Healthy

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Grilled Flatfish with a Salsa of Charred Tomato, Nopal, Cipolina, and Hungarian Wax Chiles

Not likely a salsa you’d use on chips, this cactus-based chutney of sorts was nice over a mild flatfish such as Halibut, but Chef Rick Bayless used a grilled Yellowtail. I marinated my halibut in a similar fashion, but I passed on the crispy chicharron (Mexican crisp-fried pork rind) he suggested to keep the dish pescatarian, but that would have added some much-needed texture and really rounded the dish out.

Ingredients, Salsa

  • 4 medium (about 8 ounces total) fresh cactus paddles (nopales)
  • 5 knob onions (about 7 ounces, I used Cipolina instead)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds (6 to 8 plum or 2 large round) red-ripe tomatoes
  • 5 (12 ounces total) torito chiles or hot banana/Hungarian wax/guero chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • Salt

Tools

  • Tongs
  • Grill
  • Knife, bowls, and cutting board

Directions

  1. Clean the nopales. Holding a paddle with a pair of tongs, trim off the edge that outlines the paddle, including the blunt end where the paddle was severed from the plant. Slice or scrape off the spiny nodes from both sides of the paddle.
  2. Make the salsa. Heat a gas grill to medium-high or light a charcoal fire and let it burn until the charcoal is covered with white ash. Lay the nopales and onions on the grill and drizzle with oil. Add the tomatoes and chiles to the grill and cook, turning everything at least once, until the vegetables are charred on all sides and very soft, about 10 minutes for the nopales and 15 minutes for the onions, tomatoes and chiles. Cool, then peel the chiles and tomatoes, if you wish. Stem and seed the chiles, then cut them into 1/2-inch pieces and scoop into a bowl. Chop the tomatoes and nopales the same size and add to the bowl. Using only the white part of the onion, slice them 1/4-inch thick and add to the bowl. Sprinkle in the oregano and mix well. Taste and season with salt, usually a generous teaspoon and your salsa is ready to serve.

*Courtesy Rick Bayless. Serves 4.


Monday, October 8th, 2012

Seared Fish Fillets in Fruity, Nutty, Garlicky Mojo

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup Slow-Cooked Garlic Mojo (stir before measuring, include about 1/4 cup oil in this quantity)
  • 1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) coarsely broken or chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) coarsely chopped dried fruit—I love a mixture of dried apricots and prunes, though made with a single fruit it’s good, too
  • 1/2 cup fruity red wine
  • Salt
  • 4 5- or 6-ounce fish fillets – try meaty fish like halibut, snapper or mahi for good results
  • About 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley (or cilantro)

Tools

  • Large Skillet
  • Cutting Board, Knife
  • Sauce pan for Mojo

Directions

  1. Spoon a couple of tablespoons oil off the mojo de ajo into a very large (12-inch) skillet. Scrape the remaining mojo into a small saucepan and add the nuts, dried fruit, wine and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer over medium heat until the wine has reduced and the nuts and fruit start to slowly sizzle in the oil, about 5 minutes; reduce the heat to low.
  2. Set the skillet with the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, sprinkle both sides of the fish fillets with salt and lay them into the oil. When brown underneath, about 3 minutes, flip the fillets over and cook the other side until the fish is as done as you like—about 3 minutes more for medium-done halibut or snapper. Transfer to warm dinner plates. Stir the parsley into the fruity, nutty mojo and spoon it over the fish. Serve right away.

*Courtesy Rick Bayless. Serves 4.


Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Warm Soy Chorizo and Spinach Salad

Good sprinkled with Mexican queso fresco, goat cheese or blue cheese.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (1 packed cup) fresh Mexican chorizo sausage, casing removed (in this case soy)
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons light-flavored vinegar (rice vinegar is very good here)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt
  • An 8-to-9 ounce package (about 8 cups) salad spinach, long stems removed
  • 1/2 small jícama, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

Tools

  • Skillet
  • Cutting Board, Knife

Directions

  1. Cook the chorizo and onion. In a very large skillet, cook the chorizo over medium heat for 4 or 5 minutes until it has rendered a good amount of its fat. Add the onion and continue cooking until the onion has started to soften but is still crunchy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Create the dressing, finish the salad. To the skillet (still over medium heat), add the oil, vinegar, sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Mix well, taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. Pour the warm mixture over the spinach, add the jícama, mix well and serve.

