Turkey scallopini in lemon sauce

This dish was inspired by our new friend, Chef Massimo Zingaro Fidale, on our recent visit to Italy. His simple but oh-so-delicious Veal Scallopini in Lemon Sauce was so tasty I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

However, as usual, I changed it; Canadianized it if you will. In my version, I use turkey scallopini and make the sauce a little heavier with the introduction of Greek yogurt. I also add a little twist with the use of Limoncello (brought home from Italy).  ‘Twas a totally new and mouth-watering experience.

INGREDIENTS

4 strips turkey scallopini
4 slices back bacon (pork loin)
2 tbsn sesame seed oil
2 tbsn plain greek yogurt
4 tbsn lemon juice
2 tbsn limoncello
1 tbsn capers (dried)
1/2 tsp fresh oregano (1/4 dried)
pepper to taste

METHOD

Brush turkey strips with lemon and saute over low heat in sesame seed oil, till browned both sides and white inside (about 4 min per side) then add the lemon and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cover.

Simultaneously saute the back bacon to desired crispness. Don’t burn as it will alter the taste of the dish immensely.

While these are cooking, slowly begin heating the yogurt and (very slowly) pour in the limoncello. It may curdle but keep mixing. Add the capers, oregano, and pepper.

Place turkey in centre of plate and pour remaining lemon juice over them. Then pour the sauce on top.

I served with roasted garlic potatoes and thin slices of fresh tomatoes from our garden.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

 

Veal with Olives and Grape Tomatoes

At this time of the year, I get an abundance of small grape tomatoes. They are delicious as a snack but I get so many, I have to think of dishes to prepare with them. (The larger tomatoes don’t ripen till late in August here).

This is one I hadn’t tried before and since we were in the mood for a little meat, worked out really well. The topping alone would be good on any meat.

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
4 slices of top round of veal for scallopini
2 tsp oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp cold butter
1 cup grape tomatoes (halved)
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives (halved)
1/3 cup chopped parsley (fresh if possible; less if dried)

METHOD

Mix flour, salt and pepper in a large plastic food bag. Add veal, 1 piece at a time, and toss to coat.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add veal and cook 4-5 minutes, turning once, until golden (center should be opaque). Remove to a warm plate.

Add wine to skillet; simmer 1 minute. Reduce heat to very low. Stir in butter until melted, then the tomatoes, olives and parsley. Spoon over cutlets.

I served with sauteed carrots and roasted small potatoes in rosemary.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

 

Honey roasted Rhubarb, Walnut, rocket and Feta Salad

When fresh Rhubarb arrives, my cooking brain insists that I make something. Since I’m not much of a dessert eater (I know, hard to believe from a cook), I look for side plates, appetizers, cocktail accompaniments, etc. This one is a true marvel since the honey, thyme and feta offset the sharp tangy taste of the rhubarb.

INGREDIENTS

2 stalks rhubarb
1 tbsp honey
1 tspn fresh thyme (you should have fresh available but 1/2 tspn dried works)
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 small bag of mixed rocket and spinach leaves (I pull my leaves right of the Arugula plant in the yard)
1 small fennell bulb
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin lemon olive oil (or regular extra-virgin with a dash of lemon juice, if you don’t have it)
salt and pepper
2 tbsn feta cheese (the Greek version, not Canadian. As my son-in-law the Greek pointed out: “The difference is like night and day”

METHOD

Preheat oven to 200%
Cut the rhubarb into 3cm batons and lay on an oven tray. Drizzle with honey and thyme, and give it a mix around so the rhubarb is well coated. Bake for 6 minutes or until they are soft enough to bite. Sprinkle with walnuts, place tray back in the oven for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the balsamic vinegar with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Thinly slice the fennel and toss with the rocket and spinach leaves, add the salad dressing, then toss again.

To plate, place salad on the bottom, crumble feta cheese on top, gently place rhubarb on top and sprinkle withe the toasted walnuts.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

Nicoise Salade

Top chefs everywhere argue what constitutes an “official Nicoise” salad. Lyonnaise Chefs insist it is only fresh ingredients with no fish or vegetables. Chefs from other French regions, as well as Western afficionado’s, beg to differ, saying that potatoes and haricots verts (green beans) are integral to the original recipe. Others say there must be tuna (preferably cooked but canned in oil can be used as a replacement without bastardizing authenticity). And hard boiled eggs are a must… to most.

Personally, I like the potatoes, could lose the green beans, and not as much tuna as suggested in most recipes. And the herbs are fresh, not dried; mine come right from the back yard. Here’s the version I had at Cafe Boloud, a fine French restaurant in Toronto, and repeated the next day at home (serves 4-6):

INGREDIENTS for VINAIGRETTE

2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp finely chopped shallot
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tspn Dijon mustard (old style)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

INGREDIENTS for SALAD

2 grilled tuna steaks (8oz each), or 1 can tuna (most recipes call for 2-3)
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise (most recipes call for 6. In a pinch, I’ll use pickled eggs)
1/2 lbs small young red potatoes or fingerling potatoes (most recipes call for 1 and 1/4 lbs but I find the extra starch spoils the melding flavours)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium heads Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (I grow Arugula in my garden and sometimes substitute for a more peppery flavour)
3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges (I grow grape and heirloom sweet tomatoes and sometimes use several of these orange and red tomatoes for a bigger “burst” of flavour)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (most recipes call for 1/2 lb but I find that too much, often eliminating them altogether)
1/4 cup nicoise olives (or Kalamata)
2 tbsp capers, rinsed
2 anchovies chopped finely (optional. I love anchovies)

METHOD

Marinate tuna steaks in a little olive oil for an hour. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat, or place on a hot grill. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked through.

