Grilled Swordfish with Za’atar Salsa Verde

I love a fresh herb sauce. This Middle Eastern variation on a classic salsa verde brightened up the grilled fish. We ate it over brown Basmati rice with sautéed collard greens and green kale on the side.

This dish was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Alon Shaya. I used homemade za’atar. I also used swordfish in lieu of red snapper, grilling instead of broiling, and modified the proportions in the salsa verde. Healthy and tasty. 🙂

Yield: Serves 2

  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 2 6-ounce swordfish steaks, patted dry
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • â…“ cup loosely packed cilantro, finely chopped
  • â…“ cup loosely packed parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated or chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoons za’atar
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Toast pine nuts in a 400 degree oven (I used a toaster oven.) or a dry small skillet over medium-low heat, tossing often, until golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let cool. Coarsely chop, if desired.
  2. Heat a gas grill or broiler. Season fish with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with coriander.
  3. Drizzle 1 T oil onto one side of the fish, flip and repeat on the opposite side. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill fish until cooked through, about 3-4 min per side for a 1″ thick steak. (Alternatively, place fish on a small rimmed baking sheet and broil until cooked through, about 8–10 minutes.)
  5. Meanwhile, mix together cilantro, parsley, garlic, za’atar, red pepper flakes, and remaining 4 T olive oil in a mini food processor or small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Stir lemon juice and pine nuts into salsa verde and spoon over fish.

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Four Years Ago:

Herbed Pappardelle with Asparagus & Burrata

My husband and I are obsessed with burrata- especially with asparagus. Such a heavenly combination!

Naturally, as I am also such a pasta fan, this dish caught my eye right away. It was fresh and especially wonderful to make in backyard herb season. This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff favorite” recipe, contributed by Grace Parisi. I doubled the asparagus, substituted fresh pappardelle for fazzoletti, and omitted the chervil. Yum!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 3/4 cup parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 T snipped chives, plus more for garnish
  • 2 T tarragon leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 T chervil leaves, plus more for garnish, optional
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound fresh pasta sheets, cut into 3-inch squares (fazzoletti) or fresh pappardelle
  • 1/4 cup raw pine nuts, preferably Italian
  • 8 to 10 ounces burrata or buffalo mozzarella, cut into cubes
  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the 3/4 cup of parsley with the 2 tablespoons each of chives, tarragon and chervil (if using). Pulse until chopped.
  2. Add the lemon juice and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the oil to the herbs and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Put the asparagus in a colander and ease it into the boiling water. Blanch the asparagus just until bright green, about 2 minutes. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Shake dry.
  4. Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  5. In a large, deep skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the pine nuts and toast over moderate heat until golden; transfer to a plate.
  6. Add the pasta, herb puree, asparagus and the pasta water to the skillet. Cook over moderate heat, tossing well.
  7. Toss in the cheese and pine nuts.
  8. Transfer to bowls and garnish with whole herbs.

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Pesto Polenta with Fresh Tomatoes

This is a fast full-flavored dish. Healthy too! I always forget about how much I enjoy creamy polenta. 🙂 We ate it for dinner but it would also be wonderful for brunch.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Todd Porter and Diane Cu. I increased the salt, doubled the tomatoes, and made homemade pesto. The pesto recipe is from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. Tasty!

Yield: Serves 3 (in my house!) or 4

For the Pesto: (Makes about 1 cup)

  • 2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
  • coarse salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 T pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano

For the Dish:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used Campari)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup pesto

To Make the Pesto:

  1. Combine the basil with a pinch of salt, the garlic, the nuts, and about half of the oil in a food processor or blender.
  2. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary and adding the rest of the oil gradually.
  3. Add more oil if you prefer a thinner mixture. (Sometimes I add a little bit of stock instead to achieve the same result.)
  4. Stir in the cheese.

To Finish the Dish:

  1. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. (I use a cast iron pot.) While whisking, gradually pour the polenta into the water.
  2. Reduce the heat to simmer or low and continue whisking for an additional minute.
  3. Continue cooking for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot.
  4. Remove the polenta from the heat when it is tender and creamy and has reached your desired thickness.
  5. Stir the salt and butter into the polenta until the butter is melted.
  6. Scoop polenta out onto plates. Top each with about 1/4 cup pesto. Divide tomatoes among plates. Serve. (We individually mixed together all of the ingredients before digging in!)

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Basil Baked Salmon with Tomato Salad

It’s the last official weekend of the summer. 😦 As much as I love autumn, I know that the change of season also means we are getting closer to cold weather… which I absolutely dread. Ugh.

This meal bridges the summer and fall seasons. It was as torn as I am to leave summer behind and embrace the cooler weather! :/ The salmon is smothered with summery fresh pesto accompanied by autumn-esque roasted sunshine squash and potatoes, as well as fabulous sautéed CSA chard on the side. The tomato salad was literally the icing on the cake (salmon)! 🙂 It was great to make with late summer tomatoes, backyard basil and fresh CSA vegetables.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Ian Knauer. I increased the proportion of sauce to salmon and used grape instead of cherry tomatoes. I am always a little bit nervous when cooking fish… I cooked the salmon for the 15 minutes as specified in the recipe, but next time would start checking the fish at 10 or 12 minutes. Such a healthy and fresh meal. 🙂

Yield: Serves 2

  • 2 (8 ounce) wild salmon filets
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup basil leaves, plus 2 to 4 more leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, separated
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. ( I used the convection setting.)
  2. In a food processor with the motor running, drop the garlic clove into the feed tube and run the motor until it is finely chopped.
  3. Add the 1 cup of basil, pine nuts, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, then pulse until finely chopped.
  4. With the motor running, pour in 3 tablespoons of the oil until combined.
  5. Place the salmon on an oiled baking sheet, then divide the basil mixture between the salmon, then top each filet with 2 small or one large basil leaf.
  6. Bake the salmon until just cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. While the salmon bakes, in a bowl, stir together the tomatoes, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
  8. Top the salmon with the tomato salad and serve.

