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Showing posts with label shiitake mushrooms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shiitake mushrooms. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fast, Easy and Delicious Can't-Resist Salmon for a Meal or an NFL Game Day Snack

Eating healthy makes good sense and doesn't have to take a lot of time. One of my favorite dishes is a dry rub roasted salmon that makes its own glaze.

Roasting a salmon filet is perfect for a family meal, NFL game day or a party entree. For a pot-luck dinner last weekend with friends, I  made roasted salmon and a Little Gem lettuce salad with carrots. Healthy, nutritious and delicious and oh so easy.
To get the salmon from refrigerator-to-table, all I needed to do was season the filet with dry rub and place it in the refrigerator. Overnight the mix of sugar, salt and aromatics drew moisture out of the fish. The dry rub turned into a wet slurry that became the base for a sweet-heat savory glaze. 

The filet takes 30 minutes to cook in the oven. The glaze takes 5 minutes to cook in a saucepan.

Because the salmon is best served at room temperature, the dish can be cooked ahead of time and served when everyone is ready to eat. Which makes it ideal to make ahead when you know you will be busy before the meal.

For brunch, the salmon can be served with toasted bagels and cream cheese and with scrambled eggs. For lunch, dinner or watching a football game, add a green salad and pasta and you have an entire meal.

Dry Rub Salmon with Brown Sugar Mushroom Glaze

Adding tomato sauce to the glaze mellows the flavors. You can use canned tomato sauce but making your own will taste much better. Roasted tomato sauce is so easy to make, I would encourage you to make a lot and freeze the sauce in 6 ounce air-tight containers. That way, when you want to make a pasta sauce you will have roasted tomato sauce in the freezer.



Yield 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Marinating Time: Overnight

Cooking Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour + marinating overnight

Ingredients

2 - 3 pounds fresh, skin-on salmon fillet, preferably wild not farm raised, washed

Dry Rub

2 1/2 - 3 cups brown sugar, depending on the size of the filet

1/3 cup kosher salt

1 tablespoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

Glaze

1/4 - 1/2 cup dry rub wet slurry from overnight refrigeration

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon raw onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley or kale

2 large shiitake or brown mushrooms, washed, pat dried, stem end trimmed, finely chopped

1 large tomato to make 1/4 cup roasted tomato sauce

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 500 F. Remove the stem from the tomato. Place the whole tomato on a Silpat sheet or parchment paper on a baking tray.
Roast 20 minutes. Transfer the tomato and any juices from the baking tray into a food mill or a fine mesh strainer. Press the tomato to collect the juices and pulp. Reserve skin and seeds to make vegetable stock or discard. Set tomato sauce aside or refrigerate in an air-tight container. The sauce can be frozen if made ahead.
Inspect the filet and remove any bones. Trim off small fins if there are any and discard. Pat dry.

In a bowl, mix together the dry rub seasoning.

Measure a piece of plastic wrap that it is longer than the filet by 5" on all sides. Lay the plastic wrap on a flat surface.

Spread half the dry rub on the plastic wrap. Lay the salmon filet on top, skin side down. Spread the remainder of the dry rub on the salmon.

Fold over the ends of the plastic wrap so the salmon and dry mix are pressed against each other.  Put the package into a plastic bag and seal.

Place the plastic bag on a baking sheet in case of leaks. Refrigerate.

The next day, remove the salmon filet. The dry rub will have become a wet slurry.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

To make the glaze, place the bag in a bowl. Remove the salmon from the plastic bag and plastic wrap being careful to capture all the liquid. Use your hand to scrape off any dry rub that clings to the filet or the plastic wrap. Mix together any remaining dry rub and the wet slurry.

Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and place a small wire rack on top of the aluminum foil. Place the salmon filet on the wire rack, skin side down. Place in the oven.

In a small sauce pan, heat olive oil and sauté onion, mushrooms and Italian parsley or kale until lightly browned. Add dry rub slurry and roasted tomato sauce. Mix well. Simmer 5 minutes. Set aside.
After the salmon has been in the oven 20 minutes, remove. Place a generous amount of the glaze on top and return to the oven another 10 minutes. Reserve any extra sauce.
Remove from the oven. When the salmon is cool enough to touch, use a pairing knife to help remove the filet from the wire rack. Keep the skin on the filet.  When transferring the salmon to a decorative plate, be careful not to disturb the toping.

Serve at room temperature with the extra sauce in a small bowl.

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Winter Pick-Me-Up: Roasted Vegetable Salad


Roasted kale and celery root salad.

In summer, a ripe tomato salad mixed with peppery arugula leaves and bits of salty, creamy Bulgarian feta can be a meal in and of itself. When the weather cools and a weakening sun denies farmers the heat they need to grow nature’s leafy wonders, we still hunger for salads but now it’s time to look to hearty greens and root vegetables to satisfy that craving.
In winter, walking through the local supermarket’s fresh produce section, it’s easy to believe we live in a one-season world. Vegetables and fruit that require summer’s heat are stacked high in the bins. But one taste and it’s easy to tell, these delectables have been grown out of season or traveled long distances to reach our tables.
Root vegetables like celery root, beets, turnips and potatoes grow well in the colder months. When roasted, their starches convert into sugar, coaxing the best out of these subterranean gems.