In a jar or bag, place the oil, vinegar, shallots, herbs, and mustard together. Cover and shake until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place onion slices in a small bowl and sprinkle with 3 tbsn of vinaigrette. (the onions soaking in the vinaigrette will help take some of the bite out of them. )

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add 1 tbsn of salt. Heat to boil. Lower and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain. While still warm, cut them into quarters. Place them in a bowl and dress them with about 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette.

While the potatoes are cooking, fill a medium sized pot halfway with water, and add w teaspoons of salt. Bring to boil and add green beans. Cook until tender but still firm to the bite (about 3-5 minutes). Drain and either rinse with cold water to stop the cooking or shock for half a minute in ice water.

Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter. Cut tuna into 1/2 thick slices and mound in center of bed of lettuce (or spread canned tuna). Sprinkle the tomatoes, onions, olives, capers, and anchovies around the tuna. Arrange the potatoes and green beans around the outside edge. Place egg wedges on one side of the serving dish, face up.

Pour the vinaigrette over dish just before serving. Garnish with fresh basil.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

 

Caponata

I love discovering new Italian dishes that I’m told are basic, traditional masterpieces that everyone knows. Unfortunately, I wasn’t born an Italian, so it’s all news to me. This is yet another dish with only one name. And it is amazing. The fusion of flavours makes perfect sense once you make it. But I would never thought of putting them together this way myself. Absolutely stunning served at room temperature as a snack or appetizer.

INGREDIENTS

4 tbsp olive oil
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 red onions, sliced
1 large eggplant, diced
6 small videlia tomatoes, chopped in quarters
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp pitted green olives
2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper
4 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (to garnish)
ciabatta or calabrese bread (to serve)

METHOD

Heat half the oil in a large, heavy-bottom pan. Add the celery and onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add the remaining oil and the eggplant. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 mintues, until the eggplant starts to colour.

Add the garlic, tomatoes, vinegar, and sugare, and mix well. Cover the mixture with a circle of wax paper and let simmer gently for about 10 minutes.

Remove the wax paper, stir in the olives and capers, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the caponata into a sering dish and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Just before serving, sprinkle over the parsley to garnish. Serve with bread.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

 

Grilled tenderloin Nicoise with Lemon Dill Olive Bernaise

Much to the chagrin of white tablecloth restaurants, great steak is not always about the steak, it’s about the rest of the dish.
In this presentation, the steak sits on a bed of sauteed vegetables and is topped with a custom bernaise-style sauce mixed with chopped black olives.  I added a few leftover hash browns (from a sunday breakfast out), a couple of fried tomatoes and some sauteed fresh shrimp.

INGREDIENTS

4 tbsn olive oil
1 garlic clove, sliced
sprig of fresh thyme plus extra to garnish
6 fresh basil leaves
2 x 6oz ternderloin steaks
1 zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/3 inch thick slices
1 italian eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 red bell pepper, skinned, halved, desseded, cut into strips
1 tomatoe, cut into quarters
2 tbsn balsamic vinegar

For Lemon Dill Olive Bernaise:
1 tbsn chopped black olives
Lemon Dill dressing,
1 tsp old style mustard
2 tbsp plain yogourt
2 tbsp English salad dressing

 

METHOD

Mix all the olive oil with the garlic and herbs in a dish. Add the meat and coat well with the marinade3. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at room temperature for 4 hours.

Remove the meat, add the vegetables and the tomatoes to the oil, and marinate for a further 2 hours.

Cook the potatoes any way you wish. Frites, boiled, grilled, or reheated. Keep warm.

Heat the grill (I used an indoor grill because it was raining). Place vegetables and beef on the grill and wait till veggies are golden and lightly charred all over. Cook the beef to your liking (which should be medium rare–just saying).

Mix the olives with the other bearnaise ingredients and season to taste.

Arrange the vegetables on the plates and sprinkle the balsamic vinegar over. Arrange the beef on top of the vegetables and spoon a little sauce over each steak. Garnish with thyme and serve (with lightly oiled and grilled mushrooms and shrimp if you wish).

 

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

Pork Chops with Fresh Tomato, Onion, Garlic, and Feta

I’m not really a fan of pork chops but since Costco had a great sale last weekend, I ended up with a pile of them in my refrigerator. One of the recipes I tried that really was amazing was this one. The topping was so fresh and tangy that it offset the drab taste of the pork.

INGREDIENTS

2 tbspn olive oil, divided
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 pork loin chops, 1 inch thick
salt and black pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1/2 pint red grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 pint yellow grape tomoatoes, halved
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 tbsp dried basil (or two freshly chopped)
2 and 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (As my Greek son-in-law insists, be sure to buy Feta from Greece; it is much more flavourful than any Canadian or US manufacturer’s)

METHOD

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until golden brown. Set aside.

Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in the skillet. Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and place in the skillet. Cook to desired doneness (don’t increase heat as that will dry them out). Set aside but keep warm.

Heat remaining oil in the skillet. Return onions to skillet, and stir in tomatoes, garlic, and basil. Cook and stir about 3 minutes, until tomatoes are tender. Mix in balsamic vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Top chops with the onion and tomato mixture, and sprinkle with feta cheese to serve.

Great with roasted small potatoes and vermouth-sauteed asparagus

These recipes often show up in the Tales of the Artichoke Hart series, by Robert J. Morrow. Chef Arthur “Artichoke” Hart combines cooking with international intrigue on a regular basis. Click here for the latest book in the series

Lately, some of the recipes come from London Cartwright, 5-star Chef in NYC. For the first book in her series, click here. It’s FREE!