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March 2011 Cookbook of the Month: THE NAKED CHEF Collection

Welcome to our March COTM: The Naked Chef Books:

THE NAKED CHEF
THE RETURN OF THE NAKED CHEF
HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF

Please use this thread for review and discussion of recipes from these books by Jamie Oliver. Give us the name of the book, the name of the recipe along with the page number. Photos are welcomed.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Thanks smtucker!! I hope to do a lot of cooking from these books this month. I'm still waiting from Happy Days to arrive (an Abes Books purchase) but have flagged numerous recipes in the two other NC books so I have my work cut out for me it seems!! Not to mention all the bookmarks in my other JO books!!

    I'm actually planning to make a dish from the NC - Takes Off tomorrow night so will be back here soon w a review. Happy cooking everyone!

    1. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF: Shrimp with Chilli, Parsley, Ginger and Garlic on Toast, p.153
      Oliver says "Serves 4" but I served 6; two of them young kids.

      The title pretty much says it all: large raw shrimp ( I used 1 1/2 # ) are tossed into a large hot saute pan with olive oil, chopped ginger, sliced garlic, and deseeded and sliced red chili peppers. After about 3-5 minutes when the shrimp turn pink, the heat is turned down and the juice of a lemon and a bit more olive oil is added along with some chopped flat-leaf parsley. Toss and dish out with toasted ciabatta bread to sop up juices. Couldn't be much easier or fresher and everyone scarfed it up, even the young 'uns, who didn't complain about the bit of heat from the fresh red chili peppers. (I had removed any largish slices of the peppers from their plates--what remained was a pleasant peppery-ness.) Oliver says you can use 3 chili peppers if desired; I thought 2 were fine for us. It's very quick to prepare, too, once the shrimp are peeled (I buy frozen packages of shrimp called "Easy Peel" and they are not that bothersome to de-shell.)

      I made one change, inadvertently, thinking that the recipe called for a small wineglassful of white wine (turned out this was supposed to be in another of the evening's offerings.) So I added that instead of the called-for juice of one lemon, and I removed the shrimp for a minute or two to deglaze and reduce the white wine sauce. It was delicious this way, too! Next time, and there will be one, I will try it with what the recipe actually called for: lemon juice. A very agreeable and easy entre, nicely complimented by the toasted bread instead of a more prosaic rice side dish. Would be a nice first course, too.

      This was my very first Jamie Oliver cookbook recipe and I was impressed with how simple and good it was. And the food photography in this book. . . . . . oh my. Food-porn for sure and very inviting. All of the food photos in this book are really wonderful.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Goblin

        Great review Goblin, I have to try this one! I had to chuckle at your inadvertent change....just happened to have a glass of wine hanging around . . . ; - )

        My Dad used to say he always like to cook w wine, and sometimes he'd even put it in the food!

        1. re: Goblin

          Goblin, this sounds incredible. Exactly the kind of thing we like. You answered my first question, which was whether this was a first course or a main, but I do have another. Just how spicy do you normally like your food? We tend to like things on the spicy side, so I'm wondering if we should go with 3 chilies. Thanks for the report. It's going straight on my list.

          1. re: LulusMom

            Lulu'sMom, this recipe was just right for us as a main course, but it could also work well as a starter. In fact, I think that Jamie (I'm calling him "Jamie" now) might have meant it for a first course when he specified "16 large raw tiger or other large shrimp" to serve 4 (maybe 1 lb. of tiger shrimp? Jamie didn't specify the weight. ) I decided to use 1 1/2 lbs. of "extra large shrimp" (21-25 per pound) and as you recall, I threw in 6-8 oz. of white wine by mistake (instead of the juice of one lemon.) I didn't increase the parsley, ginger, and garlic, etc., at all and the sauce was still quite yummy.

            Yup, I think 3 chilies would be great if you and your family/guests like spicy. It's still not over-the-top. The 2 chilies that I used added a nice fresh tinge of heat without being excessive for a 5 and 7 year old.

            Breadcrumbs, I'm with your dad!

            1. re: Goblin

              I'm sure he won't mind - he's a friendly guy! Great review.g

          2. re: Goblin

            With a title like "The Naked Chef" I'm glad the only porn in it is of the food variety :)

            1. re: sarahcooks

              Saracooks, I am not familar with these books, but do you know why they are titled "naked chef'??? I just crawled out from a rock (again).

                1. re: Gio

                  Doesn't say why "naked chef" was chosen as a name. I remeber knowing why back when but have no idea today...

                  1. re: herby

                    Ah yes... sorry. He called himself the naked chef because he treats his ingredients simply. As he has said, "it's basically stripping back to the bare essentials." Localy grown food, easy to obtain ingredients, simply cooked. All that and very tasty too.

                    It's also very catchy for marketing...

                    1. re: Gio

                      And, well, he was young and cheeky, so it all worked together, I guess. (I never saw his shows, and only looked at his cookbooks once they were COTM.)

            2. re: Goblin

              Made the Shrimp with Chili, Parsley, Ginger and Garlic on Toast tonight. Made just as written, except couldn't find red peppers so used 3 jalapenos. They must have been fairly lame jalapenos. And the garlic must not have been very strong either. We all liked this, but considering we love all the ingredients, it somehow didn't bowl us over. I think part of the problem for my husband was that it was a "pick it up and eat it" thing - he's not big on eating with his hands (unlike Lulu and me). He also said, and I think this is a valid point, that some sort of carmelization (sp????) on the shrimp would have made them a bit more interesting. My feeling though is that there just wasn't enough (or strong enough) garlic/chilis or salt. I personally loved picking up the toasts and letting the juice drip down my arm a little. So ... mixed review.

            3. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF: World's Best Baked Onions, p. 206

              Man, this was another case in this cookbook where the photo of the recipe not just called out to me, but COMPELLED me to make this recipe NOW! And though involving a few steps, it was not a difficult prep. I set up the onions early for baking later, which would be useful when entertaining. I'm definitely going to use this one again as a delicious side.

              The recipe (serving 4) calls for 4 "tennis-ball sized" onions (I used yellow) which are first peeled and parboiled until almost tender (be sure that they are indeed tender but not falling apart--mine took longer than the 15 minutes Oliver recommends but they might have been a bit larger than a tennis ball!) Then some of the onion is scooped out and chopped; this is added to a frying pan with some olive oil, chopped garlic and fresh rosemary, and sauteed a few minutes till softened, at which point the heat is turned off and several TB of cream and a "couple of handfuls" of grated Parmesan cheese are stirred in. Now how could THIS be any good ? ;-)

              The scooped-out onions are filled with the mixture (I had about 1 1/2 x too much filling to fit into the onions--I think next time I will scoop out more onion to make a bigger cavity, but not necessarily use all of it for the stuffing-mixture.) Then, to gild the lily, a strip of pancetta or bacon is wrapped around the stuffed onion before baking them at 400 F. The recipe says to bake for 25 minutes; mine took about 35 min. to become tender because I hadn't parboiled the onion sufficiently. But here's the cute part! When you are stripping your fresh rosemary sprigs for the leaves to chop, just remove the bottom 2-3 inches of leaves -- leave the rest on the upper part of the sprig, which you now use to spike the bacon in place (you can also use a toothpick.) It's so fun; looks like a little rosemary-flag! I think this would be very attractive and easy to serve at a buffet dinner and/or a dinner party. My diners were just family and they loved the savory flavors and richness. I served this with sauteed shrimp.

              14 Replies
              1. re: Goblin

                Wow, another mouth-watering review Goblin!! You've got me really, really excited about getting this book I'm expecting it any day now and will definitely flag both these recipes. Thanks Goblin!

                1. re: Goblin

                  Gosh that sounds good! Definitely another one to add to my ever-growing list.

                  1. re: Goblin

                    Weirdly enough, your report brought back to me that I actually made this recipe when the book came out. It was featured on some morning show and looked fantastic. Mine, quite possibly because I used turkey bacon instead of pancetta, were not really as good as expected. They were fine, but not special. I do think the turkey bacon could have been the problem. I'm glad they were a hit for you.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      Yeah, Lulu'sMom, I have to admit that I never eat real bacon, nor cook with it much, but when I do--and I HAD to, that's what Jamie SAID--the flavor is really something. The combo of cream, parmesan cheese, and onion with the smokiness of the bacon was really great. Wait a minute. . . didn't we used to make something like this in the old days, called quiche?

                      1. re: Goblin

                        Laughing! Yeah, I had a feeling, whle eating those onions, that the bacon(ish) was the problem. Normally I think it works fine, but there are times when only the real thing works.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          LLM: Whose turkey bacon do you buy back there on the far away East Coast? Out here we have a company called "Willy Bird" (or is it "Willie"?). In any case, they make a great turkey bacon which we use almost exclusively in dishes calling for bacon. Once in a while, eating breakfast in a restaurant, we'll have REAL bacon, but never at home. I'll have to try this recipe to see if Willy Bird's rep. holds up.

                          1. re: oakjoan

                            That would be fascinating to hear. I always forget the brand name - I just go for the package. One of the big name ones actually still has a bit of pork in it, so that was out. Apparently there is a very good beef bacon sold at WFs, but since I'm not a big beef eater either, this doesn't appeal so much. I actually like the turkey bacon way more than I ever liked regular bacon when I ate it, but then again I'm a bit of a weirdo.

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              I am trying to imagine what turkey bacon is like and I'm afraid I can't, really. I love bacon - can't imagine living without it!

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                It's sort of just a lighter flavored bacon. My husband doesn't notice the difference any more between the two (but then he's been forced to eat turkey bacon for well on 12 years now). Lulu doesn't notice the difference when she eats real bacon. Maybe someone who eats both can explain?

                                1. re: greedygirl

                                  The whole bacon thing brings up the problem of totally different products in the US and UK. Keep in mind when americans say bacon they mean crispy bacon, not back bacon, and I'm not sure even that is the same because I never had crispy bacon in the UK. And for Americans, British bacon is more like thinly sliced Canadian bacon or ham. Could make a huge difference in any bacon recipes in his book.

                                  1. re: sarahcooks

                                    I notice in these Naked Chef recipes that Jamie usually recommends pancetta first, and then offers "bacon" as a alternative--and as you suggest it could be UK style bacon he means!

                                  2. re: greedygirl

                                    Well, GG, we don't live totally without it. We just use it sparingly. The Willy Bird turkey bacon looks a lot like bacon. They must use a combo of white meat and dark meat to make it look like the fat and the meat. It's cured like bacon, too. Maybe we're just used to it.

                                    I'm not a fanatic about this kind of thing. My husband eats (and claims he likes) egg white salad. It's hard-boiled egg whites mixed with spices and some lo-cal mayo to sub for egg salad. I can hardly stand to look at it. FAUGH!

                          2. re: Goblin

                            This was one of the recipes I really wanted to try. Thanks for taking the plunge! I think I might have to add a little extra bacon to the stuffing though...

                          3. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF: Roasted Fennel with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic, and Olive Oil, p. 223

                            Again, the title says it all. The feathery tips of the fennel bulbs are cut off and put in a roasting pan, then the next ingredients are added in one layer. NOTE: the fennel bulbs (quartered and halved) are first parboiled for 10 minutes, and the cherry tomatoes are also parboiled for 45 seconds, and then their little skins are pulled off (very easily.) This last seemed especially fussy to me but I think it was worth it: my family-diners really liked the result: no unattractive and somewhat tough tomato skins to cope with. The olives (I used Kalamata), thyme leaves, and sliced garlic roast nicely with the fennel and olive oil for about 30 minutes and I must say, everything ends up tender and buttery (oh yes; you are encouraged to add two pats of butter at the end) and completely delicious. A very nice side. I completely forgot to add the wineglass-ful of white wine, vermouth, or Pernod that Oliver suggests before baking the dish but it wasn't missed.
                            Here's a photo of the dish BEFORE baking. (I always forget to snap one before serving.)

                             
                            37 Replies
                            1. re: Goblin

                              Oh man, that hits SO many of my buttons. But I think I'd skip the parboiling and just roast for longer (we love roasted fennel, and I never parboil it first). Sounds like pure heaven, and would go great with the shrimp. I think you've picked out my first meal for me!

                              1. re: Goblin

                                Oh Goblin, another hit and yet another dish for me to bookmark. This is right up our alley. Perfect w a roast. Can't wait to try this! Thanks for the great review.

                                1. re: Goblin

                                  Again copying goblin (who obviously has similar taste to mine) I made the Roasted Fennel with cherry tomatoes, olives, garlic and olive oil. Did not parboil at all beforehand or peel tomatoes. And it was a huge huge hit. Right out of the ballpark. I did let it roast much longer - probably almost an hour instead of 30 minutes, but one less pot to clean up, and it was beautiful and slightly crispy around the edges. I'm in love. I'll make this again and again. Thank you goblin (and I finally have copies of the books in my greedy hands so I can pick out my own recipes, although something I found on JO's website while away is being made on Thursday).

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    Good to know that roasting longer renders everything tender and juicy without any boring parboiling! Thanks, LulusMom, for the excellent review.

                                    1. re: Goblin

                                      The thanks goes entirely to you. This was excellent.

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        Hats off to Goblin for alerting me to this recipe, and to LulusMom for doing the test drive without parboiling fennel and peeling tomatoes. This came out perfectly without the added steps. I halved the tomatoes, as they were rather large for cherries and I didn't want explosions in the oven. I used white wine (instead of the planned pernod) because the fennel was so wildly fragrant on it's own. Really a lovely, aromatic dish. I'll try it again using Jamie's suggestion of cooking chicken breasts (or maybe fish fillets?) on top for a one-dish meal.

                                         
                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                          Oh yeah, that idea of the one dish meal is perfect! How did I miss that? I had some leftovers the other day over leftover polenta, and that was a really wonderful meatless meal. Glad that the whole lack of parboiling worked for you too. And mostly just glad you loved it as much as we did. If I was making it for myself, I'd go with the pernod, but I went with white wine too, as I think it might have been overkill for my husband with both fennel and pernod.

                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                            I think I'll try it with pernod when I make it with chicken breasts. I always add pernod when I make fennel soup, and it gives it a nice punch. It should be good with this dish too, for those of us fans of the flavor.

                                          2. re: L.Nightshade

                                            I had all of these ingredients on hand, so this was a light lunch for me yesterday, with some shaved parmesan on top. Simple and delicious -- thanks for the alert. I too would love to try the chicken/fish on top option.

                                    2. re: Goblin

                                      HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF
                                      Roasted Fennel with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic, and Olive Oil, Pg. 223

                                      We made this last night... without the fennel...! There was no fennel in the market and it's not in season here so I used 1/2 large green cabbage, shredded, instead. However I did use all the other ingredients required: cherry tomatoes, black olives, fresh thyme, garlic, S & P, EVOO and white wine (Chardonnay). Like LLM I didn't blanch anything nor skin the tomatoes.

                                      To try to compensate for the fennel lack I ground 1 T of fennel seeds and thinly sliced fresh basil and incorporated that in the mix. And, per the suggestion I placed well seasoned chicken pieces on top of the vegetables before roasting: boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The roasting time was approx 45 minutes.

                                      We loved it and plan on repeating the recipe with the necessary fennel when I see it on offer. This is a super versatile recipe. I can definitely see it used to cook fish as well. I served it with L/O couscous heated up in the MW with a little bit of chicken broth. Delightful dinner.

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Every time I read another review about this recipe I crave it. Your adaptation sounds wonderful Gio.

                                        My Happy Days book has yet to arrive but after a quick Google I was able to find it posted on a forum in Jamie's website. Yay!

                                        I've pasted the link here in case anyone else that's book deprived like me wants to try it:

                                        http://www.jamieoliver.com:81/forum/v...

                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          That's the recipe BC... you'll love it, I'm sure. The recipe above that one sounds like a terrific side dish. (Baked Fennel with Garlic Butter and Vermouth) I love fennel. it has such a sweet fresh flavor.. Mum served it as a component on a plate of fresh vegetables with bagna cauda.

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            I adore bagna cauda Gio and can imagine the fennel would be lovely w that. We too love fennel. I've recently started using the stalks to make what I call " fennel water". I simmer the stalks in water until it's infused w the lovely fresh flavour and then I use it in place of plain water in recipes. Last summer I boiled my pasta in fennel water and served it simply w some chopped fresh tomatoes, evoo, Parmesan and some fresh basil. Pure heaven!

                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                              That sounds wonderful. I have fennel growing wild in my garden and I am going to steal this idea. Thanks Breadrumbs!

                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                That's a great idea, and a good way to actually use the stalks, as opposed to tossing them after taking a bit of the fronds, which is what I currently do.

