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October 2008 COTM Batali: Seafood

MMRuth Oct 1, 2008 06:52 AM

October 2008 Cookbooks of the Month:

Mario Batali’s Babbo, Molto Italiano, and Simple Italian Cooking.

Please post your full-length reviews of main course seafood recipes here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the book and page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating!

  1. pitu Oct 4, 2008 04:56 PM

    two minute calamari, sicilian lifeguard style p. 191 Babbo Cookbook
    run, don't walk. this is easy and delicious

    + I've used capers more often than caperberries, good salt packed capers if you can
    + I make a variation on basic red sauce that throws in one or two habanero peppers - the fruity chile is perfect here.
    + I like a little extra pine nuts.
    + imho, an ice bath for the israeli couscous is overkill and annoyed me the one time I did it. I just drain it.

    This is a standby spectacular meal -- if you have cleaned squid and a cup or two of red sauce in the freezer (one cup because I usually make it for two. this is not best suited for leftovers because the couscous soaks up every last bit of the sauce eventually)
    The recipe is also widely available online.

    8 Replies
    1. re: pitu
      JoanN Oct 11, 2008 05:45 PM

      Calamari Sicilain Lifeguard Style (Babbo, page 191)

      Made this for dinner tonight and pitu is right. Run, don’t walk.

      I used fregula instead of Israeli couscous just because I had it and didn’t need another half opened box or bag in my already overcrowded cabinets. Agree that the ice bath isn’t necessary. And except for the fact that I now have half a bottle left, I don’t think I’d bother with the caperberries again; I’m sure rinsed capers would be just fine. But not sure I agree about adding more pignoli; the amount listed seemed right to me.

      I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I made the full recipe and ate probably a third of it. I just couldn’t stop. I’ll be eager to see if the leftovers with the fregula reheat any better than they do with the couscous because there’s no question I’ll be making this again.

       
       
      1. re: JoanN
        oakjoan Oct 11, 2008 06:08 PM

        2 questions:

        Does Batali call for Israeli couscous rather than fregula? He's such an Italophile that I'd be shocked.

        Are caperberries those gigantic things? Well, "gigantic" is perhaps an overstatement.

        I'm going to try this tomorrow night!

        1. re: oakjoan
          JoanN Oct 11, 2008 06:20 PM

          Yes, he calls for Israeli couscous. I've never had Israeli couscous so I don't even know how fregula compares to it. It's just, as I said, that I had the fregula and wanted to use it.

          And also, yes. Caperberries are those "gigantic" things. Actually, when I bought them, there were two different brands on the shelf. The one I bought was much larger, and quite a bit less expensive, than the other. They tasted much more like regular capers than I expected. Perhaps the more expensive brand would have been less so? Anyway, because they were large, they didn't really blend into the dish as a whole as did the pignolis and the currants. I got a heavy hit of caper every time I bit into one. As I said, I'll use them up, but unless someone tells me that the more expensive ones are considerably better--as well as considerably different from--regular capers, I'll just go with the regular ones in the future.

          1. re: JoanN
            pitu Oct 12, 2008 10:13 AM

            I think fregula is toasted and israeli couscous is not, but I could be wrong. They are both beads of pasta of about the same size -- israeli couscous is much larger than regular couscous.

        2. re: JoanN
          LulusMom Oct 14, 2008 02:26 PM

          Looks incredible. And yes, fregula is a *lot* like israeli couscous.

        3. re: pitu
          LulusMom Oct 28, 2008 06:11 AM

          My turn on the Calamari Sicilian Lifeguard Style, and we all loved it. Totally agree with all the raves. Mine seemed much less soupy/saucy than the photo on the website, but it didn't matter (maybe because I skipped the ice bath?). I used fregola (I had some leftover from Flexitarian month, and didn't have any israeli couscous) and just regular capers. One thing - I didn't much taste the currants (not a big deal, I'm not in love with fruit in my savory stuff). But I will *definitely* be making this again - so easy, and so much payoff.

