April 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
I seem to write way too often ( or, as often as ‘way too often’ can be for a 7-post young/old blog) about breakfast/lunch on a Saturday or Sunday. But that said, this was in fact brunch earlier today. And a very satisfying and relatively guilt free brunch at that.
I had for the longest time (since 2007 to be exact), heard about how good San Marzano tomatoes were for making sauces. But one way or the other, I had not, managed to try them for myself. So, the other day, I finally bought a can of San Marzano tomatoes and I wanted to use it in a dish where the tomatoes were to be the star. The first thing that came to mind was Pappa al Pomodoro, a Tuscan tomato soup thickened with bread and flavored with basil, garlic and loads of olive oil. However, I was looking to make breakfast/ brunch on a Saturday, and a tomato soup somehow did not have the necessary “hmmm, Saturday morning brunch bliss” value. So, I made a tomato onion garlic sauce very similar to Pappa al Pomodoro, poured it over day old bread which soaked up the yummy goodness, and coddled a couple of eggs in the tomato bread mixture. What is brunch without eggs after all!
And here is the detailed version of the recipe:
1 28-Ounce can of whole tomatoes (I used San Marzano tomatoes)
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup (plus more to taste) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 stalks of basil leaves
1/2 of a day-old baguette
Salt and Crushed red chili flakes, to taste
Sugar, to taste
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottom pan. Add the onions and sauté on medium heat until translucent, with a little salt and crushed red chili flakes.
- Add the garlic and sauté for a minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand and add the tomatoes and their juices into the pan. Add salt and a little sugar (to cut the tartness of the tomatoes) to taste. Remove the basil leaves from the stalk and add the stalk to the pan as well. Simmer on medium heat in a covered pan for about 10-15 minutes. Adjust seasoning, and remove the basil stalks. Chiffonade the basil leaves and add to the sauce.
- Generously brush another heavy bottom skillet with oil. Roughly tear the bread into bite site pieces and add to the skillet. Pour the sauce over the bread until the bread is soaked and there is a little liquid in the pan to cook the eggs. The amount of tomato sauce required will vary depending on how dry the bread used is. Set aside for 5 minutes so that the sauce is absorbed into the bread. Brush the top with olive oil.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350C. Crack four eggs into skillet and place in oven until the eggs are cooked to desired doneness. Garnish with basil leaves. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil if desired.
April 3, 2011 § Leave a comment
Why is it “happy as a clam” and not “happy as a mussel”? It would have made the title to this post so much better if the latter was the phrase .. so inconvenient ;). But this was lunch today – and these plump, juicy treasures in a creamy sauce made me fairly happy.
Growing up, though we regularly had fish, we never really ate mussels. So, I was slightly wary about mussels, but so many people seemed to love these elegantly beautiful shellfish, and the photos were so beautiful that I just had to try them. So, last week I ordered mussels in a restaurant, but was sorely disappointed – all that I could taste was the salt.
A quick Google search later that day showed how easy these were to prepare. So, this weekend, I got a bag of mussels, and cooked them with flavors that I know I like – garlic, coconut and green chilies for a spicy kick.
And here is how I did it. In a pan, I sautéed 4 finely diced red pearl onions, 1 large garlic clove chopped and two green chilies (chopped) in a tablespoon of oil (and salt of course!) for about a minute. Then I added a skinned tomato, roughly chopped and let it cook on a medium flame until the tomatoes melted to make a sauce. Then I added about a 1/4 cup of water, and 1/2 a pound of cleaned mussels to the pan, and let it steam (covered) till all the mussels opened up. Next, I added a quarter cup of coconut milk, and a dash of vinegar. Brought it back to a simmer, adjusted seasoning and garnished it with chopped Cilantro. And Voila – Chili Garlic Mussels in Coconut sauce! (or ‘Easy Deliciousness’ – seriously, both names are descriptive of the dish)