Food & Drink

Stock photo

By Barbara Beltrami

Carpe diem! Any day now, if it hasn’t already happened, soft shell crabs will be available in fish markets. Usually in season locally from late spring through summer, these tasty crustaceans, actually blue crabs that have molted their exoskeleton and are edible in their entirety, are a seafood lover’s ultimate summer treat. 

Soft shell crabs are at their best, I think, when lightly floured and shallow fried, but some would say it’s when they’re deep fried. They must be eaten when they are really really fresh and once cooked require no more than a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice. However, if you want to think outside the box, you might try them with a coconut topping. 

Fried Soft Shell Crabs

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

 INGREDIENTS:

1¾ cups milk

4 fresh cleaned soft shell crabs

1 cup flour

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 egg

½ cup of milk

2 or more cups vegetable oil for frying

DIRECTIONS:

Pour 1¾ cups of milk into a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the crabs in one layer. Place crabs in milk and soak, turning once, for one hour. Combine flour, salt and pepper; dredge crabs in mixture. In a shallow dish beat egg with half cup of milk; dip crabs in mixture to coat thoroughly, then dip crabs in flour mixture again. 

Pour oil to a depth of at least 3 inches in a large skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Being careful to avoid spatter, gently place the crabs in oil, fry until golden brown, about 1½ minutes, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes total time. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with cole slaw and ice cold beer.

Sautéed Soft Shell Crabs

Sautéed Soft Shell Crabs

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1¾ cups milk

4 fresh cleaned soft shell crabs

1 cup flour

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

One lemon, quartered

DIRECTIONS:

Pour milk into a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the crabs in one layer. Place crabs in milk and soak them, turning once, for one hour. Remove crabs; discard milk. Season flour with salt and pepper and lightly dredge crabs in it.  Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; sauté crabs, turning once, until both sides are golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes total time. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with lemon wedges and a crisp dry white wine.

Coconut-Coated Soft Shell Crabs

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

4 sautéed soft shell crabs

½ cup coconut flakes

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

Salt to taste

½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

1 egg white, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS:

Place oven rack 8 inches from broiler; preheat broiler. In a small bowl combine coconut, mustard, salt, hot pepper and egg white. Place crabs, top side up, on broiler pan; with back of large spoon press coconut mixture onto top shells of crabs; spread and pat down; drizzle with melted butter. Place broiler pan on prepared rack; broil until coconut mixture is golden brown and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with tropical fruit salad and rice.

Tropical Fruit Salad with Coconut Yogurt

By Barbara Beltrami

Have you noticed how moms are always eating salads? They have them for lunch, they order them in restaurants, they serve them with a lot of things they cook and they even try to get you to eat more of them. Yep! Moms love salads. So how about preparing a super-duper salad or two for her on Mother’s Day? Here are some that she’ll love — for breakfast, lunch or dinner. So take your pick … or do all three. And if you join her in eating them, she’ll be oh, so happy.

Tropical Fruit Salad with Coconut Yogurt

Tropical Fruit Salad with Coconut Yogurt

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

½ pineapple, peeled and diced

1 mango, peeled and diced

½ ripe cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and diced

¼ ripe honeydew, peeled, seeded and diced

2 kiwis, peeled and diced

1 cup raspberries, washed and dried

1 cup blackberries, washed and dried

1 cup blueberries, washed and dried

¼ cup honey

Zest and juice of one orange

1 pint coconut yogurt

1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted (optional)

 DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, combine the pineapple, mango, cantaloupe, honeydew, kiwis and berries. In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, orange zest and juice and yogurt. Cover and refrigerate both mixtures until 30 minutes before serving. Do not prepare more than 4 hours ahead of time, though. Spoon fruit onto fancy dish or in large wine glasses; top with yogurt mixture, then almonds if desired. Serve with muffins or biscotti.

Lobster-Stuffed Tomato with Shrimp and Israeli Couscous

YIELD: Makes 4 servings.

