Different families have different recipes for orange salad. I’ve had it served with thinly sliced red onion. Try that if you like. Substitutions are permitted. Chopped dates instead of currants, walnuts for pistachios, and rose water for orange flower water. You can also vary the amounts of the ingredients depending on what you like.
3 large oranges
¼ cup currants, rehydrated and chopped
¼ cup pistachios, chopped
3 tbsp. chopped mint
2 tbsp. orange flower water
Juice of ¼ large lemon
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of salt and a light sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar
Using a very sharp knife, peel the oranges, leaving no pith. Slice thin rounds, then cut them into half-moons and arrange them in a serving dish. Pour any juice from cutting the orange over the slices.
Sprinkle with the currants, pistachios, and mint. Drizzle with the orange flower water, lemon juice, and the extra virgin olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and some confectioner’s sugar. Orange salad Sicilian style can be served chilled or at room temperatures.
I got this Turkish Roast Chicken recipe from a friend (no, she’s not Turkish). Cutting the chicken this way is the reverse of spatchcocked, but it works.
3 – 4 lb. chicken
Salt & black pepper
2 tsp. olive oil
2 pats butter
4 smashed cloves of garlic.
2 tbsp. honey
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. mustard
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. coriander
Cut the chicken open through the breast to the backbone. Spread and flatten with your hands and then push it flat using a rolling pin. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and black pepper.Heat the oil and butter in an oven proof pan and sauté the garlic until golden. Remove the garlic and add the chicken skin side down.
Cover with a dish and exerting downward pressure with the dish, cook on medium high for 4-5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook the same way for another 5 minutes. Keep applying pressure as it cooks to flatten the chicken. Remove the chicken from the pan and pour out all but 2 tablespoons of grease.
Marinade – Mix the honey, soy sauce, mustard, tomato paste, paprika, and coriander into a paste. Brush the chicken on both sides with the marinade. Return the chicken to the pan, cover with foil and roast at 400o for 45 minutes. Uncover and roast for another 10–15 minutes.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes, cut into quarters and serve.
I recently was about to take a road trip with some friends when we stopped in a deli for some sandwiches to bring along. The orders were turkey, roast beef, Swiss cheese, etc. Everyone asked for mayo on their sandwiches except me. I got mustard. When I was growing up in New York the delis were either Italian or Jewish and the only choices for your sandwich was either mustard or no mustard. Mayo wasn’t even offered. I still prefer mustard and wouldn’t consider mayo. I guess it all depends on what you’re used to.
I used to live near a great German restaurant called the Bavarian Inn. The kitchen closed at 11pm but they made sandwiches until 1am. No matter what sandwich you ordered, the bread was buttered. If you wanted mustard, you got that too. So, it’s mustard for Italian and Jewish sandwiches and the addition of butter on the German ones. Now let’s get to French sandwiches. I recently read an article by Florence Fabricant. It was all about a classic French sandwich consisting of ham on a buttered baguette- jambon beurre.
Reading about it made me hungry and reminded me of my Bavarian Inn sandwiches, so I tried a French ham sandwich. Just ham, baguette and butter, no mustard or anything else, and it was terrific.
Jaques Pepin is one of my favorite TV chefs. Pepin Roast Chicken is an easy recipe that can be served as is or dressed up with a simple sauce.
3 – 4 lb. chicken
Salt and black pepper
2 tbsp. butter
Heat the oven to 425o.
It’s not absolutely necessary but it’s a good idea to truss the chicken. It holds its shape better and cooks more evenly.
Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a pan and season the chicken with salt and black pepper – inside and out.
Start with one side and roast the chicken in the oven for 20 minutes. Switch to the other side and roast another 20 minutes. For the last 20 minutes, put the chicken on its back, breast facing up. During this last 20 minutes you should baste the chicken with the pan juices (melted butter and chicken fat) every 5 minutes. Lift the chicken and if the juices run clear it is done. If not, roast for another 10 minutes.
You can stop right now for a perfectly roasted chicken or you can make a simple sauce.
½ cup chicken stock
1 tsp. soy sauce
Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of pan juice from the pan and add ½ cup chicken stock and deglaze the pan. Add 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and heat for a few minutes. Strain the sauce into a small saucepan and if it needs thickening add 1 teaspoon of flour or potato starch that has been dissolved in 2 ounces of cold water.
I got this recipe from a Greek friend. When she first mentioned it to me, I assumed the ‘rusks’ were some kind of vegetable. Well, they aren’t. Rusks are dry, hard biscuits or twice-baked bread. You can make your own, you can use crumbled hard tack or pilot bread, or like I did, use Italian biscotti (not the sweet, cookie kind).
Fresh Tomato Sauce with Rusks Ingredients:
4 or 5 ripe tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
3 cloves sliced garlic
Salt, black, and red pepper
1 -2 cups crumbled rusks
1/2 lb. pasta
Start by putting up a pot of salted water for the pasta. This is a quick, fresh sauce and can be made by the time the pasta is done.
