This is a delicious side dish to accompany roast chicken or pork. I use the frozen pearl onions, the plain kind with no sauce, because this is so easy that it can be part of a dinner after a hard day.
This Chou Rouge a la Limousine is a wonderful hearty fall-and-winter recipe to accompany roast pork or pork sausages, or roast goose. It's one of my favorite things to prepare when the cold weather finally returns to Plymouth!
It's easy to turn this into a full Porc Braise aux Choux Rouges dinner by cooking a 3-lb pork loin in with the cabbage.
Here's a delightful side dish that can accompany many northern dishes (that is, dishes of the northern butter clan as opposed to the southern olive oil clan). It can be made with fresh or frozen spinach, so it's a handy recipe for when you have surprise dinner guests.
This is from the French Riviera, with the typical bright flavors of sunny Provence, but less complicated than the similar Sicilian Swordfish alla Ghiotta.
The sauce from this, if you have any leftover, is great on black squid-ink pasta, along with any leftover swordfish. I often cook some shrimp with the swordfish with the plan to have leftovers on pasta.
These big predator fish can have a strong fishy flavor that improves when it's marinated for an hour or two. One batch of marinade is enough for two good-sized steaks or 1.5 pounds of cubed fish.
Steak au Poivre is awesome and awful - you really need to know what you are signing up for.
Steak with cracked pepper can be a fine combination if you keep everything in balance. This classic French recipe does just that. Rather than burn the aromatic pepper by searing it with the steak, you cook the steak properly and then dress it with a peppercorn cream sauce.
Some recipes call for crusting the steak with crushed peppercorns and then grilling it or searing it on a hot griddle. That's a bad idea. The best flavor of pepper comes from the volatile oils that provide that peppery zing. But exposing volatile oils to a screaming hot griddle burns them into smoke leaving only charred pepper-husks. Try it yourself and see. Then try this recipe.
Note: Black pepper is no friend to wine. Green and pink peppercorns work better, but they're not awesome. In my opinion, this recipe is best with no wine, but some fine cognac works wonders...
This feisty Sicilian (is that redundant?) recipe was inspired by the feisty protagonist in the classic opera Cavalleria Rusticana. Here I made it with the corkscrew pasta fusilli because it seemed to fit the theme, and because the long pasta works well with this chunky sauce.
This simple dish serves as the base for any number of derivatives to accompany all sorts of dinners. It easy to make with the frozen petite peas from the supermarket even in the dead of winter.
Ployes are a sort of buckwheat pancake from New Brunswick, Quebec, and Aroostook County, Maine. They are traditionally served at any time of day with any sort of topping. I show a couple here with apple butter, which was great with coffee for a light breakfast, but I've read about ployes topped with berries and cream, creamed fish, beef stew, and plain butter.
These were made with a packaged mix from Bouchard Family Farms of Fort Kent, Maine, and they were quite excellent.
Here's another old Plymouth dish made with fresh local sea clams. This was served for many years at the venerable Old Colony Club in Plymouth.
It's not hearty like a clam chowder. This has no potatoes or other vegetables or meat in it, so it's not much for a lunch on its own. It's a delicate soup course served rather like a consomme, to open a larger meal. I serve Clam Muddle in cups rather than in bowls.
This is another old Plymouth favorite. There's a Clam Pudding Pond in Plymouth, and one of my friends lives on Clam Pudding Road!
This is a combination of ground sea clams and finely crushed crackers, bound together with egg. There's no leavening in it, so it does not puff up in the oven, but nevertheless it's not heavy. This is good served as a luncheon dish with salad or soup or as a side dish to a main course, and leftovers are delicious fried up in hot butter!
I don't remember seeing this in any of my old Plymouth cookbooks, but Richmond and Annette knew it well, and others in their circle remembered it.
The traditional Salmoriglio sauce of Sicily is a perfect accompaniment to swordfish and other full-flavored fishes served hot off the grill. It's easy to make and it works on swordfish steaks and kebabs.
It works as a marinade, too, but I think that's too much for fish; I'd save that for pork or chicken.
It took an awfully long time for me to find a recipe for a calve's liver dish that I liked. As was the case with many of us, my mom made it from time to time, a big slab of strange-looking, strange-smelling, strangely-textured strangeness that nobody wanted to eat. But this one I liked a lot, and I and my friend Andy both took additional helpings.
I had to try this recipe because it's a Venetian classic, and how could it become a classic if it were at all like what my mom made?
The differences in this dish are twofold, one part of the recipe and the other was the liver itself.
I decided a long time ago that I did not trust liver from cattle raised on factory farms fed who knows what feed and drugs, because all of that ultimately is processed by the liver. I found some Caldwell Farms calf liver at the Belfast Coop in Belfast, Maine. I knew it was going to be as good a piece of liver as I am likely to find, so I bought it for this recipe.
The recipe insists that the liver be sliced very thinly before cooking. Andy and I agreed that this was a major improvement, getting past the worst of the texture strangeness, ensuring all of it was cooked through but not overdone, and enabling tastes of the liver to go along with the onions in a pleasing way. I will make this again, when I can get the good liver.
This is another fine, simple Italian recipe using pearl onions. Supermarket frozen onions work fine in this recipe, and they save a ton of time and sore thumbs from peeling.
I keep a bag or two of frozen onions in the freezer for this and similar recipes because they go with so many dinners, especially winter cooking. If you will be serving these with meat, consider replacing the dry vermouth with chicken stock. Of course, you can use just water, too.
In the United States, Marinara sauce has come to mean a simple, vegetarian tomato sauce, but it isn't that way in Italy. Marinara means "in the mariner's style", which emphasizes thrift and availability of local, inexpensive ingredients, sometimes but not aways including some sort of seafood that might have been by-catch.
Remember that not all marinai were fishermen, and dinner might have been prepared at sea or back in port. This recipe provides a base from which you can unleash your inner galley-cook!