Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Otto Enoteca Pizzeria NYC 02/14/09

I visited Mario Batali's restaurant, Otto Enoteca Pizzeria this past weekend when I visited NYC. It was Valentine's Day and all we could get was a 4:30pm reservation, which actually worked out great with our evening activities.
I wrote a short review for, which I used to make the reservation; here is the review:

I recently dined at Otto Enoteca Pizzeria through a reservation I made on Below summarizes my dining experience. I hope you will find this helpful next time you are deciding where to dine.
Feedback on Otto Enoteca Pizzeria

Food Very Good
Ambiance Fair
Service Good
Overall Good
Noise Loud

Fit for Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Lunch, Notable Wine List
Otto Enoteca is the "accessible" Mario Batali restaurant. You can walk in off the street and eat some good Italian fare without breaking the bank, and without feeling that you need to have to hone up on your Italian food history. The menu is simple yet offers many selections. Start off with the Antipasti, choosing from vegetables, meats, seafood, cheese, and greens. Be sure to try the fresh anchovies with scallions and croutons. After the Antipasti, chose a pasta or a pizza, and split it with your loved one. Finish up with the gelato! It is creamy and delicious with flavors like salty caramel and dark chocolate. The staff is knowledgeable and will answer any question you might have in a manner that pleasant. The spot is touristy but yummy.
We had the Antipasti first and chose the following items:
Arugula w/roasted cherry tomatoes
Roasted brussel sprouts
Roasted beets
Cardoons w/scallions (cardoons are in the artichoke family and are similar to celery)
Fresh anchovies w/scallions and "breadcrumbs", which were really nice crispy chunks of bread
and cheese - Fontina, Gorganzola Dolce and Parmesanno Regianno
Fresh bread and grisini (Breadsticks) were put on the table, as well as a plate of truffle homey (YUM), a plate of cherries and a plate of apricots w/chiles.
Can you say prosciutto, gorganzola w/truffle honey on a piece of bread?????

We split a pizza which was an excellent size to split; we got a Taleggio w/mushroom pizza.

Taleggio is a stinky cheese and paired well with the mushrooms. It was topped with fresh chopped parsley. It was pure earth....delicious.
We finished with their homemade gelato, which screamed with flavor. We paired Salty Caramel with Dark Chocolate and each bite made you want another.

The wine list was overwhelming, but offered some wines as individual servings, sold in a short carafe, equal to a bit more than a glass of wine. I had a Dolcetto D'Alba which was super soft.

Overall, a great place to eat - a bit touristy and loud, but excellent food. Like I said above - it's the accessible Mario Batali restaurant.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cilantro Pepita Pesto Crusted Roasted Salmon

Live from New York, it's Sunday morning, way too early, thus I'm updating my blog!
Some of you were inquiring about the dinner I made last week for my family, which included a Cilantro Pepita Pesto Crusted Salmon and Sweet Pepper Slaw.

The pesto was dynamite. Here's how you make it:
There are no "true" measurements for the ingredients, it's more of a "to taste" type of recipe.
So, first off, roast or toast your raw, unsalted pepitas (about 3/4 cup).
Whats a pepita you ask? A pepita is a pumpkin seed which has been hulled. They are green and oval shaped and nutrition wise, they pack a punch: they are a great source of polyunsaturated fats, protein and zinc.
I put mine in my toaster oven for just a few minutes, just until they start to darken and become aromatic. Let them cool while you deal with the other ingredients:

Cilantro leaves, a good size bunch worth
Lime Juice, fresh squeezed from 3 limes
Garlic, chopped, 1-3 cloves depending on your raw garlic tolerance level
Water, about 1/4 cup
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
S+P (I use sea salt)

I used my food processor to make the pesto, but a blender would work just as well.
Put your cilantro leaves, cooled pepitas, lime juice, and garlic in processor bowl, start to process and add water. Drizzle in the oil until the consistency is paste like. Taste and season with S+P.

For the salmon, I used fillets with the skin off.
Preheat oven to 400 while making the pesto.
Heat an oven proof saute pan over med-high.
Dress the fillets with S+P, and a bit of the pesto on the top of the fillet. Put into pan, skin side up and let it cook without touching for around 5 minutes.
Flip your fillets, add a bit more pesto on top and place in oven to finish cooking.
That's all folks!
Very yummy.

For the slaw, I simply cheated and used a bag of Broccoli Slaw - it has shredded broccoli stems, cabbage and carrots in it. I added in thinly sliced sweet peppers (any or all colors), and fresh chopped cilantro.
For the dressing use equal parts extra virgin olive oil, fresh squeezed lime juice and non-fat plain yogurt, with salt to taste. You don't really need more than 2 TBS of each, but if you like alot of dressing, you might want to make more. (sorry, no picture of slaw)...
That's all she wrote! Enjoy, and email me if you have any questions!