           
          1. re: LulusMom
            beetlebug Nov 29, 2008 07:29 AM

            I don't really like fruit in my savory foods either. But, it didn't taste fruity as well. The consistency of the currants totally changed when they were fried up.

          2. re: pitu
            beetlebug Nov 29, 2008 07:28 AM

            I liked this as well. It was really fast to put together which made it a great weeknight well.

            I used less squid and more israeli couscous. I also didn't bother with the ice bath. I also added additional pine nuts as well.

            What I thought was interesting was how the currants changed in character and taste after sauteeing with the red pepper flakes in high heat.

            I did use caperberries and thought it could have used more than the 1/4 cup that it called for. Lastly, I forgot to add the scallions and didn't feel that the dish lacked in any way.

            This supposedly served 4. But, piggy us, we only got three servings out of it.

             
             
          3. Ruth Lafler Oct 6, 2008 11:15 PM

            Marinated Sole Venetian style -- Molto Italiano, p. 284.

            I found some fresh Dover sole on sale and I had all the other ingredients, so I tried this recipe: fillets, dredged in flour and fried, then marinated overnight in a sweet-sour sauce of sauteed onions, currents and pinenuts simmered in red wine vinegar with a little sugar. It's pretty easy, although I wish I had gotten the fillets a little browner -- I think the oil wasn't as hot as it should have been. Anyway, it's not like the fillets are going to be crisp after you marinate them. The instructions for cooking the onions seemed a little off, too: they said to cook the onions for 8-10 minutes in oil heated to almost smoking, which would have resulted in burned (not browned) onions if I hadn't turned the heat down.

            Overall, I liked the dish. At first the sauce seems a little overpowering, but it becomes addictively pungent. I served it with some roasted beets, which also went well with the sauce. It's probably better suited for a primi-sized portion, as a big plate of it might be too much (the recipe calls for 2 pounds of sole for four servings -- I think Mario needs some lessons in portion size!). I don't know if I'll make it again, but it was worth doing once. Although, the fact that it is marinated overnight and served at room temperature might make it a good choice for a first course at a dinner party.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Ruth Lafler
              mirage Oct 7, 2008 05:22 AM

              The Babbo version of this dish - Cod in Saor, p. 61 is terrific. It is my favorite, wicked easy, warmish weather, company standby. There are only slight differences in the instructions:

              MI: Oil almost smoking, onion softened and golden
              B: Oil heated, onion softened and "just light brown"

              B: After 24 hour marination, sprinkle with chives and , while the fish is coming to room temp (room temp serving being specified in Babbo, not in MI), mix up some paper thin celery, olive oil, lemon juice, S+P. Drizzle marinade then celery mixture over fish.

              These additions take this dish from being Very Good to Excellent.

              1. re: mirage
                Ruth Lafler Oct 7, 2008 09:34 AM

                Actually, room temperature serving is specified in MI as well. Which is good, because cold out of the fridge I couldn't taste the fish at all. At room temperature the flavors came into better balance (I'm actually a proponent of the idea that most food tastes better at room temperature or slightly warmer, rather than very hot or very cold). I "cheated" and used the lowest setting on my microwave to bring it up to room temp.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                  mirage Oct 7, 2008 09:46 AM

                  Missed it - my bad :-)

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                    Gio Oct 7, 2008 10:03 AM

                    "I'm actually a proponent of the idea that most food tastes better at room temperature or slightly warmer, rather than very hot or very cold."

                    Glad to know I'm not alone in this thinking, Ruth. Too hot, or too cold seems to stifle my taste buds and all I feel is the sensory reaction rather than a culinary reaction..

