Sea Scallops Baked with Sweet Butter and Endives

RECIPE: Scallops with Butter and Endives
Scallops Baked with Butter and Endives

Scallops Baked with Butter and Endives. You must dip the bread into that butter!

Every time Mr. English and I are in Paris, we never miss an opportunity to eat at Le Comptoir, our favorite restaurant, just down the street from where we used to live when I was in cooking school. It’s become a lot more popular than it was back then, but the food remains, in my opinion, the best in Paris. Their scallops with endives is one of the best dishes on a menu packed with best dishes.

The dish is unpretentious, but unexpected: five giant sea scallops from Brittany, still on their enormous half shells, tucked under a blanket of soft, roasted endives, anointed with bubbling sweet butter. The sweetness of the scallops and the butter is gently counterbalanced by the bitterness of the soft endives. Breathtaking! And it only takes three ingredients and about 20 minutes. Paris, je t’aime! Continue reading

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series
 

Chunky Cherry Tomato Shrimp Puttanesca for Two

RECIPE: Chunky Cherry Tomato Shrimp Puttanesca
Chunky Shrimp Puttanesca

Chunky Shrimp Puttanesca

I love the flavor of pasta, but sometimes, I don’t want to eat pasta. Do you know what I mean? I get pasta guilt.

I’ve fallen hard for this dish. A super fresh puttanesca sauce, made from throwing olive oil, cherry tomatoes, olives, garlic, a fresh chili, capers, oregano, and lemon zest together, and used to poach a ton of giant, tender, meaty shrimp (I always keep jumbo peeled and deveined shrimp in my freezer for just such an occasion as this). The sauce is spicy and bright, and all those salty classic puttanesca ingredients go so naturally with seafood. I grill up some rustic bread, rub it with garlic, and dig in. Another super easy, slightly different one-pot wonder for you and your beloved after work this week.

Chunky Shrimp Puttanesca

From my weekly column Dinner for Two on Serious Eats.  Check it out every Friday!

Chunky Cherry Tomato Shrimp Puttanesca
serves 2

Chunky Shrimp PuttanescaINGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
  • 1 Fresno chili, seeded and sliced or chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 35 pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • The zest of half a lemon

PROCEDURE

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan.  Add the garlic and chilies, and sauté over medium heat just until fragrant.  Add the capers, olives, and anchovy paste, and stir around.  Add the tomatoes, clamp the lid on, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Use a potato smasher to smush the tomatoes.  Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and cook until opaque—about 5 to 8 minutes.  Toss in the oregano and lemon zest, and serve with grilled bread (rub with garlic for extra kick!).

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series
 

Greek Lamb Burgers with Chunky Mint Tzatziki for Two

RECIPE: Greek Lamb Burgers with Chunky Mint Tzatziki
Greek Lamb Burger

Lamb burger with garlic, oregano, chives, mint, and a chunky tzatziki in warm, soft pitas

I love writing this column!  Because, some lucky weekends, I get to stuff like this.

The best vacation Mr. English and I ever took–and there is some stiff competition–was to the Greek islands.  In terms of a culinary adventure, no other trip has ever matched it.  The gigantes beans baked with tomatoes.  Those deep fried Greek salad fritters (that’s my name for them).  The olives.  The baklava.  The walnuts and yogurt.  The sea bream, every night.  The pomegranates.  The octopus, and urchin, and ouzo.  I was never not hungry on those islands.

Because this column is about what Mr. English and I really eat in our little menage à deux, I take inspiration from what we really love and want.  And that was a little reverie back to swimming in the clear Grecian waters–so different from swimming in puddles under the gray English storm clouds.  These couldn’t be easier. Continue reading

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Cheap, Dinner for Two, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Meat, Recipes, Sandwiches, Series
 

Salmon with Thyme and Three-Lemon Crème Fraîche

RECIPE: Salmon with Thyme and Three-Lemon Crème Fraîche
Salmon with Thyme and Three-Lemon Crème Fraîche

Salmon with Thyme and Three-Lemon Crème Fraîche

Salmon is my sit-down-and-be-good food.  The I-ate-too-many-latkes antidote.  And I’ve been doing a zillion variations on this theme this winter: a slab of salmon slow-roasted with olive oil on a bed of herbs.  Traditionally, I do a simple pairing of rosemary and thyme with a good cascade of olive oil.  But this is a lighter and brighter version, roasted over thyme and lemon.  Usually, I roast fish at 400 to 450 degrees–hot and fast.  But with this, I let it go longer at 350–the edges get crisp.  The cooking is more gentle.  The fish soaks up the flavor of the herbs and citrus.  Everyone is just more relaxed.

