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*July 2011 COTM, BATALI II: Fish, Shellfish, Poultry, Meat

Caitlin McGrath Jul 1, 2011 09:28 AM

Please use this thread to discuss and review recipes from the following chapters:

Italian Grill: Fish and Shellfish; Poultry; Meat

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  1. Breadcrumbs RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 1, 2011 11:42 AM

    Il Galletto Al Mattone (Chicken Cooked Under A Brick) – p. 136 – Italian Grill

    Super-simple to prepare and big on flavour, we loved this chicken and will happily make it again. Chicken is flattened by removing the backbone and pressing down to crack breastbones. We found it simpler to remove the breastbone at the top as well. A rub is made by combining ground, toasted fennel seeds (or fennel pollen), salt, pepper and thyme. The mixture is patted on the bird then the chicken is wrapped in Saran and refrigerated for 12 hours. An hour prior to grilling chicken is removed from the fridge. Chicken is then grilled under a brick until done. We didn’t have issues w flare-ups though they are mentioned as a potential issue in the book. Prior to serving, I spritzed the chicken w lemon-juice. This was a delicious, flavourful dish. We grilled over charcoal.

    21 Replies
    1. re: Breadcrumbs
      Gio RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 1, 2011 05:26 PM

      Oh good. We're making this on Monday so we have a bit of time to juggle the marinade. So you wouldn't change anything...?

      1. re: Gio
        Breadcrumbs RE: Gio Jul 1, 2011 07:38 PM

        The flavours were great Gio, nothing too intense in terms of seasoning and the charcoal grill just made for a lovely, bird reminiscent of something we had in Tuscany. I would recommend removing the breastbone as we did though, that way you're able to make the bird very flat and, of even thickness to assure no one part is overdone. Can't wait to hear what you think.

        1. re: Breadcrumbs
          Gio RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 2, 2011 05:20 AM

          Oh yes, I've spatchcocked a chicken many times. Plus I have my grandmother's old fashioned flat iron I use to weight the chicken nice and flat. It's a real heavy one she heated up on her woodburning stove...I do cover it in foil though. Thanks Breadcrumbs!

      2. re: Breadcrumbs
        BigSal RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 4, 2011 04:17 AM

        We meant to have this on Saturday, but I neglected to read about refrigerating the chicken with seasoning for 12 hours, but the results were worth the wait. We made this as directed using fennel pollen. I've never used fennel pollen before and knew it would be something special as soon as I opened the tin to smell a sweet and intense fennel fragrance. This was hit with the family and we'll definitely make this again.

        1. re: BigSal
          Breadcrumbs RE: BigSal Jul 5, 2011 05:58 AM

          So glad you enjoyed this BigSal, I can't wait to get my hands on some fennel pollen. I found a source in Toronto and I'll have this dish on the menu again as soon as I pick it up!

          1. re: Breadcrumbs
            BigSal RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 5, 2011 08:07 PM

            BC, I hope you enjoy the fennel pollen. I found the aroma intoxicating. I bought a small tin that did not last long and it is rather expensive. Recently I found a good deal at Zingerman's to replensh my stock- now to find more recipes to try it with. EYB here I ccome. One of the perks of COTM is learning about and trying new ingredients (like fresh water chestnuts, snow pea shoots and fennel pollen for me recently).

            1. re: Breadcrumbs
              L.Nightshade RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 6, 2011 04:43 PM

              I'll be very curious to hear what you think of the fennel pollen, Breadcrumbs. I went in search of it once, and my favorite spice shop said that "all the restaurants" are now substituting a superfine ground and strained fennel seed, with apparently good effect. I'm unsure as to whether that was just a line, as they didn't carry fennel pollen.

              1. re: L.Nightshade
                Breadcrumbs RE: L.Nightshade Jul 7, 2011 02:57 AM

                I'll be sure to come back here and report LN! Nice to have you back btw, hope you had a lovely trip.

          2. re: Breadcrumbs
            MelMM RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 5, 2011 11:08 AM

            Il Galletto Al Mattone (Chicken Cooked Under A Brick) – p. 136 – Italian Grill

            I made this as the inaugural cook on my new Big Green Egg. I didn't have any fennel pollen in the kitchen, but I did have fennel blooming in the garden, so I attempted to harvest some pollen. Let me just say that it would take a lot of fennel plants to get 3 tablespoons of pollen. So I used a tiny amount of pollen, and used freshly ground fennel for the rest. I also cheated on the refrigeration time of the spice coated chicken. One thing I did in the process of spatchcocking the bird that the recipe does not mention is to cut a slit in the skin on each side near the back end of the chicken. You can then tuck the ends of the legs into the slits, and it makes the bird lie neatly and very flat

            This chicken was absolutely delicious. The seasoning was fairly subtle, and let the taste of the chicken and grill shine through.

            1. re: MelMM
              Karen_Schaffer RE: MelMM Jul 25, 2011 11:50 PM

              Il Galletto Al Mattone (Chicken Cooked Under A Brick) – p. 136 – Italian Grill

              My turn for this finally. We have a gas grill that runs pretty hot, so even turning the dials to med. low, the chicken got a bit charred on the underside. But that's okay, the meat was still juicy and the charred bits were tasty in their own right. Cooking with the brick was fun, and I'll definitely do it again.

              However, we were underwhelmed by the flavor of the rub. Like Mel, I have fennel blooming in the garden, so I collected a bunch of flower heads and pulverized those. I prepared just half a chicken (dinner for two), but used the full amount of fennel and thyme. The only part where I felt the seasonings came through was on a part of the breast where the skin had pulled back so the seasoning was in direct contact with the flesh. And that part was great! So if I make this recipe again, I would massage the rub under the skin instead of over it.

              1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                dkennedy RE: Karen_Schaffer Jul 26, 2011 07:07 AM

                I think the problem is that fennel pollen is truly a magical ingredient (like saffron) and no amount of fresh fennel fronds will give you the same result.

                1. re: dkennedy
                  Karen_Schaffer RE: dkennedy Jul 26, 2011 08:18 AM

                  Just to be clear, I used the flowers (whence fennel pollen comes), not the fronds. And the flavor *was* great, but only where the rub actually touched the skin. True, I didn't use the actual substance. But my experience with other chicken recipes has been the same (and is substantiated by tests at Cook's Illustrated, I might add), that unless the seasoning is put under the skin, all you get is flavored skin. The flesh may be juicy and delicious, but mostly unaffected by the rub.

                  Those of you who have used the actual pollen -- do you think the fennel flavor really gets into the chicken flesh? Or is it moist, char-grilled chicken with a subtle fennel flavor from the rub charring on the skin?

                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                    L.Nightshade RE: Karen_Schaffer Jul 26, 2011 10:29 AM

                    As you can see in my post just below, I did not use the pollen, but used finely ground fennel seeds. I don't eat skin and I was impressed that the flavors were so easily appreciated in the meat. That said, taste is so highly influenced by smell, so the aroma of the herbs on the skin could have affected my taste experience.

                    1. re: L.Nightshade
                      Karen_Schaffer RE: L.Nightshade Jul 26, 2011 11:50 AM

                      That's right, I did see your post, L., and I suppose that's why I was expecting more flavor in the flesh. I did eat the skin, though, so maybe after eating the skin, the flesh seemed less flavored.

                      Well, I'm going to cut up some leftovers for lunch, so maybe I'll find it has more flavor than I remember.

            2. re: Breadcrumbs
              L.Nightshade RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 9, 2011 12:19 PM

              Il Galletto Al Mattone (Chicken Cooked Under A Brick), p. 136, Italian Grill

              We made this chicken last night, which means I did the marinade, Mr. Nightshade did the grilling. I used finely ground, toasted fennel seeds in place of the pollen.

              I'm surprised no one has mentioned the salt in this recipe, which makes me think I did something wrong. I used coarse sea salt, but the amount concerned me, so I used half the written amount of salt, without changing the pepper, fennel, or thyme. I still felt it was too salty and would use less next time. Unless, help me out here, those of you who have tried this dish, the salt was supposed to come off when the chicken was rubbed with olive oil?

              Anyway, aside from the salt question, this was a huge success. Actually, even with the salt it was a success. We used a gas grill, which I don't think gets as hot as charcoal, so the cooking time was a bit longer for us. But the chicken was perfect. Crispy skin, tender and juicy meat. I actually don't like chicken skin, so I loved that the flavors of the rub penetrated into the meat. And the aroma was intoxicating. Mr. N wasn't so sure about the brick method, but he's sold now. And now that we've acquired two bricks from the home improvement store, he's ready to try different versions, so we've ordered more chicken from the ranch.

              1. re: L.Nightshade
                Breadcrumbs RE: L.Nightshade Jul 9, 2011 02:32 PM

                Hi LN, great to hear you enjoyed this and, that mr LN is a convert!! On the salt, I didn't have an issue w the amount. Perhaps because I only made one chicken, I didn't think that 2 tbsp was excessive as I imagined some would be lost in the grilling/covering w brick process. I used Kosher salt and we didn't find the bird to be too salty. Neither of us salt our food as a matter of course so if it had been salty, we'd definitely have noticed.

                1. re: Breadcrumbs
                  L.Nightshade RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 9, 2011 02:57 PM

                  Good to know. I think I'll use the kosher next time. Doesn't seem like it would make a big difference, but sometimes the coarse sea salt seems to me to make things saltier. Thanks for responding to my query!

                  1. re: L.Nightshade
                    smtucker RE: L.Nightshade Jul 9, 2011 04:57 PM

                    Oh yes! Kosher salt makes a huge difference... less salty by volume. Sea salts are so much better as a finishing salt, and everyone can add to their own taste.

                    Clearly, I will need to convince Mr. Grill to try this recipe out.

                    1. re: smtucker
                      L.Nightshade RE: smtucker Jul 9, 2011 05:03 PM

                      Clearly kosher salt was the way to go. I almost always use kosher, but since MB gives coarse sea salt as the first choice, I thought it would be a good way to use some up. Next time I'll know better!

                2. re: L.Nightshade
                  BigSal RE: L.Nightshade Jul 9, 2011 03:38 PM

                  I also made half the recipe and used kosher salt (Diamon Crystal).

                  1. re: BigSal
                    L.Nightshade RE: BigSal Jul 9, 2011 03:51 PM

                    Thanks, BigSal, sounds like that is the way to go.

              2. Breadcrumbs RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 1, 2011 12:17 PM

                Chicken Thighs with Snap Peas and Agliata - p. 141 – Italian Grill

                I’ve made this dish on a number of occasions and it’s a real favourite though I did need to perfect it via trial and error. Prep and modifications below:

                To start you put olive oil, anchovies, parsley and fresh breadcrumbs in a food processor and pulse until “smoothish” as MB says. Recipe calls for too much evoo (1/2 cup for 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs) and unfortunately, the first time I made this dish, I'd added it prior to realizing this. As a result the breadcrumb mix was a soggy mess. I rectified by adding more bread until mixture was salvageable. Now I simply drizzle in olive oil until desired consistency is reached (approx 1/4 cup does the trick). I should also note that I now add the zest of one lemon to this breading mixture as we love the bright flavour it brings to the dish.

                Boneless, skinless thighs are then placed in a large bowl and tossed w the crumb topping to coat well then they are placed in a single layer on a sheet pan and refrigerated for at least 15 mins. I’ve found that it’s helpful to press this crumb mixture onto the chicken to help it adhere. Chicken is then cooked on a charcoal grill over indirect heat for approx 15 mins per side.

                To my surprise, the breading does survive the grilling process. We first used a charcoal grill and I felt that the grilled flavour over-powered the flavours in the breading so that was disappointing. From then on, we’ve used the gas grill and have been delighted with the results.

                Chicken is served atop snap peas that have been sauteed w some shallots and anchovy paste. We enjoy the dish with or without this side.

                Chicken is tender, flavourful and very tasty. Despite a bumpy start the first time we made the dish, it’s now a house favourite. Delicious!

                Sorry no pics as I’ve been making this pre-COTM.

                11 Replies
                1. re: Breadcrumbs
                  smtucker RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 4, 2011 06:02 PM

                  Chicken Thighs with Snap Peas and Agliata - p. 141 – Italian Grill
                  [without the peas and agliata]

                  While searching for Batali and chicken on eatyourbooks.com, I discovered that this is the only chicken thigh recipe in this month's books. I had a bunch of thighs, already trimmed in the freezer and so we were off to the races. I noted Breadcrumbs note on eatyourbooks, and knew to be cautious about the amount of oil. [Thanks bread!]

