Sarello’s Fine Dining Says Farewell with Signature Sea Bass Recipe

Sarello's Signature Sea BassIn case you missed our farewell column in The Forum last week, we’re sharing it again here on the blog, complete with the recipe for our famous Signature Sarello’s Sea Bass. Happy reading and THANK YOU for 15 great years!

Twenty-three years ago, a young man looked me in the eyes and told me that he’d finally figured out the name for his dream restaurant. And then he said it out loud: Sarello’s. It took me a moment before I realized that Tony had combined my first name, Sarah, with his last, Nasello, and it suddenly dawned on me that I was looking at the love of my life.

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A decade later we opened Sarello’s and last night we celebrated its fifteen year run as a fine dining restaurant with our Farewell Dinner. I look back on those days leading up to the opening of Sarello’s and I marvel at our journey. We were seasoned hospitality professionals. We had traveled the globe together, working as hotel officers aboard luxury cruise ships, and set foot on every continent. We’d saved our money and paid our dues; we were ready. Who are we kidding? We were 30 – practically babies.

There are moments in life when you just have to leap, and that was what we did. Now, fifteen years later, we find ourselves poised to embark on a new journey, and while we may not have the benefit of youth any longer, we are endowed with wisdom and experience as our guides this go around. We’re ready, once again, to leap.

Since the time we opened our doors, we’ve welcomed a diversity of guests, including museum curators, bankers, wrestlers, clergy, doctors, farmers, nurses, bikers, publishers, businessmen, lawyers, CEOs, metal workers, dentists, crop dusters, politicians, artists, academics, and more. We’ve been privileged to use our business as a means to support myriad causes and organizations important to us and our community, and we look forward to continuing this commitment as we move forward into new adventures.

Cake with Opera Dinner Check

A special occasion restaurant from the start, Tony and I have also celebrated life’s milestones at Sarello’s, from the birth of our son to my parents’ 60th birthdays, our 40th birthdays, and even our 20th wedding anniversary.

But the overwhelming memories – the ones that will linger long into our dotage – are of the dozens of talented young people who have found their way to us through a calling to hospitality – our staff, our crew – our most excellent team. They have been the heartbeat of our business all these years, and many of you know them by name. We are grateful for their excellence and will never forget them.

Over the years we’ve served a wide variety of dishes ranging from classic Italian to French, Irish, Caribbean, North and South American and Asian, but there’s one dish that has remained on the menu from the first night to the last. Sarello’s Signature Sea Bass has been the standout dish for fifteen years, and for some of our regular guests, it is the reason they kept coming back.

In our new venture as a culinary events and meeting center, we plan to host “pop-up” nights every so often where we’ll feature a limited menu with one signature Sarello’s dish, just to satisfy our customers’ cravings.

If you’re a fan of the sea bass, you’ll be pleased to know that it will be the star of the menu for our first pop-up event, which will take place on Wednesday, July 22 and Thursday, July 23. For those two nights only, you can come in and enjoy a 3-course dinner which includes salad, sea bass and dessert for $50 per person (tax and gratuity are not included). Wine and beer will also be available for purchase. Reservations can be made via phone or email: 218.287.0238 or dine@sarellos.com.

Tony, Gio and I wish to say thank you to everyone who has been a part of our lives at Sarello’s for the past 15 years. What a ride we’ve had.

Sarello’s Signature Sea Bass RECIPE

Serves: 4 to 6

Citrus Beurre Blanc Ingredients:
2 lemons, juiced
2 limes, juiced
2 oranges, juiced
1 tablespoon heavy cream
½ cup (4 oz.) white wine
2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled
½ teaspoon salt – increase as desired
1 tablespoon honey (or sugar)

Directions:
Using a medium sauce pan, combine lemon, lime and orange juices, heavy cream, white wine and honey (or sugar) and reduce over medium heat until a syrupy consistency is achieved, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir just to combine.

Reduce heat to low and stir in the butter piece by piece, until sauce appears smooth and silky. Whisk throughout this process to ensure an even temperature. Add salt to taste, starting with a half-teaspoon.

Important:  Cooking over low heat will help to ensure that your butter does not clarify, thus breaking your sauce.  Once a silky smooth consistency is achieved, use immediately or transfer to another container and keep in a hot water bath on stove top until ready to use.  The water should not be boiling.

