Cooking’s A Gas

A new experience. Gas stove and oven. Learning tricks and pitfalls. Burners are different sizes for various purposes. Simmering vs. boiling. After not getting a good sear on Dover sole, may have to heat the pan first to get proper crispness. Also, broiler was not hot enough to brown veal chops. Mark Bittman of the NYTimes and many others confirm that this is typical. So. Suggest turning oven up to highest temperature before broiling to get preferred crunch. It’s a process.

Hadley Grass 2016

Sweet out of the fertile Connecticut River Valley earth. Asparagus. From Hadley, Massachusetts. Finally here! There is nothing like it. Will they have it at UWS Farmer’s Market? We’ll find out next year.

Steam it until tender but still crunchy. Quick cold water bath. Pat dry. Oregano. Ground black pepper. Balsamic vinaigrette. That’s it.


Passover And Over

Strahl Brisket. Dr. G’s Potato Latkes. It’s another Passover. Another year.

For the brisket: Lovingly derived from Birdie Sandler Strahl’s original, enhanced by daughter Betsey Strahl Levine’s creative touch:

4-5 lb. first cut fresh brisket of beef. Not too lean, need some fat. Serves about 8-ish. It shrinks. In a dutch oven, brown brisket well on both sides to sear. Take out and place on dish. Brown at least 3 large sliced onions, the more the better. Put the brisket back into the pan and season with generous amount of paprika, pepper, garlic powder, salt. Pour 16 oz. canned tomato sauce over the meat.

Bake at 350 degrees tightly covered for one hour. Uncover and add 1 cup sweet Jewish or another fruity red wine. Bake covered for another hour. Uncover and take out the pot roast and slice against the grain. Put sliced meat back into the pot and make sure it is covered with liquid, add chicken broth if necessary. Bake another hour or until it falls apart.

For Dr. G’s latkes: Grate 4 large raw peeled potatoes into fine strips into a bowl of ice water. Press out moisture and drain on paper towels. Put potatoes into a large bowl. Add 2 lightly beaten eggs and blend to bind. Add 1 cup matzoh meal and thinly sliced bunch of green onions (scallions). Blend together with fingers. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fashion potato mixture into 4 inch diameter, 1/2 inch thick patties. Heat a non-stick fry pan and coat with vegetable oil until hot. Brown potato patties on both sides until crispy. Keep latkes warm in a 200 degree oven on a platter until ready to eat.

Saucy Shrimp

Great with a freshly baked crusty bâtard from Hungry Ghost in Northampton. Lots of sauce to dip it in. Clean and devein eight large shrimp per person. Dry and drizzle with olive oil, garlic paste, oregano and red pepper flakes, black ground pepper to taste. Stir and refrigerate for a couple of hours or so. When ready to eat, take out shrimp and bring to room temperature. Place on a baking sheet. Broil on high heat top rack for 4 minutes. Don’t turn. Remove from oven. Meanwhile.

Finely chop 6-8 cloves fresh garlic and 2 small shallots, 1/2 cup fresh parsley. Squeeze juice of 1 1/2 lemons into a cup. In a large sauté pan, brown a stick of butter until bubbly. Add the garlic and shallots and brown. Add 1 cup dry white wine. Stir. Add lemon juice and parsley. Turn off heat.

Place eight shrimp into each pasta bowl or deep plate. Pour the sauce evenly over the shrimp on each plate. Add a bit more fresh parsley and grate lemon zest on top. Serve with that crusty bread. Dunk liberally.

Sole Rollatini

4 filets of sole, no skin. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup panko crumbs, zest of one lemon, 1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano, basil, ground black pepper, a handful of chopped parsley, 1/4 cup grated cheese of your choice. Press the mixture evenly into each filet top side up. Roll the filets around the bread crumb mixture as tightly as possible and fasten with a toothpick or two.

In a small glass baking dish, put 1/4 cup unsalted butter in pieces, slices of one lemon, and juice from the lemon. Place the filets in the dish and add 2 tablespoons drained tiny capers. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until cooked just through.

Scallops Grenobloise

1 lb. sweet fresh sea scallops, trimmed and dry. Peel and remove sections from a lemon. No pulp, rind or membranes. Reserve juice as well. Smash, peel 4 cloves garlic. 1/4 cup Sancerre or dry white wine. 1 tbs. capers. Sear the scallops in olive oil until golden brown on both sides. Remove. Add butter to fry pan and add 1 lb. baby spinach, garlic, lemon sections, lemon juice, capers, wine. Stir. Season with salt and pepper, red pepper flakes. Serve immediately with scallops.

Delectable Haddock

Filet of freshest haddock, skin on. If large, cut into two pieces. Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of an oval pan and place fish on top, skin side down. Top with panko or bread crumbs, drizzle more olive oil, add a few pats of butter. Place thin slices of lemon on top. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Cook at 200 degrees for 45 minutes. Turn oven off until ready to serve. Before serving, remove the lemon slices and set aside. Turn oven to broil. Place fish under the broiler on highest rack until golden brown on top. Use a spatula to serve, keeping fish together and leaving skin in the pan. Garnish with lemon slices. Great with rice and peas.

Lobster Couscous

Fishmonger has flash frozen cooked lobster from the holidays. Best if can get a pack of 2-3 tails, but mixed with claw meat is fine. Thaw the lobster in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature when ready to eat. Cut the lobster meat into large chunks and set aside.

In a small casserole dish, pour 1 cup dry couscous. Add fresh asparagus tips, and/or mushroom chunks, or frozen peas. Season with 1/4 tsp. turmeric, cayenne, basil, ground black pepper. In a small saucepan, boil 1 cup chicken broth and pour over couscous and vegetables in the casserole dish. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Shake around so liquid distributes and cover. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.

Melt 1 stick butter and add juice of one lemon in the small saucepan. When hot, drop lobster meat in for just a minute to heat, not cook. Fluff couscous with a fork and serve with the lobster, butter and lemon sauce.