If your family is anything like mine with everyone on crazy schedules and such sometimes getting a meal on the table in a timely fashion is a struggle. In fact when this blog originally started way back in 2013 the focus was on quick and easy meals for a busy family. Though we’ve deviated away from that concept over the years, the struggle to get a meal on the table before 9PM is still very real in my house. That’s where this mahi-mahi piccata recipe comes in. So long as the fish or chicken is defrosted (or fresh) before cooking you can have all the prep done and dinner plated and served in 30 minutes. In the case of mahi-mahi, all the prep and cooking and the cooking of the fish is done while the pasta cooks.
Recipe (serves 4)
4 4oz mahi-mahi fillets
4 TBS butter
1 TBS olive oil
2 TBS chopped parsley
1 box bucatini
3 cloves of garlic crushed
¼ cup white wine
1 TBS capers
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 TBS flour for dusting on the fish
salt and pepper to taste
red chili flakes (optional)
In a large pot with a lid, bring 8 qts of heavily salted water to a boil. The water should taste like salt water. While the water is coming to the boil, zest and juice the lemon, crush the garlic, chop the parsley and dry the fish fillets with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper and set aside. Once the water boils, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions for al dente typically 8-10 minutes.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat 2 TBS of butter and the olive oil until foaming. Dust the fish on each side lightly with flour and shake off the excess. Place fish into the skillet and cook until golden brown on each side. This take about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the skillet and set aside on paper towel to drain.
Add the capers, garlic, lemon juice, zest and white wine to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium low. Let the sauce will boil and slowly reduce. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed. Adjust the heat to low until the pasta is ready to drain. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta and set aside. Add the remaining butter to the sauce and return the fish to the skillet. Add the drained pasta and toss until the fish and pasta is coated with the sauce. If the pasta is a little dry you can add a little of the pasta water. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon slices.
Preheat oven to 425F. In a medium bowl melt butter and add spices and brown sugar. Peel and slice fruit and add to the butter sugar mixture.
Apples and pears tossed with melted butter, brown sugar and spices
Toss the fruit with the butter and sugar then pour into a glass baking dish.
fruit in baking dish waiting to go into the oven
Bake in a 425F oven for 10-15 minutes until fruit softens and starts to caramelize.
While the fruits baking. spread thawed puff pastry onto a floured surface and cut into squares or circles. Make a shallow incision about 1/2 inch from the edge all the way around the puff pastry. This will score it. Dock the center of the dough several times with a fork, which will prevent the interior portion of the dough from puffing up too much and will allow it to easily form a cup once the dough is baked for 10 minutes. Place the puff pastry shells onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Remove the apples from the oven and let cool while the puff pastry bakes for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes push the centers of the puff pastry down. This should be easy to do where it was scored. Fill the shells with a layer of fruit and sprinkle with a little salt and return to the over for another 5-7 minutes.
layer of fruit lining puff pastry shells
Remove the shell from the oven and let cool. When ready to serve, add sanding or caster sugar to the top and heat with a kitchen torch to for a burnt sugar crust on top.
Poached Cod in Garlic Ginger Broth with Udon and finished with a dash of Furikake and a drizzle of eel sauce.
A few months back we tried out Blue Apron to sample different types of cuisine without having to spend a fortune on pantry items, to reduce midweek trips to the grocery store and to cut down on the amount of produce we waste weekly. As it turns out, we wound up only cooking a few of the recipes and just stuck the protein in the freezer and used the produce for other stuff. Nothing against Blue Apron itself as a concept it just didn’t work for our lifestyle and schedules. My wife works from home mostly and I have a schedule that fluctuates. There’s quite a few evenings where I’m not home for dinner or to make dinner, we wound up just not cooking many of the meals.
Blue Apron did help us break out of our rut of chicken breasts, steaks, and salmon as our sole protein sources and Blue Apron helped me realize I don’t hate all squash or cod and I still really hate beets. I would recommend Blue Apron for novice cooks and folks trying to branch out and try more diverse cuisines. Most of the meals can be prepared within an hour and they try to have things cook in 1 pan. Which is great for folks just starting out or in a dorm where they may not have made the investment in a lot of kitchen gear. That said, if the previous does not apply to you, you can save a lot of time by multi-tasking through a recipe and using a couple of pots and pans to prepare the different parts of the dish.
But what does any of that have to do with poached cod? Well the Mrs. said that the wants to try pescatarianism again and I mentioned that we still had some cod in the freezer left over from our Blue Apron days. The question then became what to do with it using stuff we already had in the pantry and fridge. Our panty probably isn’t typical, we are blessed to live in an extremely diverse area of Southern California so we can access these ingredients fairly easily. You will need to to have access to a decent Asian grocery store. I’ve seen miso paste, toasted nori and furikake at Safeway/Vons and of course carrots, ginger, scallions, and garlic are available in the produce department. Sometimes you can find udon. I’ve seen udon at some Whole Foods, Vons/Safeway and Wegmans (for those Mid-Atlantic folks). They probably do have a selection of dried mushrooms, but it’s been my experience that they’re are wildly over-priced outside of Asian markets. You will also need an Asian Market for eel sauce and Kombu stock, this is also where I find sachets (usually on the tea aisle). If you can’t find eel sauce, then a drizzle of soy sauce or oyster sauce will give a nice fermented saltiness.
