Deviled Crab Meat Stuffing Recipe

This stuffing has been a favorite amongst our customers through the years.  It has been a sought after recipe.  The only reason of  our reluctance to share was only that there are so many steps in making this coveted dish.  I believe this recipe originated from a dish served at one of the restaurants that the brothers had worked at in the 1950’s.  I want to say it comes from Nick Beni’s Anchor Inn. I am sure it has been tweeked from the original recipe. Take your time and enjoy!!

Ingredients:
16 oz Crabmeat (lump or claw)
9 oz Sherry
3 large mushrooms
1 medium onion ( 2cups of finely chopped onion)
1 ½ sticks of butter ( 12 TBS butter)
1 quart of whole milk
¾ cup of clam juice ( reserved from 4 cherry stone clams) or buy clam juice in a bottle at grocery store
4 cherry stone clams finely chopped, optional
19 oz flour
10 oz corn starch
10 oz shortening
1 ¼ tsp egg food coloring
¾ cup of water
11 oz water
1  TBS salt
1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
1 ½ tsp oregano

Utensils:
2 medium pots, 1  large (2 gallon) pot 1 bowl, whisk, knife,  measuring cup, measuring spoons.

Procedures:

  1. Finely chop onions. Set aside.
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  2. Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Slice and dice whole mushrooms (stems and all). Set aside.
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  3. Coarsely chop crabmeat. Set aside.
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  4. Combine the 2 cups of finely chopped onions, ¾ cup of water, 12 TBS butter in a pot over high heat until it comes to a boil then lower the heat to simmer.  Continue simmering  on low heat while the rest of the ingredients are put together.
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  5. Corn Starch preparation: In a bowl with 1 cup of cold water  slowly add 10 oz of corn starch whisking vigorously to avoid clumping.  The mixture will set up and become thick. Set aside.  Don’t worry if corn starch sinks to the bottom.
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  6. Rue: In a very large pot (all the ingredients will be combined in this pot)  melt  10 oz of vegetable shortening on low heat. Turn off heat and remove pot from the burner. Slowly add flour  until all the flour is mixed in and the  rue becomes thick.  End product should be the consistency of a thick paste.  
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  7. Clam Juice: Either buy a bottle of clam juice found at your grocer. Or shuck 4 cherry stone clams reserving ¾ cup of the juice and chopping the clams and adding it to the mixture. One may even add small tiny shrimp to this.  We have done both in the restaurant.
  8. In a separate pot warm 1 quart of milk with 1 ¼ tsp of yellow food coloring over medium heat.
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At this point there will be 3 pots and a bowl.  You will have the large pot with the rue, smaller pot with onion mixture, small pot with the yellow warm milk and a bowl of cornstarch mixture.  At this point we will start combining the prepared ingredients.
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  1. To the pot with the onion mixture add the 9 oz of sherry , chopped mushrooms, chopped crabmeat, chopped clams (optional) and  ¾ cups of clam juice.  Keep simmering on low heat.
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  2. Start warming up the rue again and when it starts to bubble slowly add the yellow milk mixture and vigorously whisk so that no lumps form and the yellow mixture is thickening. Keep stirring until you take it off the heat or it will burn. It should become a very thick and smooth.
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  3. Turn off heat on onion mixture and slowly pour into the yellow rue and stir until smooth.  Bring to a boil.   You will see bubbles and popping.  Turn off heat.
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  4. Add the seasoning: 1 TBS salt, 1 ½ tsp ground black pepper, 1 ½ tsp oregano
  5. Taste it and see if it to your liking. This is the time to adjust the seasoning. Add a little more salt if you like.
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  6. Stir the cornstarch mixture in the bowl. If the cornstarch sank to the bottom and will be hard just keep stirring until it is all blended again.
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  7. Put the yellow mixture on medium heat until it becomes bubbly again. Add the corn starch mixture in small doses (like in 10  parts) .  Whisk the corn starch continuosly. Continuosly stirring and completely incorporating the cornstarch during each addition. It will become very thick where it is hard to turn the whisk. You may want to have someone hold the pot in place as you stir.
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  8. Let it cool and then place in refrigerator to set.

