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The Sopranos with Lindsay: Episode IX

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Lindsay spent two days preparing the food. Nine guests researched a Sopranos’ character and assumed costume; Paulie Walnuts (impersonated by my friend Molly) was the most convincing. We gathered around the TV and held our breaths for sixty minutes. And in the end, we were outraged, we were flummoxed, and we were disappointed. What happened? It ended, just like that?


Well, of course it did. What did we expect from Chase, who loves to toy with his audience as much as he likes to entice them? And, in retrospect, the cliff-hanging last scene was a masterpiece. We were on the edge of our seats, screaming and speculating about what was going to happen in the diner: would Tony be shot by the stranger walking in behind AJ? Would Meadow get killed parking her car? Or would the hired thugs take out the whole family? Pure suspense and then-bam!-just like that, nothing happened at all. The Soprano family has another meal together.


We will miss the episodes yes, but I, for one, will miss the food even more.  


Episode IX Menu


Antipasto Platter: Arrange a variety of gourmet sliced meats (salame, coppa, soppressata) and cheeses (la tur, Italian gorgonzola, buffalo mozzarella) on a plate. Garnish with whole caperberries, pickled peppers, and olives.


Serve with homemade focaccia or brioche crostini.


Tuna Spread


One jar imported tuna (the best quality you can find), packed in oil, drained


2 tablespoons butter, room temperature


1 tablespoon cream


2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar


2 teaspoons soy sauce


3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


Salt and pepper to taste


Directions


1. Pulse tuna in food processor to break up large pieces, add remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth.  


White Bean with Roasted Tomatoes


Five Rosso Bruno tomatoes


3 tablespoons olive oil


2 tablespoons thyme, chopped


2 cups lima beans


Fifteen garlic cloves


1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil


Directions


1. Turn oven to 200° F. Quarter tomatoes and set on a baking sheet, sprinkle with olive oil, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook tomatoes until they are browned but not burnt, about thirty minutes.


2. While tomatoes are cooking, start cooking lima beans in a medium saucepan over high heat, bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until tender, about twenty minutes. Drain.


3. Turn oven up to 350° F. Wrap fifteen garlic cloves (skins on) in aluminum foil and roast for thirty minutes or until browned and soft. Remove garlic from skins.


4. Gently toss all ingredients together with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.


Sautéed Artichoke Hearts


Fifteen canned artichoke hearts; fresh is optimal if you have the time


6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


3 tablespoons red wine vinegar


1 tablespoon red chili flakes


1/2 lemon, juiced


One red onion, diced


2 tablespoons pine nuts


2 tablespoons golden raisins


Three garlic cloves thinly sliced


Salt and pepper


Parsley and basil as garnish


Directions


1. Marinate artichoke hearts overnight in two tablespoons olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, red chili flakes, and lemon juice.


2. In a medium sauté pan, heat remaining olive oil. Add artichoke hearts and sauté until browned. Add remaining ingredients; sauté about three to five minutes more. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and garnish with chopped parsley and basil.


Stuffed Piquillo Peppers


Sauce


Four tomatoes, sliced into quarters


Four garlic cloves


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


6 ounces white wine


Salt and pepper


Directions


1. Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until a smooth sauce has been formed. Place over medium-low heat and simmer for about an hour.


Stuffed Peppers


1 pound salt cod (soaked overnight in the fridge in several changes of fresh cold water)


2 cups whole milk


One medium white onion, quartered


Six large garlic cloves


One large potato, peeled and chopped


One bay leaf


Two sprigs fresh thyme


One jar imported piquillo peppers


Directions


1. Gently heat milk, onion, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme over medium-low heat. Do not allow to boil. 


2. Add salt cod and poach about seven minutes. Remove cod, place in a bowl, and flake with a fork. Add potatoes to milk mixture and cook until tender, add to salt cod. Taste the milk mixture, if it is not overly salty, add about a cup to cod and potatoes, mash mixture together (use fresh milk if too salty). Keep adding milk as needed if mixture becomes too dry. 


3. Allow mixture to cool before stuffing into peppers. Be gentle with peppers, they are very delicate. Stuff peppers with 1 tablespoon of salt cod.


4. Put peppers in a cazuela or other baking dish, cover with sauce and bake at 300° F for ten to fifteen minutes. Garnish with parsley.


Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)


One loaf Italian bread, crusts removed and chopped into bite-size pieces


1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for sautéing


1 tablespoon butter


1 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered


Five anchovy fillets, finely chopped


1 tablespoon chili flakes


1 teaspoon thyme


Two cloves garlic


Zest from one lemon


1/2 cup green olives, roughly chopped


1/2 red onion, finely chopped


1/4 cup each of coarsely torn mint, basil, and parsley


Directions


1. Heat oven to 350° F. Drizzle bread with olive oil and toast for twenty-five minutes. Place bread in large salad bowl and set aside.


2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil with 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet until very hot. Add mushrooms, anchovies, thyme, and chili flakes and sauté about five minutes. Add garlic and sauté one minute more.


3. Add mushroom mixture and remaining ingredients to bread and toss well. If salad seems a little dry, drizzle with more olive oil.


Caesar Salad with Parmesan Croutons


One head romaine


One egg


One clove garlic, minced


Two anchovy fillets


2 teaspoons Dijon mustard


3 tablespoons olive oil


Juice of 1/2 lemon


1/2 baguette, cubed


1/2 cup grated Parmesan


Directions


1. Blend egg, lemon juice, garlic, anchovies, and mustard in a blender or with an immersion blender; slowly streaming in olive oil to emulsify. The dressing should be creamy and a light yellow. Important: only use the freshest eggs for the dressing to reduce risk of salmonella. If not comfortable using raw egg, can coddle in boiling water for one minute.


2. Heat oven to 350° F. Toss cubed bread in olive oil and then in the Parmesan. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until browned, about twenty minutes. Let croutons cool before adding to salad.


3. Wash and dry romaine, chop into bite-size pieces.


4. Assemble in salad bowl, dress salad and serve immediately.


Lamb Meatballs with Mint and Lemon


Meatballs


Two pieces white bread, crusts removed


1/4 cup milk


1 pound ground lamb


1/2 pound ground veal


1/2 pound ground pork


1/2 cup Vidalia onion


Two raw eggs


Two large cloves of garlic


Zest of one lemon


1/3 cup each chopped mint and parsley


Lots of salt and pepper


Directions


1. Tear up white bread into small pieces and soak in milk about ten minutes. Wring out milk from bread and add to large bowl.


2. Add remaining ingredients to bowl and mix with hands until incorporated. Do not over mix. Set in fridge to rest about one hour.


Red Sauce


Five garlic cloves


One small onion


One can San Marzano tomatoes


4 tablespoons olive oil


1 teaspoon each dried oregano, thyme, and basil


Directions


1. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil over low heat until soft, about ten minutes. Add tomatoes and increase heat to high. Add dried herbs. Bring mixture to boil then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer thirty minutes, then puree in food processor or with immersion blender. Simmer sauce for one hour more.


Assembly: remove lamb mixture from fridge. Roll into balls the size of a walnut. Roll meatballs very gently, this will ensure a light, airy meatball. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large saucepan and fry balls until well browned on all sides. Remove with slotted spoon and place in the saucepan with the tomato sauce. Toss balls gently to coat in sauce. Serve meatballs with fresh lemon juice squeezed on top and garnished with fresh chopped mint.


This is the last of the Sopranos with Lindsay cooking column. To see last week’s recipes click here.


Photo courtesy of Brie Cadman; dressed up like Sopranos’ characters Meadow, Janice, Tony, Carmela, and Paulie.

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