Friday, February 17, 2012

Crab-Stuffed Salmon w/ Corn Red Pepper Relish, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, & Lemon-Thyme Beurre Blanc

So maybe that title could have been a little bit shorter, eh?  I just wanted to make sure I had your attention!

This was, by far, one of the best meals that has ever been cooked in this household.  Andy DEVOURED this plate.  Seriously, I've never seen such a constant smile on his face after eating a meal.  You just know it's gotta be a winner then!

Before we get into anything... how are you guys?!  I know I'm sporadic in my posts, but I try to do one at least every other week.  Things are just getting crazier and crazier!  School, work, school.  And this week I helped make hors d'oeuvres for a fundraiser that the restaurant on campus is holding tonight.  I made some sweet potato biscuits and sandwiched in between them are some fig preserves, country ham, and manchego cheese.  DELICIOUS.  Hopefully they'll be a hit tonight!

Anyway, let's get to some salmon.  Don't be weary about the seemingly long list of ingredients.  Everything comes together quite quickly (less than 45 minutes) if you have everything prepped and ready when you need it!


2 - 8 oz. salmon fillets
1 cup lump crab meat
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

Corn-Red Pepper Relish:

1 red bell pepper, seeded and julienned 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup fresh or frozen corn (I used shoepeg because Andy loves shoepeg, but sweet yellow would be great too)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

Garlic Mashed Potatoes:

5 medium-sized yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup garlic cloves, peeled
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/8 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Lemon-Thyme Beurre Blanc:

1/2 cup white wine
1 small shallot, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
juice from 1 lemon
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
salt, to taste

Like I said, don't be scared!  Everything is super easy, and you don't necessary have to have all the components - but I promise you, if you do... it'll be one hell of a knock out dinner if you're trying to impress someone special!

So first, let's prep the crab stuffing.  Super easy.  In a medium bowl, combine the crab meat, parsley, lemon juice, and garlic.  Season with salt to taste, and bam.  You've got crab stuffing.

Now let's stuff out salmon.  But first we have to cut a slit down the middle of each fillet.  You don't want to go all the way through, maybe leave anywhere between 1/4 to 1/2 inch on the bottom. 

Place about 1/2 cup of the stuffing in the slit (and on top of the salmon). 

Place in a container and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in the fridge until ready to use. 

Now we can make our mashed potatoes and relish at the same time. (But for ease, I'll describe each one separately).

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Place the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Place the garlic in a small roasting dish and toss in olive oil.  Season with a little bit of salt.  Roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until garlic is golden and soft.  Let cool.

Drain the potatoes and add roasted garlic, sour cream, butter, and heavy cream.  Mash until you've reached your desired consistency.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the relish, add a little bit of olive oil to a large saute pan and heat under medium high heat.

Add corn and scallions, cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Then add red bell pepper and garlic.  Cook until pepper is slightly softened, but still has a bit of a bite, about 2-3 minutes.

Turn off heat and stir in parsley.

Place mixture in a medium bowl and add in lemon juice and honey.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Now we can make our sauce while the salmon is cooking (hope your oven is still at 375!)

Place the salmon on a baking sheet and bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until at your desired doneness.

In a medium sauce pan, add shallots, thyme sprigs, and white wine.  Place under medium high heat and reduce wine by about two-thirds.

When wine is reduced, slowly add in one or two pats of butter at a time, whisking constantly to form an emulsion.  Don't add any more butter until the last bit of butter is almost emulsified.  Continue adding butter until all is incorporated.

Whisk in lemon juice and season with salt, to taste.  Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer.  (A great video on a beurre blanc is this one - so versatile, add whatever aromatics/flavors you desire)

To plate your final dish, first make sure all of your components are warm.  If you did this all at once, everything should still be okay (if not, nuke it in the microwave for 30 seconds and you're good to go!).

Place about 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes on the center of the plate, slightly flatten out.  Place salmon on top, slightly to the right or left of center (in other words, not exactly in the center, hehe).  Place a small handful of the relish next to the salmon and drizzle the beurre blanc around the plate and a little bit on top of the salmon, as well.  And voila... a plate designed to impress and satisfy any seafood-hungry stomach!

