May – Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

May – Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

I must admit that I have been reluctant to try all the various forms and recipes for pesto out there that aren’t ‘traditional’. I have a great love for pesto made with fresh from the garden basil. But, on the www you can find pesto made from almost anything. The greens include basil, mint, spinach, cilantro, seaweed, arugula, chard, kale and Italian parsley. The nuts can include pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and almonds. Whew! The term pesto has stretched to include almost any green and nut whirled to a chunky paste with olive oil (although even that is not used exclusively).

But now is a different time, we are all pushed to use ingredients and our pantry in ways that would have been unimaginable a few months ago. During the past few months I have seen many creative and interesting recipes out there. Waste is not an option when you are trying to make your grocery shopping trip last as long as possible. A forgotten head of broccoli was looking a little sad in the back of the produce drawer. A few months ago I might have thrown it into the worm bin. Not now. The salmon from the back of the freezer also needed cooking. Combining the two together was a delicious surprise. This version of charred broccoli pesto doesn’t contain any nuts or basil. But it tastes delicious and you won’t miss them. The charring adds a lot of umami flavor and makes up for any lack of nuts or basil. There are only 4 ingredients; roast charred broccoli florets, garlic, parmesan and olive oil (plus salt). Whiz them all in your food processor for a few seconds and voila! It certainly perked up the salmon.

Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

Charred Broccoli Pesto

Charred Broccoli Pesto

Charred Broccoli Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole
  • 1 large head of broccoli, florets broken into smaller pieces (save the bigger stems for another dish)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of parmesan cheese, either grated or broken into chunks
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt to taste

Put any unused pesto into a small jar and top with olive oil. It will keep for at least a week.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cut and wash the broccoli into small florets, place them on the baking sheet and coat with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Reserve the stems, they are delicious when peeled tough skin and stir fried.
  4. Roast until the edges of the florets begin to crisp and brown, and the broccoli is tender. This will take about 30 minutes.
  5. In a food processor pulse the broccoli, parmesan, and garlic cloves. In a slow stream add the additional 1/4 cup of olive oil.
  6. Taste and add salt if necessary.
Charred Broccoli Pesto

Charred Broccoli Pesto

The miracle idea of slow roasting is that it is difficult to overcook the fish. The end result is velvety soft, moist and cooked all the way through. This method has become my preferred way of cooking salmon. Although the salmon had been in my freezer for a few months, you would have thought it was caught that morning.

This was a smaller piece of salmon, just right for 3. If you have a larger piece you will need to either increase the cooking time, or cut it into individual portions before cooking.

The slow cooked salmon was one of the methods reviewed in an exhaustive testing by Food 52 where they did a comparison of salmon cooked 12 ways.

It was one of their favorites.

Slow Roasted Salmon

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb salmon filet
  • 1/2 cup of charred broccoli pesto

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil
  3. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the baking sheet and coat with the pesto
  4. Bake for 30 minutes.
Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

 

The inspiration for the charred broccoli pesto came from the blog The Modern Proper. They added basil but alas it was not to be had by me. I didn’t miss it and don’t think it is necessary.

 

Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

Slow Baked Salmon with Charred Broccoli Pesto

Served with a stir fry of red Chinese cabbage, onion, and broccoli stems.

I am taking this dish to share with the folks at Fiesta Friday, this week it’s #329. I am a cohost along with Diann @ Of Goats and Greens

Make your way over to Angie’s, the host of Fiesta Friday, to read all the amazing posts about food and crafts. It’s a amazing variety of bloggers. And, thank you for visiting me. I would love to hear from you.

May – Pasta with Anchovies, Tomatoes, and Mint

Here is the good news…there is no reason to wait until July for this delicious simple pasta sauce. You can make it with sub-par tomatoes (cherry or hot house) before we enjoy tomatoes in their full summer glory, it will still be delicious. No mint? No problem. Use some basil or all parsley instead. Or use a tablespoon of pesto sauce. Don’t let a lack of ingredients stop you from making this recipe. All you need is a green salad to accompany it for a full satisfying meal.

