Brassicas Bowls

When I make birthday dinners for friends I always aim for new recipes. I was flipping through a Bon Appetit and there was a recipe at the very beginning that was from a chef or that somebody had submitted. It just sounded great and was definitely up my friend’s alley based on ingredients — you can’t go wrong with stuff like hummus, kale, Brussels sprouts, avocado (a lot of green here) and more… It was Brassicas Bowl.

Ingredients
4 Servings

4 large eggs (I didn’t use these as I opted to serve the dish with pan seared tuna)
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
½ bunch curly kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed, thinly sliced lengthwise
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup unsalted, roasted sunflower seeds, divided (great to grab them from salad bars if you don’t want a whole bunch)
½ cup hummus
1 avocado, quartered lengthwise
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Crushed red pepper flakes (for serving)

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Preparation

Cook eggs in a large saucepan of boiling water for 7 minutes (whites will be set and yolks still slightly soft). Drain; transfer to a bowl of ice water and let sit until cool. Drain; peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 500°. Toss broccolini with 1 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt. Roast, turning occasionally, until crisp-tender and charred in spots, 8–10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Whisk shallot, vinegar, mustard, and remaining 4 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl (large bowl is key because of all the other ingredients you’re going to add — I had to change the bowl several times because of the volume of greens!) until emulsified; season with salt. Add kale and Brussels sprouts and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Massage kale until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add roasted broccolini and 2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds; toss again.

Swipe some hummus along the inside of each bowl with a spoon. Divide salad among bowls and add an avocado wedge and 2 reserved egg halves to each. Top with chives, sesame seeds, and remaining sunflower seeds; sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

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This salad was delicious. So many flavors and very hearty. The tuna on top was great, so much more flavor than an egg! Will definitely be making this again. And it was enjoyed with a bubbly red (one of my favorite types of wines, and hard to find sometimes). It was the I Quercioli Dolce Reggiano Lambrusco DOC.  Some nice bubbles, not overly sweet and some nice fruit notes.

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Kale and Cucumber Salad with Roasted Ginger Dressing

Does the name of the recipe not say enough? This was from a recent issue of Bon Appetit. Kale, love it, cukes, well, I will say I don’t absolutely love them solo (not as much as tomatoes), but when with other stuff, bring them on, and I love ginger. And, I’d never roasted it.

Ingredients

Dressing
8 ounces fresh ginger
1 green or red Thai chile (I used a couple dashes of tabasco b.c of my low heat tolerance)
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)

Salad
1 bunch small Red Russian kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces (ended up using baby kale)
1 English hothouse cucumber, very thinly sliced
3 Persian cucumbers, very thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
Kosher salt
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped (love cilantro)
¼ cup store-bought fried onions (nixed these)

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Preparation

-Heat broiler. Broil ginger in its skin, turning once, until very dark brown and beginning to scorch in places and a paring knife passes through the center with relative ease, 40–50 minutes (if skin is getting too dark before flesh is tender, turn down the heat or move to the oven). Let cool; slice (leave on the skin).

*This really does take this long, and I had a smaller piece. I would highly recommend putting it on foil on your baking sheet as it can ‘scar’ the thing — make major black marks. I’m not saying cookie sheets are all about looks, but it does leave evidence of what was there. Come the end, the skin of the ginger is very crackly and also bulbous, is the best way to say it. Quite cool! Forgot to take a picture.

-Pulse ginger, chile, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, oil, and 2 Tbsp. water in a food processor, adding additional water by tablespoonfuls if needed, until a smooth paste forms.

Do Ahead: Dressing can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Assembly

-Toss kale and ¼ cup dressing in a large bowl to coat; massage with your fingers until kale is slightly softened.

-Toss English and Persian cucumbers, onion, lime juice, and sugar in a medium bowl to combine; season generously with salt. Let sit 10 minutes to allow cucumbers and onion to soften slightly.

-Add cucumber mixture to bowl with kale and toss to combine, adding additional dressing if desired. Serve topped with cilantro and fried onions.

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This was a very nice salad — very fresh! Can definitely be paired with a variety of food. It’s fairly light and has a great flavor. And fun to make since the roasted ginger isn’t your everyday affair. And a side note, it was enjoyed with the wild boar burgers highlighted in another post.

Citrus-Cured Salmon

Finally made a recipe the other day that I’d been eyeing for awhile.  Had to plan ahead because it needed at least 24 hours to be ready.  It’s the Citrus-Cured Salmon from Bon Appetit.
Ingredients:

5 ounces kosher salt (1 cup Diamond Crystal or ½ cup Morton)
⅔ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound skin-on, boneless salmon fillet, preferably wild king
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon finely grated lime zest
½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest

 

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Prep:

Combine salt, granulated sugar, brown sugar, peppercorns, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl.

Spread half of curing mix in the center of a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet roughly the same size as the fish. Place fish, skin side down, on curing mixture. Spread lemon zest, lime zest, and orange zest evenly over fish; cover with remaining curing mixture. Bring edges of foil up and over salmon and crimp to enclose.

