Italian Style Crab Cakes
I use Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset Blend which is a combination of basil, oregano, red bell pepper, garlic, thyme, fennel, black pepper, and anise. You can also use dried Italian seasoning.
1 lb fresh lump crabmeat, cleaned and shells removed
2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
1 shallot, minced
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Tuscan blend seasoning or salt-free dried Italian seasoning
⅓ cup olive oil mayonnaise
2 tablespoons homemade or store-bought basil pesto
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
8 thin tomato slices
Lemon Butter Aioli
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove small garlic minced or grated
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of salt and pepper
Make the aioli
Whisk the melted butter with the ½ cup mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, pinch of cayenne, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl until smooth and combined, cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Make the crab cakes
In a large bowl, mix together all crab the cake ingredients except the oil and the tomatoes. Using 1/3 cup mixture for each, shape into eight 3-inch patties.
In 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat until hot. Add patties; cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Drain on paper towels.
To serve place each crab cake on a tomato slice and top each cake with a tablespoon of Lemon Butter Aioli.
Meunière refers to both a sauce and a method of preparing fish. The word itself means “miller’s wife”. To cook something à la meunière is to first dredge the fish in flour and then saute in butter, chopped parsley, and lemon.
The first time Julia Child ate sole meunière was in 1948 at La Couronne in Rouen, France. Rumor has it this is the dish that transformed her into a French cook.
Unlike a lot of classic French cuisine, sole meunière requires almost no advance preparation and very little time at the stove. It is one of the quickest dinner preparations and you probably have flour, salt, pepper, butter, and lemon on hand. All you need is the fish. That fish does not have to be Dover sole, especially given that in recent years, its sustainability has become an issue (not to mention the fact that it is very expensive). Other flat, white, flaky fish will taste delicious when pan-fried and smothered in butter.
West Coast Dover Sole is a great alternative. Unlike the European Dover Sole, West Coast Dover Sole is a member of the flounder family. It is rated as a Best Choice by Seafood Watch and comes from Astoria, Oregon, a small fishing town located at the mouth of the Columbia River just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean.
I use West Coast Dover Sole in this recipe. Unlike the European Dover Sole, West Coast Dover Sole is a member of the flounder family. It is rated as a Best Choice by Seafood Watch and comes from Astoria, Oregon, a small fishing town located at the mouth of the Columbia River just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. It is available for online purchase from Sea To Table.
4 small sole or flounder fillets, about 12 ounces total
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup flour (or cornstarch for gluten-free)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 lemon, cut into slices
Gently rinse and pat dry the fillets with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish in flour on both sides, shaking off excess flour. Place on a plate and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium/high heat until shimmering, about 2 minutes, then add the butter and stir together. When the butter stops foaming (about 40 seconds), add the fish and pan-fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Carefully turn the fish over with a wide spatula and cook until done, another 2-3 minute, adding the lemon slices during the last 20 seconds of cooking. Remove the fish to a serving plate and pour the browned butter and lemon sauce over the fillets. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Italian Baked Tomatoes
1 large beefsteak tomato, halved horizontally
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Place tomatoes cut-side up in a baking pan. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with oil. Bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
2 medium zucchini
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup flour (or gluten-free or low carb flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup crumbled Greek feta
4 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
Olive oil, for cooking
Place shredded zucchini in a colander and sprinkle the salt over it, tossing well to evenly distribute the salt. Allow the zucchini to drain for at least 30 minutes, and longer if possible. After it has drained, place zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out all excess water. Place the zucchini in a mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients, except the oil. Mix well.
Heat a stovetop griddle or a large skillet. Brush with olive oil. Dip a 1/4 cup measuring cup or scoop into the batter, level off. Drop the batter into the pan and gently push it into a flat pancake shape with the back of a metal spatula. Cook for 5 minutes adjusting the heat up or down as needed, then turn the fritters over and cook for another 5 minutes until crispy. Add more oil to the pan as needed to prevent sticking.
Drain the zucchini fritters on a paper towel before serving.
Scallops & Shrimp In Lemon Butter Sauce
Serve over rice and add a green vegetable.
1 pound large sea scallops
1 lb large (16-20) shrimp, shells and tails removed and deveined
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 large finely diced shallot
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper
Wash and pat the seafood dry with paper towels.
