Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Loss of Zucco

My friend Margaret, noted bonne vivante, asked me to post this:
Zucco, the proprietor of one of my absolute favorite restaurants in New York (the aptly named Zucco le French Diner) died suddenly last Saturday, February 13th.  Because this miniscule little gem (it could seat maybe 14 people) was as much about him as it was about the food, its future is uncertain.  What is certain is that he - and his classic, unpretentious French bistro cooking - will be greatly missed.

Food Day Roundup

I came across this Icelandic food blog the other day.  I really like it: informative and full of heart.
The NY Times wants me to care about a restaurant in Arizona.  I don't. They also ran a very odd article about culinary bragging.  Glad I don't travel in those circles.
Struggling Maine dairy farmers go organic with MOOMilk. (via Topix)
OneIndia reports on an Italian chef's CATastrophe.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bowder, Chisque, Bich?

Sunday night, I thawed out a big container of shrimp stock, thinking it would make a great basis for crab chowder.  When I woke up the next morning, I remembered that one doesn't use stock in chowder. Oops.  How about a bisque?  Well, no.  Most bisques are purees, and I wanted those bits of crab intact.  Could I combine the two?  I would be winging (clawing?) my way through this one.

First, I chopped a couple of carrots, ditto celery, and half a large onion. Into the pot over medium heat with a large chunk of butter.  While they were sweating, I peeled and diced a couple of Russet potatoes.  As soon as the vegetables were soft, in went the potatoes.   Salt, pepper.  Once the potatoes began to soften just a bit, I poured in three cups of shrimp stock, brought it to a boil, then lowered it to a simmer. Looked like I was making vegetable soup.  Not what I had in mind.  Onward.  In 20 minutes or so, the potatoes were completely soft.  I pureed it , right in the pot, with an immersion blender, one of the culinary gods great gifts to home cooks, making sure to leave some of the potato chunks intact.  I added a bit of hot sauce, just enough for piquance, but not for heat.

Once the pot was back on the stove, I poured in 2 cups of half and half, and an 8 ounce container of Maine crab.  (A pound would have been even better.  Next time.)  Brought it to hot, but not boiling. Very important, unless you like a curdled mess.  Now, for the most important step.  Let it cool for as long as you can.  An hour is good, two is better, overnight is best. This helps the crab flavor every slurpful of soup.  Reheat gently, then sprinkle each bowl with Aleppo pepper or paprika.

Yes, reader, it worked.  It was delicious, that bich.

Serves 4-6 as a first course, or 2 as a main, with leftovers.

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I'm a ninth-generation Brooklyn native living in Manhattan.