November 2013 Cookbooks of the Month, Marcella Hazan Month: Fish; Seafood; Meats; Poultry
Please use this thread to report on the following chapters from the November Cookbooks of the Month (Marcella Cucina, Marcella’s Italian Kitchen, and Marcella Says…)
Fish (Marcella Cucina), pages 238-265
Poultry and Rabbit (Marcella Cucina), pages 266-291
Meat (Marcella Cucina), pages 292-335
Fish Courses (Marcella’s Italian Kitchen), pages 169 – 186
Meat Courses (Marcella’s Italian Kitchen), pages 187 - 244
Fish (Marcella Says…), pages 203 – 232
Chicken (Marcella Says…), pages 233 – 248
Veal (Marcella Says…), pages 249 – 258
Beef (Marcella Says…), pages 259 - 278
Lamb (Marcella Says…), pages 279 – 288
Pork (Marcella Says…), pages 289 - 298
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Shrimp Braised with Tomato, Chili Pepper, and Capers, p. 204, Marcella Says.
This is a lovely recipe, the first Hazan recipe I'd ever made, appealing not just because it is easy, delicious and fresh-tasting, but because the writing that accompanies it is such a pleasure to read. What a born teacher Marcella is; reading her recipe- introduction and following her clear instructions feels as if a watchful yet kindly aunt, say, was guiding your progress closely, while simultaneously feeling quite certain you would perform it perfectly.
Anyway, it's quite a simple and traditional combination of chopped onions lightly sautéed, to which chopped garlic and then chopped Italian parsley and chopped chili pepper, jalapeño, or dried red pepper flakes are added. Then a cup of cut up plum tomatoes and their juice are stirred in (alternatively, cut up canned San Marzano tomatoes--I used Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes) are added and all are simmered "steadily" while you shell and devein 20 large raw shrimp. They are rinsed, dried, and "when the oil floats free from the tomato" you slip the shrimp into the pan, adding salt and 1/2 TBS capers. Turn them a time of two and when they have "lost their shiny, raw color (about 2 -3 minutes) they are done." Serve immediately with crusty bread, over polenta, rice pilaf, or boiled rice.
So: not a complex recipe, but one in which care is taken to treat each ingredient with respect. I added a few pinches to taste of white sugar, which I sometimes do when using canned tomatoes to tame the acidity just a bit. I used 1TBS of chopped fresh jalapeño, a bit more than the 1/2 TBS asked for, because we like a bit of heat.
The only slightly mysterious part was the statement that the sauce was done "when the oil floats free from the tomatoes." But she describes this clearly in a section called "How to Cook a Pasta Sauce," which entails scooping up the sauce in a spoon to see how much of the juices have evaporated off (a good thing) and whether the oil is now clear in the spoon. No timing is given here; you just have to observe and check. Took about 10 minutes for me. I realized that observation and tasting is what is important, not an arbitrary time, and this is why my sauce was so fresh tasting.
An added bonus is that this is really three recipes in one. At the end of the basic recipe, detailed instructions are given for transforming it into a pasta sauce, and then into the flavor base for a risotto.
Fricasseed Chicken with Fresh Herbs and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, p. 246, Marcella Says.
Another relatively simple dish with great flavor and fragrance. Nice as a family meal or simple buffet.
Pieces of chicken (my notes say to cut large breasts and thighs in half) are first browned in a large skillet, and then reserved while you sauté the rest of the ingredients. The fricassee gets its flavor from chopped garlic, fresh sage leaves, sprigs of fresh rosemary, cut-up thick slices of bacon, dried red chili pepper, and sun dried tomatoes in 1-in. pieces. These are all sautéed together and then the chicken pieces are added back to the pan along with a cup or white wine. Cover and simmer until the meat is very tender, about 45 minutes.
THEN transfer just the chicken to a bowl and add cut up pieces of potatoes ("no larger than walnuts") to the simmering sauce.. Hazan doesn't specify what type of potatoes; I used Yukon Gold. Cover and braise until they are almost tender (my potato pieces, perhaps modeled on a larger walnut, took 30 minutes.) Then add back the chicken pieces and finish the cooking of the potatoes.
Serve at once OR prepare up to several hours in advance and reheat just before serving. This is what I did and it was delicious. I am so used to using fresh (or canned) tomatoes in this type of fricassee, but the sun-dried tomatoes gave depth of flavor. Hazan never specifies anywhere in this book if they are to be jarred or dried; I used jarred. Maybe someone who knows more about her preference can tell me which she would have used.