It could also easily be a pantry meal with oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, canned anchovies, and a bit of pesto sauce. Voila! Instant dinner.

Pasta with Anchovies, Tomatoes, and Mint

Pasta with Anchovies, Tomatoes, and Mint

Ingredients:

  • 12 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, plus more for serving (preferably flat leaf Italian)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil or mint leaves, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh plum tomatoes-chopped, or all cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
  • 12 oz pasta of any sort
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Pasta with Anchovies, Tomatoes, and Mint

Pasta with Anchovies, Tomatoes, and Mint

Method:

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, chop the anchovies, garlic, parsley, mint (or basil or more parsley), and red pepper flakes together on a cutting board.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the anchovy mixture until the garlic starts to turn golden, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir the tomatoes into the skillet, cover, and cook until they are soft and release their liquid, stirring occasionally, 7-10 minutes. Uncover and cook for about 3 minutes longer to concentrate the juices slightly.
  5. While the sauce is cooking, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until it is just al dente…maybe a minute or two less than the package suggests. Drain the pasta reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  6. Add the pasta, butter, and lemon zest to the skillet and toss to mix well. Stir in a little of the reserved pasta water if it seems dry. The pasta will absorb all that delicious sauce, become infused with flavor.
  7. Serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped parsley and mint and drizzled with olive oil. I added just a touch more lemon zest just before serving.
Mint

Mint – in a container so it doesn’t grow out of control

Recipe is from Dinner in French by Melissa Clark. She uses basil and parsley as herbs, I substituted mint since my basil is only 1/8 inch high at the moment. You could stir in a generous tablespoon of pesto in step 2.

Pasta with Anchovies, Tomatoes, and Mint

Pasta with Anchovies, Tomatoes, and Mint

I am taking this to Fiesta Friday #328 hosted by Angie and cohosted this week by Laurena @ Life Diet Health

Pasta with Anchovies, Tomatoes, and Mint

Pasta with Anchovies, Tomatoes, and Mint

May – Mustardy Chicken Thighs

May – Mustardy Chicken Thighs

For me?

This couldn’t be easier, faster or more delicious. Juicy mustardy flavored dark meat chicken with a crisp skin. Of course you could also do this with breasts as well if that is what you have. The secret is a simple paste you put both under the skin and over it. You can either cook this in the oven or on the BBQ.

Mustardy Chicken

Mustardy Chicken

In a small bowl combine:

  • 6 green onions – finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large clove garlic – pressed
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 6 large chicken thighs – bone in/skin on and trimmed of excess fat
  • olive oil for oiling the BBQ grate if cooking that way

Method: 

  1. Whisk onion, mustard, lemon juice and garlic together in a medium bowl. Using hands, loosen chicken skin on each thigh, making sure to leave 1 side attached. Spoon about a teaspoon of the mustard mixture under the skin of each thigh covering the meat evenly as possible and dividing equally among thighs (use about half the mustard mixture). Fold skin flap over to enclose mixture.
  2. Sprinkle thighs with salt and pepper on both sides of the thighs. Spread remaining mixture atop the thighs, spreading evenly. (Chicken can also be prepared up to 6 hours in advance, and stored covered in the fridge.)
  3. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat)  Brush grill rack generously with olive oil. Grill chicken until golden brown and cooked through, turning chicken occasionally and moving to cooler spot on grill if browning too quickly – about 40 minutes.
  4. Or, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until firm to the touch and the skin is browned.
  5. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Mustardy Chicken

Mustardy Chicken Thighs

I served these with spicy toasted potatoes and a green salad. The potatoes and chicken both cook at 450 degrees F so it was very convenient.

