Sunday, November 29, 2009

Feast of Two Fishes

Prosciutto Roasted Cod

Moules Marinières

I love seafood and decided to double down last night by trying two new recipes.

Prosciutto Roasted Cod was a simple preparation which would be good with any white fish... sea bass and halibut come to mind. I opted for cod knowing it's a fish that the rest of the family will eat. They don't like sea bass or halibut. Their loss.

After lightly oiling the fish and the baking sheet, I seasoned the fish with salt and pepper and wrapped a thin slice of prosciutto around the middle of each fillet and roasted it all in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. To amp up the flavor, I brushed the cooked fillets with rosemary butter. Any herb or even garlic butter would do. This is very good served with roasted vegetables or even a tomato-based side dish. It's on the mild side, so definitely go nuts with your side dishes!

I decided to try my hand at Moules Marinières after reading the recipe in Garlic and Sapphires, Ruth Reichl's very funny account of her days as restaurant critic for the New York Times. It sounded easy and it was (the recipe, NOT the job of restaurant critic). To top it off, a pound of mussels is $1.79... you can't beat that!

Moules Marinières
Serves 4 (can be cut in half if necessary)

4 pounds mussels, scrubbed clean and debearded
1 onion, diced
2 shallots, diced
1 cup dry white wine
3 T. unsalted butter
salt and pepper
chopped parsley

Combine the onion, shallots and wine in a large pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the mussels, cover and cook over high heat, shaking the pot from time to time, for about 4 minutes, or until all the mussels have opened. Discard any unopened mussels.
Add the butter, salt, pepper and chopped parsley to the pot. Serve mussels and broth in bowls, with bread to mop up the sauce.

Recipe from Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thai Chicken Soup

Tonight's dinner was a quick-to-prepare soup with Thai flavors. I stumbled across the recipe this weekend and it appealed to me for several reasons.

First, I love a soup where the chicken is simmered with the rest of the ingredients, then removed, shredded and put back in the pot to mingle again for a few minutes. Not only does the flavor of the meat enrich the broth, but the chicken is always so tender when cooked this way. Second, I haven't had Thai food in a while, and the ingredient list of coconut milk, Thai curry paste, cilantro and lime called to me. Finally, it seemed like the soup would be very easy to put together after a day of work, and it was.

I wished the soup was a bit spicier (I could have added more curry paste but I didn't want to overwhelm the more delicate palates at my table). I fixed that by adding a squirt of sriracha to my bowl just before serving.

I have the feeling this soup will only get better with age, so I'm glad we didn't finish the whole pot tonight.

Thai Chicken Soup
Serves 4

2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
1 15-ounce can coconut milk -- light is fine but not as flavorful as full-fat
2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes -- with juice
1 1/2 pounds bone-in, skinned chicken breast
4 scallion -- sliced, white and green parts separated
1/4 cup red bell pepper -- diced
1 1/2 cups cooked rice -- white, brown, black or jasmine
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Thai fish sauce
salt and pepper
sriracha sauce
lime wedges

In a Dutch oven or large heavy soup pan, blend the chicken broth, coconut milk and curry paste. Set the pot over medium heat. Add tomatoes, chicken, scallion whites and bell pepper. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken and set aside until cool enough to handle. Shred the chicken and return it to the pot.

Stir in the cooked rice, cilantro, scallion greens, lime juice and a dash or two of fish sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Add a squirt of sriracha and serve with a lime wedge on the side.

Adapted from Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way by Lorna Sass