Modern Italian class

Dinner for 4-6

Tuna Tartare with Red Chili, Oil Cured Olives and Basil with Cumin Scented Crostini
For tartare
8 oz sushi grade center loin tuna, cut into ¼ inch small dice, and held in a bowl that is set in ice
¼ cup fruity olive oil
1 tsp harissa paste
2 cloves minced garlic, heel and germ taken out
1 small minced shallot
½ of a freshly roasted (not over roasted) pepper, peeled, seeded and 1/8th inch dice
12 leaves of basil chiffonade
1 ½ Tbsp chopped chives
12 oil cured olives pitted and minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Fold all of this together 10 minutes or so before serving

For the vinaigrette
½ of a roasted, peeled and seeded pepper
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp harissa
1/3 cup olive oil
4 blanched and shocked basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Puree in a blender adding oil last, then season with salt and pepper

Mixed greens, arugula, mache. mizuna,

For the crostini
½ of a baguette cut into ¼ inch slices
3 cloves garlic puree, crushed with salt
2 tsp toasted whole cumin, ground
½ cup olive oil
Whisk together the wet ingredients and brush on the crostinis, cook at 350 till golden and crunchy
Make a little salad bed, top with the seasoned tartare and place some crostinis around to pick the tartare up with.

Serve with a chilled Viogner, Sauvignon Blanc, Austrian Dry Riesling or Dry Sparkling Rose

Paneed Sweetbreads with Lump Crab, Scallion Polenta Bianco and Bourbon-Mustard Jus

1 Pound Soaked, Blanched and Pressed Veal Sweetbreads
(soak in milk overnight with 2 bay leaves and 10 peppercorns, next day blanch and shock quickly 2 times and then finally simmer in milk with onion carrot and a half bunch of thyme. Cool and press with a weight for 2-3 hours before cleaning for the sauté)

½ pound picked jumbo lump crab
½ cup veal demi glace
1 cup bourbon
4 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 minced shallot
1 cup wondra flour- seasoned
2 tbsp chopped chives
1 Tbsp stone ground Mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Polenta Bianco
½ cup stone ground artisanal grits
2 cups seasoned water or chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup sharp white cheddar
¼ cup gruyere
¼ cup chopped chives
Salt and pepper to order
Heat the liquid until just boiling and check to make sure the seasoning is good. Slowly add the grits or polenta bianco, and turn down to low immediately cook for 25-30 minutes or until smooth. If you are using polenta bianco it is usually quick cooking and will only take about 10 minutes. Add cheese and re-season off the heat.

Season and dust the peeled and cut sweetbreads. Sauté in butter and when they are golden brown and ready to flip add the crab and warm through and then pull the meat out and set aside to drain. In the same pan add 2 Tbsp of the minced shallot and sauté for 2 minutes. Pull the pan slightly off the heat and add ½ cup of the bourbon. Cook down to a glaze and add the veal demi and the grain mustard. Taste and season, thin with bourbon if necessary and mount with butter. Place the cooked sweetbreads and crab over the polenta bianco and drizzle with the veal sauce. Top with chives

Sautéed Grouper with Fingerling Potatoes, Mussels and Verjus Vinaigrette

4 6oz pieces black or other fresh grouper
3 pounds fresh live de-bearded mussels
1 pound yellow finn fingerling
1 bunch asparagus, blanched and cut into 3 inch half logs.
3 Tbsp chopped Chives
2 stems tarragon
3 cloves garlic sliced
3 minced shallots
1 1/2 stick butter
1 Tbsp Truffle Oil
½ Red onion cut into half julienne
24 white grapes peeled
1 orange zest taken off, cut into segments, reserve the extra juice
1 bottle white wine (need 2 cups)
2 cups verjus
¼ cup grape seed oil
1 cup extra virgin finishing oil
Salt and pepper
Chili flake

Melt the ¾ of the butter in a small pan on low. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and place cut side down in the butter. Top with salt pepper and some shallot. Cook on low heat on the stovetop or in the oven at 325 till just cooked through, about 8-12 minutes. Check for seasoning and set aside to cool. Place the asparagus with the potatoes.

Sauté garlic in a bit of oil and then add the mussels and pan roast, using the wine and ½ the verjus to steam. Cool and reserve liquid. Strain. Take the mussel meat out of the shell and reduce the liquid to a glaze. This will be the base for the vinaigrette.

In a bowl take the mussel liquid reduction (if it is extremely salty, toss it now! And balance it out with about a quarter cup of verjus and the squeeze of the orange remnants after you take out the supremes. Add a half cup of olive oil and add the truffle oil. This is the vinaigrette for the mussel salad. Add the mussel meat, the orange segments, grapes, herbs, some shallot and the onion. Re-season with salt and pepper and allow to the salad to come together.

Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper and sear in a hot pan, and immediately turn down to medium, add some butter to the pan and begin basting with the butter and oil. When the fish has a nice crust on the presentation side, turn and finish on medium heat till medium well.

Warm the asparagus and potatoes and make a platform for the fish. Place the fish on top and place a nice pile of the mussel salad on top. Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette, and a small bit of finishing oil. Yummy!

Stone Fruit Crostata
Peach, cherry, nectarine or what ever fruit you like!

This is for 4 small tarts, but you could make 1 large one. Use about 1 ½ peaches per tart.
We make this dough in a food processor with the regular chopping blade

½ pound butter cut into ½ inch cubes and frozen for 5 minutes then refrigerated (cold)
2 cups unbleached AP flour (King Arthur)
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ cup ice water
1 egg for egg wash

Pulse together flour, sugar and salt. Lightly dust the butter with flour and toss, to keep the cubes from sticking as you process them.
Add butter and pulse about 10 times
Turn back on and add the water with the motor running for about 5 seconds.
It may all still be a bit crumbly, but turn it onto a surface and bring it together by hand. Wrap and refrigerate. Cut into 4 equal pieces, and roll out into 1/8 inch thick disks approximate, these are meant to be rustic.

Toss the fruit in a bit of sugar and cover the bottom of the disk, leaving about a 2 inch rim to be folded. Fold and egg wash the crust only. Then cool the tarts in the fridge for 20 minutes. Bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes.

For Mascarpone Gelato
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup milk
½ cup mascarpone
2/3 cups sugar
2 oz brandy burnt off first! And then cooled

Combine and scald till sugar is dissolved. Cool for at least 1 hour and then freeze in your favorite ice cream machine.