                    1. re: Gio
                      Ruth Lafler Oct 7, 2008 10:27 AM

                      That's my feeling as well. Although sometimes you want the sensory reaction (like the crispness of hot fried foods). But when food is too cool the aromatic oils that carry a lot of the flavor aren't volitilized and you can't taste them. For example, a while back I was making Meyer lemon cardamom ice cream and I was really disappointed that the finished product didn't have nearly the same flavor as the custard base it was made from: the cold muted all the citrusy flavors. A lot of kids understand this instinctively when they stir their ice cream -- when it's warmer it tastes better!

              2. yamalam Oct 7, 2008 04:23 PM

                Shrimp Fra Diavolo - MOLTO ITALIANO, and online here, with a video:
                http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/s...

                I used red jalepenos so they would blend in and create a devilish surprise. Subbed fresh oregano and basil for the marjoram and peeled and headed(beheaded?) the shrimp. Very good, better than the usual neighborhood Italian restaurant version. Simple, spicy, garlicky, would definitely make it again. Oh, and served it with bread, not on top, the picture made it look like a giant brushetta but alongside the bread was perfect for sopping up the sauciness.

                13 Replies
                1. re: yamalam
                  Rubee Oct 10, 2008 12:11 AM

                  Shrimp from the Devil Priest (Gamberoni fra Diavolo), Molto Italiano, p. 269

                  I made it this week also, and agree with your perfect description - "simple, spicy, garlicky, would definitely make it again". I haven't had this in years, but it made me remember why this is such a popular dish. My husband took one bite and said, "delicious".

                  I halved the recipe since it was the two of us and I only had a half-pound of shrimp, and served it over chitarra. For heat, I used 2 jalapenos and half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes and it was the perfect amount of spiciness for E, although for my serving I sprinkled more chili flakes on top. Ingredients were thinly sliced garlic, jalapenos, chili flakes, Basic Tomato Sauce (p. 269), white wine, and shrimp. As someone else has mentioned regarding this book, a lot of his recipes don't mention salt and pepper, so I seasoned to taste. I garnished with toasted bread crumbs, and fresh oregano instead of marjoram. It made a really nice dinner tonight, along with a bottle of Oriel gruner veltliner.

                  If you're going to make one Batali recipe this month, I think this is a good one - quick and easy (if you have a batch of Batali's tomato sauce made), nicely balanced flavors, and the helpful video yamalam linked is the exact recipe from the book.

                   
                  1. re: Rubee
                    oakjoan Oct 11, 2008 06:12 PM

                    Fab photo Rubee. Looks tantalizing. Will make this one because you reminded me I have some frozen raw shrimp.

                    1. re: Rubee
                      Gio Oct 14, 2008 05:16 AM

                      My turn for the Shrimp Fra Diavolo....

                      I made MB's Basic Tomato Sauce, used a bag TJ's raw but deshelled jumbo shrimp, and the entire amounts of all the ingredients. Four jalapeños - 1 T RPF - 6 cloves of garlic, etc. My first instinct was to serve the shrimp cum sauce over linguine but instead grilled a couple of pieces of wonderfully fresh crusty Italian bread. Oh My, we Loved this dish! It's on my Re-make list. Finished with a tossed salad w/red wine vinaigrette.

                      1. re: Rubee
                        Dax Nov 20, 2008 06:47 AM

                        Hey Rubee! I note you used fresh oregano instead of marjoram. I looked in a regular and two specialty stores and cannot find marjoram. Am I out of luck due to the time of the year? I don't think I have ever used fresh marjoram in a recipe. I want to try this recipe soon - I think the devil priest might help warm me up.

                        1. re: Dax
                          MMRuth Nov 20, 2008 06:50 AM

                          I occasionally find fresh marjoram even at this time of year here in NYC, but fresh oregano is a decent substitute and better, I think, than using dried marjoram.

                          1. re: Dax
                            Rubee Nov 21, 2008 04:25 PM

                            Hey Dax! nice pic.