 INGREDIENTS:

4 large ripe tomatoes

2 cups cooked Israeli couscous

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 cups lobster meat, diced

¾ cup mayonnaise

1 cup finely chopped celery

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

8 leaves bibb lettuce

8 cooked jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

DIRECTIONS:

Slice enough off the top of each tomato to make a wide opening. With a serrated or sharp spoon, scoop out the tomato pulp. Mince flesh from tomato tops and combine with pulp. In a medium bowl combine with couscous, olive oil and salt and pepper; set aside. In a large bowl combine the lobster, mayonnaise, celery, lemon juice, dill and salt and pepper. Carefully scoop lobster mixture into hollowed-out tomatoes. Place lettuce leaves, curved side down, on four plates. On one lettuce leaf place the lobster-filled tomato; on the other leaf place a scoop of the couscous mixture. Top each scoop with a shrimp. Cover and refrigerate until 20 minutes before ready to serve. Can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead of time. Serve chilled with buttered multigrain toast cut into triangles.

Little Chef’s Salad

YIELD: Makes 4 servings.

 INGREDIENTS:

1½ heads bibb, romaine, red or green leaf lettuce, washed, dried and chopped

1/3 pound Swiss or Jarlsberg cheese, cut into very thin strips

1/3 pound grilled chicken breast, cut into very thin strips

1/3 pound baked ham, cut into very thin strips

4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and quartered or sliced

1 ripe avocado, peeled, sliced and doused with freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 green bell pepper, washed, seeded and cut into very thin strips

16 heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved

½English cucumber, finely diced

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 cup salad dressing or to taste

 DIRECTIONS:

Arrange lettuce on four plates or one large platter. Lay cheese, chicken and ham in evenly spaced-apart diagonal stripes across lettuce. In between stripes lay egg and avocado and pepper and tomatoes; sprinkle cucumber over top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Season with salt and pepper; drizzle with salad dressing. Serve chilled with crusty rolls and butter.

Raga Indian Restaurant and Bar closed April 28 and will reopen this summer as an Old Fields Barbecue. Photo by David Luces

A familiar face is bringing some barbecue cooking to East Setauket.

After Raga Indian Restaurant and Bar on Old Town Road closed April 28, new owner David Tunney and his team got right to work creating plans to turn the building into an Old Fields Barbecue. 

Tunney, who grew up in Setauket and graduated from Ward Melville High School, said he had his eye on the location for the last few years, and he recently made a deal with Raga’s owner. Tunney is best known on the North Shore as the owner of the Old Fields restaurants in Port Jefferson and Greenlawn and Old Fields Barbecue in Huntington. He is also one of the founders of the Besito Restaurant Group along with his brother John and part-owner of Besito Mexican restaurants in Huntington and Roslyn. The former owner of Honu Kitchen and Cocktails in Huntington said he gained experience in the business running establishments such as Oheka Castle before venturing into owning a place of his own.

“I’ve been around the block, and I’m back in my hometown,” Tunney said.

While he now lives in Greenlawn, the 53-year-old said he has a lot of memories of growing up in the Three Village area where his love for the restaurant hospitality business began. His mother, Marilyn, worked in the TBR News Media offices for 25 years, and one of his first jobs was at the Arby’s that once was located where the Setauket Main Street firehouse is today. Tunney said his first job was with the former Dining Car 1890 that was located on Route 25A and Nicolls Road, where he started as a dishwasher.

He said he feels residents will welcome a new restaurant that is moderately priced. The barbecue place will serve dishes such as fried chicken, Mahi fish sandwiches, pulled pork and hamburgers cooked in cast iron as well as sides including cornbread and mac and cheese.

“It’s really for everybody,” he said. “You can bring your kids there. You can come with a date. You can come with business people.”

Tunney’s partner in the new restaurant is Rory Van Nostrand, who has worked with him since 2006 when the latter started as a busboy at Honu. The executive chef will be Israel Castro, who began working with the pair when Tunney bought the Greenlawn location in 2010. Castro became executive chef when Old Fields in Port Jefferson opened a few years ago.

Before opening up Old Fields Barbecue in Huntington, Tunney, Van Nostrand and Castro traveled down the East Coast to states such as Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida and others to research restaurants that specialize in barbecue. Van Nostrand said during their travels, in addition to stopping at known places like Franklin Barbecue in Texas, they would ask people where their favorite barbecue places were, and Castro said they weren’t hesitant to stop at no-name places along the side of the road.

