You might think he's doing something else. But in reality, he's learning how to sit/stay, and not doing a very good job of it (he eventually learned how to do so beautifully ... sort of ).

domenica 12 settembre 2010

Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few

Today’s the perfect day, in between playing old Dylan, to play equally old Lou Reed singing Brecht/Weill’s “September Song.” It’s cool here, but the sun’s out, and surely it will heat up enough to have Sunday lunch in the Great Outdoors.

Lunch will be pollo tonnato, a riff on the classic vitello tonnato. It’s a perfect summer dish, and a perfect dish for a waning summer, reminding you that it’s still warm, and you could be at the beach, even though you aren’t. Vitello tonnato is cold poached veal (usually shoulder) with a tuna mayonnaise. You can make it much more cheaply with chicken or even cheaply-er-ish with turkey. And it tastes swell. This recipe has been in the Scallion’s family for longer than I’ve been in the Scallion’s family (which is some good while now).

Il Cucchiaio d’Argento (Milan, 8th ed., 2005) presents two versions of this – one hot, one cold. The ingredients are more complicated, as it involves tossing the veal in butter/olive oil, and ultimately garnishing it with pickles (which sounds really good, actually). The cold version suggests adding egg yolks to the mayonnaise. Elizabeth David (Italian Food, Middlesex, 1954) provides two recipes for this dish, including Artusi’s.

Artusi’s recipe is more complicated; you stud the veal with anchovies, and he says use the broth for a risotto (perhaps he did not have dogs). David’s “Tunny Fish Mayonnaise” (maionese tonnata) pairs with hardboiled eggs, sandwiches, or stuffing for ripe tomatoes.
You could make your own mayonnaise, but if you have Hellman’s on hand, why bother?

(The tuna mayonnaise works equally well as a potato salad dressing, and is just as tasty with cold sliced roast beef.)

Pollo tonnato (chicken with tuna mayonnaise)

For the chicken:

¾ lb. chicken breast, organic desirable, sliced about ½ inch thick
Slice of lemon
Half a red onion, peeled
5 peppercorns
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bay leaf
Pinch of sea salt

For the mayonnaise:

1 c. Hellman’s mayonnaise
8 oz. canned tuna, preferably Italian, preferably packed in olive oil
¼ c. poached chicken broth
¼ c. capers plus 3 T. for garnish
2 T. lemon juice
1 lemon, sliced, for garnish
3 anchovy filets
Handful of flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Sea salt and (freshly ground) white pepper, to taste

Put all the “For the chicken” ingredients into a broad saucepan, and cover with water. Cook on a very low flame; when it comes to a gentle boil, flip the chicken slices, cover, turn the heat off, and let chicken continue to cook for at least five minutes. Remove from the pan, reserve the broth (excess broth will be happily lapped up by canines), and let cool.

To make the tuna mayonnaise: throw the mayonnaise into a blender, the loosely-drained tuna, reserved chicken broth, anchovies, ¼ c. capers, lemon juice, salt, pepper. Whirl. If it’s too thick, add a bit more broth.

Place the chicken slices on a platter. Gently ice with the tuna mayonnaise. Dot with capers, lemon slices, and chopped parsley. Eat right away.

Florentine Canine Monument Update from the Queen of Kansas: “ The next time you are in Florence, stop in at the church of S. Paolino near S.M. Novella. In the first chapel on the right is the tomb of Maso degli Albizi (too lazy to look up the date, c. 1418) which originally was in S. Pier Maggiore but later was moved to S. Paolino, cut in half lengthwise, and incorporated into an (I think) 18th- century tomb. My point here is that on the end of the tomb there is a marvelous relief image of a dog, nose to the ground. Not a monument for a canine, but certainly a touching monument to one and, presumably, his owner.”

A Query:

Dear Tillie's Tuscan Table,

My partner, in a fit of enthusiasm, bought a large bagful of purple figs from a street market. Whilst beautiful to look at, they are not all that flavoursome.

I've been looking for recipes of how to use them, since in their virgin state they are not all that interesting. Is baking them a good idea?

What is your advice?

Best wishes,
An avid blog reader and dog lover

Dear Avid Blog Reader and Dog Lover:

Why not make jam? You can convert them from their virgin state into a seasoned and experienced taste sensation.

The Venerable Marion Cunningham provides an easy recipe – 4 c. prepared fruit, 3 cups sugar. Take those flavorless figs of yours, peel them, chop them coarsely, throw them in a pot, stir constantly, add water as needed. Then add the sugar, continuing to stir (constantly), and cook ‘til thick (The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, New York, 1979). She, Cunningham, then suggests jarring/sterilizing the fruit concoction, but I say don’t bother and just eat it fast. It ought to taste really, really good with cured Italian pork products or a semi-stagionato’d Pecorino (or, in your case, with a nice Vinny Blue or Stilton). Fig jam also tastes divine on toast with butter (preferably from Cornwall).

You might also want to check out Nigel Slater’s just released Tender (2), where he delves into the mysteries of cooking with fruit. His book might be the perfect solution for the next time your overly-enthusiastic partner returns from a street market with, say, 15 pounds of quince.

Thanks for reading but, more importantly, thanks for being a dog lover.

Today's subject quotes Brecht/Weill. The end is "September, November/And these few precious days I'll spend with you/These precious days I'll spend with you."

1 commento:

  1. Patty, I'm so glad you told me about your blog the other day in the bookstore. I really like it--it's full of your effervescent personality. I love how you created it as sort of a "virtual monument" to Tillie, and I love your term for the elusive, yet ever-present, "Scallion"....

    See you round the shop! Your new reader,