Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stone Brewing Company Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout

As a style, the Imperial Russian Stout has a rather interesting origin.  The style did not develop in Russia; instead, it was English brewers who began to brew the dark, almost viscous beers.  In the 18th century, the Thrales brewery in London began to brew imperial stouts for export to the court of Catherine the Great.  The beer became a popular drink in the Baltics and Russia, hence the name "Imperial Russian Stout."  More recently, the Imperial Russian Stout has gained a lot of interest amongst American craft brewers.  

Stone Brewing Company has seized upon this style and twisted it in a fit of creative fancy.   Stone brews this beer with Warrior hops, but, as with any stout, it is the malts that provides the character of the beer. The creativity of the brewers is also displayed by their choice of a Belgian yeast strain for the fermentation of the beer.  Add a lot of star anise, as well as the technique of "oaking" the beer, and the result is a truly unique Imperial Russian Stout.  (As the brewer notes, the "oaking" of the ber is actually a tip of the hat to the history of the style, because the beer used to be kept in wooden barrels rather than stainless steel containers.)

As with any Russian Imperial Stout, the Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout pours pitch black, almost tar in color.  The foam that develops as the beer is poured has a brownish tinge that is reminiscent of cream as it slowly blends into coffee.  The star anise is prominent in the aroma of the beer, providing a nice tinge of spiciness.  The aromatic elements include some of the more traditional flavors, such as roasted malts and chocolate as well.

The flavors of the Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout are a little more difficult to describe.  Obviously, chocolate is the principal flavor of this beer, but it is not any ordinary chocolate. Whether it is the star anise or the oaking of the beer, the chocolate flavor takes on spice notes.  The spices go beyond the star anise and are take on almost a mild pepper flavor.  In many respects, the flavors of this beer reminds me a little of El Mole Ocho, New Holland's tip of the hat to Oaxacan cuisine.  While El Mole Ocho was definitely a piquant spice, the Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout nevertheless provides a similar drinking experience, perhaps better for those who (unlike me) do not like heat in their food or their beer. 

This beer packs a punch, with a 10% ABV and 52 IBUs.  It is available at many beer stores or supermarkets.  A twenty-two ounce bottle sells for about $7.99.

ENJOY!

For more information about the Imperial Russian Stout style, check out the Beer Judge Certification Program

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tonno alla Fiorentina (Tuna Steak, Florentine Style)

One of my favorite beef recipes is Bistecca alla Fiorentina, or Florentine-style steak.  A very large porterhouse steak is rubbed with rosemary, salt and pepper (along with additional herbs such as sage or thyme), and then grilled to a perfect medium rare).  While this recipe works very well for me, it does not do much for my pescatarian wife, Clare, who has sworn off all red and white meat.  But, as a pescatarian, she will eat fish.  

So, when I saw some Ahi tuna available at a local Costco, I bought the fish because I thought that it would be the perfect fish to grill in the Fiorentina style.  "Ahi tuna" is a marketing term, a name given to Yellowfin Tuna.  Although a large fish, it is smaller than its Atlantic and Pacific Bluefin relatives.  The most sustainable Yellowfin Tuna is the fish caught by troll or the pole-and-line methods in the United States.  Unfortunately, Costco does not label its food well.  After a little debate within myself, I decided to buy the fish because it was the first time I saw enough Ahi tuna that I could make a dish for myself and my beautiful wife, Clare. 


TONNO ALLA FIORENTINA
A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
1 pound of Ahi tuna steak(s)
2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, chopped finely
1 tablespoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, diced finely
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
1.  Marinate the steak.  Combine the rosemary, salt, pepper and garlic with the olive oil.  Spread the mixture liberally over all of the tuna steak(s).
 
2.  Prepare the grill.  Heat the grill on high heat.  If the steaks are cut in a way that may cause parts to cook faster than the steak as a whole, tie those parts to the steak with cooking twine.  

3.  Grill the steak(s).  Place the steak(s) on the grill.  Cook for two and one-half minutes and turn ninety degrees, cooking for two and one-half minutes more.  Flip the steak and repeat, cooking for two and one-half minutes and then turning ninety degrees to cook for an additional two and one half minutes.  After the steak has cooked for about ten minutes (or a couple minutes more), remove the steaks from the heat.

The goal is to replicate Bistecca alla Fiorentina ... a rare to medium rare steak.  Given Ahi tuna is used to make sushi and is served raw, serving it rare to medium rare should be okay for most people.  This recipe produced a delicious piece of tuna; however, as you can see from the pictures, I got a little more to medium rare to medium.  I reduced the cooking times in the recipe from those that I used when I made the dish for the first time.  I will continue to work on the recipe and update it based upon my subsequent efforts. 

Finally, I served the tuna with a simple salad of arugula with a dressing of one part balsamic vinegar and one part extra virgin olive oil.  

ENJOY!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Harviestoun Ola Dubh 30 Year

Harviestoun is a craft brewer in Scotland, founded by Ken Brooker.  Before entering the business of craft beer, Brooker built wood design prototypes for Ford Motor Company.  That work had a profound impact upon Brooker, which carried over to the beer.  Harviestoun Brewery is best known for its Old Engine Oil beer.  This beer is brewed strong and dark with the use of a lot of roasted barley.  The beer is also well-hopped, with the use of Galena hops from Washington State.  As good as this beer is, it is only the start of an even greater beer.

Harviestoun takes the Old Engine Oil and, in a collaboration with Highland Park, a distinguished distiller who has been producing single malt Scotch whiskey in the Orkney Islands since 1798.  Harviestoun ages its Old Engine Oil in Highland Park's 30 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whiskey casks.  The end result is the exceptional beer known as Ola Dubh 30 Year. 

The Ola Dubh or "Black Oil" is true to its name.  The beer pours a pitch black, like used engine oil.  A thin light foam develops as the beer is poured into the glass.  The aging of this beer in the 30 Year Old scotch whiskey casks has definitely left its mark, with the aroma of whiskey gently greeting the nose.  The whiskey is accompanied by aromas of smoke, peat, and a little cocoa.  The brewer also observes that there may be notes of truffle oil, vanilla and heathery peat.   