                            Not sure, but I don't think I've seen fresh marjoram in stores. A CH friend here grows it and gave me some this year - I used it in a vinaigrette. I'm going to add it to my herb patch for next year. I agree with MMRuth - fresh oregano is a better substitute than dried marjoram.

                            Be sure to report back when you try the recipe!

                          2. re: Rubee
                            Dax Feb 4, 2009 12:33 PM

                            I made this for the Super Bowl but doubled the shrimp. While I luckily didn't double to 8 jalapenos, I used 6 and there was some major slow heat when served that night and downright damn hot when eaten leftover last night. Next time I'll go with 2 for the 20 shrimp (and I completely peeled and deveined them). I also didn't use his sauce, I used some of Hazan's butter and onion sauce I had frozen). I served over some toasted sourdough with olive oil. The dish went over pretty well.

                            I made cilantro rice (using sweet rice) last night to go with the leftovers - that is a good combination.

                          3. re: yamalam
                            LulusMom Nov 4, 2008 08:27 AM

                            My turn on the Shrimp Fra Diavolo. Oven issues meant I couldn't serve over the toasted bread, so I served it over linguine. I wish I hadn't taken the seeds out of the jalapenos, and that somehow I'd known my garlic wasn't very strong, because my version of this was fairly tame. I also wish (on thinking back) that I'd salted it ... that might have helped bring those other flavors forward a bit. That said, it never occured to me to salt it at the table and everyone said they enjoyed it (although no one went back for seconds). Serving it over the linguine, btw, made it very very messy to eat. If I made this again, I'd leave the jalapeno seeds in, and up the garlic. We had a guest to dinner so I was shy about pulling out the camera - no photo.

                            1. re: LulusMom
                              MMRuth Nov 4, 2008 08:29 AM

                              Re: the toasted bread - do you have a grill pan? That's how I do the bread, with the cast iron pan on top to weigh it down. Sometimes I use olive oil, sometimes I don't.

                              1. re: MMRuth
                                LulusMom Nov 4, 2008 09:00 AM

                                No, since we have a grill we decided to go without a grill pan. I suppose I could have grilled the bread, but it had been threatening to rain, so I went with the pasta instead.

                                The good news (please insert Hallelujah chorus here): My oven *seems* to have been fixed this morning!

                                1. re: LulusMom
                                  MMRuth Nov 4, 2008 09:02 AM

                                  Keeping fingers crossed for you - now you have to try the Artisan Bread!

                                  1. re: MMRuth
                                    LulusMom Nov 4, 2008 10:10 AM

                                    Believe me, that is near the top of my "when my oven gets fixed" list!

                                    I'm having some of the leftover shrimp diavolo and I have to say, I'm really enjoying it.

                              2. re: LulusMom
                                beetlebug Jan 4, 2009 11:29 AM

                                I served this over linguine as well. I liked it and it was a fast, easy weeknight dinner. I had weak jalepenos (left half the seeds in) so I didn't have as much heat. But, it was tasty and did the job.

                            2. MMRuth Oct 13, 2008 12:34 PM

                              Jumbo Shrimp Marsala House-Wife Style (Gamberoni alla Casalinga Siciliana, MI, p. 266)

                              Well, when I couldn't track down dry Marsala, I probably should have changed gears, but didn't. I ended up using a dryish sweet sherry, and if I had to substitute again, I'd use a dryer, but still full-bodied, sherry. That said, we enjoyed the dish - the sauce has onion, celery, plum tomatoes, pine nuts, currants, capers, fennel seed, red pepper flakes and bay leaf. I made the full amount of sauce, though used 1 lb of shrimp (the largest I could find, but smaller than those called for). The shrimp are cooked, covered, on top of the sauce. Though not part of the recipe, I cooked some purchased fresh fettucini, removed the shrimp from the sauce, tossed the sauce with the pasta, then put the shrimp on top. I'd like to try it again with the dry Marsala.