                                        2. re: Goblin

                                          Roasted Fennel with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic and Olive Oil – p. 223 – Happy Days With The Naked Chef

                                          Goblin, Gio and L. Nightshade – HUGE thanks to all of you for your endorsements of this recipe. I made this last night and fell in love with the dish. I love all the individual components in the first place but the combined result is a symphony of flavour and deliciousness. I could have eaten the whole lot myself. For me, this is the perfect vegetable dish. I also think it would be fabulous at room temperature as part of an antipasti spread . . . not that I’d let anyone get near it!!

                                          I did make a couple of changes. Since fennel bulbs were fairly small and, we love fennel, I thought I better use two. I did quarter them as JO suggests. I had some lovely little campari tomatoes on the vine and I felt it would be a shame to pull them apart so I chose not to skin them and just tossed them in as is. I did puncture their skin w a sharp knife to prevent them from exploding in the oven. Instead of par-boiling the fennel, I gave it a quick steam ‘til almost tender.

                                          I loved Jamie’s idea of finely chopping the fennel stalks and fronds and tossing this in the pan w the veggies. This served to flavour the wine-butter broth and infuse it w that fresh fennel flavour.

                                          Simply perfect, I’ll be making this dish again and again.

                                          The full meal consisted of a roasted baby beet, blood orange and watercress salad w fresh ricotta (which I made myself for the first time!!) then for our main had a herb-infused salt crusted grilled prime rib with the Roasted Fennel w Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic and Olive Oil and Crash Hot Blue Potatoes. I made a garlic chive cream for the potatoes and some truffle butter to melt on the roast, which we sliced for serving. Delicious!

                                          Here's a link to the review and photos of the rest of the meal and, a recipe for the fresh ricotta if you are interested:

                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7725...

                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                            BC, what brand of milk did you use for ricotta? I am in Ottawa - we should have same brands of milk and things. I tried making paneer a few time and it did not turn out well at all. I used to make it all the time when I lived in India so it is a not lack of skill. I blamed pasturised milk but now wonder..

                                            Many thanks!

                                            1. re: herby

                                              Hi herby, what a good point you've made. I'm glad you asked because now I've made note of this in my book to be certain I get the same results next time.

                                              I used Neilson's milk and I thought I'd take a photo for you just in case there are different types.

                                              I happen to adore paneer herby, do you have a recipe you could share or point me to? I'd love to give it a try.

                                               
                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                Thank you for the pictures, Breadcrumbs! We have the same brand at Loblaws - will try soon:)

                                                Paneer is very easy to make. I do not have a recipe but this is how I made it in India where the milk is hardly pasturized if at all. I will slowly warm up a litre of milk and when it is hot for a touch add a juice of one lime. They did not have lemons and their limes are very small and taste almost as a cross between a lemon and a lime. I would use about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. The milk will start to separate into curds and whey. Turn off the heat and stir it very-very gently until there is no milk left and let cool for about 15 minutes. Strain into a cheese cloth or muslin lined sieve, gather the cloth together and put back into the pot. Place a plate with some weight over to hold the paneer inside the cheese cloth so that it is flat and 1-1.5 inches thick. Once cool, put in the fridge still submerged in whey and let it set for a day or so. After that you can cut and cook it. It will keep in the fridge for a week or two.

                                                If you make it, please let me know how it turned out.

                                                1. re: herby

                                                  Thank-you so much for sharing that herby, I'd be delighted to give it a try and clearly the initial process is very similar to that for making the ricotta as some of the recipes I looked at actually called for lemon juice. I'm wondering if the pasteurization somehow interferes w the cheese solidifying. . . is that where you've had issues? I'm confident that even if I'd weighted my cheese and carried on as you indicate, my cheese would not have firmed up. Just a thought.

                                                  That said, I'll be happy to give this a try because if it works, the reward would be amazing! My two favourite paneers are Saag and Shahi. What about you?

                                                  A quick question on your recipe, do you use homogenized milk?

                                                  thanks again herby!

                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                    Very happy to share:) Hope it works for you. I am sure it is the pasteurization that is the problem. I am not able to make yougurt or creame fraiche or paneer. I use homogenized milk but I used it in India too, do not think it is the problem.

                                                    Cheers!

                                                    1. re: herby

                                                      Great thanks herby, I'll try w Homogenized milk as well then. Thank-you!

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        Can't wait to hear if you are able to make a decent paneer. Are you going to use Neilson brand since your success with ricotta?
                                                        Forgot to say that I am not familiar with Shahi paneer - will look for it - and like the Saag.
                                                        Hard to find ethnique food in Ottawa; it is getting better - fresh curry is finely available on Fridays and however long it will last; I heard about a small store almost out of town that carries some Indian veggies "imported" from a farm near Toronto - so, there is hope:)

                                                        1. re: herby

                                                          Sorry I missed this somehow yesterday herby. Yes I'll use the Neilson's milk and see how it goes. A friend of mine used to live in Ottawa and she shared your frustration in sourcing ethnic ingredients for her cooking. We're spoiled here in Toronto with fairly good access to most items we need.

                                                          I first tasted Shahi paneer at an Indian restaurant in Manhattan and it was love at first bite! Paneer is served in a tomato cream sauce that also has some almond or sometimes cashew paste and raisins. Its so delicious!!

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            I am amazed we are still able to find anything here - the thread is sooo long!

                                                            Are you able to buy Shahi paneer in Toronto? Which restaurant in Manhattan? My children live there and I visit often, will be going next month. Sounds amazing - I am going to check a couple of Indian groceries.

                                                            1. re: herby

                                                              Hi Herby, yes I've been able to get Shahi paneer in Toronto. Unfortunately I don't recall the name of the restaurant I originally had it at in NYC, it was so long ago. That said, in more recent years I've had it at Tamarind though I don't see it online on their current menu but perhaps if you called ahead they could prepare it for you. Also, we had some take-out from Curry & Curry. You'll have to let me know what you think when you try it!

                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                Thanks Breadcrumbs! So nice to be home after a long day at the office:) I googled it and there are lots of recipes for Shahi paneer out there! I must've had it in India but forgot. I am going to look through my Indian books for a recipe - none of them are indexed on EYB which is annoying; but, hopefully, one day they will all magically appear:)

                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                  I hope you get a chance to try it while visiting NYC herby, what an exciting trip! By the way, do you have a favourite Indian cookbook you'd recommend?

                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                    I probably won't this time as I am going for Passover - we'll be staying at home, first cooking, then eating traditional Jewish dishes and then going to my daughter's in-laws for the second night.

                                                                    I just looked through all my Indian cookbooks and did not find a single recipe for shahi paneer - strange, no? My two favourite Indian cookbooks are:
                                                                    1. Madhur Jaffrey: A Taste of India. I love her recipes and the way the book is organized by most important (from the food perspective) states. You are familiar with her as I noticed there was a COTM on her other book, the one I am not familiar with.
                                                                    2. Shehzad Husain and Rafi Fernandez: The Complete Book of Indian Cooking. Not sure if it is available in NA; it was produced (whatever this means) in UK and published in India. I think almost all of my Indian cookbooks are from India.

                                                                    I just took 660 Curries out of the library and it has a recipe for Shahi Kofta Curry translated as lamb-almond dumplings that sounds very good. I am falling in love with the book but can't buy it as I just bought Around my French Table and highly recommended by chowhounds GF cookbook (my SIN is gluten intolerant and I love to feed him!). They were "unsuccessfully" delivered today by UPS and hope they will come tomorrow as I plan to work from home.

                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                      I'm so excited herby, I have The Complete Book of Indian Cooking. . . I purchased it on a trip to England after having a lovely curry at a friend's flat and she'd made it from a recipe in that book! Wow, what a small world.

                                                                      I do have a couple of Madhur's books but not A Taste of India, I'll definitely check it out of the library though.

                                                                      I found 660 Curries at Costco and I adore it. It would make a terrific COTM. That said, AMFT is great too, mr bc tabbed an unprecedented number of recipes for me this month (for a non-Italian book). No, he's not Italian, he just plays one at home!!

                                                                      I'll keep my fingers crossed that your delivery is successful tomorrow!

                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                        I can't believe that you have my favourite Indian cookbook BC!!! I taught my "boy friday" to cook from it while in India (after sending him to a language school to learn English, that is) and every recipe turns out nice. Might not be the very best but always tasty and doable. A couple of summers ago I took kulfi from this book to an Indian dinner party and was asked for a recipe!

                                                                        BC, I am loving this discusion but thinking that we are cluttering the thread with most irrelevant chat. How about I start an Indian Food thread on the home cooking board and you join in?

                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                          herby I love that book and what an amazing story you shared! I love your idea and I'd be delighted to participate in an Indian food thread and I'll bet others would too.

                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                              Gosh, you really do eat well at Casa Breadcrumbs! Another great-sounding meal....

                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                Absolutely beautiful photos! What a lovely meal. And thanks for posting the ricotta recipe, I'm going to try that today!

                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                  Thank-you so much LN! I'm so glad you're going to make the cheese, I think you'll love it!! Please do let us know how it goes.

                                            3. RETURN OF THE NAKED CHEF p156: Roasted slashed fillet of seabass stuffed with herbs, baked on mushroom potatoes with salsa verde.

                                              I'm making this for dinner for the bf's parents on Saturday and can't decide what to do for a starter! I liked the sound of the ricotta fritters in Jamie's Italy but I'm not sure they'll go. I'm worried that any of the big punchy salads, pastas or risottos in the Naked Chef series will make the fish seem a bit bland by comparison.

                                              Any suggestions??

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: gembellina

                                                Hi gembellina, I loved the look of those ricotta fritters and plan to make those as well. I think they'd be fine prior to your fish course but if you want another option, I'd flagged the "Baked Endive with Thyme, Orange Juice, Garlic and Butter" in NC-TO (in the Veggies section p. 201) I'd thought this might make a nice "warm salad" and imagined using olive oil instead of butter in that case. I think some black olives would be nice on top as well. Just a thought.

                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                  I missed that one, tucked away behind the introduction. I think I might give it a go! Depending if I can find endive, of course, so I'll have the ricotta cakes in my back pocket just in case. Thanks! Then the Bustrengo (apple and polenta cake), Italy p282 for pudding.

                                                2. re: gembellina

                                                  So I made this last night and it was a huge hit! Potatoes are sliced, tossed in oil and S+P, then part-roasted. While the potatoes are cooking, torn "wild" mushrooms (I used a mixture of oyster and shiitake, all that was available) are sauteed in butter with lots of garlic. More butter and lemon juice is added at the end. Then the potatoes are removed from the over, the mushrooms are sprinkled over the top, and on top of that goes sea bass fillets, skin slashed and stuffed with mixed herbs. Back in the oven for ten mins or so, and served with a salsa verde on p277, I think. I actually put it under the grill for a couple of mins at the end to crisp up the fish skin.

                                                  I thought the mushrooms and potatoes were a nice mild accompaniment that really let the delicate sweetness of the seabass shine through, and the salsa provided an occasional bright herby zing which stopped the dish from being too bland. I have to admit that I didn't follw the recipe for the salsa at all - thought i knew how to make it then discovered I didn't have half the ingredients! - so I probably shouldn't comment on that recipe. Al in all, it's a super-easy way to cook fish for people who aren't used to doing it and who mght be a bit intimidated, and I do like the way a lot of his recipes just use one tray which sits in the oven and cooks away with little intervention needed.

                                                  It did cost me £36 for 6 seabass fillets though so I won't be making it again in a hurry!

                                                  1. re: gembellina

                                                    Wow that's pricey! Where did you go for the fish?

                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                      Moxons by Clapham South; it was about 2.5kg unfilleted but I think they were unnecessarily large!

                                                      1. re: gembellina

                                                        Yikes! That IS pricey. Food here in the States is getting more expensive by the minute. Prob. due to shipping costs as gasoline is almost $4/gallon. I do gloat a bit since our hybrid gets 45 mpg. I have to gloat about something, since it has less power, especially when driving over mountain passes in the Sierras/

                                                    2. re: gembellina

                                                      Made this tonight and there have been many useful comments already so I will just note my own: One of the best things about this recipe is the flavor of the "wild mushrooms" (I used a mixture of cremini, portabellos, shitakes, and white mushrooms.) Sauteed together with garlic and butter, the mushrooms make a delicious mixture (quelle surprise!!) I tore the funghi up as Jamie suggested and I really liked the slightly rustic appearance and how the mushroom pieces absorbed the butter and oil.
                                                      I used what my fishmonger called "rockfish" instead of cod. The fillets were firm and flavorful and at least to me, much more interesting than cod. I've looked up "rockfish" on google, and there are several different fish with this appellation! You could use any fish with a reasonably firm texture IMHO--swordfish or halibut for instance.
                                                      The "slashed" fillets made an attractive pattern with the herbs filled in. The only deficiency, to my mind, was that the fish filets themselves were rather flavorless., even though they had been baked on top of the potato-mushroom layers and refreshed with lemon juice squeezed over all. The recipe requested a fresh salsa but I thought that this might be extraneous so I didn't bother. But I think I was wrong. Despite the herb flavoring, they needed something to perk them up besides lemon juice, salt and pepper. Maybe I should have roasted the fillets with the mushroom mixture on TOP of the fish?

                                                  2. Orange and Polenta Biscuits (Cookies) ... page 241 "The Naked Chef Takes Off"

                                                    Hope I'm in the right place, the book is also called "The Return of the Naked Chef".

                                                    I am delighted with these. (I won't forget them at Christmas, either.)
                                                    They are cookies made with cornmeal, and they have an addictive crunch because of it! They're also buttery and orangey (zested orange peel). Simple, and as far as I can tell, foolproof.

                                                     
                                                    12 Replies
                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                      Wow blue room, those cookies look scrumptious and quite light and delicate. I haven't looked at any of the desserts as yet but this will be my first bookmark!

                                                      I have to say, I couldn't help but notice your super-shiny counter-top as well!! Very impressive!

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        Well, his desserts don't outnumber the savory choices, healthy alternatives, but I think that's a good thing, his desserts will have some thought behind them.
                                                        Counter top--cheap tile, little-used area--great for pictures!

                                                      2. re: blue room

                                                        My edition (library copy) does not show an amount for the all-purpose flour in the ingredient list, an obvious error, so perhaps someone with one that does can supply that info here.

                                                        This recipe, or a variation thereof, has been on my radar for 10 years(!), as I clipped it from Food & Wine when they ran it, but I haven't made it. May need to remedy that! That has slightly different ingredient ratios, don't know if that was their doing or JO's: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/or...

                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                          My edition doesn't have the measurement for flour either, but I found online a list of the ingredients from the British edition. Perhaps someone could confirm?

                                                          170g unsalted butter
                                                          170g sugar
                                                          255g polenta
                                                          100g plain all-purpose flour
                                                          zest of 2-3 oranges, finely chopped
                                                          2 large eggs

                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                            You know, I was so happy with these I completely forgot to mention *that pretty important point* -- when confronted with the omission, I also found the recipe on the internet, here:
                                                            http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/or...
                                                            I used 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour. I see now the sugar is less in the book, too! I followed the internet recipe, it was more American-without-a-scale friendly.
                                                            Also, in the book, his are quite a bit more browned around the edges than mine--
                                                            I would recommend that. I noticed the browner ones were tastier than the not-as-brown ones.

                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                              Yes, that's the recipe I had clipped, with 3/4 cup sugar instead of 2/3. I'll use the lesser amount should I make them.

                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                There's a place for cookies with chocolate chips and walnuts and jam and marshmallow, but I was so happy with these orange-peel and corn-meal discs!

                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                  With the crunch of the cornmeal and the orange, they sound pretty irresistible!

                                                            2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                              Also want to say I used yellow cornmeal, "Bob's Red Mill" brand.

                                                            3. re: blue room

                                                              So tempted to try this one, but oranges are not in season right now, and I don't have any retained peel. Trying to think of alternatives now...

                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                Blue Room. Re: Orange and Polenta Biscuits: Oh, I'm SOOO happy you posted about these cookies and that I saw the post before writing one myself. These are great and weird. I also agree that they always come out deelish. I have the book called The Naked Chef Takes Off and it HAS the flour measurement - 3/4 cup.

                                                              2. The Naked Chef Spicy Roasted Squash p. 148

                                                                I roast butternut squash often and did not expect this to be much different but it was - yum-yum! Jamie has you cut the squash in half lengthwise, seed it and then cut in lengthwise wedges unpeeled (I always peel before cooking). Then you make a mash of corriander and fennel seeds, dried oregano, dried red chillies, S&P, garlic and olive oil. Smoosh this all over the squash and roast at high heat for half-an-hour or until tender. Jamie suggests other uses for it (ravioli, bread, risotto) but we had it as is with the yogurt-soaked spatchcocked chicken from the ENYT and loved it.

                                                                15 Replies
                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                  This sounds great, and a great way to get rid of the last of season butternuts hanging around in my garage.
                                                                  Did you eat it off the peel in the end? I can't imagine it getting tender enough to eat the whole thing (like a delicata), but I have to ask.