Although the scotch contributes to the taste of this beer, the flavors are far more complex than any porter-aged-in-whiskey-barrels. Chocolate, cocoa and smoked oak flavors work well with the whiskey to provide a truly exceptional beer that is best enjoyed sip by sip.  Clare even thought she could taste cola in this beer, which I could also get a faint hint from in the beer, along with notes of espresso and vanilla. 

The Ola Dubh is not just any beer.  It has its own provenance.  Each bottle bears the signature of the master brewer and the master of wood.  Each bottle has its own number and date of bottling.  The bottle I enjoyed was numbered 21640 and was bottled in September 2007.
This beer has an ABV of 8% and comes with a high price tag at about $20.00 for a twelve ounce bottle.  It is available at stores with a very large beer selection, such as State Line Liquors in Elkton, Maryland.

ENJOY!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dungie Cakes with a Yellow Pepper Saffron Sauce

Having lived near the Chesapeake Bay for many years, I have a particular fondness for crabcakes.  Every chef in this region has his or her own recipe that, as a general rule, is a closely guarded secret.  I have previously posted a Crabcake Sandwich - Italian Style;. however, that is not my personal recipe for crabcakes.  I have yet to post that recipe and, for now, I do not intend to post it.

Still, I experiment with crabcakes, using different ingredients and, in this case, a different species of crab. Typically, crab cakes are made with blue crabs; however, I recently made crabcakes using dungeness crab meat.  Unlike blue crabs, which are an endangered species (especially in the Chesapeake Bay), dungeness crabs are considered a sustainable choice.  The dungeness crab fishery is well managed, limited to fishing male crabs of six and one quarter inches or larger.  Certain traps are used that allow for undersized crabs to escape and that minimize the bycatch.  Fishing is altogether prohibited during the molting season, thereby ensuring the continued propagation of the crabs.  For these reasons, dungeness crab is considered a "best choice" by Seafood Watch and has been certified as "sustainable" by the Marine Stewardship Council.

This recipe is one that is under development.  I wanted to push these crabcakes beyond a typical crabcake.  There is no Old Bay.  There is no mustard, Worcestershire sauce, or mustard.  The binding used consists simply of a cage free egg and unsalted butter, along with panko bread crumbs and finely diced peppers.  This recipe creates about six medium sized cakes, which can be served as two servings of three cakes or three servings of two cakes.


DUNGIE CAKES WITH A YELLOW PEPPER SAFFRON SAUCE
A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 2-3

Ingredients (for the crab cakes):
2 pounds of dungeness crab clusters, picked
1/3 red bell pepper, diced finely
1/3 orange bell pepper, diced finely
1/3 yellow bell pepper, diced finely
1/2 sweet onion diced finely
2 cloves of garlic, diced finely
4 tablespoons of butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup of panko bread crumbs

Ingredients (for the Yellow Pepper Saffron Sauce)
2/3 yellow pepper
1/2 sweet onion
1 small clove of garlic, diced
1 healthy pinch of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme 
1 pinch of saffron
1/4 cup of olive oil
Sea salt to taste

Directions:
1.  Make the crab cakes.  Add the red, yellow and orange peppers to a bowl.  Add the onion and garlic.  Add the bread crumbs and mix well.  Add the crab meat and mix again.  Add the egg and the butter and mix thoroughly.  Make six balls of the crab mixture, working the mixture to ensure that they are compacted well.  Cover and refrigerate for about twenty minutes. 

2.  Make the sauce.   Saute 2/3 of the yellow bell pepper with the 1/2 onion and small clove of garlic.  Add the crushed red pepper and the thyme.  When the vegetables are translucent, which should be about five minutes, then remove from the heat and add to the food processor. Use the "food processor" function and add about 1/4 cup of olive oil by a slow steady stream.  Warm the saffron in hot water and then add to the food processor.  Once fully blended, add to a sauce pot and keep warm.

3.  Saute the crab cakes.  Heat about two to three tablespoons of olive oil in two pans over medium high heat.   Remove the crab cakes from the refrigerator.  Using your hands, press each ball into a cake.  Add the cakes to the oil and saute for about four to five minutes on each side.  

4.  Plate the dish.  Remove and plate two to three cakes on each plate.  Spoon the sauce over the cakes and serve immediately.  

ENJOY!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chehalem Winery Oregon Pinot Noir Ridgecrest (2006)

I have previously reviewed a wine from Chehalem, the Cerise, which was very good blend of Gamay Noir and Pinot Noir.  Chehalem (chuh-HAY-lem) is a vineyard in the Willamette Valley of Oregon that, like nearly all of the vineyards in the valley, produces some great Pinot Noir wines. 

Chehalem began with Harry Peterson-Nedry at the Ridgecrest Vineyards, one of the first wineries on Ribbon Ridge, northwest of Newberg, Oregon.  The vineyard's first release was the 1990 Ridgecrest Pinot Noir.  Fast forward sixteen years later, Clare and I were traveling through the Willamette Valley on our honeymoon and we stopped by the Chehalem tasting room.  We had the opportunity to taste a few of the winery's selections, both white and red.  We really liked the wines; and, as we did at every vineyard we stopped at, we purchased a bottle or two of their wines, including the 2006 Oregon Pinot Noir Ridgecrest.

The Ridgecrest Pinot Noir pours a perfect crimson red.  The edges of the wine show have a nice lighter red to almost clear ring, which shows that the wine aged nicely over five years. Even after all of that time, the aromatics of this wine are still fresh, full of red cherries, and blackberries.  There is a hint of pepper in the aroma.  The taste of this wine is much fruitier than some of the other Pinot Noir wines that I've had, which have tastes of darker fruit, earth and/or some spice.  The fruit is in the front of the wine and carries through to the finish. 

Like most red wines, this wine goes very well with red meats and red sauces.  In particular, I paired this wine with my Maccheroni alla Chitarra con Aragosta ed i Funghi.  The San Marzano tomato sauce, with just enough peperoncino, was a very good pairing with the fruitiness of this wine.

We picked up a bottle of this wine at the tasting room in Newberg, Oregon.  I checked the website and the Ridgecrest was not listed among the current offerings. Hopefully, newer vintages will become available.