“We really ate our way through barbecue,” Castro said.

Van Nostrand said a lot of chefs were willing to share tips with them along the way.

“It’s really more of a technique food than an ingredient recipe food,” Van Nostrand said. “It’s very much an art.”

When it comes to the Old Fields Barbecue menu, Castro listed the brisket and pork among his favorites, while Van Nostrand said he loves the chorizo sausage and corned beef and also eats the smoked chicken, which is cooked with no oil or butter, regularly.

“It’s a small menu as far as a restaurant goes,” Castro said. “There’s a core group of food items that need to be excellent. So, we put all kinds of effort into making them the best we can.”

Tunney said he leaves the cooking to his chefs, even though he admits to making a great grilled cheese — something he made for the first time when he was five years old at a Setauket diner when the owner invited him into the kitchen. Most of all he enjoys the hospitality side of the business, something he credits to his brother John for teaching him.

“The part I really love about it is making people have a great experience and that they just love all the food, the service, the ambiance, how they are taken care of,” he said.

The restaurateur is hoping to open the new restaurant at the end of July or the beginning of August. 

“This is where I grew up, this is where my roots are, and it’s amazing to come back to it,” Tunney said.

Foil-Wrapped Scampi and Linguini

By Barbara Beltrami

Except for a carefully manicured lawn or oversized SUV, I think there is nothing as emblematic of suburbia as the outdoor grill. However, in these days of more conscientious and healthful eating habits it is likely to conjure up an image rather different from that of former times. Then, Dad, garbed in a chef’s toque, oversized potholder mitt and motto-inscribed apron, stood in a cloud of black smoke flipping hamburgers, spearing hot dogs and slathering ribs and chicken with viscous crimson sauces. 

These days the grill still signifies suburbia, but the fare is just as likely to be fish, shellfish or veggies doused with marinades of oils, vinegars, juices and herbs or rubbed with spices, and it’s just as likely to be Mom wielding those tongs or spatula. The weather is warmer, spring is here and summer is just around the corner, so uncover that grill and get going!

Margarita-Marinated Grilled Swordfish

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

 INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds swordfish, cut into 4 pieces

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

¼ cup tequila

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

¼ cup chopped onion

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 lime, quartered

2 handfuls fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Rinse swordfish steaks and pat dry. In a shallow nonreactive dish combine lime juice, tequila, oil, cumin, onion, salt and pepper; add swordfish, sprinkle with half the cilantro, cover, refrigerate and allow to marinate for 30 minutes. Turn, cover and marinate 30 minutes more. At midpoint in marinating process, prepare the grill and preheat on medium. After the hour of marinating, place fish on grill and cook, gently turning once, 3 to 7 minutes on each side, depending on its thickness; baste with leftover marinade. Remove from grill, garnish with fresh lime wedges and remaining cilantro; serve hot or warm with a bean salad.

Foil-Wrapped Scampi and Linguini

Foil-Wrapped Scampi and Linguini

YIELD: Makes 4 servings

 INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined

¾ stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks

2 tablespoons dry white wine

4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

Juice and zest of half a lemon

1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 pound linguini

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare grill on high heat. Tear off two pieces of 18-inch-long foil; lay on top of each other. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients; transfer to center of foil; fold long ends of foil over each other to create a seal, then bring short ends up and fold tightly to ensure that the packet is completely sealed. Let sit while you bring a pot of water to boil for pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions; while pasta is cooking, place foil packet on grill. Each should take about 8 to 10 minutes; pasta is done when al dente; shrimp is done when completely pink. Place pasta in a large serving bowl; open packet carefully to let steam escape and empty contents over pasta. Toss and serve immediately with a crisp green salad and dry white wine.

Grilled Potatoes and Vidalia Onions

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings

 INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

6 large potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ½-inch-thick slices

4 Vidalia onions, peeled and cut into ¾-inch-thick slices

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat grill to medium-high. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine olive oil and salt and pepper and with a pastry brush, coat both sides of potato and onion slices with mixture; place on grill and turning once when bottoms of slices are dark brown, grill until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Serve hot or warm with grilled fish, shellfish, meat or fowl.

