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Monday, November 12, 2018

Sole a la Grenobloise

I sat before this extraordinary sole, wondering as I chewed each buttery, spright, sumptuous bite of fish, "Why have I never made this dish before...?"

My Sole a la Grenobloise (as prepared in the city of Grenoble, the south-eastern region of France) was pulled from Saveur's 'The Beauty of Butter' special issue, No. 109. The word butter itself was such an obvious, delicious clue to all that might await in the pages, but the pages remained unsmeared by my buttery fingers, until recently. What a simple dish to delight your guests!

Aren't these beautiful sole filets?

Soak your sole in milk, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

The recipe is here, and it's not difficult to make, merely astounding to eat. You can purchase the clarified butter required or take a little time to do it yourself as described here. I would add a final spray of lemon over the sole before serving; the shock of acid truly brings the dish to life. Otherwise, serve it with white rice and a side dish of green beans almondine, the basics from found here. Do enjoy!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Shrimp & White Bean Confit with Polenta

Sometimes recipes stir me to make something else entirely with them. I was intrigued by a recipe for a fava bean stew, but then I thought of the shrimp we had in the freezer, considered cannellini beans, and wondered how it might all go on top of creamy polenta.

I made the Cyprus fava bean stew, known as Koukkia Kounnes, from Saveur magazine, but tinkered with the recipe (see below,) using a 15.5 oz. can of white cannellini beans instead of favas and used about half the amount of suggested chicken broth. I let it simmer for quite a while, along with the garlic, thyme, onion, and bay leaves, until the liquid all but evaporated--now I had a luscious, fragrant confit of beans!

While the stew slowly simmered, I prepared the polenta. When the polenta was nearly done cooking, I sauteed a dozen thawed shrimp in olive oil with zest from a whole lemon, some smashed garlic, salt and pepper. Once the shrimp were cooked, I removed them with a slotted spoon and covered with foil to keep warm. Reduce the zesty sauce to thicken slightly.

The perfect forkful: spoon your polenta on two plates, and add the confit of beans. Top with shrimp and pour the reduced sauce over that. Get a hold of that fork and dig in! Serves two.

I went rogue in the kitchen, but here is complete stew recipe unadorned, with my suggestions only in italics:

Adapted from Saveur
Serves 4-6
1 lb. dried fava beans (I used canned cannellini beans)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more, to taste
6 cloves garlic, quartered
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
5 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth (I used only about 2 cups)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (I forgot! But lemon zest with the shrimp preparation solved that!)

Place the dried fava beans in a bowl or pot, cover with water by 3″ and let soak for 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.  Drain the beans and set aside. (Use canned for time-saving tip!)
Heat a dutch oven over medium heat, and add the oil.  Add the onion, garlic, thyme, and bay, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
Add the fava beans (or cannellinis) and broth to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, until beans are tender and broth has thickened, about 2.5 hours. (Canned beans won’t take this long to cook; simmer until liquid is almost evaporated)
Season with salt and pepper and stir in the lemon juice (again, I forgot the lemon juice). Ladle into a bowl and drizzle more olive oil over the top, if desired. (Or serve on top of your polenta with shrimp!)

Thanks to for adapting the recipe online.