                                                                  1. re: rabaja

                                                                    We did eat it off the peel at first but I took it for lunch today and had with peel which was amazingly OK, not super tender but fine.

                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                      Of all the Oliver recipes I have in my regular rotation, I think the Spicy Roasted Squash is my favorite. Of course I've jazzed it up a bit over the years, adding extra garlic and some crumbled bay leaves. This is amazing hot and also amazing in a salad (cutting the squash into chunks). I love it with all kinds of different squash.

                                                                  2. re: herby

                                                                    Spicy Roasted Squash pg. 148

                                                                    Made as directed, except I used an acorn not a butternut squash.

                                                                    Sorry to be contrarian but we didn't like this too well. It was OK, but just OK. Mr. QN's first comment was "tastes like Masala Yankee Squash" , given that we aren't big fusion fans, that would not be his idea of a compliment.

                                                                    Funny thing is I ws so sure we would like it I made a full recipe intending to use the left-overs for JO's tortellini filling....not sure now if I will follow through or not.

                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                      I haven't made this.... but looking at the ingredient list, I wonder if making a curried squash soup could take it from "Masala Yankee Squash" to "Generic Indian?" And please give my complements to Mr. QN..."Masala Yankee Squash" is a wonderful phrase that I regret I will never be able to use in real conversation.

                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                        I'll let him know, he'll be tickled, as a wicked turn phrase is one of his greatest strengths!

                                                                      2. re: qianning

                                                                        That's too bad qianning. Could it be salvaged by turning it into a curry w some potatoes and peas perhaps?

                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                          I think I'll just scrape off the spices, chunk it, see how it tastes and decide from there...either curry or soup sound viable, or even possibly the original tortellinni idea, depending on how it taste to me.

                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                            Wow! Sorry that you guys didn't like the squash. And Indian? The only Indian spice it has is coriander. The rest: oregano, fennel, olive oil, garlic and chillies are more Italian to me. Well, maybe not the chillies. I guess it's just a taste one either loves or doesn't. We put the leftovers in salad after chunking them.

                                                                            Maybe it was the type of squash. I mostly use butternut and sometimes, kabocha for this.

                                                                            Well, chaque-un a son gout.

                                                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                                                              fennel too - if you look at it that way the only thing (other than olive oil) that is not an indian ingredient is the oregano.

                                                                      3. re: herby

                                                                        The Naked Chef Spicy Roasted Squash p. 148

                                                                        I didn't have much success with this dish. I had high expectations because I love butternut squash and the spice mix intrigued me. I make something very similar for my roasted sweet potato fries. But, there was something a bit off about this spice mix. Slightly out of proportion with too many coriander seeds and not enough fennel. There also isn't enough olive oil to have the paste coat the squash (1T for 2.5 lbs of squash). Also, my spears never really softened but the edges were browned. There was no way I could have used these spears for ravioli or bread or anything since they were on the firmer side.

                                                                        But, this is worth fiddling with. Next time, I would change the proportions of the spice mix and add a hair more olive oil. More importantly, I would peel and cube the squash instead of leaving the spears whole.

                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                          THE NAKED CHEF
                                                                          Spicy Roasted Squash, 148

                                                                          Jumping on the squash wagon we made this last night and quite liked it. I had read all the previous remarks before cooking so I made a few adjustments. The butternut squash was sliced in lengthwise wedges.

                                                                          First of all I used one half of buttrnut squash, the round bulbous part. I did use all the seasonings but increased the amounts considerably and included 2 teaspoons each of cumin and turmeric. Only used 1/2 teaspoon of salt, though.

                                                                          Roast squash makes a frequent appearance at dinner here and these spices have been used in the past, but not all of them at the same time. I'd use the same combination again.

                                                                          Served with Pan-Fried Fillet of Cod with Parsley, Capers and Brown Butter, NC pg. 86 and Cannellini Beans with Herb Vinegar, NC pg. 167. Nice dinner from Mr. Oliver.

                                                                          BTW: That squash has been in our improvised "root cellar" since 18 Oct 2010, the date of our last Summer CSA pick-up...! It was in perfect condition and very sweet. I used the top half last week.

                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                            I haven't made the spicy roasted squash out of the book per se, but jaime does a version of the roasted squash on one of his shows that is paired with duck for a warm duck salad, which is fantastic. I will try to find the link.

                                                                            No luck with the link, but here is the recipe, paraphrased:

                                                                            Roast the Squash:

                                                                            Cut up two different kinds of squash into 1/2s. Then scoop out the seeds and reserve for toasting. Take each 1/2 and cut into thin 1/2 moon slices, place in a 9x12 baking pan an sprinkle with salt, pepper, 1 t. coriander, 1 pinch of red pepper, and 1/2 t. cinnamon, and 2-3 T. oil. Mix with hands to cover completely. Bake in a single layer at 375 for 45 minutes. Squash will be brown and crusty, soft on the inside.

                                                                            Note that if you want that crusty, crunchy outside, you need to cut your squash fairly thin, skin on. I think I used a butternut and a kabocha.

                                                                          2. re: herby

                                                                            The Naked Chef Spicy Roasted Squash p. 148

                                                                            This recipe has been reported on well, but for completeness, I'll log my report as well.

                                                                            I used a butternut squash, and the rind was absolutely tender enough to eat. I used a spice grinder instead of a mortar & pestle to crush the spices. I used one de Arbol dried chile, which made it nicely spicy. The spice mix wasn't loose enough with just 1 tbsp olive oil to 'toss' with the squash, but after the failed tossing attempt, I just smeared it on the slices as best I could, which worked fine in the end. I think I roasted them for 45-50 min, not 30.

                                                                            We really liked the spice combo, and I will gladly make this again. I used half of the slices
                                                                            for the Spicy Squash Risotto, but that didn't work out as well. More on that in a separate post.

                                                                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                              The Naked Chef Spicy Squash Risotto, p. 176

                                                                              He calls for a full recipe (at least, he doesn't specify otherwise) of the Spicy Roasted Squash. Half of it is peeled, coarsely chopped, and added partway through the risotto process. The other half is chopped more finely and added at the end. At least in theory. What happened to me is that after adding the first batch, the risotto became incredibly thick and sticky, unpleasantly so. But the rice wasn't done yet. I continued adding all of the broth I had, and then added a good bit of water, and kept cooking until the rice was done. I took out just a portion of the gloppy mess for dinner and added a whole lot of mascarpone to loosen it, so it was okay, but not great. And what a waste of mascarpone, frankly.

                                                                              Today, after nearly a week of glancing gloomily at the container in the refrigerator, it occurred to me that if I thinned it down with milk, a LOT of milk, it might make a nice soup. Happily, that worked. I hate throwing out good ingredients.

                                                                              But if I ever make the risotto again, I will add a much smaller portion of squash, and I will just stir it in at the end, after the rice is totally done, so I get a risotto flecked with squash instead of squash risotto spackling paste.

                                                                              I should mention that I was using a short-grain brown rice rather than a true arborio rice, but I've successfully made risottos with it before, so I'm convinced the squash was the main problem here.

                                                                          3. THE NAKED CHEF: Perfect Roast Chicken

                                                                            Was this perfect in my eyes? Probably not. Was it good? Definitely yes.

                                                                            For this version of roast chicken, Jamie has you loosen the skin between the flesh and breast, season and stuff with chopped herbs - marjoram, basil and parsley. Drizzle with olive oil and stuff the cavity, if desired, with lemon, bay and rosemary. Rub a little oil on the skin and season liberally. Slash the thighs and rub any leftover herbs into the flesh. Put a little oil in a pre-heated baking dish and place the chicken in it, breast down. Roast for five minutes then turn onto the other breast. After another five minutes, flip over and roast for an hour at a relatively high temerature - 225C.

                                                                            In the recipe, Jamie says you can add potatoes directly to the dish, which is what I did, using waxy potatoes. I checked after about fifty minutes, and the chicken was puffed and golden, and the potatoes tender. There were plenty of pan juices. I actually managed to take a photo!

                                                                            http://www.flickr.com/photos/59063543...

                                                                            This was pretty tasty, with a nice flavour from the herbs, and Mr GG really liked it. The meat was tender and the skin crispy. Me, I find it hard to get excited these days by roast chicken. This was a free-range one from the supermarket - not as good as the ones I get from the farmer's market. This won't replace my favourite roast chicken, which is the one from River Café Easy, but it makes a nice change.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                              The river cafe one with the lemon and thyme is my favorite too. And so ridiculously easy.

                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                GG: Are you going to try the Fantastic Roast Chicken in The Naked Chef Takes Off (which is what my book is called...is it Happy Days in this thread?) I haven't taken a real look to see if it's the same recipe or what's different. Will try soon.

                                                                                p. 184, Naked Chef Takes Off/Happy Days

                                                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                  OJ, Return of the Naked Chef is the UK name, Naked Chef Takes Off is the US name, they're the same book. Happy Days is the third Naked Chef book.

                                                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                    Ever since we saw the roast chicken in "Return" it's become our normal way to roast. And ditto on the roasted squash mentioned upthread. The only two Oliver recipes that have ever stuck with us - truth be told, the more recent the books, the fewer recipes we like the look of (or, indeed, seem to be "right" when we cook them)

                                                                                2. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF: Asparagus with pancetta

                                                                                  I had a bit of a senior moment with this recipe, and read the pancetta as prosciutto! So I used parma ham to wrap the asparagus bundles rather than pancetta, even though I had both. Duh...

                                                                                  Whatever, this was pretty good, even though I feel slightly guilty about eating asparagus out of season. And to be honest, the asparagus itself wasn't a patch on the homegrown stuff we get in May. This is a nice preparation though - basically it's a bundle of asparagus, with an anchovy and a sprig of rosemary, wrapped in pancetta (or prosciutto in my case) and roasted in the oven at high temperature with a little olive oil and half a lemon. The anchovy sort of melts away, leaving a deliciously savoury if not abundant sauce.

                                                                                  Photo before cooking:

                                                                                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/59063543...

                                                                                  I liked this a lot. After the specified 5 minutes roasting time, it was a little too al dente for my tastes, so I left it a couple of minutes longer. A very nice accompaniment to the roast chicken. Mr GG was pretty happy, but he's easily pleased!

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                    Asparagus with Rosemary and Anchovies, Wrapped with Pancetta (P. 214) (same recipe as above)

                                                                                    I agree with greedygirl, this is quite good, and very attractive on the plate. The slight crunch of the gently-roasted asparagus spears pairs well with the smoky-salty anchovies and the piney-tang of the rosemary. I didn't have much sauce either, though the squeeze of lemon and pat of butter helped to create some. I only had bacon (which Jamie also recommends) so was forced (darn! LOL) to wrap each bundle of spears twice-around with a good slice of it. I used medium-small asparagus spears and neither peeled nor parboiled them; they also required more time than the recipe suggested. However, the bacon also needed the extra time (10-12 minutes) to cook through, so it all worked out. Jamie's gorgeous photo in the book shows something invitingly red in the pan (which isn't listed in the recipe's ingredients--maybe a couple of cherry tomatoes?) and this looks pretty with all the green. I was already serving roasted cherry tomatoes and bell peppers (208) so I didn't include them in this dish.

                                                                                    All-in-all, a tasty veggie side, easy enough for a weeknight dinner, but showy enough for a dinner party or buffet, in which case the little bundles would be easy to serve. I like that it can all be set up ahead, too.

                                                                                    Here's my photo before baking. I included a few loose spears for the little ones at my dinner, thinking they would prefer plain asparagus.

                                                                                     
                                                                                    1. re: Goblin

                                                                                      Thanks for pointing this out gg, I'm really looking forward to trying it when we start seeing asparagus at the market. I've tried a few dishes w the stuff we've been importing but I've been disappointed.

                                                                                      I can empathize w your "prosciutto/pancetta" mix-up, I seem to do this all the time and I have no idea why! Glad to know I'm not alone.

                                                                                      Goblin your little bacon-wrapped bundles look so appetizing, I'm definitely going to opt for bacon when I make this as well. This would make an ideal side dish for a dinner-party meal.

                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                        Hi Breadcrumbs: As I mentioned. the bacon needs longer to cook through so it works when you have medium-large stalks of asparagus to roast. Perhaps if I could only find the pencil-thin guys I might use pancetta which would cook faster.

                                                                                        1. re: Goblin

                                                                                          Thanks Goblin and its funny you mention that about the asparagus. I just read an article in the Mar '11 Cook's Illustrated that discussed results of a thin vs thick test they did and guess what? Thick won! I've tended to favour the pencil thin stalks but, will re-think my choices going forward.

                                                                                    2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                      This is not a review of the recipe, but the above reviews inspired me to make an asparagus dish last night. I made a risotto with prosciutto, so I didn't want more cured pork in another dish. I just chopped up some anchovies and some fresh rosemary, tossed them with the asparagus and a little olive oil, and roasted. I probably never would have combined anchovies with asparagus, had I not seen these reviews, but it was a wonderful taste combination!

                                                                                       
                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                        HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF: Asparagus with pancetta (er, prosciutto)

                                                                                        I made this before the month started, as part of a belated Valentine's Day dinner, although I too read pancetta as prosciutto. No matter, we loved it! Asparagus is in season here, so no guilt even, just pure asparagus prosciutto pleasure. I'm sure pancetta would have been better, because the prosciutto got a bit tough in the time it took to cook the asparagus, but it still tasted good.

                                                                                      2. Stracci, Spicy Eggplant, Tomatoes, Basil and Parmesan – p. 103 – The Naked Chef Takes Off

                                                                                        I needed to use up a couple of eggplants that have been hanging around in my fridge for two weeks now so an EYB search brought me to this recipe that required ingredients I had on hand. What sealed the deal for me though was the fact that this comes together in no time. No time is what I usually have every weeknight!! We served this w parmesan crusted roasted salmon.

                                                                                        Prep is simple. Eggplant is cut into a ½ inch dice. Dried red chilies are crumbled. I actually opted to finely chop 2 Thai bird chilis since I had those on hand. Basil is washed and dried.

                                                                                        In a hot pan the eggplant, coriander seeds and chilis are cooked ‘til golden in some olive oil. I should also note that I chose to use Fennel seeds in place of the coriander seeds since I was aiming for more of an Italian themed meal. Canned chopped tomatoes are added and cooked for 5 mins before adding some whole black olives. Once you’ve achieved a “saucy consistency” you season w s&p and a splash of red wine vinegar. The stracci is cooked to al dente then tossed in the sauce along w the fresh basil and some parmesan.

                                                                                        Since I couldn’t find stracci, I purchased some fresh whole wheat lasagna sheets and cut my own noodles.

                                                                                        This dish was simple, delicious and the perfect accompaniment to our salmon. I’d make it again in a heartbeat. I’m glad I opted to go w the optional vinegar, it enhanced the heat of the chiles and added a little zip to the sauce. If you like these flavours, do give this a try.

                                                                                         
                                                                                         
                                                                                         
                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                          I also had aubergines that needed using up so decided to make this tonight. We liked it very much. I used coriander seeds as directed and didn't care for them much when I tasted the sauce, but actually when combined with the pasta they tasted fine. I'd probably use fennel next time. I found the vinegar really "lifted the sauce".

                                                                                          Served with rigatoni rather than stracci, and an endive salad wtih caper and anchovy dressing from The Naked Chef.

                                                                                        2. from The Naked Chef- Spiced Slow-cooked Lamb Shanks

                                                                                          Very, very tasty. I only had 2 shanks that were on the small side, so I broiled some chops to serve to my children (their 1st experience with lamb- "Mom, can I have another rib, please?") and to have some extra for my dh & me. I chose this recipe as I had all the ingredients on hand, except anchovy fillets, so I used anchovy paste instead. I made the whole recipe of the sauce for the 2 shanks & extra chops. So glad I did b/c the sauce is yummy! I doubled the carrots b/c I really enjoy them & it didn't make the sauce too carroty. Served over grits made with 1/2 water & 1/2 milk. Yummmmmmmm...... The tomatoes just melted into the sauce & the balsamic & white wine made my whole house smell delicious while it braised. Since the shanks were small, it only needed the 1 1/2 hours to braise, not needing the 1/2 hour at the end with the cover off.

                                                                                          Simple braise with minimal prep time. Delicious flavors. I'll make this again when I get another lamb in my deep freezer.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: tall sarah

                                                                                            Oh this sounds wonderful Sarah, I wish I'd seen your review before I headed to the market yesterday as they had some beautiful lamb shanks. I can't wait to try this dish. Thanks for the great review!

                                                                                            1. re: tall sarah

                                                                                              Made a few modifications to this recipe (including doubling it) and served it over brown and wild rice pilaf. It was absolutely wonderful! We'll be keeping it on file for sure.

