“Bacon and eggs” truffle infused custards with crispy prosciutto

Most of Thomas Keller’s recipes (of French laundry fame) are too complicated for my short attention span but this one is not too hard and is absolutely life changing.

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8 large eggs (the fresher the better)
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup milk
1& 1/2 tbsp truffle oil
sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

Finishing Touches
1 tbsp chives (finely diced)
1 oz (2-3 slices) prosciutto

Ragout
1/3 c veal or chicken Stock
dash of fish Sauce (or dash of white wine vinegar)
1 tsp unsalted Butter
1/2 tsp truffle oil

A used egg carton

Custards

Prepare the egg shells
With an egg topper or serrated knife, cut off wider end of the egg (make sure cut is low enough that a spoon can fit in the opening.) If cutting with a serrated knife, lay the egg on a towel, and with a steady but gentle sawing motion, cut halfway through width of egg.
Remove knife, turn egg upright, and pop off the top of the egg. Pour 2 of the eggs into a bowl to reserve for the custard, and the others you can save for any other kitchen uses you might have for them. Reserve the paper egg carton. Reserve the shell bodies.
Under running water, using your fingers, carefully remove the membrane from inside the shell bodies. Clean up any loose shell pieces from the edges of the shell cavity, then set aside.

Prepare the Custards
Preheat oven to 275°F

In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream and milk. As soon as it reaches a boil, transfer to a blender. Carefully pulsing, slowly build speed of blender to prevent extreme splattering. While blending, add the 2 reserved eggs, truffle oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher that pours well. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then skim foam from top of custard.
Place the shell bodies upright into a reserved egg carton (cut away extra spaces to make carton smaller.) Carefully pour custards into shells, filling about 85% full. (If pitcher is pouring like a bitch, use a funnel to help aim the pours.)
Using a pan that is a least 3 1/2 – 4″ deep, fill about 1″ of hot water into the pan. Place custards (carton and all) into the water, and top off with more water (if necessary) to have water level reach 3/4 ths up the sides of the eggs. Place pan into oven, cover with a lid or baking sheet, and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until custards are set. Remove from oven and set aside (They can stay in the warm water for about 2 hours if needed.)

Prepare the Finishing Touches and Ragout
Heat a saute pan over med-high heat, add a touch of oil, and crisp up prosciutto (just like cooking bacon.) Dab on paper towels to remove excess oils, then cut into 1/2″x 2″ pieces (there will be spare tidbits you’ll get to snack on.)
Dice the chives.
Put the stock and fish sauce into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 3-4 minutes, or until it coats the back of a spoon. There should be about 3 tbsp of sauce.

Finishing
Swirl the butter and truffle oil into the reduced stock. Season to taste. Place each egg in a cup, and spoon about 1 tsp of ragout on top of the custards. Add a sprinkling of diced chives, then place a prosciutto crisp in each egg.

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Giada’s easy cheesy risotto cake

This is a very easy and tasty recipe and perfect for those summer get-togethers.

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Serves 6 to 8

Butter, for greasing the pan.
Rice
2 cups Marinara or tomato-basil sauce
1 cup Arborio rice

Bechamel Sauce
3 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

To assemble
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, coarsely chopped
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
4 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch spring form pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with foil.

For the rice:
Bring the marinara sauce and rice to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.
For the bechamel sauce:
Melt the butter in a 1 quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer the sauce over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt and grated nutmeg.

For assembly:
Mix together the bechamel sauce, rice mixture, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and the prosciutto and peas in a medium bowl. Slowly mix in the eggs, salt and pepper.
Pour the mixture into the prepared spring form pan and cover with foil. Place in a shallow roasting pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up the side of the spring form pan. Bake for 1 hour.

Preheat the broiler. Remove the foil and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/3 cup cheese and the breadcrumbs. Broil just enough to melt the cheese and create a crispy crust, about 3 minutes/
Cool for 15 minutes.
Loosen the risotto from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the edge. Remove the sides of the pan. Cut into wedges and serve.

Prosciutto wrapped chicken stuffed with goat cheese and figs

This is a very simple but highly effective dish from Marcus Bean, that is as good at a dinner party as it is for a casual get-together with friends. You can also make them as small bites.

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Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 strips of Parma ham or prosciutto
8 fresh figs, sliced
4 oz soft goats cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Make a horizontal slit down each chicken breast, making sure you don’t cut all the way through. Open up the chicken breasts as flat as possible and place each one on 2 strips of Parma ham or prosciutto.

Mix together the figs and goat’s cheese, season the chicken breasts, then put 1/4 of the stuffing mixture on each chicken breast, seasoning again with a little more salt and pepper. Fold the chicken over the filling, then wrap the ham around the outside and secure with cocktail sticks, if necessary.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chicken breasts and cook on medium high until browned, then transfer to a roasting tin and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the breast is pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

Serve hot with a fresh green salad and boiled, buttered baby potatoes.

Roasted cauliflower with dates, pine nuts and prosciutto served with caper aioli

I am a cauliflower fanatic and just love different ways of serving it. You’ll love this briny, creamy aioli which is very easy to make, and the combination of the toasty cauliflower, sweet dates, salty prosciutto and nutty pine nuts, is divine.