                  Breadcrumbs has already outlined the food processor stuff. I will only add that I used salt-packed anchovies for the first time and was delighted at how easy they are to fillet. Who knew? I used 1/4 cup plus 2 tbls of oil, and it is possible that my mixture was a bit dry. I didn't bother with the bowl, and instead spread the chicken out on a sheet pan and rubbed until all the chicken was smeared.

                  We used a charcoal grill and didn't feel that the flavor was overwhelmed, but we were careful based on Breadcrumbs experience. Built the fire on side of the Charbroil, under the right grates, and then cooked the chicken quite slowly on the left.

                  My snap peas tasted awful, so I didn't made the sauce for them, and my husband HATES when I try to make chili oil at home [he gets really sick], so I let that part go too. There were enough other flavors on the table that we didn't miss it. Served with Fava Beans with ricotta salata, green beans with onions, cici, and a caprese salad.

                  1. re: smtucker
                    Goblin RE: smtucker Jul 5, 2011 04:54 AM

                    Oh yum! What a great looking meal, smtucker! Love the menu. I didn't buy the Italian Grill cookbook since we don't have a grill but I am really enjoying the reviews and photos of the various recipes people try.

                    1. re: smtucker
                      Breadcrumbs RE: smtucker Jul 5, 2011 06:00 AM

                      What a spectacular spread smtucker, your meal looks wonderful and your experience and method on the charcoal grill has me inspired to give that method another try. Thank-you!

                      1. re: smtucker
                        smtucker RE: smtucker Jul 8, 2011 10:32 AM

                        Follow up.... we had a lot of chicken leftover. The next night we ate some cold, along with some vegetables. Today for lunch, I placed the remaining pieces on a sheet pan, topped with a bit of provolone and shredded ricotta salata and warmed it in the toaster oven, and served with a bit of leftover tomato flatbread.

                        I am happy to report that these are leftovers worth having. I do love good quality leftovers, and this fact just bumped up the recipe to a "will repeat."

                      2. re: Breadcrumbs
                        BigSal RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 6, 2011 07:15 PM

                        Chicken Thighs with Snap Peas and Agliata - p. 141 – Italian Grill

                        This was quick to make on a work night with good results. Heeding BC's advice, we didn't dump all of the olive oil in with the breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic and anchovies, instead we added a bit at a time until we felt we had the right consistency. We did serve this with the olio piccante. The oil is not critical to the dish, but it did add a spicy, smoky element. A solid dish overall, although I did prefer the Il Galletto Al Mattone (Chicken Cooked Under A Brick).

                        1. re: BigSal
                          Breadcrumbs RE: BigSal Jul 7, 2011 02:59 AM

                          Glad you enjoyed this BigSal and that your breading worked well.

                        2. re: Breadcrumbs
                          L.Nightshade RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 14, 2011 10:19 AM

                          Chicken (Breasts) with (Snow) Peas and Agliata

                          I used two boneless skinless chicken breasts for this dish, for no other reason than I just don't like dark meat. This worked just fine with a slight adjustment of cooking time. Also, of all the peas we ended up with between the farmers' market and the subsequent CSA box, snow peas were what I had left. In addition to those two substitutions, I followed the wise words of Breadcrumbs by adding olive oil sparingly to the breadcrumb mixture, and by adding a bit of lemon into the mix. I had made olive oil infused with lemon zest earlier in the day and used this in the mixture.

                          In spite of reading above that the breadcrumbs survive the grilling, I had my doubts, but indeed they did. The final dish is drizzled with a chile infused oil. Mine didn't infuse for very long, as this was an unplanned menu, but I thought it added a nice touch.

                          I loved the crusty, flavorful coating on the chicken. I liked the peas just fine, but next time I'd also serve something that would be a better foil for the chicken, a simple pasta or maybe a garlic mashed potato. Mr. Nightshade declared that he preferred the chicken under a brick, but this is something different, and easy to scale down for two people.

                          1. re: L.Nightshade
                            Breadcrumbs RE: L.Nightshade Jul 14, 2011 10:44 AM

                            Mmmm, LN your chicken looks so amazingly delicious! I'm glad you enjoyed this and you've made me crave it again. I'm going to add some chili flakes along w the lemon zest to the breading this time around. I like your idea of serving this with pasta too!

                            1. re: Breadcrumbs
                              L.Nightshade RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 14, 2011 11:01 AM

                              Thank you Breadcrumbs! Chile flakes sound good, it would be fun to vary the additions in the breadcrumb mix.

                          2. re: Breadcrumbs
                            The Dairy Queen RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 16, 2011 07:20 PM

                            Chicken Thighs with Snap Peas and Agliata - p. 141 – Italian Grill

                            My turn on this dish. I wasn't smart enough to read everyone's comments, so I used the amount of olive oil called for. At the time, it didn't seem like too much to me. I don't know if I would have achieved the proper paste consistency without the amount of oil I used. However, it did seem awfully oily on the grill causing a few flare ups.

                            I did stray from the directions, though, so maybe that made a difference in texture of the coating? Instead of using a blender, I just used my immersion blender in the bowl I was going to use to coat the chicken. Trying to minimize dishes and I hate digging out and assembling my blender. SImilar to L.NIghtshade, it seemed easiest in the end to just put the chicken on the baking sheet and press the coating into it.

                            We ended up cooking the chicken on med high heat on the gas grill.

                            We did use the olio piccante, but made a short cut version using (once again) the immersion blender and did not let it cure overnight.

                            Used onions instead of shallots (no shallots to be found at my grocery today) and Vietnamese crab paste instead of anchovy paste. It worked fine.

                            We liked this. Not sure the snap peas are an essential accompaniment. Would do this again.


                            1. re: Breadcrumbs
                              Gio RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 18, 2011 06:44 AM

                              Chicken Thighs with Snap Peas and Agliata, Pg. 141, Italian Grill

                              Full disclosure: My recipe is Chicken Breasts with Snow Peas and Hot Chili Oil. In spite of the main ingrediants being skewed we followed the recipe exactly as written.

                              To start, make the coating for the chicken, as Breadcrumbs describes above. Now, the list of ingredients for this coating includes garlic...12 cloves of it, but no mention of adding them to the MFP. So I did that but used 6 large cloves. (The end notes mention a "garlicky bread crumb mixture.") Also, after tasting the finished crumb mixture I decided it really needed a little salt and pepper so I added that too. The amount of oil I used was 1/4 cup. More than enough for my chicken.

                              The recipe calls for 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs but no weight. I used 3 skinless chicken breasts, about the size of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, weighing 1.75 pounds. G used a grilling basket for chicken and grilled in the Weber with lump charcoal, covered, for 15 minutes then flipped the chicken and cooked for an additional 15 min per the recipe. Next time... much less time here.

                              When the chicken was done and resting we made what is essentialy a stir-fry. Sliced shallots and a bit of anchovy paste are fried in oil for about 5 minutes. The peas are added and cooked till heated through.

                              To serve, place a serving of peas on the plate and put the chicken on top. Our chicken did look like the photograph on the opposite page but the presentation was different. Looks like lemon zest? Or pieces of fried garlic? I dunno. I just know that the chicken was tasty but overcooked. Also, I thought the coating could benefit from the addition of ground almond or pecans. IMO: This is a recipe that could do with some experimenting. BTW: we liked the peas. I served fire-roasted corn o/t cob. Again.

                            2. Gio RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 3, 2011 05:57 AM

                              Salmon in Cartoccio, Pg. 130

                              This was an unmitigated and total failure. In fact the entire meal was. I'm not sure why, either. OK, I take that back.. There was one redeeming factor: the fire-roasted potatoes, page 11. Those were great. Thank goodness there only the two of us at dinner, though. The menu was...the salmon, stir-fried Japanese greens, the potatoes, tossed salad and a crazy very easy strawberry cake. Well all right the cake is a no fail recipe so that was good.

                              The salmon was made according to the written recipe but I omitted the asparagus because I was going to cook half a bunch of some interesting Asian greens G bought at our local farmers market which I thought might be Japanese spinach. (He didn't write down what the vendor told him they were.)

                              Simple recipe: cook a few garlic slices and anchovies in oil. (Here's where the asparagus comes in after the garlic is brown.) Drizzle a little EVOO in the center of the foil, place a dollop of the asparagus/anchovy/garlic mixture on top of that. "Season the fish aggressively" and put on top of the mixture, put orange and lemon sections and thyme on top of the fish. Gather the corners of the package up the drizzle white wine over all. Seal the foil and place on grill. When you hear the wine bubbling after about 3 minutes cook 5 more minutes.

                              Easy, right? Should have been delicious even w/o the asparagus. Wasn't. In fact it tasted of nothing at all. In retrospect I think it was the salmon. Silverbrite salmon. Who knew. The lowest of the low. We love salmon but not this variety apparently. We'll Never buy silverbrite salmon again.

                              As for the greens.... I don't know what they were. Could have in fact been spinach, or Komatsuna, or Yu Choy. In any case the stir-fry method I used has been my standard go-to recipe. These were under cooked and bitter. And I still have another bunch to use. Oy Vey.

                              21 Replies
                              1. re: Gio
                                smtucker RE: Gio Jul 3, 2011 06:00 AM

                                And that is why God gave us Toscanini's! Sorry that you had a disappointing meal. I have never heard of silverbrite salmon. Is it an East Coast farmed fish? Wild from Somewhere? Whole Foods, Fresh Pond, had the most beautiful wild Alaska salmon on sale yesterday but since I had already bought the tuna, I reluctantly passed it by.

                                1. re: smtucker
                                  Gio RE: smtucker Jul 3, 2011 06:07 AM

                                  Hi SMT...This was wild Alaskan salmon from the Reading MB. We don't buy farmed salmon.

                                  Oh... Toscanini's. Now That's a major Yum.

                                  Today it's lobster and strawberry shortcake so it's all good. G's birthday is the Fourth so we're having a birthday week-end.

                                  1. re: Gio
                                    smtucker RE: Gio Jul 3, 2011 06:12 AM

                                    Making mental note.... silverbrite is out!

                                    Just a bit of French vanilla with the last of the season's strawberries is a tasty end to the day. Next up? Raspberries! My bushes are so full this year, I may get to eat more than 32, like last summer.

                                    1. re: Gio
                                      Breadcrumbs RE: Gio Jul 3, 2011 06:48 AM

                                      Sorry about that salmon Gio, like you I'd flagged this dish imagining wonderful flavours. I picked up fresh wild BC Sockeye salmon on Friday and popped it in the freezer w this dish in mind. I may season more aggressively based on your experience. I had intended to use fennel seeds and fronds in place of the thyme so that may help. I especially like fennel and orange together. I'll be back to report!

                                      Best wishes for G's birthday!

                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                        Gio RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 3, 2011 08:45 AM

                                        Thanks, BC. We'd never bought the silverbright before; wild NW salmon either sockeye, king, or coho usually. Fennel for your adaptation sounds very good. Hope it turns out much better for you. We've been buying great fish at the farmers market on Thursdays to cook that night but this salmon sounded perfect for a simple Sat. night meal. Many thanks for your greetings. I'll relay that to the birthday boy.

                                    2. re: smtucker
                                      Goblin RE: smtucker Jul 3, 2011 12:41 PM

                                      I had never heard of Silverbrite salmon either so I googled the term, and (besides the obligatory Wikipedia article) I found a description from an "Alaska Fishing" site. Interesting fish--called chum--and considered the least desirable eating salmon, though I don't quite know why. They're wild and from Alaska--what's not to like! ;-)


                                    3. re: Gio
                                      The Dairy Queen RE: Gio Jul 4, 2011 05:38 AM

                                      Oh no! How disappointing. This one is (was?) on my list. You definitely think it was the fish you bought and not the technique or recipe, right?


                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                        Gio RE: The Dairy Queen Jul 5, 2011 06:17 AM

                                        I can't say for certain, TDQ, but based on the taste and color of the salmon, I'd say that's it. We've cooked fish en papillote many times both outside on the grill and inside in the oven and never had such a dreadful result. Oh well... that doesn't happen very often, thank heaven.