I am going to take a bunch of these over to Angie’s place to celebrate Fiesta Friday #327. Check out the posts from bloggers around the globe. You will find great recipes, craft ideas, and other tips. Please vote for your favorite 5.
May – Cinco de Mayo Tacos, Cauliflower and/or Chicken

May – Cinco de Mayo Tacos, Cauliflower and/or Chicken

I am not sure which might be more difficult to obtain these days, boneless chicken thighs or cauliflower. If you are using food delivery, you might not even know what you will be receiving or what will be missing from your order. You could easily go with all thighs or all cauliflower in this recipe if you only have one of them. With both it’s a perfect way to stretch a few thighs into a larger meal. If you want a vegetarian meal, this would be delicious made with a large head of cauliflower or two smaller ones.

Serve the tacos with soft corn tortillas, flour tortillas, or crisp ones from a box. Or give your family a choice of vehicles for transporting the spicy meat-cauliflower combo plus garnishes. My tastes geared towards a tostada and I decided to fry a flour tortilla (did you know they puff up and get wonderfully crisp?), spread some grated cheddar on it and warm in a low oven until the cheese melts and use that as a base.

Flour Tortilla with Melty Cheese

Flour Tortilla with Melty Cheese

Chipotle chicken and cauliflower

Chipotle chicken and cauliflower

The inspiration came from Week Light by Donna Hay. I did modify it slightly to make it much less spicy, and because not all the ingredients were available in my fridge or pantry. The original recipe called for an entire can of chipotle chillies in adobo sauce (OW!!!!), I used 2 chilies with a little of the sauce.

It was plenty hot enough for our family.

Chipotle Chicken and Cauliflower

Chipotle Chicken and Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce from a can, finely chop them
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or put through the press
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into 1 inch florets
  • kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Grated cheese of choice
  • Garnishes – sliced avocado, salsa, finely shredded cabbage, sliced red onions, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, thinly sliced red pepper, pickled vegetable salad…whatever you have on hand

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the chopped chilies and a couple of tablespoons of adobo sauce in a large bowl. Add the maple syrup, garlic and oil. Mix to combine.
  3. Place the chicken in another bowl and top with half the chipotle mixture, mix together.
  4. Add the cauliflower to the remaining chipotle mixture, turning to coat as much as possible.
  5. Transfer the chicken and cauliflower to separate baking sheets. Roast the chicken for about 20 minutes, the cauliflower needed a little longer. You want a nice char on the cauliflower.

I put the chicken and cauliflower in separate bowls, surrounded by the garnishes, and let everyone make their own.

Donna Hay recommends a lime dressing which consisted of:

  • 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • Salt and pepper

I didn’t have any yogurt on hand so we used a bit of jarred taco sauce.

Chipotle chicken and cauliflower

Chipotle chicken and cauliflower

Did you know that limes will turn the color yellow if left on the tree? That is why the limes in the pictures are yellow and look like lemons.

Do you have plans to celebrate today? Maybe a margarita is on the calendar?

 

 

May – Spiced Toasty Potatoes

May – Spiced Toasty Potatoes

Spicy toasty potatoes, full of flavor. Easy as well.

Spicy Toasty Potatoes

Spicy Toasty Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds fingerling, red, or small Yukon gold potatoes scrubbed and halved or quartered lengthwise (you want small wedges).
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

 

Toasted Seeds

Toasted Seeds

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place a small pan over medium heat for a minute or two, until hot. Add the coriander, mustard and cumin seeds and swirl the pan over the heat for 30 to 60 seconds, until fragrant. Remove to a small plate to cool before grinding into a powder in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. You can also use already ground spices. Toast them for a much shorter time to bring out the best flavor.
  3. You will need 2 tablespoons of the spice mix, keep the remaining mixture in a small jar for the future.
  4. Put 2 tablespoons of the toasted spice mixture, olive oil, salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the potatoes and toss to evenly coat.
  5. Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking sheet, spreading in a single layer. Bake, turning occasionally, for about 30-40 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden brown.
  6. Sprinkle the lemon zest over the potatoes and add a squeeze of juice.
  7. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
Mustardy Chicken

Mustardy Chicken – and Spiced Toasty Potatoes “Don’t Touch”

This recipe adapted from one in the The Healthy Mind Cookbook by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson.