A Wicked Scoff...Recipes and Food with Newfoundland and New England Influences.

This blog is dedicated to bring recipes, photographs, anecdotes, reviews and other insights on everything food related. As the name suggests, "A Wicked Scoff" will have a regional flare, a fusion if you will, of both Newfoundland and New England perspectives of the culinary world around me. Thanks for visiting and please come back often as updates will be frequent. Oh yeah, I also like tasting and cooking with regional beers. Expect a beer of the month, often paired with recipes.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Broiled Salmon Fillet with lemon and dill

I really can't eat enough seafood, especially when it's super fresh! One of my favorite things to eat is Atlantic salmon. Here is a quick, super simple way to prepare whole salmon fillets, a recipe that works just as well with smaller fillet portions or steaks, or pretty much any seafood for that matter.

Simple seasoning of kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh herbs from the garden such as dill or chives, and a good squeeze of fresh lemon once cooked, is all you need to be a master salmon chef. The key is not to overcook it. While salmon is pretty forgiving when it does come to being overcook, because of its fat content (healthy Omega-3 fats), it is exceptionally good when cooked just to the point of doneness.Many people actually prefer a touch of rawness in the center.When I cook my salmon, either by grill, broiler or frying, my goal is to cook it just to the point where the rawness in the center is down to a sliver or has just disappeared. Whatever method, I make sure the heat source is pretty hot. Depending on the thickness, I typically cook it about 4 minutes on side A and 3 minutes or less on side B, starting skin side down. I also love to get the skin crispy as it is quite tasty. Then I let it rest for a couple of minutes and when it hits the plate it is super juicy!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Say hello to my little frineds! SLIDERS

Invented by the American hamburger fast food chain White Castle, and now a restaurant phenomenon everywhere, sliders are quite simply mini-burgers. Smaller buns, smaller patty, smaller amount of toppings equaling huge flavor and huge fun.

Just as with hamburgers/cheeseburgers, the variety of sliders that can be made and enjoyed is endless. The key to making a great slider is simple. Choose small, soft rolls and stuff them with a juicy, well season, non overcooked burger. I have found that I am beginning to find "slider rolls" labeled as such at the grocery store, but if you can not find the, small soft white dinner rolls are a good option. in my neck of the woods, I prefer Martins Potato Rolls "for Sliders".

This past weekend we had company I wanted to make a dinner that was casual, could be made on the grill, and would be tasty! I've been enjoying using my meat grinding attachment on my stand mixer and I had some nice sirloin steaks that I thought would make good slider meat. Sirloin is leaner then chuck (90% as opposed to 80%), so I was conscious to only cook the sirloin sliders to medium/medium well, or pink as they say at some burger joints in order to retain the juiciness I was looking for. Chuck is probably the best meat to use for burgers, especially if you want it to be cooked all the way through and don;t mind the extra calories or fat.

My goal was to make a trio of sliders. For inspiration I drew on a couple of classics, in addition to using some more of my "Newfie screech coffee spice rub". What I came up with was a bacon cheeseburger slider, topped with sharp Vermont cheddar cheese, fried onions, ketchup, yellow mustard and dill pickle; a green chili sliders, topped with canned green chili's (diced and sauteed with fresh jalapeno, garlic and cilantro) and pepper jack cheese; and finally, a Newfie Screech coffee slider equipped with a drop of steak sauce and sauteed mushrooms deglazed with a drop of dark rum
 For my slider meal, I made 12 sliders out of a little more than 2 pounds of freshly ground sirloin. Each patty was about 3 ounces. For burgers I typically do not season the meat until I have formed the pattys, and usually I only add salt and pepper. I like to let the condiments and toppings bring the extra flavors. This is what I did for my sliders, with the exception of the the third slider, which received a liberal coating of the Newfie Screech coffee-spice rub on each side. For cooking the sliders, either pan fry them or cook them on a hot grill until desired doneness. As I said, for a leaner meat like sirloin (or if you are using buffalo or moose, etc) it's best to not cook past medium-well, while the fattier ground chuck will be more forgiving. I usually season the burgers, grill on the first side for about 4 minutes, flip, add the grated cheese and close the lid. By the time the cheese melts I remove the meat so that it can rest for a couple of minutes while I toast by buns. Then I assemble the works and dig in.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The New Newfie Steak!

For me, and for many readers of this blog, the term "Newfie Steak" conjures up images of thickly sliced, fried bologna (with Maple Leaf brand bologna being the fillet of choice for bologna connoisseurs!). I use food as a creative outlet and I'm always thinking of ways to put a new and interesting spin on Newfoundland and New England classics. Recently while looking for a way to cook with Newfoundland Screech Rum, I came across a recipe for a dark rum sauce for steak. I adapted it slightly to make it my own and made it for guests with a seared fillet of beef. It was delicious, and you wouldn't even believe there was a 1/4 cup of rum in the sauce.

The remaining inspiration for this recipe came from watching a television show about steak houses which reminded me of a coffee-rubbed steak I once had. A light bulb went off - what a great way to utilize my Screech flavored coffee beans! I developed a coffee spice blend for the rub and tried it on some locally raised, thick cut rib-eye steaks, and I was in heaven. The spice rub provided a very satisfying crust on the seared meat, and the coffee flavor was both interesting and tasty. If you cannot find Screech coffee beans, I'm sure regular, high quality coffee will be delicious. However you will miss the undertones the rum bring to the rub. I order my Screech coffee from a Newfoundland business...Jumping Bean Coffee Company. Check out their website (http://www.jumpingbean.ca/default.asp).