                               
                              3 Replies
                              1. re: MMRuth
                                Rubee Oct 13, 2008 12:47 PM

                                Thanks MMRuth for this report; it's another one on my list. My list is so long, I'll have to make three Batali dishes a day for the rest of the month! Tonight is carbonara.

                                As an interesting side note, I've been wanting to make this Batali House-Wife Shrimp recipe ever since Joe H raved about it earlier this year:

                                The Absolute Best Low Calorie Shrimp Dish You Will EVER Taste!!!
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493619

                                1. re: MMRuth
                                  yamalam Oct 17, 2008 11:44 AM

                                  Sounds good, especially since I adore currants lately. Same question i asked Lulusmom- do you think making this with chicken instead of shrimp would be too blah?

                                  1. re: MMRuth
                                    Goblin Jul 8, 2011 05:33 AM

                                    So glad I recently found this thread, since I just acquired Molto Italiano and am really enjoying cooking out of it! Anyway, I want to weigh in on Jumbo Shrimp Marsala "House Wife Style" too.

                                    MMRuth has described the process and results very clearly, and I concur that for not a lot of effort, you end up with a really delicious dish. And thanks to MMRuth's recommendation, I used some dry but full flavored sherry (Tio Pepe) rather than the medium-sweet Marsala that was all that I had. I'm really glad I did! The resulting sauce (mine was almost more of a broth since it isn't thick and there's about 1 1/2 cups of it) had an elusive barely sweet and nutty flavor that was actually rather sophisticated considering that this is "house-wife style"! I used larger shrimp, about 7 to a pound. I let them simmer just an extra minute or two but not cooked through entirely--and then let them rest, covered, for 5 minutes off heat as specified . They turned a lovely pink and stayed tender. I kept them warm and served with spaghetti in butter on the side, plus lots of ciabatta bread. I had made the spaghetti for the two children at the table--but next time I will just serve good bread. Sopping up that lovely sauce with crusty bread is about as good as it gets!

                                  2. LulusMom Oct 17, 2008 05:57 AM

                                    Scampi (erm, large shrimp) with garlic, chiles and fennel (MI, p. 274)

                                    Couldnt' find langostinos so went with large shrimp instead. Also couldnt' find red jalapenos so used green. Served this over polenta which was just a wonderful way to soak up the sauce. I loved everything about this. Served with a fennel salad (why let the rest of the fennel go to waste? it was just the fronds in with the shrimp). We were all crazy about it (Lulu redeemed herself admirably from her pesto problem by asking for more of all) and I'll definitely make it again.

                                     
                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                      yamalam Oct 17, 2008 11:42 AM

                                      That looks delicious, and so pretty with the fennel fronds. This recipe didn't jump out at me at first because it seemed too straightforward, like I already knew what it would taste like, but that seems to be MB's genius: simple, straightforward but amazing flavor combinations. Can't wait to try this!

                                      Oh, do you think this would work with chicken at all, instead of the shrimp? Hard to find good shrimp (at a decent price) here in AZ.

                                      1. re: yamalam
                                        LulusMom Oct 17, 2008 12:00 PM

                                        I think cut up white meat chicken (since it doesn't have such a strong flavor) would work. I might bump up the spicing a little (although I would bump up the spicing in almost everything, so take that advice with a grain of salt).

                                        He doesn't recommend what to serve this with, but the polenta seemed like a no brainer to me - great for soaking up the sauce. My husband said "inspired combination!" and I had to admit that basically its the same thing I see in every local restaurant: shrimp and grits.

                                      2. re: LulusMom
                                        Rubee Jul 20, 2009 11:49 AM

                                        Scampi with garlic, chiles and fennel (Scampi con Aglio e Finocchio, MI, p. 274)

                                        Made this last month and I agree - simple, but the flavors were so good. I served it with crostini. I also used large shrimp.

                                        Easy weeknight dinner too - shrimp is sauteed with sliced garlic and red jalapenos in olive oil, add white wine, and toss with chopped fennel fronds and fresh mint.