Heat the butter and olive oil together in a large deep skillet. When the butter has melted, add the shallot, lemon juice, and chives. Simmer for a minute. Add the shellfish in a single layer. Cook about 1-2 minutes or as soon as the bottom of the shrimp turn pink, Turn the shellfish over with tongs and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Grind fresh black pepper over the fish and serve the shellfish and sauce over rice.
Italian Sausage & Pepper Frittata
Serve with a tomato a salad and your favorite rolls.
1 lb sweet Italian pork sausage, cut into one-inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove
8 whole eggs whisked
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh basil for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet
Add the sausage slices and brown evenly. Add the crushed red pepper spice, onion, and garlic. Saute. Add the peppers and cook until softened. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the beaten eggs over the sausage mixture slowly to cover.
Top the egg/sausage mixture with shredded cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the eggs are set and edges begin to turn golden brown.
Garnish with fresh chopped basil once the frittata has baked.
Let it sit to cool a bit, and then cut into serving pieces.
Serve with rice or buttered noodles and sautéed carrots.
3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head broccoli, stems removed and florets cut in half
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour or cornstarch or arrowroot
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool slightly.
Place the broccoli into a large pot, cover with salted water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until barely tender, 2–3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Rub the inside of a deep 2-quart casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter; set aside.
Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually pour in stock and cream while whisking constantly. Cook until very thick, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper and 1/2 cup of the cheese; stir until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Remove cheese sauce from the heat and let cool slightly.
Arrange the broccoli in the prepared dish in a single layer and place the chicken evenly over the top. Pour the white sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes.
Lemon Butter Chicken With Roasted Vegetables
4 lb whole organic chicken
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 oz unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice and zest of one lemon
A handful of fresh herbs
Vegetables For Roasting
3 large carrots
2 large onions
A handful of fresh mushrooms
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Season the chicken with salt and pepper, both inside and out.
Use a roasting pan with a rack, place the vegetables on the rack. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.
Place the chicken breast side up on top of the vegetables. Place the herbs in the cavity of the chicken.
Pour the garlic butter over the chicken. Bake on the lower oven rack for 1 to1 ½ hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 180°F (82°C). Baste with the juices from the bottom of the pan every 20 minutes.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, another way to tell if the chicken is done is to poke a skewer between thigh and breast. The juices should run clear, not pink.
Let rest ten minutes before slicing.
Roasted Orangetti Squash
Orangetti Squash is a spaghetti squash variety that is orange instead of yellow. It has a thick, hard, golden-orange rind, with small tan flecks on the rind. The flesh is also golden-orange, with a mild flavor.
1 large orangetti spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop the seeds out of each.
Rub about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the flesh of each half. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place the squash cut-side down in a baking pan with sides and roast 40-45 minutes.
When the squash is cool enough to handle, gently scrape the flesh with a fork to release spaghetti-like strands into a serving bowl.
Pour some of the lemon butter sauce from the chicken over the squash strands and toss. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
Other Serving suggestions:
Season with garlic, red pepper flakes, chili powder; butter and parmesan cheese to taste; or serve with your favorite marinara sauce or pesto.
Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits
2 cups unbleached self-rising flour
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup (6 ounces) cold milk or buttermilk
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Place the flour in a bowl. Work in the butter or shortening with a pastry blender just until crumbs are the size of large peas. Add the jalapenos and cheddar.
Add the milk, and stir until the mixture holds together and leaves the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if needed.
Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface, and fold it over on itself several times, using more flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Pat the dough into a 5″ x 8 rectangle about 1/2 thick.
With a sharp knife, cut the rectangle into 8 rectangular biscuits. Place on the biscuits on a parchment covered baking sheet.
Bake the biscuits for 10 to 14 minutes, or until they’re a light golden brown.
Remove them from the oven, and serve hot. Cool leftovers completely, wrap airtight, and store at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage. To refresh room-temperature biscuits, place on a baking sheet, tent lightly with foil, and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 to 13 minutes, until heated through.
