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Finally! Frank’s Seafood

18 Jun

A random retro recipe find sent us down a rabbit hole.

We started with this:

Seattle seafood

Which looks like a good excuse for baguette. And it got us reminiscing about Frank’s place in Cochrane. The calamari and seafood in a spicy tomato broth for sopping up with said bread was incredible. Frank’s, which was officially Cucina Amore, was a taste of heaven and now I remember why: Frank Lucente operated Caffe dello Sport in Calgary for years. The hot frutta di mare dish of seafood in a garlicy, spicy, (salty) concentrated tomato broth (not red sauce) with plenty of olive oil. I remember spooning the goods onto my plate, the broth, rendered tomato and oil pooling, which I soaked up with good bread. The dish was so memorable, cravable, that I jotted down details to try to recreate.

Then today, I actually FOUND the recipe from Frank himself.

Pleased to see my earlier recollection is pretty close to the recipe itself:

“The tomato was likely canned romas broken down by heat and liquid. Can’t remember if there were onions melting into the broth but they would not be out of place (ooh or thin slices of fennel!). Calamari rings, shrimp, scallops, mussels, maybe clams. So spicy and garlicy. Wonder if there was white wine in there too. Maybe clam juice or a Walter-like clamato mix would be good to try. Would love to serve with lemon slices and freshly snipped parsley. Serve on a warmed platter.”

Behold, the real deal:

SEAFOOD APPETIZER CAFFE DELLO SPORT

3 or 4 large squid slices

8-10 each: fresh mussels and clams, scrubbed

1/2 tablespoon minced garlic (wondering about shaved garlic slices?)

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley

1/4 cup clam juice

1/4 cup butter

pinch of crushed red chilies

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon dry parsley

black pepper and seasoning salt

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup tomato sauce (Frank combines crushed Roma tomatoes with red pepper, onion, garlic, basil and Italian parsley and simmers his sauce for 4 hours to reduce by one quarter)

Combine seafood, garlic, Italian parsley, clam juice, butter, chilies, oregano, parsley, pepper, seasoning salt and sea salt in a saucepan. Cover and place over high heat for 3-5 minutes. Add white wine and cover, cook a few minutes more. Add chicken stock and tomato sauce and simmer 2 minutes longer. Set seafood on a platter and drizzle sauce over top.

Makes one serving.

From the newspaper column Dec 31 1995:

When Frank Lucente opened his little Italian coffee shop in Calgary in 1974, he literally had the first cappuccino maker in town.

And when he expanded to serve a full Italian menu, it was some of the first ”foreign” fare meat-and-potatoes Calgarians ever saw.

His little restaurant across from Ralph Klein’s favorite watering hole, the St. Louis, drew diners in droves. Klein and his political pals would line up at Caffe Dello Sport for Lucente’s scampi and Italian sausage — even actors like Paul Newman ate at the little Italian eatery. Calgary was still beef and beans land, and Italian was exotic.

Well, times have changed. Calgary now has lots of Italian restaurants and even trendy spots have discovered the wonderful flavors of fresh basil, virgin olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes.

But Lucente and his family are still there, serving up their homemade specialties to their loyal, long-time customers.

The decor is simple — a mural of the Bay of Naples, red checkered table cloths and wood trim.

”It’s nothing fancy, but it’s good,” says Lucente of his trattoria. ”Nobody can beat my food because it’s homey.”

It’s also a little different. The veal stuffed with prawns comes in his green onion and mushroom sauce. The pasta for his lasagne and canneloni is homemade. Frank makes his own chicken stock and bakes his own bread.

Herald Food & Wine reader Dianne Mahura says she gets ”terrible cravings” for the food — both the seafood appetizer and Linguini Alla Vongole top her list. We ferreted out Lucente’s recipe for seafood in a rich tomato sauce, the perfect dish for a Christmas Eve or New Year’s meal. Serve it with lots of fresh bread for dipping, or over pasta.

And while we’re talking calamari, here is caterer Savoir Fare

Savoir Fare Cornmeal Crusted Calamari

Serves 5

2 1/4 pound calamari, sliced into 1/4-inch rings

2    cups cornmeal

2 1/2    cups bread flour

1/2    teaspoon whole thyme leaves

2    tablespoons granulated garlic

1    tablespoon salt

1    tablespoon coarse black pepper

1 1/2    cups buttermilk

1    egg

Combine cornmeal, 1 1/2 cups flour, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk the egg and buttermilk together.