                                         
                                        1. re: Rubee
                                          LulusMom Jul 20, 2009 01:41 PM

                                          Thanks for reminding me of this one. I loved it, and should make it again soon. So glad you liked it too.

                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                            pitu Jul 20, 2009 02:11 PM

                                            mmm, yes thx Rubee...was looking for a seafood and fennel summer dish . . .

                                        2. re: LulusMom
                                          Breadcrumbs Jan 3, 2013 06:43 AM

                                          Scampi with Garlic, Chilies and Fennel – p. 274

                                          I picked up some langoustines to accompany our grilled steaks for our New Year’s Day dinner. A quick EYB search landed me here to LlM & Rubee’s enticing reviews and I knew I’d found my recipe!

                                          Happy to say this dish was the hit of the evening. As you may be able to tell from the photos, I didn’t have any fennel fronds so I opted to use Italian parsley instead but I infused my broth with a little ground fennel seed and, dusted the finished dish w fennel pollen. I look forward to trying it again with the fronds though.

                                          The sweetness of the langoustines contrasted nicely with the tartness and heat of the chili-infused wine broth. I served mine atop some steamed rice whereas mr bc preferred his sauce on the side so he could dip as he goes. (He also likes to keep each item separate on his plate).

                                          A simple, elegant dish that I’m happy to have in my repertoire.

                                           
                                           
                                           
                                        3. MMRuth Oct 24, 2008 11:31 AM

                                          Grilled Jumbo Shrimp with White Beans, Rosemary and Mint Oil (Gamberoni alla Toscana, MI, p. 268)

                                          We had this last night, along with the radicchio with rosemary and guanciale. It's a pretty quick dish to make, and had wonderful flavors. The shrimp are seasoned with salt & pepper, and I tossed them with some olive oil (rather than brushing them), and grilled them in the grill pan. They are served on a lovely salad of white beans, rosemary, marjoram, red onions, lemon juice and zest and arugula - this would make a great bruschetta topping as well. You then drizzle on mint oil. I made half the amount called for of that, and it was plenty for a pound of shrimp.

                                           
                                          1. MMRuth Oct 24, 2008 11:35 AM

                                            Monkfish Scaloppine with Chianti and Sage (Coda al Chianti, MI, p. 299)

                                            I made this awhile ago but kept forgetting to post about it. I'm not a huge fan of monkfish, though my husband is, so I liked these pounded medallions - less chewy that way. The dish is very quick - you dredge the medallions in seasoned salt and pepper, cook in hot olive oil, remove, then saute scallions and sage, add wine, olives and tomato sauc and boil. Put the fish back, add butter, simmer, then add in parsley and serve. I'd definitely make this again.

                                             
                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: MMRuth
                                              LulusMom Oct 24, 2008 12:26 PM

                                              Oh good, this is on my make list. I actually love monkfish, and pick it up whenever I see it (which isn't all that often).

                                              1. re: MMRuth
                                                LulusMom Nov 15, 2008 02:55 AM

                                                Finally got around to the Monkfish Scaloppine with Chianti and Sage (MI p. 292)

                                                The sauce in this has a surprising depth, given how shortly it is cooked. I used a cheap but cheerful cab. sauv. but aside from that followed the recipe. Mine was slightly chewier than MMRuth's must have been, but this was enjoyed by everyone. I wish I'd tasted the sage more, but I think that may have more to do with my stuffy nose than with the recipe. Served with spinach sauted in olive oil with lemon and some of the artisan bread (Yay! -thanks to MMRuth once again for pointing this stuff out to me - if you haven't tried it, you should).

                                                Photo is a little dark.

