Tidewater Kitchen: March 2006

One-Dish Meals

by

Pamela Meredith-Doyle

   When friends drop in, a casserole can be a cook’s best friend. To prepare, chop meats and vegetables large enough so that they do not get lost in the sauce. You can assemble casseroles and one-dish meals in no time and serve them with a green salad or fresh fruit. One-dish meals make entertaining easy. They can be as casual or elegant as your party dictates. You can do them ahead, which allows you more time to enjoy your guests.

TOMATO, FONTINA CHEESE and ASPARAGUS FRITTATA
6 large eggs
2 Tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
12 ounces asparagus, trimmed, cut into ¼- to ½-inch pieces
1 tomato, seeded and diced
Salt to taste
3 ounces Fontina, diced
    Preheat the broiler. Whisk the eggs, cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Set aside.
    Heat the oil and butter in a 9½-inch non-stick ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the asparagus and saute until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.
    Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the tomato and a pinch of salt and saute 2 minutes longer. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus and cook for a few minutes until the eggs start to set. Sprinkle with cheese. Reduce neat to medium-low and cook until the frittata is almost set but the top is still runny, about 2 minutes.
    Place the skillet under the boiler. Broil until the top is set and golden brown, about 5 minutes.
    Let the frittata stand for 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittata from skillet and slide onto a platter.

PROSCIUTTO and
GOAT CHEESE STRATA

    Most of the work on this dish is done the day before, leaving plenty of time in the morning for sleeping in.

18 slices firm white bread (such as English muffin bread), crusts removed
6 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
4 ounces provolone, grated (about 1½ cups)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
6 Tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
5 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons butter, melted

   Line the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish completely with 1 layer of bread, cutting some slices to fit. Arrange half of the prosciutto evenly over the bread. Sprinkle half of the goat cheese and half of the provolone on top. Sprinkle with half of the green onions and half of the basil.
     Top with a second layer of bread. Layer remaining prosciutto, goat cheese, provolone, green onions and basil.
     Cut remaining bread into 1/4-inch cubes and sprinkle on top.
      Whisk eggs, milk, mustard and salt in a bowl. Season with pepper. Pour egg mixture over the strata and press down on the bread with a spatula. Drizzle melted butter over strata. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover strata and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake until center is set, about 1 hour. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler. Place strata under broiler until top is golden brown, about 30 seconds. Cut into large squares and serve. Makes 6 servings.

OYSTERS SAN SOUCI a la FRIENDSHIP WHARF
      This is Neil Lindeman’s favorite recipe since 1975. He says not to plan to hunt after eating this meal as a nap will surely follow!

2 pounds kielbasa sausage
1 quart oysters
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
750ML (25 ounces) red wine
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Tabasco
Salt to taste
Crusty French bread

     Slice sausage into ½-inch pieces and brown lightly. Drain fat. Add wine and seasonings, keep cooking until sausage is done. Thicken with flour or instant potatoes. Add oysters and cook until they curl. Serve with crusty French bread. Serves 4.

FRIED KRAUT and KIELBASA
a la FRIENDSHIP WHARF

    Neil loves to make this for various winter gatherings.

2 pounds fresh sauerkraut
1 pound kielbasa, ¼” slices
12 ounces bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced fine
1 large apple, cut into wedges
1 teaspoon black pepper
Water

   Drain and wash sauerkraut twice. In a large pot, fry bacon pieces until brown. Drain fat. Add onions and stir until browned. Add kielbasa slices, stir until browned. Add sauerkraut and pepper and mix. Cook covered on low for about 45 minutes. Add water to moisten and stir. All should be browned.
    Imbed apple wedges into top of mixture. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve with red potatoes and green salad. Serves 4.

HEARTY CHICKEN STEW
      This is very delicious and heartier than your classic chicken noodle. Lots of hearty pieces of chicken meat, a sweet broth with lots of bright veggies. Make it ahead of time and just heat it up for your family or friends.

4 small onions, quartered
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 pounds chicken thighs, skin removed
Handful thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ pounds red bliss potatoes, washed and quartered
2 handfuls green beans, trimmed

     In a large pot, combine onions, garlic, carrots, chicken and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Skim and discard any scum that may come to the top.
      Simmer until the chicken meat falls off the bone with almost no pressure from a fork, about 1 to 1½ hours. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Use 2 forks to separate the meat from the bone. Add the meat back to the pot.
     Add the potatoes, cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Add green beans, cook until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste.

CLAM and OYSTER CHOWDER
      This hearty chowder is the perfect thing for a chilly evening. Serve it with crusty bread or oyster crackers.

