Monthly Archives: March 2019

Pasta with Sausage, Radicchio and Green Olives

There are as many pasta combinations as your imagination allows. This one from Fine Cooking’s “Make It Tonight” series throws together an unusual mix of ingredients for a flavorful creation. While cocktail olives give this pasta welcome bursts of sweet and briny, they also perfectly balance the subtle bitterness of the radicchio.

For our pasta, even though I would have selected cavatappi, we had an open box with half a pound (8 ounces) of penne. Which was fine because we prefer a ratio of less pasta with more of the other ingredients.

I suppose you could use regular balsamic vinegar, but make an effort to get the white, you’ll thank yourself. And don’t cheap out on the cheese, a block of aged Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano solidifies the grandness of this meal.

Wowser, this was good! There was enough leftover for the Hubby to take to work for lunch the next day. When he got home, the first thing he said was “OMG, that pasta was so good, we’ definitely have to make this again—soon!”

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Pasta with Sausage, Radicchio and Green Olives

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 12 oz. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 medium head radicchio, quartered, cored, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips (about 3 cups)
  • 3 oz. pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 1 Tbs.)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz. short pasta, such as cavatappi, farfalle, or penne
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, shaved and then crumbled (about 3/4 cup)

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and breaking it into small pieces, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the radicchio, olives, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the radicchio is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.
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  5. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return to the pot.
  6. Toss the sausage mixture with the pasta, 1/3 cup of the basil, and most of the cheese. add enough cooking water to moisten, and serve topped with the remaining cheese and basil.
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http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe by Ronne Day from Fine Cooking

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Cauliflower Tikka Masala

At only 230 calories per serving, this flavor-packed vegetarian meal is truly impressive! Canned fire-roasted tomatoes add slow-cooked depth to this quick weeknight dish (in a pinch, you could substitute regular tomatoes). And roasting the cauliflower florets in a hot oven ensures even more depth of flavor.

Not familiar with garam masala? It’s a blend of ground spices used extensively in Indian cuisine, and available at most supermarkets. There is no single garam masala recipe; the ingredients differ according to the region as well as each chef’s individual preferences. But for the most part, it will include coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In other variations, ingredients may include turmeric, saffron, fennel seeds, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, mace, star anise, tamarind, fenugreek, bay leaves or Malabar leaves. I also added a pinch of Aleppo pepper to the dish for a slightly spicier kick. As garam masala simply means “spices with varying levels of heat,” you have a lot of leeway when it comes to mixing up your own garam masala, or if you need a substitute.

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Here’s a simple recipe for garam masala by Danilo Alfaro. If you make yours this way, starting with whole seeds which you toast and grind yourself, your garam masala will be much more fragrant and flavorful than anything you buy in a jar at the store.

  • 3 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp. cardamom seeds
  • 2 tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. whole cloves
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick

Place everything but the nutmeg in a dry skillet and toast for about ten minutes over medium-high heat, stirring from time to time to keep everything cooking evenly. When the ingredients have darkened slightly and give off a rich, toasty aroma, remove them from the pan and let them cool.

Grind in a spice grinder or coffee grinder, and mix in the freshly grated nutmeg. Store in an airtight container away from heat.

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”Cauliflower

  • Servings: ”4”
  • Difficulty: ”easy”
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Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 lb.), florets cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, whole milk or low fat (not fat-free)
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter, olive oil, or ghee
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. finely minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbs. garam masala
  • 1 28-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream; more as needed
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Pinch sumac (optional)
  • Basmati rice or naan, for serving

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 425°F.
  2. Toss the cauliflower with the yogurt, olive oil, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a medium bowl.
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  3. Spread the cauliflower on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, flipping once, until tender and browned in spots, 22 to 25 minutes.
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  4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
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    I advise you cut the onion in half along the equator first, then slice. It’ll be both easier to cut, and to eat—which I will do next time…
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  5. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, ginger, garam masala, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook until the garlic and spices are very fragrant, about 1 minute.
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  6. Add the tomatoes with their juice, and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer while the cauliflower roasts.
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  7. Add the cauliflower, cream, and half of the cilantro to the sauce. Continue cooking until the sauce begins to bubble, 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
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  8. If you’d like a milder sauce, add more cream; spicier, add some Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes. Serve sprinkled with the remaining cilantro and some sumac, if using.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe by Emma Christensen from Fine Cooking