                                                                                              Here're the changes I made:

                                                                                              Spiced Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks a la Jamie Oliver

                                                                                              8 lamb shanks
                                                                                              salt and pepper

                                                                                              2 tsp. ground coriander
                                                                                              1 tsp. red chili flakes
                                                                                              3 Tbsp. dried rosemary
                                                                                              1 tsp. dried marjoram
                                                                                              1 tsp. dried oregano

                                                                                              2 Tbsp flour

                                                                                              2 Tbsp. olive oil

                                                                                              2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
                                                                                              2 carrots, diced
                                                                                              6 ribs celery, diced
                                                                                              2 medium onions, diced

                                                                                              2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
                                                                                              1 1/2 C. red wine
                                                                                              1 tin anchovy fillets
                                                                                              2 cans no-salt tomatoes

                                                                                              1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil (or don't -- ours is a cheap teflon-coated one, and I wouldn't trust cooking in it w/o lining it).

                                                                                              2. Season the lamb with salt and pepper.

                                                                                              3. In a spice grinder, process the coriander, chili flakes, rosemary, marjoram, and oregano. Roll the lamb in this mixture, pressing it in well.

                                                                                              4. Dust the lamb with the flour.

                                                                                              5. Heat a large (12") skillet over medium flame, add the oil, then brown the shanks on all sides. Remove from pan and place in the roasting pan.

                                                                                              6. Add the garlic, carrot, celery and onions to the skillet, add a pinch of salt, and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.

                                                                                              7. Add the balsamic vinegar, red wine, anchovies, and canned tomatoes to the skillet. Stir to deglaze the skillet, bring up to a simmer, then pour into the roasting pan with the lamb.

                                                                                              8. Cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil. Roast for 3 hours, remove foil, and cook for another 1/2 hour. Skim off any fat and taste for seasoning.

                                                                                              1. re: operagirl

                                                                                                The Naked Chef- Spiced Slow-cooked Lamb Shanks

                                                                                                After reading all your glorious reviews and salivating for a while I made these last night and was not too impressed. Had it again for tonight's dinner - underwhelming:( I am not likely to make these ever again. I know that I generally do not like leftovers - I do not even care for osso buco (which I love) the second night; and now wonder if it is the "stew-like" concept that does not appeal to me. Until I started cooking with COTM, I did not cook from cook books very much though I have many. I use them as an inspiration when I bring home something that looked good at a store/market and not sure what to do with it; or for a special occasion when I need to pull a menu together.

                                                                                            2. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF: Baked Peppers with Cherry Vine Tomatoes, Basil, and Marjoram, p. 208

                                                                                              Red or yellow peppers (I used an orange one with the red) are cut in half lengthwise, seeded and seasoned with S & P, and filled with several cherry tomatoes (parboiled and peeled), a handful of fresh marjoram and basil leaves, and sliced garlic. A bit of EVOO drizzled over all and they're baked in a 400 F oven for about 15 minutes with a tin-foil covering, and then 30 minutes more, uncovered. (I found this timing to be accurate.)

                                                                                              This was very pretty, very healthy, and kind of boring! Jamie suggests some optional ingredients that I could have used but didn't: herb vinegar to drizzle over just before serving, or anchovies. (I envision that he might mean two anchovy filets crossed over the top.) I think something like this is definitely needed to perk up the flavors. Some grated cheese on top might accomplish the same end.

                                                                                              Anyway, aside from the parboiling and skinning of the cherry tomatoes (which I think is worth it in oven-roasted dishes like this) this is a very quick and healthy recipe to set up (ahead if you wish) and is pretty on the plate.

                                                                                              Here's my photo before baking:

                                                                                               
                                                                                              22 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                THE NAKED CHEF, P. 116 - Spiced Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks.

                                                                                                I've made these several times and found them to be heavenly. I've been holding off on buying lamb shanks for a while now because they're SOOOOO EXPENSIVE. These used to be the poor stepchildren of meats, but now it costs like $20 for enough to feed 3 people. Too bad, because I absolutely love lamb shanks and this recipe.

                                                                                                PS: I bought beef shanks a week ago to make a wonderful Chinese noodle soup (a main course). The beef shanks for 3 people cost about $25!! It was fantastic, but sheesh.

                                                                                                What do steaks cost these days? $20 per person?

                                                                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                  It always made me mad that I discovered lamb shanks AFTER they got pricey!
                                                                                                  Sheesh is right.

                                                                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                    Thanks for posting this!
                                                                                                    I was just looking at some lamb shanks today at WF, they were $7.99/lb, and came in $11 packages. Think I will go back tomorrow and get a package after reading this.
                                                                                                    Perfect rainy weekend food.
                                                                                                    Is this recipe on line anywhere?
                                                                                                    Haven't gotten my book from the library yet.

                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                        Thanks, Gio. The weirdest thing is that the intro to the recipe says that it's one of the cheapest and tastiest cuts of meat. Ah, "memories, something misty watercolor memories of the way we were"

                                                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                          Still relatively cheap in the UK, bearing in mind that meat is more expensive generally (no giant feeding lots or subsidised grain).

                                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                            Got the shank yesterday for $6.49 at my smaller, local supermarket. Still no bargain, the whole thing was around $9.
                                                                                                            The lamb necks were a super bargain, however, at $1.69/lb.
                                                                                                            Looking forward to the last of Winter stew from these babies in the next week or so.

                                                                                                            1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                              rabaja: I just discovered lamb necks last year. Cheap and useful. I really love lamb shanks, however, and miss them greatly. I make them about 3 times a year since they're so high. You need at least one shank per person, depending on the amount of meat on the bone. That can add up fast.

                                                                                                              1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                rabaja: Lamb necks???? How do you use them, would love to know.

                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                  Hi dkennedy, hope you're feeling better soon.
                                                                                                                  I braised the necks with the shank I got, loosely based on Molly Steven's recipe. (I intended to use Oliver's, but I caved to all the Steven's love).
                                                                                                                  They were fantastic. My butcher halves the necks, and their is a substantial amount of meat that comes off them! And it's that soul-satisfying, unctuous kind of meat, perfect for a braise.
                                                                                                                  They are a tremendous deal, and I would get them again whenever I wanted a lamby ragu. I think the picked meat would make a great pasta filling.
                                                                                                                  Of course, after I made them, I joined Weight Watchers the very next day...so I picked and shredded the meat, defatted the sauce and packed the whole lot away and put it in the freezer. Should make a nice care package for my good friend tomorrow.

                                                                                                                  1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                    Thanks rabaja, i will put these on my list of things to try.

                                                                                                                    Weight watchers can be very challenging for us chow-foodies. I think sending off your care package is the right choice!!! I will look into getting some lamb necks next time I am up and about.

                                                                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                      THE NAKED CHEF, P. 116 - Spiced Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks

                                                                                                                      Well, you have inspired me. My lamb necks are in the oven as we speak. I was so excited when I heard that the necks were a bargain, I ran right out and much to my surprise, out here, they are no bargain. Shanks were $8.99 a pound, the necks were $7.99 a pound - and not even organic! I bought three packages coming in around $24.00.

                                                                                                                      As I reviewed the recipe to make it, I realized that this is definitely a recipe I would have passed by but for all the rave reviews. Now that I see and smell it coming together, I have high hopes for tomorrow's dinner.

                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                        $7.99/lb., that is shocking!
                                                                                                                        I'm in Northern California, can't believe the price for you is so much higher.
                                                                                                                        I did move to kind of a small town though, so maybe you're paying big city prices.
                                                                                                                        Sorry to get your hopes up for the cheap, good meat. I do think think you'll like them though.

                                                                                                                        1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                                          Just tasted them, so worth it. Exceeds expectations! A definite keeper.

                                                                                                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                            I loved, loved, loved this dish so much I am planning on making it for Passover for 27 people. I went back to Gleson's to pick up lamb necks and oddly, the price was now $2.99 a pound. I guess they must have been mis-marked last time. Lucky me!

                                                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                              excuse the ignorance - having not cooked with lamb shanks or necks - are the necks like a turkey neck that is mostly bone?

                                                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                Oooh...I've never seen lamb necks at Gelson's...must spy in that case a little harder and make this!

                                                                                                                                1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                  In my experience, lamb necks come in two shapes. One looks a lot like lamb shanks, the others are long and thin, kind of like a giant chicken neck bone. Both have some meat on them, not a lot. But they become meltingly tender and very flavorful in this recipe.

                                                                                                                    2. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                      lamb neck is a main type of lamb stew meat available in groceries in my area (NYC) ithe bones conduce to flavor but there is plenty of good tasty meat (its bought cut up.) great for any lamb stew or curry. I prefer to boneless lamb, though its worth looking at the available packages to grab the ones with meatier bits.

                                                                                                                2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                  Thanks Gio!
                                                                                                                  Should have thought to check his website.

                                                                                                            2. re: Goblin

                                                                                                              Made the Spiced Slow-cooked Lamb last night. With some changes...

                                                                                                              I had chump chops, so used those instead. Made a lot more of the rub to put on the lamb, then just sprinkled some flour over the top instead of drenching. Instead of chopping the vegetables into tiny pieces, I kept the carrots and onions in large chunks. To shorten the cooking time, I took it out of the oven after about 30 min and put it on a medium-high heat on the stove to reduce the gravy, then popped it back into the oven to give it the roasted effect. Served with potatoes baked in their jackets while the oven was on (skins rubbed with olive oil, salt and rosemary prior to baking).

                                                                                                              It was delicious. Definitely something I'm adding to the lamb repertoire. Took me a whole lot less time to make it the way I did.

                                                                                                              1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                goblin whatever these peppers may have lacked in flavour, they more than made up for in visual appeal! What a lovely-looking dish! I think the basics are here for some good variations and, as you say, this is a healthy dish. I'm on a bit of a quinoa kick these days and immediately thought that by adding some quinoa to the stuffing, you could make these into a meal. I'm looking forward to giving them a try and appreciate your tips/thoughts. Thanks!

                                                                                                              2. THE NAKED CHEF Vegetable Stock p.225

                                                                                                                I'm usually happy with my chicken/turkey soup stock, but have never successfully (including this time) made a vegetarian version. I used all the vegetables he asked for, and the herbs etc., but just wasn't happy with the result. He suggests perking it up with some mushrooms--I stupidly added porcini *powder* and it got murky and ugly! It's okay, I squirted in some lemon juice, that helped. I think I want something that will stand on its own, like magic no-meat consomme' or something. I DID love the carrots that simmered in it for 2 hours though -- best carrots I ever had!

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                  That is some murky looking stock. Sounds like something I'd do though. It's nice to seeing the good *and* the bad that other people make :) I'm not sure how mushrooms would ever "perk up" anything though.

                                                                                                                  1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                    It's a lump in the freezer now, to be used someday, for something. But I thuink I'll stick to cooking and eating whole vegetables instead of trying to distill their essences.

                                                                                                                  2. re: blue room

                                                                                                                    blue room I actually love your idea of adding porcini powder, I love the flavour they bring to a dish. While it may not have turned out as you'd imagined, your experience has inspired me. Thanks so much.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                      Porcini powder: try it sprinkled on eggs.

                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                        Mmmm, sounds like a great idea dk!! Thanks!

                                                                                                                  3. THE NAKED CHEF pages 184 and 189 Basic Bread and Beer Bread

                                                                                                                    Both turned out very nicely! The beer bread is more interesting, of course, but the plain white has a good flavor, and goes better with fruit jam, although I'm going to experiment with that.
                                                                                                                    I used my bread machine to knead the dough, but then shaped each loaf into nice round balls and baked them. (Made 1/2 recipe of each.)
                                                                                                                    The shiny one (beer) had butter rubbed onto it while hot I couldn't help it.

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF: Seared Salmon with Radicchio, Pancetta, Pine Nuts, and Balsamic Vinegar, p. 59

                                                                                                                      Sliced radicchio, first wilted in a hot pan, is then mixed in a bowl with sauteed pancetta or bacon (I crumbled this) and tossed with fresh marjoram or basil leaves (my choice), toasted pine nuts, and some EVOO and balsamic vinegar, and seasoned with S & P. Salmon fillet steaks, skinned and boned, are then seared till just done and served on top of the radicchio mixture.

                                                                                                                      I didn't think this could possibly be as good as it turned out to be -- I know, "then why did you MAKE it?" But I just sort of trusted Jamie, since I've tried some other recipes from this book that I liked, and the finished dish turned out to be really quite good. I used some nice fresh organic salmon steaks, but what made the dish special-- in the supporting actress role--was the sauteed radicchio mixture. Jamie says to char the sliced radicchio--my frying pan doesn't seem to do char (I didn't have a griddle, which was the other choice) so I just wilted the radicchio in a little hot olive oil for a few minutes and then threw it into a large bowl with the other ingredients, tasting for seasoning. Then I sauteed the salmon steaks in the original pan and served them on top of the lettuce mixture. When I asked Mr. Goblin how he liked the salmon, he said "the fish was fine, but I really liked the brown stuff!" (that's what color the wilted radicchio turned when mixed with the balsamic vinegar.)

                                                                                                                      Again, easy, quick, and fresh. All the bacon doesn't hurt either. I NEVER cook with bacon but I bought some for one recipe and then had to use up the full pound. . . . it's a slippery slope.

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                        That sounds like a really nice recipe, Goblin. Love radicchio and do love salmon but I haven't been buying it for a while because around here we only seem to get farmed salmon and I'm not touching that. I'm surprised the skin was left on the salmon, though. There's nothing like crispy salmon skin IMNSHO.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                          So tonight I just made the radicchio mixture as a side, sans the salmon. I think someone else suggested this. I sliced the two heads of radicchio--mine were medium largish--and I decided to fry the pancetta FIRST and then wilt the radichcio in the fat left in the pan. I then put the wilted lettuce in a bowl, tossed it with the pancetta (crumbled), some oil, a handful of torn fresh basil leaves, s & p and some reasonably good balsamic vinegar. Oh yes; I added a small handful (Jamie is getting to me) of toasted pine nuts at the end. The result was a very savory side, which I would never have thought of before this book. I served it with crab cakes, kind of unusual, but it worked.

                                                                                                                        2. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                          Sounds wonderful Goblin, I know I'd love this and look forward to trying it. Thanks for the great review and for pointing out this dish, I don't know how I missed it.

                                                                                                                        3. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF: "Baked New Potatoes with Sea Salt and Rosemary,"
                                                                                                                          p. 212.

                                                                                                                          A simple recipe featuring 2 lbs. 3 oz. "Yukon Gold or other small potatoes," first parboiled untiil almost tender, then roasted at 425 F with rosemary ("bashed"), sea salt, pepper, and 1 TB olive oil. Also featuring a fetching photo of Jamie's dad in the garden.

                                                                                                                          I still like the Nigella Lawson version from February 2011's COTM selection better. (See the ENYT cookbook, p 300.) More flavor, more crunch, and easier because you aren't directed to parboil all those potatoes before roasting them! NOTE: many of us tried this recipe and we concluded that the roasting time was a bit too generous--45 minutes did it.

                                                                                                                          The finished Jamie-potatoes turned out kind of crisp with nice soft insides, but IMHO not as compellingly crisp nor as flavorful as I expected. Guess garlic and lots of olive oil DO account for something! Another reason that I'll go back to the ENYT cookbook version is that it's so much easier not to be parboiling all those potatoes!

                                                                                                                          1. Roasted Trout with Thyme, The Naked Chef, p. 88

                                                                                                                            A very simple recipe with nice results. Whole trout is rubbed with a mixture of lots of fresh thyme leaves, olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted. He also has you stick bay leaves into lemon halves and roast them alongside, then squeeze the lemon over the fish. My trout was done in less time, but it had had the bones removed. It was perfectly cooked, moist, and fairly delicately flavored and scented by the thyme (I probably used a bit less than he intends). I'm not sure the lemon was really infused by the bay leaf, but the warm, roasted lemon juice was a nice touch.

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                              Oh thanks so much for pointing this one out Caitlin. Years ago mr bc ordered a very similar sounding dish at a restaurant and he still talks about it today (and he's not much of a fish guy). .. I can't wait to try this one! We get wonderful, local trout starting in the spring.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                Can someone let me know the cooking temp and time for the Roasted trout with thyme. I thought this was in Takes Off and realized my mistake after getting home from the market.

                                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                  Oven preheated to 475. Bake roughly 10 minutes. If meat pulls away easily from bone it is cooked. If not give it a few more minutes. Skin should be crispy.
                                                                                                                                  I trust this means you are feeling better?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                    Thank you, L.Nightshade. And yes, I am feeling better. My DH left for 9 days on a business trip so there is no one to rescue me, so i have no choice but to get out of bed!