*Serves 4, Courtesy Rick Bayless.


Friday, September 21st, 2012

Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa

Roasted tomatillos and garlic are combined with chipotle peppers in adobo to make this simple, hot and smokey salsa (that Rick Bayless calls “essential“).

I used a molcajete, but a food processor or blender works fine. Find some information on molcajetes here and be sure to season it properly before using. I bought mine at a local Mexican grocer and was assured by the manufacturer that it is 100% lava stone. With the Chinese now making them and pressed concrete versions out there don’t trust Crate and Barrel, buy this one.

This salsa tastes best the day it is made, but it can be refrigerated for up to one week in an airtight container.

Ingredients

  • 3 to 6 canned chiles chipotles en adobo (I used 5)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 5 to 6 medium (8 ounces) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar, optional

Tools

  • Blender, Food Processor, or Molcajete
  • Skillet
  • Baking Sheet, Oven
  • Knife and Cutting Board

Directions

  1. On a heavy, ungreased skillet or griddle over medium heat, roast the unpeeled garlic, turning occasionally, until blackened in spots and soft, about 15 minutes. Cool, slip off the papery skins, and chop roughly.
  2. Preheat the broiler. Place the tomatillos on a baking sheet, and place in broiler about 4 inches from heat. When, after about 5 minutes, the tomatillos have blistered, blackened, and softened on one side, turn them over, and roast on the other side. Cool completely on the baking sheet.
  3. Scrape the tomatillos (and any juices that have accumulated around them) into a molcajete, food processor, or blender, and add the chiles and garlic. Combine until everything is thick and relatively smooth. For a chunkier alternative, scrape the tomatillos and juices into a molcajete, food processor, or blender, and add the garlic. Combine until everything is coarsely pureed. Chop the chiles into tiny bits, then stir them into the tomatillo mixture. Transfer salsa to a serving bowl, and add enough water to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency, about 3 to 4 tablespoons. Season with salt, and add sugar if you want to soften its tangy edge.

*Makes about 1 1/4 cups


Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Heirloom Tomato and Grilled-Corn Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 ears of corn in husks
  • 1 1/4 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 10-ounce container small heirloom cherry tomatoes

Tools

  • Grill for corn
  • Whisk for dressing
  • Knife and Cutting Board

Directions

  1. Mix vinegar and garlic in bowl. Whisk in oil, then basil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Fill large bowl (or sink) with water. Mix in 1 teaspoon sea salt. Add corn; soak 1 hour.
  3. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Drain corn. Grill in husks until outside is very charred and corn kernels are tender, turning occasionally, about 25 minutes.
  4. Cool corn. Remove husks and cut kernels off cobs into large bowl. Add tomatoes. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper.

*Serves 4-6


Friday, August 17th, 2012

Whole Stuffed Rainbow Trout Baked in Foil

Baking the fish in foil is essentially steaming, which keeps the juices inside and is a healthy means to prepare. I discard the skin in this case, but if grilled, baked, or pan-fried unwrapped you can get a lovely crisp skin for eating. It’s fatty and salty, but also has Omega-3s. Trout is a relatively oily fish that should be fine unwrapped, but be careful to not dry out the fish (or especially other less oily white fish) and make slits in the skin. A great technique there is to baste the fish in it’s juices (or butter) frequently.

Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 small rainbow trout, boned. Instructions here.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lemons, one sliced, one cut in wedges
  • 8 fresh tarragon or dill sprigs, or 4 rosemary sprigs
  • Chopped fresh tarragon, dill or parsley for serving

Variation: Fill the trout with sauteed Swiss chard or other greens with garlic and olive oil and serve with more on the side.

Tools

  • Aluminum Foil
  • Baking Sheet, Oven
  • Knife and Cutting Board
  • Tweezers for de-boning

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut four sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil or eight sheets of lighter foil into squares that are three inches longer than your fish. If using lighter foil, make four double-thick squares. Oil the dull side of the foil with olive oil, and place a trout, skin side down, on each square. Season both sides with salt and pepper, and open them out flat. Place two tarragon or dill sprigs (or one rosemary sprig) and two lemon slices down the middle of each, and fold the two sides together. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon olive oil over each fish.
  2. Making sure that the trout are in the middle of each square, fold up the foil loosely, grabbing at the edges and crimping together tightly to make a packet. Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, checking one of the packets after 10 minutes. The flesh should be opaque and pull apart easily when tested with a fork.
  3. Place each packet on a plate. Carefully cut across the top to open it, taking care not to let the steam from inside the packet burn you. Gently remove the fish from the packet, and pour the juices over it. Sprinkle with fresh tarragon, dill or parsley. Serve, passing the lemon wedges.