Place remaining 1 cup of flour in a bowl. Dredge calamari rings in flour, then dip in buttermilk, then dredge in cornmeal. Place cornmeal crusted calamari on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When ready to serve, deep fry calamari in small batches in hot oil until just golden — no more than a minute. Serve with aioli.

Aioli

5    peeled cloves of garlic

1    egg

1    egg yolk

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2    teaspoon salt

1/2    teaspoon black pepper

1/2    cup olive oil

1/2    cup canola oil

Place 4 cloves of garlic in saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer until soft, about 10 minutes. Place boiled cloves, fresh clove, lemon juice, egg, egg yolk and pepper in food processor. Process to combine and, with machine running, slowly drizzle in oils to form a thick, emulsified mayonnaise. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with hot calamari.

 

 

 

 

Rad

30 May

Oh Radish, why so angry? Why are you making your face so red by screaming at the top of your lungs? You’re so spicy for a spring veg. You just got here.
These little guys lend their peppery bite to yogurt for souvlaki or tandoori skewers.

RADISH SAUCE

1/2 cup (125 ml) yogurt
1/3 cup (75 ml) mayonnaise
1/4 cup (50 ml) shredded or chopped radishes
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh cilantro or dill
garlic
1/4 tsp (1 ml) freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt

Combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 hour. Yield: 1 cup (250 ml).
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Tandoori Chicken With Radish Sauce Bamboo Skewers

1/2 cup (125 ml) yogurt
1/4 cup (50 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 tsp (5 ml) paprika
1 tsp (5 ml) turmeric
1/2 tsp (2 ml) ginger
1/2 tsp (2 ml) coriander
1/2 tsp (2 ml) cumin
1/4 tsp (1 ml) cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 in. (2.5 cm) pieces

Soak bamboo skewers in hot water for 30 minutes. To prepare marinade, combine next 10 ingredients (yogurt through garlic) in a heavy zip-lock plastic bag. Add chicken and squeeze bag to coat chicken with marinade; seal bag. Let stand 30 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and thread onto soaked skewers; discard marinade. Grill chicken skewers over medium heat on natural gas barbecue, turning occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with radish sauce. Serves 4 to 6.
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MINTY RADISH TZATZIKI SAUCE

3/4 cup (175 mL) plain yogurt
1/4 cup (50 mL) sour cream
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
1 cup (250 mL) coarsely grated red radish (about 5-6 medium radishes), squeezed of excess moisture
Salt and white pepper to taste

Place the first 5 ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Mix in the radish, salt and pepper. Cover and store in the fridge until needed. Can be readied several hours in advance.

Makes 2 cups.

May Two-Four

24 May

Oh Canada. How badly you behave on Victoria Day. The frigid overnight camping(!), the four-wheeling, the mud-bogging, the hooligan bon fires — it boggles our wee WASPy sensibilities.

Make no mistake, we love the May Two-Four — and our Canadian ale — but our favourite celebration includes being lakeside in Windermere, B.C. with croquet, cocktails, and courtesy (not in that order).

Although the spring holiday weather is almost always chilly in these parts, the long weekend wouldn’t be complete without this optimistic heritage cocktail.

SKIP AND GO NAKED
1 can frozen pink lemonade
1 can-ful of water
1 can-ful of gin
4 ice cubes
1 bottle beer, cold

Place lemonade, water, gin and ice cubes in blender. Blend until ice is crushed. Pour into four medium glasses and top with beer.
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The desired go-with for Skip and Go Naked. These babies make perfect broiled toast points.

CHEDDAR BEER SPREAD
Recipe: Bonnie Stern
Bonnie says this spread can be used for an appetizer or a filling for cold or grilled sandwiches.
1 lb (500 g) old Cheddar (or a mixture of cheese), grated
4 oz (125 g) cream cheese
1 tbsp (15 mL) grainy mustard or Dijon
1 clove garlic, minced, optional
1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) Tabasco or favourite hot sauce (or to taste)
¾ cup (175mL) favourite beer
pinch smoked paprika

Combine cheese, cream cheese, mustard, garlic, Worcestershire and Tabasco in a food processor until smooth.
Add beer until spread is the consistency you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper only if necessary. Dust with smoked paprika. Makes about 2 cups.