This is a large batch and it yields 11 cups of stuffing. You can freeze it.  But it needs to be portioned out in balls and wrapped  individually and put it freezer.  We never froze it in the restaurant but for the home cook these are large portions.  I even stuffed clams shells and wrapped each one and then froze them.  The frozen balls can then be put on shrimp or wrap filet of sole around them and placed in oven.

** Suggestion:  Timing is critical in this recipe.  Have all the ingredients and utensils ready.  Please be sure to have all the pots of ingredients boiling hot when they are added except for the milk. You can turn off the heat while you get to next stage but be sure to bring to temperature when you are ready to add to the final stage.  (Milk should be hot but not boiling as it will burn.)

For  stuffed clams the oven is preheated to 350 degrees.  Sprinkle paprika on stuffed clams and drizzled with olive oil. Bakes 20-30 minutes depending on size and amount of stuffing.  I generously stuff the clams.  Bake until the tops of clams are light brown and crispy.  Then serve.Deviled crabmeat stuffing 070

For stuffed shrimp:   Roll a large a heaping table spoon of stuffing into a small log and place in the middle of a shrimp. 3-4 shrimp per person.  Put in a casserole with a little water on bottom top with mozzarella cheese and drizzle with melted butter.  Bake in  350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Buon Appetito!!

“Un Caffé” and a Alfredo Sauce Recipe

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“Maybe it’s because I grew up bilingual but I always took a great interest in words.   It was always a language challenge to grow up in a bilingual household. The spoken word was not always what it was meant to be. So much so, that I would always double check before something came out of my mouth whether it was English or Italian. But what was even more perplexing was the written word, for example, the restaurant menu.  As a little girl I would often hear the wait staff ordering demitasse.  Like what the heck is demitasse?  I looked on an old 1960’s menu and there it was “Italian Demitasse for two”!  Demitasse is the French word for small cup.  It also the word used for serving coffee in a small cup. I read somewhere that demitasse is also the name for Turkish coffee.  But why would an Italian restaurant run by Italian immigrants refer to espresso as demitasse?  As the years went by, demitasse was soon replaced on the restaurant menu as expresso!! What was going on?  Was it a typo from the printers? I do remember everyone calling it expresso.  Didn’t they know how to pronounce espresso?  Was this typo causing customers and wait staff to pronounce it wrong?  Even at that young age I accepted  that everyone was language challenged! Maybe the reason the wait staff referred to coffee as either brown or black was to avoid mispronouncing espresso!

Through research I found that it was the norm in Italian restaurants to spell espresso with an x until the 70’s when there was a huge revolt.  So it wasn’t a typo! Ordering an expresso in the 1970’s was so cringe worthy to baristas that they would wear t-shirts with the “There is no X in espresso!” slogan.  So in the 70’s the restaurant menu went through another metamorphosis and listed  Italian coffee as espresso.  Phew!  It took a few years but all is right with the world now!

All this fuss over an espresso.  In Italy it is quite simple.  They don’t even say espresso!  Italians elbow themselves up to a coffee bar utter a greeting followed by “un caffé”.  It is served quickly in a very tiny cup filled half way up with rich dark coffee and a layer of foam. The Italian without sitting, downs the espresso and is on his way.  Oh wait!  Is that why in America it’s referred to as express….o?

Oh!  By the way, expresso is served in Spain, Portugal and France. But let it be known that the way espresso is made was invented and perfected in Italy. So it’s settled!  Espresso it is!!!”

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See our Alfredo Sauce recipe.

Alfredo Sauce Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tsp salt
1 pint of heavy cream
1 tsp flour
2 egg yolks
10 TBS salted butter
4 dashes of Tabasco
3 heaping TBS of grated imported Peccorino Romano Cheese ( grated Parmagiano cheese can also be used)  (The imported Pecorino Romano cheese is saltier )
White pepper is optional
1 tsp of chopped parsley

Procedures:
Whisk together egg yolks, cream, flour, salt and Tabasco in a bowl.
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Melt butter in a skillet.
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Slowly add cream mixture to skillet while whisking the whole time. 
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Add the Imported Pecorino Romano cheese and contimue to whisk while simmering.
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As the cream thicken large bubbles will form.  Turn off the heat.
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The Alfredo Sauce is ready.  You may add cooked fettucini to the skillet and toss.  Serve with chopped Parsley.
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In the restaurant we would also use this sauce on ravioli!  We would even add shrimp to the Alfredo Sauce.  The shrimp needs to be sautéed separately in olive oil and then add to the Alfredo sauce.

