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An inventor-chef concocts yet another zucchini creation.

An inventor-chef concocts yet another zucchini creation

Poetry, said John Keats, should surprise us by a fine excess. Nobody ever gave zucchini license to do the same, but it did so anyway. What is the cook to do when the zucchini really gets going? We might turn to alchemy for an answer. Plagued by an excess of lead and a deficiency of gold, the alchemists labored ceaselessly to turn the former into the latter.

The West, that cradle of creative technology, also abounds in creative chefs. Their art, not unlike that of the alchemists, consists in transmuting the base into the noble. Allen Dietrich, for instance, has employed his alembics and retorts to turn leaden zucchini into golden Zucchini Elise (named to honor his daughter on her second birthday).

Zucchini Elise

8 slices bacon, diced

2 medium-size mild red onions, diced

1 cup chopped walnuts

6 medium-size zucchini (about 1 1/2 lb. total, ends trimmed off), thinly sliced

1 cup cherry tomato halves

1/2 teaspoon each dry basil and oregano leaves

About 1 cup (5 oz.) firmly packed freshly grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

Hot cooked spaghetti

Cook bacon in a wok over high heat or in a 12- to 14-inch frying pan over medium heat, stirring often, until crisp. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon from pan and let it drain on paper towels. Discard all but about 3 tablespoons of the drippings in pan. Add onions and walnuts to pan and stir often until onions are soft and walnuts are toasted, about 10 minutes.

Add zucchini, tomatoes, basil, and oregano; stir for 1 minute. Cover and cook until zucchini is tender-crisp to bite, 3 to 5 minutes; stir several times. Sprinkle with the bacon and about half of the cheese; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon the vegetables onto hot cooked spaghetti; offer the remaining cheese to sprinkle on individual portions. Makes 6 or 7 servings.

Palo Alto, Calif.

Salmon chowder? Some of our tasters frowned at the idea of subjecting the noble salmon to the sort of treatment usually meted out to clams or fillets of nameless white fish. A taste convinced them that James Moffat's chowder was an appropriately dignified setting for the succulent pink-fleshed fish. The broth is thin but rich (like the world's ten best-dressed women).

Yaquina Bay Salmon Chowder

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed chicken broth

1 bottle (8 oz.) clam broth

1 cup dry white wine

2 pounds salmon steaks or fillets, each about 1 inch thick

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 medium-size onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1/4 teaspoon each dry basil, dry thyme leaves, and dry marjoram leaves

1 1/2 cups milk

1 can (1 lb. 12 oz.) tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 tablespoon brandy

Salt and pepper

About 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, combine chicken broth, clam broth, and wine. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and place salmon in liquid. Cover and simmer until salmon is opaque at bone or in center (cut to test), 10 to 12 minutes. Lift out salmon and let cool slightly, then remove and discard bones, skin, and any gray-brown edges of fish. Flake fish and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a 4- to 5-quart pan over medium heat. Add onion and celery and stir often until onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the basil, thyme, marjoram, milk, tomatoes, and poaching liquid. Cover and let cook gently for 10 minutes. Add salmon, stir in brandy, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and offer cheese to add to individual portions. Makes about 2 quarts; allow about 2 cups per serving.

Halsey, Ore.

Nearly every country has a favorite flatbread cooked on a griddle; blini, crepes, johnnycakes, and palacsinta come to mind. They range from simple mixtures of meal and water heated on a hot stone to the elegant crepes of France. The most grandiose in literature were those made for Paul Bunyan and his loggers; the griddle was so immense that cooks strapped sides of bacon on their feet and skated over it to grease the surface.

The flatbread dearest to the American palate is the pancake, or flapjack. And, during the short time that blueberries are in season, it would be a serious oversight not to make blueberry pancakes. As Chef Nichols explains it, these constitute a great Sunday breakfast.

Blueberry Flapjacks

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons melted and cooled butter or margarine

1 cup milk

3/4 cup blueberries, rinsed and drained

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Then stir in eggs, butter, milk, and berries until evenly moistened.

For each pancake, ladle about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot, greased griddle over medium to medium-high heat, spreading each portion into a 4-inch circle. Cook just until bubbles begin to show on top, then turn pancakes over and cook until bottoms are browned. Makes 12 to 14 pancakes; allow 2 or 3 for a serving.

Eugene, Ore.

Garlic and resemary are traditional seasonings for barbecued leg of lamb. Norton Goldberg adds another, more subtle flavor with bastings of port. If you have a source for mint, throw a few handfuls on the coals for additional perfume.

Two secrets to his success: trimming as much fat as possible from the leg before barbecuing and using a meat thermometer to check doneness. Most people find lamb most succulent when rare.

Barbecued Leg of Lamb

1 bone-in leg of lamb, about 5 pounds

3 cloves garlic Pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons dry rosemary

1/2 cup port

2 cups fresh mint sprigs (optional) Salt

Trim surface fat and any coarse membrane from lamb and discard. With a knife, cut 12 small slits all around leg. Cut each garlic clove into quarters and insert one quarter into each slit. Sprinkle with pepper and rub with rosemary.

In a barbecue with lid, bank about 20 ignited charcoal briquets (covered with gray ash) on each side of the fire grate and place a metal drip pan in the center. Set grill 4 to 6 inches above coals.

Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of leg, not touching bone. Brush lamb with some of the port. Place meat on grill, directly over drip pan. Cover the barbecue and open all dampers.

Cook, basting occasionally with remaining port, until thermometer registers 145| for rare, about 2 hours. After 30 minutes of cooking, drop mint onto coals to smolder; quickly replace barbecue cover. To maintain a constant temperature, add 5 or 6 briquets to each side of fire every 30 minutes.

Remove meat from grill and slice to serve. Season individually with salt. Makes about 6 servings.

Chatsworth, Calif.
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Jul 1, 1986
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