Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Cleaning Out the Fridge

It's high time to purge my fridge of odds and ends from meals of the fortnight past. I assembled dinner tonight in no time at all thanks to leftover building blocks of a couple of dishes, which I put together exactly as in their original incarnation - namely, porcini galettes and parmigiana di melanzane. Given the same state-of-the-fridge scenario on another given day, I would probably have felt compelled to reconfigure the elements in a shiny new permutation. Wherein lies the pleasure of solitary meals - having to please nobody but yourself, yourself being the one who really doesn't mind eating the same thing twice. Not that others necessarily mind, of course - put it down to my neurosis.
For the porcini galettes, which are inspired by a recipe from Gordon Ramsay's Secrets cookbook, I baked pre-sheeted and formed discs of homemade pate demi-feuilletee, or rough puff, straight from the freezer till crisply golden before adding a smear of onion cream flavoured with meaty morsels of Salame di Sant'Angelo di Brolo, the delicious cured pork product air-dried in the pristine cool air of the Nebrodie Mountains.
For the topping, I used a little of my precious stash of funghi porcini secchi - thrillingly aromatic specimens, these large slices are all designer cream and ecru, with nary a blemish in sight - resuscitated in a little vermouth and sauteed in butter with garlic and thyme. The galettes are finished with shavings of parmesan and a tiny splash of white truffle oil.
The parmigiana di melazane layers, as per normal, richly caramelised slices of fried aubergine, tomato sauce, mozzarella di bufala, freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano, and basil leaves. The difference lies in the sauce. I wanted the tomato sauce to be robust, to taste of gloriously hot summers, of long sun-drenched days and balmy nights. I wanted, more specifically, to emulate the intensity of estratto, the potent rusty-red, putty-like Sicilian tomato paste laboriously worked by hand.

To this end, I very slowly reduced some canned Italian plum tomatoes, cut up with their juice, with minced onion, garlic, and sea salt in olive oil over the merest flame until thickly jammy. What ups the ante? The addition of some pomodoro secco di Sicilia - moist, plump and succulent, these sun-dried tomato halves were just the sun-kissed dimension the sauce sought.

6 Comments:

Blogger the baker said...

J! those tomatoes look gorgeous! the ones in singapore never looks as red or as juicy. i'm sure they would have tasted as sweet as heaven. i would love to sink my teeth into them. lovely. anyway your porcini galettes looks rather delicious and seriously appetizing :)

oh by the way i just tagged you for 'the cook next door' meme:

http://thebakerwhocooks.blogspot.com/2005/06/cook-next-door-meme.html

cheers!

9:37 am, June 28, 2005  
Anonymous S said...

I am delighted to confirm that not only were the porcini galettes gorgeous, the homemade rough puff was achingly light and beautifully savoury. I ate the whole galette with my fingers in an attempt to ensure that nary a flake escaped. It was quite a meal that J put together last Friday.

11:22 am, June 28, 2005  
Anonymous gwenda said...

ai i hope that in 10 years time i can cook as well and know as much about food as you guys (you, chubbyhubby and s). very inspirational!

3:25 pm, June 28, 2005  
Blogger J said...

hi the baker, thanks for your kind words. and for tagging me! have posted my answers...

hi s, glad you enjoyed the galette...have tagged c.h. for meme, really rather curious as to your respective answers :)

hi gwenda, you are very kind. food-wise, i have been told i suffer from a condition that's borderline obssessive-compulsive...

2:23 am, June 29, 2005  
Anonymous Indira said...

I am seriously thinking of making my own sundried tomatoes this season. After seeing this gorgeous post and photos of yours, Iam going to try definitely.
I love the whole way you put together this meal.

8:27 pm, June 29, 2005  
Blogger J said...

hi indira, thanks! you're very lucky; the tomatoes we get here in singapore are bred, evidently, not for taste and i doubt if there's any point in sun-drying them. would love to know how your sundried babies turn out...cheers,j

9:49 am, June 30, 2005  

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