Orange Fennel Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

fennel spoon

Yield: 4 servings

 

Vinaigrette:

1 small shallot, diced small (2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (from the orange used in the vinaigrette)

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

In a medium container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

 

Salad:

2 large oranges

3 small fennel bulbs (buy fennel bulbs with stalks and fronds still attached)

¼ cup picked fennel fronds (from the fennel bulbs)

 

Cut the ends off the orange. Next, cut the peel and pith off the orange. Then, segment the orange by cutting between the membranes. Discard any seeds, but reserve the juice for the vinaigrette. Set aside segmented orange pieces for the salad.

Cut off the bottom and the stalks of the fennel. Sit the fennel upright and cut in half lengthwise. Lay each half flat on a cutting board and very thinly slice the fennel widthwise. You should have about 3 cups of thinly sliced fennel.

Combine all ingredients (orange segments, fennel, fronds) plus the vinaigrette into a medium bowl and toss to mix.

Works well as a side salad or as the perfect bed for a piece of salmon, white fish or piece of chicken.

 

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Classic Basil Pesto

Pesto never goes out of style and it’s application is wide and varied. Add it to pasta or roasted vegetables. Slather it on chicken or use it as a pizza sauce. And the best part? You can make large batches, while the basil is overflowing in the summer, and freeze it for later use. Hooray for pesto!

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Classic Basil Pesto

Yield: 1 cup

 

2 ¼ packed cups fresh basil leaves

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly (2 teaspoons)

½ cup pine nuts

½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, not pre-grated

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

In a food processor, process to combine, the basil, ¼ cup oil, garlic, and pine nuts. Scrape down the sides, then add the remaining ¼ cup oil, and the cheese. Process until the desired texture is achieved, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. For the record, I add about ½ teaspoon salt and a few good cranks of pepper. No need to rush; taste as you go. Take your time and enjoy.

Note: Care for a nuttier flavor in your pesto? Try using toasted pine nuts.

 

Herb Grilled Rockfish with Lemon Garlic Potatoes

Memorial Day is coming, so fire up that grill because this is one heck of a recipe and it’s using one of my favorite sustainable seafoods – rockfish! The resurgence of (West Coast) rockfish is the ultimate success story when it comes to sustainable seafood. You can read all about how local government and conservation groups brought this fishery back to life so we can now enjoy this delicious fish! Use Seafood Watch  (download the app on your smartphone) to locate the best choice for rockfish at your local grocery store / fish market and grill away! (P.S. You can watch me cook this on TV in a spot I did with Seattle Refined to educate people about the Seafood Watch App)

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Herb Grilled Rockfish with Lemon Garlic Potatoes

Yields: 4 servings

 

Lemon Garlic Potatoes:

1½ pounds peewee or small fingerling potatoes

6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

7 sprigs fresh thyme

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

5 ¼-inch slices of lemon (reserve leftover lemon for grilling)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the grill

 

Preheat a grill to medium-high. Once hot, clean the grill, then, using tongs, lightly dip a cloth in olive oil and wipe to coat the grill rack.

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and toss to combine. Place potatoes in the center of a large sheet of aluminum foil. Create a well sealed pouch ensuring that the potatoes are laying flat and not stacked on top of each other so they all cook evenly.

Place on the grill and cook for 20 minutes, shaking the bag every 5 minutes.

Remove from grill and open pouch carefully (hot!). Use a fork to test potatoes for doneness (fork should pierce through the potato easily). Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

 

Rockfish:

1½ pounds rockfish, pin bones removed, cut into 4 equal sized pieces

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the lemons

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of 3 lemons), grated on a Microplane, chopped finely

¼ cup packed fresh Italian parlsey leaves, chopped finely

¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves, chopped finely

¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped finely

2 lemons (plus the remaining lemon from the potato recipe), halved

 

Pat the rockfish dry (all sides). Next, coat the rockfish with olive oil (all sides), then season both sides with salt and pepper. Finally, season the fish (all sides) with the lemon zest and chopped herbs.

Rub the flesh side of the lemons with enough olive oil to coat.

With the grill on medium-high, place the lemons, flesh side down on the grill. Cook for approximately 4 minutes (this will time out perfectly while cooking the rockfish).

Place the rockfish on the grill. Cook until the edges of the fish begin to turn opaque, approximately 2 minutes. Flip rockfish and continue cooking for 1½ to 2 minutes, until fish just begins to flake at the thickest point.

Remove fish and lemons from the grill.

To serve, evenly divide the potatoes onto plates, top with the grilled rockfish and add a grilled lemon half to each plate.

Brazil Nut and Date Bread with Honey Butter

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Brazil Nut and Date Bread with Honey Butter

(Serve for breakfast, snack, cheese plate or dessert!)

Yield: 1  9-inch pie

Unsalted butter, to prepare the pie pan
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon orange zest, grated on a Microplane
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup finely chopped Medjool dates, pits removed
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 cup raw brazil nuts, chopped roughly
3 large eggs

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Butter a 9-inch pie pan, then dust with flour, tapping out any excess.

