Friday, August 14, 2020

Clam Toast with Tapenade

By: The Food Hunter

This recipe from Bon Appetit is a must for clam lovers. It combines the briny sea flavor of clams with a green olive tapenade for a match made in heaven. Clam toast makes a splendid appetizer when paired with a glass of white wine. I would suggest the Landmark Vineyards 2018 Overlook Chardonnay. At $27 a bottle it's a steal.

Clam Toast with Tapenade
1 lemon
4 pounds littleneck clams
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ cup coarsely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 loaf crusty bread, halved lengthwise
Green Olive Tapenade
1 ounce Parmesan, coarsely grated (about ⅓ cup)

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Cut lemon in half crosswise and thinly slice 1 half; remove seeds. Set remaining lemon half aside for serving. Grill lemon slices, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop. Place in a medium bowl.

Using long tongs, place clams directly on grill. Carefully transfer to a large bowl as they open. (Try to save as much clam liquor as possible, but some will inevitably spill onto coals.) Let cool.

Remove clams from their shells and coarsely chop. Transfer clams and any liquor to bowl with lemon and add garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, and ¼ cup oil; season with salt and black pepper.

Drizzle bread with oil and grill, turning halfway through, until toasted and lightly charred, about 5 minutes.

Top toasts with clam mixture, some Green Olive Tapenade, then Parmesan, dividing evenly; cut into pieces. Cut reserved lemon into wedges and serve alongside toast for squeezing over.

For the Tapenade
10 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted, crushed
1 cup Cerignola olives, pitted, crushed
1 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1 cup olive oil
¼ cup coarsely chopped, drained capers
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Mix anchovies, both olives, parsley, oil, capers, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large jar or medium bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Do Ahead: Tapenade can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Black Grouper with Butter Bean & Tomato Salad

By; The Food Hunter

I recently had the opportunity to try Black Grouper for the first time and I will tell you I was impressed.
Black grouper, is a cold water fish, that has a very mild unique taste. I would describe it as somewhat of a cross between bass and halibut. The filet cooked up very firm, with larger flakes and was extremely moist.

The recipe below from Food & Wine pairs Black Grouper with velvety, rich butter beans for a truly delectable tasting experience.

Black Grouper with Butter Bean & Tomato Salad

For the Vinaigrette
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon molasses 

Preheat the oven to 300°. In a foil-lined cake pan, drizzle the garlic with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 11/2 hours, until soft and caramelized. Let cool.
Squeeze out the cloves; discard the skins. In a blender, combine the roasted garlic cloves with the sherry vinegar, mustard and molasses and puree. With the machine on, drizzle in the remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil until incorporated. Season the roasted garlic vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

For the Salad
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Two 14-ounce cans butter beans, drained and rinsed
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (2 cups)
1 large shallot, minced (1⁄4 cup)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper 

In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil with the apple cider vinegar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir in the butter beans, cherry tomatoes, and shallot. Season the salad with salt and pepper. 

For the Grouper
1 tablespoon canola oil
Four 5-ounce black grouper fillets with skin
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 thyme sprigs
1/2 lemon  

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Season the fish fillets with salt, add to the skillet skin side down and cook over moderate heat until the skin is golden and the fish is cooked halfway through, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the fillets over and add the butter and thyme sprigs to the skillet. Cook until the grouper is white throughout, basting occasionally with the butter, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Squeeze the lemon over the fish. Discard the thyme sprigs.

Spoon the tomato and butter bean salad onto plates. Set the fish on top, drizzle with some of the vinaigrette and serve.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Braised Pork Ribs & Cherry Pepper Sugo with Rigatoni

By: The Food Hunter

This melt-in-your-mouth Italian pork ribs with pasta recipe is a classic dish enjoyed throughout Italy. Making this meal from start to finish takes between 2 and 2.5 hours; so we typically serve it on Sundays and/or special occasions. I will say though that the sauce actually tastes better made in advance so you can easily make it on the weekend and serve it during the week....Meal prep Italian style.


Braised Pork Ribs & Cherry Pepper Sugo with Rigatoni


1 rack of pork spare ribs; cut into single ribs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
8 garlic cloves, peeled
6 pickled cherry peppers, stemmed, seeded and quartered
2  35 ounce cans of Italian plum tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 springs of fresh thyme
2-3 cups of hot water as needed
1 pound rigatoni
2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Season ribs with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy braising pan over medium heat. Add as many of the ribs as will fit without touching. Cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. 

