Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chicken & Mushrooms Cooked in Marsala, And, White Asparagus

A few weeks ago, I made this chicken dish. Then, I ran out the door to go to my sewing class. When I returned a few hours later & reheated my portion, it was still super yummy.

What I did was slice up two chicken breast on a bias, so that the pieces were sort of small and flat. Then, I dredged them in a little bit of seasoned flour and seared them in a little oil in a frying pan. Once all the pieces were seared on both sides, I placed them on a baking sheet & finished cooking them in the oven.

While the chicken cooked, I prepared my sauce. I sauteed sliced crimini mushrooms (I know, so uninteresting, but in these economic times, they're more affordable than wild mushrooms) on medium-high heat, added chopped garlic and deglazed the pan with marsala wine. I allowed that to reduce by about half, then added mushroom broth (I took the stems off the mushrooms and just put them in a small pan with water and made a light broth). When the chicken was done cooking, I added them into the sauce and finished with some butter. Chopped parsley makes a nice garnish. White asparagus...mmmmmm.
Aren't these beautiful? This is what Jamie Oliver says you should do with WHITE asparagus...
"Using a peeler, peel off the outer layer of the asparagus spears, from 2 inches below the tip down to the bottom, then tie them in a bundle with a piece of string. Get your deepest saucepan with a lid - the asparagus spears should be able to stand up inside the pan. If they can't, slice the ends off to make them fit. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and stand the asparagus upright in it. Throw in any sliced-off ends, boil for 5 minutes with the lid on, then turn off the heat. Let the asparagus sit in the pan for another 10 minutes."
-Jamie Oliver, Jamie At Home
I did not stand my asparagus in the pot, and I cooked the spears for about 8 minutes, maybe 10 without the lid on. They turned out lovely. I just served these with sprinkled with sea salt and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. They were delicate and sweet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Orecchietti with Shrimp & Chorizo

Oh my goodness, just thinking about this dish makes me mouth water. My photo doesn't do this dish justice. And, since I couldn't wait to dig in, I couldn't stop and take another photo with it in my bowl. You'll just have to take my word for it.

I got the idea for this the night before I made it, when I made chorizo sandwiches (not as good as I pictured in my head). I had purchased wild caught prawns on a whim that day & the wheels began to turn. I wrote down on a piece of paper my preparation idea, held on to it after the dish was made, and apparently lost it since then. So I'll do my best to remember.

Here's what I did (I think):

-1/2 pound orecchietti pasta, cooked as per packaging, drizzled with olive oil and set aside.

-1 pound size 10/15 (I think mine were more like 15) wild caught prawns, peeled, deveined &
set aside until time to cook.

Put the prawn shells into a small pan, cover with water and simmer for approximately 45 minutes. You may add aromatics, such as the green part of a leek, garlic, onion, fennel, but I didn't. Strain and set aside in a warm place until ready to use.

-1 chorizo sausage link, squeezed out of its casing; approx. 1/4 pound
Pour about 1T of cooking oil to a medium/large hot skillet. Add the chorizo and break up into
bits. Allow to cook on med/high heat until the meat starts to brown, then add...

-1/2 sweet onion, brunoise (I actually diced mine slightly thicker than in this video, but either
should work). Cook onions about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with white wine, enough to almost cover the chorizo & onions. Let the wine reduce by about half.

Add the prawns to the pan (I didn't season them ahead of time, but you may choose to do so).

Add enough of the shell stock to just cover the prawns. Allow the broth to simmer until the
prawns are almost cooked, approximately 3 minutes on each side, then drizzle with a good
amount of extra virgin olive oil & bring to a quick boil (it helps emulsify the oil & broth a bit).

Add the orecchietti, and allow to cook just until the noodles are warmed through, stirring
gently. Check for seasoning and adjust as needed. Sprinkle with chopped Italian parsley. EAT!

Have your favorite crusty, dipping bread on the side for'll want to sop up this broth, for sure. That's the one thing I forgot, but I was sure to finish up all my broth with a spoon.