Given that this recipe was to become a part of a cluster of gnocchi recipe all undertaken together for The Daring Kitchen, I decided to approach the recipe as just that – a dare. How could I turn fake-me-out mashed potatoes into gourmet glory. The base recipe was fairly simple, reconstituting the dried flakes and then adding the traditional gnocchi add-ins of flour and egg. I then swaped out the boiling water for the soaking liquid from some dried chanterelle mushroom, adding a gloriously nutty flavor to plain old potato dumplings. I then dressed the little treasures in one of my favorite sauces of prosciutto, peas and cream. Perfection! Continue reading Instant Potato Gnocchi with Prosciutto, Peas and Chanterelle Mushrooms
I have lovely memories of my mom’s baked chicken parmesan – we’d come home from elementary school and she’s take seemingly no time in breading chicken cutlets, seasoning them with paprika and spices, and then letting them crisp up in a hot oven. They were always so juicy and deliciously perfect, I never ever questioned why we didn’t have Shake ‘n Bake in our pantry. Mom knew what she was doing (and still does!)
After I got married, my aunt gave me a convection oven as a wedding present and I had to see if the crisping action was all it cracked up to be. I made a riff off of my mom’s baked chicken with dijon and cream replacing the usual parmesan cheese. Then, to make things more complicated, I tricked it out deconstructed cordon bleu style with a slice each of prosciutto and provolone.
When the timer went off and the chicken emerged from the oven, the clouds parted in the heavens and the angels began to sing. It was ever so perfect, with prosciutto like bacon and “everything’s-better-with” melted cheese. J’adore!
I kind of like that Chicken Cordon Bleu has nothing to do with the culinary institute and is rather a cousin of retro throwbacks such as Chicken Kiev and other roulade-style meat dishes. It makes me feel like I need to tease my hair, put on an A-line skirt and play a little Jack Jones “Wives and Lovers” to get in an old skool mood. Ok, not really. But it does make me miss my momma, thinking about all the foods that are meant for family dining. This one is certainly high up on the list.
Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c. of cream
1/4 c. of water
1 tbs. of dijon mustard
1 c. of flour
3 tsp. of salt
1 1/2 tsp. of black pepper
1/2 tsp. of white pepper
1/2 tsp. of garlic powder
1/4 tsp. of paprika
4 slices of prosciutto
4 slices of provolone (or fontina)
Set up a breading station with two shallow dishes – one with the eggs, cream, water and dijon and the other with the flour, salt, black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Dredge chicken breasts in flour, into the egg and then again in the flour. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and top with a slice of cheese and a few slices of prosciutto. Bake for 35-40 minutes on 350° or until the chicken is cooked through and the prosciutto is crispy and deep rose. Serve.
When the Earl of Sandwich ordered his servant to bring him a bit of meat tucked into slices of bread so as to prevent his playing cards from getting greasy, he started a chain reaction that has left me a happy duck. If I were to live my life eating soup and sandwiches from now until the very end time, I’d be absolutely fine with it all. Chicken soup and turkey sandwiches along could keep me pleased as punch with enough variety to keep things interesting.
It’s not terribly often that I have a dish that makes me want to have a mini fit, but when it happens, I try to do everything I can to extend the excitement. I had a salad similar to this one at one of my favorite NYC restaurants, Marseille. Between the tender prosciutto, warm buttered croutons and luxe truffle oil dressing, I wanted to hug a stranger and do a jump kick for joy. Truthfully, though the taste is haute, the ingredients themselves are not terribly expensive or hard to come by. With the truffle oil as your only splurge, the real luxury comes from the lovely combination of flavors and texture. Making fresh croutons and serving them warm on the salad is an essential part of the glory – with just a few ingredients joining the peppery bed of arugula, you want to make sure that everything is just right. After all, the end result should be a mini fit, and for a salad to achieve that honor, it’s got to be damn good. Continue reading Arugula Salad with Truffle Vinaigrette
This one is so simple, it hardly really qualifies as a recipe. The result, however, is no less than spectacular – the perfect amalgamation of sweet and salty, with a pleasing crunch from the toasted bread. I first tried this combination at NYC restaurant Nizza, sister restaurant of Simon Oden baby, Marseille. Maybe it was that I was dining with two friends that also studied in Orvieto with me, but it harkened back to those days where a simple lunch of prosciutto, pecorino, bread, honey and wine became a revelation. The ingredients so fresh and earthy, you felt like you were tasting a bit of heaven. Though this recipe is certainly humble in terms of preparation, it’s a reminder that it doesn’t take much to secure bliss in a bite or two.