                                      2. re: Gio
                                        Breadcrumbs RE: Gio Jul 7, 2011 03:16 AM

                                        Our turn w this last night but as I'd mentioned to Gio, I'd picked up a BC Wild Sockeye salmon so I was cautiously optimistic about this dish in the hopes that, as Gio suspected, it may have been the silverbrite salmon that let her down in this dish. I also opted to forgo the thyme that MB suggests to season this dish and, instead used basil leaves and, some fennel seeds.

                                        So, what did we think you ask? We thought this was a good, tasty dish though I do question what the grilling process adds since the foil packets are so tightly sealed that no smokiness was imparted to the fish. I can see the advantage of not having to fire up the oven in the hot summer months and perhaps a bit of a "wow" factor since you could prepare this dish table-side if you were dining al fresco but the grilling definitely didn't do anything to enhance the flavours of this dish.

                                        As expected, since the fish steams in the foil, it was moist and flaked beautifully. the tight seal of the packages also ensured that the herbs infused the salmon w their flavours. We served this with some steamed brown jasmine rice.

                                        If I were to make this dish again, I'd do it in the oven in parchment as I'm not a fan of cooking wine in aluminum foil, somehow I feel that the foil alters the flavour of the wine. I also would skip any advance cooking of the asparagus as it was overdone after the intense steaming.

                                        Good but not remarkable, I may make this again with the modifications noted above.

                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                          Gio RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 7, 2011 05:30 AM

                                          Glad to have read your report, BC. The salmon looks great but mushy asparagus is well, you know. That does it for me, though. I'll not be making this salmon recipe again. I had thought of using parchment paper and would have if the packets were to go into the oven, I'm not a fan of wine in Al foil either. Grilling salmon outside in a fish basket or on a cedar plank is the way to go, as far as I'm concerned.

                                          1. re: Gio
                                            Breadcrumbs RE: Gio Jul 7, 2011 06:35 AM

                                            I completely agree w you about the fish Gio, the grill basket is terrific and allows for such versatility in prep as well. I recently picked up a maple plank which I thought would be great for salmon as well. We're big on the maple/salmon thing here in the great white north!! ; )

                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                              dkennedy RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 7, 2011 08:49 AM

                                              On vacation in Mammoth so this will be my only report until I get home. Attempted the T Bone Fiorentina on p. 166 of ITALIAN GRILL. Due to vacation mode, I had to substitute boneless rib eyes for the T Bone and omit the sage (there was none to be found). Result: fantastic flavor!!!!!

                                              The recipe calls for 1 T. each fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme; 2 T. salt, 2 T. pepper. Make a paste out of the herbs and wet it with some olive oil, slather on the steaks and allow to sit at room temp for 1/2 hour. Grill. Serve alongside recipe for sauteed spinach.

                                              I substitued french green beans for the spinach and it was outstanding. Can't wait to try it at home with T Bones and spinach.

                                              1. re: dkennedy
                                                L.Nightshade RE: dkennedy Jul 7, 2011 08:54 AM

                                                That does sound great dk, perfect grilling on vacation food. Hope you are having a wonderful time!

                                                1. re: dkennedy
                                                  BigSal RE: dkennedy Jul 9, 2011 09:26 PM

                                                  T-Bone Fiorentina p. 166 Italian Grill

                                                  Decadent and delicious. We had a much smaller steak, porterhouse, than called for in the recipe and adjusted our cooking time. The Mr. was not interested in trying the steak rare, so we cooked it medium rare. The flavor of the herbs complemented the steak rather than overwhelm it. Herby and delicious. I will make this again when my father-in-law comes to visit in a few weeks. The spinach was equally delicious and will make it again with or without steak. Even the Mr. loved the spinach- he is typically not crazy about non-carb-laden veggies.What a treat!. We ate this with grilled green beans a la Ruhlman- delicious. It reminded me of the Penelope Casas dish (judias verdes con ajo), but with a smokier flavor

                                                  1. re: BigSal
                                                    mdfifi RE: BigSal Jul 10, 2011 05:13 AM

                                                    We also made this dish last night and substituted smaller porterhouses as well. We all LOVED this dish. I could not believe how much flavor the herbs gave to the steak. Big Sal, regrading this dish, I completely agree on your take- "herby and delicious." This will definitely be made again!

                                                    We had an all out Mario meal. We started with the grilled mortadella antipasta. With the meal, had the grilled potatoes with viniagrette, and the tomoatoes in sherry vinegar creme fraiche. Overindulgent, but delicious.

                                                    1. re: mdfifi
                                                      BigSal RE: mdfifi Jul 10, 2011 05:30 AM

                                                      Wow, you did have an all out Mario meal! Sounds wonderfully decadent.

                                                  2. re: dkennedy
                                                    L.Nightshade RE: dkennedy Jul 16, 2011 10:03 AM

                                                    (New York Steak) Fiorentina with Sauteed (Chard), page 166.

                                                    We tried this last night, and because of ingredients on hand, a few changes were made in this recipe. We had a New York steak and rainbow chard, and used those instead of the called-for T-bone and spinach. Mr. Nightshade thought the big thick T-bone called for would be perfect, but the ranch we buy from did not have bone-in cuts.

                                                    The steak is covered with a mix of chopped rosemary, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. We added a bit of oregano just because I had broken one of the stems on the plant and wanted to use up the leaves. Olive oil is gently rubbed over the herbs, and the steak marinates for 30 minutes (ours marinated for closer to an hour). The steak then goes on a covered grill. MB says Fiorentina is traditionally served rare, and that worked for us (although it doesn't look it in the photo).

                                                    While the steak is grilling, olive oil is heated in a pot and sliced garlic is added. Spinach (or chard in our case) is tossed into the pot in handfuls, with light sprinklings of salt. When it is wilted, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt ,and pepper are added. As expected, a huge pile of greens cooks down to a small lump.

                                                    Two thumbs up on this dish. The herbs make a crusty, flavorful coating on the meat, with just the right touch of salt. The lemony greens are a great accompaniment, but this steak would easily work with the side dish of your choosing. We plan to try this recipe again using different herb combinations, and different cuts of meat. The steaks don't marinate for too long, so this dish can be started less than an hour before dinner.

                                                    By the way, the photo shows the serving dish, not one person's portion!

                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                      Breadcrumbs RE: L.Nightshade Jul 16, 2011 10:13 AM

                                                      That looks fabulous LN, perfectly cooked and beautifully plated, Nice idea swapping out the spinach for chard and your rainbow chard compliments the colours of the steak too!! That plate just screams summer!

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                        L.Nightshade RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 16, 2011 10:17 AM

                                                        Thanks Breadcrumbs! It doesn't really feel like summer. We had a break in the rain, just long enough to grill, then it started again. Today is grey and wet again, no grilling tonight!

                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                          Breadcrumbs RE: L.Nightshade Jul 16, 2011 10:33 AM

                                                          Wow, sorry to hear that LN, we've had just the opposite here (for a change!). A steady stream of hot sunny days. Today is a real scorcher so we'll definitely be grilling tonight!

                                            2. re: Gio
                                              The Dairy Queen RE: Gio Jul 16, 2011 06:22 AM

                                              Salmon in Cartoccio, Pg. 130 italian grill

                                              We liked this, actually except for the asparagus which I would skip next time. Maybe just put a foundation of more thyme or citrus supremes. I think the wine is just present to provide liquid for steaming so I'm not bothered by the interaction with the foil. I didn't have time to de-stem the thyme--just layered the stems in there. That worked fine I thought. One note, we did'nt have jumbo asparagus , so we just used small stalks. Maybe that was the sources of our mushy asparagus. Still, I would skip it next time. Would love to try with fennel. Totally company-friendly dish.


                                            3. q
                                              qianning RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 7, 2011 11:27 AM

                                              Chicken alla Diavola, pg 138 Italian Grill

                                              Easy enough and nice enough this is a simple citrus (lemon & orange, juice plus zest) + pepper (hot pepper flakes & pimenton--or in my case hungarian paprika) + oil marinade. My only quibble is that the marinade didn't seem to penetrate the chicken evenly, I used all thighs rather than a cut up chicken, so if anything i would have expected a more even flavor across the pieces which were pretty uniform. They were in the marinade for 2 plus hours, more than the recipe's minimum of one hour.

                                              The marinade doesn't include salt, and while I'm often very happy with less salt than most, a chicken marinade is one place I'd expect to use some salt....unless someone can tell me if there is a reason not to use salt in a citrus marinade?

                                              Anyway, if I made this again, I'd either add salt to the marinade or I would try to marinate the pieces for a longer period of time. It is a nice bright dish for a simple summer week night dinner.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: qianning
                                                Breadcrumbs RE: qianning Jul 10, 2011 07:09 PM

                                                Chicken Alla Diavola – p. 138 – Italian Grill

                                                With special thanks to quianning who took the first run at this dish, I’m happy to report that as a result of her great feedback, we loved this dish.

                                                qianning did a great job of letting us know how this all comes together so nothing left for me to report on except our own modifications. Based on qianning’s observations on the flavour, I used a fork to pierce the chicken pieces to allow them to absorb the (very plentiful) marinade. We also marinated the chicken for 10 hours. Not sure if I just had juicy fruit but I halved the ingredients since we only had one bird and I definitely had enough of the marinade for 2 birds. Instead of using one orange and two lemons I used the orange, a lemon and a lime. The recipe calls for hot pimenton to be sprinkled on the cooked chicken but since we were a bit concerned that the meat may not have a prominent citrus flavour, we decided to skip that step. No worries though, the dish was absolutely delicious. The flavour of the citrus definitely came through and, mr bc said it was quite prevalent through the grilling process as well. This was light, bright and perfect for an al fresco dinner. I’d highly recommend this dish w qianning’s comments in mind of course!!

                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                  qianning RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 11, 2011 09:04 AM

                                                  lime, that's a great idea. and you're right bc , this recipe makes a LOT of marinade, unless you're feeding a crowd 1/2 or 1/4 recipe's plenty.

                                                2. re: qianning
                                                  Gio RE: qianning Jul 28, 2011 05:08 AM

                                                  Chicken alla Diavola, Pg. 138, Italian Grill

                                                  Made the Diavolo last night and have to say it was scrumptious. Heat is key in this dish but given the quantity of the hot red pepper flakes I had to reduce the HRPF from 5 tablespoons to 2 Tbsp. Penzey's smoked Spanish paprika was used for the sweet and El Avion Pimenton - Picante Ahumado from Spain - was the smoked hot. Also, I reduced the amount of EVOO from 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup. Four chicken quarters with skin were used instead of a whole chicken. We were cooking for two people The rest of the ingredients remained the same: both orange and lemon zest and juice, 2 Tbsp sweet Pimenton, KS & FGBP. Our chicken pieces marinated just a little over an hour.

                                                  When the chicken has finished cooking Kosher salt and FGBpepper are sprinkled over then the hot Pimenton is sprinkled over as well. We thought the flavor was very well distributed throughout the meat. When I poured the marinade over the chicken I made sure to get it all over and under the quarters and turned them several times during the marination.

                                                  Steamed basmati rice and a garlic/onion sauté of bok choy, with Italian spices and diced prosciutto completed the meal.. It's surprising what a versatile vegetable bok choy really is. (I can see beetlebug rolling her eyes from here... LOL)

                                                3. BigSal RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 8, 2011 04:48 AM

                                                  Charred Tuna Spiedini with Spicy Peppers p. 114 Itailan Grill

                                                  On Tuesday we made this recipe looking for a way to use fennel pollen again. Very fresh tuna is cut into 1" cubes and then tossed in a mixture of fennel pollen, dried oregano, sugar salt and pepper. This sits in the refrigerator 30 minutes.

                                                  The spicy peppers are made by sauteeing strips of yellow and red pepper, thinly sliced red onion, smashed garlic, and sliced jalapeno. Cook until soft, add red wine vinegar, cool in a bowl for 10 minutes, add marjoram leaves (I couldn't find marjoram so I used fresh oregano from the garden) and salt and pepper.

                                                  This was so easy to pull together after work, but neither of us were crazy about this dish. I really wanted to like the dish. The aroma was pleasant, but I found all of the seasoning took away from the taste of the fish which is no fault of the recipe, but just a personal preference about how I enjoy my fish. Even though the spices were different, I had the same issue with Dorie Greenspan's Spice-Crusted Tuna. Maybe less of the seasoning could result in a more pleasant dish for me?

