Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Valentine's Dinner for One
I love to celebrate holidays. Not a celebration in a party or anything like that. But with the food! So this Valentine's Day I decided to take some suggestions from the February/March 2007 issue of Fine Cooking magazine. Apparently this magazine has been around for about five years but I have never seen it before. I'm glad I saw it this time because I really like it. There are TONS of interesting tips and of course plenty of recipes.
There is a special section in this issue dedicated to making the perfect rice pilaf. I am a big Rice-A-Roni girl because it is so easy and tastes to good. But actually making my own . . . very intriguing! There are four pilaf recipes but I decided to go with Rice Pilaf with Sage, Parmigiano & Prosciutto. It was perfect because I had some sage leftover from the sauteed chicken I made last week. I think sage is becoming my favorite herb because each time I use it I find another combo of flavors it goes with. It tasted good but it smelled great! I want to buy a candle to burn in my house with the smell of the sage, butter, garlic and shallots.
While I enjoyed the rice pilaf and could have made a meal out of it, the main treat for my dinner was the lamb chops. Lamb Chops with Lemon, Thyme & Mustard Butter was the simplest way to make lamb chops elegant that I have ever prepared. Simply make a fancy butter the put some on top of broiled lamb chops! It was super flavorful. I am not a big lemon fan and this sauce had just the perfect lemon flavor without it being overpowering.
In a 3-qt. heavy-based saucepan with a tight lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cool half the prosciutto in the hot oil, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy, 1 to 2 minutes. With tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the prosciutto to a paper towel to drain. Repeat with the remaining prosciutto.
Add 2 Tbs. of the butter to the pan and reduce the heat to low. When the butter had melted, add 2 Tbs. of the sage and cook for a few seconds, and then add the garlic and shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and salt and stir well to coat each grain with oil. Toast for a full 5 minutes, stirring regularly to keep the grains separated and to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan (the rice may turn opaque before 5 minutes is up, but keep going).
Add the wine, stir well, and cook over medium heat until the wine is mostly reduced, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, stir once, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 18 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit, still covered, for 5 minutes.
Once the pilaf has rested, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Cut the remaining 2 Tbs. butter into several pieces and, using the fork, gently fold it into the rice with the remaining 1 Tbs. sage, the Parmigiano, and the cooked prosciutto. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.