One of the greatest scents of summer is the fragrance of fresh herbs. I use many of the herbs in my small garden nearly every day – basil in a Caprese salad, sorrel in scrambled eggs and thyme and sage in roasted potatoes. The chocolate mint, with its clean aroma, presents more of a challenge. However, last night’s dinner of lamb tenderloin demanded the mint.
Rather than use the mint in a sauce for the lamb, I decided to incorporate it in a couscous. First, I roughly chopped three sprigs of mint leaves and shelled and roughly chopped a handful of salted pistachios.
Then, I brought 1 1/4 cups of water to a boil and added 1 cup of whole wheat pearl couscous. I stirred the couscous periodically and added one tablespoon of butter, a dash of turmeric and salt and pepper to taste. When the couscous was just about cooked (after 8 minutes), I stirred in the pistachios and mint. The saltiness of the pistachios was an excellent complement to the subtle chocolate flavor of the mint. The color was also vibrant and summery.
Consider serving this couscous alongside a lamb dish, as I did with the lamb tenderloin marinated in olive oil, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Make a little extra for the next day, as I found it to be a tasty addition to an antipasto lunch of prosciutto and cheeses.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Antipasto, Chocolate, Cooking, Couscous, Food, Garden, Herbs, Lamb, Mint, Pistachio, Prosciutto, Recipe, Turmeric
If you’re in the mood for a seafood dish with a kick, I recommend a Shrimp Fra Diavolo. It is a simple preparation yet an interesting alternative to a regular marinara sauce.
Begin by heading to your local seafood market for jumbo shrimp (I suggest four per person). Then select your pasta. This weekend I found an excellent egg pasta made in Italy by Bartolini called “Cirioline All’Uovo”. The package contains eight nests of long squared pasta, adding more surface area for the sauce to adhere, and two nests per person seems to be the perfect amount to allow for seconds.
After you clean the shrimp, prepare what I refer to as a “fast sauce”. This involves slicing three cloves of garlic and sautéing the garlic in olive oil. Do this in a sauté pan that has a lid, and then add a box of Pomi chopped tomatoes. Add salt to taste and stir.
The “Fra Diavolo” begins by adding several dashes of red paper flakes as well as a dried chili pepper. Also include fresh herbs, such as basil and/or oregano. (I am growing a hot and spicy oregano plant, which was an ideal pairing!) When the sauce comes to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover.
While preparing the sauce, bring a large pot of water to a boil. As the water comes to a boil, add a pinch of salt and then the pasta. Stir the pasta periodically. When about six minutes remain to cook the pasta, add the cleaned shrimp to the sauce. Adjust the heat to medium and cover. Turn the shrimp once while cooking so that each side becomes opaque. This will take about three minutes per side.
Drain the pasta and add it to the sauté pan, tossing it with the shrimp and sauce. Serve the Shrimp Fra Diavolo in pasta bowls…with extra red pepper on the side.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Chili Pepper, Cooking, Food, Fra Diavolo, Garlic, Herbs, Hot, Italian, Pasta, Pepper, Recipe, Red Pepper, Sauce, Seafood, Shrimp, Tomato