Friday 21 September 2012

An Italian Affair

Squids and Canned Cannellini
 I am trying to create one of my favourite antipasti at Mozza Pizzeria, Calamari al forno fagioli.
Al forno means oven baked and fagioli is beans. After cleaning the squids,I added extra virgin oil,oregano,cannellini plus can liquid and salt to taste. I baked the dish at 200C covered for 35 minutes.
When the dish was done, it looked very different from the restaurant version. Though the squid is tender, the look wasn't appealing. The skin has came off and disintegrated with the liquid,making  the dish pinkish colour. I plated the dish and discard most of the liquid. Next time, I will grill the squid first and cook the beans separately.
My version of Calamari al forno fagioli
This is my skinless calamari al forno fagioli. I will definitely improve on this again. Next dish is not Italian cooking, but a famous dish by Julie Goodwin, the winner of Australian Masterchef Season 1.
Scallops and Cauliflower Puree
The scallops are Canadian frozen ones and this is the first time I cook scallops. I was happy that it turned out nice,not rubbery at all. The topping is chopped bacon and breadcrumbs. I have not tried cauliflower puree before, so I am not sure if it is of the right texture.I garnished with assorted herbs like dill,Italian parsley and oregano.(Those are what I have). Overall, the dish makes a good appetizer if you have guests.

Serves 4 as a starter

Cauliflower puree
1/2 head cauliflower,cut into florets
1 cup milk
125g unsalted butter, cut into 2cm cubes

Bacon crumble
1 cup finely diced bacon
1/2 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs

12 scallops in the half shell,roe removed
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
40g unsalted butter
Micro herbs, to garnish
Lemon wedges, to serve

1. For the cauliflower puree, place a cauliflower in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Place the cauliflower and milk a a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 8 mins until cauliflower is very soft. Remove from the heat, then add 1 teaspoon salt and the butter and stir until well combined. Blend in a small blender until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve set over a bowl, pressing down on the solids with a plastic pastry scraper.

2. For the bacon crumble, heat a frying pan over medium-high, add bacon and fry for a few minutes, stirring regularly, until crisp and golden brown. Add breadcrumbs, stir to coat, then cook for 5 minutes until golden.

3. For the scallops, remove the scallops from the shells (you can wash and reserve the shells to serve). Pat the scallops dry. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and half and butter. When the butter is foaming, add 6 scallops and cook for about 10-20 seconds each side until golden, then season with sea salt. Remove scallops and set aside. Wipe the pan clean with paper towel, then repeat with remaining olive oil,butter and scallops.

4. To serve, place a dollop of cauliflower puree in the centre of each scallop shell. Place a scallop in the centre of the puree, then sprinkle generously with the bacon crumble. Place scallops on a large serving platter, garnish with micro herbs and serve with lemon wedges.

My main course is beef tenderloin, 2 thin slices about 180gm. I seasoned beef with salt and ground pepper. Grilled on a hot grill pan until medium rare and added a small splash of balsamic vinegar.

Beef tenderloin with rocket leaves
My younger son had all these dishes for dinner. He liked the scallops but not the cauliflower puree. He doesn't like many vegetables. He finished the calamari and claimed it totally different from restaurant version.
He loves tenderloins but disliked balsamic on his beef. What a fussy eater!

The Dinner

I will be using the leftover beans to make Pasta Fagioli.

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