Thursday, January 28, 2016

Marc Forgione's Crab Cakes with Smoky Onion Remoulade. And they're Gluten-Free.

Marc Forgione's Crab Cake....
Larry Forgione's Smoky Onion Remoulade
A great crab cake is not easy to find.  Many versions of this Maryland classic are purposefully stuffed with as much bread as there is crab.  Sometimes this is to compensate for the price of crab meat which will run you about $22.00 a lb. And often the additional bread is to give the cake enough heft so that it won’t fall apart. This is a particular trait of the cocktail party crab cake which of necessity has to make it in one piece from plate to palate.  Nevertheless, I love the things and despite believing that I had a perfect recipe, I could not resist trying one.  The results were smashing. The interior of the crunchy golden cake is light as air, filled with crab meat flavored with no less than four vegetables, none of which I’d ever seen in crab cake before.  And then there’s the accompanying Remoulade.  This complex mix of onion, shallots and chives packs enough heat to make it much more interesting than the usual ketchup-y mayo that’s normally passed with those cocktail crab cakes.   All in all, this recipe deserves your attention. That may very well be because its pedigree is second to none.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Creamy White Bean Gratin with Sausage and Spinach

After the Storm...
         If you watched the news anytime in the past 72 hours, you undoubtedly heard that much of the Mid-Atlantic states are under a blanket of snow so deep, Washington DC is shut down for at least another day.  Here in New York, the snowfall came within 2/10th of an inch of setting an all time record for a single storm.  New Yorkers inevitably react to any weather report predicting “Snowmaggeden” by storming the grocery stores and stripping the shelves of every loaf of bread and bottle of milk.  Last Friday was no exception.  It took me two full hours to get my supplies in. I went to three markets with lines out the doors at ten in the morning. This was fully twelve hours before the first flake was forecast to fall.  Later in the day, Andrew walked home past a line of people stretching round a block just to get into Trader Joe’s.  By that time, I was home cooking up a storm…sorry I couldn’t resist.
Bertolli's Original Recipe
One item I wanted on the menu this weekend breaks all kinds of my rules.  The number one of these is that I cook everything from scratch.  It’s not just a point of pride, it’s because I genuinely try to avoid processed foods at all costs.   The reason for today’s exception was a great shot of a cast iron skillet filled with creamy white beans in a luscious looking sauce, lovely greens interspersed between the beans and two Italian sausages nestled into this hearty dish.  It was an ad for Bertolli, the Italian foods company.  They were hawking their Garlic Alfredo pasta sauce.  It appeared in Bon Appetit way back last Spring. If there’s one thing it didn’t look like, it was Spring.  To me it speaks of Winter and warm and comforting food. The original recipe called for Broccoli Rabe.  Please feel free to use a small bunch of it after having trimmed the tough stalks.  I substituted Baby Spinach. And I used a jar of Bertolli Garlic Alfredo sauce because, after all, isn’t Bertolli a wonderful old Italian brand? Well not anymore it isn’t.