This is a true secret ingredient recipe: using something right out of the pantry and altering it to an important but unidentifiable state. The coffee in this recipe (instant espresso, in this case) provides sharp bitterness, contrasted by a luxurious creaminess in the sauce, and a caramel sweetness in the seared scallops. It’s the perfect easy recipe that lends a wow factor to any dinner party.
And, in case you were wondering, it will still work as a pick-me-up. I’ve never felt so awake! So, it adds not only flavor, but also energy, to dinner.
Note: When making a beurre blanc, it is good practice to cut the butter into cubes, then place them in a bowl, and refrigerate until you are ready for it. The colder the butter, the better the sauce.
Seared Scallops with Espresso Beurre Blanc
- 1 small shallot, finely diced
- 5 stems of parsley (stems only), coarsely chopped
- 4 black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso dissolved in 1/4 cup recently boiled water
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- Fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, plus 1 tablespoon
- 12 to 16 large sea scallops
When making a beurre blanc, it is good practice to cut the butter into cubes, then place them in a bowl, and refrigerate until you are ready for it. The colder the butter, the better the sauce.
In a small saucepot, put the shallot, parsley stems, peppercorns, cider vinegar, and espresso powder dissolved in hot water. Bring to simmer on medium heat, and keep on medium heat for about 10 minutes, until liquid is mostly evaporated, and pot is nearly dry (about 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid left).
Once the base of the beurre blanc is reduced, whisk in the heavy cream. It will bubble. Begin adding the stick of cubed butter, about 3 small cubes at a time, still over medium heat. Add more butter only once the butter just added has melted into sauce. Once all butter is incorporated, take pot off heat, and whisk in pinch of fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar. Strain into a bowl, and set aside.
Working quickly, melt remaining tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until butter foams at edge of pan. Pat scallops dry on paper towel, and season lightly with fine sea salt. Sear scallops 3 minutes on first side, until golden brown. Turn and sear 2 minutes on reverse side.
Plate the dish with a puddle of beurre blanc in the center, and scallops nestled on top. Serve immediately.
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Bernadette's Poisson à la Crème
Sometimes, in the year and a half I’ve been writing this column, I totally lack inspiration. What am I going to make this week? That’s what happened yesterday. So I asked my for-all-intents-and-purposes beau-père what dishes he loved most growing up in Normandy, and he said without hesitation his mother Bernadette’s poisson with cream.
He told me that his mother mixed cream and ketchup and poured it over fish. Ketchup? “Ketchup?” I asked him.
French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Why do we have to take the good with the bad? I’d rather take the good and leave the bad. The same rules that apply to love also apply to French Onion Soup.
Everyone knows, indisputably, that the best part of French Onion Soup is the cheese. The cheese, that melts over the sides of the hot crock like thick, oozing curtains. That bubbles and browns and smells nutty and is like a huge welcome mat on a snowy evening. It’s the greatest soup there is: renowned, indulgent. But would that be the case without the cheese? I don’t think so.
Coq au Riesling
I once read that France is the same size as the state of Texas; and yet, like the much larger United States, France is full of regions with cuisines as distinct as Louisiana, Maine, and California.
This classic dish, Coq au Riesling, is a chicken stew with mostly the same components as Coq au Vin—except the vin in the recipe is not red, but a fresh, mineral-rich Riesling. The dish comes from Alsace, a region influenced by both French and German cuisines.
I love this dish because it’s lighter than traditional Coq au Vin, but still heavy enough to be considered comfort food. I like the creaminess of the sauce, spiked with bacon and mushrooms and onions and parsley, poured over the traditional buttered egg noodles that accompany the dish. In short, it’s a quirky classic, perfect for fall and spring, when you need comfort food that won’t weigh you down.
Coq au Riesling
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 thick-cut strips of bacon, cut into lardons
- 1 chicken, in 10 pieces (2 breasts, cut in half, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings)
- Sea salt
- 1/2 onion, medium diced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 1/2 cups dry Riesling
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup crème fraîche
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- Melt butter in 12-inch, straight-sided sauté pan over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Using slotted spoon, transfer cooked bacon to paper-towel lined plate. Reserve fat in pan.
- Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towel. Season with salt. Return sauté pan to medium high heat until lightly smoking. Add chicken pieces skin side down. Cook until golden brown on both sides, turning once, about 8 minutes total. Remove pan from heat and transfer chicken to large plate.
- Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from pan. Add onions and mushrooms and cook on low heat until most of the exuded liquid has evaporated and onions have started to soften, about 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt.
- Add Riesling, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Return chicken to pan and cover. Lower the heat to low, and simmer for 40 minutes. Add bacon back to the pan, and season with black pepper. Simmer uncovered an additional 15 minutes until chicken is done.
- Using tongs, transfer chicken to large serving platter. Raise heat to medium-high, and reduce to thicken, about 2 minutes. Stir in the crème fraîche and parsley, and pour over the chicken. Serve immediately, family-style, with warm, crusty, rustic bread or buttered wide egg noodles tossed with freshly chopped parsley.
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Apricot Rosemary Oven Ribs
The kitchen is full of surprises.
I have been eating ribs as long as I can remember. I love barbecue. Smoked and succulent, swimming in sauce, tangy-sweet. I can’t get enough. I can usually eat a man under the table, proving the old adage that Adam’s last rib ended up in Eve.
But I always thought of ribs as a summer food, best eaten outside, by a smoke-belching barbecue. Americana on a paper plate. But this week is anything but a grassy picnic table, red-checkered tablecloth, and ants attacking a watermelon. New York is gray streets and gray skies, turning cold, and raining. Not exactly ribs weather.
Except, that it is. Today is exactly the kind of day when you need stick-to-your-ribs fare, and what sticks to your ribs more than ribs? And I love foods with bones and shells. Maybe I’m secretly a caveman, but I find that, like the clams from a few weeks ago, foods you have to eat with your hands and crack and gnaw and throw into a bucket are so much more social and prone to laughter and food fights and fun. French food can be as casual as that; especially French-American franglais food.
Maple Soy Salmon
If I had to create an analogy out of sweetness and saltiness, it would be that sweet is to salty as maple syrup is to soy sauce. Though they are on opposite sides of the sweet-salty spectrum, there is something similar in maple syrup and soy sauce. Perhaps it is something in their color that gives them their depth of flavor, but I find a kind of resiny smokiness in them both—and thought it was about time I tried them together.
I marinate the salmon fillets in a simple sauce of maple syrup, shoyu (Japanese soy sauce), ginger, garlic, chili, and cilantro. Then, I quickly broil the fillets, while I reduce the marinade to a thick, syrupy glaze. I love the contrast of the sweet and salty, and also the American and Asian influences. It’s a dish that’s complex-tasting but simple to make, for something a bit out of the box—or bottle—when it comes to maple syrup.
Maple Soy-Glazed Salmon with Garlic and Ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 serrano chili, sliced
- 4 teaspoons slivered fresh ginger
- 4 teaspoons cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup shoyu or soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 teaspoons maple syrup
- 4 6-ounce filets salmon
Combine all the ingredients but the salmon in a large Ziploc bag and whisk together. Add the salmon, and marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Preheat the broiler.
Remove the salmon from the marinade and arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Broil for 6 to 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil the marinade until it is reduce to 1/4 cup.
Smother the salmon filets with the glaze.
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Green Tapenade Pasta Salad
For me, it still feels like summer—that means stolen moments outside and late night grilled dinners. My stomach doesn’t feel quite as ready for fall, with its great stuffed roasts, as does my closet, with its new leather jacket and tall boots, and warm, tickling sweaters that make me crave a cooler day. And when eating French food in the summertime, it is always better to face South to Provence, where the wine and Champagne are served on the rocks, and the flavors are always light and bright and punchy as summertime itself.
When we think of tapenade, we usually envision a thick, smooth paste of black olives spiked with anchovies and garlic. But this version is tapenade’s boisterous blond twin: brinygreen olives are kept chunky and are smashed to a crumbling rubble with the usual Nice suspects of lemon, thyme, garlic, capers, and anchovies. Matching green penne traps all the salty bits and pieces in its tentacling tubes. A chopped emerald city of baby spinach and arugula turn this room-temperature pasta into a salad.
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Posted by Kerry |
Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Salad, Series, Sides, Soup & Salad, Starches, Vegetarian, Vegetarian