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Chef Pintabona's Summer Meal

Chef Don Pintabona is back on The Saturday Early Show to take the "Chef On A Shoestring" challenge with an easy summer meal to share with your friends and family.

The following is his menu and recipes:
Simple Tomato Summer Salad with Cucumber Basil Vinaigrette;
Herb-roasted Chicken with Broccoli Rabe;
Cobbler

Chef Pintabona put Tribeca on the culinary map when he was executive chef at "Tribeca Grill," a place that was a hit with celebrities and food critics. He has used his culinary skills not only to feed celebrities, but shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center, he teamed up with other chefs to feed the rescue workers at Ground Zero.

He was the architect of the "Chefs with Spirit" campaign that fed relief workers. He gathered a group of chefs to work 24-hour shifts aboard cruise ships near the World Trade Center site. They served some 25,000 meals a day.

Considered one of the pioneers of Contemporary American cuisine, Pintabona has traveled in the last two decades to more than 30 countries and worked alongside some of the world's finest chefs.

Last month, he opened a new restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., called "Trina." And he has a second cookbook due out in March 2005 titled, "The Shared Table: Cooking with Spirit for Family and Friends." He published his first book in October of 2000 titled, "The Tribeca Grill Cookbook: Celebrating Ten Years of Taste." And he also contributed to our "Chef on a Shoestring" book.

Simple Summer Tomato Salad

Ingredients:
4 large vine-ripened tomatoes, washed, cored, seeded, and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 large yellow tomato, washed, cored, seeded, and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
8 leaves fresh basil, washed, dried, torn into pieces
Pinch dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup ricotta salata, crumbled
Cucumber-basil vinaigrette (see recipe below)

Method:

  1. Combine the tomatoes, the red onion, basil, and the dried oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with enough cucumber-basil vinaigrette just to moisten and lightly coat. Season again.
  2. Divide evenly onto four salad plates, and garnish each plate with a spoonful of crumbled ricotta salata.

Ingredients for the cucumber-basil vinaigrette:
Yields approx. 2 cups

1 large cucumber, washed, peeled, seeded, and rough chopped
1/4 cup red onion, diced small
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced small
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
10 leaves fresh basil, chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a blender, combine the cucumber, the red onion, garlic, and red bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.
  2. Adjust the blender speed to low, and with the blender running add dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice.
  3. Next slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Blend until the vinaigrette begins to thicken & emulsify . Do not overprocess or vinaigrette will break.
  4. Pour into a measuring cup. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the fresh basil and season with salt & pepper again.

Herb Roasted Chicken with Sauteed Broccoli Rabe

Ingredients:
1 5 lb. roaster chicken
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 cup fresh tarragon, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450-degrees. Wash the chicken inside and out. Pat dry.
  2. In a bowl, combine half of the chopped parsley, tarragon, thyme, minced garlic, and vegetable oil. Using your hands, mix well. Using your fingertips, gently pull the skin away from the chicken breast and place the garlic-herb mixture onto the breast meat, taking care not to tear the skin.
  3. Coat the chicken with the butter, then season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  4. Chef's note: "At this point, if desired, you may place a small peeled onion and a halved lemon in the cavity of the bird. This will lend a wonderful flavor and aroma."
  5. Truss the bird with butcher string, and place on a rack in a roasting pan with enough water to come up to the bottom of the rack, without touching the chicken.
  6. Tent the entire pan with aluminum foil, and place in the oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 350-degrees, and let roast for 30 minutes.
  7. After roasting for 30 minutes remove the foil. Add the remaining chopped herbs to the chicken. Then using a pastry brush baste the chicken with some of the pan juices. Cook the chicken uncovered for another 45 minutes. Baste the chicken every 10 minutes or so.
  8. The chicken should be cooked until the skin is golden brown. To test for doneness, use a metal-stemmed meat thermometer. Insert into the thickest part of the chicken; the thermometer should read about 160°F. The chicken needs to reach an internal temperature of 165°F, but carry-over cooking after the chicken is taken out of the oven should take care of that. Otherwise, stick the tip of the knife into the thigh where it meets the leg and press slightly. The juices should run clear; if they're still red or pink, cook the chicken a little longer.
  9. Remove chicken from the roasting pan. Transfer to a serving platter. Let the chicken rest for five minutes before slicing. Serve with the broccoli rabe.

Sauteed Broccoli Rabe
Ingredients:

1 lb. broccoli rabe
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

Method:

  1. Cook broccoli rabe in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.
  2. Drain and transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain again; pat dry. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in paper towels. Enclose in plastic bag and chill.)
  3. Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broccoli rabe and sauté until heated through, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving platter.

Peach and Cherry Cobbler
Ingredients:

6 peaches (about 3 cups)peeled and sliced fresh peaches
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter cut in small pieces
1/2 lb. cherries, washed, pitted, halved

Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
1/2 cup (or less) heavy cream

Special Equipment: 1 1/2 qt. baking dish

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375-degrees. Lay sliced fresh peaches and the cherries in a buttered 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
  2. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of sugar.
  3. Next, dot the fruit with the 1/4 cup butter which has been cut into small pieces.
  4. For crust, mix together, flour, baking powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, and salt.
  5. Cut in the remaining 1/4 cup butter into little pats.
  6. Slowly stir in heavy cream until dough is manageable. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface; then place dough over sliced peaches.
  7. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes, or until top is nicely browned.

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