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Posts Tagged ‘paprika’

see the foamy white goodness on the salmon?  that's hot butter

see the foamy white goodness on the salmon? that's hot butter

I think I may have mentioned this already, but salmon isn’t really my favorite fish.  It’s just so salmony.  So it’s funny that we eat it about once a week in our house.  Clarification: I don’t care for it as much when other people fix it, I love it when I prepare it myself.  Is that snooty?

The thing about salmon is that it’s so affordable and a cinch to prepare, extremely good for your body and a very sustainable fish.  All of these things appeal to my sensibilities.  Also, I have found some ways to make salmon taste creamy, not salmony. 

Imagine a plumpy, flaky, juicy little piece of pink fish, covered in a delicious blackened crust – onions, garlic, paprika and cayenne all come together to create a smoky depth of flavor – a little lemon and thyme add brightness and keep things interesting.  Imagine drizzling a little bit of browned butter on the fish – it sizzles on the crust – buttery magic is happening.  Now imagine yourself taking the perfect bite of creamy fish – the crunch of the crust is so toothsome – the soft richness of the salmon is a perfect contrast.  I mean really, imagine this.  You too can be so passionately dramatic about a fish that you’re not even sure you like.  Indeed, that is how spectacular this recipe is.  I’m getting worked up just thinking about it (even with a belly full of the best homemade pizza that has come from my kitchen to date)…    

Furthering the greatness of this dish is the fact that I can throw it on my indoor grill with some asparagus and call it a night.  Jon and I split a large, skinned filet between the two of us but you could get wild and have an entire filet to yourself – just increase the amount of the spice mixture.  Speaking of wild, Sockeye and other non-farmed varieties of salmon are abundantly available right now – there are no excuses to not to have a euphoric salmon experience this week.

blackened salmon with a brown butter drizzle       

  • one large, skinned salmon filet cut in half
  • two tbsp of onion (red, white, yellow – use what you’ve got), finely minced
  • two cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • a heaping tsp of paprika, maybe a little more
  • a heaping tsp of dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper, or more if you like heat
  • 1/4 tsp of smoked pimenton or smoked paprika (if you don’t have this on hand just omit it – it’s just a bonus)
  • a very generous pinch of kosher salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • a very generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, probably a few tbsps
  • half of a lemon
  • a tbsp or so of butter
  1. combine the onion, garlic, cayenne, paprika, thyme, salt, pepper and lemon in a small bowl and add enough olive oil to form a nice wet paste (just for fun, take a big whiff of the mix – it will be aromatic and wonderful)
  2. cover one side of each piece of salmon with some of the spice mixture, and place spiced side down onto a well oiled grill pan or skillet on medium heat
  3. add the remaining spice mixture to the exposed side of the salmon
  4. cook the salmon for three to four minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the filet (be gentle when you’re turning the fish over so that the crust stays with the fish)
  5. in the last few minutes of cook time, melt some butter over medium heat, swirling gently until is begins to brown
  6. plate the salmon and drizzle the hot butter immediately over each fillet – serve with another squeeze of lemon and thank God for the privilege of food and taste buds

Do you want more salmon?  How about favorite spring salmon on peas with lemon brodetto or salmon with citrus pesto? Mmmmm….

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moroccan-stewWow.  I have been away for a while.  I feel distant from my little blog space and from my kitchen.  We’ve been slowly reconnecting since my time in Orange County; I’ve been sleepwalking through my house the last few days and enjoying my own food in a dream-like state.  Ahhhhh…

Anyway, I’m back and I want to share this easy and fabulous Moroccan stew.  I made it just before I left for my event in So Cal; I felt so comforted and joyful and delightfully global while eating it – I was transported from my deadlines and pile of work to food fantasy land.  It is the FIRST thing I made when I got home.  It is warm and beautifully spiced and fragrant and very healthy and extremely delicious.  How can something be comforting and sensual and exotic all at once?  This is how.  This dish.  I know I get very intense and dramatic about food, but please, make this and go there with me.  It is so, so good. 

I originally came across the inspiration for this dish on Gourmet’s website, but I’ve changed it so much that I’m just warm-spices giving you my version below.  The dish departs from the traditional couscous and is made with quinoa, which is actually an ancient Incan grain and is extremely nutritious.  I love nutty and tender quinoa, which is what originally caught my eye; the warm addition of spices is what inspired me to try it immediately.  You can be very flexible with this – adjusting, eliminating or adding spices to your liking; all of my measurements are estimates since I tend to just spoon and pinch into the pot.  If you want to go vegetarian, add chick peas instead of chicken.  The first time I made it without the dried prunes and it was savory and spicy tomato-y goodness.  The second time I added the prunes which gave the dish a sweeter dimension.  I liked both ways so much that I think I’ll keep switching it up.  This could serve two to four depending on the amount of quinoa you prepare – I made enough “stew” for four and quinoa for two – we just ate extra veggies and sauce.

