Friday, November 2, 2007

Fish & Chicken

I've been cooking a little lately, but not much new or exciting, unless you count the chili a couple of weeks ago that was the best I have ever made - I'll tell you about that another day.
Tonight I want to share a couple of recipes from Kalyn's Kitchen that I've been saving to try. The first is for salmon - you know how we like salmon - and was really good. It calls for a mortar and pestle to grind the spices together, and I don't have one, so I did what I could with the bottom of a spoon. It was okay, but I'd recommend the mortar and pestle. I also bought fennel seeds instead of ground fennel. Still tasted good. (Sorry about the photo - I forgot to take one before I started eating...)
Herb-Encrusted Grilled Salmon
(Makes 2 servings, recipe can easily be doubled, recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from her friends.)
2 salmon filets, thawed in refrigerator if frozen
1 T olive oil, plus more for oiling grill
Herb mixture:
1 generous T Claudia's Fantastic Fish Blend (Fish blend is lemon basil, chives, dill, thyme, and dried celery leaves. To substitute, use equal parts dried basil, dried chives, dill weed, dried thyme, and celery seed.) [I used the equal parts of herbs.]
1/2 tsp. fennel pollen (to substitute, use ground fennel )
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Remove salmon from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
In mortar and pestle, grind together Fish Blend (or individual herbs), fennel pollen (or ground fennel), lemon pepper, and salt. Pick out any woody pieces that don't grind up, then add olive oil and mix together. Rub fish on both sides with herb mixture, and let sit for at least ten minutes while you preheat gas or charcoal grill.
Rub grill slats with a piece of paper towel dipped in olive oil (or use nonstick spray), then heat the grill to medium-high. (You can only hold your hand there for 3-4 seconds at that temperature.) Place fish on grill at an angle, top side down, and cook until grill marks start to appear, about 2-3 minutes. Then rotate and cook 2-3 minutes more to get criss-cross marks. Turn fish carefully and cook 2-3 minutes on second side, or until fish feels just slightly firm to the touch, but not at all hard. Total cooking time will be under ten minutes, I cooked my salmon just over 7 minutes, and it was perfect. Fish should feel barely firm when it's done. Serve hot.
Now we come to the chicken portion of our program. I wondered about serving this to Greg - he's not a fan of really "tangy" food - but, I have pledged to try new things, so... I bought the Kalamata olives and pitted them by pressing them onto the cutting board with the back of a spoon - easy peasy. When I first tasted the olive caper sauce by itself, I still wasn't sure. Then I grilled the chicken, put on the sauce, and my fears were a thing of the past. (I remember when we were on our cruise and we'd get foods with sauces on the plates, just little dabs of this and that. We enjoyed the food, but then we added the sauces, and they made the appetizer or entree so much better. That's what happened here. The olive caper sauce mixed with the flavors of the poultry seasoning on the hot grilled chicken, it all worked together for a very flavorful dish.)
Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Olive-Caper Sauce
(Makes four servings, recipe for Olive-Caper Sauce adapted from pâté di olive at Briciole.)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
olive oil for sauteeing chicken [I grilled the chicken.]
poultry season to rub on chicken breasts
Sauce: 3/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted
2 T chopped red onion or shallots
2 T capers
1 T fresh thyme (or use 1 tsp. dried thyme) [I used fresh.]
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T extra virgin olive oil
Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken breasts. Rub chicken on both sides with small amount of poultry seasoning and let come to room temperature while you make olive sauce.
(I used a food processor, but you could use a blender or chop the ingredients by hand for this sauce if you don't have one.)
Put Kalamata olives in food processor fitted with steel blade and pulse a few times until olives are coarsely chopped. Add onion, capers, thyme, balsamic vinegar, and parsley. Pulse about 20 seconds, until ingredients are well combined. Remove sauce to a bowl and stir in olive oil. (You can add a bit more olive oil if the sauce seems too thick, but I didn't need to.)
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. (Pans which aren't non-stick will give the best browning.) Put chicken breasts into the pan, top side down and cook 5-6 minutes, or until top is well browned. Turn chicken over and cook 2-3 minutes more on second side. Chicken is done when it feels firm, but not hard to the touch.
Serve hot chicken breasts with olive-caper sauce spooned over. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about a week if you manage to have any leftovers.
Seriously, try these - they're healthy and tasty and easy to make, and just might broaden your horizons a bit. :o)

1 comment:

Barbara Allen Moore said...

I do have a mortor and pestal but before those days I used a hammer or malet with all the herbs in a platic baggie. Also in the restaurant we used a coffee grinder which is real good because you have control of the grind meaning that it only grinds when you press on the lid so 1 or 2 presses on the lid does the trick.