My boyfriend Jeff has recently started his 3rd year of residency; time really flies, I still remember meeting him for the first time 3 years ago as if it was yesterday. This accomplishment certainly calls for some serious celebraion. Can you think of any better way than a romantic and delicious dinner prepared by your Italian girlfriend? Well, I really cannot! Here is what I made: Sauteed Clams, Salmon and Parsnip puree and Basil Pannacotta.
Here is what you need for each recipe.
Sauteed clams (makes 2 portions)
– 780g (1.7 pounds) already washed fresh clams
– 100ml (0.5 cups) white wine
– 2 table spoons of Extra Virgin Oilive oil (EVO)
– salt, pepper, and freshly chopped parsley
In a large pot, warm up the EVO oil on medium fire; once hot, place the clams and cover with the lid. Stir after a couple of minutes; the clams should start to open now. Add some pepper and salt, but don’t add too much salt as the clams already have a salty taste. Once the clams are almost fully open, add the wine, let it simmer until reduced and add some parsley. This whole process shouldn’t really take more than 10-12 minutes as the clams cook really quickly and you don’t want to over cook them otherwise they will become chewy. And voila’!
– 2 pieces of salmon filet
– EVO oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (or 1 fresh clove)
– 3 parsnips
– 60ml (3oz) of heavy cream
– sage leaves
Bring some water to boil in a large deep pot. Peel and chop the parsnips; once the water boils, add a handful of large grain salt and the chopped parsnips. Let it cook for about 10-12 minutes and, once soft, drain the water and place the parsnips in a blender. Add the heavy cream, sage leaves, salt, pepper and garlic powder and blend till pureed.
Season the salmon generously with salt and pepper. Warm up some EVO oil in a large non stick pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes starting from the skin side; once you see that the salmon is becoming pink, turn it and cook for no longer than 2 minutes. Again, you don’t want to over cook it otherwise it will become too dry and chewy (and there is nothing worse than overcooked fish). Remember that the salmon will continue to slowly cook after you remove it from the pan. Now you are ready to plate.
Lastly, a delicious and refreshing all Italian dessert: Pannacotta with a twist.
This is what you need (makes 3 portions)
– 150ml (5oz) heavy cream
– 70ml (2.4oz) whole milk
– 2 table spoon of goat kefir
– 30g (1oz) granulated sugar
– 35g (1.3oz) egg white
– a pinch of salt
– 10-12 small leaves of fresh basil
– 2 large nectarines
Preheat the oven to 140C (180F). In a small pot, place the heavy cream, milk, goat kefir, salt, and sugar and whisk till the sugar has dissolved and add the basil. Place on medium fire and let it simmer for a few minutes continuing to stir. Remove the pot from the fire, cover it with a lid and let it cool down completely. Once cool, remove the basil leaves, add the egg white and mix it well. Place the mix in 3 little glass cups (you can use aluminum or iron ones if you prefer). Place the cups in a larger oven pan and pour water in the pan till the cups are 2/3 covered.
Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. While the pannacotta cooks, you can prepare the peach compote. Simply, cut the nectarine in little cubes and place on a non stick pan on a medium fire for about 15 minutes with a couple of table spoons of water; the nectarines naturally contain sugar and pectin therefore they will not stick to the pan and will naturally caramelize.
Once the pannacotta is ready, remove it from the oven and let it cool down completely, then place in the fridge for at least 2. 5 hours. To remove the pannacotta from the glasses, place the bottom of the glasses in hot water for 2-3 seconds and run a thin knife around the edges of the glass to help the pannacotta to be removed. Now plate and taste!
This is a truly easy dessert to make and absolutely delicious with that fresh basil taste! Needless to say that Jeff ate it in a heart beat!
I hope you will try this dish at home, and stay tuned for the next post!