Winter produce is perfect for roasting

Sturdy leafy greens, like kale, especially black or Tuscan kale, come into their own at this time of year. Delicious raw in a salad, tossed with toasted hazelnuts, and a simple vinaigrette, kale reaches new heights of deliciousness when roasted.
When roasted, oil and heat drive moisture out of the kale, creating an airy crispness. That delicate texture beautifully complements the earthiness of roasted root vegetables when combined in a warm vegetable salad.
latt-celeriac2
Picture 1 of 7
Celeriac, celery root, peeled and cut in half. Credit: David Latt
Having only recently tried celery root or celeriac, I had to look beyond its decidedly unattractive exterior. Put simply, celeriac may have a pretty name, but it is a very ugly duckling.
You have to wonder at the leap of faith it took the first person who ate celeriac. What possessed that brave diner to bite into the pale brown bulb, stippled with stiff, hairy roots?
Only when the woody outer skin is peeled like a pineapple is the pale white flesh revealed. Cut into matchsticks and tossed with olive oil or mayonnaise, raw celeriac makes a refreshingly crisp salad. Like kale, however, celeriac achieves its best self when roasted.

Winter’s Best Salad: Roasted Black Kale, Celery Root, Shiitake Mushrooms, Shallots and Garlic

Simple and easy-to-prepare, a roasted vegetable salad can combine any of your favorite vegetables. For this dish, I wanted to complement roasted kale’s crispiness with tender, savory roasted celery root. Shiitake mushrooms, whole garlic cloves and large shallots added flavors to round out the umami of the dish.
Serves 4
Ingredients
2 pounds celery root or celeriac, washed, peeled, cut into batons 2 inches by ½ inch, yields 1½ pounds
6 shiitake mushrooms, washed, halved
3 garlic cloves, root ends and skin removed
1 bunch black kale, washed, stems removed
3 large shallots or 6 small shallots or 1 medium yellow onion, root ends and outer skin removed, washed, quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
A pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
Directions
1. Heat the oven to 350 F.
2. Separately, toss each vegetable with a drizzle of olive oil, season with sea salt, pepper and cayenne (optional).
3. On a large baking pan lined with a Silpat sheet, parchment paper or aluminum foil, lay out the vegetables separately because they cook at different times. Place the pan in the oven.
4. Every five minutes, use tongs to turn the vegetables for even cooking, using the following times as a guide: kale leaves (10 minutes), shiitake mushrooms, shallots and garlic cloves (20 minutes), celery root (30 minutes).
5. Except for the kale, using a paring knife, check each vegetable for doneness.
6. After cooking, roughly chop the shiitake mushrooms, shallots and garlic cloves.
7. In a flat bowl, toss together the celeriac, shitake mushrooms, shallots and garlic cloves. Top with the crisp kale leaves.
8. Serve immediately to avoid the kale leaves losing their crispness.
Variations
  • Together with the other vegetables, roast 2 large carrots, ends trimmed, peeled. Cut these into 1-inch rounds, seasoned with sea salt, pepper and olive oil and added to the chopped salad after roasting.
  • Roast 2 large beets, whole, stems and leaves removed, washed, drizzled with olive oil. Place these on a lined baking sheet and cook in a 400 F oven for 45-60 minutes or until a paring knife pierces the flesh easily. Use rubber gloves to handle the beets. When cool to the touch, trim ends and peel off the skin. Rough chop the beets and toss with olive oil, sea salt and pepper separately so they do not color the other vegetables. Place them on the bottom of the serving bowl before adding the other vegetables.
  • Season the vegetables with your preference of herbs, such as fresh rosemary, sage or tarragon, or toss any one of the herbs with olive oil and roast on a lined baking sheet in a 350 F oven for five minutes. Remove the leaves, finely chop and sprinkle over the cooked vegetables before tossing.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Eggsellent – A One-Egg Omelet That’s All About Flavor

For Zesterdaily last January, I wrote about beginning the new year with an easy-to-make, good tasting dish that is healthy and all about flavor. After making the omelets through out last year, I think it's a great way to begin 2014.


A new year with new resolves for personal improvement is the best of times and the worst of times. At the top of many people’s resolutions is eating sensibly with an asterisk to give up everything that tastes good. To eat well doesn’t mean denying yourself pleasures. In fact, consider the gastronomic advantages of a one-egg omelet.

Three, two, one

A neighborhood restaurant we frequented for many years proudly publicized their three-egg omelet. The omelet was a plump 2-inches thick and settled on the plate like a seal sunning itself on a wave-washed rock.
After eating their three-egg omelet, I always felt like going back to bed.
Having consumed many omelets over many years, the realization hit me that what I like about an omelet isn’t the eggs. What I like is the filling.
At home I experimented. What I was looking for was a ratio of bulk: flavor that pleased my palate and wasn’t overly filling. Three eggs were never considered, and eventually two eggs gave way to one. Another significant milestone was switching from a stainless steel pan to the more forgiving qualities of a nonstick pan.