                                                  1. Gio RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 10, 2011 06:11 AM

                                                    Sausages and Peppers, Pg. 193

                                                    What a nice version of this typical La Festa Italiana street food. That's what I think of when I see sausages and peppers. Usually served on buns, everything grilled and juicy, either hot or sweet. The farm we shop at is now making their own sweet and hot Italian sausages from their own pork. I couldn't resist. I halved the recipe for the two of us. Two pounds of sausages are required for the full recipe, I used 5 links but forgot to weigh them... 2 are left.

                                                    While the coals are working their way toward the right temp the vegetables are prepped and cooked. In a large pan heat some olive oil, add chunks of bell peppers (several colors) and onions then season with S & P. Add a sprig of rosemary and cook, stirring from time to time for about 20 minutes. I included a handful of chopped button mushrooms because I wanted to use them up. When cooked to your liking stir in a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Re-season if necessary.

                                                    When the fire is ready pierce the each sausage several times and place on grill, cover and cook. Turn the sausages once or twice and make sure they're cooked through. This should take about 15 minutes. To serve put the vegetables on a platter and place the sausages on top of them. Strew marjoram leaves over all. I used a chiffonade of basil.

                                                    The final dish was tasty and we liked it very well, although the sausages were not as flavorful as those we get at our salumeria. Next time I think I'll grill the vegetables as well. I have a vegetable basket to use on the Weber and it would be perfect. I served this with Corn As Italians Would Eat It on page 222 which were fire-roasted for 15 minutes before the sausages went on then continued to roast for 15 more minutes. The other side dish was Runner Beans with Tomato Sauce on page 228 of Happy Days with the Naked Chef. It was a great Saturday night dinner.

                                                    15 Replies
                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                      L.Nightshade RE: Gio Jul 15, 2011 01:43 PM

                                                      I just caught up with your post. This sounds like a nice version to try. Mr. Nightshade often does the sausage and pepper dinner around here, I'd like to try some of these additions for a change; the rosemary and balsamic sound very good to me. We have a grill basket also, he prefers to do the peppers on the stove for some reason, but I agree with you that they'd be good done on the grill. Thanks for the report!

                                                      1. re: Gio
                                                        L.Nightshade RE: Gio Jul 21, 2011 10:54 PM

                                                        Sausages and Peppers, Pg. 193

                                                        I won't go into the preparation here, as Gio has described it so well above. I guess I did a copycat dinner, as I also served it with MB's corn. Sausages and peppers are not uncommon in the Nightshade house, especially for busy days. As I was still working at 6:30 in the evening, Mr. N started the grill and the pepper chopping, and I came in to finish the peppers and garnish the corn. I liked the additions to the pepper and onion mix, a little balsamic and rosemary, some fresh marjoram at the end (but no garlic called for!). Different from our normal treatment, and a nice change.

                                                        1. re: Gio
                                                          Breadcrumbs RE: Gio Jul 25, 2011 05:20 AM

                                                          Gio and LN, did either of you pierce the sausages as Mario suggests? He made the same suggestion in the turkey sausage dish I made and we didn't bother as I've been told never to do this as you lose all the natural juices in the sausage. I'd love to hear your thoughts/experience.

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                            JoanN RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 25, 2011 05:50 AM

                                                            As you know, piercing is done to avoid having the sausage explode. And it depends how tightly the sausage is packed and how high the heat is over which it's cooked whether or not that's going to happen.

                                                            Bruce Aidells, who wrote the book (literally) on sausage making, says exactly what you've been told: don't pierce, you'll lose the juices. He also says to be sure not to put the sausages over too hot a flame and says that no matter what you do, at one point or another, you're going to have a sausage explode on you.

                                                            1. re: JoanN
                                                              Breadcrumbs RE: JoanN Jul 25, 2011 06:03 AM

                                                              Thanks Joan, that's very helpful information and as you say, an affirmation of what we've learned. Do you happen to own one of Bruce's books? I see he has 3 in EYB. If so, I'd love to hear your recommendation(s).

                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                JoanN RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 25, 2011 08:12 AM

                                                                No, I don't own any of Aidell's books. Although I used to make my own sausage, I rarely do so any longer since the variety and quality of what you can buy has improved dramatically over the years. (There was a time when the only way I could buy andouille was to mail order it from New Orleans.) I did contemplate buying Hot Links and Country Flavors when it first came out (that book was the precursor to The Complete Sausage Book which, according to the reviews has been only slightly revised from the original), but I just didn't think I'd use it all that much.

                                                                1. re: JoanN
                                                                  Breadcrumbs RE: JoanN Jul 25, 2011 10:02 AM

                                                                  I wish I could order some andouille sausage from New Orleans right now Joan!! That sounds wonderful! Thanks for your feedback on the book too. I actually don't make sausage links but I do like to make up the mixture from time to time if, as you say, a particular kind isn't available. I picked up a book called The Sausage Cookbook Bible at a thrift store or garage sale recently but I haven't looked through it yet.

                                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                              L.Nightshade RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 25, 2011 07:21 AM

                                                              Yeah, I always pierce, the sausages I get are pretty tightly encased. Just a tiny fork tine or toothpick hole near each end. Just don't want an exploding sausage. Start cooking with the holes up, so any expanding air goes out first. Also don't mind losing a bit of the fat. If it drips over the grill, the sausages get smokier. If I'm cooking in a pan, I can decide what to do with the juices that come out, but it's usually almost none when I buy good sausages. You can also do a quick sear all around the sausage before piercing, which will keep more of the juices in, if that is your concern. I haven't ever had a sense of lost flavor when piercing.

                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                Gio RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 25, 2011 07:46 AM

                                                                When we made the sausages and peppers recipe I did pierce the sausages since I wanted to follow Molto's directions. The sausages I used were made at the farm and were the first time i cooked them. They were smaller than we get from our salumeria and I didn't know what to expect. They were neither tightly packed nor especially loose.

                                                                Usually I don't pierce sausages whether they'll be grilled inside or outside on the Weber. Never has one exploded. When I started cooking I did pierce sausages since my mother always did. Not only that but she cooked them in a cast iron skillet with a small amount of water. She was That concerned about reducing the fat. Somewhere along the line I stopped piercing. Typically, if I.m serving them whole, I split them lengthwise but do not cut through.

                                                                1. re: Gio
                                                                  Breadcrumbs RE: Gio Jul 25, 2011 10:13 AM

                                                                  Gio and LN, thanks so much for your feedback. Since we're using a sausage that we're familiar w tonight, I don't think we'll bother piercing then. We've never had an issue w an exploding sausage either. Though, one time when we were visiting a friend's cottage my friend's then boyfriend decided he was far more knowledgeable and competent on the grill than mr bc and insisted mr bc should be piercing the sausages he was cooking for our lunch. mr bc stepped aside to let the expert in and the next thing we knew the grilling expert was screeching in pain because when he pierced the sausage w his giant pointy grilling fork the hot fat squirted up in three scalding streams burning his bare chest . . .

                                                                  Gio one of my best friends in grade school was Italian and her Mom always "boiled" sausages on the stove before slicing them for her sausage pasta. I don't recall her doing it for dietary reasons but I do remember it was our job to jab the sausages w a fork before she put them in the pot of water. I was astounded at how big the sausages were. My parents are British and the only sausages I'd seen to that point were the small breakfast sausages.

                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                    buttertart RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 25, 2011 11:32 AM

                                                                    Have a chipolata, darling?

                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                      Breadcrumbs RE: buttertart Jul 25, 2011 11:44 AM

                                                                      With a cuppa of course my dear!

                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                        buttertart RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 25, 2011 11:46 AM

                                                                        And a grilled tomato and fried bread. My dad was English too.

                                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                                          Breadcrumbs RE: buttertart Jul 25, 2011 11:51 AM

                                                                          While I can't say I have many fond memories of favourite British foods I grew up w, I still LOVE those tomatoes and the fried mushrooms at breakfast. Oh, and the roast beef and pickled onion sandwiches for lunch. . . mmmm!

                                                              2. re: Gio
                                                                Breadcrumbs RE: Gio Jul 25, 2011 05:45 PM

                                                                Thanks to Gio and LN for enticing me w your descriptions of this lovely dish, we really enjoyed our copycat meal of Sausage & Peppers w the Corn As the Italians would Eat it!!

                                                                I used spicy Italian sausage vs the sweet, substituted a sprig of oregano for the rosemary since I intend to use leftovers in a pasta w a tomato based sauce. I also added some sliced garlic to the peppers since a day without garlic is like a day without sunshine!!

                                                                The spicy heat of the sausage was really nice w the sweetness of the onions and peppers. A really yummy dish!

                                                              3. BigSal RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 10, 2011 08:37 PM

                                                                Tagliata of Bone-In Rib Eye with Arugula, Italian Grill p. 170

                                                                Night two of steak, very atypical for us, but enjoyable nonetheless. Rib eye steaks (we had boneless) are rubbed with a mixture made of porcini dust (we made this by grinding dried porcini in the spice grinder), sugar, salt, pepper, minced garlic, red pepper flakes and olive oil and the steak sits in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. This is grilled to medium rare, topped with arugula (seasoned with salt and olive oil) and drizzled with olive oil and vinegar. This was another winner. The steak had the subtle aroma and taste of the porcini dust, a touch of sweetness and heat from the red pepper flakes. I loved the addition of arugula and the drizzling of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The flavors of the marinade would probably be even more intensified if I had marinaded for 24 hours.

                                                                13 Replies
                                                                1. re: BigSal
                                                                  dkennedy RE: BigSal Jul 12, 2011 09:13 AM

                                                                  Big Sal,

                                                                  Glad to hear you tried the Rib Eye, I bought porcini dust last time I was at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, and I have been trying to figure out how best to use it. This recipe is calling my name!!!!

                                                                  1. re: dkennedy
                                                                    dkennedy RE: dkennedy Jul 12, 2011 09:32 AM

                                                                    i went shopping today in preparation for grilling a week's worth of Mario Batali recipes. I stocked my pantry with all the ingredients necessary to make the Fennel with Sambuca and Grapefruit on page 46; the Warm Shrimp Salad with Green Beans and Hazelnuts on page 102; the Waxy Potatoes in Chianti Vinegar on page 230 all from Italian Grill and from Molto Gusto the Black Kale with Ricotta on page 60; the Beets with Pistachios on page 62; and finally the Spaghetti all' Amatriciana on page 145. I hope I stay motivated because I love the idea of serving a menu that is intensely vegetable based. I went to a class recently at Border Grill where Mary Sue mentioned that her family eats a diet that is 80% vegetable based at home, and I have been trying to figure out how to accomplish this with my family, but it is hard coming up with vegetable dishes your children will not complain about. I think these two books offer so many simple and delicious vegetable choices, I am going to try making the veggie aspect the main ingredient, and the protein or starch portion more of an accent, even if it means tweaking the recipes. With that in mind, read on.

                                                                    Tonight I used my piastra for the first time. I was thrilled to find a M.B. piastra on the clearance rack at Sur la Table, but after reading all the reviews online I think there is a pretty strong chance that it will break after a few uses, so I am hanging on to the receipt. But if tonight's dinner is any indicator, it's going to work out great. My inaugural use of the piastra was to grill the shrimp component of the Warm Shrimp Salad with Green Beans and Hazelnuts on page 102 of Italian Grill. The recipe called for marinating 2 pounds of shelled and devained shrimp in a mixture of 2 T. olive paste and 3 T. olive oil and 1/4 t. red pepper flakes. i used a pinch of red pepper flakes and it was still too much. The shrimp is then grilled on the piastra for 2 minutes on each side and then added to a salad consisting of green beans, toasted hazelnuts, red onions, and thinly sliced peppers (I used jalapeno) and dressed in lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil. While I think the recipe would be perfect as is, I did make a few changes to the recipe in an effort to make it more veggie friendly. I only used 3/4 of a pound of shrimp and I added equal parts tomatoes and cucumbers to the salad. I used a shaving of red onion instead of a whole onion (blanched in ice water to remove the sting) , and, as I said above, I would omit the red pepper flakes from the marinade next time.

                                                                    Outcome: The shrimp grilled on the piastra offered an easy clean up which DH loved, and I didn't loose any of my precious shrimp through the grates! The shrimp was flavorful and the olive paste surprisingly did not overwhelm. The flavors from the grill, married with the simple lemon dressing married nicely. Simply delicious! For me the addition of toasted hazelnuts really make this a stand out dish.