ENJOY!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Maccheroni alla Chitarra con Aragosta ed i Funghi (Chitarra Pasta with Lobster and Portabello Mushrooms)

I love to make pasta by hand, and, as a general rule, I will not purchase any boxed, dry pasta that I can make at home. As of right now, I can make most of the basic types of  ribbon cut noodles, such as cappellini, fettucine, linguine, pappardelle and tagliatelle.  There is also one other type of ribbon-cut noodle that I like to make.  That noodle is known Maccheroni alla Chitarra.

This type of pasta is a specialty of the Italian region of Abruzzo.  The name -- Chitarra -- is a reference to the appearance of the pasta maker.  A rectangular box with thirty-six strings on one side and seventy-two strings on the other.  Hence, the name "chitarra," which means "guitar" in Italian.  To make the pasta, one takes a thin sheet of pasta, presses the pasta down on the strings, and then "strums" the wires until the pasta falls through.  At least for me, making Maccheroni alla Chitarra can be a time-intensive endeavor, but the results are always incredible. 

A Chitarra
Maccheroni alla Chitarra is also special to me for another reason.  One of the first gifts that my beautiful Angel ever bought me is a Chitarra.  I have used it on occasion to make pasta for Clare and me.  Recently, I decided to make a very special Maccheroni alla Chitarra for my Angel.  I not only wanted to use the first gift that she ever bought me, but I wanted to make a truly amazing sauce. 

I decided to begin the sauce with San Marzano tomatoes.  San Marzano tomatoes are a plum tomato, whose origins date back to the late 18th century.  According to legend, the the King of Peru gifted these wonderful tomatoes to the King of Naples.  Those tomatoes are planted around Calabria; however, only those tomatoes that are grown in the Valle de Sarno (or Sarno Valley) can be labeled as Pomodoro S. Marzano dell'Agro Sarnese-Nocerino, which is the protected San Marzano tomatoes.  Chefs love San Marzano tomatoes because their meat is generally sweeter than other tomatoes, and the San Marzanos have less acidity that other tomatoes.  These characteristics make the tomato perfect for pasta sauce.

Not only did I have the perfect tomatoes, but I also had the perfect ingredients for the sauce... lobsters and portabello mushrooms.  It took a little time to pick the meat out of the lobsters.  While most people go straight for the claws and the tails, there are also little slivers of meat in the legs.  I worked to get all of the meat out of the two lobsters.  As for the portabello mushrooms, the key is to slice them as thin as possible.  Together, the lobsters, mushrooms and tomatoes made a great sauce, which went perfectly with the handmade pasta. 

MACCHERONI ALLA CHITARRA CON ARAGOSTA ED I FUNGHI
(CHITARRA PASTA WITH LOBSTER AND MUSHROOMS)
A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
2 fresh lobsters, about 1 pound each, steamed and meat picked
     and tail sliced
1 pound of fresh chitarra pasta
1 can of San Marzano tomatoes
1 healthy pinch of crushed red pepper or peperoncino
1 scallion diced finely
2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary, chopped finely
1 dozen small portabello mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

Directions:
1.  Make the pasta.  Create a volcano with the cups of flour and break the eggs into the the center of the volcano. Make sure that the "walls" of the volcano are thick enough to hold the eggs in the center. Take a fork and begin to beat the eggs gently. As you are beating the eggs, begin to incorporate the flour from the sides of the mountain, starting at the top. Continue to add flour until you have a consistent paste. As the mixture comes together, form it into a ball.

2.  Continue to make the pasta.  Clean the workspace and then sprinkle flour over the working surface. Gently knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. Make sure that there are no sticky spots in the dough (as a sticky dough will simply clog the pasta machine). Once the dough has been kneaded, begin to run it through a handcrank pasta machine at the widest setting. Repeat this five or six times. Then run the pasta through each of the other settings on the pasta machine, except for the last setting. Once you have finished with the second-to-last setting, lightly sprinkle it with flour and set aside for a couple of minutes. Then cut the pasta into segments.

3.  Cut the pasta.  If you have a Chitarra, place the pasta on top of the strings. Using a small rolling pin, gently run the pin up and down the pasta until it falls through the strings. Repeat for each segment.  (As an alternative, you can make fettuccine using the appropriate extensions on your hand crank pasta maker.)

4.  Make the sauce.  Heat the olive oil on medium heat.  Add the scallions and saute for about two minutes.  Add the mushrooms.  Add additional olive oil if necessary and saute for about seven to eight minutes, until the mushrooms have released all of their moisture.  While the mushrooms are sauteing, add the rosemary and the crushed red pepper.

5.  Cook the pasta.  Place it in a pot of boiling water (with salt added, but that is not necessary). Cook the pasta for a couple of minutes. When the pasta is done, drain the pasta and add it to the sauce.


ENJOY!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ridgeway Brewing Querkus Smoked Oaked Porter

From 1779 to 2002, the Brakspear brewery made what many consider to be the best English bitter ale.  The brewery closed in 2002, leaving all of its employees -- including the master brewer, Peter Scholey -- on the street.  The master brewer decided that it was time to step out on their own, buying some of Brakspear's equipment and opening Ridgeway Brewing.  

The name "Ridgeway" comes from the name of the oldest road in England.  Built thousands of years before the Romans set foot on the island, the stone road runs about one hundred miles past such sites as Stonehenge and, coincidentally, the master brewer's home.

The Querkus is a smoked, oaked porter.  The brewers at Ridgeway brew the Querkus using Scottish peated whiskey malt, along with English and pale malts.  During the brewing process, the brewers add whole leaf golding hops.  Once the process is completed, the Querkus is cold matured over pieces of old French oak barrels, allowing the toasty flavors of the barrels to slowly infuse the beer. 

The Querkus pours nearly pitch black, with a thick, off-white foam.   The aromatic elements of the beer feature the malts, as well as a good dose of the smoke from the peated whiskey malts.  The body of the beer is rather light, which is a little unexpected given that most porters that I have tried usually have a fuller body.  The smoke of the beer is not only prominent in the aroma, but the taste.  The smoke somewhat over powers the toasty flavors from the oak.  However, the beer is a great example of how a smoked porter should taste. 