Place another baking sheet on top of salmon and weigh down with several large cans or a heavy pot. Chill, unwrapping and flipping fish halfway through, 24 hours.

Rinse fish and pat dry; place, skin side down, on a cutting board. Using your longest, sharpest knife and wiping down blade with a moist towel between slices, cut on a diagonal ⅛”–¼” thick, leaving skin behind.

Do Ahead: Salmon can be cured 3 days ahead. Cover tightly and chill.

Overall very good.  But problem on my end is that I ended up getting fish with no skin. At first didn’t think it would matter.  Come the end I realized that this meant the salt got into the salmon full strength from both sides.  So, this was some salty fish.  The flavors were all very nice, but do remember to get the skin-on salmon. Will have to try it again with the proper cut/side of fish.

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A Green Staple

I love seafood, I love cilantro, I love avocados, I love olives.  What does one do when they all come together?  Melt, find their happy place, eat way too much and then just share — oh not the food, just the recipe.
I found this Ceviche Verde Recipe in Bon Appetit several years ago and just can’t get enough of it.  It’s almost a Green Staple to me. So many things in it that I just love.  When halibut is sort of affordable (Costco, I love you) it’s amazing, but using another, affordable fish is just as good.  It might not look super eye appealing but it is appealing to the taste buds!

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh Pacific halibut or other firm-fleshed fish
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
3/4 cup green olives, sliced
1/2 cup tomatillos, diced
1/4 cup onion, very finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and minced (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Tostadas or tortilla chips

Directions:

Chop fish into 1/2″ cubes; place in medium bowl. Add kosher salt; toss to coat. Add lime juice; toss to coat. Marinate until the edges of the cubes begin to turn opaque, tossing occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Dice avocados; add to bowl along with green olives, tomatillos, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño Add olive oil and season to taste with salt.

Serve over tostadas or with tortilla chips for dipping.

 

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Saffron Fish Stew

Even before this crazy snow started falling (so last week), I was searching for soup.  It was actually while needing to sit on the couch for several hours watching football.  So a recipe I came across to check out was Bon Appetit/Epicurious’s Saffron Fish Stew with White Beans.  I love getting something with that sharp color of saffron (and you can find it for a great price at Trader Joe’s).  When I came across this recipe it has so many of my favorite herbs.  Anything with seafood is wonderful!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup pre-chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground fennel (love it!)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (heaven)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 thyme sprig
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh orange rind
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups clam juice
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pound flounder fillet, cut into (2-inch) pieces (for this I just threw in a bunch of stuff from my freezer — some white fish, scallops, langoustine tails.  I also had a bag of mixed stuff from TJ’s that I’ll use next time)
1 (14-ounce) can great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
Fresh thyme leaves

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Preparation

1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel, coriander, garlic, and thyme sprig; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in rind and saffron; add water, clam juice, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in salt, fish, and beans; cook 5 minutes. Top with thyme leaves.

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This was so quick to make!  Served it with some rosemary bread (can’t take credit for making that).  Delicious.

Ratat-oooo-ille

Was in the mood for something hot and veggie-y and for some reason ratatouille came to mind.  Hadn’t made it for awhile and couldn’t find a recipe on hand, so what else to do than google it?  Came across a recipe on Bon Appetit that received many stars.

Ingredients

1 onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 tablespoons olive oil
a 3/4-pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 small zucchini, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into thin slices
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 pound small ripe tomatoes, chopped coarse (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves (totally forgot to grab this so had to use dry)

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Preparation

In a large skillet cook the onion and the garlic in 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and heat it over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking.

Add the eggplant and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened. Stir in the zucchini and the bell pepper and cook the mixture over the moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and cook the mixture, stirring occassionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the oregano, the thyme, the coriander, the fennel seeds, the salt, and pepper to taste and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the basil and combine the mixture well.

The ratatouille may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated before serving.

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I added some extra tomatoes (had some canned ones that were easy to throw in).  I also added plenty of extra garlic, which never hurts.  This recipe hit the spot!  The first time I had it, it was enjoyed with some roast chicken and delicious french bread at my friend’s place.

Slow-Roasted Char with Fennel Salad

The meat of my Christmas Eve dinner this year was a tempting recipe from Bon Appetit.  A delicious fish with one of my favorites flavors; Roasted Char with Fennel Salad.

Ingredients

½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced on a mandoline, divided
1¼ pounds arctic char or salmon fillet (we used salmon)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon peel (didn’t get that fancy, I threw some dried lemon zest in there)
½ cup dill fronds

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°. Bring vinegar, sugar, caraway seeds, 2 tsp. salt, and ⅓ cup water in a small saucepan to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and add garlic. Let sit until garlic is slightly softened, 10–15 minutes.
Add half of fennel and toss to coat. Let sit until fennel softens slightly and tastes pickled, 8–10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place char in a 2- or 3-qt. baking dish and coat with 1 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until flesh easily flakes apart and a paring knife inserted into fish meets no resistance, 15–18 minutes.
Drain fennel mixture; discard liquid. Toss in a small bowl with lemon juice, preserved lemon, remaining 3 Tbsp. oil, and remaining fennel; season with salt and pepper. Mix in dill.
Serve char topped with fennel salad.