Buon Appetito!

Marsala Wine and Mushroom Sauce

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“In the early years my brother and I conversed only in Italian. In fact all of the cousins that resided in the apartments over the restaurant spoke only in Italian! What is weird is that I remember watching TV and cartoons like Felix the Cat! My favorite!  I must have known what they were saying since I remember enjoying it so much.  By the time I started kindergarten I still couldn’t speak any English, yet I understood English enough to know that my classmates were making fun of the fact that I couldn’t speak English!

Our parents, Italian immigrants, were only a few years in America when they decided to open up an Italian restaurant. It was very important for them to preserve their Italian heritage. And one way was to make sure their American children spoke fluent Italian. While my dad was here with 2 of his 5 siblings, my mom immigrated here with her parents and 6 siblings. Socializing was only with our huge Italian family. The only English we were privy to was what we watched on television and the rare occasions we were allowed in the restaurant! But once I started kindergarten everything changed. I was the pioneer who brought English into the house and spoke with all of my younger cousins. I was reprimanded many times!! What is very funny is that as I became more fluent in English, I started realizing the words I thought were Italian weren’t really Italian. They were actually English with an Italian twist. I am laughing to myself as I remember all of this. You see as much as we were isolated from English speaking Americans we were also isolated from proper speaking Italians!  As our parents worked in the restaurant, English words became part of their vocabulary. Those English words morphed into Italian words either because of their thick accents or because they knew no other way to pronounce them.  Unbeknownst to my brother, my cousins and I, those morphed Italian words were not authentic Italian.  Thank goodness our parents took us to Italy every summer so we could “tune up” our Italian.

As much as our Italian suffered our English did not! Our parents were astute enough to know that they could never teach their children English.  We only spoke Italian at home so we never got confused.  We all learned proper English from school.  Although I did end up having some remnants of only speaking Italian in the early years.  My biggest handicap was trouble with the “TH” sound. It sometimes came out sounding like a T. It was my 4th grade teacher Sister Mary Regis who insisted that I learn to properly pronounce the “TH” sound. My mamma went to school explaining that I had trouble with it because we spoke Italian at home. Sister Mary Regis told my mom that it was not a good excuse and that it was mandatory that I learn to pronounce “TH” sound properly.  I soon overcame my problem with “TH”! But every now and then if I have to put thumb and tongue or thong and tong in the same sentence I get all tongue tied. There is one Italianglish word, which has lingered from my years living on top of the restaurant that my own children get hysterical about. It’s the way I say sandwich. I have the worst time pronouncing that word in proper English! I used to think that sanguiccio was the word for sandwich in Italian. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that it was really just sandwich said with an Italian accent. I still catch myself saying sangwich.  On second thought I don’t even know I am doing it!  It is my children who love to point out to me that I say “sangwich”.  My sister reminded me of the word frontaruma, she said it wasn’t until her 20’s when it dawned on her that frontaruma was not Italian but the English word for front room (1960’s word used for living room!!).

Don’t get me wrong I can easily go to Italy and understand most everything and can make myself understood by the Italians.  I am very conscious of when I get a blank stare I know that I just used an Italianglish word. But I have noticed that the Italians in Italy also use English words in their everyday vernacular. For example, hamburger is an English loan word in the Italian language. It’s a masculine noun that’s the same in the singular and the plural. It’s pronounced ‘AHM-boor-ghehr’.”

See our Marsala Wine and Mushroom Sauce recipe.

Marsala Wine and Mushroom Sauce Recipe

Hi everyone!