Honey-Shellacked Pork Chop

Otherwise known as the Date Night Pork Chop, rubbing a little honey across the surface of the meat before searing guarantees a shiny, caramelized crust—and a kiss of sweetness 😉 Then pair that with a lemony endive and apple salad, and you’ve got the ultimate dinner for two.

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You want to season your 1-pound, 1½” thick pork loin chop in advance and let it sit out at room temperature (it cooks much more evenly that way). Pat chop dry with paper towels and place on a plate. Season generously on both sides with salt and pepper, turning with tongs; set aside while you do your prep (it can sit at room temperature up to 1 hour, but prep won’t take you that long).

Our chop was a hefty boy, nearly 2 1/2″ thick, so we had to alter the preparations a tad. I did follow the searing steps, including the fat cap. After that, I placed the cast iron skillet with chop directly into a 400° oven for an additional 12 minutes. And truth be told, even though I checked the temp with an instant read thermometer, and we let it rest for 10 minutes, the very center was still a bit too rare. We just nuked those few slices in the microwave.

The hazelnut mixture added wonderful flavor and texture to both the meat and the salad. You may think a starch was missing, but the meal completely satisfied and we didn’t feel deprived whatsoever.

Yes dear, we’ll go on this date again…

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Honey-Shellacked Pork Chop

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. bone-in pork loin chop, 1–1½” thick
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 oz. Parmesan
  • 3 Tbsp. raw unblanched hazelnuts
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 1 large or 2 small Belgian endive
  • 2½ tsp. honey, divided
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Pat chop dry with paper towels and place on a plate. Season generously on both sides with salt and pepper, turning with tongs; set aside.
  2. Shave 1 oz. Parmesan cheese with a vegetable peeler, then use your fingers to break into small shards. Cover with a damp paper towel (to prevent it from drying out).
  3. Using the bottom of a medium skillet, preferably cast iron, smash 3 Tbsp. hazelnuts, a few at a time, on a cutting board, breaking into bits.
  4. Peel 1 shallot, then finely chop.
  5. Separate leaves from 1 large or 2 small endive, trimming from the bottom as you work your way to the core. Place in a medium bowl, cover with damp paper towel, and chill until ready to use.
  6. Preheat skillet you used to smash hazelnuts over medium heat. Drizzle ½ tsp. honey over one side of pork chop, then drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil. Rub with clean hands all over surface of chop, then turn and rub second side with same honey-oil mixture to evenly coat (this will help the pork caramelize as you cook it).
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  7. Lay pork in skillet and cook, leaving it be, until first side is dark brown and caramelized all over, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook second side until browned, about 3 minutes longer. Turn pork chop upright and hold on its side with tongs to sear fat cap; cook about 2 minutes.
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  8. Turn heat to low and cook chop another minute on both sides. Transfer to cutting board and insert an instant-read thermometer into middle of chop, about ½” from bone. It should register about 130°. If it’s under, cook another minute or two, then let rest on cutting board 5–10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
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  9. Add hazelnuts and 2 Tbsp. oil to skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring with tongs, until hazelnuts turn golden, about 3 minutes.
  10. Add shallots; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until shallots are softened and browned and hazelnuts smell toasty, about 2 minutes.
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  11. Stir in remaining 2 tsp. honey. Cut 1 lemon in half and squeeze juice from one half into skillet. Stir to combine, then remove from heat.
  12. Cut around core of 1 apple, removing flesh in 3 lobes. Thinly slice 2 of the 3 pieces, then snack on the remaining piece if you like.
  13. Remove bowl of endive from refrigerator and add apple and cheese; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil, squeeze second lemon half over, and toss to coat.
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  14. Cut bone away from chop and cut meat into ½”-thick slices. Place pork and bone on one side of a large plate and pour juices over; season with salt.
  15. Gently arrange salad next to chop. Spoon shallot-hazelnut mixture over salad and pork and serve.
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http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe by Claire Saffitz from Bon Appétit