Remove ribs and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining ribs. 

Pour off all but about 4 tbs of fat from the pan. Add the onions, garlic and cherry peppers and cook, stirring, until the onions are wilted and caramelized, about 4 minutes. 

Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to a boil, scraping the pan to loosen the brown bits stuck to the bottom. 

Tuck the spare ribs into the tomato sauce, season lightly with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to simmering and cook, turning the ribs in the sauce occasionally, until the ribs are fork tender, about 2 hours. 

Ladle some hot water into the pot from time to time as necessary to keep the ribs covered with liquid. 

When the ribs are almost tender, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil and stir in the rigatoni. Cook the pasta until done, about 10 minutes. 

Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Spoon in enough of the sauce to coat the pasta generously. Remove from the heat and stir in 2/3 cup grated cheese. Transfer the pasta to a warm platter and top with the spare ribs. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Caesar- Style Escarole Salad

By: The Food Hunter

Escarole is not a green typically seen in salads (at least I haven’t seen it). Growing up my mother made it sauteed with beans and sausage or in Italian wedding soup.  Recently, I've been enjoying it in this twist on the classic Caesar Salad. If you don't want to use a raw egg yolk a hard-boiled egg works also. This salad makes a wonderful first course...however with added chicken it would be great as a main course. I like it served with JaM Cellers Candy Rose.

Caesar-Style Escarole Salad

(adapted from Bon Appetite)

½ cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt
8 oil-packed anchovy fillets
1 large egg yolk
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 ounce Parmesan, finely grated (about 1 cup), plus more for serving
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cups thinly torn escarole leaves

Preheat oven to 350°. Toss breadcrumbs with oil and dried oregano on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt. Toast, tossing halfway through for even browning, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.

While the bread is toasting, blend anchovies, egg yolk, shallot, garlic, Parmesan, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce in a blender until smooth. With motor running, gradually stream in  oil; blend until smooth and emulsified. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Toss escarole, dressing in a large bowl season with salt.

Serve salad topped with breadcrumbs and more Parmesan.

Do Ahead: Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Everything You Need To Make Italian Zabaglione Like A Pro Including the Best Spirit

By: The Food Hunter

Zabaglione, is a boozy Italian custard found predominately in Italian American restaurants. Zabaglione is made with three basic ingredients; eggs, sugar & liquor, and requires just a tiny bit of work. It makes a wonderful last minute dessert as it is best served warm. The recipe can be doubled or tripled to serve a crowd, and modified to include fresh fruit.

The Spirit

In Piedmont, where Zabaglione is said to have originated, Moscato is often the spirit of choice. Though in American you will most often see Zabaglione made with Marsala. I however prefer using a good Limoncello, like Pallino,  for a more refreshing taste.

The Equipment
As with anything you make it is important to use the correct equipment. A round flat bottomed glass bowl is ideal; as it heats evenly which will prevent the Zabaglione from overcooking and turning into scrambled eggs.

Next choose a pot that for your water bath, that will fit the bottom and about half the sides of your bowl, snugly without the bowl tilting from one side to the other. Finally make sure your pot is tall enough to simmer at least 4 inches or so of water, with a good inch of space between the water and the bottom of the bowl. It is important to make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.

You will also need is a large sturdy whisk or a hand blender with one beater attached.

For Serving
Although you will want to spoon this delicious custard over everything the more traditional way is serving in a tall wine or flute type glass. If you choose to include fruit that should go at the bottom of the glass with the Zabaglione served over top. Another option is to layer the Zabaglione between pieces of homemade pound cake.

Limoncello Zabaglione
Fruit of choice
5 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 cup Pallino limoncello
2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)

Divide the fruit between 6 cups.

Place a glass bowl over a large pot of water to make sure the bowl fits securely and the bottom doesn’t touch the water.

Remove the bowl and bring the water to a simmer over medium heat.

Place the egg yolks, whole egg and sugar in the glass bowl. Whisk together for about 3 minutes, until pale yellow and well-blended. Carefully, place the bowl over the simmering water.

Whisk continuously for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture coats the back of the spoon.

Add the Limoncello and whisk continuously for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is the consistency of a medium-thick pastry cream.

If you are using the heavy cream, whisk it in now, until blended. Carefully, remove the bowl from the heat.

Spoon the zabaglione over the berries in the wine glasses. Serve immediately.