Appetizers

Parmesan Fricco Salad Baskets By Annie Copps

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
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fricco salad basket with greens

Okay, listen up… you want people to think you are a culinary genius? This super-simple, very beautiful, and delicious twist on salads will have everyone at the table asking, "how'd you do it?"

So the twist here is sort of a Willy Wonka bit of fun in that you can eat the salad bowl you put your greens into. The idea is a traditional Italian cheese preparation called fricco.

All you do is heat a non-stick frying pan and sprinkle cheese into a thin round and cook it for a few minutes—once it melts and begins to brown underneath remove it with a wide spatula and drape the soft cheese over a water glass or muffin tin and let it cool—there you go, you've got a crunchy cheese cup into which you can put just about any salad into.

Oh, and don't splurge on high quality Parmigiano Reggiano for this—bagged, pre-shredded parmesan works best. And like pancakes, you may struggle with the first one, but once you get the hang of it, this unique presentation will become part of your repertoire and I want full credit! Okay, it can be our secret.

Ingredients
8 ounces shredded parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces mesclun or baby greens
kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions
Heat a 10 or 12-inch non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle cheese into a thin, round (make the outer edge uneven, for a delicate edge) and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until cheese begins to lightly brown underneath. Remove with a spatula and immediately drape over a water glass and carefully shape into a cup. Let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil. Add greens and toss well to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Place cheese basket on individual serving plates and fill with greens.

Sprinkle with reserved cheese.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)

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annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Scallion Pancakes with Dipping Sauce
By Ming Tsai

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
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Makes 4 pancakes

Pot stickers, scallion cakes, dim sum… they all have one thing in common, the simplest dough in the universe: hot water dough. Add the great French ingredient, shallots, and you’ve got a combination that can morph into anything.

Hot Water Dough Ingredients
2 cups (16 ounces) all-purpose flour
8 ounces hot water

Directions
In a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, gradually add water to flour. Once dough forms a ball and all the dry ingredients are incorporated, remove from mixer. Dough should not be sticky. If it is, add more flour, tablespoon by tablespoon. Very lightly flour a flat surface and bring dough together into a disk. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for up to 48 hours.

Scallion Pancake Ingredients
1 tablespoon sambal
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup naturally brewed soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Hot Water Dough
2 cups scallions, white and green parts, cut diagonally, 1/16 inches thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil

Directions
1. To make the dipping sauce, combine the sambal, vinegar, and soy sauce in a small bowl and mix. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl combine the sesame and olive oils and set aside.

3. Flour a work surface and on it roll the dough into a rectangle 1/8 inch thick. Brush the dough with the oil mixture, sprinkle with the scallions, and season with salt and pepper.

4. Starting with one long side nearest you, roll the dough jelly-roll fashion to make a tight log. Cut the log into 4 equal pieces.

5. Roll 1 piece with your palms to make a skinnier log about 12 inches in diameter. Twist each end of the log in opposite directions 4 or 5 times (this will make additional pancake layers), then wrap the log around itself to make a coil, tucking the outside end beneath the coil. With a rolling pin, flatten the coil to 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 3 more pancakes.

6. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the grapeseed oil and swirl to coat the pan. Depending on the pan’s size, add 1 to 2 pancakes and cook until brown and crispy on both sides, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Cook the remaining pancakes. Slice each pancake into 4 wedges.

Variation
For a savory pancake addition, mix 2 cups of finely chopped raw shrimp in a bowl with the scallions. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the mixture, and proceed with the recipe, frying the pancakes 3 to 4 minutes per side.

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ming tsai thumbnail holding limeChef Ming Tsai is a local restaurateur and host of Simply Ming.

Lobster Nachos By Annie Copps

Monday, April 11, 2011
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lobster nacho with lime

Yield: 2 dozen pieces

Nachos, made with lobster. What is this nonsense you say? C'mon, why not? I am not talking about corn chips smothered in oddly colored cheese at the baseball game (not that they don't have a spot in my culinary heart). I am talking about a slightly elevated hors d'oeuvre that you'll have trouble walking away from.