By Bob Lipinski

Bob Lipinski

Franciacorta is a “classic method” sparkling wine made in the province of Brescia in Italy’s northern region of Lombardy. According to its DOCG (1995) regulations, Franciacorta can be made into a white or rosé sparkling wine, which can range from demisec (semisweet) all the way to extra brut (extremely dry).

Franciacorta is Italy’s highest-quality sparkling wine and is made using the same production method as champagne using pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. Aging requirements for Franciacorta are longer than champagne and most sell at a lower price.

While pinot noir is the only red grape permitted, white grape varieties include chardonnay, pinot bianco and erbamat (a local specialty). 

Franciacorta made with lower pressure in a brut style from chardonnay and pinot bianco grapes is called Satèn. A millesimato (vintage-dated) and riserva (aged over 5 years) styles are authorized.

Some recommended Franciacorta wines are:

2012 Monte Rossa “Cabochon” Brut (70% chardonnay/30% pinot noir). Full celery-apple bouquet; citrus notes along with bread dough; full-bodied, rich fruit flavored.

2014 Monogram, Castel Faglia “Dosage Zero” Millesimato (90% chardonnay/10% pinot noir). Bread toast bouquet with hints of green apple and celery. Medium-full bodied; melon, pear and citrus flavors.

2011 Corte Bianca, “Rosé” (100% pinot noir aged 3 years). Full berry nose; clean and crisp with flavors of cherry, cranberry, rhubarb, and raspberry. Full-bodied and full of flavor.

NV Ca’ del Bosco “Cuvée Prestige” (75% chardonnay/15% pinot noir/10% pinot bianco). Crisp, delicate bouquet; creamy in the mouth; hints of dried flowers, Bosc pears and Granny Smith apples.

2012 Bellavista Brut Millesimato (63% chardonnay/27% pinot noir). Straw-colored; pinpoint bubbles; bouquet of almonds, dried fruit and pears. Delicate with a strong, elegant aftertaste.

NV Cavalleri “Blanc de Blancs,” Brut (100% chardonnay). Apple and pear bouquet with hints of biscuits, celery and hazelnuts; well-balanced and quite dry with a long aftertaste.

NV Guido Berlucchi Rosé (60% pinot noir/40% chardonnay). Very fruity bouquet; plenty of pinot noir berries; good structure; balanced with an aftertaste of cranberries.

NV Majolini “Blanc de Noirs” Brut (100% pinot noir). Hint of color with a full fruity bouquet of strawberries and rhubarb. Hints of candy apple, black figs and wheat.

Cheese and sparkling wines are an extra special indulgence we need to enjoy more often. Some of my favorite cheeses to nibble on while sipping a “glass of bubbly” are Boursin, brie, blue cheese, Excelsior, Gruyere, manchego, Monterey Jack and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bob Lipinski is the author of 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know About Whiskey” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com OR bkjm@hotmail.com.

Premiere Pastry Shop officially opened its second location in the Harbor Crescent section of the picturesque Stony Brook Village Center during the center’s popular Spring Appreciation Day festivities on April 13, to the delight of everyone attending!

Both shops are a family affair for owners Nick and Angela, along with the assistance and talent of their children, Ariti and Chris.  With their St. James store in business for 10 years and Nick in the bakery business for over 30 years, it is a labor of love as well. 

Located at 117 Main St. in the former Crabtree & Evelyn store, Premiere Pastry is a European-style bakery with a wide selection of pastries, cakes and breads. Specialties include a variety of pastries, cannoli, raspberry mousse, peanut butter and Oreo cheesecakes, cream puffs, almond cookies and a large selection of fresh breads including challah, sourdough, pumpernickel, cranberry nut and semolina. Wedding cakes, cupcake towers, sheet cakes, pies, croissants, unicorn cupcakes for children and gluten-free items are also offered. All special occasion orders can be arranged with 3 to 5 days notice. 

Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. For more information, call 631-675-0909.

Photos courtesy of Stony Brook Village

Blueberry Scones

By Barbara Beltrami

Our British legacy, along with our language and customs, includes scones. At lunch the other day my friends and I ordered scones for dessert and I was reminded of just how good they can be with clotted cream and raspberry jam or even with butter or olive oil, if they’re savory rather than sweet. With our pinkies well extended we sipped tea and got caught up on each other’s lives and felt very civilized. Always the purist, I ordered the traditional scone with raisins. My more adventurous companions opted for the less conventional versions, and we all had a wonderful tea party.