Soft and nutty quinoa, toasted almonds, tender chicken, sweet carrots and earthy turnips, warmly spiced sauce, bright and green little onions or parsley – all so tasty and so good for you, too!  I’m in love with this dish – I will make this over and over again.

Sit down at the table and inhale the lovely fragrance of the spices – take time and enjoy the flavor in every bite – imagine that you are wandering the narrow aisles of a souk in Morocco with the intense aromas of steaming tagines, the colors of the market and the sounds of music and humanity joyfully confronting your senses.

warm moroccan stew

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • a handful of slivered almonds, toasted
  • one red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • one tbsp of tomato paste
  • one heaping tsp of paprika
  • one half to one tsp of cumin
  • half tsp of dried ginger
  • one half to one tsp of cinnamon
  • one half to one tsp of corriander
  • pinch of clove
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (use aleppo if you have it)
  • two cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • one skinless, boneless chicken breast or a half pound of skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into one inch cubes
  • two to three carrots, sliced about a quarter of an inch thick on the diagonal
  • one large turnip, peeled and cut into eight wedges
  • two thirds of a cup of pitted, dried prunes, halved
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • quinoa (or other grains such as bulghur or rice if you don’t have quinoa – but I suggest you get some and keep it as a pantry staple)
  • a couple of fresh green onions or fresh flat leaved parsley for garnish
  1. heat oven to 350 degrees and toast almonds for about 5 minutes or until fragrant – remove from oven and set aside
  2. meanwhile, prepare quinoa or grains according to package instructions, typically two cups of water to one cup of grains, simmered or steamed for added fluffiness
  3. heat olive oil in a larger saucepan over medium high heat, add onions and saute with some salt and pepper until soft, about six to eight minutes
  4. add the tomato paste and cook for about one minute more, stirring well to combine
  5. add your spices and cook for about one minute more, adding a little chicken broth if things are getting too brown
  6. add the veggies, chicken, prunes (if using) and broth and cook, covered for about 15 to 20 minutes
  7. ladle the stew over the quinoa and top with the toasted almonds and fresh green onions or parsley – serve with some harissa paste if you want a lot of heat and spice

I always freeze tablespoons of tomato paste in separate bags so that the entire can doesn’t go to waste after one use

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sweet and spicy toasty chicken with tender onions

sweet and spicy toasty chicken with tender onions

Remember how I mentioned that the secret to perfectly roasted chicken is the very top rack of the oven at 500 degrees, lots of olive oil and skin-on, bone-in chicken?  If you don’t remember, now you know.  Thank you, Gourmet, for sharing this extraordinary knowledge.  This sweet and spicy and roasty toasty recipe is the first way that I had this magical chicken – so pleasing and delicious. 

It’s a perfect weeknight dinner because it is ridiculously easy to prepare.  It’s also a very economical way to feed quite a few people.  The simple combination of paprika, cayenne and cinnamon ends up tasting surprising and complex – the onions roast to sublime tenderness and sweetness.  I like to roast a few vegetables in a different dish next door to the chicken in the oven.  Sometimes squash and zucchini, sometimes cauliflower; either way I give the veggies a generous dose of lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and a little parmesan.  Gourmet recommends green beans with shallots and cashews – also magnificent. Just make sure you put your veggies in for about 25 minutes instead of the 35 that the chicken needs. 

I can never actually follow the rules for anything, and I don’t always have the patience to measure, so I say you get to adjust the amount of spices to your taste.  The recipe below is just a guideline.  I love lots of paprika, lots of cinnamon and a little less cayenne.  I also add a dash of smoked paprika.  You can use a whole, cut up chicken for a full table; I use a couple of skin-on, bone-in breasts for two or three.  Sweet onions or regular – either will be very tasty.

Once again we have an amazing dish that tastes fabulous, cooks all at once in the oven, makes your house smell fantastic and is easy to clean up.  Yes, please.  Stay tuned for future editions of “fabulous roasted chicken” – I’m thinking szechwan peppercorns or chile and lime… adobo spices or something sweet and Moroccan…

delicious paprika and spiced roast chicken with sweet onions

inspired by Gourmet magazine – serves 4 to 6

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (or more if you like it spicy)
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into serving pieces (I just use a few breasts)
  • 2 to 3 vidalia onions or yellow spanish onions, quartered
  1. mix the olive oil with the spices, plus about 1 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and a little black pepper in a bowl – the mixture should be a little runny but well incorporated
  2. lay chicken and quartered onions in a large baking dish and generously rub spice and oil mixture all over the chicken, taking care to get plenty under the skin, as well as generously rubbing and tossing the onions in oil and spice mixture (everything should be well seasoned – not dry)
  3. drizzle with oil if necessary, add an extra pinch of salt over the dish, and bake, skin side up for 30-35 minutes on the very top rack of the oven at 500 degrees
  4. serve and sing praises for amazing food that is easy to prepare, warms the soul and fills the belly

Serve with all of the pan juices poured over the chicken and onions for extra flavor.

Be sure and roast with the skin on, even if you don’t plan to eat it.  This will help to keep the chicken moist and flavorful and cannot be omitted. 

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