Monday, February 1, 2016

Recipes by Martin Balsam: Corn on the Cob; Eggplant Bolognese; Shepherd's Pie

Martin Balsam's Corn on the Cob

Martin says:
But I've got one for out-of-door cookers! It's for corn-on-the-cob. I just reminded myself of it. Wrap the corn with newspapers soaked in salt water--kosher salt, 'cause she's nice even coarser! Leave the husks on. Then put over the coals--you have to build an enormous fire. When the paper's all dried out, and you smell the corn burning, it's ready. It gives off a special flavor because the salt cooks into the husks. It doesn't matter if it gets a little charred.
Martin Balsam's Eggplant Bolognese

Martin says:
For the salsa Bolognese: Saute 1 minced carrot, 1 chopped yellow onion, 3 cloves garlic (pressed), 1 branch celery (chopped) in 1/4 cup fine grade olive oil until vegetables are limp. Add a little fresh basil (1/2 tsp. dried, more if desired), a handful minced parsley, 1/2 lb. lean ground beef, 1/2 lb. ground veal, large breast boneless chicken (cubed, uncooked), chicken giblets and liver (diced); brown over high flame, stirring. Add 2 cups dry white wine, 2 cups solid pack Italian plum tomatoes, 1 tbsp. tomato paste, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Grate in fresh nutmeg to taste (1/2 tsp. plus). Mix well. Simmer gently several hours, stirring until thick. Add more liquid (beef stock or wine) if needed. Sauce should be thick. 
For the eggplant: Peel and slice 2 medium eggplants in 1/2-inch rounds. Salt well, place in colander, press with weight to remove liquid. Flour well; fry gently in about 1/3 cup fine grade olive oil on both sides; drain well on absorbent paper. Butter a flat baking dish; arrange layer of eggplant, spoon generous layer of salsa Bolognese and layer of thin rounds of Mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 pound), and generous sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, ending with Parmesan cheese on top. Bake in preheated 375 degrees F. oven about 20-25 minutes (or until eggplant is tender and cheese is brown and bubbly). Consume at once! Serves 6.
Thoughts: Salsa Bolognese is even more delicious with the addition of sweetbreads (blanched, membranes removed, chopped, gently simmered in 1/2 pt. beef stock, seasoned with salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf, snipped fresh parsley before adding to sauce with tomatoes and other ingredients).

Martin Balsam's Shepherd's Pie

Martin says:
Use beef (or lamb) chunks or take the best chop meat you can get, according to your resources, (about 1 pound); brown quickly in 2 tbsps. fat. Chop up green pepper (1/2 cup) and a large yellow onion. Grab a good pinch of oregano, garlic (small clove, pressed) and all the rest of it (hint of basil, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt and pepper to taste) and do that up to a turn--fry it sneakily! Mash your potatoes (about 3 cups), add lots of butter (2-3 tbsps.), sour cream (1/3 cup or more, if you like tart flavor), paprika (enough to color), chives (1/2 tsp.), salt, pepper; mix that all: up. Then smear mashed potatoes over the browned beef and all your other goodies (onions, peppers and any leftover cooked vegetables, peas or carrots). Bake in 375 degrees F. oven. Try to get a nice brown crust. It's not supposed to be too crusty, but it's nice if it has a little edge to it!

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