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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Fish/Seafood/Caviar

PRODUCT: Sardines, Delicious & Great For You

Serve sardines topped with cress or with
other salad greens for a light lunch, first
course or main dinner course. Photo courtesy
Payard | NYC, which grilled fresh sardines for this rexipe.

 

If you’re trying to incorporate more fish into your diet, peel back a tin of quality sardines. It’s a break from the same old can of tuna, and the right brand can be a delightful discovery.

BELA-Olhão, from the fishing community of Olhão, Portugal, has perfected the art of canning sardines. Plump, meaty and pretty, too—their silvery skins shimmer on the plate—these are gourmet sardines.

The sardines are wild caught, sustainably fished off a non-industrial coast and 100% dolphin safe. They are packed within eight ours of the catch and canned in top-quality olive oil. They are certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.

They’re available in plain plus delicious flavored varieties:

  • Cayenne Pepper Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Lemon Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Lightly Smoked in Olive Oil
  • Lightly Smoked in Tomato Sauce
  •  
    Matiz, from Spain, is another top-quality brand. There’s no “fishiness” in these fine sardines. If your prior experiences with sardines have not been satisfying, give them a try.

    SARDINE NUTRITION & HEALTH BENEFITS

    Omega 3, 6 & 9. Among fish, sardines have the highest levels of omega-3, -6 and -9 essential fatty acids.They aid the body in transferring oxygen, help with muscle elasticity, brain activity and have a positive impact on the blood vessels and heart.

    Calcium. Sardines are super-rich in calcium: A 3.5-ounce serving has more calcium than a cup of whole milk! One 4.25-ounce tin provides 30% of your daily value.

    Coenzyme Q. Sardines are rich in coenzyme Q-10, plus a spate of vitamins and minerals. Coenzyme Q-10 can stave off heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, even depression.

    More. Sardines are a good source of vitamin D, B12 and lean protein.

    Low mercury. With a mercury content of 0.016 ppm, the FDA calculates that sardines have one of the lowest levels of mercury among seafood. This may be a result of a diet that consists mainly of krill and plankton. The more kinds of other fish a species eats, the more likely it is to absorb the mercury levels of the fish that it feasts upon (which is why shark mercury levels are so high—they eat so many kinds of fish, some of which contain a high mercury content).

    SARDINES VS. SALMON

    Sardines are “the new salmon.” Now if only consumers would figure that out!

    Because of the move to eat more salmon, the wild fish have become less abundant, less sustainable, less nutritious and are suffering from epidemic-like outbreaks created when infected farmed salmon escape into the wild.

    There are numerous issues with farmed salmon—read this article in the New York Times by Taras Grescoe, author of Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood.

    The bottom line: Sardines are a great alternative.

     

    SERVING SARDINES

    All sardines need—fresh or canned—is a squeeze of lemon juice and some minced parsley (and if fresh-grilled, a few drops of quality olive). The quality of Bela-Olhão’s extra virgin olive oil means that no draining is required.

    Sardines are simple to serve:

  • On pasta with tomato sauce or simply olive oil, garlic and herbs
  • On garlic bread as a first course or a snack
  • On a bed of steamed spinach, a vegetable medley or a whole grain
  • In any green (substitute for tuna in a Niçoise salad)
  •  
    Or, make “sardine cakes” instead of crab cakes. Here’s a recipe for fresh, light, meaty sardine cakes from Bela-Olhão:

    RECIPE: SARDINE CAKES

    Ingredients For 4 Servings (2 Cakes Each)

     

    Bela Olhao sardines in plain and flavored olive oils. Photo by Melody Lan | THE NIBBLE.

  • 1 can (4-1/4 ounces) sardines in olive oil, drained and mashed
  • 1 can (15-1/2-ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup pre-shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 small red or orange bell pepper, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs, divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MASH the beans in a large bowl using the back of a spoon until smooth but still a bit chunky.

    2. ADD sardines, cheese, pepper, 3/4 cup of the bread crumbs, egg, lemon juice, tarragon, salt, and pepper to taste and mix well to combine. Place the remaining bread crumbs on a plate.

    3. SHAPE the mixture into eight 1/2-inch thick patties and coat with the remaining bread crumbs.

    4. HEAT 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the patties until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Add the remaining oil when you turn the patties.