Basic Scones

Blueberry Scones

YIELD: Makes 12 scones

INGREDIENTS:

2¾ cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

¾ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

8 ounces cold unsalted butter

1½ cups dried currants

2 large eggs

½ tablespoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup light cream

2 teaspoons milk

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl thoroughly combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. With a pastry blender or fork, mash in the butter until mixture has a lumpy-crumbly texture; stir in currants. In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the eggs, vanilla and cream; then stir into the dry mixture until thoroughly combined.

Sprinkle a little flour over an ungreased baking sheet. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a 6-inch round disc that is about ¾ inch high. Brush each disc with a teaspoon of milk, then sprinkle with the two tablespoons granulated sugar.

Carefully and gently cut each disc into 6 wedges and pull the wedges away from the center so that they are barely separated, not touching. Place, uncovered, in freezer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 F. Bake scones until golden brown and cooked through with no wet spots showing, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5 to 10 minutes on baking sheet. Serve warm with clotted cream, butter, jam or all of the above.

For other sweet scone variations substitute one of the following for the currants:

Raisins, chopped dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, strawberries, blueberries, mini chocolate chips, chopped pecans or walnuts or 1 tablespoon lemon or orange zest

For savory scones, omit the vanilla extract and final 2 tablespoons sugar, reduce the 1/3 cup sugar to 2 tablespoons and add one of the following:

1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, ¼ cup chopped fresh basil or 2 tablespoons dried, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried, 1½ cups chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed) or 2 tablespoons freshly ground coarse black pepper. Serve with butter or extra virgin olive oil.

Clotted Cream

Clotted Cream

YIELD: Makes 1 cup

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup pasteurized but not ultra -pasteurized heavy cream

1 cup pasteurized but not ultra-pasteurized light cream

DIRECTIONS:

Line a medium fine mesh strainer with a paper towel; place over a small-medium bowl. Leaving an inch at the top, pour in cream. Refrigerate for 2 hours. The liquid (whey) will drip through and leave a ring of clotted cream around top; with a rubber spatula, scrape this down.

Repeat procedure until a cup or so of clotted cream is left. Discard liquid. Serve clotted cream with warm scones and raspberry jam.

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

By Barbara Beltrami

With the spring holidays falling simultaneously this year, it’s nice to share recipes that are appropriate for either Easter or Passover dinner. And with meat becoming less and less the centerpiece for these occasions and vegetables becoming more and more the main attraction, the old boiled and baked versions need some updating. Adding lemon and/or herbs is one way to make those veggies more interesting; combining and roasting them is another. And while all veggies can be tweaked and turned into wonderful accompaniments and features for the holidays, because it is spring, I like to focus on the seasonal ones. The following recipes are all oven done and can be cooked right along with a roast.

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

YIELD: Makes 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 shallots, diced

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Juice of one lemon

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 F. Lay asparagus in greased shallow nonreactive baking pan. In a small bowl whisk together remaining ingredients, drizzle over asparagus and toss to coat well. Roast until asparagus is tender but still bright green, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to warm platter and drizzle any remaining juices over top. Serve hot or warm with meat, poultry or fish. 

Roasted Ratatouille

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

1 large zucchini, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 large eggplant, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped

4 medium tomatoes, cut into 6 wedges each

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil leaves or 2 teaspoons dried

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss all ingredients together in a large baking dish; cover with aluminum foil and, scraping and stirring 2 or 3 times, bake for 30 minutes or until all veggies are tender. Remove foil and roast another 10 to 15 minutes until slightly brown. Transfer to a warm dish and serve hot or warm with meat, poultry or fish.

Tarragon Roasted Carrots and Fennel

 YIELD: Makes 8 servings. 

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch diagonal slices

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch wedges

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place carrots and fennel in a shallow roasting pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, tarragon, salt and pepper and pour over veggies; toss thoroughly to coat. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 20 to 30 minutes, until tender; remove foil and bake 5 to 10 minutes more until slightly brown on top. Transfer to warm platter and serve hot or warm with meat, poultry or fish.