According to Seafood Watch.org, Swordfish caught in the Atlantic with harpoons or handlines and hand-operated pole-and-lines and Western and Central Pacific with handlines and hand-operated pole-and-lines, or by U.S. fleets in the Atlantic with buoys, is a “Best Choice.” Swordfish populations are healthy, and there are no major bycatch concerns in these fisheries. This is the type of swordfish that I purchase.
1/4 cup olive oil
4 Swordfish Steaks, 1/2 inch thick, (about 1 1/2 Pounds Total Weight)
2 large cloves garlic, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Italian Flavored Panko Crumbs
Lemon Sauce, recipe below
Place the swordfish in a glass dish, scatter garlic over fish and then pour the olive oil over all.
Cover and refrigerate for several hours.
When ready to grill:
Remove the fish from the marinade and place on a plate. Pour the marinade into a measuring cup. Reserve.
Place a sheet of heavy foil on a baking sheet and poke a few holes in the foil.
Place the swordfish on the foil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle each lightly with panko crumb. Turn the fish over and sprinkle with panko.
Heat an outdoor grill to high. Slide the foil with the fish still on it onto the grill grates. Lower heat to medium. Cook about 15 minutes until the crumbs begin to brown the and the fish is cooked through. Do not turn fish.
Remove fish to a plate and pour the lemon sauce over the fish or serve on the side.
Add more olive oil to the oil in the measuring cup that was used for the swordfish marinade to equal 1/2 cup.
1/4 hot water
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
Whisk and warm in the microwave when ready to serve.
Linguine with Pesto Cream Sauce
1 lb linguine
1 cup pistachio basil pesto sauce, see recipe
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
Cook the pasta al dente according to the package directions. Drain the pasta in a colander.
In the same pot add the pesto, cream, and Parmesan cheese. Warm over low heat and then add the cooked linguine. Cook for a minute or two. Pour into a serving bowl and top with freshly ground black pepper.
Cucumber Orange Salad
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded & sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
1 orange, cut into segments
1 jalapeno; ribs & seeds removed, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup Italian Vinaigrette
Combine the salad ingredients in a serving bowl. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add the vinaigrette and toss. Serve immediately.
In my kitchen, a pound of crab meat can go pretty far. At least two meals. Make the crab filling and use it to stuff fish fillets and to make crab cakes.
1 pound Lump crab meat
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons seafood (Old Bay) seasoning
Whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, minced garlic, fresh parsley, lemon juice, pepper and Old Bay seasoning.
Stir in the onion, celery and bell pepper. Gently fold in the crab meat, without breaking up the lumps. Set aside one cup of the mixture for the stuffed flounder and reserve the rest for crab cakes.
Crab Stuffed Flounder
Place the fish and sauce over cooked pasta or squash noodles. Serve with a tomato salad to complete the dinner.
2 large or 4 small slices flounder fillets, about 12 oz total
1 cup crab filling
4 teaspoons butter
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Lemon Cream Sauce, recipe below
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Oil an 8-inch baking dish.
Place the flounder on a piece of wax paper. Arrange the crab mixture lengthwise down the wider section of the fillets. Starting from the thinner edge of the fillet, fold over the long way. Place the stuffed fillets in the baking dish and sprinkle each with cayenne pepper and thyme.
Baked Crab Cakes
Crab Filling from above, about 2 cups
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
4 teaspoons butter
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Add the breadcrumbs to the crab filling and form the mixture into four patties. If you do not want to bake the patties immediately, they can be refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap, for several hours or overnight.
Place the patties in an oiled baking dish and place a teaspoon of butter on top of each crab cake. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Serve with the lemon sauce.
Lemon Cream Sauce
This recipe makes enough sauce for both the stuffed flounder and the crab cakes.
1 shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
To make the Lemon Cream Sauce
Melt the butter over medium heat in a small skillet, add the shallot and cook until softened. Add the cream and remaining ingredients. Whisk until thickened, about another minute or two.
Around the world, people eat certain foods thought to symbolize good fortune when the new year arrives. Here are a few recipes guaranteed to make you feel lucky.
Happy New Year.
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Pork, thanks to its rich fat content, symbolizes wealth and prosperity.
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1 (5 to 7 pound) boneless pork shoulder or pork butt
Mustard Barbecue Sauce:
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Mix the paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, dry mustard and salt together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Put the pork in a roasting pan and roast it for about 6 hours. An instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the pork should register at least 170 degrees F, but basically, what you want to do is to roast it until it falls apart.