Mix together the flour, cinnamon, salt, cocoa powder, zest and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl.

Add the dates, milk, nuts and eggs and mix very well using a wooden spoon. Get in there with some elbow grease, and really stir until well combined. It’ll be thick and chunky, but that’s a good thing.

Pour the date batter into the prepared pie pan and or use the back of the wooden spoon to level off the batter.

Place the pie pan on a sheet pan and transfer to the oven.

Bake, uncovered, 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is light to golden brown and the center springs back when pressed.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. Once cool enough to handle, remove from the pie pan, slice (using a bread knife) and serve with a slathering of honey butter.

Honey Butter:

1/2 stick unsalted butter (4 tablespoons), softened
2 tablespoons honey, preferably orange blossom

Mix the butter and honey in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.

Photo: Ronald Tsang

P.S. This recipe was recently featured in an issue of Clean Eating Magazine and my new online cooking course with Clean Eating Magazine, “Clean Cooking & Nutrition: The World’s Healthiest Proteins & Advanced Vegetable Prep” will be starting on April 3! It’s gonna be so. much. fun! Check out the course trailer/preview to see for yourself!

Cook with me! Sign up NOW!

Cook with me!

My online Clean Eating Academy cooking course, “Clean Cooking & Nutrition: The World’s Healthiest Proteins & Advanced Vegetable Prep” starts APRIL 3rd!

Sign up today and I’ll see you on MONDAY! Wohoo!

A sampling of what you will be eating…

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Watercress and Spinach Soup with Cheesy Thyme Crisps

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Watercress and Spinach Soup with Cheesy Thyme Crisps

Yields: 4 to 6 servings

1 (16-ounce) bag chopped frozen spinach
8 ounces fresh watercress
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced small (2 cups)
1¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly (1 tablespoon)
4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
8 medium fresh mint leaves
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
Crème fraîche, for serving

Fill a small pot halfway with water and bring to a boil.

Add the spinach and cook until spinach is thawed, approximately 2 minutes. Add the watercress and continue to cook an additional 2 minutes. Drain into a strainer over the sink, and cool quickly with cold running water. Continue to drain in strainer and squeeze out as much of the water from the spinach and watercress as possible.

Add the olive oil to a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon of salt to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and beginning to color.

Add the garlic, stir, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the chicken stock to the saucepan, raise the heat to high and bring to a simmer.

Remove from heat. Add the spinach, watercress and mint to the blender.  Pour the chicken stock mixture into the blender as well. Blend until smooth.

Add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, lemon juice, and butter; continue to blend until fully incorporated.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of crème fraîche and a few cheesy thyme crisp. (recipe below)

Cheesy Thyme Crisp

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated on a microplane
1/2 cup grated Gruyere, grated on a microplane
1/2 tablespoon white whole wheat flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Toss to combine in a large bowl, the cheeses, flour, thyme and pepper.

Place 6 1-tablespoon mounds of the cheesy mixture, evenly spaced apart, on a parchment lined sheet tray. Pat the mounds of mixture, using your fingers, into 3½ to 4-inch rounds.

Bake for 8 minutes until crisps are light brown in color. Remove from the oven and allow cheesy crisps to cool on the sheet tray for 5 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer crisps to a cookie rack and let cool completely.

Using a cool sheet pan, repeat the process until all crisps are cooked off.

Photo: Ronald Tsang

P.S. This recipe was recently featured in an issue of Clean Eating Magazine and my new online cooking course with Clean Eating Magazine, “Clean Cooking & Nutrition: The World’s Healthiest Proteins & Advanced Vegetable Prep” will be starting on April 3! It’s gonna be so. much. fun! Check out the course trailer/preview to see for yourself!

Latte Panna Cotta

How do you sneak in an espresso beverage before bed? By hiding it in your dessert!

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Latte Panna Cotta

Yield: 8 servings

 

Nonstick spray

1 packet powdered unflavored gelatin (2 teaspoons)

3 tablespoons cold water

2 cups heavy whipping cream

⅓ cup granulated sugar

1 cup half-and-half

2 ounces (2 tablespoons) brewed espresso

 

Prepare eight 4-ounce ramekins by lightly spraying nonstick spray into each and wiping gently with a paper towel to distribute the spray evenly along the sides and bottom.

Add the gelatin to the cold water in a medium bowl, and allow to bloom (soften) for 5 minutes; do not stir.

Meanwhile, stir the heavy whipping cream and sugar together in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is fully dissolved at just barely a simmer.

Slowly add the warm sugar cream to the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is fully dissolved.

Pour the half-and-half into a large bowl (or a large pitcher for easier pouring) and, stirring continuously, slowly pour the warm cream mixture into the half-and-half.

Stir in the espresso.

Fill the ramekins equally and refrigerate uncovered for approximately 5 hours until chilled and completely set.

To unmold the panna cotta, dip the bottom of each ramekin into very hot water for 45 seconds, or until you can see the panna cotta just beginning to melt around the sides. You may also take a knife and run it around the inner circumference of each ramekin. Place a dessert plate on top of the ramekin, then holding both the ramekin and plate, simply invert.