    5. SERVE with a wedge of lemon, and optional tartar sauce or ketchup for dipping.

    SARDINES & SALAD

    Like tuna, sardines fit in to any green salad preparation. Try this recipe for a sophisticated Sardine, Cress & Almond Salad.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Japanese-Inspired Salmon Appetizer


    Cooked salmon “roll.” Photo courtesy
    MacKnight Foods.

     

    First, the health benefits:

    For years, healthcare professionals have been promoting the benefits of eating more salmon for its omega 3 essential fatty acids. Omega 3s contribute to:

  • Cardiovascular health
  • Decreased cancer risk (breast, colorectal and prostate cancer)
  • Eye health—both dry eye and macular degeneration
  • Improved mood and cognition
  • Joint protection
  •  
    Beyond the well-promoted omega 3s, salmon has two equally strong health benefit components:

     
    Salmon Proteins and Amino Acids

  • Recent studies have found that salmon contains small bioactive protein molecules called bioactive peptides. They may provide help with joint cartilage, insulin effectiveness and control of inflammation in the digestive tract (e.g., ulcerative colitis).
     
    Selenium, An Antioxidant

  • Salmon is noteworthy for its high selenium content. High selenium intake is associated with decreased joint inflammation, and also with prevention of certain types of cancer, including colorectal cancer. Four ounces of salmon provide more than 60% of the Daily Value (DV) for this mineral.
  • As an antioxidant nutrient, selenium has also been shown to be especially important in cardiovascular protection through maintenance of the molecule glutathione.
  •  
    Enough seriousness; now for the fun.

    As an alternative to the conventional baked, broiled, grilled, roasted or sauteed salmon main course, here’s an idea for an appetizer or first course. You can also serve it as a salad course, plated with a green salad.

     

    SALMON “ROLL” APPETIZER

    This easy recipe was inspired by sashimi, but it isn’t raw. The ingredients are:

  • Salmon, cooked or smoked
  • Nori, the roasted seaweed sheets used to wrap sushi rolls
  • Optional: cucumber spears for smoked salmon roll
  • Optional: plate with Asian slaw or seaweed salad
  •  
    Then:

  • For smoked salmon: Cut cucumber to size and roll in a piece of smoked salmon; wrap with a band of nori.
  • For cooked salmon: Cut thick fingers of cooked salmon. Wrap with nori and serve.
  •  

    Smoked salmon “rolls.” Photo courtesy MacKnight Foods.

     

    NORI: ANOTHER “HEALTH FOOD”

    You can buy nori in the Asian products aisle of your market, at Asian grocers, or online. Look for a brand that has perforated sections so it can also be more easily cut.

    Store nori in an airtight container (a heavy duty storage bag with the air squeezed out will do).

    Nori is about one-third protein and one-third dietary fiber, and contains high proportions of iodine, vitamins A, B, and K, and iron.

    It has almost no calories; and the people who love it really love it. You can also use a chiffonade of nori as a garnish for noodles, soups and other dishes.

    You can also eat nori as a snack. You may have noticed the proliferation of nori snack packages—toasty, crunchy nori seasoned with sesame seeds or other flavors. We love them!
     
    BE SAVVY ABOUT SALMON

  • Types of salmon. Do you know your Coho from your Chinook?
  • Make an informed choice. Check out the difference between wild and farmed salmon.
  • Then, take our wild salmon trivia quiz.

     
    FAVORITE SALMON APPETIZERS

  • Pancakes With Smoked Salmon & Salmon Caviar
  • Smoked Salmon & Caviar Blinis
  • Seven Layer Smoked Salmon & Caviar Sandwiches
  •  
    PLUS

  • The different types of smoked salmon
  •   

    Comments

    RECIPE: Caviar Smoked Salmon Sandwich

    Thanks to our friend Ordway, who always gives us a tin of Petrossian caviar for Christmas, we typically have a caviar lunch on New Year’s Day—our first indulgence of the New Year.

    Sometimes we just eat it from the tin with a spoon. Other times we spoon it onto slices of Yukon Gold potatoes with a tab of crème fraîche.

    This year we made the following recipe from Petrossian, where we enjoyed many a fine repast during the year. We made one switch, trading the honey mustard dressing for a spread of crème fraîche and dill. If your market doesn’t carry crème fraîche, here’s a recipe to make it.

