Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dinner With Konstantine

An impromptu belated birthday dinner for our friend Konstantine.
Things to eat with toast.
Small plates, perfect for dinnertime conversation.
We started off with a caprese salad using the last of the arugula pesto and quickly pan fried currant tomatoes. I drizzled tomato flavored olive oil (left from sautéing the tomatoes) over the fresh buffalo milk cheese.
Arancini, a classic Sicilian treat. Saffron scented creamy rice (or leftover risotto) is wrapped around a tiny dollop of meat ragĂș. The assembled rice balls are dunked in egg batter, rolled in breadcrumbs and fried to golden brown. Equally delicious warm or room temperature, the Sicilian version is said to have gotten it's name because the golden color brings to mind the oranges trees of the island's hills. "Arancini" means little oranges. Artichokes are still at the farmers market. I braised these, trimmed but still whole, with fennel seeds, lemon juice and zest, carrot, onion and coriander. Then pan fried the cut, cleaned artichokes for crisp browned edges. Boiled down with lemon juice and olive oil the braising liquid made a quick sauce, perfect for sopping up with lightly garlic tinged crostini.

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