The distributor, Shelton Brothers, suggests that this beer can be paired best with smoked meats and cheeses.  I think that this pairing could work, because the smoked flavors of the beer are not so overwhelming that they would be too much when paired with the smoked flavors of the meats or cheese.  This beer could also be paired well with non-smoked meats and cheeses, imparting a little smoked flavor that will complement those foods. 

The beer is available from stores that obtain their beers from Shelton Brothers.  And a special thank you from both Clare and myself to the good friend who was kind enough to buy us a bottle of this beer.

ENJOY!

For more information about Ridgeway brewing, check out the website of Shelton Brothers.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Le Chapeau Cuvee Napoléon Pinot Noir (2010)

When one thinks of Pinot Noir, the first thought here in the United States immediately turns to Oregon or California in the United States.  If asked about Pinot Noir wines from other countries, the first country to come to mind would be France.  More specifically, Burgundy.  However, for me, I try to think beyond those first thoughts.  While I love wines from Burgundy (who doesn't?), my attention is captured by a Pinot Noir from an unexpected place... like Corsica.

In fact, Corsica has a long history of wine making.  This history dates back to 570 B.C., when Phoenician traders settled on the island.  Today, there are ten Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée ("AOCs") and one island-wide designation known as "Vin de Pays de l'Île de Beauté."  To bottle a wine with the AOC designation, a vineyard has to follow strict rules regarding the cultivation of specific grapes and follow certain rules with respect to the production and aging of the wine. As for the island-wide designation of Vin de Pays de l'Île de Beauté, all that is needed is that the grapes come from Corsica and the wine is bottled on the island.  This designation is useful for vineyards and winemakers who cultivate grapes, like Pinot Noir, which do not fit comfortably within any of the AOCs.

In this case, Agnes and Romauld Baudin bottle a Pinot Noir called Le Chapeau Cuvee Napoléon.  There is not a lot of information about the cultivation of Pinot Noir grapes in Corsica, other than some promotional materials that talk about how the richness of the sand-granite soil of the island lends itself to the grapes.  More research is needed, but I have a glass of wine at hand.  

The Cuvee Napoléon Pinot Noir pours a few shades lighter than some of the Pinot Noirs that I have had.  Indeed, the edges of the wine in the glass are very light.  The aroma of the wine is light, with fresh berries like raspberries and blackberries shining through.  The light aroma is also reflected in other aspects of the wine.  The body of the wine is very light, perhaps the lightest of any Pinot Noir that I have tasted.  The flavors of the wine are also light, with those fresh berries taking center stage.  After a while, a slight pepper taste seems to come out in the wine, but it does not rise to any prominence in the wine. 

I should note that I drank this wine while it was very young; it is a 2010 vintage after all.  With a little age, the flavors of the wine could develop a little more.  Still, the Cuvee Napoléon Pinot Noir is enjoyable and drinkable.  In any event, I found this wine at a local grocery store for about $11.50 a bottle.

ENJOY!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Frattaglie del Pollo con Aceto Balsamico (Chicken Heart and Liver with Balsamic Vinegar)

While I was trying my hand at Pollo al Mattone, I faced the question of what to do with the chicken heart and liver.  Whenever you buy a whole chicken or turkey, it usually comes with the heart, liver and neck, in a bag nestled in the cavity of the bird. 

I decided to take the heart and liver and sautee it with some fennel, garlic and leeks.  The heart and liver both have a very earthy, mineral taste.  I added some ground black pepper and crushed red pepper to provide a kick.  So, to finish the dish, I added a teaspoon of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and, once plated in a little bowl, I drizzled my best Balsamic Vinegar.  The result is a little appetizer that is both earthy and sweet, with a little kick from the two peppers.  I think this is one of my best original recipes in quite some time.  A good balance of flavors.  

This recipe is an example of what someone like myself can do with a little creativity and a couple ingredients.

FRATTAGLIE DEL POLLO CON ACETO BALSAMICO
A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 1 to 2

Ingredients:
1 chicken heart, sliced into strips
1 chicken liver, sliced into strips
2 tablespoons of leeks, diced
1 tablespoon of fennel, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon of fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon of Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1/2 tablespoon of aged balsamic vinegar
Ground black pepper, to taste
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons of butter
Basil leaves, for garnish

Directions:
1.  Saute the ingredients.  Heat the butter in a skillet on medium-high heat.  Add the leek, fennel and garlic.  Saute for about three to four minutes.  Add the crushed red pepper, black pepper and salt.  Then add the sage and saute for one minute.  Add the heart and liver and saute until cooked, about four to five minutes.  

2.  Plate the dish.  Plate the offal in a little bowl and garnish with basil leaves.

ENJOY!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Poliziano Rosso di Montepulciano (2008)

The word "Montepulciano" can spark rivalries.  Indeed, that word finds itself in two Italian wine styles that are amongst my favorites.  On the one hand, there is the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, which is a wine style I love because it hearkens back to the region from which my mother's grandparents emigrated at the turn of the twentieth century. On the other hand, there is the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. Although the share "Montepulciano," they are two completely different wines.  

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a wine that is produced around the Tuscan town of Montepulciano.  Unlike the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, it is not made with Montepulciano grapes.  Instead, it is produced with a type of Sangiovese grape known as Prugnilo Gentile.  The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), with specific rules regarding the growing of the grapes and the production of the wines.  

There is another wine produced around the town of Montepulciano, known as a Rosso di Montepulciano.  It is produced with the same Prugnilo Gentile grapes.  The rules allow winemakers to produce the wine with at least 70% of the Prugnilo Gentile grapes, with the remainder consisting of Canaiolo, Mamolo, Merlot and/or Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Poliziano wine Rosso di Montepulciano is made with 80% Sangiovese (Prugnilo Gentile) grapes and 20% Merlot grapes.  The wine pours a dark crimson wine. The aromatic elements of the wine are full of dark cherries and other berries.  This wine is very fruit forward.  This forwardness carries through to the taste.  The wine is very smooth up front, with cherries and blackberries in the taste. There is a slight astringency in the finish, but it almost goes unnoticed because of the fruit in the front. 

This wine is a good wine to serve with roasted or grilled meats, particularly beef.  I paired this wine with the Pollo al Mattone, or Chicken Grilled Under a Brick.  The berries in the taste of the wine paired well with the crispy skin of the chicken, as well as the dark meat. 