    RECIPE: CAVIAR SMOKED SALMON CLUB
    SANDWICH

    Ingredients For 6 Sandwiches

  • 24 large blinis at room temperature or 24 slices of toasted quality white bread
  • Honey mustard dressing (recipe below)
  • 2 large tomatoes, each cut thinly into 6 slices
  • Mesclun greens sufficient for 6 sandwiches
  •  

    A luxurious club sandwich. Photo and recipe courtesy Petrossian.

  • Optional: 6 slices bacon, cooked on a sheet in the oven until crisp and cut in half
  • 12 smoked salmon slices (about 1 pound)
  • 100g (3.5 ounces) sturgeon or salmon caviar
  • Optional: homemade potato chips (recipe)
  •  

    Crème fraîche and caviar. Photo courtesy
    Petrossian.

     

    Ingredients For Honey Mustard Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 ounces red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  •  
    Alternative

  • 4 ounces crème fraîche
  • 1 teaspoon minced dill
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE honey mustard: Combine mustard, sugar, vinegar and a dash of salt and fresh pepper in blender. Mix at full speed 2 minutes.

    2. REDUCE speed by half and add the oil a little at a time until incorporated. Taste and adjust seasonings and texture. Consistency should be spreadable. Blend for another minute. Store refrigerated. When ready to assemble sandwiches…

     

    3. SPREAD honey mustard on 6 blinis. Arrange 1 tomato slice, a handful of greens and 1 slice of salmon on dressed bread. Repeat with 6 more blini, and add to the top of the first 6. Add 2 half-slices of bacon if desired.

    4. ADD another blini to each stack, but no dressing. Cover with a thick layer of caviar and close with the final blini. Cut into quarters and skewer each with a toothpick. Serve with homemade potato chips.
     
    Do you know the different types of caviar? Check out our Caviar Glossary.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Don’t Toss It, Transform It!

    We love the food at Petrossian in New York City. It doesn’t have to be caviar (the restaurant’s most famous offering) to be wonderful, as we discovered when we ordered crab cakes.

    The chef stuffed sections of the crab legs with fresh crab and sea urchin and topped them with caviar: very upscale sashimi!

    We’ve ordered crab cakes countless times at countless restaurants, but no one ever served us the stuffed legs of the crab with our crab cake. We loved it, and it inspired today’s tip:

    Before you toss out shells—be they crab legs or shells, lobster claws or shells, scallop shells, juiced citrus halves, de-seeded pomegranates or other fruits or vegetables—consider how to repurpose them. You don’t need caviar to make it fun.

    IDEAS FOR STUFFING THE SHELLS

     

    Petrossian turned the empty crab legs into gourmet sashimi. Photo courtesy Petrossian Restasurant | NYC.

  • Condiments: chutney, dipping sauces, mustard, etc.
  • Dessert: fruit salad, ice cream/sorbet or pudding in fruit shells
  • Garnishes: chopped chiles, herbs, onions, nuts and other items that people can choose to add or not
  • Salads: chopped greens, egg salad or protein salads (chicken, shrimp, etc.), slaws, vegetable salads
  • Sides: applesauce, fruit compote, mashed potatoes, rice or grains, vegetable purée
  •  

    What kind of leftover shells do you typically have, and what would you do with them?

    NOT ENOUGH SHELLS FOR EVERYONE?

    Simply freeze them until you have enough.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Christmas Sushi & Sashimi

    Delicious Christmas trees. Photo courtesy
    Bemka.com.

     

    Sushi and sashimi fans: Delight your fellow enthusiasts with these hors d’oeuvre:

    RECIPE: SASHIMI TARTARE CHRISTMAS TREES

    Ingredients

  • Cucumber slices
  • Waffle potato chips (you can substitute conventional chips)
  • Tuna tartare and/or salmon tartare (recipe below)
  • Garnish: chives and/or wasabi tobiko caviar
  • Optional garnish: slices of yellow grape tomato for top of trees
  •  
    EASY TARTARE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1 pound sushi grade tuna or salmon, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon wasabi powder
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • Pinch salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BLEND together olive oil, wasabi, sesame seeds, pepper and salt. Add fish and toss until evenly coated.

    2. ADJUST seasoning as desired with additional wasabi powder, pepper and/or salt.

    3. ASSEMBLE on cucumber and potato chip bases as shown in photo.

     

    RECIPE: CALIFORNIA ROLL SNOWMAN

    The photo shows a non-edible scarf and hat. We’ve substituted edible versions in our recipe.