I decided to change things up from the garlic and oil based recipes for this week.  Instead I thought I would share another popular sauce from the restaurant. Marsala Wine and Mushroom Sauce! We used it on Veal Scaloppini and also on chicken, shrimp, scallops,filet of sole and even pasta!  I thought I would use veal in this recipe.  In the restaurant we used the best milk fed veal to get the most tender pieces.  For the home cook it may be a little harder to get the best veal.  I tried two different local grocery stores to get the veal and neither were labeled milk fed.  You can tell by the color of the veal if it’s milk fed. Milk fed veal has a pink color and more expensive than the grass fed version.  The prices ranged from $14.99 to $18.99 a pound.  I tried both and the milk fed was much more tender.  They are both labeled as veal cutlets and the better quality one was labeled veal cutlet top round.  You only need a pound to serve 4 people.

Take a veal cutlet and cut it in half across the grain to make a smaller piece called a medallion. A pound of veal should yield 12 medallions.

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Pound each piece with a meat tenderizer with the side with small teeth about 3-4 times each side.

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Object is to make small round medallions.  Salt and dredge the medallions in flour.

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Fry the prepared veal in canola oil.  The veal is thin so it’s less than a minute on each

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Marsala Wine and Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients:
½ cup salted butter (8 Tbs)
1 cup of veal stock or chicken stock (unsalted)
6 oz of Marsala Wine ( dry not sweet) (grocery store cooking marsala wine is fine)
6 dashes Tabasco Sauce
¼  tsp salt
1 Tbs chopped Italian parsley
10 oz (weight)  of sliced white mushrooms  (6 large)

Procedure:
Prepare the veal ( or Chicken, pork,shrimp,scallops, or filet of sole).  Salt the veal and dredge in flour. Fry in canola oil.

Pour out oil from the skillet and deglaze with Marsala Wine.

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Clean off mushrooms with a damp paper towel.  Don’t wash them or they will absorb all the water.  Then slice.

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Add the meat back in the skillet.

Add the rest of the ingredients,  butter, stock, Tabasco, salt, parsley and mushrooms.

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Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes and remove the veal.

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Continue to simmer for 2 minutes longer to thicken the sauce.

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and then pour the sauce over the veal and serve.

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You can also double the sauce and serve it over pasta.

Bon’Appetitto!!

Pork Scallopini al’Arrabiata

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“It wasn’t just my mamma’s voice that my brother and I experienced coming through the window of our apartment. As my brother and I would gaze through the window overlooking the restaurant kitchen skylights, we could almost see a swirl of aromas lifting through the air toward our window.  We both stood tall breathing in while our stomachs sucked in and our our chests swelled out. We pulled all those wonderful aromas curling up from the skylight all the way up into our nostrils! “ Yummmmiieee yum yum!!”, we would both exclaim to ourselves!  Some mornings we didn’t need alarm clocks to wake us up  because the scent of simmering tomato sauce coming from the restaurant kitchen  was the perfect wake- up call!

Before you all get jealous on how my brother and I were raised on the restaurant foods let me set the record straight.  You know how the old saying goes that the “shoemakers children have no shoes!”, well we children felt like “chefs kids didn’t eat chefs meals”! My mom and her sisters insisted that we were on a regiment of healthy eating.   Soft boiled eggs for breakfast while lunch consisted of soups.  My one Zia made very brothy bland soups while my other Zia made soups that were so thick that you can eat them with a fork! In the early years mamma didn’t cook at all because she was always working. My brother and I were soon disappointed to find out that mamma cooked much the same way! Dinner was just an unseasoned broiled piece of meat and a plain vegetable. If I think back I don’t think my Zias ever served pasta!  Of course dessert was out of the question! I can still picture myself with my cousins sitting at the dinner table staring down at our plates confused. It was so difficult to enjoy our healthy meals surrounded by all those wonderful restaurant food aromas.  We all realized early on that the papas were the restaurant chefs who made the most delicious meals while the mammas were the home cooks who made sure the children ate healthy foods!  You can bet that we children looked forward to Mondays!  It was the day the restaurant was closed.  It was a special day.  Not only did we get spend time with our papas but we got to experience the chefs’ cooking.  We even got dessert!  Some Mondays all three families would go to my nonna’s house where we ate good there too! In fact our Nonna was a phenominal cook! Monday was my brother and I’s favorite day of the week! It is funny how to this day I still associate Monday as a day of family, love and good eats!”

See our Pork Scallopini al’Arrabiata Recipe.