This wine is available at Whole Foods Market for about $16 to $20.00 per bottle (depending if it is on sale). 

ENJOY!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pollo al Mattone (Chicken Grilled under a Brick)

About five years ago, I had the privilege of eating a dinner prepared by Tuscan chef Giancarlo Giannelli.   Chef Giannelli owns and operates Locanda dell'Oste Poeta, a restaurant outside of Siena.  The dinner was delicious and, afterward, I had an opportunity to meet the chef in person.  I also bought a book he recently published, which he was gracious enough to autograph for me. 

In that book, there was a recipe for Pollo al Mattone or Chicken Grilled under a Brick.  I have always wanted to make that dish, and, Chef Giannelli's recipe was easy to prepare.  Take as many chickens as you want, and add as much rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper that may be required.  Indeed, many recipes for Pollo al Mattone share in this simplicity.  One chicken, a handful of herbs and spices, and, of course a brick.

Although the brick is traditionally used to make this dish, there are alternatives.  Lotti Paolo produces a terra cotta dish with a heavy lid that simulates the weight of the brick.  Two very good friends bought this dish as a wedding gift for Clare and myself.  The dish is available at Sur La Table and, most likely, other cooking stores.  The reason why I love this dish is because it allows me to make Pollo al Mattone in the oven, rather than standing over a fire in 100 degree heat or, worse, in the rain.  

Using a terra cotta dish has one limitation, the temperature of the oven.  High temperatures over long periods of time can cause the terra cotta to crack.  The maximum cooking temperature is 350 degrees. However, this may not get the skin crispy enough.  So, after the chicken is cooked, I left it under the broiler for no more than five minutes, which helps to crisp the skin.



POLLO AL MATTONE (CHICKEN GRILLED UNDER A BRICK)
Inspired by Giancarlo Giannelli, The Taste of Memories at 54-55
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
1 three to four pound chicken, butterflied
2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, chopped finely
2 tablespoons of fresh sage, chopped finely
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, diced finely
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
Extra virgin olive oil, as necessary
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper to taste

Directions:
1.   Prepare the rub.  Allow the butter to soften to the point it is almost melted.  Add the herbs and spices and mix well.  Add salt and ground pepper to taste.  Then baste the entire chicken with the butter mixture, including under skin.  

2.  Prepare the cooking dish (stove).  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare the terra cotta dish according to its instructions.  Usually this requires heating the dish in the oven for five minutes, adding some extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of the dish, and heating for about two minutes more.  If you are using the oven, proceed to step 4, if you are using a grill, proceed to step 3.

3.  Prepare the grill (optional).  If you are using a grill, heat the grill to about 350 degrees.  If you are using a brick, wrap the brick in foil.  Never use an uncovered brick.  In fact, I would probably wrap the brick twice with foil.  Dampen a paper towel or use a brush to brush the grates with olive oil.  Then proceed in step four as if it was being cooked in the oven.

4.  Cook the chicken (stove).  Place the chicken skin side down and place the brick or cover on top.  Cook for about ten to twelve minutes, checking occasionally to make sure that the skin is not browning or crisping two quickly.  After ten to twelve minutes, remove the brick or cover and flip the chicken.  Return the brick or cover, and continue to cook for about twenty minutes.  The chicken will be done when the chicken is golden and, when pricked in the thigh, the juice is clear.  The internal temperature should be about 170 degrees.

5.  Grill the chicken (optional).  If you using a grill, flip the chicken once more so that the skin is facing down. Grill for one to two minutes to crisp the skin.  If you are using an oven, turn on the broiler and let the chicken cook for about two to five minutes. 

As an accompaniment to this dish, I made some oven roasted potatoes.  I first boiled quartered, red skinned potatoes in a mixture that was equal parts water and chicken stock.  I also threw in some rosemary twigs and fresh thyme sprigs.  After the potatoes could be pierced with a fork, I removed them from the water and dried them off.  Then I added the potatoes to the oven to cook alongside the chicken, removing them when they were done.

ENJOY!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Work of Art at Picasso

Every time that both my beautiful Angel and I are in Las Vegas, I make a reservation at one of the fine dining restaurants.  One of the trends in Las Vegas is for famous chefs to open restaurants in the casino/resorts.  All of the popular chefs -- Mario Batali, Emeril, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, Thomas Keller, Hubert Keller and others -- have opened restaurants all along the Strip, from Mandalay Bay to the Wynn.  The last time we dined in Las Vegas, we dined at Bartolotta, which was one of the best meals that we had ever had in Las Vegas.

Recently, while in Las Vegas, Clare suggested that we dine at Picasso, which is a fine dining restaurant in the Bellagio.  Picasso has two Michelin stars, and a five diamond rating from the AAA.  The executive chef is Julian Serrano.  Although born in Spain, Chef Serrano trained in France, which is reflected in his dishes. At Picasso, Serrano offers two menus, a Prix Fixe Menu and a Degustation Menu.  Both Clare and I chose the Prix Fixe Menu, with the wine pairings by a sommelier.  And, as we sat outside with a front row seat to the dancing fountains of the Bellagio, we proceeded to have what was the best meal that we have ever had in Las Vegas.

THE AMUSE BOUCHE



Potato Soup with Smoked Salmon and Caviar.  The first dish was actually not even on the menu.  It was an amuse bouche of cold potato soup with sliced almonds and a "lollipop" of smoked salmon, quail egg and caviar.  An "amuse bouche" is supposed to awaken the taste buds in preparation for the meal to come.  This little dish did the trick.  The potato soup was incredible, smooth and silky, while the salmon, egg and caviar produced a wide range of tastes when eaten. 

THE FIRST COURSE


Poached Oysters Garnished with Oestra Caviar and Sauce Vermouth. As a big fan of oysters, this dish really interested me.  The oysters were expertly shucked, poached and then placed in a small amount of a vermouth sauce.  They were topped with a small amount of oestra caviar.  This type of caviar consists of the eggs from sturgeon and can be some of the most expensive or prized caviar in the world.  The sommelier paired this dish with a white wine from the Loire valley, which was a perfect complement to the flavors of the dish.  