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Two Years Ago:

Pesto Pasta Salad with Spinach, Peas, & Pine Nuts

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Every summer we drive out to Montauk to spend the day with my friend and her family when they camp by the ocean for a week at Hither Hills State Park. She and her husband are such wonderful hosts. The amount of food they prepare is amazing!! This year I brought this flavorful pasta salad and oatmeal raisin cookies to contribute. Little did I know, her husband isn’t a pesto fan. 😦 I couldn’t believe it- so unfortunate. My friend was happy that I brought a pesto dish because she doesn’t serve it and she loves it- thank goodness! (her husband did enjoy the cookies…)

This recipe was adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties!: Ideas and Recipes for Easy Parties that are Really Fun by Ina Garten. I reduced the amount of olive oil, mayonnaise, and Parmesan to lighten it a little. The spinach and lemon juice help to maintain the pesto’s green color. Tasty!

For the Pesto:

  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pignolis ( pine nuts)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (I used 9 large cloves)
  • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 to 1 cup good olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

To Finish the Dish:

  • 3/4 pound fusilli pasta
  • 3/4 pound bow tie pasta or rigatoni
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared pesto
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/3 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Make the Pesto: Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top. (I found that I didn’t have to add additional oil; this recipe had enough olive oil that rose to the surface to coat it with a thin film.)
  2. Cook the pasta separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and cool to room temperature.
  3. Bring the frozen peas and spinach to room temperature. I place the defrosted spinach in a colander and squeeze out the excess water using a potato masher.
  4. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

One Year Ago:

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Carrot-Pine Nut Romesco Sauce

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This dish was unbelievably flavorful, colorful, delicious, healthy, and quick to prepare! I am such a fan of Spanish romesco sauce which is usually prepared with red bell peppers; this carrot-pine nut version was wonderful. This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit. I increased the amount of pork, greens, and red wine vinegar. I also used red pepper flakes instead of Aleppo pepper and baby arugula in lieu of watercress or baby mustard greens. We ate it with roasted gold potatoes on the side. Fabulous!!

  • ¼ cup raw pine nuts
  • 1½ pound small carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise if larger
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium pork tenderloins
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper or ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided, plus more to taste
  • 7 ounces spicy greens, such as baby arugula, watercress, or baby mustard
  1. Preheat oven to 350° (on convection roast).
  2. Toast pine nuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, about 4 minutes; let cool.
  3. Increase temperature to 450° (on convection roast). Toss carrots with 1 Tbsp. oil on another rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and black pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until softened and browned, 15–20 minutes; let cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season tenderloins with salt and black pepper and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 10–15 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and roast pork until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 145°, 8–10 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
  5. Mince garlic in a food processor. Add toasted pine nuts and remaining 3 Tbsp. oil and pulse to a coarse paste. Add Aleppo pepper, one-fourth of carrots, 2 Tbsp. vinegar, and 1 Tbsp. water. Process, adding more water as needed, to a coarse purée; season romesco with salt, black pepper, and more vinegar, if desired.
  6. Toss greens with remaining carrots and remaining 1 Tbsp. vinegar in a large bowl; season with salt and black pepper. Drizzle pork with pan juices. Serve pork with romesco and salad.

One Year Ago:

If you like this you may also like:

Saffron Pappardelle with Moroccan Spiced Shallot-Butter Sauce

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We have been pappardelle crazy in my household lately– we can’t eat enough of it!! The original recipe had instructions to make saffron tagliatelle but I opted to put saffron threads in my pappardelle cooking water. This shortcut added a surprising amount of flavor – and color- to the noodles. Great! The spiced shallot-butter sauce was spicy and loaded with flavor. This recipe was adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi. I omitted the mint and made half of the suggested amount of sauce (I wasn’t baking… I couldn’t use 2 sticks of butter!). I am a sauce lover and the noodles were completely coated in delicious sauce; the reduced amount was perfect. A wonderful and quick weeknight meal!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 pound of egg pappardelle or tagliatelle
  • 1 large pinch of saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large shallots, finely chopped in a food processor
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chile flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt, or more, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley (alternatively, 1/4 cup mint and 1/4 cup parsley can be used)
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toast the pine nuts for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant and light brown in color.
  3. Make the Moroccan Spiced Butter: Place the butter and oil in a frying pan and add the shallots. Cook the shallots gently for about 10 minutes, or until they soften and the butter turns slightly brown. Add all of the spices, salt, and pepper. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
  4. Add a large pinch of saffron threads to the salted boiling water. Cook the pasta in the water according to package instructions. Drain and return to the saucepan.
  5. Pour the spiced butter over the pasta and stir well. Sprinkle with parsley and pine nuts and gently incorporate. Serve.

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One Year Ago:

 

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