The Literate Chef

Posts Tagged ‘pesto’

Roasted Halibut with Tomato and Pesto

In Fish, Recipes on September 14, 2016 at 12:29 PM

roasted-halibut-with-tomato-and-pesto

ROASTED HALIBUT WITH TOMATO AND PESTO

Preparation Time 30 minutes – Serves 2

The other night for dinner, my wife made the great suggestion that we have fish; always a smart move after overindulging on the weekend. She also suggested that since we had recently made a new batch of Pesto Sauce from our crop of freshly grown basil, I do something with that and, maybe, use one of the luscious late-summer tomatoes we’d just obtained at the local Farmers’ Market.

With practically all of the ingredients predetermined for me, all I had to do was decide on how to prepare it and select the right fish for that method. Roasting seemed like a good idea, very little mess and no standing over a hot stove, so a thick piece of firm, white, fish would be best, either Halibut or Swordfish, depending upon what our local fishmonger had to offer that day. He had both, I chose the Halibut, which was about 1 inch thick. Next time I’ll try Swordfish!

High heat roasting (for 1 inch thick fillet @450 degrees between 15 & 20 minutes) might tend to dry out the fish, but a little white wine should keep it moist, and coupled with the liquid given off by the fish and other ingredients, should produce a tasty sauce of pan juices. Which it in fact did. So here it is, Roasted Halibut with Tomatoes and Basil. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. Halibut Fillet
4 tbsp. Uncle Fred’s Homemade Pesto
1 ripe tomato, sliced thin
1/3 cup dry white wine

PROCEDURE:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Line a small shallow roasting pan with aluminum foil and place the fish in the pan.
3. Evenly spread the Pesto on fish.
4. Cover the Pesto with approximately 6 or 7 tomato slices, overlapping them to fit.
5. Place the roasting pan on the top rack of the oven and roast for 10 minutes.
6. Add the wine and continue roasting for 10 more minutes.
7. Slice the Halibut in two, and serve with pan juices.

Summer Serendipity

In General Articles on July 8, 2014 at 10:30 AM

A few Sundays ago, Sam Sifton of The New York Times had an article in the Magazine Section on Chef Bobby Flay and his Pan-Roasted Chicken With Mint Sauce. In it, Chef Flay explained how to obtain a good crust on a roasted chicken breast, as he does at his restaurants. I clipped the article with the intention of trying his technique some time in the future. However, as with so many good intentions, if too much had gone by, I would have no doubt forgotten all about the article. But serendipitously, two unconnected events happened shortly thereafter.

Last week, Grammy noticed that the basil plants on our deck were in full bloom and that unless the leaves were picked soon they would be lost. To our minds the best use of an abundance of basil is Uncle Fred’s Pesto Sauce. So she whipped up a batch and refrigerated it that same day.

Then, the other day, she announced that she was going to defrost a split chicken for dinner that night, and was going to roast it. That’s when I remembered the Sunday Times article and was fortunately able to put my hands on it. After a quick perusal of the article, I announced that I would take care of the chicken if she would prepare the Sautéed Spinach. She gladly accepted and the result can be found at Pollo con Pesto (Pesto-Crusted Pan-Roasted Chicken)!

Pollo con Pesto (Pesto-Crusted Pan-Roasted Chicken)

In Chicken, Recipes on July 8, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Pesto-Crusted Roast Chicken

Pesto-Crusted Pan-Roasted Chicken

(Preparation time, about 1 hour – Serves from 2 to 4, depending on chicken size)

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken, halved
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 tbsp. Pesto Sauce
½ cup + 2 tbsp. dry white wine
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:

1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
2. In a cast iron skillet large enough to hold the chicken, heat the olive oil on medium high until shimmering, about 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Rinse and pat dry the chicken.
4. Sprinkle both sides of each chicken half liberally with salt & pepper.
5. Gently place chicken halves skin side down in the pan, and brown for 8 to 9 minutes. Periodically place a weight on the chicken pieces pressing down to insure that the skin gets crispy.
6. Turn chicken pieces skin side up and remove pan to top rack of oven. Roast for 30 minutes, basting skin with fat drippings after 15 minutes.
7. In the meantime mix the pesto with 2 tbsp. of the white wine.
8. When chicken is done, remove the pan from the oven, re-baste the chicken and spoon pesto over each half. Return to oven and continue cooking for 3 minutes.
9. When done, remove chicken from the pan, set aside and keep warm while preparing the gravy.
10. To make the gravy, pour off all but 2 tbsp. of fat, retaining the solids, heat pan on stove on high, add the ½ cup of wine, bring to boil and de-glaze the pan scraping up the fond. Serve gravy alongside the chicken.