                                                                    1. re: dkennedy
                                                                      qianning RE: dkennedy Jul 12, 2011 04:59 PM

                                                                      this ones on my "maybe" list, but olive paste is a new thing for me and i'm not sure if i want to go there...do you think the dish would be ok w/o it?

                                                                      1. re: qianning
                                                                        Gio RE: qianning Jul 12, 2011 05:21 PM

                                                                        Olive paste is nothing more than Tapanade.


                                                                        And Mario's recipe:

                                                                        1. re: Gio
                                                                          qianning RE: Gio Jul 13, 2011 04:44 AM

                                                                          hmmm, that kinda confirms my hunch, as tapanade isn't generally a favorite around here.

                                                                        2. re: qianning
                                                                          dkennedy RE: qianning Jul 12, 2011 05:21 PM

                                                                          I was skeptical myself, but the olive paste flavor does not come through. They sell olive paste at Whole Foods in there bulk area, you only need 2 Tablespoons so...I'd say buy it, try grilling one as a test, make sure you dip it in the salad dressing and decide for yourself.

                                                                          1. re: dkennedy
                                                                            smtucker RE: dkennedy Jul 12, 2011 05:34 PM

                                                                            Or just buy a few olives and take them for a ride in a processor or immersion blender. No reason to buy something like this.

                                                                          2. re: qianning
                                                                            BigSal RE: qianning Jul 13, 2011 04:40 AM

                                                                            qianning, If you are not a fan of olive paste, you could just use olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes to grill the shrimp. One could also add (or sub) garbanzo or cannelini to the salad for variation. I do like the combination of beans with seafood.

                                                                            1. re: BigSal
                                                                              smtucker RE: BigSal Jul 13, 2011 04:57 AM

                                                                              Good idea. I also find that a homemade version of anchovy paste can mimic the olive paste. Same deeper, underlying interesting flavor. Anchovy, oil, garlic and red pepper paste actually sounds really good!

                                                                              1. re: smtucker
                                                                                BigSal RE: smtucker Jul 13, 2011 05:04 AM

                                                                                Anchovy paste...brilliant idea! It sounds wonderful! Grilled shrimp is so easy and quick. We'll have to try that soon.

                                                                                1. re: smtucker
                                                                                  qianning RE: smtucker Jul 13, 2011 05:33 PM

                                                                                  Anchovy paste....now that sounds good....

                                                                            2. re: dkennedy
                                                                              BigSal RE: dkennedy Jul 12, 2011 06:48 PM

                                                                              Warm Shrimp Salad with Green Beans and Hazelnuts p. 102, The Italian Grill

                                                                              I also made this for dinner tonight. Dining solo I made a third of the recipe. I followed the recipe except I roasted and skinnned the hazelnuts, because mine came out of the freezer and use red thai chile pepper instead iof cayenne (and used a bit more than suggested). I cooked this indoors on the cast iron griddle that came with my stove. I really wasn't expecting too much from this, but it seemed quick and healthy. I was pleasantly surprised. I was also doubtful about covering the shrimp with the black olive paste (my tapenade was made of Spanish empeltre olives and olive oil), so I tasted one off the grill before I added it to the green bean mixture and it was quite tasty. It added an earthiness that did not overwhelm the sweetnesss of the shrimp. I also liked the kick from the red pepper flakes. I was thinking that the shrimp as is might make an interesting antipasto by itself. I also thought about soaking the red onion, but decided not to. I found that the onion flavor was not too sharp in the salad, but I'm sure my breath is another story. :) I echo dkennedy in that this was simply delicious

                                                                            3. re: dkennedy
                                                                              BigSal RE: dkennedy Jul 12, 2011 06:50 PM

                                                                              I hope you enjoy the rib eye! My husband scoffed at the idea of putting arugula on his steak, but I thought it was a good addition.

                                                                          3. q
                                                                            qianning RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 13, 2011 05:40 PM

                                                                            Pork Braciole, pg 185 Italian Grilling

                                                                            Don't know what possessed me to make these, 'cause a) not a big fan of grilled pork and b) nor of braciole, but whatever it was, glad I did, they were delicious.

                                                                            Pork slices are pounded to a thin cutlet, then spred with a breadcrumb/cheese/parsley/mint/salami/orangezest stuffing, rolled & tied, grilled over a hottish fire for 10-15 minutes, then cooked to finish using the indirect heat method, about 25 minutes. Really, really yummy.

                                                                            It got me to thinking about other possible stuffing flavors, but in mentioning that possiblity to Mr. QN he was atypically unenthused....he liked them as is too well to want to see changes!

                                                                            1. BigSal RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 14, 2011 07:26 PM

                                                                              Tuna like Fiorentina p. 116 Italian Grill

                                                                              Another dubious tuna recipe or so I thought, but I forged ahead knowing that I had defrosted tuna in my fridge ready to be cooked. The preparation of this dish couldn’t be simpler. Tuna steak is covered with an herb rub of rosemary, black pepper, salt, and sugar. Then the tuna is seared for about 2 minutes per side and rests 5 minutes and is sliced into ¼” pieces. Lastly, you drizzle the tuna with olive oil and coarse salt (I skipped the salt).

                                                                              The tuna had a fragrant rosemary crust, although my results may be slightly different, because I cooked this indoors on my plancha (the cast iron griddle that came with my stove).

                                                                              This was a healthy, but rich tasting dish made with everyday ingredients that had a delicious, bold flavor, but did not overwhelm. I’d gladly make again.

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: BigSal
                                                                                Goblin RE: BigSal Jul 15, 2011 04:50 AM

                                                                                Hi BigSal--Your review of the tuna intrigues me. I don't have a grill but do have a cast iron ridged pan that I can use on my gas stove burners. Would this be like your planchetta? Or is it more flat? I also have a large cast iron skillet that perhaps could be used. I've not been trying the Italian Grill recipes because we don't have a grill, but I'd love it if some can be adapted to inside on my stove--

                                                                                1. re: Goblin
                                                                                  BigSal RE: Goblin Jul 15, 2011 05:02 AM

                                                                                  Mine looks like the top picture (the flat one).http://tinyurl.com/6y7b826

                                                                                  You could use either the ridged pan or your cast iron skillet. I do feel that many of the recipes could be done indoors or at least I'm hoping so because there are a few of these recipes that I'd like try try again when our short grilling season is over. I hope it works out for you and that you enjoy it!

                                                                                  P.S. I also made the warm shrimp salad on this cast iron griddle too

                                                                                  1. re: BigSal
                                                                                    Goblin RE: BigSal Jul 15, 2011 11:09 AM

                                                                                    Thank you; that picture is very helpful. I note that some folks use a granite "piastre" --but I read that there is a danger of this material cracking in the heat. Cast Iron makes sense to me!

                                                                                2. re: BigSal
                                                                                  Karen_Schaffer RE: BigSal Jul 22, 2011 09:58 PM

                                                                                  Tuna like Fiorentina p. 116 Italian Grill

                                                                                  This was certainly an easy dish to pull together. Big Sal describes it well, so I won't repeat. My bottom line was that I didn't care for the rosemary with the tuna. DH thought it was fine, but the rosemary and tuna flavors didn't work together for me. Not exactly clashing, but not really enhancing. I was surprised, because I generally like rosemary.

                                                                                  Otoh, I made the "Grilled Vegetable Salad Capri-Style" with the wonderful orange-basil dressing. And we loved the tuna with the dressing that seeped over! So next time I'll just use that marinade/dressing on the tuna (or any other fish/shellfish) right from the start.

                                                                                3. The Dairy Queen RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 16, 2011 06:52 AM

                                                                                  RE: the grilled whole branzino with salsa verde. I saw whole trout on sale at my local fishmonger. Would I be crazy to substitute in this dish? I'm a little nervous and inexperienced when it comes to subbing fish...


                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                    smtucker RE: The Dairy Queen Jul 16, 2011 07:01 AM

                                                                                    No you wouldn't be crazy. I like trout and don't get to eat it often now that I am located on a coast. When I lived in Montana, catching trout was really easy, and I simply adapted the cooking methods I knew. I believe that I owned 5 cookbooks back then. And there was NO INTERNET!

                                                                                    1. re: smtucker
                                                                                      The Dairy Queen RE: smtucker Jul 16, 2011 07:04 AM

                                                                                      Thanks for the encouragement. I shall proceed, then. Trout is one wonderful benefit of living in the interior.


                                                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                      JoanN RE: The Dairy Queen Jul 16, 2011 03:13 PM

                                                                                      I have the grill book from the library, even though I don't have a grill, and that sounded so good I had to look it up. I agree with smt that trout would be a fine substitute, but I'd be very cautious of the timing. He calls for grilling the branzino 8 minutes per side on the hottest part of the grill. That seems awfully long to me, and I would think that too long by at least double for trout. Maybe not, but I'd start checking it early just to make sure I didn't overcook it.

                                                                                      Great having you back, by the way. You were sorely missed.

                                                                                      1. re: JoanN
                                                                                        The Dairy Queen RE: JoanN Jul 16, 2011 07:05 PM

                                                                                        Ah, thanks Joan. It's good to be back. They were out of the trout when I went back! But, we get a lot of great trout here, so I'm going to keep a copy of the recipe to try when they have it again. Thanks for the tip on the timing. That does sound like a long time!


                                                                                    3. Breadcrumbs RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 17, 2011 06:51 AM

                                                                                      Beef Braciole “Pinwheel-style” – p. 172 - Italian Grill

                                                                                      A deliciously decadent riff on braciole that tantalized our taste buds and delighted our guests!

                                                                                      A 10” beef tenderloin is butterflied until flat then a stuffing of minced garlic, sliced scallions, Italian parsley, salami matchsticks, cubed fontina (I substituted extra-old provolone from Rome), parmesan, evoo and, toasted breadcrumbs is spread across the meat. Meat is then rolled and tied at portion-sized intervals then covered w plastic wrap and refrigerated for at least 2 hours or, up to overnight. Ours was in the fridge for 5 hours.

                                                                                      When you’re ready to grill, meat is unwrapped and sliced into pinwheels. Pinwheels are brushed w EVOO then grilled until medium rare.

                                                                                      Mario suggests you may need two people to aid in the rolling/tying of the braciole however I found this process to be surprisingly effortless, the stuffing stayed in place other than a bit that needed pressing back in the ends and held its shape while being tied. Once I’d sliced the pinwheels, I secured each w 2 skewers – NB there is a photo of this method in the book but no mention of it in the recipe’s directions.

                                                                                      This is one of those dishes that’s an explosion of flavours with the tang of the cheese, smokiness of the salami and richness of the meat. It’s also very, very filling so you definitely want to slice the pinwheels accordingly.

                                                                                      I debated whether or not to toast the breadcrumbs since the bread definitely does not appear to be toasted in the stuffing photographed on pg 174 of the book. Since many of the photos in this book haven’t aligned with the reality of the recipe, I opted to trust Mario here and ignore his photographer. I’m glad I did because the meat cooks so quickly on the grill there isn’t enough time to “cook” the stuffing ingredients so the untoasted bread would have been soggy in the centre of the pinwheels. I added more garlic to my stuffing than Mario called for and because you’re not giving the stuffing enough time to cook, that was a mistake on my part I could still taste it’s “rawness”. Next time I’d skip the garlic in the stuffing all together and simply rub the meat w garlic before stuffing it.

                                                                                      This is a delicious dish that really impressed our guests. Decadent and definitely not something you’d be eating on a regular basis but it sure is nice for a special meal. Another winner!

                                                                                      1. Breadcrumbs RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 19, 2011 03:35 AM

                                                                                        Veal Chops with Flash-Pickled Mushrooms – p. 195 – Italian Grill

                                                                                        It was Mario’s footnote that enticed me to try this recipe. Mario says “Big veal loin chops are a real treat, and this simple but elegant dish is worthy of a special dinner” Well, a special dinner it was as we had some dear friends visiting and I’m delighted to say this recipe exceeded our expectations. The grilled veal chops were fabulous but it was those incredible flash-pickled mushrooms that really made this dish special.

                                                                                        Prep is easy but do give yourself some time to roast the heads of garlic, Mario notes this can be done a day ahead if you wish. Once the garlic cools, cloves are removed and set aside. Wild mushrooms are cleaned and halved. MB’s first choice is chanterelles though he notes any wild mushrooms will do. I used a mix of cremini and shitake. Since the mushrooms can be made and set aside, I decided to get this step out of the way on Sunday morning since our guests were coming for dinner and I like to get as much done in advance as possible. Oli is heated until almost smoking then chopped shallots are added and cooked until almost golden. Mushrooms are then added, heat is lowered and this cooks until the mushrooms are golden and slightly “crispy” (though mine never got crisp per se) Roasted garlic cloves go in next along w ¾ cup red wine vinegar (I used Pinot Noir vinegar) which is simmered until reduced to ¼ cup. Fresh thyme and seasoning are then added and the mushrooms are set aside. Just a note about my mushroom mixture. When MB provides instructions on roasting garlic he mentions that the cloves should be soft but not mushy. Well, I missed that part and made my garlic per usual and of course, it is always mushy . . . a paste texture. Needless to say, once the vinegar hit the pan, the garlic dissolved and created a thick sauce. Obviously I realized that wasn’t what Mario intended but I made the best of it and simply loosened it a bit later on w a bit of pasta water. We really enjoyed this “gravy-like” texture.

                                                                                        Chops are prepared as you might expect. A quick brush w EVOO and a dusting of S&P. Chops are placed on the hottest part of the grill then cooked until medium rare. Mushrooms are served over top.

                                                                                        Everything about this dish appealed. The veal chops were perfectly cooked, tender and delicious. The tangy mushrooms boosted the flavour of the meat and the sweet, nutty flavour of the roasted garlic tied this all together beautifully. I could have eaten the mushrooms and not even missed the meat!! This is a winner!

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                          mdfifi RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 19, 2011 07:22 AM


                                                                                          Your photos are fabulous- all of them! I love reading everyone's reviews and changes which encourage me to try the recipes even more, but your photos push me over the edge. Really beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

                                                                                          1. re: mdfifi
                                                                                            Breadcrumbs RE: mdfifi Jul 19, 2011 08:59 AM

                                                                                            mdfifi, you are so very kind, thank-you. Make sure you let us know what you try mdfifi, there have been so many great recipes to choose from this month!! Happy cooking!!

                                                                                        2. Breadcrumbs RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 19, 2011 03:55 AM

                                                                                          Guinea Hen (or Chicken) Breasts with Rosemary and Pesto – p. 147 – Italian Grill

                                                                                          Mario notes that chicken can be used in place of Guinea Hen so that’s what we did. My chicken breasts were on the bone vs MB suggested boneless version but, this didn’t seem to have any detrimental impact as this was a delicious, bright tasting grilled chicken dish.

                                                                                          The recipe calls for ½ cup of the wonderful basil Pesto (pg 50 – I’ll paste a link to my review of that recipe at the end of this post). Pesto is combined w olive oil, sliced garlic, rosemary and red pepper flakes and mixed well. Mario called for ½ cup of EVOO but I used ¼ cup. This mixture is rubbed on the chicken breasts and under the skin then covered and refrigerated for at least 4 hours or, overnight. Ours were marinated overnight then brushed w EVOO before grilling.

                                                                                          These were really delicious. The pesto mixture was fresh and flavourful and, served to keep the breasts very moist. I spritzed the chicken w some lemon prior to plating. I’d highly recommend this one, we were happy to have extras for weekday lunches!

                                                                                          Here’s the link to the Pesto review. Note that the recipe in Molto Gusto is identical to that in Italian Grill:


                                                                                          1. beetlebug RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 19, 2011 09:26 AM

                                                                                            Warm Shrimp Salad with green beans and chiles (Italian Grill, pg. 102)

                                                                                            This was ok. Nothing special. I did make some changes to the grilled shrimp, but that wasn't the problem. The green bean salad was meh. The big positive is that it was a good dinner for a hot and humid day.

                                                                                            So, marinate the shrimp with olive oil, red pepper flakes and black olive paste (I used anchovy paste instead). Skewer and grill on a piastra (I threw the skewers right on the grill) for a couple of minutes until done.

                                                                                            Meanwhile, blanch the green beans and place them in a bowl. Add chopped hazlenuts, sliced red onions, sliced hot pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, pepper and the shrimp. Toss.

                                                                                            So, the red onion was too sharp. If I were to make this again, i would either soak the onion in some red wine vinegar, or use shallots. Also, I'm not sure hazlenuts were the best nuts for this - toasted almonds or toasted pistachios would have been better.

                                                                                            Lastly, the dressing was a bit bland. It didn't add anything to the beans or the the shrimp. It would have been better to wisk olive oil, with the zest and juice first. Maybe a mustard addition, then toss everything else into it.

                                                                                            It was a pretty dish though.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                              qianning RE: beetlebug Jul 19, 2011 12:22 PM

                                                                                              so sorry you didn't enjoy this, but many thanks for writing it up. i'd been seesawing about trying it, but have now decided to pass. i'm pretty sure that it was the picture in the book i was drawn to, not the ingredients, and your write up really brought that home to me. thanks.

                                                                                            2. Breadcrumbs RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 19, 2011 06:15 PM

                                                                                              Turkey Sausages w Sage Flatbreads and Mostarda – p. 149 – Italian Grill

                                                                                              We purchased some fresh, organic turkey sausages from a local Mennonite meat shop so I was delighted to find a COTM recipe that would put them to use. I must say though, I was apprehensive about the “make your own dough” part since up to this point in my life, I’ve managed to avoid bread making for lack of time and fear of failure. That said, given that Mario hasn’t been letting me down with the other dishes I’ve made this month, I decided to forge ahead and I’m sure glad I did, not only was our dinner wonderful but, I LOVED making these yummy little flatbreads. . . I made bread, I actually made bread!!!! (ok, I’m done!!) ; - )

                                                                                              This recipe also calls for “Mostarda” which MB describes as “a condiment made of fruits preserved in a thick sweet syrup that is seasoned aggressively with ground mustard and other spices.” He also notes it can be found at Italian specialty markets. After checking out 3 of my favourite Italian markets and coming up empty handed I turned to EYB to see if perhaps, I could make some. Enter Marcella. In Marcella Says Marcella offers a recipe for what she calls an “Impromptu Mustard Fruit…” She has quite an interesting story about how this recipe came to be but essentially all she has you do is combine some superior-quality fruit jam or preserves with Colman’s mustard and voila, you’ve made mostarda! Ok, so while I realize this isn’t exactly what Mario had in mind, it was good enough for me so I decided to go with it. I had some St. Dalfour Thick Apricot Extra preserves in the pantry so that’s what I used along w the Colman’s and I must say, it did produce a tasty condiment, wonderful actually!

                                                                                              Prep for the flatbreads is simple but, because it’s a yeast bread, somewhat time consuming. Flour, yeast, salt, sugar and sage are combined, a well is made and warm water, wine and EVOO are added. Mario notes that he likes to use turkey sausages w fennel in them. Since ours did not have fennel I decided to put some fennel pollen in the flatbread dough in place of the thyme. You use a wooden spoon to stir until the dough is stiff then you use your hands to combine until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Dough is turned on to a flour dusted surface, kneaded gently for 5 mins then placed in an oiled bowl where it’s turned to coat, covered w plastic wrap and set in a warm part of the kitchen (which is just about anywhere these days as we have a very sunny kitchen!) Dough is left for approx 1 hour until it doubles in size . . . mine took 1 hr 20 mins. Ball is then punched down, turned out onto a cutting board and cut into pieces which are in turn, rolled into balls and placed on a lightly oiled baking sheet. The dough balls are covered loosely w oiled plastic wrap and left to rise in a warm place for 30 mins – it was 40 mins before mine had doubled in size.

                                                                                              When you’re ready to get cooking, dough balls are rolled or pressed flat w your hands then cooked on the hottest part of the grill for 1 – 1.5 mins per side until golden and puffy. Cooked flatbreads are then set aside until the sausage is done. I thought it was interesting that Mario has you “prick the sausages”. I’ve always been told not to do this as you lose all the natural juices. Since we’ve had the turkey sausages before and, never pierced them in the past, we ignored Mario’s instructions. I’d be interested to hear others thoughts on this.

                                                                                              Once the sausages are done, flatbreads are placed back on the grill for a quick re-heat before plating. MB suggests that these be served w the Mostarda and horseradish. We skipped the horseradish as we were addicted to the mostarda.

                                                                                              Those flatbreads were divine and I’m not just saying that because I made them!! Crisp on the outside and tender w a little chew on the inside. The fennel pollen was a great addition, the aroma was so enticing!

                                                                                              This is one of our favourites thus far from the July COTMs, we loved it!

                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                Caitlin McGrath RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 19, 2011 07:52 PM

                                                                                                There is also a recipe for apricot mostarda on p. 103 of Molto Gusto, but not so instant. It calls for dried apricots, simple syrup, white wine, red pepper flakes, mustard seed, and mustard oil. Mustard oil is likely not in most people's pantries unless they use it in Indian dishes, so quite a throw-it-together dish.

                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                  buttertart RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 23, 2011 03:21 PM

                                                                                                  See, bread isn't that hard! Make some loaf bread now. C'mon!

                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                    Breadcrumbs RE: buttertart Jul 23, 2011 03:27 PM

                                                                                                    I may just do that, I really loved working w the dough and this was an easy one to build up some confidence.

                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                      buttertart RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 23, 2011 03:36 PM

                                                                                                      Welcome to a whole new world of fun! It's killing me my oven is on the fritz and I had to BUY bread today.

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                        Breadcrumbs RE: buttertart Jul 23, 2011 04:01 PM

                                                                                                        Probably just a well in this heat bt. Is a new oven in order or just a repair?

                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                          buttertart RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 23, 2011 04:05 PM

                                                                                                          I'd love a new one but we'll try the gas company first. It's never worked well. We shall see!

                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                            Breadcrumbs RE: buttertart Jul 23, 2011 04:13 PM

                                                                                                            I'll keep my fingers crossed for you! Keep me posted!

                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                              buttertart RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 23, 2011 04:14 PM

                                                                                                              Will do!

                                                                                                2. k
                                                                                                  Karen_Schaffer RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 19, 2011 10:48 PM

                                                                                                  I'm not sure I should even be reporting this, since I made part of this recipe and part of that one and part of my own. But here goes:

                                                                                                  Calamari (shrimp) Spiedini in Lemon Leaves: p.g 88, Italian Grill

                                                                                                  Toss the calimari (I used shrimp instead) with thinly sliced garlic, fresh marjoram, S & P, and olive oil. Let marinate in the refrigerator for an hour. (Mario doesn't actually call for salt -- I just added some automatically.) He does call for thinly sliced scallions, but I skipped those. After an hour (or so), I skewed the shrimp, alternating them with lemon leaves, making sure that all of the bits of garlic and marjoram got transferred to the shrimp. (I skipped the sliced lemons because I made the lemon salad below.) We grilled them, and they were delicious! The garlic and marjoram really came through, and were wonderful. I'm not convinced that the lemon leaves actually added any flavor, but no matter. I would definitely make this again.

                                                                                                  I served it with the lemon salad from pg. 118 (Mackerel "in Scapece" with Amalfi lemon salad). Thinly slice a lemon, sprinkle with coarse sea salt, then sugar and olive oil (I missed adding pepper and I forgot about the parsley). Let set for an hour or so. This was delicious with the grilled shrimp and the other vegetables (squash and beans) that we grilled. He calls for 2 tbsp of salt and 1 tbsp of sugar. I couldn't bring myself to use that ratio, plus I was only making dinner for two. So I ended up using part of a lemon with about 1 tsp coarse salt, 1 1/2 tsp sugar, and a splash of olive oil, which was a nice balance of flavors.

                                                                                                  Maybe someday I'll do the other half of each of these recipes.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                                                                    The Dairy Queen RE: Karen_Schaffer Jul 20, 2011 12:26 AM

                                                                                                    HA! This sounds like how I cook sometimes. I'm glad you reported back because your efforts, as adapted, sound delicious. I would never in a million year think of trying to make a lemon salad. How interesting!


                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                      Karen_Schaffer RE: The Dairy Queen Jul 20, 2011 12:42 AM

                                                                                                      Thanks! The salt, sugar, and olive oil tame the lemon a bit, but the real key is slicing the lemon as thinly as possible so you can have just a small bit with a bite of other food. He says that the salad is prettier if you keep the lemon whole. But I sliced the lemon in half lengthwise and cut half-moon slices, which are a better bite-size option in my opinion, and was still quite pretty.

