Ever wondered what your favourite heroine eats for breakfast or snacks on after those long pages of emotional disarray?
Jackie Collins' popular character, Lucky Santangelo shares her food preferences from "traditional Italian dishes to sumptuous desserts, and crazy cocktails" in her new book, The Lucky Santangelo Cookbook.
Max’s Beet and Avocado Salad (serves 4)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 small shallot, very thinly sliced
2 teaspoons honey
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
5 medium cooked beets, quartered and sliced into bite-size pieces
5 cups baby arugula
¾ cup walnuts, toasted then coarsely chopped
1 avocado, halved, pitted, cubed, and peeled
- Whisk together the vinegar, shallots, and honey in a large bowl, then slowly whisk in the olive oil to emulsify the vinaigrette.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Toss the arugula, walnuts, and cooked beets with the vinaigrette.
- Arrange on individual plates, top with avocado cubes and crum- bled goat cheese, and serve.
Santangelo Salmon (serves 2)
⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons hot water 2 tablespoons red miso
Canola oil, for coating the dish
Four 1-inch thick salmon fillets, pinbones removed
1 tablespoon minced chives
2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup good-quality sake, plus 1 teaspoon
2 tablespoons half-and-half 8 tablespoons (½ stick) cold,
unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
Juice of 1 lime wedge
Freshly ground white pepper
Cooked basmati rice
For the salmon:
- Combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, hot water, and miso and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
- Choose a gratin dish large enough to hold the salmon without crowding, and lightly coat it with oil.
- Arrange the salmon fillets in the dish, and spread the miso mixture evenly over each fillet.
- Broil the fillets, basting with the miso mixture once or twice, for 7 to 8 minutes for medium rare, or 10 minutes for medium, or until the fillets flake easily when prodded with a fork.
For the sake butter:
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, soften the ginger and shallots in the butter for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Pour in ½ cup of the sake, bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce to about 3 tablespoons, about 3 minutes.
- Pour in the half-and-half, return to a boil, and reduce by about half, about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, and, whisking constantly, add the butter, one cube at a time. The butter should create a thick and creamy sauce.
- When all of the butter has been incorporated, remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the remaining 1 teaspoon of sake and the lime juice.
- Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Using an immersion blender or in a stand blender purée the sauce, in batches, until very smooth.
- Divide the sake butter between two plates, top with the basmati rice and then the salmon, and serve at once.
Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Strawberries (12 servings)
1¼ cups sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup water
1 envelope gelatin (about 1 tablespoon)
¼ cup cold water
3 cups heavy cream
11 ounces sugar (1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons)
1 cup buttermilk
Juice of 2 lemons, or to taste 2 to 3 dozen strawberries, washed and stemmed, halved, if you like
For the caramel:
- Combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small, heavy-bottomed pot. Add just enough water to moisten to a sandy texture. Brush any residual sugar off the sides of the pot with a pas- try brush dipped in water.
- Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar caramelizes.
- Remove from heat and, standing at arm’s length from the pot, add the ¼ cup water. Be careful: the mixture will bubble and sputter furiously.
- When the sputtering stops, carefully pour the caramel into eleven or twelve 4-ounce Styrofoam cups. Gently tilt the cups to coat with the caramel.
For the panna cotta:
- Soak the gelatin granules in ¼ cup cold water for 15 minutes, until softened.
- Pour the cream into a saucepan and whisk in the sugar. Heat to just below a boil. Add the softened gelatin and stir until it dissolves completely. Stir in the buttermilk and lemon juice. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Pour the custard into the caramelized molds. Refrigerate overnight, until the gelatin sets and the custards are stiff enough to unmold.
- To unmold the custard, slip a small, sharp paring knife around the inside of the molds to loosen. Invert each cup over an individual serving plate and puncture the bottom (now the top) with the tip of the knife. Gently slide the panna cotta out of the cup.
- Garnish with the strawberries.
Hungry for more passionate culinary wonders? Get your own copy of The Lucky Santangelo Cookbook.