Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Smoked Salmon, purist style

I know I posted something like this last year, with the addition of clementines and arugula. And it was tasty. But for those who don't go into archives, or don't have clementines and arugula handy, here's the purist version of a great late supper or snack. You could go fancy and build an appetizer from it. The only thing you have to cook is, well, toast. If you can't make toast, we need to talk.

Simple list of ingredients:

2-3 tablespoons of chopped onion, depending on how much you like onion. This time I had red onion.
1 4-oz. package of smoked salmon. I do prefer wild to farmed, but that's your call and maybe your grocer's call
2 or more pieces of good bread. I like whole grain, and recommend it.
2 or more tablespoons of good Greek yogurt, which I prefer to sour cream and usually have on hand.
Butter, or whatever your doctor lets you have. I hope it is butter. Just this once.
(p.s., a little bit of chopped shallot, or green onion, or any kind of onion -- wouldn't hurt! If I have it, I use it.)

Put the bread in the toaster oven (or toaster if you have one). Chop some onion and put the rest in a sealed container of some sort in the fridge.

Open the salmon package and do your best to peel the little filets apart and make them into curls. Doesn't affect the taste, only the presentation, so don't get worked up about it.

Put a couple of dollops of Greek yogurt and the chopped onions on a plate. If you have other garnishes such as oranges, capers, arugula, radishes -- go nuts. Well, but don't get too complicated. I would limit it to two accoutrements.

When the toast is the way you like it, pop it out and butter it. Cut it into quarters -- the triangular way is sexier, but no one really cares.

Serve. If sharing or obsessive, provide implements for scooping the other ingredients onto the toast. Serve while the toast is still hot, though, for best appreciation.

As an appetizer on a more formal occasion, build the little bites on pieces of toast with a little salmon, onion and yogurt, put on a tray and let people grab them. But this "country style" way is more fun.

Feel free to click on the photo to enlarge it. The butter literally glistens.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lasagna, II

Well, it is a work of art, isn't it? When the hostess at the potluck dinner party opened the lid on the whole pan, she said, "That is a thing of beauty."

This is a riff on my sister-in-law's recipe. As you know, I can't follow recipes exactly, and made this up using hers for guidance. (Hint: She uses a different quantity of tomatoes, and tomato sauce, where I used more tomatoes and tomato paste. I think it comes out about the same. But this way, it's my recipe! heh, heh, heh)

Tomato sauce:
Chop and "sweat" one huge onion (comes to about one and a half cups, give or take)
add about six cloves of garlic, smushed and chopped
1 32-ounce can of plum tomatoes
1 16-ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 of those little cans of tomato paste
salt, pepper and Italian herbs, including fresh basil if you've got it, which I do, and of course oregano

Brown ground meats. I used 1 pound each of ground beef, ground pork and ground veal. I added salt, pepper and more Italian seasonings to each meat. Plus some garlic. Add to tomato sauce.
Simmer as long as you want, longer is better.
Note: this is too much meat and too much sauce. It won't fit, with all the other ingredients, in a standard Pyrex rectangular pan. You will have extra. To fit in the pan, use only 2 pounds total of meat. (Or just save some of the sauce for later, yum!)

You can refrigerate (or freeze) the sauce separately, or assemble the whole thing and refrigerate.

Cheese mixture:
32 ounces ricotta (that's the big tub)
1 egg
salt and pepper
parsley and/or basil (I used fresh basil)
Italian herbs ( aka oregano and whatever)
1/2 cup Parmesan, freshly grated

Additional cheese component: Shredded/chopped mozzarella, about 1 pound

Lasagna noodles: boil salted water, cook 'em, drain 'em. Do not fall for the "oven ready" variety. No good.

Put a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of a rectangular Pyrex or metal pan. Put in one layer of the noodles. Layer sauce, cheese mixture, mozzarella, noodles, sauce, cheeses, etc. End with sauce and cheese on top. Cover with aluminum foil.

You can stop here and refrigerate.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes if you haven't refrigerated either the whole thing or the separate sauces. One hour, at least, if you have. Uncover for the last 15-20 minutes.

Let stand at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

I was stuck in traffic for literally an hour, and this was still hot when I got to the potluck dinner party. I was very late. People had already stuffed themselves. Some took a taste anyway. Others just took some home in whatever container they could find. It's quite tasty.


About Me

My photo
This is me enjoying a limoncello in Rome on the last night of our trip to Italy. Funny thing is, I don't really like limoncello that much, but thought it would be great in a dessert. And wouldn't you know, The Barefoot Contessa just did a great fruit salad with limoncello. So now I can't. Oh, well.