Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Shallots

Recently my PBS station aired a special about how Julia Child influenced many of today’s well-known chefs as well as the viewers who watched the shows. This special made me realize that I, too, had learned many cooking skills from her shows. Growing up I learned some basic Italian recipes from my mother and father (Italian men like to cook.) but not the kind of food America was eating when I got married. My mother was not an enthusiastic cook and tended to make the same things every week. My father would make things she did not like, such as rabbit or crab in spaghetti sauce. So as a young wife I liked cooking but needed to know more. It was about that time that Julia’s shows came onto PBS. There were no other cooking shows on TV at that time. While her recipes highlighted French cooking, she did focus on skills. I learned how to cook a whole chicken, prepare fish and make good sauces from watching her shows. If you have never made her chicken recipe, give it a try. It comes out moist and full of flavor.

Poulet Poele a l’Estragon

(Casserole- Roasted Chicken)

Ingredients

Seasoning Chicken
1 (3-4 pound) roasting chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 shallot, halved

Browning Chicken
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

For Vegetables
2-3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sliced onions
1/4 cup sliced carrots
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

Sauce
2 cups brown chicken stock, or 1 cup canned beef broth and 1 cup canned chicken broth
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons port wine
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon (or 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon)
1 tablespoon softened butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 325° F. Thoroughly dry the chicken. Season the cavity of the chicken with the salt, tarragon and 1 tablespoon of butter. Insert the shallot and rub the remaining tablespoon of butter on the outside of the chicken. Tie legs together with kitchen string.

Heat a heavy, fireproof casserole dish or pot over medium-high heat. Add butter and oil. When the butter foam has begun to subside, lay in the chicken, breast down. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, regulating the heat so butter is always very hot but not burning. Carefully turn the chicken to another side, using 2 wooden spoons. Be sure not to break the chicken skin. Continue browning and turning the chicken until it is a nice golden color almost all over, particularly on the breast and legs. This will take 10 to 15 minutes. Add more oil if necessary to keep the bottom of the casserole filmed.

Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. Pour out the browning fat if it has burned, and add fresh butter. Cook the carrots and onions slowly in the casserole for 5 minutes without browning. Add the salt and tarragon.

Salt the chicken and place it breast up over the vegetables. Baste with the butter in the casserole. Lay a piece of aluminum foil over the chicken, cover the pan, and reheat it on top of the stove until you hear the chicken sizzling. Then place the casserole/pan in the preheated oven.

Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Baste once or twice with the butter and juices in the casserole. The chicken is done when the drumsticks move in their sockets, and when juices run clear.

Remove the chicken to a serving platter and discard trussing strings. Combine the cornstarch with ¼ cup of the chicken broth and the port wine and set aside. Add the remaining broth to the casserole and simmer for 2 minutes, scraping up coagulated roasting juices. Blend in the cornstarch mixture, simmer a minute, then raise heat and boil rapidly until the sauce is lightly thickened. Stir in tarragon and butter.

Serve chicken with sauce. Good sides are peas, potatoes, asparagus, carrots or broiled tomatoes.

The recipe above is from Julia Child’s, Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One, Pages 249-251.

You can watch the original episodes on Amazon Prime Video or your local PBS online site.

Amazon Season 1 Episode 3 Chicken Video is the recipe for Casserole-Roasted Chicken with Bacon, Onions, and Potatoes -a variation of the above recipe called Poulet en Cocotte Bonne Femme.

https://www.amazon.com/French-Chef-Julia-Child/dp/B0062246R8

 


Adapted from an article by Anthony Bourdain in Gourmet.

4 servings

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter, divided
4 ounces small whole mushroom caps
1 chopped shallot
2 minced garlic cloves
1 cup of water
½ cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Bouquet garni (wrap two sprigs of parsley, two bay leaves, and a sprig of fresh thyme in a piece of cheesecloth. Tie into a neat bundle with string)
1 pound fresh sea scallops, dried well
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Bread crumbs for the topping
Grated Gruyère or Fontina cheese

Directions

In 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan saute the shallots, garlic, and mushroom caps until the mushrooms brown and lose their liquid. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Add the water, wine, bouquet garni, and lemon juice to the saucepan and bring yo a boil. Add the scallops, cover, and remove the pot from the heat. Let the scallops sit in the liquid for 5 minutes. Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Strain the liquid and discard the bouquet garni. Set aside

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the saucepan and whisk in the flour. Do not let it get dark. Add 3 tablespoons of the scallop cooking liquid and mix until blended. Over very low heat, blend the flour mixture into the remaining scallop cooking liquid. Add the cream and simmer and stir until blended and thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the scallops and mushroom mixture, and stir.