Hope you guys have a great weekend and see you soon =)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Kale Chips/Fries

It's been a bit since I've done a Secret Recipe Club (the club took the month of January off), but it's one of my favorite things to do!  And my most consistent post =)

Of course, being as busy as I am, I had to pick something easy, quick, and tasty!  So after perusing the blog Cook Book of Trial and Error, it was definitely a hard choice!  There were so many tasty and quick options, but I figured I could pick something I could serve at my Superbowl party, as well!

These Kale Chips/Fries were a healthy option among all the calorie-laden foods was a welcome surprise to guests.  I found myself snacking on these quite a bit last night!

Adapted from Cook Book of Trial and Error's recipe

1 bunch of kale, stems removed
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
Steak seasoning, to taste

My only changes were to use grapeseed oil (I've been using it as a replacement for olive oil lately and I love the cleaner taste!) and to use steak seasoning for an added punch!

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread kale in an even layer.  You may even want to divide it into two sheets like I did (it was a huge bunch of kale).

Bake in oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until chips are nice and crisp.

Season additionally, if desired.

It's always fun to do the Secret Recipe Club!  Want to join?  Visit the SRC website now to find out how!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Coq au Vin

Yes, it's me again.  Took a little bit of a hiatus, didn't I?  I'm telling you, life.  Life does funny things.  Keeps you busy.  Keeps you sleepy.  Doesn't necessarily keep you bloggin'.  But thanks for sticking around...

Anyway, Coq au Vin.  A classic French dish, but how in the hell do you pronounce it?  I swear I was one of the only people in my Culinary lab to have even heard of it before.  It almost was annoying having to repeat it over and over again after people asked what I was making.  But regardless... it's "Coke (in a nasally kind of tone)-O-Van (again, nasally!)". 

Now that we've gone over how to say it.  What the heck is it?!

The literal translation is "Cock of the wine" (no giggling all of you immature folk, hehe) - but we can use our common sense and say it's "Chicken cooked in wine."

One of the biggest mistakes when making Coq au Vin is that people end up with "purple chicken." You don't want purple chicken.  It's just not natural.  So the best way to avoid purple chicken, you ask?  Get a good coating on your chicken in the first place.  And don't go overboard on the wine.  If you want to go overboard on it, don't put it in the pot, put it in a glass and drink it.  Deal?  Okay, let's get to it!


1 whole chicken, broken down into 8 pieces
flour, as needed for dredging
salt and pepper, to taste
2 T unsalted butter
4 T Brandy
Bouquet garni (the following wrapped in a cheesecloth) made of:
     4-inch carrot stick
     4-inch leek, split in half
     1 sprig of thyme
     1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 cups red wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 pieces of bacon, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
18 pearl onions, peeled
10 button mushrooms, quartered

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.

Place the flour in a shallow dish and dredge each piece of chicken, shaking off any excess.  You want to get a good dredging because ideally, the flour that ends up on your chicken will ultimately be what thickens up your sauce throughout the cooking process.

In a large dutch oven heat the butter under medium high heat.  Add the chicken, in batches, and cook until both sides are browned nicely.  Set the chicken aside on a plate.

Add bacon pieces to dutch oven and cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy.  Drain all but 2 tablespoons of fat from pot.  Add the brandy and ignite.  Cook until flame dies out.

Return chicken to pot and add bouquet garni, garlic, wine, and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cover and let simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour.  Or until chicken is tender and sauce is thickened.

About 20 minutes before ready to serve, add in pearl onions and mushrooms.

Season with salt and pepper.

We served this over some butter sauteed egg noodles and it was just the perfect pairing. 

I know there hasn't been much of a winter (or at least in my part of the world), but this would be the perfect dish to curl up on the couch with and get warm.  It's comfort in a bowl, I tell ya.  The chicken is tender and falling off the bone.  The sauce is rich, yet delicate. 

Hope everyone is doing well, I know I am, albeit busy as hell!  Have a great weekend guys!


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