A Molly-fied Trifecta

Molly Stevens is one of our go-to chef/authors when it comes to braising and roasting—a great way to spend a gloomy, early-March Sunday.  As I was thumbing through her All About Roasting cookbook, I was immediately drawn to the Basic Roasted Thick-Cut Lamb Loin Chops recipe because we had a packet in the freezer. Yes, we only had five chops and the recipe called for eight, but there was just the two of us—so no leftovers, I could live with that.

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Now, even though it takes less than 15 minutes to cook, keep in mind you need to marinate the lamb anywhere from 4 to 24 hours (the amount of time we did), and then let the meat come to room temperature for about an hour before tossing in the oven. If you’re unfamiliar, the charmoula marinade is a zesty herb and garlic sauce from the Middle East.

This recipe is so easy but produces incredible results and is a perfect entrée for entertaining because all of the prep is done in advance. When it’s time to roast the lamb, the recipe instructs you to arrange a 1/4″-thick-area of salt on a rimmed baking sheet, and set a rack above that on which you place the meat—never did that before. Our guess for the reason is because you don’t flip the chops, the salt intensifies the heat and actually helps brown the underside.

Now about those accompaniments. Another Molly winner from her roasting cookbook was the Mustard-Crusted Roast Potatoes. OMG, what delightful little devils! With lots of mustard and a splash of lemon juice you wonder how they result in a crunchy exterior. But despite all that liquidy goo, in addition to garlic, rosemary and crushed red pepper, the taters finish with a golden-brown crustiness and intriguing depth of flavor. A blue-ribbon winner in our minds!

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Rounding out the gastronomic trifecta was the Creamy Brussels Sprouts. Even if you’re a sworn Brussels sprouts hater, you should give these babies a try. The key to cooking them is to chop them into small pieces so they release their pungency; while using heavy cream as the braising liquid brings out their inherent sweetness even more. The cream will reduce itself into a thick, ivory-colored glaze that coats the sprouts. If you want to dress them up a bit, or add some texture, top with crumbled bacon or toasted hazelnuts.

Thanks Molly for a fabulous meal!

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Basic Roasted Thick-Cut Lamb Loin Chops

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 8 (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch-thick) lamb loin chops
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups (lightly packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup (lightly packed) fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup (lightly packed) fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika (pimentón dulce) or sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

For charmoula:

  1. Heat small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and toast until aromatic and slightly darker, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Transfer to processor.
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  2. Add parsley leaves and next 6 ingredients to processor. Using on/off turns, process until coarse paste forms.
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  3. With machine running, gradually add 4 tablespoons oil. Transfer 2 tablespoons charmoula to small bowl; whisk in lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
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  4. Cover and chill to serve with lamb.
    For lamb:
  1. Transfer remaining charmoula to large resealable plastic bag. Add lamb chops; seal bag and turn to coat well. Chill at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
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  2. Let lamb and charmoula sauce in bowl stand at room temperature 40 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 500°F.
  4. Cover a 10″ x 6″ area of a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet (salt does not have to cover entire sheet) with about 1/4″ layer of salt. Set rack over prepared baking sheet, place lamb on rack over salted area.
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  5. Roast until thermometer inserted into center registers 135°F for medium-rare, about 13 minutes.
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  6. Transfer lamb to platter. Tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Mustard-Crusted Roasted Potatoes

IMG_1663We cut the recipe in half for just the two of us, and there was still plenty leftover.