Thin one-egg omelet is a reminder of delicate crêpes

One egg creates texture not bulk and places the emphasis solidly on the filling. Just about anything sautéed, roasted or grilled can find itself tucked into the confines of an eggy bed.
Whatever the mix of ingredients, the key to a good omelet is creating a warm creaminess of melted cheese.
The combinations are limited only by your palate preferences. The salty-sweetness of sautéed ham, Comte cheese, spinach, shallots and shiitake mushrooms complement the pliancy of the egg. Grilledasparagus and Parmesan cheese, dusted with finely chopped Italian parsley leaves makes an elegant omelet perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Shredded lobster, Manchego cheese, cilantro, raw red onions, a dusting of cayenne and a small amount of finely chopped ripe tomatoes transform an ordinary egg into a culinary adventure.
Adding country-fried potatoes, buttered toast with jam and crisp bacon, a tossed green salad or a bowl of fresh fruit to fill out the plate and the one-egg omelet creates an enviable meal, heavy on flavor and careful about calories.

One-Egg Omelet With Spinach, Comte Cheese, Shallots and Shiitake Mushrooms

Use any cheese of your liking. I prefer a cheese that plays well with others. Strong cheeses, such as blue cheese, will dominate the other flavors in the filling. Mild cheddar, Comte, Manchego and soft goat cheese work well.
The recipe is for one, because making each omelet individually will result in the best looking dish. If you are serving more than one, multiply the number of diners times the ingredient quantities for the filling to create the correct amount needed to make all the omelets.
Use a 9-inch nonstick pan, understanding that nonstick pans are designed to be used on low heat. Because an excessive amount of fat is not required to prevent the egg from sticking to the pan, the butter is used for flavoring. Could the omelet cook on a nonstick pan without the butter? Yes, perhaps as serviceably, but that little bit of butter adds a lot of flavor.
Serves 1
Ingredients
2 teaspoons sweet butter
2 cups spinach leaves and stems, washed, pat dried, chopped
1 shallot, washed, ends and skin removed, finely chopped
½ cup or 2-3 shiitake mushrooms, washed, root ends trimmed, finely sliced longwise
1 farm-fresh egg, large or extra large
1 tablespoon cream, half and half, whole milk or nonfat milk
⅓ cup freshly grated cheese, preferably white cheddar, Comte, Manchego or goat
Pinch of cayenne (optional)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Directions
1. In the nonstick pan, melt 1 teaspoon butter and sauté together the spinach, shallot and shiitake mushrooms until wilted and lightly browned. Season to taste with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and cayenne (optional). Use a high-heat or Silpat spatula to remove the sauté from the pan and set aside.
2. Beat together the 1 egg and milk until frothy.
3. On a medium-low flame, heat the nonstick pan, melt the remaining teaspoon butter and pour in the egg-milk mixture using the spatula to get every drop into the pan.
4. Swirl the egg mixture around to coat the bottom of the pan so it looks like a full moon.
5. Gently sprinkle the cheese on one half of the omelet — the half moon with the filling –and spoon on the sauté to cover the cheese.
6. When the cheese has melted and the egg is cooked the way you like, use the Silpat spatula to gently flip the empty side of the half moon on top of the filling.
7. Use the Silpat spatula to help slide the omelet onto the plate and serve hot.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Roasted Vegetable Salad

Even in February, the farmers markets in Southern California have plenty of summer greens. Plump bunches of romaine, red leaf lettuce, arugula and Italian parsley are stacked high on the farmers' tables.

To create a healthy, refreshing dish, all you have to do is rinse the greens in clean water, flick dry and toss with a simple dressing.
But this is winter and another group of vegetables come into their own when the sun's rays have weakened, the days are shorter, and the temperatures lower.

Black kale, turnips, beets and celery root are now in their prime and require only a little more effort to create a delicious salad.

Using an oven's heat to bring the best out of vegetables turns starch into sugar and coaxes crispness out of leafy greens.

For Zester Daily I wrote an easy-to-make recipe for a roasted vegetable salad that is delicious when the chill is in the air. A salad with a bit of warmth is a perfect accompaniment for roasted meats and seafood or a hearty braise: A Winter Pick-Me-Up: Roasted Vegetable Salad.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Waist Watching, Delicious One-Egg Omelet

As with many good things, a cherished recipe resulted from an accident.
My wife wanted an omelet for breakfast and we had only one egg in the refrigerator. That egg was an especially good, farmers' market egg, but it did not have a companion and my wife was used to having a two-egg omelet.

Many solutions came to mind.

Go to the market to buy more. That seemed like too much trouble with a cup of coffee already brewed and waiting on the dining room table next to the Sunday New York Times. Use a lot of milk as "filler." But the resulting omelet would have been more like a custard than what my wife likes, a very firm cooked egg.

So, I did the only thing any guy would do in the circumstances. I punted.