                                                                                                                              2. NAKED CHEF TAKES OFF/THE RETURN OF THE NAKED CHEF - Fantastic Roast Chicken, p. 184.

                                                                                                                                This was a juicy chicken with great flavor from seasoned butter under and rubbed onto the skin (butter, prosciutto, fresh thyme, lemon zest, garlic). I roasted a 4 pound chicken and increased amounts accordingly. I also lowered the heat since I was cooking it longer and didn't want the prosciutto to burn. I zested the lemon with a microplane instead of peeling and chopping, and used carrots and asparagus as the vegetables (carrots roasted with chicken, asparagus while chicken was resting).

                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                  That looks gorgeous, Rubee. I've had my eye on that recipe since I love all those flavors. Your photos have prompted me to push it up my To Make list. The carrots must have been out of this world.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                    Thanks Gio! Easy too with the vegetables because you just coat them in the chicken fat-prosciutto butter mixture in the pan and roast them.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                    Rubee how lovely! Like Gio, I'm moving this up on my list, thanks!

                                                                                                                                  3. Spaghetti with Anchovies, Dried Chilli and Pangritata – p.126 – Naked Chef Takes Off

                                                                                                                                    It was the appetizing photo of this dish that initially caught my attention and when I saw the anchovy/chilli/pangritata combination, I couldn’t resist. I actually served this as part of my Valentine’s Day menu and was looking forward to sharing this review as we thoroughly enjoyed this yummy pasta.

                                                                                                                                    The pangritata is made by heating olive oil in a heavy pan then adding garlic, fresh thyme and fresh breadcrumbs which are stirred ‘til crisp and golden (and smell scrumptious by the way!).

                                                                                                                                    While spaghetti is cooking, oil and garlic are added to a pan, which is heated gently. Once the garlic begins to soften, anchovy fillets are laid over top until they start to melt at which time lemon juice and dry chilli is added. Drained spaghetti is tossed in the anchovy mixture until coated. JO notes that you should taste at this point to see if additional lemon juice or seasoning is needed. Everything was just right as is in our case.

                                                                                                                                    Pangritata is sprinkled on top.

                                                                                                                                    This really was wonderful, the lemon and anchovy were terrific together and there was just enough heat from the dried chillis to make this interesting. We served this alongside a Parmesan crusted chicken from the ENYT cookbook. Will definitely make this again.

                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                    28 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                      Loved this (the spaghetti with anchovies, dried chili and pangritata), although it turned out I didn't have quite enough anchovy, and probably over compensated with lemon. Lulu and I were both partying on this big time. My husband, a huge pasta and breadcrumb fan, seemed somewhat slower than usual. Turns out he had heartburn, and the lemon juice (not to mention the delightful but vinegary salad on the side) weren't doing him much good. But man, those bread crumbs are heavenly just as their namesake (the above!) described. And it is as lovely as it looks in the book.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                        Oh, so glad you and Lulu enjoyed this LM!! You've made me crave it all over again!! Aren't those breadcrumbs heavenly? My mouth started watering as soon as they started toasting on the stove!!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                          The breadcrumbs make me jealous of your screen name. I mean - wow. Really really good. Thanks for the report, it pushed me to make this.

                                                                                                                                          My anchovy problem was caused by the dinner I made Saturday (the salmon with green beans, olives, tomatoes and anchovy) which easily could have done with slightly less on the 'chovy side (although I absolutely loved it).

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                            What anchovies do you buy? I've never cooked with anchovies and admit I have a bit of irrational fear regarding them, but so many excellent Jamie recipes call for them. I want to make sure I get the best ones so I don't go off them for life.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                              I purchase Italian anchovies in a jar, packed in olive oil Sarah. I find the flavours to be quite balanced. Somehow it seems to me that anchovies packed in the flat cans take on a bit of the tinny flavour. If you only have tinned fish available, I've found the Spanish anchovies packed in oil to be the best. Let me know if you need a brand name, I'll check tonight.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                What about anchovy paste--a good idea?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                  Hi br, I've definitely used anchovy paste in a pinch and, when I first started introducing anchovies into our dishes. I never loved the "fur" (bones) that seemed so apparent on the whole fish and, that made me a bit tentative. I've now learned that once anchovies are added to a hot pan they simply seem to melt away and my previous fears were unfounded.

                                                                                                                                                  In my experience, the anchovy paste tends to be a blend of some sort of oil and, anchovies. Like anything, some brands are better than others and, if you're just starting to use anchovies in your dishes, I think its a good way to build a familiarity with the flavour they bring because you can very easily control how much or little you want to add.

                                                                                                                                                  I hope that's helpful br.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                  Agree with breadcrumbs. The olive oil packed ones (which can be difficult to find, although not as much so as the ones greedygirl mentions - at least in less metropolitan areas) are much better than the tinned, but if those are all you can find, then go with them. And personally I think a little anchovy paste added to things like pasta sauce or even (guilty pleasure) toast can be a wonderful thing. I always keep a tube in the fridge, just in case. But the olive oil jarred ones are probably what you'll do best with, unless you have a gourmet store with the salt packed ones (which also tend to cost an arm and a leg).

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                    How long can an open tin stay in the fridge?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                      I'd move the leftovers to a plastic container if they were from a tin. Thats another reason to go for the bottled ones.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                          Oh, months and months, I'd think. I leave mine in the fridge for at least 8 or 9 months (in the original glass container).

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                            k - thanks - so if I have an opened tin, which is in a tupperware container, do you think it would be good?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                              No, I'd take them out of the tin. A leftover mustard jar or something small like that would work too - just cover with some olive oil.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                guess what I was too embarrassed to say from the beginning....I have had them, in the tin but in the tupperware, for about 6 months - perhaps I should just ditch them and start over anyway?! lol - I felt better when you replied "oh, months and months!"

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                  They are most likely not at the their pick by now... Costco sells anchovies in a glass jar with a re-seable lid, like a mason jar. These keep in the fridge for a long time - never too long at my house as I love them:) I would not keep them in a tin or plastic, just glass.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                    ok - so they are history - I can never buy these at Costco - as you see the trials I have with the little tin! lol - but next time I will transfer them right into a little jar and they can hang out in my fridge.

                                                                                                                                                                    edit - I think I initially used them for a Bobby Flay grilled spicey ceasar salad - which was quite good btw!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                      Did you see Laura's (French Food at Home) recipe for a pizza with sauteed onions as a base, a layer of tomato slices on top and anchovie lettice with pieces of olives picking through? Looked SOOO good:)

                                                                                                                                                                      Once you start using anchovies you will not want to stop. Anchovies are to the western cooking as fish sauce is to eastern - unbeleivable depth of flavour.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                        thanks for introducing me to Laura - we get the food network as opposed to the foodchannel - and I haven't seen her - I just googled French Food at home to find out what you were referring to - I will have to look on Food Network to see if we get her.

                                                                                                                                                                        EDIT: Nope :( we don't get it - or her! :(

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                          Are you in US or Canada? In Canada we have the food network and Laura is on during the weekdays at 6pm eastern. I love her easy recipes and sunny personality:)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                            She's on the cooking channel here in the US, if you get that.

                                                                                                                                                                            Sorry I wasn't clearer on the tinned anchovy thing - you can move them from the tin and keep them a long time, but in the tin ... not so much. Glad you tossed them!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                              LuLu - I was very appreciative that you shared the many many months qualifier - as I was too embarrassed to admit how long I'd had them!

                                                                                                                                                                              and Laura is on the cooking channel not food network from what I have found - guess I will have to wait to catch her somewhere else - which is probably ok for me as my husband gets frustrated as it is when our DVR runs out of space because of all my "treasures"!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                                I hear you! We have *two* DVRs, and there is still and issue. I'm embarrassed to admit this ...

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                    My experience is that the salt-packed anchovies are much better quality. You do need to rinse off the salt though, and remove the backbone. You get much bigger fillets for some reason - probably because they don't need to fit in a tiny jar!

                                                                                                                                                    I had the best anchovies I've ever tasted last year in a tiny fishing port called Marina de Pisciotta in Italy. They're renowned for their anchovies and all the local restaurants use them extensively. Had a sublime spaghetti with anchovies which I'm going to try to recreate using the Jamie recipe and the anchovies that I brought back with me (they last forever).

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                      Oh, I can't wait to read your report gg, how fabulous.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                Made the Spaghetti with anchovies, dried chili and pangritata again last night, and it was, again, superb. Posting to let those who havent' tried it know that for us, a can of anchovies (which was about 10 anchovies instead of the 16 he calls for) worked fine. Still plenty of fishy saltiness. So if not being able to find bottled anchovies is holding you back from this, don't let it. Also, when I made the pangritata I left the thyme whole and then once it had cooled down it was very easy to strip the leaves off into the pile of breadcrumbs (which are so tasty my husband was eating the leftovers with a spoon). Served it with the salade normande from Radically Simple and everyone was mmmm'ing and saying how happy they were.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                    It really is - tons of flavor, and a nice bit of crunch from the breadcrumbs.

                                                                                                                                            2. THE NAKED CHEF: Baby Spinach, Pea, and Feta Salad, page 41
                                                                                                                                              This salad was so appealing to me that I couldn't wait for fresh peas to come into market, so I used frozen baby peas, blanched for a matter of seconds, then cooled. It is hardly even a recipe, just a couple handfuls of baby spinach, a couple small handfuls of peas, toss with dressing and crumble feta on top. Jamie's dressing calls for an entire teaspoon of salt, too much, I felt, with salty feta. I actually just used a basic, unsalty, balsamic dressing. A lovely easy salad, can't wait to make it again with fresh peas!

                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                Not only does this sound scrumptious, it's so visually appealing too. Thanks so much for sharing L. Nightshade, beautiful!

                                                                                                                                              2. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF: Oysters with Shallots and Red Wine Vinegar, page 142.
                                                                                                                                                Found my favorite tiny kumamotos at the fishmonger so decided to try this mignonette recipe. Just as I was ready to plate them I discovered that my ice maker had not been working, so no serving on a bed of ice. Just last week I could have served them on snow!
                                                                                                                                                My sauce did not look like the picture, as my shallots were very pink, and the vinegar is very red. For my taste this recipe has FAR too much sugar, using 2 teaspoons for 1 shallot and 6 tablespoons of vinegar and the requisite dash of pepper. I halved the sugar and it was still too sweet for me and mine. Next time I will try the chili, ginger and rice vinegar recipe on the next page, and probably omit the sugar completely or at least add it by a fraction.

                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                1. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF

                                                                                                                                                  Superb Marinated Pork Fillet Roasted on Rhubarb, p174

                                                                                                                                                  Wow! I'm so happy to have discovered this recipe as it's a real winner and will feature regularly at dinner parties in our house at this time of year when early (forced) rhubarb is in season. If you like rhubarb, then you've got to give this a try because it's wonderful (and easy).

                                                                                                                                                  Marinate a couple of pork fillets (tenderloins) in bashed up sage and garlic and olive oil for an hour or so - I left mine a bit longer than that. Lightly season the pork then "drape" 5 slices of parma ham over each fillet (I think next time I would wrap them properly in the ham as that would make for a nicer presentation and that's what has been done in the accompanying photo). Cut baby rhubarb into pieces and place in a roasting tray, and then put the pork on top. I do think you need young rhubarb for this - I used the beautiful forced rhubarb that you get at this time of year in Britain which is a lovely bright pink. Sprinkle over some more fresh sage and a drizzle of olive oil and then - once again this is Jamie showing he has great technique - take a large piece of greaseproof paper, wet and scrunch it up, then lay it over the meat, tucking it in round the sides. Slam into a 220C/435F oven for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and cook for another 15 minutes. Rest and carve.

                                                                                                                                                  My fillets were on the large size (more than a pound each) and this short cooking time resulted in beautifully pink meat which literally melted in the mouth. If you don't like your pork like that, I'd give it maybe another 5 minutes but we loved it as it was. The rhubarb melted to make a gorgeous pan sauce which had a pleasing tartness without being bitter. Raves all round.

                                                                                                                                                  I served it with roasted asparagus and the Italian Roast Potatoes from NENYT. This was just a gorgeous combination. As JoanN would say, run, don't walk to this recipe as it's a keeper!

                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                    I adore this recipe which I have made for years. Can't wait until my rhubarb comes up!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                      I was worried this might turn out a bit dry but you've convinced me to give it a go. Sounds great :)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                        Fabulous gg, we LOVE rhubarb and I can't wait to try this dish as soon as our rhubarb surfaces!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                          Marinated Pork Fillet Roasted on Rhubarb
                                                                                                                                                          And a rhubarb question…

                                                                                                                                                          I was happy to see rhubarb in the store, so I made this last night. Greedygirl has nicely described the technique, which I followed exactly (except for substituting serrano ham, which may be a bit drier than parma). The timing and method described resulted in perfectly cooked pork. I think the failings of the dish were due to the ingredients I used. I had pork from the grocer, and I am now accustomed to the taste of pork from our local organic ranch, so that was a bit of a let down. Jamie specified baby rhubarb. How young and how small is baby rhubarb? I selected the smallest pieces in the store, they were just under an inch wide, a bit over a foot long. It roasted to what seemed the proper consistency, but it did not make any juice in the pan. Although we could just taste potential great flavors in this dish, it was extremely tart, maybe even bitter. It made our faces squinch up.

                                                                                                                                                          I'd be perfectly willing to try this again, as I said, we could tell it had great potential. I'd love to hear from those who've had success with this dish. Do you grow and use your own baby rhubarb? Or do you like the extreme tartness?

                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                            A rather belated reply, but here goes: Most people don't know that there are quite a number of rhubarb varieties ( like most other fruits & vegetables!). I've been doing rhubarb trials at our Master Gardener research gardens (growing rhubarb in Santa Clara county itself is a challenge), and was amazed at how many varieties were on offer. Some varieties are sweeter, some tarter, some redder, some greener, some larger, some skinnier, some juicier, some drier, some stringier, some more tender. The first stems of the season tend to be larger than later ones -- in fact, that's a clue to when to stop harvesting them, when the stalks are getting skinny. So larger ones may actually be better than skinnier ones, unless it's a naturally skinny variety.

                                                                                                                                                            All that said, older stems tend to be tougher than younger ones, and ones that have been harvested and sitting around for a while tend to be drier. It sounds like you got ones that were drier, possibly due to age, variety, or time from harvest. All I can say is that it takes some experience to gauge whether particular stalks are going to be juicy (maybe judging from weight relative to size) or sweet enough (can't tell that until you get it home and taste a piece).

                                                                                                                                                            I suspect Jamie's 'baby' rhubarb isn't as tart as more mature rhubarb. I've seen recipes (e.g. Ottolenghi) where he has us string the rhubarb (assuming it's older and needs it) and toss it with sugar to sweeten it and bring out the juices before roasting it. If you suspect your rhubarb isn't as juicy as you think it should be, you could probably sprinkle some water on it as well.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                                                              How perfect to get a Master Gardener's answer to my question. Thanks for all of your insight. I was just so excited to see rhubarb at the market. Next time I'll know to look and touch more thoroughly, and ask a few questions. If that doesn't work, I' add a dash of sugar and water. Thanks, Karen, for your comprehensive response!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                You're most welcome! Happy to help. One other thing I thought of: look closely as the cut ends of the stalks. That might be a clue to how much they've dried out.

                                                                                                                                                                I'm from Minnesota originally, and I can't bring myself to buy rhubarb at the store. It was something that everyone had in their yards, so it was free and plentiful. Varieties? Who knows! If you needed to plant some, you just got a division from a relative or neighbor, not a named variety from a store. The stalks grew big and juicy with the plentiful moisture from snow melt and rain water. I grew up with the green kind that looks quite unappetizing when stewed, but it tastes great. Rhubarb shakes, mmmm!

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                                                                In England we get "forced" rhubarb in January/February which is bright pink and extremely tender. The stalks are very thin compared tom more mature rhubarb. This is what I used and it's what's also shown in the picture in the book.

                                                                                                                                                          2. Pappardelle w Dried Porcini and Thyme, Tomato and Mascarpone Sauce p. 55 – The Naked Chef

                                                                                                                                                            A delicious pasta dish w comforting, earthy flavours. This dish is super quick and easy to prepare provided you have some homemade tomato sauce on hand. Jamie does provide a recipe however I used my own. Jamie also includes a recipe for pappardelle if you’re so inclined. I was not.

                                                                                                                                                            A good amount of porcini are soaked then drained w soaking water reserved. Garlic is chopped, thyme rinsed and removed from stems. Mascarpone is measured. Pasta put on to boil.

                                                                                                                                                            Sauce comes together quickly. Garlic is added to heated oil then mushrooms are added along w the thyme. Once garlic gets some colour the reserved mushroom liquid is added and cooked down. Jamie says to allow the mushrooms should cook away ‘til next to nothing. I assumed he meant the liquid since it was unlikely my large, un-chopped pieces of mushroom would be going anywhere! Tomato sauce is added and simmers until the pasta is ready. Mascarpone is stirred in prior to adding the pasta to the sauce. Plates are sprinkled w parmesan.

                                                                                                                                                            Since mr bc feels the need to consume meat at every meal, I poached and shredded a boneless skinless chicken breast and incorporated it into his dish. I did have a taste and it was very good though I found the recipe quite adequate and filling without the chicken.

                                                                                                                                                            This is a hearty dish w bold flavours from the earthy porcini mushrooms. I liked it, mr bc proclaimed it to be amazing, he said he’d give it a 9.5 out of 10.

                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                              If a dish could convince a person they don't "need to consume meat at every meal", it would be one like this! Beautiful as always, Breadcrumbs.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                If a dish could convince a person it's really okay to eat refined carbs every once in a while, it would be one like this! I have a bookmark in EYB labelled "COTM Recommended." In it goes.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                  blue room & Joan, thanks so much. No hesitation in recommending this one. The 2 oz of porcini really make the dish. That's more than I would typically add to a sauce but well worth it.

                                                                                                                                                                  I picked up a bulk size jar of porcini at Costco so they came in handy here!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                    Didn't know Costco carried porcini. Adding it to my list. In what section of the store do you find it? Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                      I was excited to find them. They were at the back in the produce area just outside the cold room where they keep the salad greens. They had porcini and, a mixed wild mushroom blend.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                        Breadcrumbs: Are the porcini dried? Didn't know COSTCO carried them either. I'm goin' into the cold room next trip!

                                                                                                                                                                        It's funny about dried porcini. Berkeley Bowl has them and they're something like $25/lb, but you can get a great big handful for a few dollars.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                          Hi oakjoan, yes the porcini are dried and, they are very few small pieces, mostly whole or almost whole mushrooms which is terrific.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                          I'd seen that wild mushroom blend, but had read here on the boards that it wasn't very good so never tried them. Definitely looking for the porcini next time I head out.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                            I wish I'd kept the jar so I could post a photo but it was too big for my cupboard so I transferred the porcini to tupperware. I don't think they were a Kirkland brand though.

                                                                                                                                                              2. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF
                                                                                                                                                                Roasted Cod with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Mozzarella Pg. 56

                                                                                                                                                                What a delight this dish was. Nice bright and clean flavors from fresh pristine ingredients. The recipe calls for both yellow and red cherry tomatoes but I used all red. The deviation from the recipe was using Pollock instead of cod but they're in the same family so it isn't much of a difference. The fillets were beautiful: thick, white and very fresh.. And, the buffalo mozz carried a DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) from Campagna. Fab ingredients make the finished dish all the more delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                The fillets are placed in a suitable baking dish, drizzled with EVOO and S & P. Halve the tomatoes, shred the basil and slice the mozzarella. Strew over top of the fillets and sprinkle with grated Parmigiana. Drizzle a little more EVOO over all and roast in a pre-heated 425F oven for 15-20 minutes. Delicious. Definitely a do again method for fresh fish.

                                                                                                                                                                The side dish was Zucchini in Padella from Jamie's Italy, pg. 259 and a salad of heart of escarole with Jamie's Thick Mustard Dressing from Happy Days, Pg. 114.

                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                  Sounds wonderful, Gio. But "sprinkle with grated Parmigiana"? Should that be mozzarella? Or is the mozzarella added somewhere else? Don't have the book.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                    Hi Joan, the sliced buffalo mozzarella, halved tomatoes, shredded basil and grated parm are All sprinkled over the fish fillets. Of course some falls off, but most stay and add to the flavor of the fish. The bits that land in the pan get roasted to perfection. The timing is perfect, BTW.

                                                                                                                                                                    I Love your idea of a "COTM recommended" bookmark at EYB. What a great idea!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry, Gio. I read your post too quickly. I should have known better. I did, though, find the recipe online and it's going into my database.

                                                                                                                                                                      The COTM Recommended bookmark has worked out really well for me. I wanted something to distinguish that category from a generic "Try Later" and personal "Favorites." Since I have all COTMs bookmarked, I can search for a COTM Recommended recipe in a COTM book and narrow it down by ingredient. The problem, of course, is that there's an awful lot of years of COTM now to catch up on. But I try to remember to add that bookmark to recipes I come across whenever an old(er) thread reappears. (Another reason to love it when posters go back to the earliest selections.)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                        Joan: You should print some up and start selling them. Decorated!

                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, folks! Your own PERSONALIZED Cookbook of the Month bookmarks! They won't last long at these prices! Choice of colors: Chartreuse! Cinnamon! Sage! Tastefully designed to catch your eye when you're looking for that special recipe!

                                                                                                                                                                        Order today and receive a personalized book cover constructed of heavy-duty, gold lame asbestos in case of fire. They won't last at these prices!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                          Afraid the only decorations any cookbook bookmarks of mine might have would be grease spills.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                    wow this sounds great. I am now home (yay!), and can't wait for LulusDad to get himself to work to pick up the books. I found (very late last night) Jamie's Italy and Cook with Jamie, and can play with those later today if I can get some readjusting to the real world done first. I'm thrilled! And your cod recipe will go on the list Gio, thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                      Welcome Home LLM...! Glad you and your family have returned safe and sound. I hope LuLu had a good time in spite of her illness. What fantastic memories you're giving her....

                                                                                                                                                                      There are some very nice recipes in Jamie's Italy. We cooked from that book all last week and liked everything we made. Good luck with your selections.

                                                                                                                                                                  3. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF
                                                                                                                                                                    Thick Mustard Dressing, Pg. 114

                                                                                                                                                                    As a salad for the roasted cod dinner I used this dressing over those tender yellow-ish white leaves from the heart of a large head of escarole, my favorite green. (I prefer the heart of all salad greens, as the thick outer leaves are both more bitter and less easily digested. IMO, anyway)

                                                                                                                                                                    The dressing consists of EVOO, heaping tablesspoons of Dijon (Fallot) and whole grain mustards (Maille), white wine vinegar, sea salt and FGBP (tellicherry). Everything is whisked together in a salad bowl then tossed with the lettuce.

                                                                                                                                                                    Although the dressing was full of flavor we felt it was a little too robust for the greens I used. We liked it well enough but I actually think it would taste terrific over a potato salad, for example, or a salad with heartier vegetables.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Rosemary Skewered Monkfish (Halibut) with Pancetta and Bread, Happy Days with the Naked Chef, p. 150

                                                                                                                                                                      Chunks of monkfish (or halibut in my case) and de-crusted ciabatta are tossed with "bashed up" rosemary and garlic (I used 3 cloves instead of 1), threaded in alternating pieces into kebabs (I used bamboo skewers as I didn't have 10-inch rosemary stalks, although I'm sure that would be even better). Then pieces of pancetta are loosely wrapped around each kebab, sprinkled with any remaining oil/rosemary/garlic and baked for 15-20 minutes. Balsamic vinegar drizzled over each kebab at the end (I forgot). Served with sauteed radicchio with pancetta and pine nuts, inspired by Goblin's report about her tasty "brown stuff."

                                                                                                                                                                      This made 6 skewers for us instead of 4 and even though only used 1 loaf of ciabatta instead of the 1.5 called for, I had enough left over to make two skewers of just bread and pancetta (which the kids loved).

                                                                                                                                                                      A winner of a dish -- the bread got nice and crispy on the outside and the halibut was perfectly cooked (not sure I went the whole 15 minutes -- just eyeballed it). If I were doing it just for adults, I would probably add red pepper flakes for a little oomph and I think the extra garlic was definitely warranted, but we like bold flavors. Every bit was consumed and it was declared a keeper by the whole family.

                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm so glad that you reported on this recipe because I badly wanted to make it, but monkfish has to be ordered 'way ahead. Now I know that halibut works really well too!
                                                                                                                                                                        And how nice to know that the radicchio "brown stuff" goes well with it.
                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks so much for a helpful review.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                                          mebby thanks for posting this, your description had my mouth watering! This really does sound like a winner and your photo is beautiful!

                                                                                                                                                                        2. THE NAKED CHEF TAKES OFF: Baked Cod with French Beans, Pancetta and Pine Nuts, page150.
                                                                                                                                                                          This was actually my first venture into the NC series, and I'm sorry to say I found this dish rather disappointing, but there are a couple ways in which I deviated from the recipe. I went to the fish monger with my EYB selections on my ipad. This is a wonderful tool that I really love, but perhaps I relied on it a bit too heavily for a shopping list. They had fresh cod so I scrolled around and chose this recipe. I purchased the other ingredients mentioned, including pine nuts, french beans, and pancetta. When I got home and read the recipe I realized it called for cod steaks on the bone, and I had purchased fillet. I doubt whether this made a big difference in the flavor. The big difference was that I found that Jamie called for "smoked pancetta or bacon." I have never seen smoked pancetta, I thought that the very definition of pancetta was that it was cured and not smoked.
                                                                                                                                                                          This is a very simple dish to make. The beans are tossed with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, the fish sits on the beans, and the pancetta on the fish. A handful of pine nuts are sprinkled on the top, and lemons go in to cook alongside the fish.
                                                                                                                                                                          I thought the dish was a bit blah, surprising with all the great ingredients. Mr Nightshade found it grew on him during the course of dinner. He'd be fine to have it again, especially because it was so quick and easy. If I had to make it again, I would probably use smokey bacon, that might make a difference. Pancetta or bacon in strips would also lie more elegantly over the fish, the pancetta wheels just sort of curled up into little cups.
                                                                                                                                                                          It was not a very photogenic dish, but I've included a snap anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                            I have make this for years with thick fillets rather than steaks. My tweaks are to blanch the beans a bit first and to make sure there is enough olive oil on the pancetta so it crisps up. I probably also use more garlic than he calls for. I love it with roasted tomatoes stuffed with breadcrumbs.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                                              Well, I might try it again someday with tweaks. We like vegetables al dente so that part was OK with me. What kind of pancetta do you use? He called for smoked pancetta which I have never seen. Did you find smoked? Did you use pancetta in wheels like I did or did you have it in another form?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                I use the very thinly-sliced wheels that come in cryovac. I don't think they are smoked because, like you, I thought sort of by definition pancetta isn't. But with so many great recipes to try in these books, if you didn't like it why bother to make it again? :) Do something else with those yummy ingredients....

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                                                  True enough. Mr Nightshade decided he liked it, that would be the only reason. But I'm sure I could find things he'd like even better!

                                                                                                                                                                          2. THE NAKED CHEF TAKES OFF: White Risotto with Lemon Thyme, Prosciutto, Pecorino, and Goat Cheese.
                                                                                                                                                                            I have never used celery in a risotto before, and as bright green as the celery looked during the saute, I had doubts that this risotto would actually be white, but it was (hard to tell in the bright yellow dish). This starts with Jamie's basic risotto recipe, stock, shallots, celery, garlic, wine, arborio, then adds lemon thyme during the cooking, pecorino near the end, and goat cheese, prosciutto, and more lemon thyme upon serving. I thought it was quite nice, and it was a hit at the table. I'd make it again, but might leave out the celery, I'm just not convinced that it added something special to the dish. (But I confess I'm not a big celery fan.) I had some leftover for lunch today, and it's still very tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                                            1. Pot-roasted Guinea Fowl with Sage, Celery and Blood Orange – p. 126 – The Naked Chef

                                                                                                                                                                              If you’re a fan of Guinea hen (and maybe even if you’re not!), do try this recipe. This is a wonderful dish. The gravy made from the pan juices and stuffing is scrumptious. We LOVED this. The blood oranges we so sweet and juicy, their delicate flavours infuse the meat w a subtle citrus flavour and the fragrant thyme just added to our overall delight with this dish.

                                                                                                                                                                              When I saw fresh Guinea hens at the Farmer’s Market yesterday I immediately recalled this dish. Thanks to EYB and my ipad I was able to find the recipe and pick up the other ingredients I needed. Thankfully we’re still getting blood oranges . . . the stars were aligned it seemed!

                                                                                                                                                                              Like many of the other JO recipes I’ve tried this month, prep for this one is pretty straightforward. Not a lot of fussy steps, measuring and pouring etc. I really like that aspect of his books. Essentially you stuff your hens, brown them and then finish in the oven. Finally, pan gravy is made from the drippings, stuffing and wine.

                                                                                                                                                                              Oven is pre-heated to 425. Hen is cleaned, dried and seasoned inside. Oranges are peeled and sliced. Celery is thinly sliced then tossed w some fresh thyme and some S&P. This mixture is then stuffed inside the bird (FYI, JO calls for 2 hens, I just used one and adapted accordingly). Bird is trussed (instructions and photos are provided for that for folks who haven’t done this before…I thought that was a nice touch) then rubbed w sea salt and pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                              A pan suitable for roasting is heated then olive oil is added so you can cook the hen until golden on all sides. I was really pleased how the hen did; in fact turn a beautiful golden very quickly. Unpeeled garlic cloves are added along w some butter, fresh sage leaves and these too are cooked ‘til golden. Wine is added at intervals to keep the pan “slightly moist” as Jamie says.

                                                                                                                                                                              Hen is then transferred to the oven for 45 mins and JO has you check every 15 mins to top up the wine as necessary. In my case it really wasn’t necessary but far be it for me to see any wine go to waste so top up I did!! Jamie describes the hen as being roasted and steamed.

                                                                                                                                                                              When cooked through, you remove the hen from the pan and turn it upside down on a plate to “allow all the juices and moisture to relax back into the breast meat” I have to admit, that was a new one for me. I’d never heard of doing this before but it did seem to work, the breast meat was lovely and tender.

                                                                                                                                                                              The hen rests while you make the gravy by removing any fat from the roasting pan, which is then placed over low heat. When the pan gets hot, you scoop the stuffing from the hen and add it to the pan w some white wine, which de-glazes the pan. Since my pan never dried out, I tasted the sauce and found it wasn’t necessary to add any wine at this stage. You can see how much liquid was in my pan on removal from the oven in the photos below. As this simmers you squeeze the garlic out of the skins, discard the skins then squish the pulp w your spoon and use the paste to thicken the gravy. The juices that accumulate under the hen are added as well. JO notes that the gravy is then seasoned to taste however no seasoning was necessary, everything tasted delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                              We served this w some roasted baby sweet potatoes and carrots, and on the side, some baby spinach that I’d stir-fried w a little bit of diced sweet onion and some toasted pine nuts.

                                                                                                                                                                              This was a perfect Sunday roast, a winning combination of flavours that come together, with so little effort, to produce a truly wonderful meal.

                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                That does look and sound gorgeous, Breadcrumbs.

                                                                                                                                                                                Can I ask you a question about posting photos as you've done such a good job there?! I've got a new android phone and have finally mastered the art of taking photos and posting them to Flickr. Is there a way of transferring them onto Chowhound using the "browse" facility, or do you have to upload them to your desktop first (which I don't know how to do as I am a Luddite).

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks so much gg, that's very kind of you. In my experience, Chowhound's browse function only looks at your desktop. I have not seen a way to import from elsewhere on the web.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Others will likely have much better suggestions for you but one easy way to get your photos on your desktop is to email them to yourself then you can just save the photo files. I do this w my Blackberry if I'm not able to plug it into my laptop to download directly.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                  Boy, does this look gorgeous and delicious. I've researched "guinea fowl" nearby--isn't available as far as I can tell in my area of MA. Can any version of chicken be substituted?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                    Hi Goblin, I see no reason at all why this wouldn't work w a chicken, in fact I think it would be wonderful. The only thing you would likely need to adjust is the cooking time and, given the high heat, I might tent my chicken for the first 20-30 mins as you see how brown my 2.7lb hen got uncovered.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the response, breadcrumbs.! A chicken it will be, and thanks for the reminder about tenting. I can't wait till my family can enjoy this--destined for tomorrow's dinner.
                                                                                                                                                                                      You must live near a fabulous farmer's market. I'm jealous!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                        Whole Foods (at least in Calif) carry a small chicken that is the perfect substitute for Guinea fowl, except it will be less gamey. I can't remember how they refer to these little chickens but they are about twice as big as a cornish, and maybe 1/3 smaller than a regular chicken. So, so moist and flavorful.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                          THE NAKED CHEF: Pot-roasted Guinea Fowl with Sage, Celery and Blood Orange, p. 126

                                                                                                                                                                                          I made this dish back in February with a natural Cornish game hen from Whole Foods, and I agree, it was marvelous! The flavors were delicious, and the game hen had a firmer texture and slightly gamey flavor that distinguished it from regular chickens. Definitely a winner!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Herby potatoes. parsnips and pears - THE NAKED CHEF TAKES OFF p.180

                                                                                                                                                                                    I was making the Grilled and roasted pork from Jamie's Italy so was looking for a side. This mixture was used in a recipe that cooked pork chops with the veggies. So I just missed out the pork chops and made the rest of the recipe. It was OK. It took longer to cook than the 45-60 mins in the recipe and some of the potatoes were still a bit underdone. The mix of flavors were good - potatoes, pears, parsnips, lemons, garlic, rosemary - but the end result wasn't as good as I thought it would be.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF
                                                                                                                                                                                      Pot-Roasted Pork in White Wine with Garlic, Fennel and Rosemary, Pg. 172

                                                                                                                                                                                      The first time I made this dish was 16 May 2009. We loved it then and loved it again last night. Except last night it was slightly over cooked. The procedure couldn't be easier. A 3 1/2 lb. pork roast is tied then seasoned with S & P and rolled in fennel seeds till completely covered. In a roasting pan (I used a DO) brown the meat in butter and EVOO till golden . Add garlic, roasmery, bay leaves (I included a few shredded basil leaves as well) a sliced fennel bulb and 1/2 bottle wine (Chardonnay, per the recipe). Wet a piece of wax paper and loosely cover the pan. Roast for 1 1/4 hours in a preheated 400F oven. We cooked the pork for 1 hour and that was too long. The ends were well done but the middle was juicy and pinkish. Nevertheless the flavor was wonderful. The sauce is simply the pan juices with the roasted garlic, smashed, incorporated. I'll make this again. It's easy and quite good. As a side dish we made French Green Bean Salad from "Jamie's Dinners." On-line recipe:
                                                                                                                                                                                      http://answers.yahoo.com/question/ind...

