although it makes a great mixer. Every so often I have a case mailed to me. With shipping it comes to about $2.50 per bottle and worth every penny. It’s taste reminds me of the fountain cherry sodas you used to be able to get in candy stores and ice cream parlors. It’s perfect straight from the bottle or on ice but you can be creative and make some interesting cocktails with it.
Cheerwine Old Fashioned
Add Bourbon, Angostura and Cointreau to a rocks glass. Add Ice and stir. Top Cheerwine and garnish with an orange slice.
Combine rum and lime juice in a shaker. Add ice and shake. Pour into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with Cheerwine and garnish with lime.
Cheerwine Bourbon Cocktail
Fill a shaker with bourbon, vanilla extract and lime juice. Shake with ice, pour into a rocks glass and top off with Cheerwine. Garnish with lime slice.
Pour Applejack, Campari and vermouth over ice in a Collins glass. Top with Cheerwine and garnish with orange peel.