Pucker up

10 Apr

joelens.blogspot.com

A study of pasta and lemon:

We’ve been whipping up lemony orzo since teenhood. Citrusy chicken broth emboldened with black pepper and parmesan is spring in a bowl. It screams for something green: grassy parsley, sweet peas, steamed broccoli, tender asparagus.

Turkey cutlets with lemon thyme cream sauce even made an appearance on the pages of our beloved 1980s-era Seventeen magazine.

Meyer lemons are finally available in our vincinity, though they are a luxury.
We begin with the best of the web, courtesy joelens.blogspot.com:

ITALIAN CHICKEN WITH LEMON THYME CREAM SAUCE
4 (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups flour, plus 1 tablespoon
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp Italian seasoning

Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.

Mix dry ingredients in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in the mixture, shaking off any excess.
Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a large skillet. Cook chicken breasts over medium-high heat until golden brown and crisp (2-3 min). Add more oil for each batch as necessary.
Place cooked chicken breasts on a baking sheet and transfer to preheated oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.

LEMON THYME CREAM SAUCE
recipe adapted from Food Network
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 white wine
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 lb cooked angel hair pasta
fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
2 ounces Parmesan cheese to garnish

In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring often until the shallot is translucent. About 1-2 minutes.

Add the wine to the sautéed shallot pot. Cook over high heat until the wine is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the cream and the thyme and turn down the heat to a simmer. Cook until it reduces by half. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Add the hot pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Plate the pasta and top with chicken. Garnish with Parmesan and parsley.

LEMONY PASTA WITH ASPARAGUS
FOOD52
Sea salt
1 pound asparagus
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
Grated zest of 1 lemon (Meyer, if possible)

1/2 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Juice of 1 lemon (Meyer, if possible)

Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving
4 tablespoons fresh ricotta

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the asparagus where the tip and stem meet. Cut the stems into 1/2-inch pieces.
Warm the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, until softened on the edges. Add the asparagus and season with salt. Cook, stirring to turn and distribute the asparagus, until crisp-tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest. Remove from the burner.
When the water comes to a boil, add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Scoop out about 1/3 cup pasta water, and set aside. Drain the spaghetti and add it to the asparagus along with the butter. Place over medium heat. Use tongs to toss and melt the butter. Add half the lemon juice and toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more lemon juice and salt if needed. If the spaghetti is dry, fold in some of the pasta water.
Divide among 2 plates. Season with pepper. Sprinkle with parmesan. Drop 2 tablespoonfuls of ricotta on top of each. Devour.


LEMON SPAGHETTI
1/2 pound spaghetti or angel hair or other
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the oil, Parmesan, and lemon juice in a large bowl to blend.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce, and the reserved cooking liquid, adding 1/4 cup at a time as needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and chopped basil.

 

Cilantro’s Lemon Conchigliette

Yield: 4

250 g dried conchigliette pasta shells*

1/3 cup red onion, chopped

1 poblano pepper, julienned

1 tsp garlic, chopped

8 prawns

8 scallops

3 Tbs + 1 tsp (50 mL) dry white wine

1⁄2 cup (120 mL) heavy cream 35%

2 Tbs chèvre (soft goat cheese)

2 Tbs chopped fresh basil

To taste salt and pepper

1⁄2 cup fresh grated Parmesan

Boil the pasta until it’s cooked al dente, cool and set aside.

Sauté onion, pepper, and garlic on medium–high heat for 3-5 minutes.

Add prawns and scallops, and continue to fry for an additional 3 minutes. Deglaze with the white wine and continue cooking until the wine is reduced by half.

Add the cream and goat cheese, let simmer on low-medium heat for 5-8 minutes then add pasta shells and fresh chopped basil.

Toss and heat just until the pasta is hot, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with Parmesan and serve.

(*) Cilantro makes their own conchigliette with lemon juice. Add 1Tbs of lemon zest at the end to achieve the same flavour.