Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The olive oil flows like water

He stirred the "breadcrumbs" but would not touch the sprouts.
Some trends have emerged from our two most recent Nancy Silverton meals. See if you can spot them.

SUNDAY

hanger steak with arugula salad and Parmesan
brussels sprouts with prosciutto breadcrumbs and sherry vinaigrette

Time consuming? Very. A lot of chopping and whisking, many bowls and skillets and much subsequent dish washing.

Olive oil called for: 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons.

Notes: The hanger steak (a cheap and tasty cut) was fabulous. The balsamic marinade: brilliant. Make this recipe, which you can steal right here though I still think this is a book worth purchasing.
The verdict on the brussels sprouts is mixed. First of all, they're laborious. You fry chopped prosciutto, then fry some breadcrumbs, then toast the fried breadcrumbs in the oven, then mix them with the fried prosciutto and some chopped herbs and toast some more. Now make a vinaigrette. Now toss the trimmed, halved sprouts with olive oil and cook them in a bucket of olive oil. With me so far? Now toss the warm, cooked brussels sprouts with the breadcrumbs and squeeze over some lemon. DELICIOUS. Stand at the counter eating the brussels sprouts because they're so good you can't stop yourself and because they're brussels sprouts and they are going to help live forever. What about the vinaigrette? Oops. You forgot the vinaigrette! Add the vinaigrette. Ruin the sprouts. The next day, give the harsh, sour sprouts to the chickens. The obvious lesson: make the sprouts, but skip the vinaigrette. (For the record, I used flaxseed meal instead of breadcrumbs, but I wouldn't do this unless you are experimenting with a crazy diet or happen to love the faint aroma of fish.)

after ruination by vinaigrette

MONDAY

stuffed quail with pancetta, honey, and sage
long-cooked broccoli

Time consuming? Very. Marinating then stuffing then skewering the quail, then wrapping them in pancetta, then grilling, then plating the wee birds and then garnishing them with grilled radicchio and deep fried sage will make you wish you'd just bought a rotisserie chicken.

Olive oil called for: 3 cups

I bet they look better at Mozza.
Notes: As a bird that lives in our neighborhood, I find quail adorable. As a foodstuff, I find quail silly. They are too freaking small. You stuff a quail with pancetta then wrap it in pancetta and what you're eating is pancetta. Good luck finding a bite of bird meat. For that you need tweezers, a crab fork, and your glasses. As for the broccoli, I found it sodden with olive oil. I guess last night's dinner was a bust. I'm sure these dishes are great when you order them at Mozza, but they were not great as prepared by me.

Would you like some broccoli with your olive oil?
Did you spot the trends so subtly highlighted in this post? Bravo! You are very perceptive.

9 comments:

  1. I love the line about the faint odor of fish. So very true.

    I think I would rate quail as closer to rabbit than squirrel or raccoon on the continuum of neighborhood wildlife I would eat. But that's not saying much.

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  2. What I wanted to make when I looked at the book, which I haven't bought yet, are what I understand are some of the restaurant's signature dishes -- the meatballs, the pizza, and the butterscotch budino. I don't have prayer that you'll make the latter, but I'd love to hear your opinion of the others if you get around to them.

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  3. Meatballs and pizza are on the agenda. Oven being fixed today.

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  4. Ha! Thank god Trader Joe's sells olive oil at a bargain. The first time I went to Pizzeria Mozza, I had the long-cooked broccoli pizza and it changed my world. Kind of literally. I was pastry chef at the W Hotel at the time, and I supervised the making of bazillions of pizzas, which I hated and grumbled about unceasingly. After that experience at Mozza, I was on a mission to replicate her crust and also the broccoli. I went from hating making pizzas to being a mild pizza fanatic. My version of the long-cooked broccoli is--I really think--better than the version she has in the book. It is really delicious on its own or on a pizza. I could eat it as a meal very happily. I hope you will try it. I have the recipe posted here: http://nougatt.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/slow-cooked-broccoli/
    but the quantities are hotel-sized, so adjust accordingly. (Though you don't need to reduce the garlic confit amount by much, since you will find lots of things to add it to besides broccoli, and it keeps.)

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  5. Kristin -- that looks GREAT and I will definitely avail myself of the supermarket peeled garlic to make it. It looks like your recipe will avoid the problem I had with the Silverton recipe -- at least as read and interpreted by me -- which was that it became too oily. The broccoli and olive oil seemed to merge. I think I cooked it too long.
    Thank you. I will report back.

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  6. Jennifer, I finally read your book, and it was terrific. It read like a story and I was so sad that it ended. The good news is that my 10 y.o. daughter enjoyed the excerpts I read aloud, so she is going to read it. I am pretty sure she'll go straight to the dessert section and make Isabel's cookie recipe and the cake and frosting recipes. Thanks so much-I hope you have started the next book.

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  7. I got your book for Christmas and it is one of my favorite presents!

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  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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