Please see: Summer Serendipity

Grandma Loved Ceci Beans

In General Articles on October 23, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Grandma, who crossed the Atlantic 101 years ago on the Principe di Piemonte, with three children aged 7 and younger, loved ceci beans (chech-ee), which are also known as chick peas and garbanzo beans. As a callow youth with an unsophisticated palate, I hated them. To me, they were mealy and dry and I never tasted them again until about 10 years ago, when I had a ceci-based soup at a restaurant in Vagliagli, in the Chianti district of Tuscany.  After that, I began to appreciate their texture, flavor and adaptability to a variety of uses. One such use is in Garbanzo Bean Soup.

Recently, I had occasion to have lunch with some friends at the Indian Road Café, in my old neighborhood of Inwood in northern Manhattan.  I ordered a delicious shrimp sandwich, which came with a side salad of chick peas dressed with pesto. Having some pesto sauce remaining from the batch of Uncle Fred’s Homemade Pesto Sauce that I had made several weeks ago, as well as several cans of garbanzos in the pantry, I had an epiphany and headed out to the market to pick up a red onion, cucumber and lemon. The first of two of those items were visible in the salad as well as the chick peas and pesto, but I had no idea about the lemon, it just seemed the right addition.

The serendipitous result was Insalata de Ceci, named in honor of Grandma, who I believe would have loved this dish. The moral of this tale is ‘Listen to your grandma, as she is always right!’

Uncle Fred’s Homemade Pesto Sauce

In Pasta, Recipes, Sauces on October 23, 2011 at 6:06 PM

(Makes about 2 cups of sauce)

Ingredients:

4 cups of basil leaves (stems discarded) packed tightly
5 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely, about 1/3 cup
1 cup pignoli nuts
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for preserving
¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preparation:

1.    Place chopped garlic and pine nuts in a food processor.
2.    Add the basil leaves and pulse-chop the ingredients, pausing after 10 pulses or so to push down the basil leaves with a spatula. Continue pulsing until all of the basil is chopped.
3.    Slowly add the olive oil while running the food processor.
4.    Scrape all of the ingredients from the sides with a spatula.
5.    Slowly add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and give it one or two quick pulses.
6.    Transfer the pesto sauce to a clean, pint-sized jar. When the pesto settles, slowly top it off with about ¼ inch of olive oil, which acts as a preservative air barrier and prevents the pesto from being exposed to air, turning brown and going bad. In this state it can be refrigerated for several weeks.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

Angel Hair Pasta (Capellini) with Pesto Sauce

Capellini (Angel Hair Pasta)
•    1 cup of pesto sauce
•    1 lb. of Capellini
•    Cook pasta according to directions.
•    When pasta is cooked and before draining, remove 1 cup of pasta water, add it to a large bowl, drain and add pasta to the bowl and toss, add pesto sauce and mix well.
•    Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano – Reggiano.

Insalata de Ceci

Pollo con Pesto

Roasted Halibut with Tomato and Pesto

The Last of the Basil

In General Articles on October 23, 2011 at 6:05 PM

As summer winds down into the first full month of autumn, the last of the basil has been picked. The memory of summer has long since faded as the leaves begin their whirling descent to blanket the lawn with brown, red and gold. While the outside air smells of autumn, the kitchen air is redolent with the vestiges of summer, freshly picked basil.

The aroma of basil has always meant summer to me; summer on the Jersey Shore, and summer vacations on Cape Cod, where our first stop was to see Uncle Fred and Aunt Jo. On those latter occasions, not only did Fred provide us with our first night’s dinner, but also with a basil plant that he had carefully tended, and which lasted for the entire month of our vacation.

So with October in the wind a few weeks ago, we picked the leaves from the last of our basil plants and decided to extend summer for a few weeks more by making pesto with a recipe from Uncle Fred. For a brief history of pesto and its ancient method of preparation, before the invention of blenders and food processors, check out the article in this link to the foods of Liguria. Liguria is one of the western-most regions of Italy, it borders on the French Riviera and encompasses Genoa, San Remo, Portofino, and Cinque Terre.

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