Sea Bass Ingredients:
4-6 8 oz. portions of Chilean Sea Bass, skin removed
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Olive oil
Salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the sea bass fillets on a sheet pan. Lightly coat the top side of each fillet with the breadcrumbs, just to cover the surface, pressing lightly to ensure they stay in place. Drizzle the tops with olive oil and salt. Bake in oven for 15 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove and transfer to serving plates. Pour the citrus beurre blanc over each fillet and serve.

Say Farewell to Winter with Bow Tie à la Provençale

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Spring is just around the corner and we are excited for the seasonal change this will bring to the recipes we share with you each week. But, before we say farewell to Old Man Winter for another year, we’re going to send him off in style with our winter recipe finale: Bow Tie à la Provençale.

Bow tie à la Provençale originated at Sarello’s when we first opened nearly fifteen years ago, and I fell in love with it as soon as I tasted it. It has long been a favorite among our regular clientele, many of whom are responsible for its repeated return to our winter menu. In fact, you’ll find it at Sarello’s all this week as our featured entrée special.

The dish was inspired by and received its name from the cuisine of Provence, France; more specifically, the style of cooking found in Nice and its surrounding area, which is heavily influenced by its close ties to Italy. Pasta dishes are common here.

A typical Provençale sauce would consist of tomatoes, olive oil and garlic, and our sauce is further enhanced by the use of blue cheese and heavy cream. White wine is another component, but only as a flavor builder since the alcohol content fully evaporates during the cooking process.

Bow tie ingredients in pan pretoss

To make this dish really sing, we add sundried tomatoes, cooked chicken breast and fresh spinach once the sauce has thickened. Tony embraces the use of sundried tomatoes in winter, when the quality of fresh tomatoes can vary greatly, and you can find them packed dry in bags or in a jar with olive oil. Both are fine for this recipe, just be sure to soak the dry variety in warm water for about 20 minutes before using. If using the oil-packed kind, shake off any excess oil before adding them to the sauce.

Don’t let the fancy name fool you – bow tie à la Provençale is simple enough for even a novice cook to master. I should know, because it’s also become a favorite at home for our son, Giovanni, and this dish is now firmly in my repertoire.

Chicken is a main ingredient, and for this dish we use four whole breasts, each cut in half horizontally and then lightly pounded with a meat mallet until each cutlet is ¼-inch thick. This extra step ensures that the chicken will be tender and moist when cooked. As an added bonus, the chicken can be cooked and refrigerated for up to two days before using.

Chicken cutlets

This dish has some heft to it, so when making the sauce be sure to use a pan or pot large enough to accommodate an entire package of cooked pasta (1 pound), because there’s no going back once you begin tossing the pasta with the sauce. We use bow tie-shaped pasta, also known as farfalle, in this recipe, as its pretty shape is pleasing to the eye and well-suited for a cream sauce. Penne, rigatoni, cavatappi or any medium-sized noodle with ridges will also work well.

Bow tie à la Provençale is rich, tangy and elegant, yet hearty enough to satisfy even the hungriest teenager. The recipe can easily be doubled, and leftovers, if there are any, reheat nicely in the microwave. To usher out winter, we plan to enjoy this pasta dish later this week with a simple salad of mixed greens and red wine vinaigrette, some crusty bread and a good Chardonnay. Welcome, spring!

Tossed bowtie in pan

Bow Tie Pasta à la Provençale

Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts, sliced in half horizontally, cooked and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 lb. bow tie pasta, cooked
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup dry white wine
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese to garnish

Directions:
Slice each chicken breast in half horizontally and use a meat mallet to lightly pound each piece to ¼-inch thickness. Dredge each cutlet in flour, coating both sides, and fry in vegetable oil over medium-high heat until lightly browned and fully cooked, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan, cover and cool for ten minutes and then cut each cutlet into 2-inch medallions. Use same day or refrigerate up to 2 days.

Next, cook the bow tie pasta in boiling water according to directions on package. Drain and set aside.

Use a large sauté pan or stock pot (large enough to hold one pound of cooked pasta),and  cook the olive oil and minced garlic over medium-low heat for one minute.

