RECIPES: Marco Canora Shares His Favorites

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All recipes courtesy of Marco Canora.

Roasted Cod with Braised Black Cabbage, Chick Peas and Baccalau Ragu

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the baccalau:

1/2 pound salt cod filet

For the chick pea puree:

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2 cups cooked chickpeas (see note)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the cabbage and chick peas:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup minced red onion

1/2 cup minced carrot

1/2 cup minced celery

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 whole peeled canned tomatoes

3 pounds black cabbage, ribs and stems removed, leaves chopped (about 12 cups)

2 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (see note)

For the roasted cod:

About 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 1¼-inch thick, 7½-ounce skin-on cod filets

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 sprig fresh thyme

Preparation:

Soak the baccalou. Place the salt cod in a large container add enough water to cover the fish generously. Put a top on the container and refrigerate overnight. Change the water and continue soaking the cod until it is moist and no longer tastes unpleasantly salty (this could require another day of soaking so be prepared.) Drain the cod. Shortly before serving break the fish into generous flakes and reserve.

Prepare the soffritto and braise the cabbage. Heat the oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and fry, stirring occasionally until the vegetables soften and color, about 15 minutes. Season the soffritto with salt and pepper.

Add the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato juices evaporate, about 5 minutes.

Add the cabbage a handful at a time, mixing and allowing it to wilt before adding more. Season it with salt and pepper and add 1/2 cup of water if the pan looks dry. Cover the pot and cook, stirring every 5 minutes or so and adding a tablespoon or two of water if the cabbage begins to look dry. Cook until the greens are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas. Heat through and keep warm over low heat. (The braised cabbage can be made a day or two in advance and reheated over low heat.)

Make the chickpea puree while the cabbage cooks. Put the cooked chickpeas in a saucepan and add enough water to almost cover them. Add salt and cook covered over medium heat until the chickpeas are hot and very tender, about 10 minutes. Puree the chickpeas in a blender. Season the puree with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Return the puree to the saucepan and keep warm over very low heat.

Pan-roast the cod. Add 3 tablespoons oil to a large ovenproof skillet and warm over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the fish filets them, skin side down, in the pan. Pan-roast until the fish skin is crisp and the flesh opaque about a fourth of the way up the filet, about 7 minutes. Flip the fish. Add the thyme to the skillet and cook over a medium flame, basting the fish with the oil in the pan and turning it so all sides come in contact with the pan. Cook until the fish is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. (The fish can alternatively be cooked in batches, wiping the pan clean in between.)

Finish the dish. Add the flaked baccalau to the cabbage and chickpeas and cook, stirring occasionally, until the salt cod is opaque, about 7 minutes. To serve, divide the chickpea puree between four warm plates, spoon the cabbage ragu onto each then top with the roasted cod.

Notes

If you want to cook your own chickpeas start with 2 cups dried peas and soak them in water to cover (by at least 3 inches) in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, drain the beans and put them in a large pot. Add enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Cut the end off a head of garlic so the cloves are exposed. Add the head of garlic to the beans along with a bunch of sage and salt. Bring the beans to a gentle simmer over moderate heat. Cook, skimming the foam the forms on the surface, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Remove the beans from the heat and allow them to cool in the cooking liquid. You can alternatively use canned chickpeas for this recipe.

Grilled Marinated Quail with Winter Farro Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients:

For the quail:

12 boned quail

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1 sprig rosemary

2 sprigs thyme

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Aged balsamic vinegar for garnish (optional)

For the salad:

1 cup diced carrot

1 cup diced leek

Kosher salt

4 cups cooked farro, see notes below

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

About ¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Prepare the quail by clipping their wing tips (for a neater presentation). Divide the quail, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, rosemary and thyme between two large plastic storage bags. Season the quail with cracked black pepper and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours but up to 2 days.

Make the salad. Blanch the carrot and leek in a large pot of salted water, cooking just until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and refresh in ice water.

Combine the carrot, leek, thyme, and farro in a bowl. Dress with the olive oil and vinegar to taste. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper. (The salad may be made several hours ahead; adjust the seasoning before serving.)

Cook the quail. Start a hot grill fire (gas or charcoal or preheat the broiler). Salt and pepper the quail then grill them, about 2 minutes per side for medium. Serve the quail drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar and with the salad.

Notes:

Cook farro the way you would rice, in liquid until soft. I like to add additional flavor by sweating 1 small chopped onion, 1 small chopped carrot and a chopped stalk of celery. Once the vegetables soften I add cups of farro, stir to mix thoroughly then add enough water to cover by about ¼ inch and some salt and pepper. I simmer the farro until the water is absorbed and it is soft, about 20 minutes.

Papparadelle with Braised Rabbit, Rosemary and Black Olives

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 small red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 ribs celery, trimmed and coarsely chopped

1 small carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped

About 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 rabbit cut into 8 pieces

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1½ tablespoons tomato paste

4 canned tomatoes

½ cup Nicoise olives

¾ cup dry red wine

1 large sprig rosemary

About 1 cup chicken stock plus additional for finishing the pasta

1 pound papparadelle, preferably fresh

About 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

6 tablespoons butter

Preparation:

Prepare a soffritto and braise the rabbit. Combine the onion, celery and carrot in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. (Alternatively mince the vegetables my hand.)

Preheat the oven to 350. Heat the oil in a large high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Season the rabbit pieces on both sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan, brown the rabbit, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the rabbit from the pan and reserve.

Reduce the heat to medium. If the pan looks dry add a little more oil. Add the finely chopped soffritto vegetables. Season with a little salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly at the beginning then frequently as the vegetables soften and brown slightly, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste. Make sure the paste is well distributed and the aromatic vegetables are well covered. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Break the tomatoes into the pot with your hands. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook until the tomato juices concentrate and evaporate, about 5 minutes. Add the olives and wine and simmer until the pan is almost dry, just a few minutes. Return the rabbit to the pan. Pull the leaves from the rosemary branch and add them to the pan.

Add enough stock to surround but not cover the rabbit, it should come up about two-thirds up the sides of each piece. Bring the stock to a simmer on top of the stove then cover the pot and braise in the oven for 20 minutes. Baste the rabbit then recover and braise for 20 minutes more. Baste the again, then braise, uncovered, basting every 10 minutes until the rabbit is tender, about 20 minutes more. (Note the braised rabbit is very good simply served as is.) Remove the pot from the heat and allow the rabbit to cool. Remove the meat from the bones and return it to the pan. Discard the bones. (The ragu can be prepared ahead and refrigerated or frozen.)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Warm the rabbit ragu over medium-low heat. Add a little more stock or water, enough so it looks a little soupy. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until it flexible but not yet al dente, about 3 minutes for fresh pasta, longer for dried.

Stir ½ cup of cheese and 4 tablespoons of butter into the ragu. Using a slotted spoon, add the pasta to the sauce (along with a little of the pasta cooking water). Let the pasta simmer until it is al dente, about 2 minutes.

Season the pasta and sauce with salt and pepper and toss it gently. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter then divide the paparadelle between warm bowls. Serve topped with the reserved cheese and a bit more fresh pepper.

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