If I was short an egg, well, I'd compensate with a lot more filling, hoping my wife would be distracted by all the goodies so she wouldn't notice the paucity of "egg."

Her favorite filling consisted of sautéed spinach, shiitake mushrooms, shallots and Comte cheese. Low and behold, as my mother would have said, what appeared to be a limitation became an asset.

Using one egg created an omelet that shared many qualities with the French crepe. The omelet was thin, crispy along the edges and, most importantly, had traded bulk for flavor.

Voila!

My wife loved her one-egg omelet so much, the dish is now a standard feature of our Sunday morning brunch. For Zesterdaily I wrote up the recipe and a more complete description.

Please take a look and let me know what you think: Eggsellent - A One-Egg Omelet That's All About Flavor.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

How to Store Shiitakes and a Mushroom Soup That's Perfect for Chilly Days

At most supermarkets, shiitakes aren't cheap so they have to be used sparingly. But at Asian markets, they're inexpensive. $3.99/pound at Mitsuwa in Santa Monica and $2.69/pound at SF Supermarket in Little Saigon. At those prices, it's reasonable to buy several pounds.

In general, shiitakes come in two forms: the slender stemmed variety and the ones which are fatter, with thicker stems and caps. Mitsuwa and SF Supermarket sell the fatter variety, which have a meater flavor.

With so many on hand, they can be used liberally in pastas and soups, grilled, and sautéed with garlic and shallots.

But how to store the ones not eaten those first couple of days?

Everyone knows that mushrooms should only be stored in the refrigerator in paper bags because kept in plastic they quickly go bad. Use a brown paper bag--not a white one, which is coated with wax so the moisture stays inside the bag--in combination with paper towels. The moisture that normally accumulates on the outside of the mushroom is absorbed by the layers of paper.

Kept in the refrigerator another week or two, the brown paper bag-paper towel combination acts as a dehydrator pefectly drying the mushrooms. This technique only works successfully with shiitakes.

If by chance any of the dried shiitakes develop mold, discard and keep the good ones. In my experience, more than 95% will dehydrate without harm.

To reconstitute dried shiitakes, put them in a heat proof bowl, pour in enough boiling water to cover, place a smaller bowl on top to keep the mushrooms submerged. Leave for 30 minutes until they soften.

Gently squeeze out the water but reserve the liquid for later use. Cut and discard the stems. At this point the mushroom caps can be cooked as if they were fresh.

Shiitake Mushroom Soup with Garlic

Shiitakes have a meaty, sweet flavor that is deliciously satisfying in this easy-to-make soup, perfect for a drizzly winter day.

Yield: Serves 4

Time: 45 minutes

Ingedients

2 cups shiitake mushrooms, fresh (stems and caps) or reconstituted (stems removed), washed, thin sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
4 shallots or 1 small yellow onion, peeled, findely chopped
4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Method

In a large sauce pan, sauté the mushrooms, garlic, and shallots with the olive oil until lightly browned. Add the chicken stock and, if using reconstituted mushrooms, 1/2 cup of the soaking water. Simmer 30 minutes.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.

Variations

Substitute water for the chicken stock to make a vegetarian version, in which case simmer the mushrooms a bit longer and add 1 tablespoon of butter for flavor

Season with 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

Add to the saute 4 cups spinach leaves, washed, stems removed, roughly chopped

Add to the saute and brown 2 Italian sausages, roughly chopped,

Add to the saute and brown 1 chicken breast, roughly chopped

Add to the saute 1 cup fresh, deveined shrimp, roughly chopped

Add to the soup 1/4 cup cream and 1 tablespoon butter

Add to the soup at the end 2 packages ramen noodles cooked first in boiling water for 10 minutes then divided equally among the 4 servings

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Caramelized Vegetable Pasta

If you can't get your kids to eat vegetables, try caramelizing them to bring out their natural sweetness. It's as easy as tossing them in olive oil seasoned with sea salt and pepper, sauteing, grilling, or roasting them in the oven.

For a quick, affordable, nutritious meal, add pasta, leave a little broth in the bottom of the bowl, top with grated cheese and they'll come back for seconds.

Caramelized Vegetable Pasta

Yield: 4

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 small yellow onion or 3 shallots, washed, peeled, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
1/4 pound mushrooms, shiitake or brown mushrooms, washed, thin sliced
1 cup Italian parsley, leaves only, washed, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, washed, peeled, finely chopped
1 cup corn off the cob during the summer
1 cup broccoli stems or florets, washed, roughly chopped
1 pound pasta, preferably De Cecca, spaghetti, gnocchi pasta, penne, ziti or whatever you like
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon sweet butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and pepper

Method

Saute all the vegetables in 1 tablespoon olive oil until softened. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Boil a large pot of water. Add the Kosher salt. Add the pasta. To prevent sticking, stir well throughout the cooking, about 10 minutes. Put a heat-proof cup or a Pyrex measuring cup that can hold 1 1/2 cups into the sink next to the strainer. When you drain the pasta, capture 1 1/2 cups of pasta water. Set aside.

