Monday, May 17, 2010

No More Chefs!

So they say, “The way to a man's heart is through his stomach,” and contrary to popular belief the same can be said for women. Now I know we have all taken a lovely woman to an expensive restaurant, ordered a nice bottle of wine, broke our budget, all to impress them, but our logic is flawed. See, while were thinking “yeah she loves us,” she’s thinking, “I’d love to date the chef.” Well fellas its time to give ourselves the home court advantage. Now I know some, possibly most of you are thinking “dude I can’t cook, I mean I reaaaalllllyyyy can’t cook!” I’m here to tell you with a little bit of help from yours truly, dude, you really can. Some of you are still skeptical at this point but follow my logic.

1. She is already at your house. I do believe that’s a plus in anyone’s book.

2. Even if the meal turns out to be a disaster, she will love the effort and get a good laugh, and comedy is very good in a dating scenario.

3. (You can look this up) Pizza and a good bottle of wine is one of the best aphrodisiacs.

So no matter which way you look at it, I’ve got you covered from all angles.
So what are we making? An appetizer of mussel and clam saute, followed by swordfish, baby white potato's, prosciutto wrapped green beans, and a brown butter, lemon and chive sauce.
Now don't be overwhelmed the whole process including taking about 50 pictures only took me about 2 hours and you in theory will be cooking for less people. With that being said lets get started!


Sea food
1/3 pound fresh mussels
1/3 pound live clams
2 fillets of sword fish

1/3 to 1/2 pound baby white round potatoes
1/3 to 1/2 pound green beans
1/4 pound cherry tomatoes
2 Lemons
1 head of garlic (bulb) and 1 clove of garlic
Handful of Chives

1/4 pound thinly sliced Prosciutto Crudo (Parma Ham)
Olive oil
White cooking wine

Lets start with our Mise En Place which is french for things in their place, better known as prep work. Start by refrigerating the seafood this is VERY IMPORTANT. Be sure to keep the clams in the water you get them in like figure 1.


Next toss (coat) the potatoes in olive oil and salt. Place the potato's in a low rimed baking dish seen in figure 2. Now take the head of garlic and slice the bottom of the visible cloves seen in figure 3 and 4. Place in the middle of the potatoes and voila the potatoes are prepped! Now about an hour to an hour and a half before you serve the main course roast them in the oven at 350 degrees or until cooked and soft.




Next is the green beans. Get a pot of water boiling. Meanwhile snap the stem ends off of the green beans as seen in figure 5. You don't have too, but I snap both ends of them, it helps to cook faster. Once the water is boiling place the green beans in and boil for about 6-8 minutes. You're looking for them to be vibrant green, pliable but still have the slightest and I do mean slightest crunch in figure 6. As soon as they're done, drain them into a colander and run them under cold water to shock them and stop the cooking process as seen in figure 7. This step allows them to retain their bright green appearance and prevents over cooking.




Once the green beans have cooled we saute them with butter and salt for about 3-5 minutes like in figure 8. This is to infuse more flavor into the beans and to basically finish cooking them. Let cool once again. While the are cooling get your prosciutto laid out in strips as seen in figure 9. Once cooled, grab a handful and lay it in the middle of a strip of prosciutto. Roll one end over the green beans and tuck, then continue to roll until they are wrapped (check figures 10-13 for this process). Put them to the side and we will move on.







Around about an hour before you cook the sword fish lay the fillets on a tray and marinate them in olive oil, salt, lemon, and a few whole chives as seen in figure 14. Cut the ends off the chieves to open them up and release the aroma. Also at this time we will make the brown butter. In a small sauce pot melt a half of a stick of butter and bring to a boil. As it begins to boil skim the fat (the white stuff) off the top. Be careful here you want brown butter and not burnt butter. Once you see the butter start to brown take it off the heat and let it cool. Once cooled ad a table spoon or two of chopped chives.and a tablespoon of juice from a lemon. Stir in and let set.


OK it's go time! Time to make our appetizer. Cut about 10 to 12 cherry tomatoes in half and chop the clove of garlic. In a pan, saute olive oil, the halved cherry tomatoes, and the chopped clove of garlic over medium low heat as seen in figure 15. When the tomatoes become soft and the oil turns slightly reddish, add about a 1/3 cup white wine. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Mean while in a pot add the clams drained of course and the mussels and heat on medium high heat with the lid on for about 7 minutes or until all the clams and mussels open. Once that's done drain them and add them to the saute pan in figure 16. Stir them around for a few minutes. Pour it all into a dish and serve!



Now that you've eaten the app' it's time for the main course. Heat up your stove top grill or griddle, place fillets on the griddle. Now here's the difficult part, I cooked this dinner in Italy so my fillets may be a little different so ask your fish monger about who long to cook these for. What you're looking for is a nice soft flaky texture. While the fillets are cooking in a saute pan heat up the green beans for about a minute on all four sides to warm the beans and give the prosciutto a crispy texture, and over low low heat warm the brown butter sauce. At this time your potato's should be ready and you're ready to plate as seen in figures 17-20!

Start with a nice drizzle of the brown butter sauce on the plate. Next load up some potatoes on top. Place a green bean bundle next to the potatoes. After that place the sword fish on top of the beans and potatoes, finish off with a drizzle of brown butter and a quick squeeze of lemon juice and bam your the man. All I can say is eat and enjoy and maybe you just might do some impressing. Also pair with a nice crisp chardonnay and your golden!





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