                                                                                                  2. Breadcrumbs RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 21, 2011 04:25 AM

                                                                                                    Monkfish in Prosciutto with Pesto Fregola – p. 121 – Italian Grill

                                                                                                    Wonderful! We’ve always enjoyed monkfish for its flavour and, meaty texture so the notion of wrapping it “filet-style” in a pork product made total sense and, had tremendous appeal. What we hadn’t anticipated was how much we’d love the “new-to-us” fregola pasta. Together these two dishes made for a quick, easy and unexpectedly delightful weeknight meal.

                                                                                                    This recipe calls for the use of the basil Pesto that appears on p. 50 of this book. My review of that recipe is here:


                                                                                                    Fish is wrapped in overlapping slices of prosciutto then refrigerated for 1 hour prior to cooking. I placed some basil leaves atop the fish before wrapping. Bell peppers are chopped and pine nuts are toasted for the pasta. I also added garlic scapes and onion to ours. Mario intends the fregola to be served as a salad however we served ours hot, as a pasta side so I cooked my veggies, including the bell peppers (which MB adds, uncooked to the cold, cooked pasta). Cooked pasta is mixed w veggies and pesto.

                                                                                                    Mario cooks his fish on a piastra however we don’t have one so we cooked our fish directly on the grill – it took about 20 mins.

                                                                                                    Once the fish has rested it is slice and plated atop the fregola then pine nuts are sprinkled over both. (I forgot to add mine so into the freezer they went!!) MB also suggests a drizzle of EVOO however I felt the pesto provided adequate oil and skipped this step.

                                                                                                    This really is delicious and we especially enjoyed the tender, chewy texture and nutty flavour of this lovely pasta.

                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                      Caitlin McGrath RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 21, 2011 10:12 AM

                                                                                                      If you enjoy fregola, I heartily recommend this dish: Fregola Risotto-Style with Chard and Feta, from the Flexitarian Table by Peter Berley. It is just delicious.

                                                                                                      Here is the recipe: http://books.google.com/books?id=ScZr...

                                                                                                      And here is the discussion and review from the COTM thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5148...

                                                                                                      Not sure if you can access Google Books links from Canada, but the recipe is also paraphrased in that COTM thread.

                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                        Breadcrumbs RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 21, 2011 10:24 AM

                                                                                                        Caitlin thank-you so much for pointing this recipe out, it sounds spectacular. Google books seems to be hit and miss but luckily, this link works .... sincerely appreciated.

                                                                                                        I have to build a small stock of fregola now I know we love it and I can imagine it being sensational in a risotto application. This is especially good news as mr bc isn't a fan of risotto as it reminds him of rice pudding. With it having the pasta, I can imagine he'd really enjoy this dish! Thanks again.

                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                          The Dairy Queen RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 21, 2011 11:26 AM

                                                                                                          Hilariously, I was just looking at that exact recipe in Flex Table this morning. Gosh that was a great book. One of our underrated COTMs in my opinion.


                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                            Caitlin McGrath RE: The Dairy Queen Jul 21, 2011 12:06 PM

                                                                                                            Yeah, I still feel I should explore it more, though I keep making the bulgur and roasted chickpeas and the baked tofu with white wine, soy, lemon. and butter regularly. (In fact, I made the tofu dish two nights ago.)

                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                              The Dairy Queen RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 21, 2011 12:25 PM

                                                                                                              Heh. I'm making the tofu tonight.


                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                                LulusMom RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 22, 2011 06:26 AM

                                                                                                                Those are two of my favorites from the book too - had planned to make the bulgur (I usually sub couscous) with chickpeas on Sunday, but got way-laid. I love that book.

                                                                                                        2. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                          L.Nightshade RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 21, 2011 10:53 AM

                                                                                                          This looks just wonderful. I'd like to add it to my "try this" list, but maybe only the fish part. I've never seen fregula around here. You must have a good Italian market! Actually when I first read the title, I thought fregula was probably a variety of arugula! What do you think would work as a substitute, maybe Israeli couscous or orzo pasta?

                                                                                                          Who's turning out these beautiful photos lately, you or Mr. BC?

                                                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                                            Breadcrumbs RE: L.Nightshade Jul 21, 2011 12:09 PM

                                                                                                            Hi LN, thanks! I think if you can't get the fregola and wanted to go w a pasta, then the Israeli couscous would be best. Otherwise, I think a brown rice, perhaps a brown basmati would better replicate the texture and nutty flavour. The neat thing about that pasta is the bite it has vs others. It has a unique texture w more toothiness despite its small size.

                                                                                                            As for the photos, I've been taking them since mr bc has been busy on the grill. That said, I'm taking them outdoors so I think the natural lighting helps make the food look better. (unlike me, I'm much better in dim lighting!!) LOL!!!!

                                                                                                          2. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                            JoanN RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 21, 2011 11:45 AM

                                                                                                            Another fabulous recipe using fregola is Suzanne Goin’s Braised Chicken with Saffron Onions, Italian Couscous, and Dates from Sunday Suppers at Lucques. As with so many Goin recipes, there are lots of parts to it., but much can be done ahead of time—even the day before. I’ve served this to company a number of times and people are just crazy for it. I've even had please repeat requests.

                                                                                                            Here’s an online recipe (scroll down):


                                                                                                            And here’s my review, with photo, from the first time I made it—although I had no idea then what fregola was and bought regular couscous by mistake.


                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                              Breadcrumbs RE: JoanN Jul 21, 2011 12:14 PM

                                                                                                              That sounds like an amazing dish too Joan, and your photo is lovely, it makes me hungry!! Thank-you for pointing this out as I do have the book so I've marked this recipe. Thank-you!

                                                                                                          3. q
                                                                                                            qianning RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 22, 2011 12:51 PM

                                                                                                            spicy black pepper coated drumsticks pg 142 Italian Grill

                                                                                                            This recipe is a riff on buffalo wings, but Mario uses drumsticks, and me, I used thighs and chicken backs! Fennel bulbs cut into batons take the place of the usual celery, me I used fennel batons, carrot sticks, and lightly grilled baby zuccini, all of which went very well with the Gorgonzola Sauce. This sauce was a revelation for me, three ingredients, gorgonzola, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Loved it! Just a note: start with a little less vinegar than he calls for and build up to a level you like, as saltiness/creaminess of the cheese will vary, my only quibble.

                                                                                                            The chicken is supposed to be half baked in a hot oven, then dipped in a buttermilk/fennel seed/tabasco/black pepper mix, then grilled over a hot fire. I don't know what the two step cooking would add to this dish, but it wasn't happening with the thermometer pushng 100. So instead the chicken pieces went into the dip for 10 hours to marinate, and then I grilled them slowly using indirect heat on the charcoal grill. They were wonderful, so were the veggies, so was the sauce, and the combination was delightful. Mr. Batali's combinations of flavors and textures are really growing on me.

                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: qianning
                                                                                                              Gio RE: qianning Jul 23, 2011 05:47 PM

                                                                                                              Well this was good to read Q. I have to go back and re-read the recipe now and see how i can insert it into our menus for these last days of July. Many thanks...!

                                                                                                              1. re: qianning
                                                                                                                Breadcrumbs RE: qianning Jul 24, 2011 05:12 AM

                                                                                                                Glad you enjoyed these qianning, we love them too. One thing I especially like about this dish is that you can bake the drumsticks one day and, grill the next. Perfect for entertaining or, to prep on a Sunday and make for a quick Monday night dish.

                                                                                                                The first time we made this I was a bit disappointed as we were expecting the chicken to be hot & spicy since Mario likens the dish to Buffalo wings in the description. A closer look at the photo in the book made me realize the the chicken in the picture has red chili flakes on it. On all future occasions when we've made this dish, I add chili flakes to the spice mixture and we've loved it this way. Just delicious, especially if you achieve the caramelization on the grill.

                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                  qianning RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 24, 2011 11:34 AM

                                                                                                                  Good point on the baking ahead would make it easier for entertaining/quick weeknight cooking. i grilled mine slowly over indirect heat without the pre-baking so it took 1.5 hours cooking, definitly not fast.

                                                                                                                  Also, funny you mention the the chili flakes, I was low on tabasco, so i compensated by adding chili flakes to my marinade, totally forgot to mention it in the write up, even so this was by no means a powerfully spicy/hot dish. Best hunch is what type of chili sauce used in the marinade/dip makes a huge difference in "heat" intensity, mine was kinda the dregs of a long open bottle, so not much heat left.

                                                                                                                  1. re: qianning
                                                                                                                    Breadcrumbs RE: qianning Jul 24, 2011 11:48 AM

                                                                                                                    We found that even w the full 2 tbsp of tabasco the buttermilk seemed to neutralize the heat so that's why we've been adding those chili flakes. MB does mention a chipotle hot sauce but I've never tried that. Adobo often packs a wallop though so I bet that would be good.

                                                                                                              2. Breadcrumbs RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 24, 2011 04:55 AM

                                                                                                                Grilled Lamb Chops Scottadita – p. 177 – Italian Grill

                                                                                                                In the footnote to this recipe Mario explains that, loosely translated, scottadita means “burn your fingers” – an apt description given how delicious these chops smell on the grill, you can’t wait for them to cool down to eat them!

                                                                                                                Prep is simple. Lemon zest, mint, sugar and salt are combined in a food processor until they are the texture of course sand then the mixture is rubbed on the chops which are set aside at room temp. Mario suggests you combine ground cumin seeds w goat’s milk yogurt as a dressing for this dish but since we had Tzatziki, I skipped this step. Chops are then grilled on 2 mins per side until medium-rare.

                                                                                                                These were really yummy and disappeared quickly. I made 1 batch w the mint mixture and another w rosemary in place of the mint, I also added some garlic to this batch. Both were delicious. A perfect, quick summer dish. Happy to recommend this one.

                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                  buttertart RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 24, 2011 08:45 AM

                                                                                                                  One of the best cocktail parties I ever went to had these as a passed hors d'oeuvre. Delightful.
                                                                                                                  Your on-the-grill pic is especially nice.

                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                    Breadcrumbs RE: buttertart Jul 24, 2011 09:50 AM

                                                                                                                    Thanks bt! I'll keep that in mind for our next cocktail party too. . . .these would be ideal.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                      qianning RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 24, 2011 11:37 AM

                                                                                                                      Curious, were these very sweet tasting? I was scared off by the sugar in the rub, wondering if it adheres/flavors the meat or mostly melts off in the grilling?

                                                                                                                      1. re: qianning
                                                                                                                        Breadcrumbs RE: qianning Jul 24, 2011 11:44 AM

                                                                                                                        No, they weren't sweet tasting qianning. I think there's just enough sugar in there to aid in the caramelization on the grill. We had about 4lbs of meat so the 1 tbsp of sugar was spread so thin it wasn't a prevalent flavour at all.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                          qianning RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 24, 2011 02:27 PM

                                                                                                                          thanks for the tip.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                        buttertart RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 25, 2011 06:44 AM

                                                                                                                        Good stomach lining for those cocktails, too!

                                                                                                                    2. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                      BigSal RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 25, 2011 06:48 PM

                                                                                                                      Grilled Lamb Chops Scottadita – p. 177 – Italian Grill

                                                                                                                      As Breadcrumbs indicated this is a quick, delicious summer meal. I did not have goat's milk yogurt, so I used fage for the dressing. Although the dressing itself was tasty, we did not find the sauce necessary and preferred to eat the rib chops without it.

                                                                                                                      Not a Batali recipe, but another lamb recipe worth mentioning is Ottolenghi's marinated lamb with coriander and honey. We've made this on the grill with success. Here's greedygirl's review. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6417...

                                                                                                                    3. Breadcrumbs RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 25, 2011 04:00 AM

                                                                                                                      Quail with Artichokes Vinaigrette – p. 144 – Italian Grill

                                                                                                                      Actually, this was Quails “without” Artichokes Vinaigrette in our case since there are no decent artichokes to be had here at the moment.

                                                                                                                      A marinade is made by combining EVOO, balsamic vinegar, honey, dried thyme (I used dried oregano) and a fair amount of freshly ground black pepper. MB calls for 2 tbsp for 12 quail so I used 1 tbsp for our 6. The quail is left to marinate for 4 hours or, overnight. Ours marinated for 8 hours. When ready to grill the quail are drained and patted dry then placed skin side down on the hottest part of the grill for 4-5 mins before turning and cooking for another 2 mins. Mario’s timing was perfect for our little birds and they came off the grill cooked to a medium doneness. They smelled divine on the grill, our neighbour even popped by to ask mr bc what he was cooking. These emerge from the grill with a beautiful caramelization and definitely have visual appeal.

