Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cabbage with Horseradish, Chives & Salmon Roe

Back in December I spent a few days in Seattle. I was very excited to check out new restaurants and in particular Renee Erickson's Bateau, considered one of the top new spots in Seattle. It’s a steak restaurant but the side dishes are no less glamorous than the exquisite cuts of heritage breed, grass fed and finished beef. One of my favorite dishes was the Cava-Butter Poached Cabbage with Horseradish, Chives and Ikura. I have no idea what the actual recipe is, but decided to recreate it as best as I could. 

Cabbage is a terribly under appreciated vegetable. Given a bit of care, it can turn into something really special. In this case, the buttery braising liquid, the horseradish, herbal freshness of chives and pop of salmon roe are the equivalent of giving cabbage the royal treatment. It’s such a fine combination of flavors and textures, I really didn’t see the point in changing it up very much. I used Sauvignon Blanc instead of Cava, because it’s what I had open, but I think any wine with some acidity would actually be fine, if you have sparkling wine, by all means use it.

This dish is served at a steak restaurant, but I served it with halibut roasted in parchment. The sweetness of the cabbage really complements the natural sweetness of fish and seafood. I think this dish would also go well with salmon, black cod, scallops or lobster. It's about the most elegant way to enjoy cabbage so serve it with something prepared rather simply and let it show off a little. 

Cabbage with Horseradish and Chives
Serves 4 - 6

Ingredients

1 small head green cabbage
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling wine
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons chopped chives 
2 Tablespoons salmon roe, or more if desired

Instructions 

Discard any damaged outer leaves of the cabbage, quarter and remove the core. Chop the cabbage roughly, you should have about 8 cups.

Place the butter, wine and horseradish in a deep pot or Dutch oven and heat over medium-low heat. When the butter melts, add the cabbage to the pot. Stir then cover and cook over low heat for about about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cabbage is tender and wilted. Add salt and stir.

Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with chives and top with salmon roe. Note: I get salmon roe at a Russian grocery store but look for it at seafood markets or gourmet shop. If you can't find salmon roe, trout roe would work.

Enjoy! 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Halibut Roasted in Parchment Recipe


Recently Real Good Fish reached out to me to see if I would try their services and share my experiences. I was already considering subscribing and am very happy to tell you about them. Real Good Fish is like a subscription based community-supported agriculture program (CSA) where you get a box of fresh produce only in this case, it's a share of fish or seafood each week. It's dropped off at a convenient location in the San Francisco Bay Area for you to pick up. You get a heads up the day before so you know what you are receiving. Sometimes you will receive things you may not ever be able to find at retail like Ridgeback shrimp or California red abalone but the newsletter and website provide storage tips and recipes. 

So far I've received crab, abalone and halibut. It's always enough for 2-4 servings and costs $22. It's pretty much the freshest way to get your fish or seafood. It's all local, sustainable and the newsletter gives you details about who caught your seafood, the catch, and the like. 

This week it's California halibut. It's mild and a bit firm and very healthy. A portion of 3 1/2 ounces is less than 100 calories, low in fat and a good source of protein. Cooking it in broth or steaming it is a good bet. Cooking it quickly in parchment works because it's basically steaming in its own juices. I add a little bit of olive oil to keep things moist and some preserved lemon for flavor. It adds both acidity and salt, which is pretty much all the fish needs. Note that the time will vary depending upon how thick your fish fillet is. Be careful not to overcook it. You can always pop it back in the oven if needs another minute or two. 

Parchment Roasted Halibut
Serves 4

Ingredients

4 halibut fillets, about 4 ounces each
Preserved lemon, sliced with any pits removed
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil 

Instructions

Heat oven to 400° F. Place the fish on one half of four 12- to 15-inch lengths of parchment cut into squares or a heart shape. Top each fillet with slices of preserved lemon. Drizzle each with a teaspoon of olive oil. Fold the parchment over the fish; make small overlapping folds along the edges to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes if a thin fillet of 1/2 inch or less, 10-12 if a one inch fillet, If it's over one inch, 15 minutes. 


Carefully cut the packets open, remove the lemon slices and serve.

Enjoy! 

