September 7, 2015

Here is what we cooked last week:

Tuesday – Hatch Chile and Zucchini Tart
Wednesday – California Turkey Chili with Parmesan toasts
Friday – Baked Shrimp Scampi, Linguine with Lemon-Basil Pesto
Sunday – Seared Flank Steak with Chimichurri and Romesco, Salt-Roasted Fingerlings with aioli, Greens beans with roasted onions and peppers.

Holy Moly – what a week.  , the zucchini and chile tart was pretty (and tasty), but the keepers of the week, yes, there were two, were Mary Stewart’s baked shrimp scampi and the Seared Flank Steak with chimichurri and romesco.

I’m calling the shrimp scampi Mary’s because she corrected the recipe from Ina Garten in ways that were necessary.  (Cook-book writers have different stoves, different tastes and, sometimes, are just plain wrong).  So get Ina’s recipe, use half the garlic and half the salt and put an extra dusting of panko on the whole shooting-match before you put it in the oven.  We served the scampi alongside linguine with a lemon-basil pesto and had ourselves a party.

We had the flank steak to celebrate UFRs return from his golf trip to Ireland.  It was a knockout, enhanced by several glasses of The Famous Grouse.  I, personally, did not feel worthy of this dish, it was so good.  You should marinate the steak in chimichurri  overnight (if you don’t marinate for at least 4 hours- please don’t serve it to me), then sear it in a hot pan (you can do it on a hot grill).  You need about 3 minutes a side for rare, 4 minutes for medium-rare.  We served this over a bad of crispy, salt-roasted potatoes with some reserved chimichurri and the romesco sauce.


Lemon-basil pesto (this is great on pasta and superior on a mild fish like sole).  You’ll need a packed cup of basil leaves, 2 or 3 TBS of toasted pine nuts, grated zest of a lemon, tsp of lemon juice, ½ smashed garlic clove, ¼ tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, 3 TBS of grated parmigiana and 2 or 3 TBS of extra-virgin olive oil.  Put everything but the olive oil into a food processor and chop fine, then add the oil with the machine running and process until smooth and thick.  Obviously, you can fiddle with any of these amounts and the recipe can be doubled.

The two sauces below, along with pesto, are vital to life as we know it.

Chimichurri – there are a million ways to make chimichurri.  Here is a favorite – (note:  this is enough to marinate a large flank steak and have an extra half cup or so for serving).  Mince ½ C mint leaves, 2 bunches of cilantro and 2 bunches of flat-leaf parsley.  Toss these in a bowl and add 3 or 4 cloves of garlic (6 if you are Southern Italian) minced into a paste, a cup or so of extra-virgin olive oil, and1/4 cup of sherry vinegar, 2 tsps red pepper flakes (trust me – the mixture will tame the chile flakes), 2 tsps honey, the juice of 2 limes and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.

Romesco – This is a great sauce and can be used as a dip for crudites or a dressing for any kind of beef or lamb.

In a 350° oven roast 6 cloves of garlic (4 if you are Lutheran) in a foil packet with a TBS of olive oil for about 30 minutes.  Then add a cup of sliced almonds to the packet – leave open and cook for another 7 minutes until golden.  In a blender or food processor combine the garlic and almonds with a large jar of roasted red peppers (12 oz. or so – drained) and ¼ C of sherry vinegar.

If you are of Irish heritage, the recipe below will keep your relatives from fisticuffs, even if they’ve had too much Guinness or gotten into the Jameson’s.

Salt-roasted potatoes – pour kosher salt onto a sheet pan – a good thick layer – toss fingerling potatoes (2-3 pounds) with 2 TBS of olive oil and black pepper and place in a single layer on the salt.  Roast at 350° for 1 hour.  Brush off any salt and when slightly cooled gently smash, but keep each potato together, with the palm of your hand.  Before serving crisp them in some olive oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes a side.  Serve them on a smear of home-made aioli.

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