 

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Serves 4
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
4 oz prosciutto, sliced thick and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp chopped parsley leaves, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 F

Combine the cauliflower, prosciutto, dates, olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes in a large mixing bowl. Mix well to coat and place on a sheet pan.
Place in the top part of the oven and roast until the cauliflower is fork tender and light brown, about 30 to 40 mins. Remove from the oven, transfer to a decorative bowl and scatter with the freshly toasted pine nuts. Serve with the caper aioli on the side.

 

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Caper aioli
1 cup good quality mayonnaise
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp capers, chopped
1 tsp caper brine
1 tbsp chopped parsley leaves

Rub the inside of a decorative bowl with the garlic clove.
Put the mayonnaise, salt, olive oil, capers, caper brine and parsley in a mixing bowl and mix well together to combine. transfer to the decorative bowl and serve with the roasted cauliflower

 

 

Prosciutto wrapped sea bass with roasted Autumn vegetables

I have been thinking about this recipe ever since I watched the “Barefoot Contessa” make it.
Finally I made it tonight with some modifications and it really is lovely with sweet roasted root vegetables, moist sea bass enclosed in the salty prosciutto, and the lovely woodsy flavor of the rosemary infused buttery lemon sauce.

 

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Prep time 20 mins
Cooking time 1 hour
Serves 4, but is easily augmented

2 cups peeled, seeded and diced (1/2-inch) butternut squash
2 cups peeled and diced (1/2 inch) diced parsnips
2 cups peeled and diced (1/2 inch) diced carrots
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
4 ( 7 oz ) fillets skinless sea bass fillets
6 to 8 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 good sprigs fresh rosemary
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

For the vegetables;
Put the butternut squash, parsnips and carrots in a large bowl.Finely cut 2 sprigs of the fresh rosemary and add to the vegetables. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and the garlic. Add about 1/3 cup olive oil and toss together with your hands until well mixed together.
Line a shallow roasting tray with aluminum foil, spread the vegetables out in a single layer and roast for 30 mins, turning once during the cooking until they are tender and starting to brown.
Meanwhile, line another sheet pan with aluminum foil and place a baking rack on top of the foil.
Brush the fish fillets on both sides with olive oil and season liberally with salt and ground pepper.
Wrap each fillet with a slice or two of prosciutto to form a wide band around the center of the fillet.
Arrange the fillets on the rack with the prosciutto seam side down and roast for 10 to 15 minutes until barely cooked.
While the vegetables and fish are roasting, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium-sized saute pan.
Add the rosemary sprigs and cook over low heat until the rosemary leaves are crisp and the butter begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
Discard the rosemary, stir in the lemon juice and set aside.
To serve, place the vegetables in the middle of a shallow bowl, lay a piece of the prosciutto wrapped fish on top.
Spoon the butter/rosemary sauce over the fish and vegetables.
Garnish with a small sprig of rosemary and a wedge of lemon and serve hot.

Baked mozzarella balls wrapped in prosciutto with a herb tomato sauce

Crispy prosciutto balls encompassing melting mozzarella with a herb flavored tomato sauce.

Serves 4

4 balls (4oz each) buffalo mozzarella
ground pepper
8 thin slices Italian prosciutto
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

Tomato Sauce
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
1/2 cup Passata (tomato puree)
6 plum (Roma) tomatoes, peeled and seeded
5 basil leaves
5 tarragon leaves
sea salt and ground pepper

To serve

a little chopped basil and tarragon
olive oil to drizzle

For the sauce heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a pan and sweat the shallot and garlic over low heat until soft.

Add the vinegar and cook for a further 3 – 4 minutes until reduced, then add the passata and tomatoes, and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the herbs and remaining olive oil and cook over a very low heat for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick and a deep red.
Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then push through a coarse sieve and set aside.

Preheat an oven to 300 F. Season the mozzarella with pepper and roll up in the prosciutto allowing 2 slices per ball of cheese.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat until just smoking.
Place the parcels in the pan, and sear, turning constantly, until the outsides are well colored, about 1 minute.
Transfer the parcels to a baking dish and cook in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes.

Spoon the tomato sauce in the center of individual plates and sprinkle with the chopped basil and tarragon.
Set a mozzarella parcel on top, drizzle with olive oil and serve!

Chicken saltimbocca skewers with white bean puree

8 x 4 to 5 ounce boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets, trimmed
24 fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup store bought semi dried tomatoes
24 slices of prosciutto
olive oil, for brushing
rocket (arugula) leaves and lemon wedges for serving
White bean puree (see below)
1 regular can white Cannellini beans (16 oz) drained and rinsed
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and black pepper

8 to 10 skewers, soaked inwater for 1 hour

To make the white bean puree, put the drained and rinsed beans, garlic, lemon juice and rind, olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until a smooth paste forms.  Set aside.

Place the chicken pieces between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, flatten the fillets until 1/4 inch thin at the most.
Cut the chicken pieces into three until you have 24 equal sized pieces. Place 1 sage leaf and 1 tomato on each piece of chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roll up to enclose.

Wrap each chicken roll with a slice of prosciutto.
Thread three chicken rolls onto each skewer and brush with oil.
Preheat a chargrill pan or barbeque to high heat and cook the skewers for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve with the white bean puree, rocket and lemon wedges.