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Sunday Night Special: Tartare, Ragout & Scaloppine

I don’t always document my Sunday dinners. I was too frazzled to write about tapas two Sundays ago where I mangled the aioli twice, or Hunan pork the Sunday before that. It was so simple that I didn’t even bother (plus, I’d already done a few Fuchsia Dunlop recipes recently and I wouldn’t want anyone thinking I was crazed).

This past Sunday James stepped up. He’s on some weird Jacques Pepin bender. Normally, James cooks stuff more like fried chicken, split pea and ham soup, pasta and sausage, huevos rancheros, American tacos, egg, bacon and cheese sandwiches (in fact, he’s making one right now and it’s 12:20am and that’s frustrating because the bacon smell has permeated the apartment, making me hungry, and we already ate my healthy spinach, white bean and tuna salad a few hours ago) and occasionally Thai basil chicken.

Fast Food My Way was recently added to the DVR queue. I’m starting to become a sucker for all the channel 21 shows. In fact, I just ordered the accompanying cookbook and Rick Bayless’s reissued Authentic Mexican. Maybe I’m just relieved to not be watching Food TV.

Because we don’t have the cookbook yet, James made the recipes from what he caught on TV. This was his deal, I just very lightly documented it. All the measurements are super approximate. And by the by, this may be fast food Pepin’s way but it took well over an hour to prepare in our apartment.

Salmon Tartare over Cauliflower Puree
1 lb salmon
2 tablespoons capers
¼ small red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped chives
½ tablespoon Tabasco sauce

Slice salmon into one-inch cubes salmon and toss with capers, vinegar, Tabasco and olive oil. Season to taste.

One head cauliflower
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ small red onion, sliced

Boil cauliflower until soft, maybe five minutes. Mash with hand masher and mix with mustard, olive oil and onion. Salt to taste.

You’re supposed to have a ring mold for the puree and tartare and garnish with egg and chives. Tall food never happens in our house so we didn’t have the ring mold. A tuna can is too short.


Chickpea Ragout
1 white onion, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 serrano chile, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat olive oil in pan. Cook onions until golden. Add scallions, tomato, chile, chickpeas, and chicken broth. Bring to boil, cover, then simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lid, let cook down a bit if it seems too soupy.

Jacques said to use a “luscious” tomato and his certainly fit the bill. That’s not happening in Brooklyn in April. Pale supermarket tomatoes had to suffice.

Pork Scaloppine
1 lb Pork loin or cutlet, cut into four
fresh bread crumbs from 4 slices of white bread
parmesan cheese
1/3 chopped onion
2 cups white mushrooms, sliced
½ cup white wine
olive oil

Pound pork rounds into thin cutlets. Mix crumbs and cheese. Coat pork in the mixture. Add butter and olive oil to a pan. Once hot, brown cutlets on both sides. Remove. Add onion, then mushrooms into the pan. Cook until they start to brown. Deglaze with white wine. Pour sauce atop pork cutlets and garnish with chives. Serve with ragout.


It’s not the prettiest looking plate but everything was very tasty and completely suitable for a Sunday night. I can’t say I’m crazy about The Tudors. I don’t really understand the recent appeal of cable historical melodramas (once you remove the rampant humping and explicit violence, that is). Though, that’s nothing compared to my other Sunday TV viewing fright: watching Christopher Kimball, blindfolded, taste testing low-fat mayonnaise with a spoon. Egads.

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  1. lisa #

    Sorry to sound ignorant, but is it safe to eat store bought salmon uncooked? I hear of places that sell “sushi-grade” fish, but is that a marketing myth? I LOVE sashimi and many fishes raw, but have been reluctant to venture out…

    It all looks delicious! Yum!

    April 5, 2007
  2. I’ve only used raw fish once before and that time we got it at a neighborhood place called Fish Tales. When James asked for sushi grade salmon they were all semi-offended, “everything we carry is sushi grade.” Uh, ok. This time we just got it at Fairway, which was probably playing with fire though no illness ensued. I’m sure “sushi grade” is highly objective. I’m more nervous about making beef tartare at home. Haven’t had the nerve yet.

    April 6, 2007

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