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Archive for the ‘Meats and Dressings’ Category

This may not be an authentic Eye-talian recipe, and it may not be the most exciting or original food ever, but when you are looking for a fast, easy, minimalist, yet filling and delicious dish to throw together, this is a good one to have on hand.  And it is really, really good.  Like whoa.  I have to say, this meal is definitely staying on my short list for visiting family and friends.

Skill Level:  EASY

Preparation time:  About 20-25 minutes.

Servings: 2.  Or one, if you’re me.

one fileted chicken breast, chopped into smaller pieces.

5 “nests” of spinach fettuccine

approx. 5-6 Tbsp fresh cream

about 3-4 pinches of shredded emmental cheese

2-3 dollops of creme fraiche

about 3-4 Tbsp grated parmesan

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

This is your basic pasta recipe… nothing too shocking.  While you set the water to boil in a pot, rub some olive oil, salt and a small dash of pepper on the chicken and set to bake until it is white through and through.  For me, this is in my toaster oven for 15 min (I’m not sure what temperature it is).  Of course, you can also pan fry it, but baking is healthier and it also keeps a nice moist texture to the chicken.

Add a little bit of salt and a bit of oil when the water comes to a boil, before adding the pasta.

When the pasta has boiled, strain and place back in pot.  Over low heat, stir in about a Tbsp of oil, and the cream, creme fraiche, and the emmental and parmesan.  When this has reached a nice smooth consistency, give it a taste and add salt as needed.  Toss in the cooked chicken pieces (they should be done by now) and stir those in.  When everything is nicely coated with the creamy cheese sauce, transfer to plate, and top with a sprinkle of grated parmesan and freshly cracked black pepper.  Serve with toasted bread and a nice glass of chilled white wine for a nice, relaxing meal.

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The other day I was schlepping around my local supermarket, El Corte Inglés–where all the foreigners flock to get pseudo-familiar versions of their foods from home.  I once found a bag of “Authentic Mexican Tortillas” and excitedly skipped home only to find they were super thick and even sweet to the taste!  Never again–I’ll make my own.

I find that this place caters to 1) lazy Spaniards and 2) clueless foreigners who don’t have any idea about (or inclination to make) local cuisine.  They have plenty of “ready to eat” versions of home cooking–and of course I know this is never as good as the real thing, but since I don’t live with a host family anymore and I can only crash so many house parties, what is a girl to do?

So I like to play around in the store and see what I find.  So in the seafood section I found these ready-made patties that looked like small, yellow cod fritters with scrambled egg.  The interesting thing is, there are no eggs in tortillitas de bacalao.  The yellow is from the chickpea flour.

These tasty little treats are a lot like latkes, except with cod in place of potatoes and, again, no eggs.  Before you say “then they can’t be like latkes,” let’s take a look at this very easy, very delicious recipe.  I guess they could also be considered tiny fish schnitzels.

If you don’t like cod, or you are boycotting them because they are becoming overfished, feel free to replace with any of your favorite seafoods or meats.  The key is to keep the pieces small, so that they fry better.

Skill Level:  EASY

Preparation time:  About 10 minutes.

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes.

Servings: Depends on how many pieces you make.

Piece of cod

Small bowl of chickpea flour

1 part wheat flour to 2 parts chickpea flour, to even out texture when fried

Fresh parsley (dried if fresh is not available)

*My added recommendation*: Finely chopped onion (you can also use onion powder)

Glass of lukewarm water

Vegetable oil (I use olive oil)

Saffron (optional)

Pinch of salt (optional)

Cut the piece of cod into small, very thin pieces to achieve a pancake-like shape.  (You can also just cut into very small pieces without regard to shape, known as “migas.”)  Put the pieces in a pot of water and bring it to a boil.  Remove the water and set aside pieces.  In a bowl, mix chickpea flour, wheat flour, parsley, and onion.  Saffron and salt may also be added.  Slowly mix in lukewarm water just until you achieve a paste-like consistency (not runny).

Dip pieces into paste, and place in hot skillet with vegetable oil.  Fry until lightly browned.

Some people just add salt and eat as-is, although I think they go well with sour cream. Garnish as desired.  Enjoy!

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