    Ingredients

  • California rolls, purchased or homemade
  • Black sesame seeds or black caviar roe (e.g. lumpfish caviar) for face
  • Toothpicks
  • Optional nose: a small piece of carrot
  • Optional garnish: red “scarf” cut from a roasted red bell pepper (pimento) or a green scarf made from the top portion of a green onion
  • Optional garnish: “hat” made from small square crackers
  •  
    Preparation

    You can assemble a standing snowman by slightly flattening the bottom piece, or simply arrange it flat on a dark colored plate (for contrast with the white rice).

     

    Stack California rolls to make a snowman. Photo courtesy Genji Sushi.

     

    1. CREATE the face on the top piece: eyes, nose and mouth. Use the bit of carrot as an optional nose.

    2. STACK three California roll pieces. For a standing snowman, use toothpicks to join the pieces.

    3. ADD toothpicks as arms.

    4. ADD optional “clothing”: red scarf and hat. For a hat, affix two crackers in a perpendicular fashion with cream cheese. If using a green onion scarf, blanch it in boiling water to make it easier to tie.
     
    Check out all the different types of sushi in our beautiful Sushi Glossary.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Stuffed Crab Legs

    This isn’t primarily a recipe for stuffed crab legs, but a tip that many things we often discard still have a place on the plate.

    Here, the creative chefs at Petrossian made a crab salad with fresh whole crab. Instead of discarding the empty crab legs, they stuffed them and arranged them on the plate: a clever, fun presentation.

    Petrossian stuffed the legs with more crab, a quail egg and caviar and served them with a stripe of aïoli (garlic mayonnaise). But you can stuff them with anything, including:

  • Chopped salad
  • Mashed potatoes of “crab mashed potatoes” with some crab mixed in
  • Rice salad
  • Savory custard, simulating bone marrow
  •  

    Crab legs, stuffed and garnished. Photo courtesy Petrossian.

  • Seasoned, cooked ground beef—an unusual “surf and turf”
  •  

    Garnish the tops with:

  • Caviar or other roe
  • Crumbled bacon
  • Olive or sweet gherkin slices
  •  
    Suggestions for stuffings and garnishes? Let us know.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Festive Food Presentation

    Make your food look more beautiful this holiday season.

    Sometimes, exciting food isn’t about complex cooking skills, but in an artistic outlook. The difference between your presentation and that at a fine restaurant may simply be a colorful and imaginative garnish.

    This red snapper from Aureole in New York City uses two chef techniques:

  • Plating the protein atop the vegetables or starch
  • Scattering bits of fruits, vegetables, flowers, nuts and/or drops of purée from a squeeze bottle or piping bag
  •  
    In this dish, red snapper was placed upon a molded circle of pea puree. The edible garnish includes corn kernels,sprouts, tomato (you can use red bell pepper) and zucchini.

    The result: edible art.

     

    Food presentation counts in this dish of red snapper with artistic garnish. Photo courtesy Aureole | NYC.

     

    Fine restaurants buy much of their equipment at J.B. Prince. Serious cooks (and serious eaters) will enjoy perusing the website. We’d like Santa to bring us:

  • Heart-shape ice cream scoop
  • Cube-shape ice cream scoop
  •  
    Is there something special for your favorite cook?

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Stone Crab Claws

    Meaty and sweet: stone crab claws. Photo
    courtesy Del Frisco.

     

    In the middle of hunting down the best Halloween candy, we overlooked a low calorie, protein packed, even more delicious event: the beginning of stone crab season, which runs from October 15th through May 15th.

    The stone crab (Menippe mercenaria) is the only crab harvested commercially just for its claw meat. (Here are the different types of crabs.) It is named for its extremely hard shell. Because the majority of stone crabs sold in the U.S. come from Florida*, it is often referred to as Florida stone crabs.

    The claw meat is the best part of this crab: sweet and firm with a flavor and texture that is often described as a cross between its cousin, the Maryland blue crab, and lobster.

    If the crab claws look intimidating, that’s because they are. They are strong enough to crack open oyster shells and other crustaceans the stone crabs eat as they traverse the ocean floor.

     

    You can check with your fishmonger for availability, or head for the nearest quality steakhouse or seafood restaurant. We got the heads up from Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, which has locations in eight states, all dishing up stone crab claws (check to be sure they aren’t sold out!).