                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                        I love the technique with the scrunched up paper - works really well. I am impressed that you know the exact date you cooked this - do you make a note in the book?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes...I date the recipe and include alterations with notes. There are some recipes I repeat frequently so after a 3 or 4 dates I quit. If it's a Holiday I include that note as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                            Gio, I always write the same things in my cookbooks--which is why my personal cookbooks will never be valuable to anyone but me. I also use a "star system" (up to three) to rate the results. (Highly subjective!)

                                                                                                                                                                                            It can be a real "trip" to look back on one's notes in older cookbooks. Recently on a foray down to the basement shelving when I keep all the cookbooks I can't cram into my kitchen, I discovered my original 1968 first edition of Julia's "French Chef Cookbook." It was sort of touching to see my earnest comments on the recipes, as I endeavored to teach myself how to cook with her help.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I also managed to get it autographed by Julia and Paul, who always accompanied her to book-signings and signed the early books (she insisted on this because he'd been such a part of them.)

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                          Sounds spectacular Gio, thanks for pointing this one out, I'm confident we'd enjoy it too.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                            Goblin, I think your star system makes your books more valuable, not less. I also make notes in all my cookbooks, so when these books start being used by my kids, it will be a starting point for knowing which recipes work well.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. The Naked Chef

                                                                                                                                                                                          Endive Salad with Caper and Anchovy Dressing, p37

                                                                                                                                                                                          Jamie's introduction to this salad made me smile. He recalls that he ate a lot of (naked) endive when working in France - which was also my experience when working in a French school. The canteen served it practically every day. I seem to remember liking it though and I think it came with a dressing. I definitely have a taste for endive now.

                                                                                                                                                                                          This is very simple. Prepared endive is tossed with a dressing made of mashed anchovies and capers, olive oil, lemon juice and pepper. No salt because of the anchovies and capers (I used salted capers and anchovies in oil). Endive needs a gusty dressing imho and this fitted the bill. Very tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh good, I have this one on my list. So glad you liked it.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                              On trying to take Breadcrumb's rec for baked endive, I realised I didn't know the difference between endive and chicory. Is there one?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gembellina

                                                                                                                                                                                                gembellina...
                                                                                                                                                                                                Top photo shows a type of *endive we call chicory *(en-dive)
                                                                                                                                                                                                The curly leaves in the middle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Bottom photo shows Belgian *endive *(en-dee-ve)

                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/senior...

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Belgian endive is a form of chicory. That's the one you want.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                gg this really sounds great, I'm imagining this dressing would be really tasty. I think I'd like to try this in the summer to accompany grilled fish that's been basted in that dressing as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Caper & Anchovy Dressing pg43

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Made this dressing for a green salad last night, halved the recipe, and the proportions worked just fine. GG's right, simple, gusty and very tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. THE NAKED CHEF: Fast-roasted Cod with Parsley, Oregano, Chilli and Lime

                                                                                                                                                                                                  You mix a couple handfuls of fresh parsley with dried oregano and a minced chili and spread it over cod, stick a halved lime in the pan and cook it in a hot oven. Eh. I picked this more because it sounded fast and easy than anything else, and it was just so so. Parsley leaves me cold and it was the dominant flavor. I probably should have squeezed more lime over it, but the lime was very cooked after the time in the oven so it wouldn't have been all that bright and fresh anyway. I served it with broccoli I had sauteed in olive oil and garlic for 20-30 minutes (YUM!) and:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Potato Salad with Olive Oil, Lemon and Dill
                                                                                                                                                                                                  This was fantastic. I used multi-colored fingerling potatoes and watched them carefully so they were just done like Jamie said to do. You mix up a dressing of olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper and put the hot potatoes in it with an unspecified quantity of fresh dill. My husband doesn't like dill and always complains if I use it, but not with this! He really liked it, as did I. The skin on my potatoes prevented them from soaking up quite as much flavor as I would have liked, so next time I will cut them in pieces after boiling them, and just eat them warm. I had a bite of one to try when it was still warm and it was deeelish. Good cool too, but I'll save that prep for a summer picnic and the rest of them time eat them warm and melting. I was sad I only made a half recipe, and will definitely be making this again. I really like dill and am always looking for a way to use it (particularly ways my husband won't object to).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The presentation in my photo is pretty sad, but at least you get an idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                    THE NAKED CHEF: Fast-roasted Cod with Parsley, Oregano, Chilli and Lime

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I made this last night and liked it better than sarahcooks. But, I also love parsley. But, it could use a bit more oregano to balance it out better. I crumbled up chile de arbol and used white pepper and kosher salt to sprinkle on the fish. I thought the roasted lime juice over was fantastic though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Slight changes. I had pollock fillets. So, I used Rick Moonen's method of cooking. 450 degrees for about 8 minutes. The fish was perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    This was a fast, easy, delicious dinner but nothing to go out of your way for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Note to self, add dill to grocery list for next week! Thanks for sharing this review Sarah, those potatoes sound delicious! I have some beautiful locally grown fingerlings at the moment and will take your advice and cut them up after they've boiled. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. THE NAKED CHEF
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pork Chops with Thyme, Lemon and Pesto, Pg. 107

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Great, easy, quick.. very nice week night dish. I had a couple of boneless pork chops lurking in the freezer so decided this recipe would be perfect. And, it was. The chops are marinated for a few minutes in a mixture of chopped thyme, salt, garlic, FGBP, Lemon zest & juice, and EVOO. Smear this mixture over the chops and marinate for 10-ish minutes...just enough time to make the Pesto (pg. 232).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Now about the pesto: After reading the recipe over a few times I decided it was just too wimpy for our liking. 1/4 clove garlic for 3 "good handfuls" fresh basil? Really? No way is that going to enhance anything. The chops are simply grilled and the pesto is the sauce. I have made and love Mario's pesto so that's what I made. (Pg. 172 Molto Gusto: 3 cloves garlic, 2 cups basil leaves, 3 T pine nuts, S & P, EVOO, Parmigiano & Romano). If you make Jamie's version let me know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      He doesn't say whether or not to scrape off the marinade but G took most of it off before grilling on a hot grill pan. The chops cooked for about 8 minutes per the recipe and for us that was perfect. Rest the chops a few minutes before serving. To serve spoon some pesto over each chop. Side dishes were steamed broccoli and baked potatoes. These chops were delicious. The meat came from the farm and had a thin layer of fat on the edges, which made the chops tender and full of flavor. The thyme marinade had a wonderful aroma. I'd like to try that on chicken breasts or boneless thighs. Mario's pesto recipe makes 1 cup so there's some left to garnish a vegetable soup I'm making tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                        We drove into the countryside yesterday and bought some meat at an organic ranch. When I saw the pork chops, Gio's review floated to the surface of my consciousness, so we bought some and tried the recipe last night. Very nice. We used the grill pan, did not scrape the marinade off. I made the pesto, close to Jamie's recipe, but couldn't imagine pesto with 1/4 clove garlic (I kept thinking maybe he meant 1/4 head of garlic, but no). I used one clove, less than I usually use. I did add the optional lemon squeeze, which I've never done in pesto before, and I thought it struck a nice harmony with the lemon zest in the marinade. I wasn't thinking far in advance, so just served the chops with olive bread and a salad. I think that garlic mashed potatoes would go nicely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF: My Old Man's Superb Chicken, page 185, and a gluten-free version.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chopped mixed mushrooms, garlic and parsley comprise the filling for these chicken breasts, which are wrapped in puff pastry. The sauce is extremely simple and packs a lot of flavor. White wine is reduced with whole grain mustard, cream is added. This dish was a big hit. Mine didn't look like Jamie's, I think you'd have to flatten the breasts to make them completely encircle the stuffing, but they were still attractive and drew raves at the table. The chicken was moist and nicely cooked when the pastry was golden. This dish has a lovely country French taste. I also made a gluten-free version, wrapping the breast in prosciutto. It does need something to hold it together while cooking, I thought prosciutto would be more fun than a toothpick. A successful spin on the original.

                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is not in reply to L. Nightshade, but that's where it shows up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          NAKED CHEF TAKES OFF/RETURN OF THE NAKED CHEF (tnx Caitlin)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Peter's Lamb Curry, p. 190

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sorry, no photos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Even though this recipe starts out with a description of Peter Begg as "a thoroughbred Scotsman, kilt and no undies:" Not exactly an intro to a curry recipe...or any recipe for that matter, I decided to make it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's quite a delicious curry. I cut the meat off of 3 lamb shoulder chops and cubed them as best I could.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          It starts out with a curry mixture that you toast until fragrant . He says to toast it in the oven, but I didn't see that instruction at first and so, rather than waiting for the oven to heat up, I toasted it in a heavy skillet. After it's toasted, you whiz it in the food processor with some chopped ginger, 2 red (tennis-ball-size) onions, garlic, chillies and a bunch of cilantro. I had some trouble getting the mix to turn into a paste and ended up putting some in the blender.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          After making the paste you fry it in butter until it "goes golden". Now tomatoes and chicken stock or water are added and he covers it with foil in a pot and cooks it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours to intensify the flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Well, since I hadn't carefully read this recipe, I hadn't noticed that part. If I'd done as he instructed we'd have had dinner at about 9 p.m. so I just proceeded with the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          You then fry the lamb (which I'd cut into chunks) in olive oil until "golden", then add it to the curry sauce, cover and simmer for about an hour. He tells us we are allowed to vary this dish by adding chicken, shrimp or paneer instead of lamb, and vegetables like chard, spinach, peas, cauliflower, fried eggplant, potatoes, chickpeas or lentils. I added some chard before simmering the curry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I served it with basmati rice and Pavel's Low Fat Russian Yogurt which is the only kind I buy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The two of us polished off almost all of this in one sitting. A wonderful, if not amazingly original dish on a cold and rainy night in March....or any other time for that matter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also served it with a simple salad from Nigella - sliced red onions, sliced tomatoes, cilantro, salt and lemon juice are mixed together and left to marinate for a couple of hours. It's a very refreshing salad in contrast to the richness of the curry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          He has a recipe for paneer cheese at the bottom of the page which I'm going to try soon. I will certainly make this again and again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hi Oakjoan, The Naked Chef Takes Off and Happy Days with the Naked Chef are two different books, but The Naked Chef Takes Off and Return of the Naked Chef ARE the same book, AFAIK and for future reference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            With regard to this recipe, I have the book out from the library, and I noticed that someone put a post-it note on the photo opposite the recipe, presumably for the benefit of future borrowers. The note says, "This recipes had really lovely flavors but it took several hours. I didn't grind my sices enough, so it had some funky spice bites. I [heart] Jamie Oliver!" Too bad you didn't have this note to draw your attention to the timing, but glad it turned out delicious the way you made it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I want to try this, in the past I've only used "CURRY POWDER" from a jar so labeled.. not saying that can't be really good, we like more than one kind. But very glad to read your post, I'll enjoy trying this.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              I *have* made paneer, and liked it. These are the instructions I followed:
                                                                                                                                                                                                              "... fresh white curd cheese you can make very easily (if a bit messily) at home, if you have a pyrex bowl and a microwave. Pour a quart or so of milk, maybe a cup of buttermilk if you have it, plus a lemon's worth of juice, into the bowl, mix, and nuke on high about 5 minutes, until the milk solids separate from the clear yellow whey. They should float in a mass and be pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Take a colander or strainer over another large bowl, line it with a couple of layers of cheesecloth or 3-4 overlapping round paper coffee filters, whatever works for you. Carefully pour the whey over first, keeping the curd back in the bowl as far as possible until you've poured most of the whey through. Then drain the curd on the filters and press it until it's fairly firm and could be cut into cubes without crumbling apart. You'll get about 5 oz fairly dry curd for a quart of milk, so not a great yield. You can use some of the warm whey to make bread, or use it in pureed vegetable soups--it still has a lot of soluble smaller proteins and calcium in it, so it's worth keeping if you can use it quickly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oakjoan this is definitely a keeper. Knowing what I do about the sauce timing, I think this would be a great weekend dish where you could do the sauce one day and finish the dish another night (even a weeknight). Thanks so much for pointing it out. Since I had such success w another JO curry, I can't wait to try this one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Great to know, I am making a note in the margin this minute so I won't forget!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                L. Nightshade your photos are so enticing! Stunning. This has also been added to my ridiculously long "Jamie to try" list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you Breadcrumbs, for your kind comments. I have to say, I now keep my camera in the kitchen and I've been having a great time cooking and snapping photos. There is that awkward moment when I have to say, "Don't touch that, don't eat! I have to take a picture!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I know exactly what you mean LN, I have the same issue here. mr bc has now resigned himself to the fact that he just has to wait. Actually, I think that's why he offered to take the pictures . . . he's quicker than I am!!! ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF: Hamilton Squash - p. 226

