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.

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.

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.

Dragon Fruit Salad with Lemony Chicken & Butternut Purée

dragon-fruit-salad-with-lemony-chicken--butternut-puree-73-web

Dragon Fruit Salad with Lemony Chicken & Butternut Purée

Enjoy this recipe recently featured in Clean Eating Magazine. Photo by Ronald Tsang.

 

Yield: 4 servings

Carrot Ginger Puree:

4 cups water

1 pound peeled and medium diced (1/2-inch) butternut squash (3 1/3 cups)

1 pound peeled and thinly sliced (1/4-inch discs) carrots (2 1/3 cups)

2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger, (grated on a Microplane)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 20 small cubes (each tablespoon quartered)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

In a large pot (which fits a steamer basket), add 4 cups water. Insert steamer basket and add squash and carrots to the basket. Cover with a lid and turn heat to high. Once steaming, reduce heat to medium and steam for 20 minutes. Carefully transfer steamed veggies to a blender and add ginger, butter, orange juice, lemon juice, salt and pepper and blend on medium low until smooth. Keep covered until service.

 

Roasted Chicken:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

2 teaspoons grated and finely chopped lemon zest, grated on a Microplane

 

Adjust an oven rack to the top position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pat the chicken thighs dry and coat with olive oil on both sides. Season the thighs evenly (both sides) with salt and pepper followed by the thyme and lemon zest.

Line a sheet pan with foil and evenly space the chicken thighs on the sheet pan. Place, uncovered, in the oven.

Cook until the thighs reach an internal temperature between 165 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken thighs to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes, loosely covered with foil, before slicing chicken into ½-inch strips.

 

Dragon Fruit Salad:

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

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 dragon fruit (1 pound), peeled and diced into ¼-inch pieces (2 cups)

1 medium apple (6-ounces) (preferably Braeburn, Fuji, or Honeycrisp), unpeeled, cored, quartered and thinly sliced (1/16-inch slices)

¼ pound frisée, cut into 2-inch pieces (2¼ packed cups)

10 medium fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (1 tablespoon)

1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

1/3 cup roughly chopped toasted almonds

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and gently fold to combine.

To serve, scoop ¾ cup of the puree into large shallow bowls. Top puree with 1 cup of the salad and arrange sliced chicken on top.

Wild Rice Salad with Diced Apples, Oranges, and Toasted Pecans

wild rice salad

Wild Rice Salad with Diced Apples, Oranges, and Toasted Pecans

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

 

Wild Rice:

4 cups water or vegetable stock

1 cup wild rice, rinsed with cold water and drained

Salad:

2 small oranges

2 large apples, such as Braeburn, Fuji, or Honeycrisp, unpeeled, cored and diced small (4 cups)

2 cups toasted pecan halves, chopped roughly

1 cup dried black currants or dried cranberries

3 stalks celery, diced small (1½ cups)

⅓ cup thinly sliced green onions (green part only)

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Vinaigrette:

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (from the oranges)

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

 

In a large saucepan, bring the water or vegetable stock to a boil. Add the wild rice, stir and cover. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wild rice pops open and is tender to the bite, 45 minutes. Transfer to a colander, rinse with cold water to cool, and drain well.

Cut the peel and pith off the oranges, then segment them by cutting between the dividers. Discard any seeds, but reserve the juice for the vinaigrette.

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.

Add the diced apple, orange segments, drained wild rice, pecans, cranberries, and green onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Frisee and Traviso Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette

Salad Blood Orange Evoo

Yield: 3 to 4 servings

 

1 large shallot, peeled and diced small

2 tablespoons aged sherry vinegar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 small heads of frisee, cored and leaves cut in half, lengthwise

1 head traviso, cut into 1/3 inch slices on a bias

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

8 medjool dates, pitted and quartered

3-ounces chevre, torn into small pieces

½ cup pomegranate seeds

½ cup marcona almonds

 

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the shallot, sherry vinegar and olive oil, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, combine the frisee, traviso and vinaigrette. Mix together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the salad equally among plates. Equally divide the dates, chevre, pomegranate seeds and marcona almonds among the plates.

Roasted Golden Beet Salad with Frisée, Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts

Roasted Golden Beet Salad with Frisée, Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts

Chef Nathan Lyon Beet Salad

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Beets:

3 pounds golden beets

3½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

⅓ cup water

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Salad:

1 large head frisée, rinsed, dried, and chopped or torn into bite-size pieces

3 medium oranges

4 ounces goat cheese (chèvre) (about ½ cup)

Candied Spiced Walnuts (or pecans)

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (from the oranges)

1 medium shallot peeled and diced small (3 tablespoons)

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

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

Cut off the greens half an inch above the beets and reserve for later use (like, sautéed beet greens!). Scrub the beets.

Cut the peel and pith off the oranges, then segment them by cutting between the dividers (i.e. supreme). Discard any seeds, but reserve the juice for the vinaigrette.

In a roasting pan large enough to hold the beets in one layer, add the beets, then drizzle with 1½ tablespoons of olive oil, the salt and water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, place on a sheet pan and roast in the oven for approximately 50 minutes to an hour, or until the beets are easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove from the oven, remove the foil and allow to cool.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, using a not-so-important hand cloth, wipe the beet skins off and discard them. Know this, though: even in your sweetest of dreams, you will most likely never wash the red stains out of that hand cloth.

Cut the beets into wedges, place them in a bowl, then combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a cup and drizzle over the beets. Fold to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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.

Gently toss the frisée and orange segments with your hands, then dress with half the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper and additional vinaigrette to tasteDivide the salad among plates, then garnish with the beets, candied walnuts, and goat cheese, divided equally.

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.