Put the pasta back into the pot. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the pasta. Toss well. Season with sea salt and pepper. Toss. To keep the pasta warm, lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the pot but do not seal. Set aside.

Put the sauteed vegetables back on a medium flame. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water and the sweet butter and reduce over a medium flame for 15 minutes. Toss the vegetables to coat. Add the pasta and another 1/2 cup of pasta water. Toss the pasta and vegetables to mix well. If you need more liquid, add more of the pasta water.

Just before serving, pour the pasta, broth and vegetables into a large bowl. Serve with the grated cheese alongside.

Variations

To add heat, put 1/4 teaspoon of tabasco or a pinch of cayenne when you're sauteing the vegetables.
Add 2 cups sliced cooked chicken breast.

Add 1 cup raw shrimp, washed, deveined, roughly chopped to the vegetables when you add the pasta water.

In addition to the vegetables in the recipe, add others you enjoy, like peppers, asparagus, zucchini, celery, chopped tomatoes, even cooked potatoes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cherry Tomatoes and Pasta Go Hand in Hand

I only grow cherry tomatoes. Which doesn't mean I don't enjoy eating heirlooms like Brandywines, Cherokee Purples, or Green Zebras. Because we have large, beautiful trees in the backyard, we only get partial sun in the garden. Our house stays cool even during the hottest days and that's good news, but larger tomatoes don't grow well without full sun. I'm not complaining though.

The cherry tomatoes are sweet like candy.

At this time of year, cherry tomatoes are plentiful. Not just in our garden, which has gone kind of cherry-tomato-crazy, but in the farmers' markets as well. Big baskets of perfectly ripe tomatoes are selling for $1.00/basket. They're perfect for salads and skewering. With a plentiful supply, they also make a delicious pasta sauce.

Pasta alla Checca

Yield 4 servings

Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound pasta, penne, gnocchi style, fussili, or spaghetti
1 basket farmers' market fresh cherry tomatoes, stems removed, washed, quartered
1 bunch basil, washed, stems removed
1 garlic clove, skin removed, minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Method

Put the quartered tomatoes into a large bowl, season with sea salt and pepper, add the olive oil,minced garlic, and toss. Do this a few minutes before you cook the pasta.

Add the kosher salt to a large pot with a gallon of water, heat to boiling, add the pasta, and stir well. Stir every couple of minutes to prevent the pasta from sticking together. After 10 minutes sample a piece of pasta. When it's cooked to your taste, strain, and put the pasta into the bowl with the seasoned tomatoes.

Toss well. Chop or tear by hand the basil leaves and add to the pasta. Top with grated cheese and serve immediately.

Variations

Over an open flame, char the garlic clove with the skin still on. Remove the blackened skin, mince the garlic

Add 1/4 cup finely chopped, pitted olives, cracked green or black

Add 2 anchovies, minced

Add 1 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped or cut into thin rings

Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce

Cooked into a sauce, cherry tomatoes have a flavor that is different from their large-bodied cousins. One basket makes enough sauce to serve 4 people, so the price-break is good.

If you want, the sauce can be made ahead, frozen, and used weeks later with little loss of flavor.

Yield 4 servings

Time 60 minutes

Ingredients

2 baskets farmers' market fresh cherry tomatoes, stems removed, washed
4 garlic cloves, skins removed, minced
1 cup Italian parsley leaves, washed, finely chopped
4 shiitake or brown mushrooms, washed, finely chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion, skin removed, washed, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sweet butter
Sea salt and pepper

Method

Toss the cherry tomatoes in a bowl with the olive oil, half of the minced garlic, season with sea salt and pepper, place on a baking tray that has been lined with a Silpat or parchment sheet. Bake 45 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

Reserve the seasoned olive oil in the bowl and use to saute the remaining garlic, parsley, onion, and mushrooms until lightly browned. Set aside.

Put the roasted tomatoes, including all the liquid on the baking tray, through a food mill. Add the tomato sauce and pulp to the saute pan.

Simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the sweet butter, taste, and adjust the seasoning with sea salt and pepper.

Toss with pasta and serve with freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Variations

Use the tomato sauce without the vegetable saute

With the vegetables, saute 1 cup smoked sausage or Italian sausage, finely chopped, until lightly browned

Use fresh basil instead of the Italian parsley

Add 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne to the saute

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another 30 Minute Meal: Ginger-Soy Black Cod

Black cod cooked in a ginger-soy poaching liquid is a deceptively simple dish that cooks up quickly and has deeply satisfying flavors. Popularized by the Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto, his complicated recipe can be simplified with excellent results.

The fish can be served with steamed rice and simply braised or sauteed vegetables like spinach with garlic and shiitake mushrooms.

Ginger-Soy Poached Black Cod

The ginger-soy poaching liquid can be reused several times.

After the fish has been cooked and all solids removed, the liquid can be kept in the freezer in an air-tight container for several months.

When you want a quick meal, defrost the poaching liquid, simmer, add the black cod pieces, cover, and you'll have a meal on the table in 10 minutes.