Screech Coffee Spice Rub

Combine the following and keep stored in an airtight container. The rub will last for a long time and will make many steaks.

  • 1/4 cup Screech flavored coffee beans, ground very fine (use regular coffee if you can not get Screech flavored coffee beans.)
  • 1 TBSP - ancho chili powder
  • 1 TBSP - chili powder
  • 2 TBSP - paprika
  • 1 TBSP - onion powder
  • 1 TBSP - garlic powder
  • 2 TBSP - brown sugar
  • 1 tsp - salt
  • 1 tsp - black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp - cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp - summer savory
  • 1 tsp - dry mustard
  • 1 TBSP - Montreal Steak Spice

Coffee Spice Rubbed Steak (2 servings)

  • 2 thick-cut, boneless rib-eye steaks

Pat each side of the steaks with a liberal amount of the spice rub.

In a large stainless steel or cast iron fry pan, heat:

  • 2 TBSP of vegetable oil over medium high heat.

Once the oil wofts smoke, gently lay each steak into the pan. Do not touch the steak for at least about 4 minutes as you want a crust to form. The steak will release once it is ready. After 3-4 minutes, it will have a nice crust and then you can flip it with tongs. I cook mine for 4 minutes on the first side 3 minutes on the second side, and then I let in rest, covered loosely with foil in a warm oven for another 5-10 minutes which usually yields a medium rare on a 1 inch thick steak such as this.

Dark Rum and Mushroom Steak Sauce (for 2 servings, but can easily be doubled)

Cook the mushroom sauce in the same pan that your seared the steak in. The browned bits at the bottom of the pan will add tremendous flavor to the sauce. If there is not enough fat/oil in the pan, add a little more so that you have about 2 TBSP worth, and set heat to medium high.

To the pan, add:

  • 1/2 pound of mushrooms, sliced (I like baby bella, but any mushroom would be fine)

Spread the mushrooms evenly and toss in the oil. Saute for 2-3 minutes. The mushrooms will absorb the oil, and then they will release their moisture and begin to brown nicely. Once they begin to brown, add:

  • 2 TBSP minced shallot
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle pepper (in adobo sauce), minced (optional, but it will add a smoky heat!)

 Season with a touch of salt and pepper. Cook for a minute and deglaze the pan with:

  • 1/4 dark rum (such as Screech) and add:
  • 2 TBSP molasses
  •  2 cups of beef stock

Simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce reduces by half and add a small pat of butter. Add some fresh herbs such as parsley or chives, for a little color and fresh flavor. Spoon the sauce over the cooked steaks.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Penne in the Style of Sorrento with Grilled Peppers, Onions and Italian Sausage

Here is a nice twist on a a popular Italian dish, "sausage and peppers with penne". For this dish, penne pasta is usually tossed or served with sauteed Italian sausage and bell peppers, onions and garlic. What I often do however is grill my Italian sausage links (I prefer hot, but mild or sweet sausage would also work great), as well as my vegetables, which I served along side a penne tossed in a cheesed-up classic marinara sauce, that I call penne, in the style of Sorrento, after a gnocchi dish I had there!

First I'll start with a simple recipe for a basic marinara sauce, the mother of all Italian tomato sauces. With that being said, marinara is actually a "mother" sauce as it can be transformed into many other tomato based sauces with particular additions, such as meat, for a bolognasse, or cream, or into a pizza sauce or a vodka sauce, or as I will do, add fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheese to make a pink and cheesy tomato sauce.

Basic Marinara Sauce

In a sauce pan, heat over medium heat:
- 1/4 cup of olive oil 
Add, and saute until tender:
- 1 large onion, diced fine
- 1 carrot, diced fine
- 1 rib of celery, diced fine

Then add:
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 large (28 ounce) of good quality crushed tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp of dried Italian herbs (mix of oregano, thyme, marjoram and basil)
- 1tsp of salt and pepper.

Bring sauce to a low simmer and let cook, uncovered for at least 30 minutes. A little longer wouldn't hurt.

Penne in the Style of Sorrento (serves 4)

Cook 1 pound of penne pasta until it is al dente (still with bite).

While the pasta is cooking, ladle 4 cups of marinara into a deep saute pan. Bring to a low simmer and add:
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup of fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
- 1 tsp hot red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3-4 basil leaves, chopped
- 2 Tbsp of fresh Italian parsley, chopped (reserve some for garnish)

Add the hot pasta to the cheesy marinara sauce and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and parsley

 To complete the meal, grilled Italian sausages and vegetables couldn't be easier...or tastier.
Simply slice:
- 1 large red onion, red bell pepper and green bell pepper. Toss in a little olive oil and grill in a grilling basket over a medium flame until tender and carmalized. Add a pinch of salt and pepper while grilling.
At the same time of cooking the veggies, grill your Italian sausages. Turn frequently so all sides get scorched, and cook until the juices run clear.
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