THE SECOND COURSE


Foie Gras Torchon with Pineapple and Port Reduction. For the second course,I ordered the foie gras torchon with pineapple and port reduction.  Torchon is a cooking method for foie gras where the foie gras is wrapped in a towel and poached.  The foie gras was exquisite, with each bite melting like butter. The foie gras was served with a micro green salad, a piece of toasted bread and the pineapple, which had a sugar glaze.  The sommelier paired a late harvest wine from the Veneto region of Italy with this course. 

THE THIRD COURSE


Sauteed Medallions of Fallow Deer with Caramelized Apple and Zinfandel Sauce. The third course consisted of two medallions of perfectly cooked fallow deer.  As a point of information, fallow deer is a ruminant animal, with a stronger flavor than other species of venison.  Fallow deer is the venison traditionally served in Europe.  The medallions were of a good size and sauteed to a perfect medium rare.  I am not sure what was placed on top of the medallion.  Serrano's recipe calls for a dollop of bone marrow, although the ingedient had the consistency of a well cooked mushroom stem.  In any event, the caramelized apple and green beans were a good accompaniment to the venison. The sommelier paired a Priorat, a wine from the Spanish region of the same name, with this dish.  
 
ENJOY!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nøgne-Ø #100 Barleywine-Style Ale

Nøgne-Ø means "naked island" in Norwegian, and it is a reference to Henrik Ibsen's description of any of the stark, barren outcroppings visible off of Norway's southern coast.  Today, it is the name of one of Norway's most prominent craft brewers.  Both Clare and I were first introduced to Nøgne-Ø during a National Geographic beer tasting of Scandinavian beers.  We sampled only one of its beers during that tasting, only a small introduction to a brewery that has over a dozen year-around beers.

One of the year-around beers is the #100.   This brew has an interesting story behind it.  Originally the 100th brew of Nøgne-Ø, this beer is a barleywine style ale.  The brewers used Maris-Otter, wheath and chocolate malts, as well as Columbus, Chinook and Centennial hops.  They also used British ale years and Grimstad water to make this beer.  Although the brewers made this beer for their own enjoyment, they ultimately shared the beer with the public and, now, it is available around the world.

The #100 pours a very dark brown to black in color, with a light caramel foam that slowly recedes to the edges of the glass.  The beer has a malty aroma, full of caramel and toasty bread.  With each sip, this Barleywine style ale shows its preferences for malts over hops.  The malts are very much in the front, with the roasted malts providing hints of chocolate.  The hops bring up the rear, providing a little astringency to the finish.  The flavor profile of this beer places it in the category of English barleywines rather than American barleywines.

In the end, this beer seems a little more like an Imperial stout than a barleywine style ale.  However, that is not a bad thing, because I love both styles of beers.

The beer has an ABV of 10% and an IBU of 80.  This beer is available at most beer stores that have a large selection of craft beers and/or international beers.  I found this beer at Corridor Wine and Spirits in Laurel, Maryland.

ENJOY!

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Tour of Beef at Carnevino

Restaurant reviews are far and few on this blog.  While I like to read restaurant reviews, I wanted to focus more on cooking and pairing.  However, when I dine at a truly amazing restaurant, I feel compelled to write about the experience, if only so I can remember what I had.

Recently, I had the opportunity to dine at Carnevino, which is one of a couple restaurants established by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich in Las Vegas.  As the name suggests (if you know Italian), this restaurant is all about meat ("carne") and wine ("vino").  The dual focus of this restaurant is well balanced.  The menu contains dishes such as beef carpaccio, ravioli di stracatto (duck livers with balsamic vinegar), and a range of meat dishes, featuring the "BBL" beef.  "BBL" beef is hand selected, hormone and antibiotic free beef that is aged in a meat chamber.   The menu is well developed, and reinforced by a very large list of wines.

But, the reason why I went to Carnevino is not that menu.  There was a much smaller menu that grasped my attention ... the Beef Tasting menu.  Five courses, four of which feature beef in different preparations.  The menu had a substantial price tag of $120.00 per person.  It took a little time for me to choose this menu, but, I realized that, one only lives once and so it is important to experience everything.  This principle is particularly apt when it comes to beef.

Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of the dishes.  I felt a little intimidated to take out my phone camera and take pictures.  Still, here are some of my notes about each course.

First Course: Wagyu Beef Crudo. The first course was an excellent introduction to the world of beef.  The preparation was basically a wagyu beef carpaccio.  Crudo is the presentation of raw protein, usually fish but it can also be beef.  The beef in this case is wagyu, which consists of several breeds of cattle that are known for the marbling of their meat and the high amount of oleaginous unsaturated fat, Omega 3 and Omega 6 acids.  The beef was sliced paper thin and laid out like petals of a flower.  In the center, there was a little "salad" of fennel topped with coriander leaves.  This was the first time that I had ever had carpaccio or crudo.  Each bite of the crudo melted in the mouth, with little chewing required.  This was an excellent introduction to this preparation of beef, making me wish that I had access to such quality beef so that I can try to make it myself.

Second Course: Beef Cheek Ravioli.   Beef ravioli is hardly novel, but the second course, beef cheek ravioli, presents a completely different and unique experience.  There were five ravioli, made with fine sheets of pasta that enveloped beef cheeks.  The meat itself was pureed or minced to almost a paste; however, whoever prepared the dish knew the point at which he or she should stop, because, despite the look of the filling, much of the texture of the meat was retained.  The beef cheek had a deep, beef flavor that was truly exceptional.  The ravioli were topped with an aged balsamic vinegar, which was all that was needed to complete the dish.

Third Course: Wet Aged Piemontese Beef.  Until recently, I had not heard of Piemontese beef.  In the Piedmont region of Italy, ranchers raise razza bovina Piemontese, a breed of cattle that is known for double-muscling.  The cattle have more muscles and less fat, yet the meat remains tender. Small slices of the beef, seared on the outside and nearly raw in the inside were stacked like Lincoln Logs over a small bed of wilted spinach and topped with a poached quail egg that was breaded and fried.  The beef was very good, and tasty, with each bite containing crystals of sea salt to help enhance the experience.