Yield 4 servings

Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

2 pounds black cod fillets, washed, pat dried
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 1/2 cups soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
2 cups sake
2" piece of ginger, peeled, julienned

Method

Carefully inspect the fillets for bones. There will probably be a row in the middle of the fillet.

Using a sharp knife, slice along the bones and remove in a long strip. Don't throw out the strip because it can be marinated in olive oil, sea salt, and pepper and roasted in the oven or grilled on a bbq. Have the bones as a cook's treat.

Cut the fillets into rectangles 1 1/2" x 2" for easier handling.

In an uncovered large pan or dutch oven, create the poaching liquid by simmering together the sugar, soy sauce, mirin, sake, and ginger for 10 minutes. Add the black cod pieces, cover, and simmer 5 minutes.

Remove the cod with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reserve 2 cups of the poaching liquid, straining and pouring the remainder into a sealed container and freeze.

Return the cod and 2 cups of poaching liquid to the pan, reduce and thicken over high heat, spooning the thickening sauce over the cod, about 5 minutes.

Serve immediately with steamed rice or sauteed garlic spinach with shiitake mushrooms.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cioppino with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic-Parsley Toasts

Cioppino is said to have originated among fishermen who made their dinners out of the fish and shellfish they couldn't sell in the morning. Although it has evolved into a pricey item on upscale menus, at heart cioppino is comfort food.

Traditionally cioppino features fresh crab, reflecting the origin of the dish in San Francisco where Dungeness crabs are plentiful. When crab isn't available or affordable, shrimp works just as well. Clams and mussels are essential to the dish, as are cubes of fish fillets. Flounder sole, tilapia, salmon, or halibut all work well.

Find a reliable supplier of seafood. To ensure we're getting the freshest ingredients, we buy our clams and mussels from Carlsbad Aqua Farm at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market (Wednesday and Sunday) and our flounder sole from Tropical Seafood at the Pacific Palisades Farmers' Market (Sunday).

Tomatoes
are as important to making cioppino as is good quality seafood. If the tomatoes are roasted, the soup has a beautiful sweetness edged with the tomato's natural acidity.

One of the helpful aspects of this dish is that many of the elements can be prepared ahead and frozen for later use. I pick up overly ripe tomatoes at the Santa Monica Farmers' Market when they're discounted. I'll buy several pounds, roast them, freezing some whole in an air tight container and turning the rest into tomato sauce, which I also freeze.

The clams and mussels can be cooked, taken out of their shells, and frozen. If the meat is submerged in the broth, there's no danger of freezer burn. The fish fillets can be cut into 1/2" squares, tossed in olive oil, and frozen in a Ziploc bag. That way all the essential parts of the cioppino are waiting in the freezer whenever you want a taste treat.

Cioppino with Roasted Tomatoes

While serving cioppino with shellfish in the shell is more picturesque, my vote is to take the clams, mussels, and crab out of their shells so eating the dish is easier.

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes plus 45-60 minutes for the tomatoes

Ingredients

6 large ripe tomatoes, washed
8 cloves garlic, skins removed, finely chopped
1/2 cup Italian parsley, washed, finely chopped, leaves and stems
1/2 pound mushrooms--shiitake or brown--washed, thinly sliced
1 pound Dungeness crab legs, cooked, washed, cut into 1" pieces or 1 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined, cut into 1" pieces
2 pounds butter or little neck clams, washed
2 pounds mussels, washed, beards removed
1 pound fish fillet--sole, salmon, tilapia, or halibut--washed, cut into 1/2" cubes
Olive oil
Black pepper

Method

Roasting the Tomatoes

Remove the remnants of the stem at the top of the tomato and discard. Put the tomatoes on a Silpat or aluminum foil sheet on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper, and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes.

Transfer the tomatoes to a large bowl, reserving all the liquid on the bottom of the baking tray. When cooled to the touch, remove the skins and discard. With your fingers, tear the tomatoes into small pieces. Set aside.

Parsley-Garlic Toasts

To make the parsley-garlic toasts, heat 1/4 cup olive oil, seasoned with half the garlic and parsley. Make two slices for each person. Saute the bread on each side until lightly browned.

Cioppino

In a large stock pot, drizzle olive oil on the bottom, heat on a low flame, saute the remaining garlic and parsley until softened. Add 1/4 cup water, the clams and mussels, turn the flame to high, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove all the clams and mussels that have opened. If any are still closed, put the cover back on and continue cooking another 5 minutes. Any clams and mussels that still haven't opened at that point should be discarded.

Slowly pour the broth into a large bowl. Discard any grit remaining in the stock pot. Return the pot to the stove, drizzle more olive oil, and saute the mushrooms over a low flame until lightly browned. Add the broth and roasted tomato pulp and sauce. Simmer 15 minutes.

Add the fish fillets, stir well, and cook 5 minutes. Add the crab or shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Finally, add the mussels and clams, stirring them into the broth, being careful not to break apart the fish fillets. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Place 1 slice of garlic-parsley toast on the bottom of each bowl, add the cioppino, then place the 2nd slice on top.