    If you’re cooking them at home, the rule of thumb is that approximately 2.5 pounds of cooked store crab claws yields one pound of meat. If you’re buying by size, there are medium 5-8 claws per pound, 3-5 large claws, 3 jumbo claws and 1-2 and colossal claws.

     

    WHY ARE ONLY THE CLAWS EATEN?

    While the body and leg meat is edible:

  • The claws are by far the tastiest meat in this species.
  • They’re a renewable resource: The crabber catches the crab, twists off one of the claws (so it still has one to feed and defend itself) and tosses the critter back into the sea, where the claw regenerates†.
  •  
    Stone crabs are cooked immediately upon harvest, usually dockside by the crabber or a processor. This prevents the meat from sticking to the shell. They are then sold fresh, or are immediately frozen. (For the best flavor, frozen claws should be thawed in the refrigerator.)

    HOW TO SERVE STONE CRAB CLAWS

    The sweet stone crab meat needs little or no embellishment. It is typically served simply: chilled with drawn butter and lemon, or with cocktail sauce, Dijon sauce, mayonnaise or vinaigrette.

     

    A live stone crab. Look at the size of those claws! Photo courtesy Euro USA.

     

    Thee meat can also be use in salads or crab rolls.

    But first you have to get it out of the shell! Whether enjoying stone crab at home or at a restaurant, prepare to work for your dinner. You’ll need some tools (mallet, nutcracker, pick) to get to the meat. That’s part of the fun.

     
    *While they can be found as far north as Connecticut and as far south as Belize, commercial harvest takes place around Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, west to the Bahamas and east to Texas. It is illegal in Florida to retain the entire stone crab; only the claws.

    †The larger “crusher” claw is the one usually harvested. Either claw can regenerate three or four times over the lifetime of the crab; regeneration takes one to two years. In nature, stone crabs lose their limbs frequently when attacked by predators. Claws must be at least 2.75 inches long to be harvested and cannot be taken from egg-bearing females. Other crab species, lobster and other crustaceans can also regenerate claws, but their claw meat is not considered so spectacular as to be a food crop by itself.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Olive Oil Poached Salmon

    Olive oil-poached salmon. Photo courtesy
    Pom Wonderful.

     

    Here’s a recipe that tastes and looks great year-round. With brussels sprouts and spiced cider, it’s especially fitting for fall.

    The recipe is from Chef Chris Parsons of Catch restaurant in Winchester, Massachusetts, via Pom Wonderful. Prep time is 45 minutes, cook time is 1 hour 15 minutes.

    If you can’t find sunchokes, substitute zucchini.

    RECIPE: OLIVE OIL POACHED SALMON WITH SPICED CIDER JUS, BABY BRUSSELS SPROUTS & SUNCHOKE PURÉE

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

    For The Spiced Cider Jus

  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 quart fresh apple cider
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest (from about 1/2 orange)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt to taste
  • For The Sunchoke Purée

  • 1/2 pound fresh sunchokes, peeled
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon crème fraîche (recipe)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    For The Brussels Sprouts

  • 1/2 pound baby brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, blanched and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted until golden brown
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  

     
    Olive Oil Poached Salmon

  • 6 salmon fillets (6 to 8 ounces), boneless and skinless
  • 6 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Fleur de sel (or other high quality sea salt) to taste
  •  
    Garnish

  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  •  

    Preparation: Spiced Cider Jus

    1. COMBINE pomegranate juice, apple cider, cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns and orange zest in a medium pot; reduce over medium-low heat to 1/2 cup. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer, discard the spices and zest and return reduced cider to the pot.

    2. ADD the butter and heavy cream, whisking to combine; add salt to taste. Using a hand-held immersion blender, blend until light and foamy. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

     

    We love sunchokes. For a more casual dish, simply scrub, steam and enjoy with plain Greek yogurt and fresh herbs, with an optional sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Photo courtesy Freida’s.

     
    Preparation: Sunchoke Purée

    1. PREHEAT oven to 220°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the sunchokes and cook until fork tender. Drain and transfer to a baking sheet. Place in warm oven and allow to dry. Meanwhile…

    2. BRING butter and heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, over medium-low heat. Transfer the dried sunchokes and crème fraîche to the bowl of a food processor. With the machine running, add the hot butter and cream mixture; continue mixing until purée is smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
     
    Preparation: Brussels Sprouts

    1. COOK butter over medium heat until it begins to brown. Add brussels sprouts and almonds. Cook until heated through; season with salt and pepper.
     
