Crispy Baked Fish

crispy fish

Fish fingers is the usual moniker I assign to this dish. They started out as fingers but shrank in the oven. Someone suggested I re-name them fish nuggets but, it really doesn’t have that same panache.
Fish. Nuggets. Nope!
So, whether you leave the fish fillet whole, or slice them into bite sized bits Crispy Baked Fish seems the polite name to call it.

Crispy Baked Fish

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

1-2 lbs. Cod or Tilapia (or other firm while fish)
1 cup Flour
2 beaten Eggs
4 cups Panko Bread Crumbs mixed with: 2 tablespoons dried Dill (optional)
Salt & Pepper
4 tablespoons Olive Oil

Cut your fish into bite sized pieces.
Brush the olive oil onto a baking sheet and set aside.
Place the flour, eggs, and panko into 3 separate shallow containers.
First, coat the fish in the flour. Shake off the majority of the flour before dipping it into the eggs.
Lastly, coat the fish with the panko pressing it on before laying it on the baking sheet.
Repeat until all the fish is coated.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the fish is firm and the breading is golden brown.

Tartar Sauce:

1/2 cup Light Mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Dill Pickle Relish or Chopped Dill Pickle
1 tablespoon Capers
Salt and Pepper
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
A few dashes Hot Sauce (optional)

Mix all the ingredients. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste.
Refrigerate until ready to use.

Cheddar Cheese Risotto

cheddar cheese risotto

Nigella Lawson is usually a very good influence to me. Needless to say when I found this recipe on her blog all dinner plans screeched to halt and we had this instead.

Cheddar Cheese Risotto

1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 medium White Onion (finely diced)
1 1/2 cups Risotto Rice
1/2 cup white wine
4-6 cups hot Vegetable Stock
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 tablespoons chopped Fresh Herbs

In a large saute pan heat the olive oil and butter over medium high heat. Once the butter is melted add the onion and cook until soft and translucent.
Add the risotto rice and stir to coat in the butter and oil. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed by the rice.
Add the stock about a 1/2 cup at a time to the rice. Once one portion is absorbed by the rice add the next.
Continue until the rice is tender and cooked (About 20 minutes)
Add the cheese and stir gently until combined with the risotto.
Serve with a sprinkling of herbs over the top.

French Dip Sandwich

french dip

I’m not quite ready to crank up my oven for a lovely beef stew or a piping bowl of chili. This, I believe, might be a good compromise between what my belly wants and what my thermostat can tolerate.

French Dip Sandwiches
4 Hoagie or Outdoor rolls
1 lb. sliced Roast Beef
1/2 sliced Provolone Cheese

For the Au Jus:
2 Shallots (finely sliced)
4 cups Beef Consume (canned is fine)
2 tablespoons Cream Sherry
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
Salt & Pepper

Place all the ingredients in a medium sized pot and bring to a simmer.

To assemble the sandwiches:
Toast the hoagie rolls under the broiler or on a griddle.
Dip the slices of roast beef into the hot au jus before dividing the meat between the rolls. Add the cheese and allow to melt slightly before serving. Serve the au jus in small bowls for dipping.

Chicken Puff Pie

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My biggest peeve about chicken pot pie is that the crust to stew ratio is terribly disproportionate.

For the Stew:
1/2 cup Butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup Flour
4-5 cups Chicken Stock
Salt & Pepper
2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence
2 cups Mixed Vegetables
I used a combination of frozen (thawed) and fresh veggies I had left over.
4 cups cooked Shredded Chicken
You can use a store-bought rotisserie chicken or roast your own. I roasted 2 big chicken breasts then let them cool before I shredded.

In a large high sided pot over medium high, melt the butter. Add the flour and mix until a paste forms. Add the stock, whisking briskly. Turn the heat down a bit and continue to whisk until the sauce is thick. Add more stock if it’s too thick. Season with salt and pepper and the herbs de Provence.
Add the vegetables and shredded chicken. Stir to combine then heat through. You can set this aside off the heat and get started on your pastry crust.

For the Crust:
1 package Puff Pastry (I use Pillsbury)
Egg wash = 1 egg mixed very well with a bit of water
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Defrost the puff pastry and unfold onto parchment lined baking sheets. Cut each pastry sheet into fourths and arrange so they are about an inch or so apart.
Now for each square, measure in at each side roughly half an inch in, and score a line with a knife. Don’t cut all the way through!
Use the egg wash on the outside border of the square. Try not to dribble on the sides or the square won’t puff.
Season with salt and pepper, and place in the over for 20 – 25 minutes.
When they are golden brown and puffy, set aside to cool slightly. Once cooled gently press down along the score line creating a little cup in the pastry.

Spoon the stew into the pastry crust and serve.

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Chicken Tikka Masala

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I made this last night from my cookbook “The Family Table” Now available for iPad!

Chicken Tikka Masala
I knew the moment I took a bite of this classic dish at Vama in London, I’d have to find a way to recreate it.

