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You've said it before and you'll say it again: "What do I want to cook for dinner tonight?" Perhaps it's just-in-season asparagus, an irresistible rack of lamb, or soft-shell crabs that you've been craving. Celebrated chef Geoffrey Zakarian—owner of the highly acclaimed New York City restaurants Town, in Midtown, and Country, in Gramercy Park—offers two sublime recipes for each of his sixty-five favorite ingredients in Geoffrey Zakarian's Town/Country.
Zakarian helps you turn each ingredient into a quick weeknight meal or Sunday supper—a Country Recipe—or elegant Saturday night dinner-party fare—a Town preparation. If it's steak you're craving, Town's Ribeye Steaks with Wilted Watercress and Romaine Marmalade will satisfy a complex palate, and Country's Grilled Flank Steak with Smoked Barbecue Sauce will do the trick for a quiet night. If it's chocolate you want, Town offers an ultra-decadent Liquid Gold Tart, and Country an ultra-comforting Deep Dark Chocolate Pudding.
The editors at House Beautiful took at look at Geoffrey Zakarian's Town/Country and said this: "Snooping around in Geoffrey Zakarian's Town/County, I couldn’t help but notice how many recipes seemed accessible and enticing… This book is worth owning if you like the thrill of a modest challenge in the feed-your-family sweepstakes."
Whether it’s Town or Country, Geoffrey Zakarian always delivers simple elegance. At once familiar and fantastic, comfortable and creative, Geoffrey Zakarian's Town/Country strikes the perfect combination.
Below are two delicious scallop recipes from this cookbook for you to try, one for a night on the “Town,” one for a night in the “Country.”
Town: Carpaccio of Sea Scallops
Place the vinegar and honey in a medium bowl and whisk until well combined. Whisking constantly, gradually incorporate the peanut oil. Whisk in the grapeseed oil in a steady stream. Once all the ingredients are well combined, the emulsion should have the consistency of a light mayonnaise. If it is too thick, whisk in a little water; if it is too thin, add a little more oil. Season to taste with fine sea salt and white pepper, then fold in the chopped rosemary.
Using a very sharp paring knife, carefully cut each scallop into 4 thin slices. Arrange six slices of scallop in a thin layer on each of six plates. Season lightly with coarse sea salt, drizzle the emulsion over the scallops, and serve.
Bay scallops are small and delicate. Unfortunately, they often suffer overcooking, oversaucing, or some other cruel fate. Here, they're seared and then quickly basted in butter, bringing out a delicious caramelized flavor, which is also reflected in the balsamic vinegar reduction sauce. This "emulsion" attains a beautifully balanced, almost chocolatelike flavor—somewhat reminiscent of a good Mexican mole sauce—that emphasizes the fresh natural sweetness of the scallops.
For the emulsion
For the scallops
Prepare the emulsion
Place the vinegar in a medium nonreactive saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and reduced to ½ cup, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
Place the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, and allow it to melt and turn light brown. Remove the butter from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Gradually whisk the browned butter into the reduced balsamic vinegar. Whisk in the soy sauce and season with pepper to taste. Reserve the emulsion at room temperature.
Cook the scallops
Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and season them with the salt and pepper. Coat the bottom of 2 large skillets with clarified butter. Place the pans over a medium-high flame and heat until the butter is nearly smoking. Divide the scallops between the pans; do not shake the pans or move the scallops around. Immediately reduce the heat to medium and add a little more clarified butter to each pan. Cook the scallops until they are deeply brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn the scallops over, and add a sprig of thyme and a clove of garlic to each pan. Allow the scallops to brown slightly on the other side, continuously basting them with the hot butter, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the scallops to a platter with a slotted spoon and reserve in a warm place. Add the 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan and scrape with a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits; remove the pan from the heat when the butter is completely melted.
Pour an equal portion of the emulsion onto each plate in a wide stripe down the center. Place an equal portion of scallops, browned side up, in the center of each plate, spoon the pan drippings around, and serve immediately.
There are a number of variations on the procedure for making clarified butter, but the end result or goal is always the same: to eliminate the milk solids, which cause the butter to burn and spit when frying or sautéing foods at higher temperatures.
Note: Clarified butter is available in Asian or Indian markets under its Indian name, ghee.
Makes about 1½ cups
Cut the butter into ½-inch slices and place it in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Allow the butter to melt and then come to a boil; this should take about 5 minutes. Skim off any foam that rises to the top. The butter should sizzle and crackle; throughout the process, make sure the heat is never so high that the bottom of the pan starts to brown or blacken. Lower the heat to keep the butter at a slow, steady boil for another 15 minutes, continuing to skim any surface foam. The bubbles in the butter will become smaller and smaller, ultimately the size of a pinhead. Allow any residual milk solids to settle to the bottom of the pan. Carefully pour off the pure, clear, oily butterfat into a holding container, leaving all solids behind. (At this point, you can pass it through a tea strainer or other fine-mesh strainer just to be sure it’s completely clear.) Allow the clarified butter to cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
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