    Preparation: Olive Oil Poached Salmon

    1. BRING bring olive oil up to 160°F in a large Dutch oven or stockpot, over low heat. Add the rosemary, thyme and kosher salt.

    2. PLACE place the fillets into the hot oil carefully. Make sure the oil completely covers the fillets; add more oil if needed. Slowly poach until the center of each salmon fillet reaches 115°F, about 12 to 15 minutes.

    3. REMOVE the fillets gently and season each portion with fleur de sel. Place a portion of the sunchoke purée in the center of each plate. Making a well with the back of a spoon, spoon the brussels sprouts mixture into the well. Place a salmon fillet on top.

    4. RE-FROTH the spiced cider jus and skim the foam from the top. Spoon around the plate, garnish with fresh pomegranate arils and serve.
     
    WHAT ARE SUNCHOKES?

    Sunchokes, a modern term for Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) are edible tubers that grow underground, similar to potatoes. They taste like a cross between potatoes and artichoke hearts, with a slightly nuttiness. Although many people peel them, we like the earthy flavor of the skins.

    Native to North America and related to the sunflower, when in bloom, the sunchoke resembles a miniature sunflower. It is related to the aster and usually has bright yellow flowers. the origin of the name “Jerusalem artichoke” is unknown. Sunchokes can be cooked like potatoes: boiled, fried, grilled, mashed, microwaved or steamed. Raw, it is reminiscent of jicama, and can be added raw to salads.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Coconut Shrimp

    A match made in heaven: coconut and fried
    shrimp. Photo courtesy Chef Johnny Prep.

     

    We reserve coconut shrimp as a special dish to eat once a year. We love it, but gave up the fried group during New Year’s resolutions a few years back.

    Our once-a-year arrived when we received this recipe. This is a festive, make-ahead dish: The shrimp can be breaded up to 24 hours in advance and kept refrigerated. Prep time 30 minutes.

    The recipe is by Johnny Prep. It can be served family style, or individually plated.

     
    RECIPE: COCONUT SHRIMP WITH SPICY
    APRICOT, PLUM & PINEAPPLE DIP

    Ingredients For 5 Servings

  • 1-1/2 pounds (21-25 count) shrimp, peeled (tails can be left on)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ loaf high quality white bread
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • ½ inch oil for frying
  • For The Dipping Sauce

  • 1 jar apricot jelly or preserves
  • 1 jar plum jelly or preserves*
  • ½ cup pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  •  
    *Pitted canned prunes can be substituted.

     

    Preparation

    1. PLACE jams or preserves, pineapple and horseradish in food processor and process until ingredients are fully mixed together. Place in a dipping bowl or individual ramekins and set aside.

    2. PLACE bread in food processor along with cayenne pepper; process into coarse bread crumbs. Stir in coconut.

    3. PLACE bread crumbs mixture, flour and eggs into separate dredging bowls. Whisk eggs with fork. Season each with salt.

    4. ARRANGE dredging containers in a row starting with flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs, plus a large plate to hold the breaded shrimp. Shrimp can be breaded up to 24 hours in advanced and kept refrigerated.

    5. DREDGE each shrimp in flour first, then egg wash, then breadcrumbs. Apply pressure during breadcrumb stage to ensure full coating.

     

    For a lighter dip, use mango or pineapple salsa. Photo courtesy Chef Johnny Prep.

     
    TECHNIQUE: Use one hand to pick up raw shrimp and coat eggs, use the other had as a dry hand to coat with flour and breadcrumbs. This limits the buildup of breading on your hands.

    6. FRY shrimp until golden brown in oil, using a deep frying pan or a deep fryer. Drain on paper towels and season lightly with salt.

    7. PLACE on a platter with the dipping bowl in the center; or divide into individually plated portions.

    ABOUT CHEF JOHNNY PREP

    Chef Johnny Prep is an author, entrepreneur, cooking show host, soup expert, and an advocate for children’s health. The author of The Five Star Entertaining Casual Cookbook, simple high-end restaurant-quality recipes. Visit JohnnyPrep.net.

      

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