Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rosie Masters The Parmesan Frico Cups.

Here's lunch last week. Can you look at the picture and tell what it is? Please try before proceeding. Just do it for me, pweeeeeeease? Now, I will ramble about this particular lunch, which I made in honor of Youngest Hawthorne. Remember about 6 weeks ago when I first attempted to screw up Giada's Parmesan Frico cups?
And about 4 weeks ago when I made another feeble stab at the Parmesan cups? I vowed then:
"I will master the Parmesan Frico Cup!" And my friends, with diligence, determination, and perseverance, I finally have. This lunch menu was for Youngest Hawthorne, who was the first of my brood to leave this month for school. It's his favorite - Seared scallops on a bed of seasoned risotto on a Parmesan crisp with caramelized onions and pesto. Whatever happened to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Whenever you ask him what he would like for a meal, he immediately recites this recipe. I guess he actually expects me to have fresh scallops and pesto on hand at all times. A couple of years ago, he bussed tables at The Flying Fish Cafe in Kill Devil Hills. When clearing off the plates of one set of diners, he noticed the lady hadn't touched her scallops. When he got back to the kitchen, he hated the idea of tossing the food in the trash and wasting perfectly good scallops, so Youngest Hawthorne ate the scallops. After all, he said the lady looked very clean. Now Middle Hawthorne would rather gnaw off his arm than eat anything that has been touched by anyone. I don't know how he thinks I've prepared his meals all these years without touching anything but I'll let him keep believing whatever he needs to. Feed the fantasy. Back to the scallop dish, Youngest Hawthorne thought it was da bombe and wanted me to make it for him. The first time Youngest Hawthorne requested it was during the time Mr. Hawthorne and I were taking our cooking classes at the North Carolina Aquarium and it just so happened that the chefs from Flying Fish came and presented this very dish. You can read about it here. I was able to make this for all the Hawthornes and it is one of their favorites. Please indulge me first with my PARMESAN FRICO CUPS.
I coarsely grated my Il Villagio Parmesan wedge and placed some rather thick circles of cheese on my silpat baking mat.
Baked in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until a nice Outer Banks Beach Tan. I let them sit in the pan for 2-3 minutes on my cold granite before trying to remove.
Then, working with 4 hands (3 shown, the fourth was taking the picture), I scraped up the rounds with those ultra thin spatulas for cookie baking scraping. I turned them on an upside down muffin tin instead of a right side up tin, so the grease in the cheese would work with gravity and ... gravitate. I took a paper towel to absorb more grease and shape the cups.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ... Parmesan Frico cups. Mission accomplished. Next up - PESTO.
Here's my mise en place: big bunch of fresh basil cup or more of pecans garlic cloves wedge of Parmesan ELBOO (Extra Light Bertolli Olive Oil) I'm not giving you cups and fractions thereof. Just look at the picture and try to recreate. There are no rights and wrongs. Feel free to experiment. Process all of the above except the oil, then pour in the oil, processing as you add it, until you have a nice, rich paste. Add freshly ground salt and pepper if you like.
Keep adjusting, layering, and adding flavors until you get the blend you like. It's not rocket science. There are no absolutes. Do it to your tastes. Next step - CARAMELIZED ONIONS.
Slice one onion.
Slide the slices into a hot pan with hot 1/2 and 1/2 light olive oil and unsalted buttah. I like using Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil. By using a light olive oil, The flavor of whatever you're sauteeing stands out. It's not masked by a heavy oil inserting it's own headiness onto a light, delicate tidbit.
Keep sauteeing over low heat ...
... for about 20 minutes or so, until the onions start to brown. Then add in some Chardonnay (or any white wine or sherry). Just a few tablespoons.
Let the wine steam up and cook off, then cover and set aside.
Next up - RISOTTO.
First, I poured some boiling water over top of a couple of sun dried tomatoes.
Next, I heated up a few tablespoons of ELBOO (Extra Light Bertolli Olive Oil)
Delicate and mild
Bertolli Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil
This olive oil has just a subtle hint of olive flavor. Use it in place of plain vegetable oil in all types of cooking, including baking. Extra Light Tasting is an excellent choice for high heat sautéing and stir-frying because it has a higher smoke point than our other olive oil varieties. Available in various sizes.
and added about a cup or so of Arborio rice.
Constantly stir the rice, letting it tan a bit and cook. Then gradually add in chicken stock. Maybe 1/8 - 1/4 cup at a time. Let it simmer and soak up the stock, then add in another 1/8 - 1/4 cup. (I used 2 cups chicken stock.) Making risotto is a gradual, labor-intensive, act of love. You must stand over the rice and its additions, stirring and scraping constantly.
Remember the other day when I baked a hen. ... here's my chickie. I poured the chicken joos out and refrigerated that. When the fat congeals on top I'll scoop it off and use the stock for something else.
My stock has been in the fridge for several days and has congealed on top. Simply pull out the fat topping and discard. Then you have a jellied, flavorful stock on which to base your dishes.
I had about 2 cups of the stock. And I used about 1/8 - 1/4 cup at a time, adding it to the risotto, letting the rice absorb the liquid, before adding more.
Here are the next ingredients for my risotto: chopped parsley chopped softened sun-dried tomatoes In addition to, or instead of, parsley, chopped spinach would serve in a pinch.
While I'm preparing all this for Youngest Hawthorne, he came in the kitchen to show me the kiwi face he'd carved with one of the knives I'd given him for his birthday earlier this month. Ya gotta admit it: The kid is talented. That college edumacation is paying off.
After I'd added 2 cups of chicken stock, I drizzled in some white wine.
Then some cream.
Throw in the parsley and softened sun-dried tomato.
And some buttah. Always, buttah. You could also add grated Parmesan at this point, but I figgered I had enough Parmesan flavoring what with the frico cups. Cover and set aside. Onto the SCALLOPS.
Rinse the scallops off and please, please, please, don't make me go into the Dry vs Wet Scallop thingie again.
Drain and blot dry on paper towels then add freshly cracked pepper.
Heat up the pan, add ELBOO and LOLUB (Extra Light Bertolli Olive Oil and Land O' Lakes Unsalted Butter), heat, and add scallops.
Maybe 90 seconds each side. Remember to not overcook. All food continues to cook after being taken off the heat. Allow for residual cooking. Take the scallops out, and drain on paper towels.
Keep heat going in the scallop pan and add in white wine to deglaze the pan. Keep heating and scraping over low heat ...
... until you get a beautiful, rich reduction. Here's our lunch:
Perfectly seared scallops atop a bed of fragrant risotto, flavored with parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, and wine, nestled in a cozy Parmesan frico cup, crowned with caramelized onions, adorned with a basil pesto, and drizzled with a reduction of intense wine and scallop flavorings Sheer bliss.
Bon Appetit!

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

Bravo, Rosie! Well done! I wish I could eat it. Really.