While the pork is roasting, make the mustard sauce. Combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 30 minutes until the sauce is thickened slightly. Take it off the heat and let it sit until you’re ready for it.
When the pork is done, take it out of the oven and put it on a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 20 minutes. While the pork is still warm, you want to “pull” the meat. Use 2 forks: 1 to steady the meat and the other to “pull” shreds of meat off the roast. Put the shredded pork in a bowl and pour half of the sauce over. Stir well so that the pork is coated with the sauce.
To serve, spoon pulled pork mixture onto the bottom half of a hamburger bun and top with some of the mustard sauce.
Legumes including beans, peas and lentils are symbolic of money. Their small, seed like appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked. In Italy, it is customary to eat cotechino con lenticchie or sausages and green lentils, just after midnight. In the Southern United States, it is traditional to eat black-eyed peas in a dish called hoppin’ john.
4 cups shelled black-eyed peas
2 ounces bacon
1 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chicken broth, plus extra if needed
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
Cook the bacon in a large saucepan. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel plate and reserve for later.
Add the onion and celery to the hot bacon fat and cook until tender. Add the peas and saute for a minute or two.
Add the thyme and 2 cups of chicken broth or just enough to cover the peas by about 1 inch. Add more if the peas are not covered.
Bring to a low boil and add the sugar and stir well.
Scoop off any foam that forms and discard it.
Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low, let simmer for about 25 minutes.
Add the pepper and salt, stir well and continue to cook for 10 more minutes.
Taste the peas for tenderness, they should be tender after this amount of time but not mushy. Drain.
Top with the crumbled bacon and serve.
Southern Winter Greens
Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale and chard, are consumed at New Year’s in different countries for a simple reason — their green leaves look like folded money and are symbolic of an economic fortune.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 1/2 pounds mixed winter greens such as collards, mustard greens or kale
6 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch sticks
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cider vinegar, or to taste
Salt and pepper
Discard stems and center ribs from the greens, then coarsely chop leaves.
Cook bacon in a wide 6 to 8 quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown but not crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then pour off the fat from the pot and wipe clean.
Heat the butter in the pot over medium-low heat until browned and fragrant, about 2 minutes, add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.
Increase heat to medium-high, then stir in the greens, 1 handful at a time, letting each handful wilt before adding more. Add garlic, red-pepper flakes, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, uncovered, stirring, until the greens are tender, about 10 minutes.
Stir in bacon, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
The Chinese word for “fish” sounds like the word for “abundance,” one of the many reasons fish has become a go-to good luck food. In Germany, Poland and Scandinavia, it’s believed that eating herring at the stroke of midnight will ensure a year of bounty—as herring are in abundance throughout Western Europe. Also, their silvery color resembles that of coins, a good omen for future fortune.
1 lb flounder fillets
1 pkg (10 oz) fresh spinach or a 10 oz package frozen, thawed and drained
1/4 cup Feta cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for baking
1/4 cup diced scallions
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to season
Heat oil in skillet. Add garlic and scallions and saute for a minute or two.
Add spinach to the pan and saute for about 3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add the feta and Parmesan cheese. Season with black pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
Season the fish with salt and pepper. Place about 2 tablespoons of filling onto the center of each piece of fish.
Roll fish around stuffing. Place fish seam side down into an oiled baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil Sprinkle fish with oregano and paprika.
Bake at 400 degrees F uncovered for 30 minutes.
Fettuccine in Lemon Sauce
In China, Japan and other Asian countries, it’s customary to eat long noodles on New Year’s Day.because they signify. The noodles must not be broken or shortened during the cooking process.
1 pound fettuccine
1 clove garlic, grated
2 lemons (zest of 1 lemon, juice of 2 lemons)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
Place the spaghetti in a pot of boiling salted water and cook the spaghetti al dente.
Place the grated garlic in a warm pasta serving bowl. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and slowly drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil while whisking.
Whisk until the ingredients have emulsified and add the cheese. Drain the spaghetti and add to the serving bowl. Mix the pasta with the lemon sauce to coat evenly.
Sprinkle the pasta dish with fresh parsley and lemon zest. Serve immediately.