Fourth Course: Dry Aged "BBL" Beef.  The final course centered around Carnevino's BBL beef, which was prepared in a similar way as the Piemontese Beef, with small slices seared on the outside and nearly raw in the inside.  The beef was served with a small lobster and potato side that was very good.  However, the star of this course was the beef.  Like the crudo, each bite simply melted away, giving way to just the full flavor of the beef.

Fifth Course: Vanilla Semifreddo. The final course was the dessert, a Vanilla Semifreddo, which was a semi-frozen ice cream or custard with a pistachio butter and lightly sauteed strawberries.  This dish was a great way to end the dinner.

During the tasting, I had a couple glasses of Barbera, a wine produced in the Piedmont region of Italy.  The wine paired well with each of the beef preparations.

After I completed each of the tastings, I commented on Twitter that every person considering vegetarianism should be required to complete this beef tasting before he or she commits to foregoing beef.  If that were the case, there would be no vegetarians.  Each course was perfect and the overall tasting was amazing.  Although the price is a little stiff, I do not regret it.  The tasting menu is a beef-centric experience that I will never forget.  Until next time ...

ENJOY!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Polenta Bites with Tomatoes and Crab

Both Clare and I have been growing tomatoes in pots on our deck.  We are growing two types: Roma tomatoes and some other tomato.  (Both of us cannot remember the name of the second tomato.)  The "other" tomatoes have been ripening fairly quickly.   They are bite-size, orange tomatoes.  When I saw them, thoughts of a tapa or appetizer immediately came to mind.  Tomatoes ... polenta ... and crab.  The only question was how to incorporate these three ingredients. 

In my mind, I thought immediately of little polenta "sandwiches."  The problem is that these ingredients could not stand on their own in a sandwich.  I overcame that problem with a toothpick.  The polenta serves as the "bread," embracing one whole tomato and 1 big piece of lump crab.  To complete the dish, I microwaved it for one minute.  This heated up the polenta and the crab, and softened the tomato just a little.  


POLENTA BITES WITH TOMATOES AND CRAB
A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 2

Ingredients:
6 bite-size tomatoes (cherry tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes)
12 slices of premade polenta
6 large pieces of lump crab
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper to taste
Toothpicks

Directions:
1.  Bake the polenta.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place a piece of aluminum foil in a baking sheet.  Drizzle a little olive oil on the foil and spread the oil so that it covers the entire sheet.  Place the slices of polenta on the sheet, salt and pepper both sides.  Drizzle a little more oil over the top of the polenta.  Bake the polenta for fifteen minutes.  Turn on the broiler and finish the polenta under the broiler for about three minutes.

2.  Prepare the polenta.  Let the polenta cool down.  Stack about four pieces of polenta on top of each other.  Cut the sides of the polenta so that you have a square.  Cut the square in half, so that you have eight pieces.  Repeat with the remaining polenta slices.

3.  Plate the dish.  Plate by taking the toothpick and putting a piece of polenta, along with the crab, tomato and another piece of polenta,  Repeat until you have a total of six "bites."

4.  Heat the dish (optional): Heat the bites in the microwave for one minute.  Serve immediately.

ENJOY!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Capellini d'Angelo al Limone ed il Granchio (Angel Hair Pasta with Lemon and Crab)

I really love pasta with a lemon sauce.  For me, it is a quintessential summertime dish.  I have made this dish several times, usually making a lemon cream sauce.  I have never really been pleased with any of those sauces.  The cream seems to weigh down what should otherwise be a light, citrusy sauce.   Undeterred, I have continued to work on this sauce, both conceptually and in practice.  I recently came across a couple of recipes for pasta with lemon sauce.  Neither sauce included cream as an ingredient.  A plain, simple lemon sauce.  Perfect.

The sauce is simple -- olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper -- and, as they often say, simple is best.  The best pairing with this sauce is a light pasta.  Two such pastas come to mind, vermicelli and angel hair pasta.  The latter is also known as capellini or capellini d'angelo.  Capellini are thin strands of pasta that work well with this sauce.  The lemon sauce coasts the pasta, providing a fresh flavors with each bite.

In designing this dish, I also did another classic pairing of ingredients ... the lemon sauce and lump blue crab.  There are dozens of recipes that combine these two ingredients.   The combination of the light pasta, light sauce and blue crab resulted in a very delicious dish.  I will definitely be making it again.


CAPELLINI D'ANGELO AL LIMONE
Adapted from Epicurious.com
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
1/2 box of angel hair pasta
2 lemons, juiced
1 clove of garlic, finely diced
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon of chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 pound of lump crab meat

Directions:
1.  Cook the pasta.   Heat a pot of water on high until it boils.  Add the pasta. Cook until al dente, about five minutes.

2.  Prepare the sauce.  While the pasta is cooking, heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add the garlic.  Saute for one minute and add the lemon juice and oil.  Add the crab, crushed red pepper and parsley.  Stir and let the sauce cook down a little.  

3.   Plate the dish.   Drain the pasta and add the pasta to the saucepan. Mix the pasta with the sauce well, making sure that the noodles are covered with the lemon sauce.  Plate some of the pasta and crab in bowls and garnish with some extra chopped flat leaf parsley. 

ENJOY!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chipirones con Cebolla Caramelizada (Baby Squid with Caramelized Onions)

This dish, baby squid with caramelized onions, is another dish that comes from Jose Andres' cookbook, Made in Spain.  Like the Vieiras con Albariño, this dish is fairly straightforward.  In addition, I have made stuffed calamari in the past, so I have some experience trying to make this dish.  Those prior experiences were helpful for remembering two important things about making stuffed squid dishes as Chipirones con Cebolla Caramelizada.  First, patience is a virtue and it is needed when trying to stuff a mixture into the small bodies of squid.  Second, never put too much stuffing in the squid bodies.  Many stuffings will expand under the heat of the oven; and, if packed too tightly, the stuffing can cause the squid bodies to break open.  

Keeping those two things in mind, a stuffed squid dish is not only delicious, but is also a sustainable dish.  According to Seafood Watch, most squid sold in the United States comes from countries such as China, South Korea, India, Thailand and Taiwan.  The squid are caught using jigs or trawls, which minimize bycatch.  However, the extent of the squid populations is unknown, so it is not possible to give a definite endorsement as truly sustainable.  Most conservation websites and seafood monitoring sites, like Seafood Watch, give the thumbs up to squid.

