September 09, 2014
We are nearing the finish line and we have you to thank! After almost three weeks of previews and “guinea pig dinners,” I cannot tell you how thrilling it has been to see so many friends of our old restaurant! Plus, we have been meeting new friends daily and I know I speak for our entire staff when I say thank you for sharing in our joy! We are still a work in progress and we hope to open very soon for breakfast and brunch and look forward to adding lunch in the near future. Finally we are on track!
A quick note about cooking classes: I am working up a new schedule and we will begin our cooking classes just as soon as we can. Thanks again for your patience.
We have so much going on here that I am anxious to share with you! First off, this weekend we will be celebrating and honoring Wholesome Wave, one of our country’s leaders in championing access to safe, wholesome (and hopefully local) food for all people. We will be having a special evening at Simone’s this coming Saturday, 13September, during which, in addition to our regular menu, you be able to order a special menu of items made exclusively from local ingredients with a portion of proceeds being donated to Wholesome Wave. We will have local farmers and producers dining with us and who knows who else will be around. Excitement!
I recently had the opportunity to visit the neo-natal intensive care unit at Women and Infants Hospital and words cannot describe how incredible the facility is. State of the art equipment, a truly caring, upbeat and extremely competent staff of doctors and nurses who care deeply about their infant charges and the moms and dads whose angst is at least partially alleviated by the great care their babies are receiving.
Wholesome Wave will also be the first beneficiary of our Plate4Good! As you hopefully know, we are passionate about giving back to the community that supports us, and so we are thrilled to announce this initiative. Each month, we will feature a special menu item, the proceeds from which will benefit a local charity that is near and dear to the hearts of the Simone’s crew. It is our hope, that with the support of our guests, we’ll raise lots of money for lots of people in need.
Also, I am thrilled to be chosen as this year’s Signature Chef at the annual March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction, next Thursday, 18September at the Providence Art Club.
All of us in Rhode Island should be proud of this facility and I am honored to support the March of Dimes in their great work for the young families who need help desperately. Please, please consider joining me next at the benefit, or making a donation on their website. Tickets are available at www.marchofdimes.org/rhodeisland/events/events_11934.html. There will be lots of great live and silent auction packages, including spending a dinner service with us at Simone’s! We hope to see you there!
Finally, I will be appearing on The Rhode Show tomorrow, Wednesday morning, to lend a hand in promoting the March of Dimes event. Below is an advance copy of the recipe I will be making, which is a new addition to our menu.
Thanks for everything. It feels great to be back at the stove and all of us look forward to cooking many meals for all of you.
xoxox, Joe and Crew
Grilled Shrimp wrapped in Pancetta with Caramelized Onions and Balsamic Vinegar
Chef Joe Simone, Simone’s Restaurant, in honor of
The March of Dimes Rhode Island
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer
2 pounds Spanish Onions
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
12 Jumbo Shrimp, preferable Wild Caught White Shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico
12 very thin slices pancetta (your local deli counter should be able to do this for you)
dashes of olive oil to cook the shrimp
2 TBSP unsalted butter, optional
Pinch salt to taste
Splashes of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, I use Villa Manodori
- Trim and peel the onions and cut into 1/8” thick julienne.
- Place onions and olive oil into a saucepan, cover, and set over very low heat.
- Cook onions very slowly stirring occasionally until the onions have given off their water and are very soft. Continue to cook slowly (covered) until the onions are a golden brown and very silky. This process will take about 2 hours. Remove from heat, let cool and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Wrap each shrimp with a piece of pancetta, pressing firmly to make the pancetta stick. When the shrimp are all wrapped you can cover and refrigerate up to 1 day before cooking.
- To serve, heat a pancake griddle to 350F (or warm a large non-stick skillet over med heat). When hot add a touch of olive oil and the shrimp. Cook about 3-4 minutes per side until the shrimp are cooked through and the pancetta is golden brown.
- Meanwhile warm the caramelized onions over med-high heat When hot add the butter if using and shake/stir the pan constantly until the butter melts into a smooth sauce. Season to taste with salt.
- Serve the shrimp atop the warm onions and drizzled with a touch of balsamic vinegar.