Gluten Free!!!! But Not Fat Free……

A culinary blog series featuring seasonal food and wine from the restaurant servant perspective. 

“86” the Hot Tea by: Roddy Browning

This whole gluten thing has been a real influence on the restaurant world. Gluten free pizza? Not my jam, though I do recognize it as a serious issue. How does one cook gluten free these days, we find gluten in just about everything that is comforting to eat! If you practice gluten free eating you’ll know how challenging it can be at times, even though there are many gluten free products out there that can be substituted in from pastas to breads. Unfortunately, now I might offend someone here, I have yet to have gluten free pasta that I thought was as good as the real thing. I said it! I mean it too. Because of that, let’s focus on what “non-gluteterians” can eat. Meat, fat… did I mention meat and fat? There’s also corn products, rice oh and vegetables. I love eating root veggies, they can be quite intimidating in the grocery store but if you have an oven you’ve got the secret weapon for veggie inhalation; well let’s not get too carried away, we want them to still have texture. Moving on! Convection is clever, but traditional ovens will work just fine. I’m going to share with you one my wife’s favorite dishes. I call it “The Ultimate Yes Dear!”

You Will Need:

  • Pork loin or chicken breast (6 ounces per person)
  • Basil (2 leaves per portion)
  • Sage (2 leaves per portion)
  • Prosciutto (1 thin slice per portion)
  • Provolone cheese (1 slice per portion)
  • Fontina cheese (2 thin slices per portion) and olive oil. This is a great “side” dish for the roasted root veggies you’re going to make.

First off, let’s go to the store and grab those white things that look like carrots (parsnips), some colorful carrots, and some beets. Remember to always use good products, to get the best result, buy the best ingredients all the way down to the salt; I always use kosher salt and good olive oil. Next always wash your veggies, even if they are organic. You need to preheat the oven (a.k.a. veggie Deathstar) to 400 degrees. You will then need to peel all the veggies and cut them into pieces about the length and width of your thumb. Put them in a bowl and add enough oil to coat.

Sprinkle salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. I could tell you how much, but I’m sure I’d be wrong since everybody has their own salt and pepper levels they prefer. Place on a cookie sheet, roasting pan or even a cast iron if you want to get sexy with it. This amazing roasting process takes about 30 minutes, or a little faster if you have a convection oven. “Fork Tender” as they say is the preferred texture. Be sure to stir once or twice, the ideal look is when the edges are slightly charred.

Now for the side dish! I prefer to pan sear the protein of choice, but you can also grill them if you live in Southern California where we have no seasons. You want the protein just a touch undone as the grand finale requires finishing in the oven. Be sure to use salt sparingly as all the goodies that are layered on top will have salt. Next, place the pork or chicken on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Here is the fun part…. did you stir your veggies? The first items are the basil and sage; spread them apart to cover as much surface as you can. Then add the prosciutto, top it off with the fontina and finally the provolone. Remove the veggies from the oven and set them aside when done. Leave the oven at the same 400 degrees and place the now layered pork or chicken in the oven. Stare at it as the cheese begins to melt and brown. Remove from the oven as soon as the cheese has a touch of color. Take the now roasted veggies and plate them, then set the pork or chicken on top and SSSAAAWEEET victory! I like to use a beurre blanc for sauce (look it up, it’s easy to make and goes with a ton of dishes). Enjoy!

Now for the most important part, the wine. We chose the Sans Liege “Cotes-du-Coast” 2015 Central Coast. This dish can roll with red or white, but if you go with white it needs to have a sturdy backbone and some acidity which this wine delivers. It’s a blend of viognier, roussanne, marsanne, and grenache blanc. I know, fancy names, but they are very important grapes of the Rhone Valley in France. The wine has aromas of peach, nectarines, apricots, and a touch of wet stones. The mouth feel is rich with a slight pop on the finish. The wine tastes like it smells, stone fruits with a touch of “minerality.” Very good by itself but better when you throw some fat and herbs at it. You can contact the winery to find out where to get it. They have other fabulous wines to choose from as well.

If you have any questions or comments, you can reach me at Enjoy, and I hope the wine and the food brings you as much joy as it does for us. Remember happy spouse happy house!

About the Author:

Roddy Browning is the chief architect and owner of two innovative restaurants in Oceanside and Vista called, Flying Pig Pub and Kitchen. Browning started his restaurant career in a small spot called Burger Boy in Cedar Crest, New Mexico. Following a move to Santa Fe, New Mexico, he started working as a prep cook and a busboy at local eatery named Julian’s. That was the start of his kitchen experience. He developed an appreciation for cooking and has been hooked ever since. When he moved to Tucson, Arizona, he worked the front of the house and quickly fell in love with wine. He worked under a few very talented Sommeliers throughout his career. He has been a certified Sommelier for over 10 years and has over 20 years of experience combined with his wine studies.

Published: October 27, 2017

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