 New Potato Pancake with Green Onions

 YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings. 

 INGREDIENTS:

3 pounds tiny new potatoes, scrubbed and sliced very thin

1 bunch green onions, trimmed and sliced

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Generously grease 9-inch iron skillet or round baking pan. In a large bowl, toss together the potato slices, onion, oil, salt and pepper and turn into skillet or baking pan. Smooth out mixture so all potato slices are lying flat. Bake until potatoes are tender and bottom of mixture is golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Preheat broiler; slide pan under broiler and cook until top is crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Remove, loosen sides and bottom with spatula and invert onto warm serving platter or leave right side up, if desired and top with parsley. Serve warm or hot with meat, poultry or fish.

Photo from Whole Foods

BREAD BREAKING CEREMONY

Representatives from the Northeast Regional division of Whole Foods held an official bread breaking ceremony (their version of a ribbon cutting) for its new store in Commack on April 3. Located at 120 Veterans Memorial Highway, the new 45,000-square-foot store employs 200 full- and part-time team members and is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

By Barbara Beltrami

Years ago my friend told me about how she used baked wonton wrappers as little pastry cups to hold all sorts of fillings and served them as hors d’oeuvres. And what a clever idea it turned out to be. Although doing that wasn’t her own idea … she had gotten it from another friend…whoever originally dreamed up such a convenient and elegant idea for hors d’oeuvres deserves some sort of prize. Since the time my friend shared the idea with me, these little one or two-bite gems have seen my guests and me through many a happy hour. The concoctions you can fill them with are endless, but here are some of my standbys.

Basic Wonton Wrapper Cups

YIELD: Makes 12 cups

INGREDIENTS:

Nonstick cooking spray

12 wonton wrappers

2 tablespoons oil

DIRECTIONS: 

Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat muffin tin  with nonstick cooking spray. Press a wonton wrapper gently into each muffin cup, taking care to press firmly against sides and bottom. Brush with oil. Bake 4 to 5 minutes until golden and crisp. As soon as cool enough to handle, remove from muffin tin and place on rack or cool platter. Serve with desired filling.

Sausage, Pepper and Monterey Jack Filling

Wonton Wrapper with Sausage, Pepper and Monterey Jack Filling

YIELD: Fills 12 wonton cups

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, minced

3 to 4 large sweet Italian sausages, finely crumbled

1 frying pepper, seeded and finely chopped

12 baked wonton cups

½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium skillet heat oil over medium heat; add onion, sausage and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft and sausage is brown, about 7 minutes. With slotted spoon remove from skillet and set aside to keep warm or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. (If refrigerating, reheat before filling cups.) Preheat oven to 375 F. Place cups back in muffin tin or on baking sheet, fill with hot or reheated sausage mixture, sprinkle cheese on top of filling and bake just until cheese is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve hot or warm with wine or cocktails.

Asian Shrimp Filling

YIELD: Fills 12 wonton cups

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped peanuts

1 tablespoon rice or white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons honey or brown sugar

2 cups finely shredded red cabbage

12 baked wonton cups

12 medium cooked shrimp, tail removed

 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

¼ cup sweet chili sauce

1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium bowl, combine the sesame oil, peanuts, vinegar, one tablespoon of the peanut oil, soy sauce, honey and red cabbage. In another medium bowl toss together the shrimp, chili sauce, remaining tablespoon peanut oil and Sriracha sauce. Evenly divide the cabbage mixture among 12 wonton cups, top each with a shrimp and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve at room temperature with cocktails or wine.

Chicken Tarragon Filling

Wonton Wrapper with Chicken Tarragon Filling

YIELD: Fills 12 wonton cups

INGREDIENTS:

One boneless chicken breast, cooked and finely chopped

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon minced onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped celery

1 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

6 leaves bibb lettuce, torn in half

12 baked wonton cups

12 slices cherry tomato 

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl thoroughly combine all ingredients except lettuce and tomato. Line each wonton cup with half a lettuce leaf, then divide chicken mixture evenly among cups. Top each with a tomato slice. Serve immediately.

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