Ricotta, Prosciutto and Fig Crostini
1/2 c. of whole milk ricotta
pinch of white pepper
a couple of slices of prosciutto
fig jam (found in nice grocery stores or online)
slices of ciabatta (9-12)
Preheat the oven to 400°. Line the slices of ciabatta on a cookie sheet and brush with olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper. Bake until golden and toasty, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
In a small bowl, mix the ricotta, a pinch each of white and black pepper, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil. Stir well to combine. Set aside.
Once your ciabatta has cooled, spread with a small amount of fig jam. Spread a few tablespoons of ricotta on top to cover. Gently place a bit of prosciutto on top, tearing each slice into smaller pieces if necessary. Crack a bit of fresh pepper on top and drizzle with a bit of additional olive oil (use a good, fruity one for drizzling). Serve.
Getting Into Trouble in the AM
When Elizabeth Crouch of Marx Foods asked if I’d be interested in their upcoming Morel Mushroom Competition, I nearly spit out my plate of spam and baked beans. Kidding, you know I don’t eat mystery meat. But I was surprised, honored and incredibly excited. An opportunity to cook with 1 oz. of morels and a chance to win two pounds of fresh morels? Bring it on!
Rob From the Rich and Give Truffles to the Poor
I know what you are thinking. Based on the fancy pants ingredients in this dish and the haute descriptions, this seems like something reserved for trust-fund babies and old money fat cats. Not the case, plebian reader. I like to think of this as superior breakfast for the adventurous palette. Got a little time after a hard week and want to treat yourself to something lovely? Snag the ingredients for truly THE best bacon, egg and cheese of all time. I’m talkin’ eternity.
This recipe is a lovely tower of creamy eggs, rich goat cheese bechamel, savory morel mushrooms, and prosciutto baked until crispy as bacon. The whole mix is atop a toasted round of brioche (cut with a $1 ring mold – pick one up and start impressing folks with your presentation skills) and topped with seasonal violets and leaves of fresh thyme. I usually tell people to make dishes for people that they love, but this is reserved for people in the upper echelons of your love contingency. Like the top 5.
Truthfully, you can go into this very budget-mindedly without sacrificing on taste. Brioche can be replaced with challah or another cheaper, eggy bread. Goat’s milk cheese can be acquired for a reasonable price and at most grocery stores. Same deal with the prosciutto. There is no replacement for morels and truffle oil, but they are your only splurge and you won’t be using a lot of them. If you want my opinion, although it won’t be nearly as luxe, you could get away with replacing the morels with a super fresh in-season mushroom and leave out the truffle oil. Not the same dish, but still decadent as hell. But really, get the truffle oil. You use so little and if you’ve never had truffles before, you need to. You really, really, really need to. Like now.
This recipe was born from our attempts (and by our, I mean my friends Richard and Amy, whom I invited to help me cook and who brought the lovely violets that I think make the presentation) to create an award-winning entry into the Marx Foods Morel Mushroom Competition. We were sent 1 oz. of morel mushrooms and asked to make something lovely. Well, creative kids that we are, we ended up making two dishes, and this, my darlings, is the runner up. Can you believe that we found something crazy enough to guild the proverbial lily? And it wasn’t truffled eggs? Make this one first, and then if you want to up the decadence, read our entry in the competition. By the way, I’d be remiss in not thanking Justin Marx for his inclusion of my humble site in the short list of competitors. Talk about good people Not to mention their products are ever-so-lovely – I spend hours just thinking how much damage I can do with their fabulous ingredients. A cook’s dream.
