Tuesday, May 14, 2013


While on our honeymoon in 1985 Kat and I wheeled our little rented Fiat off the highway into Parma (the home of Parmigiano-Reggiano), in the middle of Italy between Portofino and Venice. We wandered into an Italian restaurant on the square in front of the local castle (where no one spoke much English) and told them in our broken Italian/English, “Please, bring us what you’re proud of.” If you’re adventurous it’s a phrase that always brings a smile to the waiter and the very best to your plate. We had a fabulous meal, beginning with bruchettas, but what impressed me most was the cart the waiter rolled to the table with a half dozen pastas in various sauces and a half dozen vegetable dishes, in addition to our entree. It was take what you want, the Italian version of a buffet, only with black tie service…and fabulous is an understatement. Come to think of it, I want to go back!

Here's a continuation of that gourmet supper, the soup and salad course:

Gourmet Supper for Eight


Served with Champagne
Crab artichoke dip or tapanade
Crunchy Parmesan Onion Squares


Shellfish in clear bullion


Lobster, avocado, fresh grapefruit on butter lettuce

Fish Course:

Salmon and asparagus in parchment (en pappette)

Citrus Sorbet

Beef Course:

Tenderloin strip basted in simple sauce (see recipe)
Mushroom Gravy
Port wine reduction
Red & Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled and braised


Berry mélange in phyllo cups with Cointreau whipped cream

After dinner: Coffee, liquors, and a great single malt


Shellfish in bullion

• 1 lemon
• 6 chicken bullion cubes
• 4 cups of water
• 16 mussels in the shell
• 16 clams in the shell
• 8 large sea scallops
• ¼ cup fresh parsley (Italian if possible)
• 1 heaping tablespoon of cilantro
• 1 bunch of green onions
• ½ cube of butter
• sea salt and white pepper (or plain salt and pepper)

This is a simple but elegant soup. Chop parsley. Chop white portions of green onions, leaving tops whole. Trim green tops and slice the long way, so you have long tender shoots of green. Clean shellfish by soaking for a few minutes in cold water (don’t leave too long or you’ll drown the clams and mussels) and remove beards from mussels. Boil water, white portions of onions, and bullion cubes until dissolved. Slice lemon very, very thin, and remove seeds. Drop in shellfish until the first shell opens, then add scallops and cook until the scallops are no longer translucent. This will only take a very few minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve in large shallow soup bowls, with two mussels, two clams and one scallop per bowl, garnish each bowl with a sprinkled ½ teaspoon of parsley, sprinkled pinch of cilantro, a couple of thin seeded lemon slices, a crisscross of three or five green onion strands, and a thin pad of butter floating in the middle, and serve.

Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or a dry PinoGrigio


Lobster, grapefruit, avocado, butter lettuce

• 2 cups lobster meat (two large or four small tails will do, equal amount of jumbo shrimp or king crab will work)
• 1 large head or two small heads cold butter lettuce
• 2 14oz jars or cans of pink grapefruit (reserve juice)

For more great recipes, grab a copy of L.J.'s cookbook here: http://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Wild-Wonderful-gourmets-ebook/dp/B004UICW36/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1357881958&sr=1-1&keywords=cooking+wild+and+wonderful


  1. L.J., all your recipes are fabulous. I think in a previous life you must have been a gourmet cook somewhere! Thanks for another wonderful installment of the gourmet dinner recipes. Hope you and Kat are having a wonderful time traveling, and again, congratulations to her for her slot on the NTY "TOP TEN" bestseller list! That is just fantastic!

  2. Larry, your recipes and descriptions of various meals you've enjoyed or served always make my mouth water. I'll swear I don't know why you and Kat don't weigh 500 pounds apiece! :-D

  3. Thanks, Ladies. I'm still cookin' and enjoying 99% of it. We just returned from 3 weeks in Greece, Malta, Italy & France, which means I'm now dieting. When that's over, I can it the stove hard again.

  4. Thanks, Ladies. I'm still cookin' and enjoying 99% of it. We just returned from 3 weeks in Greece, Malta, Italy & France, which means I'm now dieting. When that's over, I can it the stove hard again.

  5. That soup makes my mouth water! Dieting? I think that's the biggest cooking challenge--creating tasty meals that aren't dry and bland.

  6. Your posts always make me hungry! I think I'll have to go to the grocery and try out ... well, one of everything!