Mustard-Crusted Roasted Potatoes

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. Aleppo pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds unpeeled red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

Directions

  1. Position 1 rack in top third of oven and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 425°F.
  2. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In large mixing bowl, whisk together mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, Aleppo pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.
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  4. Add potatoes and toss to coat. Spread potatoes on prepared baking sheet into a single layer. With spatula, scrape the bowl for any leftover mixture and drizzle onto potatoes.
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  5. Roast, tossing with a spatula a few times and shaking to restore a single layer until potatoes are crusty outside and tender throughout, about 50-55 minutes.
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  6. Transfer potatoes to serving bowl.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Creamy Brussels Sprouts

Creamy Brussels Sprouts

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Lb. small Brussels sprouts
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 Cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 lemon

Directions

  1. Trim the sprouts, cut through the core into halves. If necessary cut again to make little wedges no more than 1/2″ across.
  2. Melt the butter in a large 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. When the foaming stops, add the sprouts and season with salt and white pepper.
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  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts begin to brown in spots, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in the cream, stir, cover, and reduce to a slow simmer. Braise over low heat until the sprouts are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a sharp knife, 30-35 minutes.
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  5. Remove the cover, stir in a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and taste for seasoning. Let simmer uncovered for a few minutes to thicken the cream to a glaze that coats the Brussels sprouts. Serve hot.
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http://www.lynnandruss.com

 

Sheet-Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

This approachable weeknight dinner takes its cue from Japanese grilled chicken meatballs (tsukune), and the glossy, sweet-and-sour sauce that comes with it. And you have to love the fact that everything goes onto one sheet-pan and into the oven at the same temperature.

There are several differences in how we prepared this versus the Bon Appétit directions. For starters, we only used one head of broccoli instead of two, and I steamed the pieces for a few minutes in the microwave first before tossing them on the sheet pan with oil. Previously, I had the unpleasant experience of undercooked, hard broccoli when only roasting the florets for such a short time period—not a memory I cared to revive.

We also decided that instead of setting 1/4 cup of marinade aside for glazing, we thickened the entire batch and used that for the two basting steps. The remainder was used to spoon over the rice before topping with the finished meatballs and broccoli.

Have a wheat issue? Use gluten-free panko, you’ll never notice the difference. Some reviewers complained about too much ginger. I may have included slightly less than called for, but we loved the depth of flavor it provided.

I can see where you would need two heads of broccoli for four dinner guests, because between the two of us, we totally consumed it. Once divided, the meatball mixture makes a dozen 1 1/2″-sized balls. And whereas three meatballs was plenty for me, The Hubs easily ate five. So depending on how hungry your family members are, plan on an average of three per person, with some wanting more…

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Sheet-Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

Sauce

  • ⅔ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. rice cooking wine or water
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 4 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 ½” piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Meatballs and Assembly

  • 2 heads of broccoli (about 1½ lb.)
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 2½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
  • ⅓ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooked rice and sesame seeds (for serving)

Directions

Sauce

  1. Mix ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, wine (if using), honey, soy sauce, ginger, and pepper in a small saucepan.
  2. Measure out ¼ cup mixture into a small bowl; set aside for glazing meatballs later.
  3. Bring remaining mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if needed, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Transfer sauce to a small bowl.

Meatballs and Assembly

  1. Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 450°.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  3. Trim broccoli stems and remove from crown. Peel off tough outer skin; slice crosswise into ½” pieces. Cut florets into 2″ pieces. Toss on prepared baking sheet with 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, 1 tsp. salt, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes (if using).
  4. Push to the edges of baking sheet to create a space for meatballs. Brush space with remaining 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil.
  5. Mix chicken, egg, scallions, garlic, ginger, panko, sesame oil, pepper, remaining 1½ tsp. salt, and ¼ cup water in a medium bowl. Using wet hands, form into twelve 1½”-diameter meatballs.
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  6. Arrange on baking sheet; brush with some of the reserved glazing mixture. Bake until meatballs are cooked through, 14–18 minutes.
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  7. Remove from oven; heat broiler. Brush meatballs with remaining glazing mixture; broil until broccoli is charred and meatballs are browned in spots, about 5 minutes.
  8. Spoon meatballs and broccoli over rice in bowl. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
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http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe by Deb Perelman from Bon Appétit

Lighten Your Load, of Pasta That Is

Pasta can be heavy, but this Spaghetti with Shrimp, Lemon, and Chard recipe lightens the load, AND, satisfies the craving. Here, silken Swiss chard replaces spinach in a delicious riff on shrimp Florentine. A good amount of lemon, in zest and juice forms, keeps things bright, while a bit of cream ties everything together.