Variations

Instead of garlic cloves in the cioppino saute, use 1 whole green garlic, outer skin of the bulb and root end removed, white and green parts thinly sliced

Add 1 cup cubes of cooked, peeled potato, preferably Yukon Gold or fingerlings, unpeeled and quartered

Add kernels from 1 grilled corn on the cob

Substitute cilantro for the parsley

Saute thin rounds of Italian sausage or chorizo, add to the broth

Use 1/4 cup white instead of water

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year's Surf n' Turf Shout Out to All Guys: Caesar Salad, Sauteed Shrimp, Grilled Steak, Baked Tomato, and a Dirty Martini

My good friend Hank who lives in a converted church in Lincoln, R.I. reacted to a piece I wrote about Skinny Bitch's vegetarian advocacy with a strongly worded email:
hmm, let's see-give me a pack of Camels....a 5th of bourbon and for lunch I'll have tuna and steak tartar....with bacon.
Clearly what's good for the goose is not good for my friend Hank. And I have to agree with him--except for the "pack of Camels"--all the rest sounds good.

So for Hank and all other guys, here's my version of a dream meal: Caesar Salad, Sauteed Shrimp with Shiitake Mushrooms, Grilled Steak with a Baked Tomato, and a Dirty Martini.

Baked Tomato

Get the tomatoes started while you prepare the rest of the meal, so they'll be ready to serve when you've finished the other dishes.

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

4 tomatoes, farmers' market fresh, washed
2 tablespoons bread crumbs, preferably homemade
Olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top off the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt and black pepper, top with a sprinkling of bread crumbs, and drizzle with olive oil (again).

Put on a Silpat sheet or piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the tomato has started to collapse.

Caesar Salad

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, skin off
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 anchovies
1 egg, farmers' market fresh
1/4 teaspoon Worcester sauce
2-3 drops of Tabasco, optional
2 hearts of romaine
3-4 tablespoons olive oil depending on taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup croutons
Black pepper

Method

Use a wooden bowl if you have one. Sprinkle the sea salt on a wooden cutting board. Mash the garlic back and forth on the salt with the flat side of a chef's knife, then sweep the garlic-salt mash into the salad bowl.

Boil water in a small saucepan. Add the egg and cook for 4 minutes. Remove the egg, let cool, then open, scoop out the yolk and white with a small spoon, and add to the salad bowl along with the Worcester sauce, Tabasco (optional), olive oil, and lemon juice.

With a fork, mash the anchovies into pieces against the side of the salad bowl and dissolve them in the dressing. Mix well.

Tear the romaine leaves into pieces, add to the salad bowl, top with the grated cheese, croutons, and season with the pepper. Toss to coat the leaves. Taste and adjust the flavors by adding more lemon juice or sea salt.

Sauteed Shrimp with Shiitake Mushrooms

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound shrimp, washed, shelled, deveined
1/2 pound shiitake or brown mushrooms, washed, ends trimmed, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
2 shallots, peeled, finely chopped
2 teaspoons sweet butter
Olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Method

Heat a frying pan, drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper, add the shrimp and 1 teaspoon of the butter. Cook until pink and lightly browned on both sides, 5-6 minutes total. Remove from the pan.

Drizzle olive oil into the same pan, add the mushrooms, garlic, and shallots. Saute until lightly browned, add the other teaspoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Move the mushrooms to one side and return the shrimp to the pan to reheat.

Serve either mixed together or separated on the plate.

Grilled Steak

Yield: 1 serving
Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 10 oz. steak, T-Bone, Porterhouse, Rib Eye with the Bone-in, washed, pat dry
Olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Method

Preheat the grill or broiler. Drizzle olive oil on a large plate, season with sea salt and black pepper. Dredge the steak through the olive oil. Put on the hot grill or on a tray in the broiler. Turn every 5 minutes until done to your taste.

Put on a plate, cover lightly with a piece of aluminum foil for 5 minutes, then transfer to a dinner plate, top with the juices, and serve immediately.

Dirty Martini

Yield
: 1 serving
Time: 2 minutes

Ingredients

3 jiggers of vodka, freezer cold
Vermouth to taste
1 cocktail olive
1/4 teaspoon olive juice

Method

I avoid the shake vs. stirred debate by keeping the vodka in the freezer. Stick a toothpick in the olive and put into the bottom of the martini glass. Add the vodka, vermouth, and olive juice.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Roasted Walnuts

And for the ideal dessert: a piece of flourless chocolate cake with roasted walnuts, topped with whipped cream. Recipe will be forthcoming. Until then, here's the photograph.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tofu, the Other White Meat

Tofu has a bad rap: good for you but tasteless. Conventional wisdom has it that tofu is acceptable ornamentally in miso soup or the occasional stir fry but is simply too bland to be featured in a main dish.

At some Japanese restaurants, I had seen "Tofu Steak" on the menu. It struck me that tofu wasn't like steak but it was similar to chicken breasts. I began a series of experiments. Using firm tofu, I cut it loose from its Asian moorings. I tried grilling, sauteing, and roasting.

