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Apr 2, 2019 3:28 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Seasonal Chef: Welcoming Spring With Monkfish, Chicken and A Sparkling Rose

First course, monkfish with Volage. BY JANEEN SARLIN
Apr 8, 2019 12:34 PM

It’s spring and time to entertain! Having an aperitif while it’s still light is a sure sign that summer is on its way. It’s the perfect time to serve something light and bubbly and thankfully, a professional colleague introduced me to a sparkling rosé that’s unique. Volage Crémant de Loire Rosé is from 100% Cabernet Franc old vines using “méthode traditionelle.” Some rosé wines seem too sweet for my palate. I like an elegant and refined rosé with floral and berry notes. Volage has all these qualities and pairs well with fish and chicken. Look for Volage at your local wine store.

This week’s recipes are perfect for a spring dinner party at which to pour this delicious rosé. For the first course, look for dense, boneless and firm fillets of monkfish with off-white to pale gray flesh but without discoloring on the edges at the fish market. Keep it refrigerated on ice until cooking time.

The sweet morsels of monkfish are gently sautéed in oil. The subtle threads of saffron flavors and colors the cream sauce that pairs well with chilled Volage. Pass hot crusty slices of French baguette to sop up the extra sauce on your plate.

“New” chicken Parmesan is the main course. This updated and uncomplicated but effective preparation for chicken Parmesan will most likely become your favorite because it’s so easy and tasty.

Marinating boneless chicken breasts in plain yogurt “whey” keeps them moist and tenderizes the flesh. Garlic and olive oil adds flavor to the chicken, Parmesan cheese produces a lovely crust, and melted fresh mozzarella tops it off. While the chicken roasts, fresh herb and garlic-seasoned cherry tomatoes roast alongside, creating a sauce for the chicken Parmesan. Because the tomato “sauce” is straightforward and uncomplicated it pairs extremely well with a glass of chilled Volage.

To complete this spring menu, add steamed sugar snap and snow peas with petit pois for the vegetable and serve a rice pilaf or couscous to complete the dinner. For dessert, make one of the recipes from last week’s sweet tooth column. Bon appetit!

Seared Monkfish In Saffron Cream Sauce

(Serves 4)

About 1 pound monkfish fillets, skin removed and trimmed of connective tissue

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

1 to 2 pinches pure saffron threads (be skimpy)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the sauce:

About 1/2 cup heavy cream

Flat leaf parsley, for garnish

Crusty French baguette

To prepare:

Rinse monkfish under cold running water. With a very sharp knife, remove all the connective tissue. Cut the fillets into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a shallow bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with saffron, and salt and pepper to taste.

In a skillet over moderate high heat, sauté the fish until browned on all sides and the fish is barely cooked opaque (not translucent) about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the fish to a plate and reserve.

Add heavy cream to the skillet, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until it has naturally thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring every so often. Once it reaches desired consistency, remove from the heat, add seasonings, taste and adjust.

Can be done up to this point.

Just before serving, warm small salad plates. Reheat the sauce over moderate heat, add monkfish and the accumulated juices in the dish to the sauce and simmer until hot, about 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon onto serving plates, garnish with a sprig of parsley, and pass the bread for sopping up the sauce.

New Chicken Parmesan

(Serves 4)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 6 to 7 ounces each, trimmed and flattened

About 1 cup whey from drained plain yogurt or 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 large cloves garlic, minced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1, 12-ounce container grape tomatoes, washed and stemmed

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

Generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese; reserve 3 tablespoons for garnish

About 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese in water, drained, and thinly sliced

To prepare:

One day ahead, wash and trim chicken breasts and place them in a shallow non-reactive bowl. Spoon yogurt or whey from yogurt over the chicken, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. Turn once or twice.

To roast:

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat it with oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, garlic, salt and pepper. In another bowl, add the tomatoes, about two tablespoons of the garlic oil, oregano and crushed red pepper. Toss to coat. Set aside.

Remove chicken from the yogurt, rinse briefly under cold running water, pat dry with paper towels. Flatten the chicken breasts with a meat pounder or cleaver for even cooking. Add the chicken breasts to the large bowl and roll the meat in the garlic oil until coated.

Scatter 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese in a pie plate. Dip the smooth side of each chicken breast into the cheese and press firmly until it is evenly coated. Arrange the chicken with the cheese side up on one end of the prepared baking sheet. Scatter the tomatoes on the other side of the baking sheet. Roast the chicken until the juices run clear when pierced with a two-pronged meat fork and it is firm to the touch, about 10 to 15 minutes. The Parmesan cheese will create a light brown crust on the chicken. Remove from the oven.

Arrange mozzarella slice on top the chicken and return the pan to the oven. Roast until the cheese melts, about two minutes longer. Or run the chicken under the broiler until the cheese melts and is light brown on the edges.

Transfer the chicken to warmed dinner plates and spoon the tomatoes and all their juices around and over the chicken. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and serve at once.

 

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