If you have a bunch of these at the end of the summer…
Then turn them into this with this proven, basic recipe that I call a Winter Caprese Salad. It was one of the appetizers used at the President’s Address at the end of the summer in “New York Fried” (Chapter 56).
4 large green tomatoes
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 quart vegetable oil for frying
- Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick. Discard the ends
- Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium-sized bowl.
- Scoop flour onto a plate.
- Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper on another plate.
- Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat.
- In a large skillet, pour vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) and heat over a medium heat. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain on paper towels
- Serve with Burrata or semi-soft mozzarella with whatever basil you salvaged before bringing the plant in from the cold. Intermix the tomatoes, cheese, and basil on a plate (as you might with a Caprese) and drizzle with Balsamic Glaze.
In my bestselling novel, New York Fried, various international delegations visited the complex in Oswego, N.Y., to experience the new technology that would revolutionize internet around the world. While there, Chef Artichoke Hart (also an ex-CIA trainer), was tasked with feeding the visitors. His idea was to offer a traditional dish native to their country but with an American twist.
When the Italians came, this was the dish he prepared. Though later we find that some were indeed Sicilian, not Italian, the dish was still a big hit. The American twist? A creamy garlic sauce instead of a straight lemon sauce, and the incorporation of Sorrento’s famous lemon-based liqueur: limoncello.
INGREDIENTS (for 4 people)
FOR THE CHICKEN:
2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts, halved and smashed to 1/8 inch in depth
1 tspn garlic powder
1 tspn salt
juice of half a lemon
4 tblsn flour
FOR THE SAUCE:
1 tbls butter
2 tspns olive or lemon-infused oil
1 medium sized brown onion
2 tbsn minced garlic (or 6-8 garlic, minced)
1 and 1/4 cup chicken broth (stock)
2/3 cup light cooking cream (I use 1/2 and 1/2)
1 tspn cornstarch mixe with 1 tbsn water
2-3 tbsns limoncello liqueur (lemon juice if liquor isn’t available)
2 tspn dried Italian mixed herbs
2 tbsns fresh parsley chopped
lemon wedges or slices to serve
- Season chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon juice of half a lemon over each fillet, rubbing it into each fillet. (remember, you’ve already halved and smashed them so they are thin and wide) Add the flour to a shallow bowl and dredge each fillet in the flour; shake off excess and set aside.
- Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet or non-stick pan over medium-high heat until butter has melted and pan is hot. Fry the chicken until golden on each side, cooked through and no longer pink (about 4-5 min). Transfer to a warming plate.
- Add the onion and garlic to the pan and fry until onion is translucent (about 3 min). Reduce heat to low-medium heat, add the broth. Season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook to reduce down slightly (about 6 min). Add in the cream and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer for about 5 min until it begins to thicken. (If the sauce is too runny for your liking, add the cornstarch/water mixture into the center of the pan and mix through fast to combine into the sauce. It will begin to thicken immediately).
- Pour in the limoncello (lemon juice), allow to simmer gently for a further minute to combine. Stir in the Italian herbs. Add the chicken back into the pan, cover with the sauce and serve over rice, pasta, steamed vegetables or noodles. Garnish with lemon slices or wedges and parsley.
Calories per serving: 228
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.
This is such a simple salad but I think it’s one of the best ways to eat steak.
INGREDIENTS (to serve 4)
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (good dipping quality)
1 tsp brown sugar
kosher or sea salt
black pepper (grated)
1 lb skirt, sirloin or round steak
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1.5 oz container of baby arugula (about 6 cups)
1/2 pint red grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise (1 cup)
1/2 pint yellow grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise (1 cup)
2 0z feta, crumbled (1/2 cup)
In large skillet, heat 1 tbsn olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes, until softened. Add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, and continue to cook for another 2 minuts, until very soft. Season with salt and pepper. REmove to bowl and let cool.
Rub grill pan with 1 tbsn of olive oil and eheat ovaer high heat. Season steak generously with salt and pepper (sometimes, I’ve marinated steak in dark wine for 30 minutes or even overnight to tenderize and flavour, but it’s not necessary). Grill steak for 3 mintues per side (6 minutes total) for medium rare. Longer if a thick steak and if you want more medium. Remove steak to cutting board, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. (It will continue cooking so don’t overcook on the grill).
In a large bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar with 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add arugula and tomatoes to vinaigrette and toss gently to combine.
Thinly slice steak diagonally across the grain, removing fat.
Divid sald mixture among 4 plates. Top each with caramelized onions, steak, and crumbled feta. Serve immediately with crusty bread and a good oil/balsamic dip.