Fill 4 scallop shells or shallow 6-inch ramekins almost to the top with the scallop mixture. (If you’re not ready to serve the scallops, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

Sprinkle the top lightly with bread crumbs and top with grated cheese.
Preheat the broiler. Broil the scallops until the mixture bubbles and the cheese melts and turns golden brown.

Roasted Vegetables

Save the leftover roasted vegetables for a delicious quiche. Recipe after Christmas.

Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil
4-5 large carrots, peeled, cut on the bias, about 1-inch thick
3-4 parsnips, peeled, cut on the bias, about 1-inch thick
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and quartered
1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered
4 garlic, cloves, peeled and cut in half
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cover a large baking sheet with sides in foil.

Heat the olive oil in the microwave until hot. Place the carrots, parsnips, fennel, onion, garlic, and thyme on the prepared baking sheet. Pour the hot oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle with the salt. Transfer to the oven and roast until tender and brown, about 45 minutes.


Leftover roasted cauliflower may also be used, as I did, using the leftover roasted cauliflower from my Fall Recipes post.

Ingredients

12 oz short pasta (penne)
Topping
1/2 cup Italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sauce
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 medium shallots, chopped fine
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
Cauliflower
1 (1 1/2-pound) head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

For the topping:

Combine the breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring until the mixture is well toasted and golden-brown; remove from the heat and reserve.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium baking dish, combine the cauliflower, oil, and salt. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the cauliflower is tender and browned.

Remove the dish from the oven and stir in the shallots, melted butter, garlic, cream, tomatoes, and red pepper. Place the dish bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside while the pasta cooks.

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and return the pasta to the pan. Turn the heat to very low and add the cauliflower sauce. Heat for a minute or two and pour into a pasta serving bowl. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs topping over the top of the pasta and serve.

 


My Meyer lemon tree produced its first ripe lemon this week. The sea bass recipe was a good way to start using these delicious lemons.

Pan-Fried Sea Bass

Ingredients

For the sea bass
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, divided
Two 6- to 8-ounce fillets sea bass
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
Juice and zest from half a Meyer lemon.
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the asparagus
1 lb asparagus, stalks trimmed
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Roasted garlic powder

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the asparagus in a shallow pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and roasted garlic powder. Bake for 15 minutes.

Heat a large skillet with olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Season the fillets with some salt and pepper and lightly coat in flour. Place fillets in the skillet with the minced shallots and cook the fish for 5 minutes on each side. Stir the shallots but keep them to the sides of the pan as the fish cooks. When the fish is cooked, place the fillets on a plate and deglaze the pan with the wine, add the thyme and lemon juice. Cook until it’s reduced by two thirds. Add remaining butter and lemon zest. Whisk followed by the heavy cream and heat through.

Divide the cooked asparagus between two serving plates. Place a sea bass fillet on top of each plate. Divide the sauce evenly over the fish and serve.


Steak Diane

2 servings

Ingredients

2 boneless Filet Mignon steaks, each 6 oz and 1½ inches thick, fat trimmed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, sliced into thin strips
4 oz sliced mushrooms, such as shiitake, oyster or cremini
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons brandy (Cognac)
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Directions

Gently flatten the steaks to about ½ inch thick. Season both sides of the steaks with pepper and salt.

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add the steaks and cook 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
Add butter, shallots, and mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring, until golden brown and the mushrooms are beginning to release their juices, about 3 minutes. Add brandy and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Combine flour and broth, add the pan, bring to a boil and cook until reduced about 5 minutes.


Whisk in mustard and cream, and cook 1 minute. Reduce heat to low. Return the steaks to the pan along with any accumulated juices. Turn to coat with the sauce and cook until heated through about 1 minute. Place each steak on an individual plate, top with the sauce and sprinkle with chives.

The potatoes and asparagus can roast in the oven together, while you prepare the steak.

Roasted Baby Potatoes

Ingredients

12 oz small potatoes, peeled
1 teaspoon olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons panko crumbs
1 tablespoon parmesan, finely grated
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
Dash of paprika

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.
Slice the potatoes in half and boil them for 7-10 minutes or until fork-tender but not cooked all the way through. Remove from the water and place on paper towels to remove excess water. