Pan Seared Salmon with Dijon Crème Fraiche and Lentil Frisée Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Lentils:

1 cup beluga lentils, rinsed well and drained

3 cups vegetable stock

1 dried bay leaf

5 sprigs fresh thyme

Mix the lentils with the stock, bay leaf, and thyme in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring the saucepan to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked through but not mushy. Drain. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoon red wine or sherry vinegar

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

In a small 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 small bowl.

Salad:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced small (⅔ cup)

2 medium carrots, peeled and grated (1 cup)

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) 

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint

1 small head frisée, rinsed and dried, chopped or torn into bite-size pieces (2 cups)

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Add the olive oil, onions and carrots to a medium sate pan over medium-low. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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

In a large bowl, combine the contents of the sauté pan along with the lentils.

Grab the vinaigrette and give one more good shake or whisk, then pour it over the warm salad and gently mix with a large spoon.

Fold in the parsley, mint and frisée. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Salmon:

1 pound salmon fillet, 1½ inches thick, skin on, cut into 4 equal pieces

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

2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pat the salmon dry, then pat the non-skin side with the lemon zest and chopped thyme, season lightly with salt and pepper, and allow the salmon to sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat until hot; add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter to the sauté pan. The butter will bubble up, turn brown and perhaps even smoke. Swirl the sauté pan to distribute, then add the salmon, skin side up.

Cook for 1 minute, flip to skin side down and continue cooking for 30 seconds.

Cover the sauté pan and immediately push the sauté pan off the heat. Turn off the heat and allow the salmon to rest undisturbed for 15 minutes.

Dijon Crème Fraîche:

1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard

¼ cup crème fraîche

Place the mustard and crème fraîche in a small bowl and stir until combined.

Serve salmon topped with a dollop of Dijon crème fraîche and on a bed of the lentil frisee salad.

Note: I recommend preparing this recipe in the following way in order to maximize your time. Cook lentils first. While lentils are cooking, make the vinaigrette, followed by the Dijon crème fraiche. Start the salmon and then work on the salad. And, as always, mise out/prep your ingredients first!

Sweet and Spicy Brussels Sprouts Salad

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield:  4 servings

1 pound Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and any discolored outer leaves discarded

1 large shallot, peeled and halved lengthwise

¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 small apple diced small

1/3 cup toasted and salted pecans, roughly chopped

1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

1/3 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Feed Brussels sprouts and shallot through the food processor chute with the slicer attachment.

Add the sliced Brussels sprouts, shallot, cayenne pepper, coriander, salt and pepper to a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Add olive oil and stir to combine.

Spread Brussels mixture evenly on an aluminum foil-lined sheet tray.

Place an oven rack in the upper position. (Approximately 5-inches below the heat source.) Place sheet tray under broiler for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir and broil for an additional 3 minutes. (Keep your eye on things!) Remove from oven and set aside.

In the same bowl you used to mix the brussels sprouts, add the mustard, maple syrup, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Whisk to combine.

Transfer the brussels sprouts mixture from the sheet tray to the bowl with the vinaigrette. Stir to combine.

Add the apple, pecans, pomegranate, parsley and Parmigiano and stir to combine.

Serve while still warm.

Lemony Spaghetti with Cannellini Beans, Arugula and Brown Butter Breadcrumbs

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

Brown Butter Breadcrumbs:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ cup panko

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a medium sauté pan, over medium heat, heat the butter until it foams up, subsides, and begins to turn golden brown.

Add the panko, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs are toasted, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Set aside.

Lemony Spaghetti:

2 tablespoons + ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

½ pound spaghetti

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, peeled and diced small

10 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

¼ teaspoon red pepper (chili) flakes

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon lemon zest, zested on a Microplane

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves, roughly chopped

1 packed cup baby arugula

¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (not pre-grated)

Add 16 cups water to a large pot. Add 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a rolling boil. Add the spaghetti to the boiling salted water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”).

While the pasta is cooking, in a Dutch oven, add the remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt, butter, olive oil, shallot, garlic, red pepper flakes, black pepper, lemon zest and beans. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is translucent and the garlic is fragrant, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

When the pasta is al dente, lift the pasta out of the water with tongs, and add it to the Dutch oven. Add in 1 cup of pasta water and the lemon juice. Stir until the liquid has thickened. Add in the parsley and arugula and stir to combine. If you feel that the sauce has gotten too thick, add additional pasta water.

Serve immediately by dividing the pasta among bowls and topping each serving with generous helpings of breadcrumbs and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Green Tex-Mex Shakshuka (Eggs Poached in Tomatillos and Spices)

texmexshakshuka2 copy

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into eighths

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 large cloves garlic, peeled

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon whole coriander seed

¼ teaspoon chipotle powder

¾ pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered

1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans (do not drain)

10-ounces frozen spinach (whole leaf or cut)

4 large whole eggs

1 cup crushed tortilla chips

1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup salsa of your choice

1/3 cup sour cream

 

Add onion and garlic to a food processor. Pulse, approximately 20 times, until onion is chopped.

Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and add oil, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

While cooking, add tomatillos to food processor and pulse, approximately 15 times, until roughly chopped. Add pinto beans (beans + liquid) and pulse 5 times.

When onions are soft and translucent, add cumin, coriander and chipotle powder. Stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add tomatillo bean mixture and spinach to the pan. Stir and turn heat to high to bring mixture to a boil, stirring until spinach has thawed. Once boiling and spinach has thawed, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced by about half, 5 to 10 minutes.

Crack the eggs, equally spacing them apart, into the pan.

Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 5 minutes or until whites are just set. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle over crushed tortilla chips, cilantro and salsa and dollop over some sour cream.

Za’atar Pasta Salad

zaatar pasta salad

Watch me make this on my YouTube!

 

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

 

Pasta:

16 ounces small pasta of your choice (such as fusilli, geminelli, cavatelli)

2 tablespoons kosher salt

 

Vinaigrette:

1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced on a Microplane (1 teaspoon)

1 large shallot, peeled and diced small (1/3 cup)

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon red pepper (chili) flakes

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

 

Salad:

6 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (10-ounce) jar pitted Castelvetrano olives, drained and roughly chopped

2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

4 persian or English cucumbers, halved and sliced thinly on a bias

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley

4 teaspoons za’atar, plus more to taste

 

Add 16 cups water to a pot. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and bring to a rolling boil.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”).

While pasta is cooking, add vinaigrette ingredients to a very large bowl. Whisk vigorously until emulsified just before adding pasta.

When pasta is done, drain (do not rinse) and add to the large bowl with the (now whisked) vinaigrette. Mix thoroughly.

Let pasta vinaigrette mixture rest at room temperature until it has cooled. Stir occasionally.

While cooling, add all salad ingredients except za’atar to a medium bowl.

Once pasta is room temperature, add salad ingredients to the pasta and gently fold to combine.

Sprinkle za’atar over salad and fold again to combine. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper and za’atar.

Serve and store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Herb Encrusted Chicken Paillard with Spicy Lemon Quinoa Salad

paillardquinoa

 

Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

Yield: 4 servings

 

Chicken:

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 2 pounds)

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, oregano or thyme (or a combination of all three)

2 teaspoons lemon zest (zest of 2 lemons), grated on a Microplane

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

 

Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil. Adjust an oven rack to the upper position.

Pat the chicken breasts dry. Using a mallet, rolling pin, or the back of a saucepan, pound each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap until ⅓ inch thick.

Remove the chicken from the plastic wrap, then drizzle lightly with the olive oil, just enough to coat both sides, rubbing to coat evenly. Season equally with herbs, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper.

Set your oven to broil. Place chicken on sheet tray and broil for approximately 8 minutes, flipping the breasts halfway through, until the internal temperature is 150 degrees Fahrenheit. (Keep your eyes on that chicken under the broiler – things can happen fast!)

Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing / serving over the quinoa salad.

 

Spicy Lemon Quinoa Salad:

Citronette:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

1 medium shallot, peeled and diced finely (3 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the citronette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

 

Salad:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

½ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper (chile flakes), or to taste

3/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

1 (15-ounce) can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained

1/4 cup roughly chopped kalamata or green olives, pits removed

 

Cook quinoa according to package instructions.

Transfer the quinoa to a medium sized bowl. Add the chile flakes, parsley, pine nuts, garbanzo beans and olives. Drizzle the citronette over the salad. Fold to mix everything together. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Sesame Crusted Salmon Rice Bowl

Salmonbowl

Watch me make this recipe on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

 

Sauce

2 tablespoons mirin

4 teaspoons unsweetened rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

 

Mix together in a small bowl. Set aside.

 

Bowl Ingredients

2 cups cooked rice (your choice e.g. sushi, brown, forbidden)

4-ounces small carrots, (approximately 2 small carrots) peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler

3-ounces cucumbers (Persian or English), (approximately 1 cucumber) thinly sliced

12 seaweed squares (your favorite brand or seaweed snack)

2 teaspoons Nori Komi furikake (use toasted sesame seeds if you don’t have it)

4 teaspoons pickled ginger

1 avocado, cut in half lengthwise, pitted and cut into slices

1-ounce scallion, (1 scallion), dark green part and root end cut off, sliced thinly on a bias

 

Salmon

1 pound wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, preferably Copper River Salmon, skin on, pin bones removed, cut into 4 equal sized pieces, 1-inch thick

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons white sesame seeds

2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

 

Pat the fish dry (all sides) with a paper towel.

Lightly oil salmon with ½ teaspoon olive oil. Use fingers to ensure oil is evenly coating the flesh. Season flesh side of salmon pieces evenly with salt and pepper.

Place sesame seeds on a plate.

Gently press flesh side of salmon into plate of sesame seeds to coat the flesh.

Add remaining 1½ teaspoons oil to a medium nonstick sauté pan and place over medium heat. Let pan heat until hot, approximately 2 minutes. Swirl to coat bottom of pan with the oil. Place fish (cook all 4 pieces at a time if pan is large enough), sesame seed side down into pan and let cook until golden brown, approximately 2 minutes. Flip fish and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes until skin is crispy and salmon changes in color from bright pink and translucent to opaque and coral.

Remove from pan and transfer to a plate. Remove skin before serving if you wish.

 

Bowl Assembly

To assemble the bowl, divide the rice among 4 bowls. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of furikake over each portion of rice. Arrange carrots, cucumbers, avocado, scallions and pickled ginger on top of the rice. Drizzle sauce over each portion, to taste. Place 3 seaweed sheets upright against the side of the bowl and lay a piece of salmon atop each bowl, sesame seed side up.

Serve immediately.

Tray Bake Eggplant Parmesan

traybakeeggplantparm

Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

 

Tray Bake Eggplant Parmesan

Yield: 2 to 4 servings

 

3 medium Italian eggplants (approximately 2 pounds), tops removed

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1½ cups marinara sauce (your choice!)

6-ounces grated/shredded whole milk mozzarella

2-ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

5 medium-sized fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled and sliced very thinly (chiffonade)

 

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise. With the skin side resting on a cutting board, score the flesh into a 1/4–inch crosshatch pattern. Score the flesh as deep as possible while trying not to cut through the skin. Open the eggplant, spreading and bending the eggplant so it lays as flat as possible, flesh side up. The goal is to have it lay almost completely flat – skin down. To accommodate this, you can make small cuts around the circumference of the eggplant to release any tension in the eggplant.

Lay eggplant halves flesh side up on a parchment-lined sheet tray.

Brush olive oil (1 tablespoon per eggplant half) evenly over flesh. Sprinkle each half with a little salt. Transfer to oven and bake for 30 minutes, rotating the tray after 15 minutes.

Remove sheet tray from the oven. Spread ¼ cup marinara on top of each eggplant half. Then top each with mozzarella, followed by Parmigiano, some pepper and lastly the panko.

Transfer to oven and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown.

Remove from oven. Top each eggplant with pine nuts, basil and a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

Notes:

  • Want to add a bit more marinara or a bit more cheese? Go for it – it’s only gonna make it better!
  • Although you can use Japanese eggplant for this recipe, I have found that the skin of the Italian eggplant variety is less bitter and therefore works best for this application

 

Watermelon and Feta Salad with Fresh Mint

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

 

6 cups (1-inch) diced seedless watermelon (approximately a 3 pound watermelon)

3 small Persian cucumbers, quartered lengthwise and diced medium (1¾ cups)

2 teaspoons roughly chopped lemon zest (zested on a microplane and chopped)

1 pint (25-30) cherry tomatoes, halved (preferably assorted colors)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

¾ cups crumbled sheep’s milk feta cheese

Extra virgin olive oil, to taste

Flaky sea salt, to taste (preferably Maldon or Jacobsen sea salt)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Place watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon zest and juice, basil and mint in a large mixing bowl. Very gently fold to combine (you don’t want the tomatoes to leach their juice) with a large spoon.

 

Arrange on plates. Sprinkle feta, flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper over each plate. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Grilled Mahi-mahi with Spicy Ginger Mango Salsa

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 10.05.11 AM

Grilled Mahi-mahi with Spicy Ginger Mango Salsa

Yields: 4 servings

Spicy Ginger Mango Salsa:
1 mango, peeled, seeded, and small diced
1 small chili pepper (habanero, jalapeño, or serrano), de-veined, seeded, and diced small
¼ cup small diced red onion
1½ teaspoons fresh ginger juice*
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 small orange, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* For ginger juice: finely chop or peel and grate 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, squeeze with your fingers, capture the juice and discard the flesh.

Stir to combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Mahi-mahi:
2 pounds fresh Mahi-mahi
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the grill
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
Kosher salt, for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning

Preheat the 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.

Pat the Mahi-mahi dry and then rub both sides with the olive oil and lightly season with thyme, salt and pepper.

Place fish on the pre-heated grill and cook for approximately 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until the flesh just begins to flake apart and becomes opaque in color. (You can double check simply by cutting into one.) Once cooked to your liking, remove from the grill.

Serve with a spoonful of the spicy mango ginger salsa.

Note: as with all seafood, check with Seafood Watch to ensure you are purchasing sustainable seafood.