*You can prepare the fish and make the foil packets several hours ahead. Keep in the refrigerator until shortly before cooking.

*Serves 4


Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Steak Salad with Chimichurri Dressing

Flank Steak Salad with Chimichurri Dressing and Mozzarella Cheese. You can use a different cut of meat here or pan fry the steak in a little oil if there is no grill. But Argentine’s would use a grass-fed flank and it would be grilled.

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch fresh Italian parsley (1-1.5 cups chopped, packed)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle hot pepper sauce
  • 1 1 1/2-pound flank steak
  • 8 ounces mixed baby greens
  • 1 12-ounce container marinated small fresh mozzarella balls, or 1-2 larger balls sliced.

Tools

  • Grill for Steak
  • Food Processor for Dressing
  • Knife and Cutting Board

Directions

  1. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat).
  2. Combine parsley (with stems), oregano, and garlic in processor; blend 10 seconds.
  3. Add 1/2 cup oil, vinegar, and hot pepper sauce; blend until almost smooth. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Brush grill rack with oil. Sprinkle steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill steak to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steak to work surface; let rest 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, toss greens in large bowl with some dressing. Transfer to large platter. Sprinkle mozzarella over.
  6. Thinly slice steak across grain on slight diagonal. Arrange steak atop greens. Drizzle with remaining dressing.

*Serves 6


Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Zucchini Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Parmesan

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 pounds medium zucchini, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • Small wedge of Parmesan cheese

Tools

  • Vegetable Peeler for Zucchini, Parmesan
  • Strainer for Zucchini
  • Small frying pan to toast pine nuts
  • Knife and Cutting Board

Directions

  1. Using vegetable peeler or V-slicer and working from top to bottom of each zucchini, slice zucchini into ribbons (about 1/16 inch thick). Salt ribbons (1 teaspoon) and place in large strainer bowl to drain, if possible for an hour.
  2. Whisk oil, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and crushed red pepper in small bowl to blend. Set dressing aside.
  3. Chop basil and toast nuts (medium heat in dry pan until golden brown, shaking occasionally).
  4. When ready, add basil and nuts to zucchini and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve: spoon over whisked dressing and using vegetable peeler, shave strips from Parmesan wedge over salad.

*Serves 4-6


Monday, June 18th, 2012

Horenso no Ohitashi

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spinach or other tender, leafy greens
  • 1 1/4 cups dashi
  • 3 teaspoons Japanese soy sauce/shōyu
  • 1 teaspoon mirin
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Lightly toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Tools

  • Stock Pot for blanching
  • Ice bath with strainer
  • Sauce Pot for dashi
  • Ice bath chilling dashi
  • Rolling Mat for draining
  • Knife, Cutting Board
  • Tupperware for chilling
  • Small Fry pan for toasting sesames

Directions

  1. Trim about 1 inch off the bottom of the spinach (if full leaves) and wash well, being sure to loosen any grit or dirt near the bottom of the stems.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have ready a bowl of ice water.
  3. Blanch the spinach until the leaves and stems turn bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and plunge into the ice water bath.
  4. When cool, squeeze out as much water as possible with rolling mat. Gather the greens, arranging the stem ends together, and cut into 2-inch lengths.
  5. In a small saucepan, bring the dashi just to a boil.
  6. Add the soy sauce, mirin, and salt and stir to dissolve. Simmer for a minute or so to burn off the alcohol in the mirin.
  7. Remove from heat and immediately pour into a bowl.
  8. Place this bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice water and stir until cool. (This step is in important, as it ensures that the dashi’s delicate flavor won’t degrade with the heat.)
  9. Place the spinach in a tupperware container and pour over the cooled dashi mixture.
  10. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours total.
  11. Place neat bundles of the dashi-infused greens in individual serving plates, spoon some of the sauce over each, and garnish with a generous pinch of toasted sesame seeds.
  12. *Serves 3-4



All recipes stolen/borrowed from somewhere, butchered/adapted exclusively by CHEF BOY/R/C.