Posted by Chef Lindsay Allen, September 24, 2015
Tostones are traditionally Latin American, made by cooking green plantains until soft, then smashing them and frying until crispy. They are served in many different ways: with a ceviche topping, by themselves with a dipping sauce, shaped into cups and filled, etc. I thought it would be fun to make a sauce out of white beans, chorizo sausage, and tomatoes sauteed in sazon-seasoned butter and layer it over the tostones. We weren’t sure what to call it, so we named it Tostones Con Cosas, which simply means ‘tostones with stuff’.
Posted by Chef Lindsay Allen, July 28, 2015
Starting tomorrow, July 25th, we’ll be doing a special tapas menu from 11 AM – 3 PM every Sunday. We came up with a dozen or so small plates that can be had for $5-7 and are completely new ideas from our culinary team. Tapas are relatively popular these days, with the idea being that you can sample a few different things for what you would normally spend on a full meal. Check out the menu by clicking the “Sunday Tapas” link.
Posted by Chef Lindsay Allen, July 25, 2015
One of our Sunday Tapas dishes is Ceviche Shrimp “Cocktail”. It’s essentially an Ecuadorian dish with a recipe that includes poaching the shrimp with its shells, celery, tomato and onion, reserving the shrimp, and then blending and straining the liquid (with the shells!) and using it to make the acidic marinade. Ceviche traditionally uses raw seafood that is ‘cooked’ by the acid in the marinade, while escabeche is very similar, but made with pre-poached seafood. So is it an escabeche or a ceviche? I don’t know. I’m calling it a ceviche because that is the way it was originally presented to me. Either way, it tastes incredible.
Posted by Chef Lindsay Allen, July 21, 2015
Sometimes I call it Zuppa Di Pesce, and sometimes I call it Cioppino. Zuppa is Italian, and Cioppino is from San Francisco, but they are essentially the same idea. Assortments of fish are cooked in a white wine and tomato broth with other aromatics and served with bread to soak up the broth. The last few weeks we made it with monkfish, which I had never used before. This week week we are replacing the monkfish with salmon. I will probably bring the monkfish back, but I have to special order it and missed the cutoff time (don’t tell anyone!). Here is our recipe:
Cioppino – serves 2
6 oz. salmon, cut into chunks (you can use any fish that won’t fall apart during cooking)
6-8 large shrimp
5-6 slices of garlic
1 tsp. diced ginger
1 tsp. nonpareil capers
1/2 c. chopped tomato
1/4 c. white wine
1/4 c. tomato sauce
2 tbsp. butter
1. Over high heat, oil a saute pan and add the garlic, salmon, clams and shrimp. As the garlic browns, add the chopped tomato, ginger and capers. Flip the shrimp, and allow to cook for 30-60 seconds. Add the white wine, tomato sauce, and enough water to bring the broth at least halfway up to the level of the fish. Season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
2. Remove the shrimp from the pan so they don’t overcook. Cover the pan and turn down to a simmer until the clams have opened and the salmon is cooked through. Return the shrimp to the pan and add the butter. Taste the broth for seasoning.
3. Rub your toast with a piece of garlic and drizzle with a little olive oil. Serve your cioppino in large bowls, but don’t pour the last bit of broth out of the pan, as it may contain some sand from the clams. Top with cilantro leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.
Posted by Chef Lindsay Allen, July 20, 2015
This week we’re trying a new special: seared stuffed grape leaves.
We use preserved grape leaves in brine. You can find these at any store that specializes in middle eastern ingredients. We remove the stem from each leaf, then add a chunk of goat cheese, seasoned with black pepper. We avoid adding salt, because the leaves are already salty. We then add some of our sun-dried tomato pesto and basil, then fold each side of the leaf over in a clockwise pattern. To serve, we quickly pan-sear the stuffed leaves on both sides in a little olive oil, and serve with a balsamic vinaigrette.
Posted by Chef Lindsay Allen, July 4, 2015
Here is a spot I did on FOXCT’s morning show to showcase the biannual Taste of Hartford event. I knew I would only have a few minutes on the air, so I wanted to make something I could do start to finish quickly, instead of doing that “here is the prep and this is what it will look like in 2 hours when it’s done” thing. I went with an arugula salad with oranges and marinated shrimp.
I was also able to explain a little bit about the thought process behind the marinade, which we continue to use in the restaurant. The key is that it contains no salt and has very low acidity, which means you can leave the shrimp in the marinade for a day or two without affecting the texture. Normally salt and acid will ‘cook’ seafood if left for longer than a few minutes, which would be great if we were making a ceviche!
Posted by Chef Lindsay Allen, June 19, 2015