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I had a butternut squash in my CSA box that I needed to use up, and this looked interesting. It's basically a stuffed butternut squash, the stuffing being comprised of the scraped out innards and seeds of the squash, along with rice, rehydrated dried mushrooms, onion, garlic, coriander seeds, dried chili, rosemary and sun-dried tomatoes. You saute all that stuff and pack it back into the two halves of the squash, which are then pressed back together (to make a "whole" squash), rubbed in oil, wrapped in foil, and baked at 450 for about 1.25 hours. It doesn't say what size squash to use here, but mine was not particularly large. I did have some excess of stuffing. The rice inside my squash was not quite done after baking, so I had to bake a few minutes more. Minor detail....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The final result was a really tasty vegetarian main dish. The squash seeds being included was interesting to me, and they provided a nice occasional crunch. We enjoyed this, especially Mr. MM who likes a lighter, meatless supper now and again. I would definitely make it again, especially if I had vegetarians to entertain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Made this last night and I agree with MelMM that it's a very tasty, attractively rustic veggie side/vegetarian entre. The savory stuffing combined well with the oven-roasted butternut squash (I used a 2.75 lb. squash which made plenty for 6) and the slices looked very attractive on the plate. The photos with the recipe are very helpful and easy to follow. I ended up with just the right amount of stuffing to fill the two halves before they were reformed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Two comments/caveats:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Be aware that "size matters!" I used a medium-sized butternut squash and I think this MAY have been too big to cook fully the called-for 3.5 ounces of uncooked basmati rice, which did NOT cook fully inside the squash even though I increased the baking time per MelMM's suggestion to 1 1/2 hours (the original recipe suggested an hour and 15 minutes.) Though the flesh of the squash itself baked up nice and soft, the rice itself was too crunchy to be enjoyable, especially when combined with all the crunchy seeds. When I looked more closely afterwards at the photos accompanying the recipe, I noticed that Jamie's squash appeared relatively small in his hands--maybe no more than 1.5 pounds. This is one case where the casualness of some of Jamie's instructions (use "1 Butternut Squash") maybe needs to be more specific.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Also, be aware that prepping this recipe takes some determination! Hollowing out the squash to pack the stuffing into it required a strong wrist and some dexterity with a sharp knife. Just "using a teaspoon to score and scoop out some extra flesh" didn't do it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Would I make it again? If I could figure out the rice-thing, because I like the IDEA of including it in the stuffing. Maybe using cooked rice to start with? Or would this get too mushy after baking? Use all of the porcini soaking liquid instead of half, as Jamie instructs? Oven-roast the squash for 2 hours? Or just use a smaller squash in the first place (make two for my family.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A 2.75lb squash would be considered very large in the UK - a normal size one is no more than a couple of pounds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the info, gg--that explains why Jamie didn't specify "1 small butternut squash" in his recipe.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As I shopped for this dish I was weighing the various BN squash offerings at my local Cape Cod supermarket and they ranged from a couple of 2-pounders up to several burly 5-pounders. Must be another example of American giganticism! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I also think I should pay more attention to the photos accompanying the recipe!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I made but haven't reviewed yet an onion pasta dish from Jamie's Dinners. I think it called for 5 onions - I used 4 and it was like 5 times too much onion. I think you can guess how it turned out :P Of course they were gigantic American ones and I should have known better. At least now I know the weight to look for for the squash - very helpful!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          During Simon Hopkinson month I learned a very valuable lesson about the difference in relatives sizes between US and UK produce! Burned a favorite pan in the process, but still, I learned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Goblin I've made several stuffed squashes, most notably Claudia Roden's, and in her recipes the rice is indeed cooked first, if not actually cold. Also, for larger squashes not vegetarian though, she includes some cooked minced beef, lamb or whatever. I think I'll give that Hamilton squash a try. I love stuffed vegetables.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good news about using cooked rice, and thanks for that, Gio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I forgot to mention in my review that I also included a few strips of cooked crumbled bacon into the stuffing mixture and it was delish. Could have tossed in a few more strips but only had two on hand. Not strictly vegetarian, but I'm getting to love that Oliver touch with bacon/pancetta!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I appreciate all the tips for this - it's on my list to make this week!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's in the oven now. It's been in there an hour and 15 and when I peeked and tasted the filling the rice was still really crunchy. My squash is exactly 2 lbs and I had about a half cup of filling left over. I poured a little water into the inside without opening it much and am giving it another 15 minutes, but we're having dinner with our neighbors, the homemade cheddar and caramelized onion rolls are done, and they're waiting next door (cooking at my house, eating over there). I'll let you know how it turned out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            HAMILTON SQUASH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            None of us thought it was very good, apart from the vegetarian. But once I saw her husband was make her an egg "fried" with no fat on teflon and an orange cut up for her dinner. So not a huge recommendation. The rice was still a bit crunchy, though on the passable side rather than the inedible side. The flavors were kind of all over the place, as you can imagine from the ingredients. But mainly I thought it was too sweet. I think the sundried tomatoes and the coriander added sweetness to an already sweet squash. Anyway, not a winner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. THE NAKED CHEF: Tray-baked Salmon with olives, green beans, anchovies and tomatoes (p. 97).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll be honest with you, I was sold first and foremost on the fact that it all goes onto one cooking tray. But it also hit some hot spots with my family (olives for Lulu and me, green beans for Lulu and her dad, and anchovies for all of us) so why the heck not? Also seemed fairly easy on grocery day, a day that also has Lulu at home with me all day. And guess what? HUGE success. This is not for those who don't like salty stuff. We even thought, gee, anchovies *and* olives as we gobbled it all up. The salmon itself isn't especially interesting, but is made way more so by his suggestion of serving it with aioli. That put this over the top. He calls for salmon fillet steaks. I am guessing this is just me, but I thought you either bought fillets or you bought steaks. And I greatly prefer fillets, so that is what I bought. And they were thick, so it ended up taking about 14 minutes instead of 10 to have them cooked enough for everyone (and aside from my husband, we like our salmon on the rare side). I'm sure if it was steaks they'd take much less time. Anyway, this is a great dish, but definitely make the aioli to go with the fish. And it is darned pretty too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. THE NAKED CHEF
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pan-Fried of Cod with Parsley, Capers and Brown Butter, Pg. 86

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We used 1½ lbs of Haddock instead of four 8 oounce fillets of cod and left the skin on. Both sides of the fish are seasoned with S & P and dusted lightly with flour. Heat the skillet, add oil then place the fish in the pan. Remembering Rick Moonen's technique of presssing down on the fillet with a spatular till one hears the sizzle, letting the fish cook for 1½ minutes, flipping to the other side and cooking for another 1½ minutes that's what we did. Remove the fish to a platter and keep warm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For the sauce, I used 3 T butter instead of 6. Let that melt and strt to brown then add capers, and parsley. Continue cooking till the butter bwoens then add lemon juice. Pour the sauce over the fish. The fish was tasty and juicy. The sauce had just enough lemon flavor to enhance the flavor of the fish. Served with Spicy Roast Squash and Cannellini Beans with Herb Vinegar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This sounds really good - had somehow overlooked it. Will put it on my list. Thanks Gio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Considering all my typos. LLM, I just happy you got the gist of the recipe. It really Was very tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I made this dish (sort of) two nights ago, using some largish fluke fillets. So far it's the only JO dish I've made. There was no parsley around, and I know I skimped on the amount of the capers.....just how much is a handful anyway? But all in all, it was a refreshing change from the way we normally make flounder/fluke, and I would do it again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: clamscasino

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I know... a handful. Everyone's hand is different, isnt it. I use about 3 heaping tablespoons when a handful is listed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 heaping tablespoons...good to know, 'cause there's a whole lot of handfulls (sage plant, I'm looking at you) in these books.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: clamscasino

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  David Lebovitz wrote a cute article about just what " a handful" means and other strange quantities cookbook authors use. Think Dry Sherry. Someone actually looked for powdered sherry and was disappointed that she couldn't find it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/06/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for posting that link. Good read. I especially liked "I have a couple of baking books where the author is so frighteningly precise, I’m afraid to make anything, fearing if I don’t measure my ingredients with a professionally-calibrated scale or a certain brand of measuring cups, I’ll have a full-scale disaster on my hands." Would anyone with the name Rose Levy please raise her hand? (But you can put me down as one who appreciates it rather than one who is put off or intimidated by it.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ah yes, great article! And the comments are pretty great too. But now I know, "it means the exact quantity isn't important." Still I'm on the fence about these things....on the one hand I am a "dash and pinch" cook, but when actually trying to replicate someone else's recipe, I do often crave a bit more precision.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: clamscasino

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And "a glass of white wine" ... now, I think we all know that I'm a big fan of our friend booze, but seriously, there can be a lot of variation in the size of a glass of wine. Luckily I don't think this one really makes much difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Actually a glass of wine is standardized in the UK. It used to be 125ml, but now it's more generally 250ml. All pubs and licensed places have to actually measure the volume of wine they serve you. So if you are looking at a British cookbook, it's fairly safe to assume 250ml (which is also a metric cup) for a glass of wine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lilham

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not strictly true - a large glass of wine is 250ml, a standard glass is 175ml, a small glass 125ml. For recipes, I'd split the difference between small and standard and go for 150ml.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. THE NAKED CHEF
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cannellini Beans with Herb Vinegar, Pg.167

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is a ridicuously simple recipe, if it can even be called that. I had half a pot of cannellini left over from last Wednesday's Fagiola all'Italiana from Jamie's Italy so used that as the base. The beans were heated up first then dressed with a vinaigrette of EVOO, white wine vinegar, a handful of finely chopped rosemary, thyme, and basil, sea salt and black pepper. C'est fini. Went well with the pan fried fish and butternut squash.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sounds great Gio, I must be a Tuscan at heart as I love beans! Another one to add to the ridiculously long list!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Was thinking of you, Gio, just a couple of nights ago when I used leftover cannellini to make the Tonno con Fagioli from Giobbi's Italian Family Cooking. Sounds as though tuna could be added to this recipe as well to make a simple one-dish supper. I'm adding it to my list, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You're right Joan, tuna would be great in this!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'll have to look at Giobbi's recipe. That sounds terrific. I love the creaminess of cannellini. Lately I've been making a pot of beans every other week or so. I have some organic Jacob's Cattles beans waiting in the pantry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Naked Chef Takes Off

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I just spent the last hour or so reading over this Thread, making notes to myself about all the Naked Chef recipes I need to earmark to try before the end of the month only to find when I pulled the book off my shelf that I do not have The Naked Chef Cookbook, I have The Naked Chef Takes Off!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So, now that I have the book in front of me, I might as well post my reviews:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Smashed Zucchini Paste, p. 43

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is the recipe I associate with this book as I have made it numerous times. I am surprised to see no one has posted about it yet. Is it not zucchini season? Probably not, but I live in sunny California where we are spoiled by always, or almost always, being able to find things like zucchinis on our shelves at TJs or Whole Foods, if not at the Farmers' Market. This is a simple dish, which takes about as much effort as brushing your teeth. A great way to get veggies into your kid's repertoire. Fantastic weeknight dinner if you are dining alone and have 1/2 a loaf of crusty bread lying about. I would taste after adding 1/2 of a lemon before using the whole thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Blackened Sweet Eggplant, p. 42

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Same review as above. Simple but a real treat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Baked Fennel, p. 202

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think a bunch of people reviewed this recipe above, but just so you know it is a great side dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Warm Duck Salad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Though not set forth in any of his cookbooks that I know of, his warm duck and squash salad is worth taping the shows to find. Actually, it is on today in case any of you are taping his show due to this thread. It is the episode 14, on pumpkin and squash. I first tried this recipe a few years ago and my whole family about fell over with gratitude. I don't think the recipe is online anywhere. Basically, he roasts a whole duck, a bunch of mixed squash, and then he composes an asian style salad using both. I posted the squash part of the recipe earlier in this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That looks like it is it. Everybody, book mark this recipe and try it. You will LOVE IT!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                On your recommendation I've just bookmarked this recipe. It looks absolutely mouth-watering! I have a hard time finding duck at all around here, let alone narrowing it to a "white peking duck." Do you think the type of duck makes a big difference?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I buy my duck from the outdoor market and it is just a plain organic duck- probably Moscovy. I think peking duck refers to the style of cooking that renders the chicken really crispy. Maybe he covered that during his Australian show, I don't remember him mentioning it when I watched in in America.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I've only heard of Peking duck (or currently, Beijing duck) as a method of preparing and cooking a duck. It seemed odd that the recipe (per the link posted) called for white Peking duck.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    How lovely that you can get duck at your outdoor market! I'm jealous!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pekin duck is a breed of duck that is sometimes called Peking duck. It's also often just referred to as a Long Island duck since that's where most of them used to be bred.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I did haul out Giobbi's book yesterday and read the recipe for the tuna with beans. Sounds terrific and something I'd definitely make, Joan. Thanks! It was fun reading all the recipes I've made from Italian Family Cooking. His recipes closely mirror the food my family cooked so I've decided to return to it and insert a recipe or two into the week's menus for a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's one of the books I return to again and again as well. So many of the recipes are simple, straightforward, and full of flavor. I don't make beans anywhere near as often as you do, but when I do, I always think of his recipe. It never fails to satisfy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. THE NAKED CHEF TAKES OFF: Watercress, arugula, sweet pear, walnut and parmesan salad, page 64.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I couldn't get watercress, or arugula! So I used English cress. I had doubts about the sharp bitter taste, but it worked very well in this salad. I used an entire bush and had to throw in a few leaves of baby greens to make a decent sized salad. The salad is just greens (in handfuls, of course), fresh pears, simply dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and ground pepper, and topped with shaved parmesan and walnuts. Just lovely, but all my favorite salads have greens, fruit, nuts, and cheese!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hi Nightshade,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I saw on your profile page you were interested in joining a cooking/supper club. Here is a link to a thread I started discussing the idea. Too bad you don't live closer, you could join our start up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/761267

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          BTW, that tasting menu sounds amazing, if I am ever in your neck of the woods, I am going there! No, I am not a stalker, I am home sick in bed with a lot of time on my hands!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I wish I did live closer, I would love to join your group! I've actually been following that thread because of my interest in starting a supper club. Your first gathering sounded like it must have been stressful for you, with all the shuffling of people, but it sounds like the outcome was lovely!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, that tasting menu at Sooke was a great experience. A true adventure for the palate! I've only been there twice but both times were wonderful. I hear they have a new chef now, but it is still supposed to be good.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hope you recover rapidly!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Fish Baked in a Bag with Marinated Cherry Tomatoes, Black Olives and Basil, The Naked Chef, p. 92

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This recipe is meant for four, but I was cooking only for myself; I made one packet ("bag") with a slightly greater than his called-for 8 oz. fillet, but made half the full recipe of the tomato mixture. That includes halved or quartered cherry tomatoes (I did both, depending on size), black olives (I used nicoise), fresh basil and/or marjoram (I used basil), olive oil I didn't measure but used less than called for), lemon juice, and crumbled dried chile (I used red pepper flakes). I threw in some capers, too, because they seem a natural with this ingredient combo. I followed his advice to put together all but the lemon juice and salt and pepper a half hour ahead, then add those; I actually added no salt to the mixture, given the olives and capers. Meanwhile, I preheated the oven to 475F. The tomato mixture is spooned onto half of a piece of foil (I did use all I had made), and topped with seasoned fish fillets (I used rock cod, aka Pacific snapper). The foil is folded over and closed on all but one side, then white wine and olive oil is added, the last side is folded tight, and into the oven it goes for around 10 minutes. Rest for 5 minutes, put packet on plate, open, and eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This was quite delicious, with lots of bright flavor, something I was craving at this time of year. The marinated tomato mixture is a usual-suspects Mediterranean combo that's always good and in thid case was a good hit of flavor to liven mild white fish (Oliver recommends grouper, snapper, or bass, but says it will work with anything). There was a lot of liquid in the finished dish - not surprising, given the cherry tomatoes and closed cooking environment. While I had two servings of tomatoes, I used the amount of wine for one, 3 T. Only 1 T. would likely do the job, but you know what? I got out a spoon and drank all the liquid because why waste it, it tasted great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I won't hesitate to make this in the summer, when great local tomatoes and basil are plentiful. For the most part, I eat fresh tomatoes in season, and a lot of them, because hot-house or imported tomatoes in the off season aren't good enough, but a few times a year I buy cherry tomatoes out of season, because they can be pretty decent (these were organic from Mexico) and I just want that brightness, and this was so worth it on a rainy day in March.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is one of those easy, diet-friendly dishes I'd forgotten Oliver included in his books.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Time to try to participate with this recipe, thanks for posting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We made this tonight with the benefit of some of Caitlin's adjustments (thank you!). We included capers (great idea) and used less wine and olive oil. Healthy, flavorful and easy to make on a weeknight. Would make again -especially when tomatoes and basil are in season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. The Naked Chef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              North African Lamb with Chili, Ginger, Chickpeas & Couscous

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ok. So I cheated & used 2 cans of chickpeas instead of cooking my own. And I used a 28 oz jar of San Marzano tomatoes instead of cooking 10 fresh plums- since it's March in Boston, I won't be getting good tomatoes for several more months. And I didn't have 4 neck fillets, I had 1 neck & used a bunch of rib that had very little meat on them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Even with my rampant substitutions, I loved this meal. The flavors were so delicious. And since I used lots of chick peas, it was hearty enough to serve with just a bite of the lamb per plate. Nicely spiced from the Fresno red chilies I used. The eggplant tasted so, so good. My kids weren't quite as interested in eating much of it, but my husband loved it. And it made excellent leftovers that reheated quite well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I served it with steamed broccoli (boring, I know) and Israeli couscous. I just made it plain, toasting the couscous prior to simmering. Hey, at least I gave my kids some options for dinner :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Certainly will make this again. Easy enough to make ahead of time & then reheat for company. Makes a nice presentation & is quite colorful on the plate. I got another lamb from the farmer, so I'll plan my dinner party soon!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And dang. Looks like I owe fines to the library for keeping the book out too long....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tall sarah

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What a great use of lamb neck without being too heavy a dish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for pointing this one out, sounds like great flavors. I have a boatload of dried chickpeas to use up too, I can't resist buying the little ones when I find them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tall sarah

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So good to read your report, Sarah. We're making this tonight and were planning to use bone-in lamb stew pieces and tinned tomatoes as well. We're in the same general area as you are and these are our best choices. Glad you liked the dish...I'm looking forward to it. I love lamb in any form.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Let us all know how you liked it. Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: tall sarah

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    THE NAKED CHEF
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    North African Lamb with Chili, Ginger, Chickpeas & Couscous, Pg. 111

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We made this last night and Tall Sarah is right...! Delicious, with lots of flavors from all the ingredients and seasonings. I halved the recipe and used 1 eggplant, 1 tin of chickpeas (the lonely can of beans in the pantry), 3 Fresnos that have been languishing in the freezer, a 14 oz. tin of Hunt's organic whole tomatoes which I chopped up, and 2 3/4 lbs boney lamb pieces. The meat was wonderful..so full of luscious lamby flavor. There's just a little bit left over and I'm dying to see what it tastes like after melding overnight in the fridge. Lazy us, we served just plain couscous made with chicken broth. This recipe is definitely a make again one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ETA: I think this recipe would be terrific with chicken as well as pork. Also, next time I'll increase the heat factor as I believe North African cuisine is spicy. Or am I mistaken?