We usually think of an antipasto as a salad (I do anyway). But in my book "Food Lover's Companion" the definition for antipasto is "before the meal", it can include hot or cold hors d'oevres, like cheeses or cured meats or even marinated vegetables. One of the first things I thought of was something I saw someone do on Food TV. This chef sliced about 1/2 inch or so of a honeycomb slab and placed it in the middle of softened blue cheese and she wrapped the whole thing in Nori sheets with the help of a sushi mat. I did something similar but I used Gorgonzola Dolce instead of blue cheese and I used thin slices of prosciutto in place of the Nori. The rest of the plate included some watercress for color, some spicy salami, heirloom tomatoes, chard's of Parmesan reggiano, my version of a stuffed mushroom which is; the stuffing consists of softened onions, garlic and diced mushrooms in butter, some thyme from the garden and salt and pepper, some dried Italian bread crumbs are added to the onion mixture and softened with chicken stock. I then slice clusters of trumpet mushrooms in half and kind of did an "opened faced stuffed mushroom" with the bread stuffing. I sauteed the mushroom halves (that have been topped with stuffing) in a skillet then popped the pan in the oven to finish cooking with a pat of butter over the stuffing. I made some bread too called Fougasse which is kind of a flat bread, but slits are made through out the middle of the dough, which is great for people who like the crusty edges of a bread. I loved this bread, really good, from my Paul Hollywood bread book.
Bone-in Rib Eye
Tony charcoal grilled these while I worked on the sides. These were nice big fat, nicely marbled, grass fed bone-in rib eyes from Whole Foods. When we make a steak we let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes and simply season these with salt, pepper and olive oil. Tony brought them to a perfect medium for him and medium-well for me. I knew they were too big (for me anyway). But we love having leftovers. The rib eye and Fougasse left overs made a good pressed sandwich for lunch the next day.
Leek Bread Pudding
This recipe came from my Thomas Keller cookbook "AD Hoc at Home". It's really a great recipe. It's made with Brioche bread (I used a Portuguese sweet bread), lots of milk, heavy cream and eggs. It also has sauteed leeks and a cheese which I never tried "Comte" which tastes an awful lot like mushrooms. You would swear there is mushrooms in the finished dish because of this cheese. This was a big hit.
I simply steamed these and seasoned with butter, salt and pepper.
"Twice Baked" Peach Crepe Souffle with Buttermilk Ice Cream
Years ago my mother-in-law got me a cookbook called "The White Barn Inn Cookbook". I was looking through it this week trying to get ideas for dinner and I came across this Crepe Souffle that sounded really good. The difference is that the recipe in the book was a Rhubarb flavored Crepe Souffle, but they didn't have any rhubarb at the store so I looked around the produce department to find something to use in it's place and they had these good looking organic peaches so I gave them a go. Basically you make some sweet crepes and line a ramekin with them after butter and sugar goes in the ramekins. You make a souffle mixture that includes Calvados, the peaches pureed, eggs, sugar and milk. The eggs are separated and you add the yolks at one point then the whites are whipped and folded into the mixture at the end. So you spoon the souffle into the crepe lined ramekin and bake them in a water bath. When they are done cooking you turn them out onto a plate so the crepe is now at the top and garnish with some lightly caramelized peach slices and buttermilk ice cream on the side. The ice cream is really good it's made with lots of egg yolks, buttermilk, heavy cream, sugar and a vanilla bean. Very rich.