                                                 
                                              2. LulusMom Oct 25, 2008 05:48 AM

                                                Polenta with Salt Cod (MI p. 159)

                                                This is actually in a section called Soup, Rice, Polenta. Made exactly as directed with the sad exception that I didn't have the full 2 tablespoons of fennel seeds (I love fennel). Served this with ice berg wedges with home made blue cheese dressing (my husband's favorite) just in case he wasn't so keen on it, but he ended up loving it (while I put it in the just ok group). Oh, just realized I did make one change - whenever i make polenta I add a boullion cube and a half to the water and then stir in a little olive oil at the end. Highly recommend doing this.

                                                 
                                                1. MMRuth Nov 5, 2008 10:05 AM

                                                  Bream in a Packet (Orata al Cartoccio, Molto Italiano, p. 290)

                                                  I'm catching up on my reporting back! We used Orata, though he calls for 2 2lb ones, my husband only found 1 lb ones, and the fishmonger says that one pound is their usual size. I suspect this might be a typo, as there is no way a 2lb fish would fit in the size of parchment paper he recommends, and he also refers to 4 filets for four people, and that would be a huge amount of fish if the fish were two pounds. That said, we enjoyed the dish - I didn't have any white wine, so used red, and loved the technique of brushing egg white on the parchment paper before sealing it up. I kind of butchered the fileting as you will see from the photos, and had to cut the tails off to fit them in the parchment paper. The fish was very moist and tender, though I baked it for 14 minutes rather than 16.

                                                   
                                                   
                                                  1. Carb Lover Nov 9, 2008 05:23 AM

                                                    Sauteed Scallops w/ wild mushrooms & frisee
                                                    Simple Italian Food, p. 139
                                                    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ma...

                                                    Although I absolutely adore seared scallops, I have not eaten one in who knows how long. I don't tend to order them at restaurants, and it's hard to find reasonably affordable ones that are of excellent quality. So when my boss (a chef) had some dry scallops in the walk-in this weekend, I asked if I could buy a pound wholesale and of course he said yes like he always does. Score! I'm lucky to have a nice boss...

                                                    I thought about making Alice Waters' version w/ salsa verde, but I wanted something more autumnal and not so bright in flavor. I cracked open last month's COTM (I have Simple Italian Food) and had to make Mario's recipe once I saw that the scallops were paired w/ mushrooms and greens. He says that one can substitute mixed baby greens for frisee which is what I did because I had them on hand and husband kind of detests frisee. For mushrooms, I used a mixture of shiitakes and creminis. Instead of shallots, I used cipolline onions.

                                                    The above linked recipe is pretty much the same as in SIF; however, he does state in SIF that 12 large sea scallops should be around one pound. I don't understand what he means by "without turning the scallops" in regards to plating in the linked recipe, but to be clear, the seared side is served up.

                                                    This dish comes together very quickly. He says to cook the scallops for 5-6 minutes w/o turning over. Mine were on the smallish side, so it only took 1-2 min. for them to get really browned on the first side, so I turned them over for about 30-45 sec. to finish on the second side. They were done to perfection for our taste. Looking at the recipe now, I did forget to finish w/ a little EVOO once the dish was assembled, so I'll remember to do that next time.

                                                    Overall, this dish was a BIG hit! The earthy mushrooms and sweet onions brought out the sweetness and meatiness in the scallops, and the balsamic vinegar was a nice counterpoint. The baby greens were good, but I would throw in a little frisee next time for textural and color contrast. I also would like to add some oyster mushrooms next time. This paired well w/ a Cotes du Rhone that we already had opened.

                                                    It's not under the primi section, but I think it makes for a nice first course or luncheon dish. One could reduce the # of scallops per person if serving as a first course. Since it was just husband and I, I served it as a main course after Alice Waters' tomato soup (will post on that soon). We ate well last night...I still have some scallops left so we can extend our scallop love fest into tonight.

                                                     
                                                     
                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: Carb Lover
                                                      LulusMom Nov 9, 2008 10:38 AM

                                                      really gorgeous pictures.

