Saturday, January 08, 2011
Under the Tuscan Sun with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC
Under the Tuscan Sun
It was my pleasure last week to present the following Tuscan recipes with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC. Bonnie Tulloch, Education Coordinator for the Conservancy, presented fascinating information on the produce and plant sources found in each recipe and Carol Herntier, Product Ambassador for the MLCC, presented wonderful and intriguing pairings for each dish.
Pairings will be posted in a few days.
1. Crostini Toscani
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, roughly chopped
1 lb chicken livers, membranes removed
1 tsp small capers, drained but not rinsed
4 anchovy fillets
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 loaf ciabatta, cut into 8 - 10 slices, lightly toasted
1 tbs minced flat-leaf parsley
Warm the olive oil in a sauté pan wide enough to hold the livers in a single layer over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until lightly coloured, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken livers and brown them on all sides, cooking until medium-rare, about 5 minutes. Add the capers and anchovies. Cook, stirring to prevent scorching, for 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until reduced but not dry, 2 - 3 minutes.
Pour the contents of the skillet into a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Reserve the juice to add some of it to the livers if they are to dry.
Turn the contents out onto a cutting board and chop roughly until they are well incorporated and the mixture is spreadable. If it appears too dry, spoon some reserved cooking liquid over it and chop again. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl.
Spread some chopped liver on each slice of toast. Sprinkle some chopped parsley over each one. Serve at room temperature.
2. Fave con Pecorino
2 lbs fava beans, peeled
4 ounces Pecorino Toscano, sliced into 1/2 inch/1 cm long matchstick-thick segments
1/4 cup olive oil
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 leaves radicchio, sliced very thinly
Place the fava beans and pecorino in a small mixing bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and season with salt and pepper. Toss very gently, just to combine the flavours and not to break the beans or crush the cheese.
Mound a quarter of the beans and cheese in the centre of each salad plate. Top each serving with a few slivers of radicchio.
3. Sage Butter pasta (Burro e salvia)
Bunch of fresh sage leaves
80g grated Parmesan
Wash and dry the sage leaves. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the sage. Cook very gently over a low flame taking care not to let the butter burn. Pour over cooked pasta and stir through well together with freshly grated parmesan. This super-quick sauce is ideal with 'naked ravioli' (ravioli filling without the pasta) but is also suitable with any short pasta. In this case, drain the cooked pasta keeping back a little of the water. Return the pasta to the saucepan, add the sage and butter and stir over a low heat for a minute.
Remove from the heat and stir in a good helping of grated Parmesan.
The sauce should look smooth and creamy; if it has dried out too much, add a few drops of milk or fresh cream. Grind a little black pepper over when serving.
4. Tuscan beans (Fagioli all'uccelletto)
This is perhaps Florence's most famous dish. Some include Italian sausage.
1 pound small white cannellini or great northern beans, soaked overnight
2 sprigs of sage
6 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
5 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1 14 oz can Italian plum tomatoes
DRAIN the beans and simmer in fresh water to cover, with 1 sprig of sage and 1 tablespoon olive oil, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until tender, adding salt when the beans begin to soften.
IN a separate pan (large enough to hold the beans) heat the remaining oil on low heat with the garlic and the rest of the sage so that the flavors infuse, but do not brown
ADD the tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the drained beans, season with salt and pepper, and cook for another 15 minutes or so. There should be a good amount of sauce.
1 1/3 cups lemon sorbet
1 cup Prosecco
Place 4 champagne flutes in the refrigerator to chill.
Put the sorbet and Prosecco in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth. Pour into flutes and serve immediately.