Grate the tomatoes on the large side of a box grater and set aside. In a large pot, sauté the garlic in oil for a few minutes until it starts to color. Add salt, black and red pepper and the grated tomatoes and cook for 20 minutes. Some of the liquid will evaporate and the sauce will thicken. When the pasta is almost done the way you like it, add it to the sauce to finish cooking.
Using a mortar and pestle or the bottom of a small frying pan on a cutting board, crush the rusts to make about a cup full. Serve the pasta and pass the rusk crumbs as you would cheese.
Some things are too good to go overboard with. Scallops are one of them. They can’t be beat if served with a simple lemon butter sauce.
6 pats butter
Salt & black pepper
2 sliced garlic cloves
1 lb. large sea scallops
Juice of 1 lemon
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for a few seconds.
Add the scallops in a single layer in the pan, cooking and turning until they begin to color. Transfer scallops to a serving platter, reserving butter in the skillet. Whisk in the lemon juice, pour the sauce through a strainer over the scallops, and serve. Don’t strain it if you want the sliced garlic in the sauce.
Escarole and Beans is cheap, easy to make, and healthy. My doctor always tells me to eat more greens and beans, so this recipe should make her happy. Escarole, scarola in Italian, looks like lettuce but with wider, wavy leaves. It’s in the chicory family, and like endive, and radicchio it has a slightly bitter taste when eaten raw. This is authentic Cucina Povera, the cooking of the poor.
¼ cup olive oil
2 head escarole – washed and cut into 1-inch slices
4 cloves sliced garlic
Salt, black, and red pepper – to taste
½ cup chicken stock
1 – 15-ounce can cannellini beans drained and rinsed.
Heat the oil in a large pot with salt, black and red pepper. Sauté the garlic on low heat until it’s soft but not brown.
Wash (drain but leave it wet) the escarole and cut it into one-inch slices removing the base and add it to the garlic and oil. It may seem like too much, but it will wilt and reduce in about ten minutes.
Cover the pot until the escarole begins to wilt and toss it to coat it with the oil.
Add a half cup of stock (or water) and the rinsed beans. Add some hot water if you’d like it thinner. Simmer ten minutes and serve.
In 1924 Caesar Salad was created by an Italian American chef, Caesar Cardini, at the Caesar Hotel in Tijuana. It’s possible that anchovies weren’t used in the original recipe but there was definitely no mayonnaise or vinegar. I posted a Caesar Salad recipe in the past but this one is a little more authentic.
1 clove of garlic
½ tsp black pepper
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
5 anchovies finely chopped
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1½ tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup Parmigiana cheese
1 egg yolk
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
A day-old loaf of Italian bread
3 tbsp olive oil for croutons
Salt and pepper to taste
2 medium heads of romaine lettuce with the outer leaves removed
Extra Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to grate onto the salad
Dressing: (ingredients 1 to 9)
Mash the garlic clove, black pepper, mustard and anchovies in a mortar and pestle until it forms a paste. When it’s well mashed, add in the Parmesan a bit at a time until well incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix in the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.
In another bowl, separate the egg yolk from the egg white and beat the yolk.
Mix the beaten egg yolk in with the rest of the ingredients that you’ve already mixed together. Mix in the ½ cup of olive oil into the other ingredients.(You can double the amount of ingredients and refrigerate half of the dressing for use at another time.)
Croutons: (ingredients 10 to 12)
Cut or tear the bread into ½ to 1-inch cubes and place in a bowl (about 3 cups). Add the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix the bread with the oil, tossing until it is all well coated.Spread the coated bread in a single layer in a pan and cook over medium high heat, shaking the pan a few times, for about 5 to 8 minutes until the bread pieces are crisp and slightly browned.
Assembly: (ingredients 13 & 14)
Remove some of the outer leaves and cut the Romaine into one-inch strips. Add it to a salad bowl and pour in enough of the dressing to coat the lettuce. Add the croutons, some grated cheese, toss again and serve.
2 bs. white-wine vinegar (or more according to your taste)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbsp. capers, rinsed
2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
Pat the chicken dry, season with salt and pepper, and dredge lightly in the flour, shaking off any excess. Heat a large pot fitted with a lid over medium-high heat and add the 1/3 cup olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces (in batches, if necessary), browning them very well on both sides. When browned, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Pour off all but about 3 tbsp.. of the fat from the pan.
Lower the heat to medium low and add the trinity, (onion, celery, carrot). Sauté until it’s soft, about 6 or 7 minutes. Add the sugar and vinegar to the pan and cook for about 1 minute. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them over in the vegetables once or twice to coat them. Increase the heat to medium and add the wine, letting it boil until almost evaporated. Add the chicken stock and bay leaf, cover the pan, and simmer on low heat until the chicken is just about tender, 30 to 35 minutes, turning the pieces once or twice during cooking.
Add the raisins, walnuts, and capers and simmer for about 5 minutes. If the sauce looks too dry, add some chicken stock or water. Taste for seasoning and a balance between sweet and sour. Add more salt, pepper, a splash of vinegar, or a pinch of sugar to balance the flavors.
Arrange the chicken on a large serving platter. Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the chopped mint.