Want to go from plain to fancy and still be quick and easy? Flambé!
Flambé is a cooking technique where liquor is added to a dish and set afire, producing a dramatic visual presentation. The alcohol burns fast and goes out quickly, but leaves a distinctive flavor in the dish. For those who may be concerned, the alcohol content is totally consumed.
Modern flambé was discovered by accident in Monte Carlo in 1895. A waiter accidentally set fire to a pan of crepes he was serving to Prince Edward of England. (Poor waiter!) Since that time people tend to couple flambé with desserts. The truth is, the technique can be used with many dishes, even main entrees. It is an easy way to add elegance to any meal. Here are two easy flambé entrees:
16 large shrimp
Bread crumbs flavored with salt, pepper, garlic, dill and parsley
Butter, melted with garlic
1 egg, beaten
½ oz vodka
Peel, de-vein and butterfly the shrimp. (For faster preparation, buy frozen shrimp which has already been peeled de-veined and butterflied.) Dip shrimp in flour, then egg, and then roll in bread crumbs. Heat garlic butter to a high temperature and sauté the shrimp for two minutes. Pour vodka into the pan and flambé (ignite carefully with a match). Serve immediately over rice or linguini. May also be served with sautéed green beans and almonds. Serves four.
FRENCH PEPPER STEAK
1 round steak cut in 4-5 serving portions
2 tbsp peppercorns
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp each ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and margarine
1-2 oz. cheap brandy, warmed
Put salt in frying pan and heat to high. Tenderize steak. Crush peppercorns in cloth napkin with hammer. Press broken peppercorns into both sides of steak. Put into hot pan and cook to preference. Mix sauce ingredients except the brandy and heat in saucepan. Arrange cooked meat on platter; pour sauce over all.
To flambé, warm brandy in a separate pan. Light it, then gently pour or spoon over platter.