3 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/3-inch slices
1 cup water
40 small (2-inch) hard-shelled clams (4 lb.,) such as little necks, scrubbed well
30 medium or large oysters, shucked and liquor reserved
3 bacon slices, cut crosswise into ½-inch-wide strips
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
5 celery ribs, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
2 pounds Russet (baking) potatoes (4 medium)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2½ cups bottled clam juice or water
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

     Wash leeks well in a bowl of cold water, then lift out and drain well. Bring 1 cup fresh water to a boil in a 5-quart heavy pot, then add clams and cook over moderately-high heat, covered, until clams are fully opened, checking every minute after 5 minutes and transferring clams with a slotted spoon to a bowl as they fully open. Discard any clams that have not opened after 8 minutes. Pour cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into another bowl.
      Remove cooked clams from shells, discarding shells. Coarsely chop clams and transfer to a bowl, then coarsely chop raw oysters and transfer to another bowl. Pour reserved oyster liquor through sieve into bowl with clam cooking liquid.
      Cook bacon in cleaned pot over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Add butter to pot and when foam subsides, cook onion, leeks, celery and bay leaf, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 12 to 15 minutes.
      While vegetables are cooking, peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Add wine to softened vegetables and boil until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add potatoes, clam cooking liquid, and bottled clam juice. (If potatoes aren’t fully covered with liquid, add more clam juice or water). Simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
      Puree 2 cups of soup in a blender until very smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids) and return to pot. Add cream, salt, pepper, Old Bay and cayenne and cook at a bare simmer, stirring, until soup is heated through. Do not let it boil.
      Add clams and oysters and cook, stirring, just until oyster pieces begin to curl, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf, then stir in parsley. Serve topped with crumbled bacon. This soup is best eaten the day it is made.
      Makes 8 to 10 main course servings.

OSSO BUCO with TOMATOES, MUSHROOMS and GREMOLATA

Osso Buco:
8 to 10 (10 oz.) meaty cross-cut veal shanks, each tied with kitchen string
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 (28- to 32-oz.) can whole plum tomatoes with juice (not in puree), coarsely chopped
1½ cups small button mushrooms
1½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
2 (2- by 1/2-inch) strips fresh lemon zest, cut crosswise into fine julienne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Gremolata:
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest

Special Equipment:
7- to 9-quart heavy ovenproof pot (wide enough to hold shanks in one layer)

     Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pat shanks dry and season with salt and pepper. Divide shanks and flour between 2 large sealable plastic bags and shake to coat, then remove shanks from bags, shaking off excess four. Heat oil and 2 Tablespoons butter in ovenproof pot over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then brown shanks well in two batches, 10 to 12 minutes per batch, transferring to a plate.
      Reduce heat to moderate and add remaining tablespoon of butter to pot along with onions, carrot, celery, small button mushrooms and garlic. Cook, stirring, until onions are pale golden, about 5 minutes. Add remaining stew ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring.
      Arrange shanks in pot in one layer and return to a simmer. Cover pot and braise shanks in middle of oven until very tender, about 2½ hours. Remove strings from osso buco and discard along with parsley sprigs and bay leaf.
      I like to serve this over Yukon gold mashed garlic potatoes.
      Mix all gremolata ingredients together and sprinkle over osso buco. This is the perfect winter meal. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

     It’s always fun to get kids in the kitchen. Here are some fun ways to incorporate nutrition in their diet and expanding their palates.

RICOTTA and MARMALADE BRUSCHETTA
12 slices (1/2-inch thick) ciabatta or other rustic white bread
15 ounces ricotta cheese
3/4 cup orange marmalade

     Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the bread until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Spread 2 Tablespoons of ricotta over each piece of toast. Spoon 1 Tablespoon of marmalade over the ricotta and serve.

ORANGE CREAM FRUIT SALAD
      This is great with brunch or as a dessert. Yield: 8-10 servings.

1 can (20 ounces) pineapple tidbits, drained
1 can (16 ounces) peach slices, drained
1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges, drained
2 medium firm bananas, sliced
1 medium apple, chopped
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
1½ cups milk
1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
3/4 cup sour cream

     In a large bowl, combine fruits and set aside.
      In a small bowl, beat pudding mix with milk and orange juice concentrate for 2 minutes. Add sour cream and mix well. Spoon over fruit and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

CLASSIC VINAIGRETTE
      This is my all-time favorite and a recipe from my dear friend Mark Salter, from the Inn at Perry Cabin.

2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 Tablespoons wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons honey
3/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste

     Put the mustard, honey and vinegar in a mixing bowl. Use a wire whisk to stir them together until it is smooth and creamy.
      The key to making vinaigrette is to incorporate the oil slowly. You want it to emulsify. If you add all the oil at once and try to stir it together it will not get smooth and creamy.
      Slowly add the oil to the creamed mixture whisking the whole time. Do not add oil unless you are whisking. Gradually finish adding the oil.
      Season with salt and pepper.

Options:
Use a flavored vinegar: Raspberry, Blueberry, Champagne, Tarragon or Garlic.
Use a different oil rather than olive oil: walnut, basil, safflower, garlic, etc.
Add fresh herbs, minced shallots and a little mashed garlic.