The poached cod is on the lighter side with no added fat though there is a good amount of sodium from the kombu and miso. If you want something lower carb you could easily add more vegetables and leave out the udon all together. If you want something with a little more heat you can add Sriracha or garlic chili paste or some dried chilies to the poaching liquid. This is also a quickish weeknight meal which you can have prepped and on the table in about 30 minutes so long as the fish is thawed.
1 Qt water for poaching
4 cups water to cook udon
1TBS White Miso Paste
½ cup dried shitake mushrooms that have been steeped in hot water
2 TBS scallions
2 TBS julienned carrot
½ cup shredded napa cabbage
2 3oz Cod fillet or white fish of you choice deboned and skin removed
2 packets of kombu stock ( I get mine from Daiso)
1 head of garlic
3 nickel sized slices of ginger that have been smashed with the flat side of a knife
1 sheet of toasted nori
2 star anise
2 lemon sliices and juice of half a lemon
eel sauce and furikake for garnish
To start, place dried mushrooms in a deep bowl and cover with boiled water. Let steep until they are soften. This will take about 15 minutes. While mushrooms are steeping, julienne the carrots, cut the napa and chop the scallion.
Mise en place of reconstituted shitakes, napa cabbage, julienned carrots, scallions, garlic, ginger, anise and lemon slices
Strain the mushrooms reserving the liquid and set the mushrooms aside. Bring 1QT of water to a boil and add the leftover liquid from the mushrooms, kombu stock packets, miso, garlic, ginger, star anise, lemon slices, lemon juice and sheet of nori and let boil.
Kombu stock, nori, and sachet of garlic, ginger, lemon and anise coming to a boil.
In another pot bring 4 cups of water to boil. Reduce the heat on the boiling stock to a slow simmer and add the fish fillets. It will take about 6-8 minutes to poach. Quickly blanch the julienned carrots and strain retaining the boiling water. Set aside the carrots and add the udon noodles. Udon usually cooks in 2-3 minutes. Remove the fish from the broth and reserve the broth. Strain the udon. Divide the udon between 2 soup bowls and place a fish fillet on top, add vegetables to each bowl and cover with the poaching broth. Garnish with furikake and eel sauce.
I mentioned in a recent post that we have a nice little garden out back this summer and now we’ve find ourselves with an (over)abundance of cherry tomatoes. There’s only so many cherry tomatoes I can tolerate in a salad. So I thought I’d make a quick and easy pasta sauce out of them and with the addition of basil, thyme and oregano which is also in (over)abundance make a really light, easy and savory pasta sauce.
I cut the tomatoes in half, tossed them with about 1 TBS of olive oil, added 4 crushed garlic cloves, 1 tsp coarse sea salt, 1 TBS of chili flakes, and the herbs. I roasted them all on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 400°F for about 20 minutes or until the tomatoes burst and start to brown.
Because the sauce is so light, thin pastas like angel hair, capellini or spaghettini work best. Just simply toss the sauce with some pasta and add a salty cheese like pecorino, ricotta salata or feta. If you wanna add some protein, it’d be nice with grilled shrimp or grilled chicken and finished with some julienned fresh basil. Or if you want to keep it vegan/vegetarian, add more summer veggies like zucchini and eggplant. These can easily be roasted alongside the cherry tomatoes.
The sauce will hold in the fridge for a couple of days and can be warmed by tossing with warm pasta. I just put into a jar and toss it in the fridge to use later in the week.
I associate the rich flavor of caramel and nut brittles with Fall. So here’s a fairly quick brittle recipe that is a great topping for cakes, cupcakes, brownies or ice cream if you’re feeling decadent. Just use your favorite recipe for yellow cake and caramel frosting. My recipe for Cashew Brittle is below.
Cashew Brittle Recipe
5 TBS Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Light Corn Syrup
3/4 cup water
1 Cup Nuts
1/4 tsp baking soda
Cayenne Pepper to taste
Stir sugar, butter and 3/4 cup water in 3 quart saucepan over medium high heat just until sugar dissolves and butter melts. Cook without stirring 15 to 18 minutes until candy thermometer registers 280 degrees, soft crack stage.
Remove from heat; stir in baking soda and all nuts. Pour mixture immediately onto ungreased large cookie sheet; spread quickly into even layers about 1/2 inch thick. Cool completely about 30 minutes. Break cooled brittle into small chunks.