Do Ahead: Garlic and fennel can be pickled 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

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Melt…in…your…mouth.  That explains it all.  There was hardly any left.  The combo of flavors in the fennel, and the balance of soft and crunchy in the fennel from how it was prepped so was good.  I even forgot to mix in the dill, which would have made it even better.  I want more!

Pickled Grapes? and a salad…

New magazine, new recipe.  A recent one I ripped out of Bon Appetit just had to be tested…Radicchio Salad with Pickled Grapes and Goat Cheese.  What the heck do pickled grapes taste like?  And it was interesting when reading through the recipe because you use black vs. red grapes.

Ingredients

½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 star anise pods (great to get in bulk, they didn’t even weigh anything, they wouldn’t even charge me at Whole Foods)
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, chopped
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice, divided
1 cup seedless black grapes, halved if large
8 cups torn or sliced Treviso and/or Chioggia radicchio
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup unsalted, roasted almonds, chopped
2 ounces aged goat cheese, crumbled (about ⅓ cup) (yeah, lactose free)

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Prep

-Combine vinegar, sugar, star anise, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, 2 tsp. salt, 2 Tbsp. orange juice, and ¼ cup water in a medium bowl or glass jar; stir (or cover and shake) until sugar and salt dissolve. Add grapes and let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes.
-Toss radicchio in a large bowl with oil, 3 Tbsp. strained pickling liquid, and remaining 1 Tbsp. orange juice; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a platter and scatter drained pickled grapes, almonds, and goat cheese over top.
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This was pretty simple to make and had some great flavors, as well as being so fresh!  Would be nice over the holidays.  Enjoy.

Do Ahead: Grapes can be pickled 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Crusted!

Tried another recipe from a recent issue of Bon Appetit — Wild Rice-Crusted Halibut.  Sounded pretty unique so had to give it a try.  Also relatively easy to make.

Ingredients
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
½ cup wild rice
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
4 5–6-ounce skinless halibut, hake, or cod fillets (I went with the cod, much more affordable)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Lemon wedges (for serving)

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Preparation
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add rice and cook, tossing occasionally, until grains have popped open like popcorn and are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and let cool. Pulse in a food processor or blender to a fine powder. Perfect in the mini-prep.

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Preheat oven to 350°. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Beat eggs and 1 Tbsp. water in another shallow bowl. Place wild rice powder in a baking dish. Season fish with salt and pepper. Working with 1 fillet at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off excess, then dip into egg mixture, turning to coat evenly. Coat with rice powder, pressing gently to adhere. -Was tough to get it to totally adhere, but still got a good amount on there

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high. Cook fish until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and roast fish until just opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

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The crunch you got from the rice was great! And I have now taken this concept and used it for just extra in ‘stuff’ — I toasted the wild rice the other day and pulsed/crushed it just not quite as fine and tossed it with some brown rice. Gave it great extra crunch.  Going to see what else to do with it now.

Mixed Beans with Peanuts, Ginger and Lime

Got together with friends to make a feast recently and found a tasty-sounding Bon Appetit recipe to try — Mixed Beans with Peanuts, Ginger and Lime.

Made a couple changes in the recipe because of nuts, lack of beans, and other stuff.

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2 pounds mixed snap beans (such as green, wax, haricots verts, and/or Romano), trimmed — used straight frozen green beans from Trader’s Joe’s
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ large shallot, finely chopped
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layers removed, finely grated on a Microplane
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
½ teaspoon ground coriander
Freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup salted, roasted peanuts — used cashews vs. peanuts
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped — I went to 4 stores, including international markets, and couldn’t get these.  The guys at both the Mexican markets and Asian markets laughed at me.  I thought that was comical myself that they didn’t carry them.
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon sugar
⅓ cup (packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems, plus more for serving

Preparation

Working in batches by type, cook beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 1–4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain and pat dry.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a small skillet over medium and cook shallot, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add ginger, lemongrass, garlic, and coriander and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet over medium-high. Cook peanuts, tossing often, until golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels; let cool, then coarsely chop. Set aside 1 Tbsp. peanuts for serving.

Whisk kaffir lime leaves, lime zest, lime juice, sugar, ½ tsp. salt, and remaining 3 Tbsp. oil into shallot mixture. Add beans, remaining peanuts, and ⅓ cup cilantro and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with more cilantro and reserved peanuts.

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It was good, but nothing that exciting.  Don’t know if the lime leaves are what would totally bring it in.  Glad I made it, would not discount making it again, but not top of my list.