Add white wine and continue cooking on medium-low until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and increase the heat to medium, and cook for another three minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.

Add the crumbled blue cheese and continue cooking over medium heat for another 2 minutes until cheese is melted. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the sundried tomatoes. Cook for 3 minutes to infuse their flavor into the sauce; add chicken medallions and cook for one more minute until chicken is heated through.

Add the cooked pasta and toss well so that all the noodles are evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper and adjust as desired. If the sauce appears somewhat dry, add some water, starting with ¼ cup and cook for one minute.

To finish, add the spinach leaves and toss until the leaves just begin to wilt. Transfer to serving platter or bowls and garnish with the Parmesan cheese.

Today’s Featured Valentine Recipe: Red Curry Scallops

Since its debut at Sarello’s ten years ago, our Thai-inspired Red Curry Scallops appetizer has become one of our signature dishes. And with its aphrodisiac qualities, it’s the perfect dish to woo your loved one this Valentine’s Day. Enjoy!

For more information about this recipe, view our blog post from February 2013: Sarello’s Famous Red Curry Scallops

Sarello’s Red Curry Scallops Recipe

Makes:  4 to 6 appetizer servings

All ingredients for this recipe can usually be found in your local grocery store, but we know for a fact that they are available at the Hornbacher’s on 32nd Ave.

Red Curry Sauce:
1 small can or jar of red curry paste
16 oz. coconut milk
2 oz. fish sauce
2 oz. clam juice
1 oz. heavy cream
1 oz. lime juice
¼ cup sugar

Using a medium-sized sauce pan, combine all ingredients over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Add a half-cup of the roux (flour and butter mixture for thickening), and whisk until the roux is incorporated and the sauce has thickened. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Roux:
½ cup butter, shortening, lard or vegetable oil (the more flavorful the fat, the better the roux)
½ cup flour

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan and stir in the flour. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly until a light straw color is achieved. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Scallops:
12-15 sea scallops
1 red onion, cut into half-inch thick slices
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, quartered (any mushroom will work)
1 cup carrots, julienne (sliced into thin strips)
1 cup sugar snap peas, whole
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chiffonade (cut into thin strips)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Using a large sauté pan over medium heat, pour in the vegetable oil and add the red onions. Cook for two minutes. Add the scallops, and cook for another two minutes. Add the red curry sauce and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Finish by adding the vegetables and basil, stirring to ensure all ingredients are hot, and cook for another two minutes. When done, the sauce should be velvety smooth; not as thick as a cream sauce, but thicker than a broth. Pour into serving bowls, serve and enjoy!

Tony’s Tip: To make sure that all the vegetables are crunchy, or al dente, add any vegetables that may take longer to cook, like carrots and onions, first. More delicate ingredients, like mushrooms and sugar snap peas, or shrimp (if using instead of scallops) should be added toward the end because they will cook faster.

Learn to Make Gnocchi with The Lost Italian!

LEARN TO MAKE GNOCCHI:
A HANDS-ON COOKING EXPERIENCE WITH THE LOST ITALIAN
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2015
$85 PER PERSON (plus tax)

Join Tony and Sarah for this HANDS-ON cooking class and learn how to make potato gnocchi from scratch. Come prepared to use your hands (and elbows, if necessary) and enjoy the relaxed environment of this small group setting, where you’ll work with a partner as Tony and Sarah guide you from start to finish through the art of making gnocchi. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you’ll cook your gnocchi and sit down with the class to enjoy your creation.

Bring only yourself and your enthusiasm – we will provide the necessary cooking equipment and materials. Class fee includes the use of all necessary equipment and materials, copies of all featured recipe(s) and hand-outs, and all food prepared during the class. Beer, wine and cocktails will be available for purchase.

Pre-registration is required as class size is very limited. To register, please call Sarello’s at 218.287.0238 or inquire by email to dine@sarellos.com and write GNOCCHI CLASS in the subject field.

A credit card is required at the time of registration to confirm your space, but no charges will be applied until the date of the event, except in the event of a late cancellation. Gift certificates may not be used for payment for the Cooking Series. Cancellations must be made by Wednesday, February 18 or your credit card may be charged a fee of $25 per person if we are unable to fill your space. Should this occur, you will receive a gift certificate in the amount charged for future use at Sarello’s.