Thanks for trying, delays! This has been a very interesting mini-search for me. I googled "Marcella Hazan and sun dried tomatoes" and found several references to the following famous quote:
On sun-dried tomatoes: “I never cook with sun-dried tomato. That’s a pickle!”
And yet, we have the evidence that she does use them sometimes (see the Fricaseed Chicken recipe above) and I also I found a Mushroom and Potato Soup with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, p. 124, in the same book Marcella Says, in which she requests "3 - 5 sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)"
So I think that the lady is entitled to change her mind in her later cookbooks about these "pickles" ;-) and somehow my intuition says that she generally means oil-packed, unless otherwise noted, as in the aforementioned Mushroom and Potato Soup.
Wish she were still here to ask!
Roast Chicken with Pancetta and Herbs, Pg. 189
Pollo Arrosto con la Pancetta e gli Odori
I'm writing this report on behalf of my husband, G, who after reading through the recipe, decided he would do this without my help. Because I couldn't resist I did write down my thoughts and advice which he subsequently ignored. The outcome as he told me were delicious, juicy, tender chicken with a paler skin then we're use to, only somewhat crispy yet full of lemony/sagey/salty flavor that he enjoyed. My tummy is still a bit funny so I only had a wee bit of a taste and I concur.
The recipe is really quite simple, the execution is a bit fiddly during the cooking, but the timing was perfect, he said. We had a 4 pound chicken to work with so he "more or less" increased the ancillary ingredients. The only substitution he made was to slice a piece of prosciutto instead of pancetta which goes into the cavity. To complete the ingredient list there's rosemary, sage, lemon peel, EVOO, S & P, lemon juice.
The seasoned chicken is settled breast side up into an aluminum foil lined roasting pan with enough foil to bring up around the top of the chicken to enclose it, then crimp the ends tightly. This is placed into a 350F oven to roast for 35 minutes. The temp is increased to 425F, chicken removed from oven, unwrapped, foil discarded but juices saved in the pan. This time the chicken is placed back into the oven breast side down. After 20 minutes the chicken is turned to over to one side and roasted for 10 minutes then turned to the other side and roasted for 10 more minutes. Finally, turn it breast side down and cook for the final 10-ish minutes.
After resting in a warm platter, cut chicken into several pieces, pour the juices over, and lay the sliced pancetta over top. He really did an admirable job I would say. I only wish I could have seen what the platter of chicken looked like but we were on two different levels of the house. I'd like to make this recipe again with a simplification of the roasting technique, although I do think using a foil lining in the pan is necessary so the juices won't burn.
Fricassed Chicken with Black Olives (p. 193, MIK)
This is an easy week night dinner. Lulu and her Dad raved; for me it was fine but nothing special. Chicken is browned with smashed garlic in olive oil. Garlic is removed, white wine and white wine vinegar are added (at this point there is a very iffy direction - she has you cover the pan but says "when the liquid has evaporated by half" - how is the liquid going to evaporate with the lid on the pan? - I took it off). Once the liquids have reduced you add chopped olives and anchovies, cover and continue cooking. When the chicken is ready add whole pitted olives, parsley and basil and let cook a minute or two longer. Add lemon juice, stir together and serve. I used skinless/boneless because I didn't want flabby skin, and am sure they would have been a bit more succulent if I'd just taken the skin off thighs with bones in them. Served over polenta with fennel salad on the side.
Scallops with Tomato, Garlic, and Rosemary, Marcella Cucina, page 245.
This was a surprising dish for me. I don't associate scallops with the profound piney aroma of rosemary, and this recipe calls for a good helping of it. Hazan states that the rather liberal use of rosemary here "is an exception to the restrain that most Italian cooks exercise when working with fragrant ingredients." I only landed upon this recipe because I had scallops in the freezer, rosemary in the yard, and the very few other ingredients on hand.
First the garlic is sautéed in oil, then the rosemary is added. Next come tomatoes. They are stirred until the fat begins to separate from the sauce. She refers to a tip on page 133, which states that as the tomatoes cook down, and the water evaporates, when you drag a spoon across the pan the fat following the spoon's trail will be clear. Then the sauce will be done. Worked like a charm.
Scallops were added, cooked for a couple minutes, then removed to let the liquid emitted by the scallops reduce. Mine had very little, and the scallops were quickly returned to the pan for the last minute of cooking.
That was it, and dinner was served. Very simple, tasty, and fragrant.
I remember there being a Melissa Clark recipe, I think in Cook This Now, that had scallops with rosemary and capers. In that recipe I found the rosemary didn't really work for me with the scallops, but Lulu loved it. I don't think that there was tomato in MC's recipe, and I think that would definitely help.