Thursday, 26 November 2015

Cod with cream and potatoes

Salted and dried cod is traditional in many Italian regions, as it keeps well for months. It was an abundant source of proteins for poor people, above all during winter when food was scarce. 

Nowadays it is less used because you should keep it in cold water for at least a couple of days, change the water often, so actually you have to plan to cook it well in advance to have it ready for dinner.
Luckily supermarkets help us and you can find it ready to cook, even if you miss part of the fun and of the smell...
OK I joke.

Whatever you decide, cod is a fantastic fish, and it is suitable for cooking in so many ways, and in my area it is a winter dish.

Ingredients for 4

450 gr/1 lb salted cod (or 600 gr. 1.5 lb desalted -soaked cod)
650 gr. 1.5 lb potatoes
2 oz butter
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 cup heavy cream
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
4 tea spoons chopped parsley (to garnish)

Two days before use, de-salt your cod, changing the water at least a couple of times.
After soaking it properly, cut the fish into pieces and boil it until the flesh comes away easily from the bones.  
Peel the fish from the skin.

In an other pan, boil the potatoes in their skins, peel them while they are still hot and let them cool down.
Cut them into slices. (Sorry no picture, but I am sure you can make it alone...)

In the meanwhile chop the onion and the garlic and saute them in hot butter with the bay leaf. Set aside.

Drain the cod, let it cool a little, 
Remove the skin and bones and break into bits by hand. 

6) Put the fish and the boiled potatoes in the pan with the saute onions, garlic and the bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and then pour in the cream.
Stir gently for a couple of minutes and serve hot with some chopped parsley.

Also, you can try it on a slice of toasted rustic bread!

I suggest a white wine, someone can suggest me which is the best match?

Monday, 23 November 2015

Beer and rustic mustard stew

This recipe, originated in the North of Italy, and may be even more North in Europe, is a must in Winter, when the smell and the sound of the boiling pot is a great company in the kitchen.
I chose pieces of the fore shoulder, and I understand that the name and the cut it is different in every country so I prefer to attach the picture. My meat was cut n. 8!
A very cheap cut indeed,  that can give excellent results as a long cooking makes the meat very soft and delicious.

Last but not the least it is easy to warm up the following day, and still delicious.
I match this stew with some polenta, and my tip is to cook it with a little more liquid than requested to make it smoother.

Ingredients for 4

800 grs/ 1 +3/4 lb pieces of fore shoulder, cut into thick cubes 4 cm/1,5 inches
1 golden onion
About 500 ml / 1 pint double malt beer
2 large slices of rustic bread
4 table spoons mustard in grains
40 grs butter
1 table spoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
2 table spoons chopped parsley 
1/2 table spoon chopped  sage leaves

450 grs/1 lb ready to cook polenta flour.

Peel the onion and cut it into thin slices.
Put the butter and the oil in a large pan, bring them to the boil and add the onions. Stir in until soft and golden. 

Flour the meat cubes, shake to avoid any excess of floor.
Remove the onion from the butter, set it aside and put the cubes in the hot butter, stirring in now and then until nicely golden on each side.Salt the meat and put the cooked onions in the pan again. Stir gently.

Pour in the beer, little by little or the foam will go out! Stir well so that the flour does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir well now and then.

Spread the mustard on each side of the bread, gently lay them on the meat, put a lid on the pan and let it cook over a low heat for about 1 hour. 

Stir the meat so that the bread dissolves as well and let it cook for 2 more minutes. 

Remove from fire and add the chopped vegetables.

Serve it hot with steamed potatoes or polenta.
Red wine, or better the same strong beer is recommended!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Pappardelle with fresh tuna

Pappardelle are just a little wider than tagliatelle. You can make them by hand, following my home made pasta recipe, and in this case they will cook in 2-3 minutes, or buy them dry. Reginelle will suit as well, always check they are made with eggs for  a better taste.
In each case, this mouth watering sauce will make a great dish!

Ingredients for 4

3 eggs fresh pasta or 320 grs/ 10 oz dry (egg) pasta
450 gr/ 1 lb fresh tuna
4 red tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 pinch dry oregano
1 pinch salt (to taste)
40 gr/2 tb spoons salted capers
20/25 green cored olives
3 table spoons extra virgin olive oil

Peel the garlic, cut them in half and, put a large frying pan over a medium heat, gently let the oil warm up and add the garlic until golden. Wash the capers to remove all the salt (if you are not used to do that, taste them! They can be very salty!).

In the meanwhile, wash and cut the tomatoes into small pieces and drain most of their water. Cut the tuna into cubes.

Remove the garlic and add the tomatoes to the hot oil, then add the tuna and the capers.

Let them cook for about 10 minutes, then add the olives and the oregano, and let them cook together for an other 5-6 minutes. Keep warm.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add salt (10 gr. each liter) and cook pasta until al dente. Drain it in a colander and mix it gently to the warm sauce over a low heat.

Serve immediately and eat hot!