But of course we had to put our own stamp on this dish from Fine Cooking. First off, we reduced the amount of spaghetti from 12 ounces down to 8 for a better balance of ingredients. Then, instead of discarding the tasty and colorful chard stems, we diced them and added a sliced shallot which were both sautéed together before cooking the chard leaves. Our changes are reflected below.

Served with a side salad, you walk away from the table satiated, yet not stuffed and bloated.

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Spaghetti with Shrimp, Lemon and Chard

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. Swiss chard, tough stems removed and diced, remaining stems and leaves cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. large shrimp (31 to 35 per lb.), peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz. spaghetti
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest plus
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain the chard, but don’t spin dry.img_0949
  2. Dice chard stems and thinly slice shallot.
  3. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced stems and sliced shallot and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
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  5. Add the chard leaves, 3 Tbs. water, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes.
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  6. Add the shrimp and pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp is just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove from the heat and set aside.
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  7. Boil the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta. Return the reserved cooking water to the pot.
  8. Add the remaining 1/4 cup oil, lemon zest, and cream. Bring to a boil, and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
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  9. Add the pasta, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Toss together and remove from the heat.
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  10. Add the chard mixture and toss for about 1 minute to allow the pasta to absorb some of the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.
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    If desired, grate fresh parmesan over the individual serving dishes.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe by Mindy Fox from Fine Cooking

North African Spiced Salmon Over French Lentils

A dish of lentils and salmon is a classic in any French bistro. Lean, mellow lentils complement the richness of the fish. This version, found on FineCooking.com includes a Moroccan-inspired spice rub on the salmon. You can better distribute those aromatic spices throughout the dish by flaking the salmon into the lentils as you eat.

Did you know that French lentils are a variety of green lentils, and what sets them apart from standard green lentils is their slightly darker hue and smaller size? They’re about one third the size of standard green lentils. They hold their shape extremely well and are therefore an ideal contender in dishes when you’d rather they not turn to mush. Their flavor is also slightly different than other types—a bit nutty and peppery, with a slight mineral-like, earthy flavor.

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Not only are lentils a great source of protein, they are chockfull of health benefits too. These include include improved digestion, a healthy heart, diabetes control, cancer management, weight loss, prevention of anemia, and better electrolytic activity due to potassium.

But there’s also a downside. Although lentils are good for your health and are the best alternative for meat, poultry, and fish, they also have few disadvantages, which include risk of kidney stones. Therefore, individuals who have kidney stones should stay away from legumes and lentils.

NOTE: Puy lentils, or lentilles du Puy, are French lentils that have been grown in the Puy region of central France.

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North African Spiced Salmon over French Lentils

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup French lentils (lentils du Puy), rinsed
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, finely diced
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley; more for serving, if you like
  • 1 Tbs. drained capers
  • 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 4 6-oz. salmon fillets, skinless or skin on
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. In a 4-quart saucepan, bring the lentils and 3 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer, add the apricots, and gently simmer until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 35 to 45 minutes. Drain.
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  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
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  3. Add the lentils, parsley, capers, lemon zest and juice, and 1/4 tsp. salt, and stir to combine. Keep warm over low heat.
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  4. Combine the cumin, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, allspice, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a small bowl. Pat the spice mix onto the salmon.
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  5. Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in another 12-inch nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon, flesh side down, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
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  6. Turn and cook to your liking, another 2 to 3 minutes for salmon that’s barely opaque in the center.
  7. Serve the salmon over the lentils, garnished with more parsley, if you like, and with the lemon wedges.
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Recipe by Marge Perry from Fine Cooking