Faced with the happy task of hosting a shore house for a rotating list of good friends, I knew I wanted to cook. A lot. And so I have. Perhaps it's the spring, but the recipes I have selected seem to involve lemons in some form, and shallots. Sometimes together. It's crazy fun.
Meal 1 - Lemon and Parsley Chicken with asparagus couscous. Born from my intrigue with pan sauces, wherein the pan remains of the sauteed chicken are used for their flavor, I stumbled upon a page of recipes for pan sauces in Cooks Illustrated. This one, which also calls for capers (Ocean City grocery stores seems devoid of capers for some reason), was also great without. To make it, after sauteing chicken cutlets pounded thin, add oil, minced shallots, chopped fresh parsley, butter, 1 teaspoon flour, 3/4 cup chicken broth, and 2 tsp. lemon juice. The shorehouse is also devoid of measuring spoons, so I suggest winging the ingredients. It still turns out well. Simmer until reduced and serve over the chicken.
Meal 2 - Shrimp and scallops with fresh herbs and lemon risotto. Thanks to Martha Stewart's Quick and Healthy Cookbook (now rather old, but still one of my all-time favorites), I discovered a risotto recipe that isn't quite as heavy as most risottos. This one calls for the usual leek sauteed in butter, then arborio rice with a 1:2 ratio to broth, but then 1 tbsp. lemon zest with 1 tbsp. lemon juice and fresh chives added at the end with a little more butter (it is, after all, Martha Stewart). No cheese. It's pretty amazing. I sauteed shrimp and scallops and then, when all were cooked (about 2 min. on each side), tossed them with fresh tarragon, basil, and, of course, lemon juice. Fresh and delicious.
Other recipes I've tackled have included eggs benedict (fresh lemon juice) and smoked salmon butter (look it up on epicurious.com, it's wonderful with pumpernickel and features shallots and lemon juice). There have also been a few non-lemon/shallot recipes and a few amazing co-chefs (thanks, guys!). In fact, my chile rellenos friend, who expertly made fresh guacamole for burritos, was surprised that the Martha Stewart recipe lacked lemon juice.
As it turns out, cooking in a kitchen roughly the size of my apartment that overlooks the ocean is pretty pleasant, regardless of the outcome. I'm attempting lamb tonight and perhaps some combination of shallots and red potatoes. Wish me luck.