Chicken Noisettes with Pesto Filling

Ingredients

4 slices bacon
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons melted butter

Pesto Filling
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small bunch fresh parsley or basil
seasonal vegetables to serve

Method

  1. To make the pesto filling, combine all the filling ingredients and bacon trimmings in a food processor and process for 1 minute to make a paste.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  3. Trim each slice of bacon to the same size as the chicken breast halves. Reserve the trimmings.
  4. Gently flatten the chicken with a meat tenderizer. Drizzle with the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Lay out the chicken breast halves. Spread each breast with a quarter of the filling. Roll up the chicken. Wrap a bacon slice around each noisette, overlapping the ends. Insert a wooden skewer through the overlap and the center of each noisette.
  6. Butter a baking dish.
  7. Place the noisettes in the prepared dish and brush with melted butter.
  8. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  9. Slice each noisette and serve hot with vegetables.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Modern Mediterranean Cooking

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Artichokes with Beans and Almonds

Ingredients

2 cups shelled broad (fava) beans
4 large globe artichokes
1/2 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp sugar
3/4 cup blanched almonds
1 small bunch of fresh dill, chopped
2 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and diced
sea salt

Method

  1. Put the beans in a pan of water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, then simmer for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water, then peel off the skins.
  2. Prepare the artichokes. Cut off the stalks and pull off all the leaves. Dig out the hairy choke from the middle using a teaspoon, then cut away any hard bits with a small sharp knife and trim into a neat cup shape. Rub the cup-shaped bases – called bottoms -with a mixture of lemon juice and salt to prevent them from discolouring.
  3. Place the prepared artichokes in a large, heavy pan. Mix together the olive oil, lemon juice and 1/4 cup water and pour the mixture over the artichokes.
  4. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a simmer. Cook the artichokes in the lemon juice and olive oil mixture gently for about 20 minutes.
  5. Add the sugar, prepared broad beans and blanched almonds to the pan. Cover again with the lid and continue to simmer gently for a further 10 minutes, or until the artichokes are tender.
  6. Toss half the chopped dill into the pan and season with sea salt. Mix all the ingredients together, then turn off the heat. Leave the artichokes to cool in the pan.
  7. Lift the artichokes out of the pan and place them hollow-side up in a large serving dish. Mix the diced tomatoes with the beans and almonds in the pan.
  8. Spoon the bean and vegetable mixture into the middle of the artichokes and all around them. Garnish with the remaining dill. Leave to cool to room temperature, then serve.

Cook’s Tip

Fresh globe artichokes should be treated the same as a bunch of fresh flowers. As soon as you get them home, place them in a jug (pitcher) of water until you are ready to use them.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Vegan Cooking

Mediterranean-style Eggplant Rolls

Ingredients

2 eggplants (aubergines), sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
5 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, torn
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh basil leaves, to serve

Dressing

1 tomato, diced
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. To make the dressing, saute the tomato in 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until softened, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining oil, balsamic vinegar, and pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook for 1 minute until warmed through. Set aside.
  4. Brush the slices of eggplant on both sides with oil.
  5. Heat a grill pan and grill the eggplant until softened and just browned, about 5 minutes each side. Let cool slightly.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Oil a large baking dish.
  7. Mix the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Spoon a little of the tomato mixture onto the end of each slice of eggplant and roll up.
  9. Arrange the rolls, seam-side down, in the prepared baking dish.
  10. Bake until the mozzarella has melted, about 15 minutes.
  11. Arrange the rolls in a serving dish and spoon the dressing over the top.
  12. Garnish with the basil and serve warm.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Modern Mediterranean Cooking

Chinese Kung Pao Chicken

Ingredients

11 oz skinned, boneless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine
2 teaspoons roasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup peeled water chestnuts
3 tablespoons oil
10 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup unsalted peanuts
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon chili sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese black rice vinegar
1/4 cup chicken stock

Method

  1. Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Place the cubes in a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of the rice wine, 1 teaspoon, of the sesame oil and 2 teaspoons of the cornstarch, and toss lightly. Marinate in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Blanch the water chestnuts in a saucepan of boiling water, then refresh in cold water. Drain, pat dry and cut into thin slices.
  3. Heat a wok over high heat, add 1 teaspoon of the oil and heat until very hot. Stir-fry the spinach, salt, 2 teaspoons of the garlic and 2 teaspoons of the rice wine, turning constantly, until the spinach is just becoming limp. Remove the spinach from the wok, arrange around the edge of the serving platter, cover and keep warm.
  4. Reheat the wok over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat until very hot. Stir-fry half the chicken pieces, turning constantly, until the meat is cooked. Remove with a wire strainer or slotted spoon and drain. Repeat with 1 tablespoon of oil and the remaining chicken. Wipe out the pan.
  5. Deep-fry the peanuts in the wok or a saucepan until browned.
  6. Reheat the wok over high heat, add the remaining oil and heat until very hot. Stir-fry the scallion, ginger, remaining garlic and the chili sauce for 10 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the sliced water chestnuts and stir-fry for 15 seconds, or until heated through. Combine the sugar, black vinegar, chicken stock and remaining soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and cornstarch, add to the sauce and simmer until thickened.
  7. Add the cooked chicken and the peanuts. Toss lightly to coat with the sauce. Transfer to the center of the serving platter and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: The Food of China

Fish Kebabs with Bay Leaves

Ingredients

16 oz fish with firm, white flesh, preferably swordfish, cut into slices at least 3/4-1-1/4 inches thick
juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
l tsp ground paprika, sweet
salt as desired
freshly ground pepper
16 fresh (or dried) bay leaves
1 lemon, cut into quarters

Sauce

3-1/2oz walnut kernels (bitter skin removed)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
2 slices white bread, crusts removed
3 tbsp cold pressed olive oil
juice of 1 lemon

Method

  1. Cut the fish into 1-inch cubes and put into an earthernware vessel.
  2. Whisk together the lemon juice and the olive oil. Add the paprika and plenty of salt and pepper. Pour this marinade over the fish and turn to coat evenly. Marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or even, overnight.
  3. Pour boiling water over the fresh bay leaves and leave to soak for 1 hour, then drain. Dried bay leaves can be used as they are.
  4. Crush the walnuts to a paste with the garlic and salt. Traditionally this is done with a pestle and mortar, and this method still gives the best results; however it is much quicker to use a food processor.
  5. Soak the bread briefly in water and squeeze out well. Mix the walnut paste and the bread with the back of a wooden spoon. Mix the olive oil with the lemon juice and gradually stir this into the walnut mixture to produce a smooth sauce.
  6. To grill the kebabs, light the barbecue and wait until the charcoal is glowing. If using an electric grill, preheat it to a medium setting.
  7. Thread the cubes of fish onto skewers, interspersing the fish with bay leaves at intervals.
  8. Grill the fish for 12-15 minutes, turning several times and brushing frequently with the marinade. Serve with the lemon quarters and the walnut paste.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Mediterranean Cuisine