                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                        Carb Lover Nov 9, 2008 11:08 AM

                                                        Thank you, LulusMom! I usually take 4-6 photos of each finished dish and sometimes have a hard time choosing which to post. Since no one seems to tire of food porn, I've attached one more photo from a slightly different angle below. Now what to do w/ the 1/3 lb. of scallops that I have left...

                                                         
                                                        1. re: Carb Lover
                                                          MMRuth Nov 9, 2008 01:10 PM

                                                          They do look and sound wonderful! (I do the same thing with the photos - with flash, without flash, turning the plate, etc.!)

                                                        2. re: LulusMom
                                                          oakjoan Nov 9, 2008 10:18 PM

                                                          Ditto on the photos! I was trying to grab them off my monitor.

                                                          Btw, is that escarole on which they repose, or romaine?

                                                          I can't believe I used to hate scallops. Never ate them until about 10 years ago when we first went to House of Nanking (now a serious tourist trap). The owner made them right in front of us (We were sitting at the counter) in a huge wok set into the stove. They cooked for a very short time and then he plopped them right onto our plates. Heavenly. Salt and pepper scallops. Yum. Since then, I've been a total convert.

                                                          1. re: oakjoan
                                                            Carb Lover Nov 10, 2008 06:36 AM

                                                            Yeah, scallops need to be fresh and cooked right to taste good. They are so versatile and kind of a blank canvas for flavors. The greens are actually a blend of baby greens from my csa box. A small head of sliced escarole wilted from the pan's heat would be nice though...

                                                      2. j
                                                        jaykayen Nov 26, 2008 03:35 PM

                                                        Snapper with Olives (p 289)

                                                        Really, really good. The recipe calls for zest and segments of 5 lemons, plus juice of 3 more, which is way off. I did zest and juice of 1 lemon instead

                                                        Red snapper from the Gulf is on the red (avoid) Monterey Bay list, though.

                                                        1. Rubee Jun 1, 2009 11:03 PM

                                                          Stuffed Calamari on the Grill (Simple Italian Food, p. 63)

                                                          This was quick and tasty, and I loved the simple stuffing with the calamari. I used baby squid that I found frozen in the Asian store, so broiled these since they were so small. The stuffing is easy, especially with toasted bread crumbs I had in the freezer. Heat EVOO, saute sliced garlic and finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and add bread crumbs. Cool and mix with fresh thyme, parsley, and scallions. Stuff the calamari, brush with olive oil and then broil or grill. Since the squid I used were so small, I skipped the "boiling for an hour until tender" step.

                                                          To finish, spoon a mixture of olive oil, diced tomatoes, fresh chives, and s&p over the cooked calamari. Batali mentions to be sure to use fresh squid. Hopefully I can find some since I'll be making this a lot this summer - quick and easy on the grill, an easy stuffing to toss with any variety of fresh herbs, and the calamari can be cooked and stuffed ahead of time.

                                                           
                                                          1. Gio Apr 9, 2012 06:46 AM

                                                            Calamari Neapolitan-Style (Calamari alla Luciana), Molto Italiano, Pg. 256

                                                            Yet another calamari recipe. This one was terrific and we loved it. It's easy to prep and takes 5 minutes to cook if you're made the tomato sauce in advance; only 1 cup of sauce is needed. We used our own sauce recipe that is more spicy than Mario's Basic Sauce. I halved the recipe, but kept the 1 cup of sauce.

                                                            Garlic and crushed red pepper flakes are cooked in hot olive oil till garlic is golden. Add the tomato sauce and dry white wine and bring to boil. Slice cleaned calamari in thin rings, add to pot, stir to coat with sauce and simmer about 3 minutes. Add red wine vinegar, minced parsley, and a little more olive oil. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking. Serve with crusty bread to sop up the fabulous juices. Perfect timing for the pesky calamari, by the way. They were very tender and the sauce was deliciously tangy from the vinegar and briny squid.

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