                                                                                                                      So now I must confess, try as I might, I’m not really a big fan of quail. I find their size to be a little disconcerting and, their flavour to be a little gamey for my taste. I thought I’d give these a try since I was able to find semi-boneless quail and hoped that since these would be less fussy to eat, they might have more appeal for me. They did not. I did taste a bite and loved the flavour of the marinade and crispy, caramelized skin but, that was enough for me. Mr bc and our guest (who’d never had quail before) thought these were outstanding, mr bc felt they were the best he’d had to-date.

                                                                                                                      If you like quail, you’ll likely love these.

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                        MelMM RE: Breadcrumbs Jul 25, 2011 05:59 AM

                                                                                                                        Since you found semi-boneless quail, perhaps you could enlighten me as to which bones are removed. It looks from your pictures and the one in the book that maybe it's just the backbone removed? I have some whole quail in the freezer, and was considering making this, but not sure exactly what needed to be boned from them to arrive at "semi-boneless".

                                                                                                                        1. re: MelMM
                                                                                                                          JoanN RE: MelMM Jul 25, 2011 06:08 AM

                                                                                                                          "Semi-boneless" means that at least the backbone, breastbone, and ribs have been removed. Sometimes the the thigh bones have been removed at well, but I usually don't bother.

                                                                                                                          If you Google "how to butterfly a chicken," you'll find at least a few links that show how to remove the the breastbone and ribs as well as the backbone, something I usually do when butterflying a chicken.

                                                                                                                          1. re: MelMM
                                                                                                                            Breadcrumbs RE: MelMM Jul 25, 2011 06:09 AM

                                                                                                                            Hi Mel, the only bones that remained in our quail were the drumsticks. This made for a nice presentation and was much easier for folks to eat. These quail were definitely meatier than the last ones we purchased (from the same farm) so I wonder if they separate the larger birds for de-boning. I've got to think it would be tough bone these properly since there's so little flesh to spare. If your quail aren't especially meaty, I'm thinking it may be easier to flatten the for this recipe . . . like we did for the chicken under a brick up-thread.

                                                                                                                        2. m
                                                                                                                          MelMM RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 26, 2011 04:54 PM

                                                                                                                          Pork Chops with Pepper and Capers - p. 186 - Italian Grill

                                                                                                                          Here is a recipe for a brined pork chop. It says to brine the chops overnight, and for me that meant 24 hours. When ready to cook, you saute bell peppers, onion, olives, red pepper flakes and capers until tender, then add white wine and simmer. The chops are removed from the brine, patted dry, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then grilled (what temp? the recipe doesn't say, but they do say the hottest part of the grill). Believe it or not, I did not do these on my Big Green Egg. I had planned to, but there were thunderstorms that night, and I only got to grill by finding a break in the weather. The gas grill was faster to light and preheat, so it won this time.

                                                                                                                          These pork chops came out great. The big thing here is that the brine is not too strong. I feel like you have to be careful brining pork, or it comes out tasting like ham. These chops did not. They did come out moist and delicious. The pepper/onion topping was nice. Next time I might do the initial saute in a grill basket for a little charred flavor, but the wine and caper brine added a nice tanginess to the sweet pepper and onion which really elevated the dish, so I wouldn't skip that part. I think this might be the best Batali dish I've made from this month's selections.

                                                                                                                          1. L.Nightshade RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 27, 2011 12:11 PM

                                                                                                                            Pork (Loin) with Negroni Vinaigrette, page 179.

                                                                                                                            We had a pork loin, instead of a tenderloin, and treated it as written, but just prolonged the cooking time. The recipe calls for Jerusalem artichokes, which I omitted as they are not in season. This omission eliminated the additional steps of covering the chokes in salt and oven roasting. I just cooked the beans (Romano beans, I believe) as directed and served a potato side dish.

                                                                                                                            The pork is rubbed with a mix of porcini powder, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and fennel seeds, then refrigerated for 12 to 24 hours. I did 24 hours. The Negroni vinaigrette can also be made in advance. Red vermouth, Campari, orange juice, red wine vinegar, and rosemary are heated and reduced. When strained and cooled, olive oil is whisked in.

                                                                                                                            When ready to cook, the pork is brought to room temperature and grilled. Meanwhile, the beans are blanched and shocked. Pancetta is caramelized in oil, vinaigrette is added, and the beans are tossed back in. The beans are plated and the pork sits atop them. The remaining Negroni sauce goes over the meat.

                                                                                                                            I realize I made several adjustments to this dish, and I hate to write one of those irritating reviews that says "I changed everything. This dish was no good." But, some of the basic elements did not work for me. After rubbing the meat with fennel, pepper flakes, and (pricey) porcini, all we could taste was the pepper flakes. Rather a disappointment there. The sauce never came together properly for me. It is supposed to be thick, but the longer I tried to reduce it, the thinner it seemed to become! I also didn't think the rather sweet sauce worked very well with the green beans. This is the second dish I've made that stipulates placing the meat over beans, and I don't really see the point. Maybe someone told MB he needed to incorporate more vegetables into his dishes. The beans would have worked better as a side with a different treatment.

                                                                                                                            Also, there seems to be a lot of oil in this dish. Pancetta is sauteed in oil, then releases its own fat, then the oily vinaigrette is added. Just a bit too much for me. Full disclosure: I actually cut back on the oil a bit, which may be why my sauce didn't take on the specified texture.

                                                                                                                            I should do this recipe with the exact ingredients specified, but I won't be trying this one again.

                                                                                                                            13 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                                                              Breadcrumbs RE: L.Nightshade Aug 2, 2011 04:33 PM

                                                                                                                              Pork Tenderloin with Jerusalem Artichokes and Negroni Vinaigrette – p. 179 – Molto Gusto

                                                                                                                              We made the pork tenderloin only and I wonder if using the tenderloin vs the loin enhances the dish as we really enjoyed this one. As LN points out, a simple rub is made by combining porcini mushroom powder, brown sugar, pepper flakes and crushed fennel seeds. I opted to use fennel pollen in place of the seeds. I halved the rub as we were making just one, large tenderloin. Meat is well covered then wrapped in saran for 12-24 hrs. Ours went for 24. We then grilled ours over charcoal until just cooked. The aromas from the grill were intoxicating, very heady w the earthiness of the porcini and the sweet scent of anise. We loved this dish, the porcini/fennel combination was just lovely on the sweet, tender pork. I’ll happily make this again. It would make a great company dish for its ease and advance prep. Delicious!

                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                                buttertart RE: Breadcrumbs Aug 2, 2011 04:36 PM

                                                                                                                                That Negroni vinaigrette is very interesting - how is it made? I love that cocktail.

                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                  Breadcrumbs RE: buttertart Aug 2, 2011 04:46 PM

                                                                                                                                  Hi there bt, I just served the pork straight up since I didn't have artichokes for the vinaigrette. LN covers it above my post though. I thought it sounded really yummy too. I happen to love the occasional Negroni too, especially on a nice warm summer evening!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                                    buttertart RE: Breadcrumbs Aug 3, 2011 06:21 AM

                                                                                                                                    Thanks, I didn't see that. CH collapses unread stuff on me sometimes...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                      Breadcrumbs RE: buttertart Aug 3, 2011 06:33 AM

                                                                                                                                      I've been having the same issue lately bt, not sure why that's happening but it's frustrating. I hate to miss great meals!!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                        L.Nightshade RE: buttertart Aug 3, 2011 10:10 AM

                                                                                                                                        Happening to me too. Hope you don't mind, I posted the problem on site talk and linked to your mention of the issue.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                                                                          buttertart RE: L.Nightshade Aug 3, 2011 11:42 AM

                                                                                                                                          Not in the least, thanks.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                                    L.Nightshade RE: Breadcrumbs Aug 2, 2011 04:49 PM

                                                                                                                                    So glad this dish worked for you. The negroni-pork seems like a combination that just HAS to work with that rub. You may be on to something about the loin vs. tenderloin. I also think that the pepper flakes I bought recently are just unusually hot. They have overpowered the flavors of everything I've used them in.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                                                                      Breadcrumbs RE: L.Nightshade Aug 2, 2011 04:58 PM

                                                                                                                                      I had that same issue w another dish LN, I have some super-hot chili flakes from Italy. I picked up some porcini powder a few weeks ago and it must have been super-fresh because the flavour was quite prominent and of course, the fennel pollen is much more potent than the seeds so luckily we enjoyed this.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                                        L.Nightshade RE: Breadcrumbs Aug 2, 2011 05:01 PM

                                                                                                                                        So you are enjoying the fennel pollen? I think I mentioned somewhere that my spice store tried to talk me out of it, telling me to fine-grind the seeds. But it sounds like you find the difference noticeable. In your opinion, is it worth the extra price?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                                                                          Breadcrumbs RE: L.Nightshade Aug 2, 2011 05:46 PM

                                                                                                                                          It really is worth it LN, the flavour is quite intense and concentrated so a little goes a long way. It will be a pantry staple for us now as we just love the flavour.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                                                                                                                            dkennedy RE: Breadcrumbs Aug 2, 2011 09:15 PM

                                                                                                                                            Agree with Breadcrumbs, worth the money!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy
                                                                                                                                              L.Nightshade RE: dkennedy Aug 3, 2011 10:11 AM

                                                                                                                                              OK, thanks to both of you for your input. I'll start shopping around, as it is certainly a flavor I love!

                                                                                                                                2. L.Nightshade RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 17, 2012 05:54 PM

                                                                                                                                  (Not Spit Roasted) Leg of Lamb with Mint Pesto, page 198, Italian Grill.

                                                                                                                                  We don't currently have a spit, and there were just two of us for dinner last night, so Mr. NS took a slice off the leg and cooked it on the regular grill.

                                                                                                                                  Garlic cloves were inserted into the lamb, and it was marinated in a wild mix of lemon juice, red vinegar, balsamic vinegar (the recipe actually calls for white and balsamic vinegars), olive oil, parsley, paprika, curry powder, and black pepper.

                                                                                                                                  The pesto is made with all the usual suspects: garlic, salt, olive oil, pine nuts, cheese, and mint instead of basil. Batali calls for parmigiano-reggiano and pecorino, we had only the former. He also calls for the addition of ground vitamin C, which we did add.

                                                                                                                                  The minty aroma called to my mind that awful mint jelly that came with lamb in my childhood, but this is a far cry from that: a great mix of flavors. We were quite happy with this recipe, and would do it again.

                                                                                                                                  However, on a mostly unrelated note, we were not that happy with the actual quality of the lamb, which was from Trader Joe's. I thought I recalled a similar feeling the last time we'd had lamb, so I tried searching for that meal. Sure enough, I had cooked lamb from TJ's earlier, and had questioned the quality of the meat. That meal was during Dorie Greenspan month, exactly one year ago to the day.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade
                                                                                                                                    buttertart RE: L.Nightshade Apr 18, 2012 05:56 PM

                                                                                                                                    Never ever buy their rack of lamb, it is revolting. Nasty garlic and so much thyme your eyes water.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                      L.Nightshade RE: buttertart Apr 18, 2012 06:29 PM

                                                                                                                                      Caution taken, buttertart. I don't think I'll ever buy lamb from TJ's again. Too disappointing after cooking a nice dinner. Again, not horrible, but not what you want from lamb.

                                                                                                                                  2. Breadcrumbs RE: Caitlin McGrath Jul 30, 2013 06:34 AM

                                                                                                                                    SPIT-ROASTED TURKEY BREAST PORCHETTA-STYLE

                                                                                                                                    p. 156 – I’ve had my eye on this ever since the book was our COTM and finally we had an opportunity to make it. It’s surprising how porchetta-like the flavours and textures of the final dish are. If I were blindfolded I doubt I’d have known I was eating turkey. The key to the success of this recipe is the pork sausage in the stuffing. The stuffing adds moisture and tremendous herby flavour to the finished dish. A skin-on breast is a must as well. Aside from presenting beautifully, the skin also protects the meat from toughening over the grill. My only issue with the recipe was that it produced far more stuffing than we could reasonably roll into the turkey. I would half the stuffing ingredients for a 4.5 lb breast next time around. Also our bird took just under 2 hours to cook with a constant grill temp of 350° whereas MB suggested 1 hour would do the trick. Nevertheless, an outstanding dish!

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