Surf & “Turf”

Surf and Turf

 

Normally, when we have friends over for dinner, I spend a few days carefully planning what I am going to make.  I love that process, poring through my cookbooks to get inspirations, reading my recipes over and over, thinking of who is coming and what I think they might like.

Not so yesterday.  Our friends were invited to dinner last-minute, and we went to the market after lunch, which for me means, no inspiration whatsoever.  I mean, I’m stuffed, I’m not thinking of what I want to make for dinner???

This whole dish was inspired by Paolo’s choice of wild mushrooms.  There were some beautiful chanterelles, and he asked me if I could make a dish out of one of his favorites mushrooms.  So, I started wracking my brain, and normally when I think wild mushrooms, I think game meats or beef.  But we had a large chunk of meat for lunch, so that was out of the question.  He suggested seafood, and I thought, ok, my version of surf and turf!

I am quite impressed how well this turned out, none of the flavors masked the other, rather, the briny shrimp paired perfectly with the sautéed chanterelles, over an individual “Pommes Anna” laced with a sultry porcini sauce.  Everyone said that this should be my signature dish, and I agree.

This dish is very simple to prepare.  It just takes a bit of organization.  But totally worth it!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 4

1 large russet potato

Thyme

400 g fresh chanterelle mushrooms

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

20-25 large shrimp, head on

1/4 cup olive oil

4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 porcini stock cube, or pre-soaked dried porcini, reserve them for later, and use the soaking liquid about 1 1/2 cups

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp instant cornstarch

Salt and Pepper to taste

First, pre-heat the oven to 200 C.

In a bowl, add the shrimp with a couple of sprigs of thyme, the olive oil and Worcestershire sauce.  Mix well and refrigerate and marinate them for at least 30 minutes, up to two hours.

Oil a baking sheet, set aside.  Slice the potato really thinly with a mandoline (if you have one).  Soak the potatoes in salted water while you are slicing so they won’t turn brown.  Rinse and pat dry, and make individual round “cakes”, layering the potatoes in a circle on top of each other, overlapping.  Place on the oiled baking sheet and put a pat of butter, salt and pepper on each.  Lower the heat to 190 C, and place in the oven and cook until golden and crispy, about 15 minutes.

In a stockpot, place 1 1/2 cups of water and the porcini stockcube. (If you don’t have it, add the drained soaking liquid from the dry porcinis.)  Heat to high, and add the butter.  When it is boiling, reduce the heat and add the cornstarch.  Cook, stirring until it thickens.  Keep warm.

In the meantime, add half a tablespoon of oil to a large sauté pan over high heat,  Add the garlic cloves and the chanterelle mushrooms and cook for about 7-8 minutes, until the mushrooms are fully cooked.  Add a little salt and pepper, and place in a heat proof bowl and put them in the oven.

Drain the shrimp,and discard the thyme sprigs, leaving only about 1 tbsp of oil and sauce.  Add that to the same sauté pan, and over high heat.  When it is almost smoking, add the shrimp and sauté, tossing, for about 5 minutes until the shrimp start to curl and are fully cooked.

To assemble the dish, place the potato round on the plate.  Top with some of the sautéed chanterelle mushrooms, then 5 shrimp arranged over the chanterelle.  Spoon some of the porcini sauce over the shrimp, mushrooms and potatoes.

You are going to love it!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Tagliatelle all Boscaiola : Tagliatelle with Porcini Mushrooms and Garlic Cream Sauce

My uncle in Italy has a house in the Dolomites.  When I go and visit him in autumn, the first thing we do is go Porcini hunting.  It is one of the most relaxing things ever.  Hiking through idyllic forests, splashed with a variety of greens, browns, yellows and orange.  In our foraging, we would talk about everything and nothing, and when we found one of our specimens, the Porcini, we would start thinking of how we were going to prepare it that night.

My family is originally from Emilia-Romagna, which is the region in Italy that has brought you such sublime classics such as Tagliatelle, Tortellini, Parmesan, Balsamic, Mortadella and the ubiquitous Ragu alla Bolognese.  In his home in Molinella, my great-aunt had a small but complete garden, with all sorts of fruits and vegetables.  The first time I visited them, I was absolutely fascinated when they opened the garage door.  There in the middle of the garage was a gorgeous, pristine 1975 canary yellow Alfa Romeo Spider.  And surrounding it was 3 entire walls, covered floor to ceiling with canned tomatoes, plums, cherries, eggplant, artichokes, and Porcini mushrooms.  The art of canning for winter is something that is lost on us, now that we live in this global and easily accessible fruit and vegetable world.  Long gone are the days when you HAD to can to be able enjoy the bounties of summer throughout the winter months.

Alas, but I digress.  Tagliatelle alla Boscaiola is loosely translated to Tagliatelle in the “woodsy” way.  Bosco means woods, or forest, and this sauce is generally made with Porcini mushrooms, or any type of wild mushroom that you have on hand according to the season.  It can just be the mushrooms with garlic and parsley, or you can add a little cream, as we do to almost anything in Emilia-Romagna.  Yesterday I made it with Cremini mushrooms, 1) because I had some left over from my Tunisian Brik.  And 2) because Porcini are out of season.  You can make this with whatever mushrooms you find, but it is nicer if they are wild and not our cultivated button mushrooms.  It is a simple, filling and exquisite meal with very little prep time.  Just make sure you have the best pasta, or home-made if you’re up to it!

So here is what you’re going to need:

For 4

1 lb Tagliatelle pasta

2 tbsp of butter

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 lb porcini, or any other wild mushroom, sliced or chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

300 ml of cream (optional)

1.5 tbsp Italian parsley, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh grated nutmeg

Parmesan cheese, grated

A few glasses of wine, to drink while you are cooking 🙂  and maybe some Paolo Conte to listen to.

In a large stock pot, bring your water to a boil.  In the mean time, in a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter to melt.  When it is bubbling, add the garlic and cook about 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.  Raise the heat to high, and add the mushrooms, and sauté until nicely browned.  Reduce the heat to low, add half of your chopped parsley, and the cream.  Cook until the cream just starts to bubble and thicken a little bit, and remove from heat.  Add your salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.  Keep warm.

When the water is boiling, add your tagliatelle, and cook until just al dente.  Strain, reserving just a smidge of the cooking water and then add to your skillet and toss with the cream sauce over high heat for about a minute.  Place in your plates and top with the rest of your chopped parsley and parmesan cheese.  Finito!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla