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 Starters  Beef  Chicken, etc  Fish  Pork, Lamb  Barbecue  One Dish  Salads  Sides  Misc. 

Menu Plan for Summer I: Week 9, Saturday

Melon with Ham
Vitello Tonnato
Fresh Tomato and Green Olive Pasta Salad
Green Beans with Pesto

Cooking time:  45 minutes for menu          Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

       We've been doing a lot of French summer foods; I thought it time to visit more of the Mediterranean.  Last night was a hint of Spain, tonight an Italian summer favorite: Vitello Tonnato.  I know we often have foods that need some early prep time, but with this dinner, the entire meal is best prepared early in the day and left for the flavors to meld... Which makes it perfect for a summer picnic, entertaining, or a late evening dinner after a long day at the beach or exploring the local summer markets.

Melon with Ham

Total time: 10 minutes 
       This is a very subjective starter for all its simplicity.  In Spain you would get 4 big wedges of a long, green melon somewhat similar to a honeydew but with a hint of watermelon.  When I would ask what kind of melon it was, I would get an incredibly blank stare and a "how can anyone be that stupid!" look, along with the answer "It's melon!".  The melon would be covered in Iberian, Serrano or Jabugo - types of Spanish dry-cured ham.  In France you will get a small, orange Provençal melon with Bayonne ham.  In Italy, a honeydew with Prosciutto.  Why am I telling you all of this you ask?   Because...

Melon with Ham Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Vitello Tonnato  Cold Veal in Tuna Sauce

Total time: 20 minutes     plus at least 2 hours resting time 
     This is properly made with a veal roast that is braised for hours, then sliced thinly and served with the sauce.  This is my shortcut version.... Summer cooking!  I've included the traditional Tonnato Sauce as well as a version using commercial mayonnaise rather than the raw egg. 

Cold Veal in Tuna Sauce Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Tonnato Sauce Traditional Version

 Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Fresh Tomato and Green Olive Pasta

Total time: 25 minutes,     3 - 6 hours marinating 
   This uses the best of the summer garden: fresh tomatoes and fragrant herbs.  6 - 8 hours is the perfect time for the sauce to blend flavors. The olives tend to loose flavor after a day, so I don't plan leftovers with this.

Fresh Tomato and Green Olive Pasta Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Note:  The tomatoes, etc. need to sit without the pasta for the sauce to develop and the flavors to meld. 

To Peel Tomatoes:  Bring a medium pan 3/4's full of water to a boil on high heat.  Drop tomatoes in for 30 seconds - start timing immediately.  Remove tomatoes and drop into a bowl of cold water.  If you are doing a lot of tomatoes you will have to add ice or change water to keep it cold.  Now peel them with a knife or your fingers - peel will come off very easily. (You can peel peaches the same way) 

Green Beans with Pesto

Total time: 15 minutes  
    Basil and beans are another classic pairing... So why not pesto and beans?  Make sure to use a good quality olive oil.

Green Beans with Pesto Ingredients:

 Instructions:

Cooking Schedule: 45 minutes, with 5 to serve
The instructions are for preparing the entire meal
earlier in the day - serving instruction at the end

Assemble all food, utensils and serving dishes
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
scissors, whisk, medium bowl, (used 2X) medium
saucepan (used 2X), medium skillet, bowl for pasta
sauce (I use serving bowl), blender, plastic wrap,
serving platter for veal large/deep enough to hold
sauce
Earlier in the day:
Put medium saucepan of water on high heat
Put pot of water for pasta on high heat
Top and tail beans
Clean melon, slice into wedges, cover, refrigerate
Blanch beans
Fill medium bowl with very cold water
Drain beans, dump in cool water
Fill saucepan with water again, heat for tomatoes
When beans are cool, drain, lay out to dry
Fill bowl with cold water again
Combine beans with oil, pesto
Put into serving dish, cover, refrigerate
Snip herbs, put into pasta serving bowl

Peel, mince garlic, add to herbs
Slice olives, add to herbs
Blanch tomatoes - 30 seconds
Remove tomatoes, plunge in cold water
Peel tomatoes
Chop tomatoes, add to herbs
Add oil, stir, cover, set aside, room temp.
Heat stock in the skillet
Cook pasta
Add veal to skillet, poach, remove, cool
Make Tonnato sauce
When veal is cool, assemble 'Tonnato' on serving dish
Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate
Drain pasta, rinse lightly with cool water
Put pasta in bowl for storage, add oil, stir to combine
Refrigerate pasta
Dinner Time - To Serve:
Get everything from the fridge
Combine pasta and sauce
Stir the beans
Arrange melon on plates
Add Prosciutto
Serve Starter, followed by the rest
Or everything at once

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