April 19, 2011

Here Fishy, Fishy...

We rarely eat fish. It's not because we don't like it, because we do, we love it. Mostly its because we both work full time and by the time we get home, the fish mongers in our neighborhood are closed. So this past weekend, we took a chance and bought a bag of frozen Cod fillets. The chance being that after having been defrosted, the texture would be miserable. But much to my delight, since we were dealing with a firm white fish, it turned out beautifully.

So here is a classic. An incredibly quick, incredibly simple, and truly delicious recipe that you can apply to almost any seafood you like!

Q.S.D. Cod (quick, simple, delicious)
4 4-6 oz cod fillets (fresh or frozen, if frozen thawed as per package directions)
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 medium Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
3/4 cup flat leaf / Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 heaping tbs capers (either brined or packed in salt, but well rinsed)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup white white
2 tbs butter (or the fake stuff I use, Smart Balance or the like)
Salt & pepper

-Saute the shallots in butter until translucent in large non-stick skillet
-Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup of parsley, and capers. Saute for a minute or three or minutes until tomatoes soften
-Add wine and lemon juice, bring to boil
-Salt and pepper the fillets on both sides, then place in skillet. Cover skillet, bring down heat, and let cook for 4-6 minutes depending on thickness of fillets, until mostly opaque. Flip fillets and cook for another 4-6 minutes until completely opaque, set aside on serving dish (remember, they will continue to cook when you take them out of the pan. So err on the side of just slightly under done, instead of slightly over done)
-Let liquid boil away for 3-4 minutes, then spoon over fish. Sprinkle with remaining chopped parsley and serve.

April 13, 2011

Call Me Chicken.

For years, I had this irrational fear of roasting a chicken. Ridiculous right? The problem is, I've always seemed to muck it up in the past. Either it's pale and anemic, burnt, or something in-between. It was incredibly embarrassing. Anyone can roast a chicken right? No, not really. I'm admitting this to you now, because the spell has finally been broken... and I know why. There's no secret ingredient I used, no amazing new process I discovered. Instead, for the first time, I didn't listen to anyone else's advice and I sure as hell didn't read a recipe.

Every roast chicken recipe I've tried has turned out disastrously for me. I'm always so terribly afraid of over cooking the thing, that the very second the meat is up to temperature, I pull it out, color be damned. Color equals flavor in a roast chicken - so not only is something pale not appetizing to the eyes, it's unappetizing to the palate, too.

So, I decided it was time to face the chicken. No recipes, no suggestions. I am incredibly happy to say it came out beautifully and was delicious. I feel almost silly posting the recipe since I've just gone on and on about not following one, but I'm going to post it with this little stipulation. Please feel free to never use this recipe, ever; and please feel free to make this recipe your own. When roast chicken is concerned, besides the correct temperatures for the meat, there are no rules.

Roast Chicken
1 4-5 lb Kosher chicken
1 small onion, quartered
1 large lemon, quartered
3 garlic cloves, split
Kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper
dried thyme

-Preheat oven to 400.
-Make sure chicken is at room temperature. Thoroughly wash the skin and cavity, pat dry. Spray the bottom of an oven-safe pan with a little cooking spray, then place chicken in pan, un-trussed. (I used my all-clad saute pan). The only real tip here is, if you use a vessel that too big, the veggies will definitely burn.
-Because the chicken is Kosher, you don't need much salt, so salt the chicken sparingly. Pepper and thyme the chicken well, though. Scatter the onion, lemon, and garlic around the chicken in the pan.
-Cook for approximately an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half. Dark meat should read 175, white meat 160-165.
-Turn off oven and open oven door for about 15-20 minutes, letting the chicken rest. Remove the pan and set chicken aside on craving board.
-Strain the onions, garlic, and lemon through a fine sieve over the pan, pressing lightly with a spoon to release liquid. Using a little chicken stock or white white, put the pan over high heat, and cook the au jus until boiling and thickened, scraping up any stuck bits with a wooden spoon.
-Cut up chicken and serve along side the warm au jus. Enjoy.