, Muskogee, OK

January 15, 2013

Title of fun read inspires recipes

By Melody Carey
Guest Columnist

— Professor Dr. Moritz-MariaVon Igelfeld is back again on a series of misadventures in Alexander McCall Smith’s “Unusual Uses for Olive Oil” (Anchor Books, 2011). This time we find the academician thinking about love as he is set up on a blind date by Ophelia Prinzel, a fellow professor’s wife. Frau Benz, the widow of a certain industrialist and owner of the famed Schloss Dukelberg historic residence, briefly becomes the object of his affection. Despite his sartorial ineptitude, Frau Benz finds him charming. But when Igelfeld tells her about his preference for other, less flashy German cars than her fleet of Mercedes-Benzes, she suddenly becomes distant for reasons unknown to him.

Oblivious to his faux pas with Frau Benz, Igelfeld concentrates on the upcoming philology institute he runs during the summer at a retreat in the Alps. While contemplating a new edition of his magnum opus, the definitive Portuguese Irregular Verbs, during a morning walk, he is mistaken for a famous mountain climber and whisked off on a perilous ascent up a dizzying Alpine trail. He becomes an inadvertent hero having survived a 3,000-foot fall and is feted as an inspirational speaker.

But, despite his success, life remains difficult at Regensberg University where no matter how renowned one is, he is always subject to the scrutiny of his colleagues in the Institute of Philological Study.

Novels in the amusing Professor Dr. Von Igelfeld entertainments include “Portuguese Irregular Verbs,” “At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances,” and “The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs.” McCall Smith is also the author of four other series — The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, The Isabel Dalhousie Series, 44 Scotland Street, and Corduroy Mansions.

Here are two unusually delicious uses for sautéing with olive oil. Enjoy.

Spinach Salmon Salad

3/4 cup

8 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or more to taste)

4 salmon fillets

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 sack triple washed baby spinach

1/2 cup toasted pecan halves

Mix currant jelly and red wine vinegar to taste until blended. Set aside. Season salmon with salt and pepper. In large skillet pan fry salmon in olive oil until flaky and cooked through, approximately 8 minutes per side for thick fillets, making sure it is done. Place a bed of spinach on each plate. Top with pecans. Lay salmon fillet on top of spinach and add dressing. An easy and delicious meal.

Pancetta Wrapped

 Stuffed Chicken Rolls

8 chicken cutlets

1 1/2 cups sautéed spinach

8 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese

8 slices very thin sliced pancetta or bacon

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth

3/4 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 teaspoons flour

Pound the cutlets thin with a meat mallet and lightly season with salt and pepper.

Lay the cutlets on a tray or cutting board and divide the spinach among the eight cutlets, arranging it to cover, leaving a little space along the sides. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the cheese on top of the spinach on each of the cutlets. Starting at one end, tightly roll the cutlets up. Using a slice of pancetta or bacon, carefully wrap the chicken roll around and secure each with a toothpick.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat and brown all the chicken rolls very well on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.

Add the broth and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, partly cover the skillet and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken to a heated plate, and bring the wine mixture remaining in the skillet up to a boil. Add the sage, season with salt and pepper, and thicken with half the butter/flour mixture. If needed add more of the butter/flour mixture to thicken.

Remove the toothpicks from the rolls, and return the chicken to the skillet and turn to coat in the sauce. Place the chicken on a platter and pour the sauce on top. Serve hot with roasted potatoes or risotto. Source: