Sunday, January 25, 2009

Easy as 1-2-3

Several years ago I read an article in the local paper on how to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey using only three ingredients. The article guaranteed a moist, succulent, perfectly cooked turkey. This of course meant you followed the recipe and threw out old notions of getting up at the crack of dawn to insure that the main event would be ready in time for the mid-afternoon repast. While I did not prepare the recipe, it wasn't my year to cook the turkey, I did find the idea of preparing wonderful meals with only three simple ingredients intriguing.

With Christmas fast approaching, I added the cookbook, Recipes 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold, to my list. To my delight, I found this wonderful resource under my tree on Christmas morning. It has been an invaluable tool in my cooking arsenal. Using just this one cookbook you can prepare a three-course dinner for six and still go through the express checkout!

Imagine a slow-braising leg of lamb with forty cloves of garlic in a wine-dark broth of Cotes du Rhone or salmon baked in briny grape leaves. From appetizer to dessert, Recipes 1-2-3 will provide you with an abundance of choices. I find myself pulling it from my shelf every time I have a dinner to prepare for a client. I have never been disappointed and more importantly, neither have my clients.

One of my favorite recipes from Recipes 1-2-3 is grilled veal chops with yellow tomato coulis and basil oil. It is super easy and when paired with the tomato coulis, vibrant haricot verts, and creamy mashed potatoes makes a beautiful presentation.

Grilled Veal Chop, Yellow Tomato Coulis, and Basil Oil

Rib veal chops, each 1 1/4 inches thick
Basil Oil
Yellow Tomato Coulis

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Season the veal chops with salt and freshly ground pepper. Brush lightly with the basil oil.
In a well seasoned cast-iron skillet, sear the veal chops on both sides until browned. Finish cooking in the oven until done, about 15 minutes.
Divide to tomato coulis evenly on the plates. Top with the veal chops and spoon more basil oil over the top.

Serves 4

Yellow Tomato Coulis

12 ounces large yellow tomatoes, blanched and peeled
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds. Cut in large pieces. Place the tomatoes in a blender, add the oil, and puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 3/4 cup

Basil Oil

1 large bunch fresh basil
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Remove the leaves from the stems and wash. Blanch the leaves in boiling water for 1 minute. Plunge in ice water. Drain and gently squeeze the eater from the basil. Place in a blender. Add oil and puree until smooth. Add salt to taste. Refrigerate.

Makes 2/3 cup

Should yellow tomatoes not be available, the veal chop is equally delicious with red tomato coulis

Wondering what wine to serve? A luscious red Italian with with a touch of berry fruit partners well with this dish. Try a Rosso di Montalcino. For something French, open a Rully Rouge, a medium-bodied wine with a true Burgundian bouquet.

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