Saturday, August 30, 2014

Soppressata Panini - Roman Sandwich

Italy makes some of the worlds most flavorful and popular salumi1. These are so popular, that many countries also make their own versions. Soppressata’s ingredients vary but feature pork predominately even if some recipes contain beef. What CAN be said, in any case, is the results are spectacular and delicious. This salami is one to the tastiest and spicy. This sandwich recipe screams Italy and will bring you back to fall days in Rome.

Italian Bread sliced ¼ thick (Pane Casareccio di Genzano or San Francisco sourdough)
Extra virgin olive oil
Garlic cloves for rubbing bread after pan toasted
Sliced provolone
Parmigiano di Reggiano
Homegrown sweet tomato, sliced thin
Soppressata, sliced, enough to completely cover each bread slice
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 F. Preheat a large oven safe frying pan. When hot add four slices of bread that has been generously painted with olive oil. Place slices olive oil side down. Add soppressata, cover with sliced provolone cheese, followed by tomato slices. Dust top of tomatoes with a sprinkling of Parmigiano cheese, add a bit of salt and pepper. When the bottom of the slices are just golden brown, place fry pan in oven to melt the cheese.

Assemble the sandwich halves; rub the outside of each slice with a cut clove of garlic.


If you cannot find soppressata, one could substitute Tuscan salami sprinkled with some cayenne pepper. This sandwich also may include fire roasted sweet red pimentos (cherry pepper) or Italian eggplant.

  1. Salumi are Italian cured meat products and predominantly made from pork. They are most often not cooked but dry cured. Ham and salami are members.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Shopping Around

You may have some initial difficulties shopping in other than your neighborhood market but if you want to discover the price differences between cultures, you will need to shop around. The language barrier is sometimes a difficulty but generally, some staff member will speak enough English to help you find most things.

What one cuisine little values may command a premium price where that item is more desirable in their cuisine. An example are chicken wings, which are usually twice as expensive in an Asian market. That being said, chicken thigh meat is often on sale. Cuts of meat will vary too. Often steaks cut thin will be found at an attractive per portion cost that the standard super market. Many of the spices I buy a bought at an Indian market where the cost maybe only 1/3 of what you used to pay. Pepper and mustard seeds are such an example. Fish is great to buy in Asian markets where whole fish is a bargain.

Items I look for in Asian markets are plums, bananas, pineapple, oranges, bulk Chiles, fresh spinach, scallions, chives, broccoli, "aspirations" (Italian sprouting broccoli), avocadoes, and artichokes. These are often a bargain.

Don’t overlook fruit and vegetable stands. These often have fresher, better, and cheaper products many or most of which are organically grown. I get tomatoes, corn, red potatoes, beets, onions, and home raised free-range chicken eggs at local farms.

Milled products in my area are also available at the Old Mill of Guilford.
“The Mill produces all natural corn meal, grits and flour along with a wide range of mixes including:  Gingerbread Mixes, Muffin Mixes, Pancake Mixes, Cookie Mixes, Scone Mixes, Biscuit Mixes and Hushpuppy Mix.  The Mill’s signature mix is the Sweet Potato Muffin.”
This may be an interesting place to bring your grand children.    

Friday, June 27, 2014

Six Scoops Peach Ice Cream

As a young man, our family used to make our own homemade peach ice cream. It was a great ice cream as we had our own cow, a Danish Red (Dane), bigger than a Volkswagen.

Recently, shopping at Lowes Food, I met a man and wife team who asked if I wanted to try their home made Six Scoops Ice Cream. Immediately, I asked if they had peach. Well they did indeed. I pronounce immediately on a sample, that this was the best peach ice cream I ever had.

I came to find out it has a higher price than most commercial choices. The price however is worth every blessed cent more. Try it and ask for it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Clams and Mussels in Garlic Wine Sauce

3 Pounds live clams (or 50-50 Clams and Mussels), washed & cleaned
3 Tablespoons butter and 2 Tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup white wine (sauterne or Sauvignon Blanc)
3 garlic cloves, minced
¾ Cup finely chopped shallots or Vidalia onions
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 Pound of pasta, if required

Start by rinsing the clams in water. If you also using mussels, clean these and remove any beards with a sharp pairing knife. Discard those that are open (dead) or broken shells. Then let clams stand covered in a bowl water for two hours to which you add a tablespoon of corn meal. Do not touch the bowl or the clams will “clam up”. You want them to open and drop any excess sand they might have, and additionally, they may be full of salt water which otherwise will make the dish too salty. Do not skip this step. After two, hour rise with cold water twice.
Preheat the oven to 170 F and put your serving platter in it.

Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot with plenty of surface area.  Add and heat the oil, when smoking add the clams and the garlic. Season generously with pepper (Use some red pepper too, if it pleases you.) Flip,  then cover, and cook until all the shells steam open. (Discard any that stay closed.) Remove the clams with a slotted spoon to a heated serving platter. Stick in warm oven to stay warm. Filter the broth through a very fine strainer (need to be able to filter sand) and pour the strained liquid back into the pot. Add the wine, shallots and reduce liquid on high to concentrate the flavor. Remove from heat, adding the butter. Swirl to melt butter. Taste and correct seasoning.

If serving a pasta (spaghetti or linguini), cook a pound of it al dente in boiling salted water then toss the clams, sauce and pasta together in a serving bowl.

Sprinkle with parsley.

1.     Farmed mussels and clams generally do not contain sand but it does not hurt to soak in cold water. Additionally, since these are raised in salt water, their opening will rid some of the undesirable salt.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Chris & Jeff Cordisco Make the Best BBQ Brisket I Have Ever Had

The Cordisco brothers working with a center cut of brisket from the New York Butcher Shoppe 1 slow smoked this fabulous cut into a virtual masterpiece. One of the key factors was their choice of a thick even center piece with plenty of fat on top. The fat slow bastes the roast over its 8-hour cooking period. Chris
Center Cut Brisket
and Jeff said they use a water reservoir to help keep the meat moist. The blend they used for their rub is to be discovered. I will ask them to share more details, the wood, and perhaps the rub recipe.

Stay tunned.

  1. New York Butcher Shoppe , 3606-L Elm Street, Greensboro, NC 27455,  (336) 288-8900

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bola Chile (Cascabel)

The Cascabel chili (the rattle chili) is a member the Mirasol cultivars and grows wild on the Pacific coast of Central America and Mexico. Having a mild to moderate heat, the Cascabel is good for adding a touch of heat to recipes.   Fresh Cascabel, which is 2-3 cm in diameter, is also known as chile bola (Spanish for ball). The color of the fresh chilies varies from green to red; when dried, the color darkens. The chile has woodsy nutty flavor with slight lemon-like undertone and slight smoky taste. The heat of the dried chile is 1600 on the Dremann Hotness Scale which makes it slightly more than a Serrano (1250) Two ounces of dried chilies yields about three heaping teaspoons of ground powder. Remove stems and seeds before grinding (the seed have no heat or flavor)

2 ounces of dried Bola chile
 Blending your own rubs and chili powder allows you to uniquely flavor your own creations. The heat and variance in flavors is quite incredible.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Barbeque Chicken Leg Quarters, revised

 There are more recipes than grains of sand. . .

There is nothing unique about this recipe except for its use of a mixture of chills and spices that complement a hot sauce added after the pieces are move to a hot shelf above the direct heat of the grill. The rub is used several hour before the cooking begins.The flavor of this rub deepens the flavor and makes the final result  deliciously complex.

The recipe is for three leg quarters, which is, well enough for two servings.

1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon ground coriander
1 Teaspoon garlic powder
1 Teaspoon ground Ancho chilipepper
1 Teaspoon sweet paprika
1 Teaspoon ground habanero
1 Teaspoon ground cascabel chile
1 Teaspoon ground thyme

1 Teaspoon Mapuche Style Merken Seasoning (Merquen)
1 Teaspoon MesquiteSmoke Flavoring

Taste rub once thoroughly mixed. Correct the seasoning. Dry chicken, remove any excess fat, and then rub both sides of the meat. Refrigerate, the set aside covered for two hours. Take out a allow to rest at room temperature am hour before cooking.

Place your grill (or bbq) on medium and grill on medium until colored on both sides. Baste the meat with a hot barbeque sauce (I tried Kraft’s which was excellent), the move chicken to an elevated perch or away for direct heat. Simmer on low for another 45 minutes, turning once. The chicken is done when it is very firm (internal temperature 165F)

1,  Mapuche Style Merken Seasoning (Merquen) is made from the Santiago, Chile aji cacho de cabra (in chilean spanish, the name translates as goat's dick.) Since the chile is not readily available in the US, The savoryspiceshop has blended various chiles to make this Mapuche Indian blend. La Tienda has a smokey version from Chile that contains cacho de cabra chili, coriander seeds, cumin and salt. Merken is an extremely versatile gourmet product. Its attractive copper color and delicious aromatic smoky flavour will enhance any chef s creations.
© Allen M Boatman