Pork Arrabiata Recipe

Well hello again!!

I hope you are all enjoying the recipes!  We had a request for Pork Arrabiata recipe. This will be recipe number 4.  We have over 50 sauce recipes to share.  It will take time to go through all of them.  If you are especially wanting a recipe please feel free to request one and I will try to fit it in earlier! The Arrabiata Sauce falls in line with our garlic and oil sauce base. This recipe was quite popular in the latter years of the restaurant.  In many recipes arrabiata is often associated with a spicy hot tomato sauce.  Our version has no tomatoes in it.  We call it arrabiata because it is spicy hot! As long as you remove the seeds from the hot cherry peppers it will be mildly hot and palatable!

We use this sauce on pork scallopini but it will be just as good on chicken scallopini.

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The way we prepare pork scaloppini is different than the way we prepare chicken.  We don’t use an egg batter for the pork.  We only dredge it in flour and not eggs!  We started off this recipe with 3 thick center cut boneless pork chops which we sliced through horizontally yielding 6 slices.  You may find the scaloppini already sliced for you at the butchers.  Place a slice in a thick freezer quart size zip lock baggie.  Using the flat side of a meat tenderizer and pound 3-4 times on one side and flip it over and pound another 3-4 times on the other side.  Do that with all six slices.  You may need to pound longer to get a nice thin slice of pork scaloppini.  Salt the meat and dredge in flour.  In a skillet fry up the meat in vegetable oil on each side.  Remember you don’t have to worry if it not quite done.  As long as it gets a light golden crust on it you will be fine because you will be finishing it off in the sauce for 20 minutes!

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Pork Arrabiata

Serves 2-3 people

Ingredients:
3 cloves of sliced garlic
1 Tbs of chopped Italian parsley
2 Tbs of extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup of white wine
1 ½ cups of chicken stock
Slice 4 hot cherry peppers into large chunks ( make sure you remove all the seeds or it will be too hot)
¼ cup of vinegar that the hot cherry peppers are packed in
3 Tbs of salted butter
1/8 tsp of salt

Procedure:
Saute sliced garlic in olive oil until golden over medium heat.
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Quickly pull skillet off heat and drop in chopped parsley.
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Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the butter is melted.
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Then placed  the pork scallopini in the sauce and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.
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Bon’Appetito!!
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Piccata Sauce (Chicken ala Piccatta)

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“My brother and I would savor our tomato juice for what seemed like an eternity. We lingered as long as possible at that booth.  Long and narrow with booths on the right and tables on the left, “the restaurant” was dark except for the light streaming from the front window and the light streaming from the back through the kitchen doors. The booth that my brother and I sat it was located just outside the kitchen.  Mamma would sit keeping an eye on the front door while folding napkins. Sitting facing the kitchen my brother and I were practically on top of each other, just barely tumbling out of the booth,  peering into the kitchen.  It was our chance to find out firsthand what really went on in there.  Our mouths were wide open as we gazed through those doors. The only sound we heard was from the knives.  We didn’t hear any voices what-so-ever.  The knives sharp, shiny and gleaming were busy.  Looking at each other we spoke only with our eyes, “OOOOOO   AAAAHHHH!” We had to stay quiet or Mamma would think to bring us back upstairs with our cousins. We listened for the different sounds of chopping. Like the rhythmic sound of a beating drum, the parsley was prepared for the day. Zio’s knife made clicking sounds like a typewriter, chopping garlic. With speed and precision Papa’s knife  had an even faster beat while slicing the mushrooms.  While all this was going on there a slow methodical thumping sound as veal and chicken were pounded into scaloppini. All these sounds together resembled a symphony.  Just when we heard it all, the sound of cymbals clashed when the parsley hit the sizzling garlic! It was early morning but my brother and I wished we could hear Mamma sing out in her beautiful soprano voice “I’m ordering!” and Papa answer in his baritone voice “Pick up!”  Now that would complete the musical symphony  inside “the restaurant”!

Greetings  all!

Thank  you for taking a walk down memory lane with me with tales of “the restaurant.” 

See our Chicken ala Piccatta recipe.