For the chicken and marinade:
2 ½ lbs.    skinless, boneless Chicken Thighs
1 cup         plain Yogurt
2 cloves     Garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon    finely grated Ginger
1 ½ teaspoons    ground Cumin
1 ½ teaspoons    ground Coriander
¼ teaspoon     ground Cardamom
¼ teaspoon     Cayenne Pepper
Salt
Pepper

In a large non-reactive (glass or ceramic) dish, combine everything above.
Add the chicken to the marinade, and coat well. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight if you can, or for at least an hour.

After the chicken is finished marinating, remove it and scrape off as much of the yogurt mixture as possible. Preheat your outdoor grill or oven broiler. Grill the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side. No need to cook the chicken through, it will finish cooking in the sauce. Set aside and start the sauce.

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons     Olive Oil
1 large                  Onion (finely chopped)
2 cloves               Garlic  (minced)
1 tablespoon       grated fresh Ginger
2 ½ tablespoons     Garam Masala
1 tablespoon     ground Cumin
1 tablespoon     ground Coriander
1 tablespoon     ground Cardamom
2  teaspoons       Cayenne Pepper
¼ cup                  Almond Flour
(adjust the spices to your liking, we like aromatic but not blow your head off spicy)
1 tablespoon     Butter
5 cups                canned, crushed Tomatoes
1 tablespoon   Sugar
1 ½ cup           Heavy Cream

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high and sauté the onion, garlic and ginger until soft. Add the spices and almond flour and butter, cook for about 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, sugar and chicken. Cover and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in the cream and continue to simmer until thick.

Serve with naan bread and basmati rice.

P.S. Does any one have a proper Naan recipe?
P.P.S. I had quite a bit of sauce left so, I froze it for next week!

Savory Bread Pudding

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I served it with “The Best Pork Loin Ever!” but it would be very nice with roast chicken or grilled flat-iron steak.

Savory Bread Pudding
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

15 slices or about 8 cups Texas Toast
1 12oz. package Frozen Chopped Broccoli (thawed)
1 1/2 cups Whole Milk
6 eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 rashers of Bacon
Salt & Pepper
1 teaspoon Chili Flakes

Cut the bread into roughly 2 inch chunks leaving the crust on and place in a very large mixing bowl. Add the thawed broccoli.
In a separate bowl mix together the milk, eggs, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper and chili flakes.
Pour over the bread and mix until the bread is well coated with the egg mixture.
Pour into a large buttered baking dish and top with the bacon.
Bake for 40-50 minutes. Cover with foil if the top browns too quickly.

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Calamari Stir-fry

Something of an internationally miss-matched name, I know. My guess is that both Italians and Asians would be alarmed, but It turned out really well! It made the hour and some struggle to clean what turned out to be completely unprocessed squid very worth it! I’ll offer the how to at the end of the recipe so as not to put you off your appetite.

calamari2

Calamari Stir-fry
1 lb. defrosted & cleaned Squid (rings and tentacles)
2 cups shredded Chinese (Napa) Cabbage
1 Carrot (thinly sliced)
1 cup Snow Peas (julienne)
1 can Baby Corn (drained)
Roughly chopped Cilantro to garnish

Heat a large saute pan or a wok over high heat and add a couple of tablespoons of canola oil. Once your oil is just starting to smoke toss in the squid and toss around till it starts to curl up and turn opaque.
Turn the heat down to medium heat.
Add the veggies and toss to combine with the squid. Add about 2 tablespoons of the Sesame Ginger Dressing and toss with the meat and veggies. Cover the pan for two minutes to allow the veggies to cook a little more.
Serve immediately over jasmine rice with another splash of the dressing over the top.

Ginger Sesame Dressing
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/8 cup Toasted Sesame Oil
1/4 Canola Oil
1 teaspoon Sesame Seeds
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Lime Juice
Dash of Fish Sauce

Combine all ingredients in a tightly sealed jar, then shake well to mix.

plate 1

Cleaning squid how to:
Imagine my surprise when I defrosted my squid, opened the box to find completely unprocessed squid. Well crap!
As one does in this situation I called up Alton Brown’s Good Eats episode “Squid Pro Quo.”

That helped enormously, however, it didn’t cover how to skin or gut the wee beasties.

Follow AB’s instructions of how the de-head and cut the tentacles off. From there, for the remaining innards squeeze the tube of the body like a toothpaste tube (warning this is pretty gooey and inky)

Next gently detach the “backbone” from the skin inside the tube and pull carefully out. You’ll have to go fishing for it up there if you break it, but mostly they came out in one piece.

To skin them, hold the tubes onto the board and scrape the skin off with the back of your knife moving from the small end to the large. It comes off very easily.
Now cut your tubes into thick rings and give the squid meat a nice long wash in cold water. Pat or run it through a salad spinner to dry and store wrapped in paper towels and sealed tightly in Tupperware, or some such.