Instead of a salsa with all kinds of spices and gobs of other toppings, these nachos are quick and easy appetizer with just a few top notch ingredients that really sing. The delicious fun begins by mashing a ripe avocado and mixing in chopped cilantro and a bit of lime juice. Arrange corn chips onto a serving platter—if you can find blue corn chips, this will be even more beautiful. Spoon the avocado mixture on tip of the chips then dot the chips with chopped fresh lobster—you won't need much, about a quarter pound. Sprinkle the top with a bit more cilantro and your work is done—I say OLE to that.

Ingredients
1 large ripe avocado
1 ½ tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces lobster meat, roughly chopped
8 ounces blue corn chips

Directions
In a small bowl, mash avocado; add cilantro and lime juice.

Season to taste with salt and pepper to taste.

Place 1 teaspoon avocado mixture onto individual corn chips, top with 1 teaspoon lobster and sprinkle with cilantro.

Serve immediately.

(Courtesy: Yankee Magazine)
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annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Sake-Black Pepper Mussels With Granny Smith Apples
By Ming Tsai

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
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Sake-Black Pepper Mussels With Granny Smith Apples

Apples may seem like a funny match for mussels, but believe-you-me the tartness and sweetness of apples play beautifully against the natural brininess of the mussels and a little bit of sake adds yet another element that makes this dish delicious.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 large shallots, sliced
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 pounds PEI mussels, scrubbed, bearded
1 cup sake
1/4 cup ponzu
1 large green apple, peeled, julienned
2 tablespoons butter
Togarashi for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Canola oil for cooking

Directions
In a wok over high heat coated lightly with oil, stir-fry garlic, shallots, and black pepper; add mussels and season. Deglaze with sake and cover to open mussels.

When mussels are starting to open, add ponzu, green apple and butter.

Cover for about 30 seconds to allow flavors to meld.

Serve in a large bowl and garnish with togarashi.

Deviled Eggs with Tuna and Black Olives
By Annie Copps

Friday, August 6, 2010
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Do you know Oleana  restaurant in Cambridge? Or Sofra in Watertown? My good friend Ana Sortun is the genius behind those excellent restaurants, and in her book Spice, she shares some of her secrets. One of my addictions are her Deviled Eggs with Tuna and Black Olives. I encourage you to serve these at your next party, be it a luncheon, a barbecue, or a fancy dinner. That is assuming you don’t eat them before your guests arrive.

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Ready in: 30 mins

Ingredients
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup minced fresh tuna (about 6 ounces)
1 scallion, minced
1/2 cup minced celery
Tiny pinch curry
Salt and pepper
8 hard-boiled eggs, split in half lengthwise, with yolks and whites separated
1 cup thick mayonnaise, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
8 black olives, pitted and finely chopped
1 plum tomato, finely chopped

Directions
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over high heat.

Add the tuna, scallion, celery, curry and salt and pepper.

Cook until the tuna is just opaque, about 3 minutes. Cool and drain well.

In a small mixing bowl, mash the egg yolks with a fork. Stir in the mayonnaise, tuna, and
parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Season the egg whites with salt and pepper and fill their centers with heaping spoonfuls of the tuna egg filling. Top each with a black olive and tomato.

(From Ana Sortum, Spice)


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annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Black Pepper Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple
By Ming Tsai

Tuesday, August 24, 2010
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I used to make my own soy syrup, but it was very delicate and had a tendency to break like an aioli. But one day my Indonesian sous chef Budi introduced me to Kechap Manis, a great sweet soy syrup from his country. I said, "Wow, Budi, you just saved me a lot of steps!" And now I use Kechap Manis all the time as a base for glazes and sauces... like my Black Pepper-Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Satays, a terrific grilled appetizer you can serve any time you're looking for tasty finger food. Serves 4 as an appetizer

Ingredients
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes
2/3 cup kechap manis
2 oranges, zested and juiced, minced zest for garnish
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 bunch scallions sliced thinly, separate white and green
Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cooking spray

Directions
Assemble satays by alternating chicken and pineapple. In a large bowl, combine kechap manis, orange juice, ginger, black pepper and scallion whites. Add satays and marinate for 15 minutes.

Prepare a hot grill, sprayed slick. Remove satays from marinade, reserving marinade. Grill satays until chicken is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, boil marinade for a dipping sauce and use some of it to brush onto satays while cooking.

Serve in bamboo satay plate with dipping sauce garnished with scallion greens.

Garnish satays with orange zest and scallion greens.

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Ming Tsai is the host and executive producer of public television series Simply Ming.

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