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Oct 31, 2012 11:58 PM

November 2012 COTM: Second Helpings -- Main Courses; Vegetables

Main Courses 109 - 198

Vegetables 199 - 230

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    Made this delicious one-dish meal with 6 6-oz. 1-inch swordfish steaks rather than the 4 halibut filets indicated. The fish steaks are oven-baked with sliced artichoke-bottoms and sliced potatoes in a white wine sauce made with lemon-acidulated water, and chicken stock, and topped with grated pecorino-romano cheese. It is all extremely flavorful while still being quite "mellow." However, IMHO it is more suited as an adults' dish than one for a children, at least at my table last night--the six and nine-year-olds at our family dinner were a bit dubious ;-) But the four grown-ups loved the depth of flavor that the earthy artichokes gave to the lemon-wine-chicken stock sauce. The sliced potatoes deliciously absorbed some of the sauce. As the directions say, this only needs a green salad to make a one-dish meal. My daughter described it as "sophisticated comfort food!" Great for a cold evening; would make a fine, rather rustic, delicious dinner-party dish for friends.

    I couldn't find the recipe on the internet, so here it is in paraphrase As you will see, this is NOT a quick preparation. There are several steps, though nothing is difficult to execute, and all except the final baking can be done ahead in stages. It could also be set up ahead and refrigerated a few hours before baking, which I did. Add some extra roasting time in this case.

    First, 4 large fresh artichokes are trimmed down to their hearts, chokes removed. The resulting hearts are sliced medium-thinly into 2 quarts of water acidulated with the juice of one lemon. (This step took me longest--I had to relearn how to trim artichokes!) Once the artichokes are sliced, the acidulated water is drained off into a large saucepan (artichoke slices reserved) and this water is combined with parsley and basil stems (chopped leaves reserved for later--1/4 cup each), a bay leaf, and 1 TBS kosher salt. Two pounds of 1/16-in. sliced red bliss or yukon gold type potatoes are simmered in this mixture until just tender, then fully drained and reserved. (You may now discard cooking liquid, bay leaf, and stems.) Not surprisingly, this simmering in aromatics makes the potatoes taste really good!

    Meanwhile I softened in a saucepan 1/4 cup of thinly sliced garlic in 1/4 cup olive oil for a few minutes , and then added 2 cups sliced Vidalia or mild-flavored onions like white ones to soften for a few more minutes. Now the drained artichoke slices are added to this pan, and 1/4 cups each of chopped parsley and basil leaves are stirred in, along with 1 1/2 tsps of kosher salt, and1/8 tsp black pepper, and either 1 tsp of Aleppo pepper OR 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes. This mixture is simmered together to combine the flavors for three minutes, and at this point 1 cup dry white wine is added and reduced by half. THEN 1 cup chicken stock is added and the whole is covered and simmered for about 20 minutes until the artichoke slices are just tender. Meanwhile you have grated 1 cup pecorino-romano cheese and reserve for later.

    Now the fun part: layering the various ingredients into an oiled 3-qt. casserole. I used a shallow oval gratin-type pan to maximize the surface for browning. First spread half the drained cooked potatoes in the bottom, then lift half the artichoke slices out of their cooking liquid and spread over the potatoes (do not discard this liquid.) Spread half the cheese over all. Then place the fish steaks (seasoned with s & p) over these layers. Cover fish with remaining sliced artichokes, then add the rest of the potatoes in an even layer. Pour in the reserved cooking liquid and sprinkle over the rest of the cheese. Drizzle with 2 TBS olive oil and bake in 400 oven until fish is just cooked through. (My swordfish steaks took 45 minutes, partly because I had refrigerated the dish a bit ahead.) The instructions say to broil the top briefly to brown the potatoes, but mine were already nicely browned so I omitted this step. Do serve with lots of good bread to sop up the sauce!

    Sorry, no photographs were taken before serving. Picture an yellow oval gratin pan with a top layer of lightly-browned sliced potatoes hiding the separate fish steaks, which are nestled in turn in a copious green-flecked light golden sauce.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Goblin

      Oh nice! Thank you for this post, (practically a tutorial.) You know, I sort of crossed that recipe off my mental list because the book says "...recipe with anchovies and potatoes..." oops, typo! It's artichokes, not anchovies that go in the dish. So I'm glad you've cleared this up, I know this fish would go over big in my household.

      1. re: blue room

        Wouldn't you know that after I went on and on in excruciatingly detail in the above post, I would find the recipe in Google Books? Anyway, here it is for those who want to see it as it appeared in the book itself. (And yes, with a typo: it's not anchovies, but artichokes!)

        1. re: Goblin

          Roasted Halibut Pugliese Style, page 116-117 (the quick version).

          I made this last night, cutting the recipe in half for two people.

          After reading Goblin's loving description of the preparation, I'm almost embarrassed to share that I made a slightly simplified version! As I had limited time to get dinner on the table, I used thawed frozen artichoke hearts, sliced as directed. That made this a pretty quick and easy dish.

          I used a smaller, partitioned baking dish for the two servings. I think the smaller amounts and the smaller baking dish caused the fish to cook a bit more rapidly. So, while it was about right at 20 minutes, it was overdone after a brief spell under the broiler. Not inedibly so, just not the way we like it. Other than that, it was quite tasty. I loved the artichoke, onion, potato combination. I plan to use this recipe, without the fish, as a side dish for beef. I think it would be very compatible with meat.