This dish, like the Veirias con Albariño, is a very delicious dish.  I am definitely looking forward to making more dishes from José Andrés cookbook in the future.


CHIPIRONES CON CEBELLA CARAMELIZADA
(BABY SQUID WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS)
From Made in Spain at page 163
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (Spanish is preferred, but Italian or Greek will work well too)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 medium Spanish onion, sliced finely
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup plus two tablespoons of white wine (like Albariño wine)
8 whole small squid bodies, cleaned with tentacles separated
Sea salt to taste
1 teaspoons of flat leaf parsley, chopped finely

Directions:
1.  Saute the onions and garlic.  Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a saute pan over low heat.  Add 3/4 of the garlic and saute until golden, about one minute.  Add the onion, pepper and bay leaf, increase the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for about twenty minutes.  Add the wine and continue to cook until alcohol evaporates, which should be about five minutes.  

2. Saute the tentacles and stuff the calamari.  Chop four of the squid tentacles and add them to the onion.  Cook for a couple more minutes.  Set mixture aside to cool.  When the mixture is cool, stuff each of the squid bodies with the mixture.  If there is any extra mixture, set it aside and keep it warm.

3.  Cook the calamari. Season the stuffed tubes and remaining tentacles with salt.  Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium high heat.  Add the stuffed tubes and tentacles, cooking until they are brown.  This should take about two minutes per side.  Stir in the remaining garlic and parsley.  Remove from heat.

4.  Plate the dish.  Divide any remaining onion mixture amongst the four plates.  Top each plate with the tubes and tentacles, drizzling any sauce from the saute pan.

ENJOY!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pazo Serantellos Albariño (2010)

Generally speaking, Galicia is perhaps best known for its seafood.  An autonomous region in northwest Spain, Galicia is surrounded on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean.  This long coastline provides the perfect setting for a vibrant seafood industry.  Local D.C. chef, José Andrés, filmed one of the episodes of his P.B.S. series, Made in Spain, in this region.  During his visit, Andrés took time to not only learn about the seafood of Galicia, but also about its wines.

One such wine is the white wine known as Albariño.  The origins of this this wine, and the grape of the same name, are a little unclear.  According to legend, as recounted by Wikipedia, Cluny monks are said to have brought the Albariño grapes to northwest Spain during the Middle Ages.  Whatever the origins, growers cultivate the grape in Galicia, such as in the Rías Baixas region, as well in the regions of Monção and Melgaço in northern Portugal.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Albariño is that the grapes are grown and trained on high trellis, far from the ground.  This practice helps to prevent the rotting of the grapes but it also serves another beneficial purpose ... allowing farmers to cultivate other vegetables or livestock underneath the trellises. 

The Pazo Serantellos is a value buy when it comes to Albariño at only $9.99 a bottle. Although it is cheap, the Pazo Serantellos is still a good wine.  I could not find anything about the grower or the winery.  So, I'll just move on to the wine itself.  The Albariño pours a color that resembles apple juice, with only a little fermentation.  The aromatic elements suggest apples, along with other fruit, such as nectarines or white peaches.  The taste of the wine is refreshing, dry, crisp, with a good acidity, that emphasizes apples and a little minerality. 

As you can guess, this wine pairs well with seafood and other light dishes.  I used this wine, both as an ingredient and as a pairing, for Vieiras con Albariño or Scallops with Albariño Wine.  This dish is from José Andrés' cookbook, Made in Spain

One last note, Albariño wines do not age well.  Consequently, these are not wines that you want to buy and leave in the basement for a couple of years.  Albariño wines are best enjoyed at young ages.  So, a wine like the 2010 Pazo Serantellos Albariño is ready to drink right now.  As I noted, this wine should be available at wine stores with a good selection, as well as supermarkets like Whole Foods Markets.

ENJOY!

For more about Albariño grapes, check out Wikipedia.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Vieiras con Albariño (Scallops with Albariño Wine)

For my birthday, my beautiful Angel, Clare, bought me the cookbook from Made in Spain, the show on the Public Broadcasting System hosted by local chef celebrity Jose Andres. I wanted to make a dinner for her using recipes from this book.  I chose two recipes, one of which was Vieiras con Albariño or Scallops with Albariño Wine.

The preparation of this dish is rather straightforward.  The first step is to prepare the marinade mixture.  Spoon a tablespoon or two of the mixture onto scallop shells, and perch a lightly breaded scallop on top. Place the scallop under the broiler until it is cooked and the breading is browned.

The only difficulty that could arise from making this dish is if you do not have scallop shells.  I had a couple scallop shells that I bought a while back.  They were serviceable, but not perfect.  As a suggestion for those who may not have scallop shells, I would put the breaded scallops on a baking sheet and broil them separately from the onion mixture, which should be kept warm in the pan.  Then you can plate the mixture on a small plate and top it with the cooked scallop.


VIEIRAS CON ALBARINO (SCALLOPS WITH ALBARINO WINE)
From Jose Andres, Made in Spain at 156
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
     (Spanish olive oil is suggested, but Italian or Greek works well too)
1 cup diced onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup Albariño wine, plus 2 teaspoons
1 tablespoon of finely chopped jamon
     (if you cannot find jamon, you can use proscuitto)
2 teaspoons of fresh flat leaf parsley
Sea Salt, to taste
8 scallops
3 tablespoons of fresh bread crumbs
     (if you do not have fresh bread crumbs, you can use panko bread crumbs)

Directions:
1. Prepare the onion mixture.  Heat the olive oil in a pan over low heat.  Add the onions and cook until golden brown, which should take about thirty minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the wine and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the wine is a deep golden brown.  Set aside and allow to cool.  Add the ham and parsley and season to taste with salt. 

2.  Cook the scallops.  Preheat the broiler. Using scallop shells, place about 1 tablespoon of the onion mixture on each shell and sprinkle with salt.  Divide the scallops amongst the shells and sprinkle with the remaining wine and cover with breadcrumbs.  Drizzle with olive oil and broil until the breadcrumbs turn golden brown and the scallops are cooked.  This should take about two to four minutes.  Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve immediately.

ENJOY!
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