leave your inhibitions at the door
What a fantastic night of food, wine, and friendship that was. Both during and after that night, we all agreed that it was better than most meals we’ve had at expensive restaurants. It was not only cheaper, but much more casual and we could get as loud and cantankerous as we wanted. The downside – dishes. Ugh.
As promised, and without further ado, here are the recipes.
Morel and Ramp-Stuffed Veal
This recipe features those two very special, very fleeting, springtime treasures – morels and ramps.
Morels have a rich, earthy flavor and texture but they can be hard to find. Not to mention, at $50 a pound, they can be quite expensive. O ther earthy wild mushrooms can take its place such as porcinis, shiitakes, or oysters. Ramps can also be tough to locate, so a good substitute would be some scallions and garlic.
Makes 4 servings (approximately 6 rolls)
8 ounces morel mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
4-5 ramps, chopped (substitute: 3-4 scallions and one clove garlic)
1 cup veal or chicken stock
4 Tablespoons butter, divided
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
¼ cup red wine
1 Preheat oven to 425 F
2 Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a sauté pan and cook ramps about 3 minutes
3 Stir in mushrooms with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for about 10 minutes until most of the liquids have been released. Strain. Keep 1/3 of the mixture separate along with the liquid for the sauce.
4 Roll the mushroom mixture in the veal as tightly as possible
5 In an oven-proof pan, heat 1 T of butter and the olive oil. Sear the rolls on all sides and transfer to oven. Cook for an additional 8 minutes. It shouldn’t take long to get to medium as the veal is pretty thin.
6 Remove the meat and add the mushroom juices, stock, and wine. Cook over medium-high heat until reduced by at least half. Scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon.
7 Remove from heat and finish sauce with another Tablespoon of butter. Add the remaining mushrooms.
8 Slice the rolls and top with the sauce
Seared Beef Tenderloin with Mustard-Horseradish Sauce
This is from epicurious.com. The recipe calls for this to be served on a baguette with watercress. The Bloodsucking Lawyers made the terrific decision to serve over a bed of arugula. The recipe calls for near-freezing the cooked tenderloin so that it can be sliced very thinly. Their version was still chilled, but since it was over a salad it didn’t need to be super-thin.
For the beef
1 1 1/2-pound piece beef tenderloin
3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups of baby arugula
4-ounce jar capers, drained
½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup sour cream
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons oiive oil
2 Tablespoons prepared white horseradish
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Mix mustard sauce ingredients in a bowl and chill
2 Tie beef with kitchen string to hold shape. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3 Heat heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Rub 1 tablespoon oil over beef.
4 Add beef to skillet. Sear until brown on all sides and cooked to desired doneness, about 20 minutes for medium-rare.
5 Transfer beef to plate. Freeze until almost frozen solid, about 3 hours.
6 Remove string. Using large sharp knife, cut beef crosswise into very thin slices. (Can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Arrange slices between sheets of waxed paper on baking sheet. Cover tightly and refrigerate.)
7 Arrange slices over arugula. Drizzle with 2 ½ Tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice. Serve with mustard-horseradish sauce
Moroccan-Spiced Bison Sliders
I actually had some ground bison in my freezer as it was one of my many impulse buys at Costco. If you haven’t had bison before, it tastes very much like beef. I find it has a little more flavor and is somewhat sweeter, but that could be because it’s grass-fed. Nutrition-wise, it has more iron and is lower in fat and cholesterol, so that’s definitely a plus. Since it is leaner, it’s important to cook it medium-rare, or at least not more than medium. Obviously, 90% lean ground beef is a fine substitute.
The “structure” of this recipe is taken from one for Mediterranean bison sliders from epicurious.com. I added the traditional Moroccan spices of cumin, paprika, and ginger to give it a little more personality.
Makes 4 servings
1 pound ground bison
¼ cup uncooked basmati rice
2 Tablespoons chopped almonds
2 Tablespoons chopped raisins
3 Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
2 Tablespoons chopped mint, divided. Plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon each of ground pepper, paprika, ground ginger, cumin
1 teaspoons olive oil
½ cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 stem saffron (optional)
12 dinner rolls
1 Heat oven to 450 F.
2 Cook rice as directed on package
3 Over low heat, toast the chopped almonds for 5 minutes or so
4 Mix bison, rice, almonds, raisins, 2 Tablespoons parsley, 1 Tablespoon mint, and the spices. Form into 12 small balls.
5 Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange balls. Press down slightly to form a thick patty.
6 Bake approximately 10-12 minutes until medium or slightly firm.
7 Mix yogurt, lemon juice, saffron (if using), 1 tablespoon mint, 1 tablespoon parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
8 Top each bun with patty, yogurt mixture, and mint leaf.
Stay tuned for The Sicilian’s shrimp cakes with chili lime sauce…
Any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below or email me!