        2. Pan-Roasted Chicken with Cognac-Peppercorn Sauce, page 152.

          Changes: I cooked a whole roast chicken (stuffed with garlic and thyme and brushed with herb butter) instead of cut-up. I roasted in an All-Clad pan, though, so I could make the sauce per recipe while the chicken rested. I used 50/50 Tellicherry green and black (both from Penzey's), and added some fresh marjoram with the thyme since it's growing like a weed. Otherwise I followed the recipe. Chard was the white wine, Remy VSOP for the cognac, and homemade chicken stock. The sauce was absolutely delicious, will definitely make this again. Trying to cut down on carbs, so I served with sauteed spinach and toasted garlic. The sauce would have been delicious on potatoes - next time!

          Recipe link:

          1 Reply
          1. re: Rubee

            That looks delicious, Rubee. I'd marked this recipe so it's good to know it was a hit.

          2. Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Oregano, Pg. 119

            The first recipe we made from this book was not entirely a WoW experience but it did turn out to be a quite adequate side dish for a pre-Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Easily prepped and cooked it was a deviation from my usual method of roasting Brussels sprouts which we look forward to each Autumn., this being the first of the season in our CSA. I halved the recipe for two people and there are leftovers I will add to the soup I make tomorrow.

            So... you need bacon, the sprouts, fresh oregano, Kosher salt, lemon juice, and Aleppo pepper or black. I used the Aleppo. Cook the bacon in an oven proof skillet - I used a cast iron - add the sprouts, add the oregano and salt. Roast in the oven about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, stir in the lemon juice and sprinkle with the pepper. Serve.

            The sprouts maintained their shape, lovely green color, and earthiness with a bit of tang from the Aleppo pepper and lemon juice. They complimented the Weber roasted turkey , roasted Hubbard squash and apples very well. I would use this recipe again...

            Online recipe... bottom of page:

            4 Replies
            1. re: Gio

              I wondered about this. It's hard for me to imagine what fresh oregano (which I've generally not had great success using ) does for brussels sprouts, but I'll have to give it a try.

              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                There's a choice of either the fresh oregano or thyme or sage for the recipe. I chose oregano because that's what I had but if I make it again I think I'll use thyme. I didn't notice any discernible taste of oregano in the finished dish.

                1. re: Gio

                  Thanks, Gio. I like the thyme idea too--or the sage. Oregano grows very well in my garden, but I always find it a little overwhelming; I just haven't gotten the hang of cooking with it. It's one of the only herbs I can think of that I prefer to use dried.
                  I love brussels sprouts in almost any iteration. (We had some in a decadent prep last weekend w/lemon-sage cream.)

              2. re: Gio

                Brussels Sprouts with [Pancetta and Thyme] (SH, p.219)

                I subbed pancetta for the bacon so had to add a bit of OO. I halved my brussels sprouts, and they only took 10-12 minutes to cook to our liking. I added salt and fresh thyme instead of oregano during the last couple minutes of cooking and finished w/lemon juice and Aleppo pepper. Everyone liked these; I'd do this flavor combo again.

              3. Red Snapper with Cognac Sauce (p. 128)

                Unlike Rubee with her cognac sauce, this was not a hit. Will have to give that recipe and look and see how different the sauces are, but this was just kind of blah. LulusDad is not a fan of cream sauce on fish, but the few times a year I say "oh to heck with that" and make it, he loves it. Not this time. And Lulu didn't care for it, and neither did I. I didn't taste the cognac, I didn't taste the mustard, I didn't taste the lemon juice. Just a sort of chickeny, thymey cream concoction. I'm thinking that I didn't reduce enough, and obviously didn't season enough but it was really boring. Cook shallots and garlic in butter with bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme and parsley. Once softened add the dry sherry and cognac and reduce until almost dry. Add stock and reduce again. Add cream and reduce yet again (at this point I've been standing there for a lot longer than I expected). Finally, after all this reducing, whisk in the mustard and add lemon juice, season and strain. I did all this just as the recipe asks. The red snapper itself turned out perfectly so it was a shame to cover it with this bland, milky sauce. Served with polenta and roasted brussels sprouts. When the sprouts are the tastiest part of the meal, it might be a problem. The saddest part was that this was the last meal my husband will have at home for over 2 weeks. Ah well, better luck with the next one.

                1. Carrot-Mushroom Sformato, p.210

                  This I think would make a well-received new side dish for Thanksgiving. We thought it was delicious, really good. I made a half recipe and it was gone in two shakes (the rest of that expression is "of a lamb's tail.")
                  This is the nicest mix of chopped carrot and diced white mushrooms, in a sauce of butter, onions, flour, milk, and Parmesan cheese. The sauce is cooked until thick, then cooled. The carrots are boiled 'til very tender, the mushrooms cooked in butter until they give up their water. It's nice to see a recipe that calls for white mushrooms, often now I'm looking for dried and/or unusual types for recipes. The carrots and mushrooms are seasoned with S&P, basil and parsley. Since I was just making 1/2 a recipe, I baked this (in a water bath) in a little Pyrex bowl, not a straight-sided dish as specified. It looks a little softish in the picture, but it was firm enough to slice. It could be very attractive on a table. Maybe it looks retro, don't care.
                  This is so tasty, everyone would like it (?) I think even kids would like it if you could get them to try it!
                  It's vegetarian, not vegan, as I understand those terms.