This is one of Zach’s staples, a recipe he has memorized. It’s a comfort food tradition that we’ve already established in our young marriage. August never had anything quite like it in her pre-Zach life, and now it’s something she looks forward coming home to after a long day at school.
Makes 2 (with lots of leftover bread)
• For the garlic bread:
1/3 cup of softened butter
2-3 oz. of freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tbs. of finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of dried basil
Pinch of dried oregano
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the top off of the baguette loaf; discard, or save it to make bread crumbs for some future recipe. Thoroughly mix the butter, garlic, pepper, basil, and oregano in a bowl. Use the back of a spoon to spread the mixture over the sliced part of the baguette. Evenly place shaved Parmesan on top.
Bake for 10-12 minutes on a baking sheet until the cheese is melted.
• For the zucchini:
2 large zucchinis
1/2 of one white onion
1 large Roma tomato
1/4 cup of whole milk
1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk
1 tbs. and 1 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. of finely minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rub the tomato with 1 tsp. of olive oil and a little bit of salt and pepper. Bake in a glass baking dish for 1 hour. After baking, let cool slightly and remove the skin.
Cut the zucchini into 1/2″ coins, and thinly slice half of an onion. In a large saute pan, heat 1 tbs. of olive oil over medium-low heat, and add sliced onions and a pinch of pepper and cook for about 20 minutes until onions are slightly caramelized; not much stirring is required, but don’t ignore the pan for 20 minutes, either. Add the minced garlic during the last 3 minutes
Roughly chop the roasted tomato. Increase the heat under the saute pan to medium, and add the tomato to the onions. Cook for 1 minute to marry the flavors, stirring once. Add the zucchini and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring once a minute.
In a mixing bowl, combine milk, grated Parmesan, and egg yolk with a whisk. Pour this into the saute pan after the zucchini has cooked for its additional 5 minutes. Cook for 1 minute more, stirring frequently.
Salt to taste at the end (especially with squashes, because they are water-based and you can draw the water out if you add salt at the beginning). Put on a plate, and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan before serving.
• For the white clam sauce and pasta:
1/2 box of Barilla Plus angel hair pasta
2 cans of clams
1/4 cup of white wine
2 tbs. of butter
1 tbs. of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs. of finely minced garlic
1 tsp. of dried basil
Small pinch of red chili pepper flakes
Freshly shredded Parmesan cheese to garnish
Cook pasta according to box, but make sure you salt your water so that “it tastes like the sea” (Chef Zach recommends). Meanwhile, in a medium saute pan, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and chili pepper flakes, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently because you don’t want the garlic to burn. Add the clams, white wine, and basil, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring twice.
Toss the pasta and sauce together, plate it, and garnish with shredded Parmesan.
We went to Lunardi’s today (an excellent grocery store about which we will write in a future post) specifically for the meat selection. Duck was on the list, and we found a two-pack of breasts of Muscovy duck (aka Barbary duck) from Grimaud Farms, perfect for our dinner. To go with one of the leanest of duck breeds, Zach made a raw vegetable couscous salad with Mediterranean inspiration.
Makes 2 (and lots of leftover couscous)
• For the couscous vinaigrette:
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 finely minced garlic cloves
1 tsp. of dried oregano
1 tsp. of dried thyme
1 tsp. of kosher salt
1/2 tsp. of freshly cracked black pepper
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and whisk profusely until emulsified.
• For the couscous itself:
1 cup of water
1 large zucchini
12 grape tomatoes
1/4 cup of sliced black olives
1/8 cup of toasted pine nuts, aka pignolia
2 tsp. of butter
1 tsp. of kosher salt
Boil water, salt, and butter in a medium saucepan. Add couscous, stirring quickly so that it doesn’t immediately settle into the water. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside so that it can cool.
Slice the tomatoes in half and put in a large mixing bowl. Cut the zucchini in half, the half the halves, so that you get quarter sticks. Dice the sticks into 1/4 inch pieces, and add to the tomatoes. Add the cooled couscous, olives, toasted pine nuts, and vinaigrette, and gently toss so as not to break the tomatoes. Keep cool until serving.
• For the glaze:
4 tbs. of honey
3 tbs. of balsamic vinegar
In a small non-stick saute pan on medium heat, cook the two ingredients for 4-5 minutes until the consistency is thickened like a light syrup. Turn off the heat and let it stand.
• For the duck:
2 duck breasts (we used Muscovy for the lower fat content)
1 tbs. of peanut oil
1 tsp. of kosher salt
1/2 tsp. of freshly cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Score the duck breasts (meaning: lightly slice across the skin in lines about a half-inch apart, crossing to make a checkerboard pattern) and season both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat the peanut oil in a large oven-proof saute pan over medium. After about 1-2 minutes of warming up, place one duck breast skin side down; wait about 15 seconds before placing the second so that the oil doesn’t cool down. Cook for 6 minutes, then flip over and paint the skin and sides with the honey balsamic glaze.
Bake for 8 minutes for medium-rare, 10 minutes for medium, 11 for medium-well, and then 12 for well (ha, that rhymed). We recommend medium-rare. After reaching your desired doneness, rest on a cutting board for 4 minutes before slicing on the bias (meaning: diagonally, like at 45 degrees into the cutting board instead of perpendicular to it).