Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sardines in Saor

Preparing fish in Saor is an old Venetian recipe I've run into among several sources. The recipe here is a mashup of one I found in West Coast Seafood by Jay Harden and another I found in an old book of Italian recipes from Lidia Bastianich. I've made saor before using herring but used fresh Monterey Bay sardines here.

sardines filleted

dusting in flour

lightly frying the floured sardines

sautéing the sliced onions

4 large sardines, scaled and filleted, heads removed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
white pepper
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 branch fresh rosemary
several twigs fresh thyme
4 bay leaves

Soak the raisins in water in order to plump them up.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil.
Dust the sardine fillets in the flour then add to the skillet in batches. Sauté each side about 2 minutes then remove to a casserole dish or plate, seasoning with salt and pepper. Lower the heat to low then add the onion slices to the skillet, cook until translucent without coloring. Add the vinegar and lemon juice, bring to a boil and let reduce to half.
Remove the raisins from their soaking water and drain. Pour the contents of the skillet over the fillets and add the herbs, raisins, and pine nuts. Allow to cool, then cover with plastic wrap and marinate overnight.
The next day, remove the dish from the refrigerator about 30 minutes to bring to room temperature before serving.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Smashed Potatoes

As an avid reader of the Sunday New York Times, I often stumble upon the fascinating food pages by Mark Bittman and Sam Sifton in the magazine section. I tend to mentally park Bittman's columns to try later, and even occasionally get around to following up on them, but when one of Sifton's articles intrigues me I usually find myself trying out the recipe immediately.
The article, Steak Mock Frites, yielded one of those recipes. The article is the result of Sam's attempts to recreate steak house fries at home accompanied by a couple of recipes for steak and a herb-flavored butter. (I left those out here but you can find the full article here if you're interested.
Although I don't think that these critters qualify as steak house fries, I'll be damned if they don't come close to matching the taste and quality of the best ones I've had in various establishments, especially on the East Coast. And once you try it, you should find them as easy to make as I did.

I've more or less copied the recipe verbatim but modified the ingredient list to match what I used - YMMV.



Kosher salt
12-15 new potatoes
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

Preheat oven to 450°F. Set a large pot filled with salted water on the stove. Add potatoes, turn heat to high and cook, gently boiling, until they are softened, approximately 15 minutes. Drain potatoes, and dry them well.

Grease a sheet pan with half the oil, and put the potatoes on the pan. Using a potato masher or the bottom of a heavy glass, gently smash each potato, pressing it down to a thickness of less than an inch. Drizzle the rest of the oil over the smashed potatoes, place on top rack in the oven and allow to roast until the exteriors are golden and crunchy, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Add salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and serve with butter.