My favorite so far is an oven roasted tofu with a topping of crispy shallots, garlic, parsley, and shiitake mushrooms. A little bit of olive oil, sea salt, and pepper was all I added. Besides being quick and easy to prepare, healthy, and affordable, the tofu was delicious.

Please send in any of your own favorite tofu recipes.

Roasted Tofu with Crispy Toppings

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

1 package firm tofu, preferably organic
6 large shallots, peeled, julienned
4 garlic cloves, peeled, julienned
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1/4 pound shiitake or brown mushrooms, washed, thin sliced
Olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Method

Saute the shallots, garlic, parsley, and mushrooms in olive oil over a medium flame until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Cut the tofu into equal sized slabs, 2"x3"x1/2". Drizzle olive oil in the pan, season with sea salt and pepper, dredge each piece of tofu in the seasoned olive oil, put into the pan, cover with the shallot saute, put into a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Serve with a side of sauteed or steamed broccoli or a green salad.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blackened Peppers Go to the Head of the Class for Versatility

We're at the end of summer and some seasonal vegetables are getting scarce, but happily there's still a bountiful supply of peppers at the local farmers' markets. On a recent visit to the Santa Monica Farmers' Market I saw beautiful examples of red, yellow, and orange peppers at Gloria's Fruits and Vegetables and the Beylik Family Farms stands.

Peppers can be used raw in salads or in a crudité and they're a welcome addition to a stir fry or a sauté.

I've come up with a way of prepping peppers so they're even more versatile.

Grilling Peppers on the Stove Top

To start, simply grill the peppers on top of a gas range, remove the blackened skin, discard the seeds, and put them in a sealed jar where they'll keep a week in the refrigerator or for months in the freezer.

Miraculously overnight the peppers will create their own oil. The peppers can then be used as an appetizer on bread with cheese, in a pasta, or a sauté.

Use a mix of peppers so the result is that much more colorful. As a side note, I haven't had as much success grilling green or purple peppers, so I stick to the red, yellow, and orange ones.

Blackened Peppers with Capers, Parsley, and Garlic

Yield: 6-8 servings
Time: 15 minutes

To add more layers of flavor, I've come up with a simple marinade.

Ingredients

3-4 red, yellow, or orange peppers (washed, pat dried)
4 garlic cloves (skin on)
1 tablespoon capers (drained, finely chopped)
1 tablespoon parsley leaves (washed, dried, finely chopped)
1/4 cup oil from the grilled peppers
4 anchovy fillets (finely chopped) optional

Method

Lay the peppers on a wire rack on a gas burner with the flame turned up high. Turn frequently so the charring happens evenly. Be sure to char the tops and bottoms of the peppers as well. Let cool on a plate, then remove the blackened skin and cut open the peppers and discard the seeds. Put the cooked peppers in a jar and refrigerate.

In the morning you'll find that the peppers have created an oil, approximately 1/4 cup for every 3-4 grilled peppers. The peppers can be kept in any form you like: whole, quartered, julienned, or diced.

The garlic can be used either raw or grilled. If cooked, they'll have a milder flavor, which I prefer. Leave the outer skin or paper on the garlic and skewer the cloves. Blacken them on an open flame on top of the stove until the skins have all but burnt away. Remove and finely chop.

Toss together the peppers, garlic, parsley, and capers. Return to the sealed jar and keep in the refrigerator.

Marinated Peppers as an Appetizer

Yield: 8 servings
Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

2 cups marinated peppers (julienned or finely chopped)
1/2 pound soft cheese
Olive oil
Pepper flakes
Sea salt and pepper
Toast rounds or crackers

Method

Perfect for a TV-watching party (Presidential debates, football games, any reality show) or an appetizer with wine before a meal, the peppers have so many layers of flavor, they go well with lightly toasted or grilled toast rounds or even with crackers.

Start with a thin slice of goat cheese, a triple cream, or mozzarella, lay on a strand of marinated pepper, and drizzle some of the pepper's own oil. There are variations to play with: add chopped avocado or scallions or cherry tomatoes or grilled corn...

Top with a little olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper.

Add a bowl of olives and a glass of chilled white wine, and you'll have an easy-to-make starter.

Vegetarian Pasta with Blackened Peppers and Garlic

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

3/4 box pasta, penne, cavatappi, or spaghetti (cooked in boiling salted water until al dente)
1 cup pasta water
1 cup marinated grilled marinated peppers
1 tablespoon red or yellow onion (peeled, finely chopped)
1 cup olives, cracked green or kalamata (pitted, quartered)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
1 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese (grated)

Method

Sauté the marinated peppers, butter, and deglaze the pan with the pasta water. Simmer a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Add the pasta and toss, continuing to reduce the sauce until it coats the pasta. Add the olives and onions, toss. Taste and adjust the seasoning with sea salt and pepper. If you're using anchovies, you won't need any salt.


Top with the grated cheese, finish with a drizzle of olive oil, toss and serve with a green salad.