Costolettini d’Abbacino Fritte -Parmesan Baby Lamb Chops

I need to get my camera fixed. I’ve cooked some delicious meals lately, but a combination of iPhone photography, shaky hands and no natural daylight, means the photos look pretty bad. I’m sorry. And I’m sorry if anyone was expecting Mexican food in this post. I feel about as Mexican as.. a Russian at the moment, so please bear with me.

lambchopscooked

Well, I tried to stay away from the breadcrumbs, honest I did. But Mr Greedy loves this dish (its in his top 3, at least) and asked for it especially, so how could I refuse? However, what we are talking about is essentially meat coated in cheese and breadcrumbs and then fried, so I’m not going to say, oh this is really healthy. When you describe it like that, you’re not doing this dish, from Rome, much justice, it is really delish. I just try and only serve it with nice green veg.

Serves 2

  • 4 lamb cutlets
  • 4 slices of white bread, made into crumbs
  • 100g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • salt & pepper
  • lemon wedges, to garnish

A couple of hours in advance if you can, take the chops out of the fridge and with a rolling pin, the side of a cleaver or a meat tenderiser, carefully bash flatten them out until they are roughly a centimetre thick. Press each side of the chop into the parmesan cheese, dip it into the egg until completely coated and then drop it into the breadcrumbs, turning it round until it is coated all over. Now, leave on a wire rack or something like it for a couple of hours so the breadcrumbs have a chance to dry out a bit.

lambchopsprecooked

When ready to cook, pour the oil into a large frying pan (hopefully one in which you can fit all four cutlets) and put on a medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully place in the chops, cook for around 5 minutes on one side until the chops are golden brown, and then turn over and cook for about 3 minutes on the other. If you can’t fit them all in, then put the cooked chops on a serving dish or plate in a very low oven.Season with salt, and drain on kitchen paper. Serve with the lemon wedges.

lambchops

And, oh my, don’t forget to thank me!

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Mushroom Lasagne

Apparently, there are people out there, who don’t like mushrooms. I can imagine few things as inoffensive myself, and mushrooms don’t lack potential if you think about working to their strengths. The only type of mushroom that I don’t have any room for is the anaemic white button but I’m sure if pushed I could find a use for them too. I don’t know if its the time if year, but its not particularly to find wild mushrooms around here at the moment, so I used some dried porcini in this along with chestnut, ‘exotic’ and flat field mushrooms. All available from the supermarket. I know this might sound like a fair few mushrooms, but believe me, this amount will reduce down to very little and you don’t need to buy the combination of mushrooms that I’ve suggested, but don’t get any less in weight. You can add more garlic if you want to, but I didn’t want overpowering, just background. Serves 4.

For the mushroom filling:

  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 150g flat field mushrooms, chopped
  • 200g exotic mushrooms, sliced
  • handful of dried porcini, rehydrated as per instructions
  • one clove of garlic, crushed
  • half a large onion, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • shake of worcestershire sauce
  • sprig of fresh thyme
  • olive oil

In a large pan with a lid, pour in a good splosh of olive oil, add your onion, garlic and thyme, salt & pepper and cook over a medium-low heat, lid on, but stirring regularly until the onions are golden and completely softened. Then a handful at a time, add the chopped mushrooms, mixing thoroughly after each addition until the mushrooms are thoroughly mixed with everything else. Turn the heat up a smidge and start to cook the mushrooms, stirring briskly, until they start to break down and release their water. If the mixture seems very dry, you can add some more olive oil but very soon, the mushrooms should be softening and releasing their juices. You want to cook the mushrooms down for about 30 minutes over a low heat, until the mushrooms have shrunk right down and the pan is dry of the juices. Set to one side.

To assemble the lasagne:

  • 1 quantity of white sauce (I don’t have my own recipe, after making it by sight for 17 odd years. Can’t beat Delia for the basics though)
  • packet of lasagne sheets
  • 150g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 100g strong cheddar, grated
  • quantity of mushroom filling

Preheat oven to gas 5. For me, lasagne is all about the pasta, so I always make lots of thinner layers rather than a couple of big ones. Divide the mushrooms roughly into 4 equal quantities. Put a little white sauce into the bottom of a lasagne pan and place on your first layer of pasta. On top of this, put on your first bit of mushroom filling,  about a  fifth of the cheese and an approxmate fifth of white sauce. Add another layer of pasta and repeat the process until you’ve used your mushrooms. Put on a final layer of lasagne, top with the remaining white sauce and finish off with grated cheese.   Put the lasagne in the oven and cook it for 30-40 minutes. Goes nicely with green veg. Scoff.

Basic Pesto & Cod with a Pesto Crust

003I understand why people buy their pesto in a jar. I do. I understand that there may be a misapprehension about it taking time or effort, or that the ingredients may be many, varied and costly. I understand some people are just not going to be bothered to make anything like that from scratch. Totally get all that. However, I do make my pesto from scratch for two reasons – I usually already have the ingredients (I have a basil plant on my windowsill, and I just can’t imagine life without garlic, olive oil & parmesan cheese) but the main reason, the real reason is that the result is just a world away from anything you can buy in a jar for almost no effort. And for a quick pasta sauce or a topping for meat and fish, I’m more than happy to spend the 5 2 minutes it takes to whizz it up. I always make mine in a food processor , but you can do it in a pestle and mortar. (WARNING: May take longer than 2 minutes doing it this way!). This will keep in a jar in the fridge for a couple of days, but I would really recommend eating straight away – and for this reason the recipe I’ve given really only serves 2. This version from the Zilli Cookbook.

  • 20-24 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 small cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 25g Parmesan cheese/
  • 15g pine nuts
  • 45ml extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper

007

Put the basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts & parmesan in your food processor, and whizz for 20-30 seconds. If you can keep the food processor on while adding the olive oil, do so in a steady stream until its all combined, all well and good. If like me, you can’t, put the olive oil in and whizz again for about 20 seconds. Thats really it.

So when you’ve done that, you might like to try this fish dish. If you don’t really want to make your own pesto, that’s alright( whisper it..), A Jar is Still OK for this. Alternatively, if you live anywhere near a good deli, they might sell it fresh over the counter. This dish goes best with a nice fresh salad, in my opinion.

pesto cod post oven

Serves 2 greedy people:

  • helping of pesto for 2 (see above)
  • 2 cod fillets, roughly 150-200g each
  • 20g butter
  • 30g breadcrumbs
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper.

Preheat the oven to gasmark 6. Melt the butter in a large frying pan, remove from the heat and add breadcrumbs, juice & zest. Don’t overmix, just combine the ingredients. It will look a bit mushy anyway, however that’s alright.  When cool, add the pesto and mix well. Divide and pat the mixture quite firmly onto the fish. Put it in the oven for 10 minutes. Scoff.