Chicken ala Piccatta Recipe

Staying along the path of garlic and oil based recipes, I thought I would share the recipe for Piccata Sauce this time. You will find that “the restaurant” sauces are different from same named sauces prepared in other establishments.  You may think you are ordering the same dish but don’t be surprised to find the flavor is not the same. In fact you will probably be disappointed.  “The restaurant” sauces pack a lot of flavor and use ingredients not often found in typical recipes.   In this recipe I am going to serve the Picatta Sauce over chicken but we also used this sauce over egg battered filet of sole, shrimp, and broiled salmon.  Before I continue I want to inform you all that these recipes are from my husband Jim that were handed down from my dad.  I am converting them into recipes for the home cook. Jim was the chef at “the restaurant” for a great part of the latter years.  As you continue to walk down memory lane with me you will learn how this all came to be.

*The following recipe serves 2-3 people.  We used skinless breast of chicken.  Depending on the size of the breast…slice it into 3 horizontal slices .  Take each slice and cut it in half.  You will have 6 pieces.  Sometimes the meat departments will sell the chicken already in large scallopini slices which you will still have to slice in half. 

Take one of the slices and put it in a plastic gallon size freezer bag ( freezer bags are thicker than the regular storage bags) using the flat part of the meat cleaver pound 3-4 times on one side and then flip to pound the chicken on the other side.  Do this to all the other 5 slices.  Using plastic freezer bags makes it easier to keep your kitchen clean and sanitary.

Beat up three eggs in a bowl and put ½  cup of flour (you may need more)  in another bowl.  Salt the slices of chicken on both sides, dredge in flour and then in the beaten egg.  These slices are then fried in a pan with vegetable oil until  golden in color.  Don’t worry if they aren’t cooked through because we finish cooking the chicken in the sauce.  After all the chicken has been prepared we set it aside and make the Piccata Sauce.

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Picatta Sauce (Chicken Scallopini ala Piccata)

(serves 2-3 people)

Ingredients:
1 large clove of garlic thinly sliced
2 Tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbs of chopped Italian parsley
4 Tbs salted butter
Juice of 1 lemon (yields ¼ lemon juice)
Pinch of red pepper
¼ sherry wine
2 shakes of Tabasco sauce
1/8 tsp of salt
6 slices of prepared chicken scallopini (*see above paragraphs)

Procedure:

Saute garlic and oil until golden take off burner and throw in the chopped parsley.                  
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Add the rest of the ingredients and put back on burner.
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Add the prepared chicken scallopini.
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Cook for 13 minutes over medium heat.  The sauce will evaporate until about half the original amount.
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Bon’appetitto!

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Linguini White Clam

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“Mornings were the best part of the day! We got to go to work with my mom!  My brother and I couldn’t eat breakfast fast enough to get ready!  Sitting by the bathroom door we patiently watched my mom put on her lipstick. I loved the sound she made after carefully sliding the lipstick around her lips, pursing her lips together.  That pop sound signaled, “Let’s go!”

Working was going down to “the restaurant” to help set up all the tables for lunch.  While my brother and I carefully placed the paper placemats at each place setting, my mom methodically placed the silverware in their proper spots. Watching her balance all those butter dishes I marveled at how she tossed the plates like Frisbees landing perfectly over the butter knives!  I secretly hoped that one day my mom would let me set up the tables all by myself.

Finally after setting up all those tables we got our much anticipated reward! We followed my mom into the kitchen where she pulled out two little cans of tomato juice out of the refrigerator.  As we continued to follow her to the salad pantry where she lifted up the gleaming stainless steel top to pull out a lemon cutting it into perfect wedges we  caught a glimpse of my dad and his brothers busy at work!  My brother and I stood very quietly as we didn’t want to distract them from their work. The restaurant kitchen was sacred!  Grabbing 2 small glasses, my mom had us sit at a table adjacent to the bar. As we slid into the booth my brother and I gleefully opened up those little cans of tomato juice pouring it into little glasses and squeezing wedges of lemon into them!  I can still remember the taste of that tomato juice!  To this day no tomato juice has ever compared to what we sipped on back then in “the restaurant” sitting next to my mom after a productive morning!” My brother and I felt great satisfaction knowing that we too did our share in “the restaurant”!

See our Linguine White Clam recipe.