I serve it hot, for dinner, or room temp, for brunch, with a throw-together sauce of crème fraîche, thyme leaves, and three variations on the lemon theme: lemon zest, lemon juice, and minced preserved lemon (a gift from my Moroccan grandmother, who makes them herself).  It the salmon is hot, the cream melts and pools in the cracks in the cooked fish.  If the salmon is room temperature, it’s like a dipping sauce.  Either way, this feels light and lean, and it pays due respect to the citrus season. Continue reading

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series
 

Poussins (Baby Chickens) with Prosciutto and Rosemary with White Beans for Two

RECIPE: Poussins with Prosciutto and Rosemary with White Beans

Hens with Prosciutto, Rosemary, and White Beans

This meal is a show-stopper. An elegant and expeditious way to serve a roasted bird for a small crowd at the holidays. Although, you could make as many of these as you needed to, to serve a crowd.

Buy a couple of poussin (which are essentially what we call Cornish game hens in the United States), and, using some strong kitchen shears, cut out their backbones. Now, you have a flat bird that you rub with olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh garlic and rosemary needles. As the crowning glory, wrap the birds in prosciutto di Parma. As the birds roast, the skin bronzes, the garlic and rosemary perfumes the meat, and the prosciutto crisps to a salty shell. They’re cooked in under 25 minutes. Continue reading

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Cheap, Dinner for Two, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipes, Series
 

Spicy, Smoky Bean Cakes with Limey Slaw for Two

RECIPE: Spicy, Smoky Bean Cakes with Limey Slaw
Spicy Bean Cakes

Spicy bean cakes, lime slaw, and charred avocado

I think it might have been a chemical reaction triggered by my thirtieth birthday a few weeks ago, but a little nagging voice in my head has been whispering to me: “eat healthy.”

I could stand to take the advice. Between rushed office lunches and the inevitable chocolate craving at four in the afternoon, dinner at home with Mr. English actually becomes the time where we both reset and try to behave like the responsible adults we’re pretending to be.

The cakes are awesome for this purpose. They’re kind of like crab cakes, but a Tex-Mex bean version that are low in fat and brimming with flavor. And the best part is, you can whip the whole thing together in five minutes in your food processor. Continue reading

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Categories: 30 Minutes, Cheap, Dinner for Two, Eat, Main Courses, Meatless Mondays, Recipes, Series, Vegetarian, Vegetarian
 

Hearty, Wholesome Chard, Pancetta, and Pecorino Quiche

RECIPE: Chard, Pancetta, and Pecorino Quiche
Chard Pancetta Pecorino Quiche

Quiche brimming with Swiss chard, sharp Pecorino, and crispy pancetta

Quiche reminds me of Christmastime because there’s no other time of year (except maybe Thanksgiving) when I would need to make a breakfast that serves more than two people. Being in a full house for the holidays, I find it a whole lot easier to throw together a quiche that serves everyone elegantly than to stand frying or poaching individual eggs in the morning.

I start with a store-bought piecrust because I’m not a pastry chef. You’re more than welcome to go homemade. After that, quiche is really a cinch. This one is stuffed with hearty winter greens and sharp flavors. I start by rendering some cubed pancetta, which is as close as I can find to the fabulous French almost-bacon, ventrèche. In that, I wilt down a grassy mountain of Swiss chard. Scatter that over the crust and top with a quickly-whisked mixture of eggs, milk, crème fraîche, and salty and sharp Pecorino Romano cheese—a filling made for cold winter mornings. The whole thing puffs and browns in the oven. Continue reading

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Categories: 60 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Breakfast & Brunch, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Eggs, French in a Flash, Recipes, Series, Tarts, Quiches, Pizzas, Vegetarian