But I digress, as it’s time for some decadence. This recipe is NOT hard to cook. In fact, the hardest part is the grocery shopping. It does, however, go in stages, with all of the components assembled at the last minute. It’s forgiving, though, so take your time stirring and assembling, and maybe enlist those aforementioned people you love in putting the whole thing together. And then get them to wash the dishes.
Morel Bacon, Egg and Cheese (Truffled Eggs on Brioche with Morels, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Chip)
1/4 oz. of dried morels
1 c. of chicken stock
2 tbs of butter
3 slices of brioche
2 tbs. of butter
2 prosciutto slices
2 tbs. of butter
2 tbs. of flour
2 c. of milk
1/3 c. of cream
1 c. of mild goats milk cheese, grated (we used Midnight Moon Goat from Whole Foods, but use whatever you like, to include 8 oz. of mild soft goat cheese)
pinch of black pepper
pinch of white pepper
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne
1 tsp. of salt
2 tbs. of truffle oil
3 tbs. of butter
1 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of white pepper
2 tbs. of cream
fresh thyme leaves
Round one – prep your morels. Bring your stock to a boil and plunk in your morels. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes or until mushrooms are puffy and lovely. Strain, making sure any grit is poured out with the chicken broth. Slice morels in half and sauté in a pan with 2 tbs. of butter on medium love until soft – about 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
Round two – begin by prepping your brioche. Cut out slices from a loaf, or if you want to be ultra fancy, cut out rounds using a 3″ ring mold. Cookie cutters also work well. Plunk 2 tbs. of butter into a skillet and melt on low heat. Turn up the heat to medium low and toast the bread on each side until golden. Set aside.
Round three – make your prosciutto chips (and you can skip this step, my vegetarian darlings). Line a baking pan with foil and crank your oven to 450°. Lay prosciutto flat on the baking pan, making sure that the pieces aren’t touching. Place in the oven and bake until crispy and dark rose, about 10-12 minutes. Check once or twice to make sure that it doesn’t burn – there’s not much fat on the prosciutto so they can cook quickly depending on the thickness of the slices. Set aside.
Round four – make your bechamel (cream sauce). Melt 2 tbs. of butter in the same pot you sautéed your morels in on medium low. Whisk in the flour and stir until smooth and all incorporated – about 1 minute or so. Slowly add your milk in dribs and drabs, whisking to prevent lumps. Keep on whisking and crank the heat to medium to coax the sauce into thickening. When it gets lovely and creamy, pour in the heavy cream. Whisk and add the black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, nutmeg and salt. Turn off the heat and whisk in the grated cheese. If you are using goat cheese instead of a hard goat’s milk cheese that can be grated, just toss spoonfuls of it into the sauce and stir. Taste for salt and pepper and correct seasoning. Set aside.
Round five – egg action. Scramble together 6 eggs, truffle oil, salt and white pepper. Melt 3 tbs. of butter in a skillet on low and then slowly pour in your eggs. Keep your heat LOW the whole time and gently stir your eggs as small curds form delicately. This is a slow process, but not complicated. Just keep stirring until the eggs are creamy and shiny and still a little wet. Pour in the cream and turn off the heat.
Now, for the big finish – grab some plates and put a piece of brioche on each. If you are going for fancy presentation, put the ring mold over the brioche and gently put 1/3 of the eggs right into the ring mold. Otherwise, just portion the eggs right over the toasted brioche however you’d like. Split the morels amongst the three plates of eggs. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of goat cheese bechamel over the works. Sprinkle the thyme leaves and the violets over the entire plate. Spear the top of the eggs with a shard of prosciutto.
Tuck into some majesty.