Disclaimer: I am receiving seafood from Real Good Fish in exchange for sharing my experiences, I am not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Emu Eggs


What’s big and speckled green? It might look like a dinosaur egg, but it's actually an emu egg. The emu is the second largest bird in the world and native to Australia. Emu are raised in US for their meat and oil, but their eggs are also quite a delicacy. This particular emu egg is the very first one I’ve ever had the pleasure of cooking. 

You may not be able to tell from the photo just how massive the egg is, but when cracked and emptied, the contents are equal to 2 cups! According to the American Emu Association, chicken eggs contain 37% saturated fat and 63% healthy unsaturated fats, emu eggs contain 31% saturated and 68% healthy unsaturated fats. Both contain 8 of the essential amino acids. Another key difference? Chicken eggs are about 65% white and 35% yolk whereas emu eggs contain 55% white, and 45% yolk. Not surprisingly they are richer and creamier than chicken eggs.

Emu eggs can be stored in the refirgerator for up to two months. I was advised to let the egg come to room temperature before using it. I probably had it out of the refrigerator for about an hour. It was still cool to the touch. After beating the egg, I used it to make a large stuffed omelet and the next day a flat frittata style omelet. I was pleasantly surprised to find the flavor similar but superior to chicken eggs, and when cooked, more tender than chicken eggs. One egg will definintely serve at least 6 people. 


I was given the emu egg by a friend, but I’ve heard you can sometimes find them at farmers markets or even at supermarkets such as Whole Foods Market. Have you ever seen or cooked an emu egg? Please share your experiences in the comments!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Chicken with Fennel & Lemon Recipe

Chicken with Fennel and Lemon

If you live in California, you're probably sick of the rain. Of course, we need the rain after many years of drought but it's still somewhat tiresome. The wet weather has put me in the mood for comfort food and in particular braises, soups and stews. Truth be told, this particular dish is barely a braise. Chicken thighs are seared then finished on top of a melange of onions and fennel and some slices of lemon. It's soothing and familiar but lighter than traditional comfort food which was once synonymous with "heavy." Comfort food can be fresher and healthier than it used to be, but just as soul soothing. 

Have you ever noticed how recipes often call for dry white wine? That always frustrates me and I vow not to do it moving forward. It's better to know which wine in particular works well in a given recipe. In this case, I think a crisp Sauvignon Blanc is great. I used Joel Gott 2015 Sauvignon Blanc which has hints of lemongrass and tropical fruit and plenty of acidity. I also used a Meyer lemon. I hope you are able to find Meyer lemons. They have the most scrumptious scent and a sweetness that means even after just a few minutes in the pan, they are perfectly edible. You can use a regular lemon, you just may not want to eat it.

This recipe is simple and straight forward, other than salt and garlic I added no seasonings. I like letting the fennel and the lemon really shine through. As with many of my recipes, I was inspired by several I found online, including a version of a braised chicken thighs recipe from Melissa Clark at the NYTimes and another, an adaptation of a Thomas Keller recipe for crispy chicken thighs with olives, lemon and fennel from the the LA Times. Please carry on this tradition and adapt this recipe as you see fit. Make it your own! 

Chicken with Fennel & Meyer Lemon  
Makes 4 servings 

Ingredients

1 fennel bulb 
4 large or 6 small chicken thighs 
Kosher salt 
1 Tablespoon olive oil 
1 large onion thinly sliced into half moons 
4 cloves finely chopped garlic 
1/2 cup crisp Sauvignon Blanc 
1 Meyer lemon, sliced, seeds removed 

Instructions

Trim the stalks and bulbs discarding the core and any bruised layers. Reserve the fronds and mince them finely. Cut fennel into thin slices.  Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet that will hold all the chicken in one layer.  Add the thighs skin side down and cook until brown, about 7 minutes. Turn the thighs over and cook for about 1 minute just to sear. Transfer to a plate. 

Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the fennel and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, stir and  then cook stirring, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, turn the heat up to medium and cook, stirring often, until the fennel is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Time will vary depending upon the size of your pan. 

Layer lemon slices in the pan on top of the fennel and onions. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up, in a single layer over the lemon slices. Pour in the wine. Immediately cover the pan, set the heat to low and cook for about 5- 10 minutes, until a thermometer inserted reads 165 degrees. Serve topped with minced fennel fronds.  

Enjoy!  

Disclaimer: I received a coupon for Foster Farms Simply Raised chicken which is American Humane Certified, raised without the use of antibiotics and fed a 100% vegetarian diet. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.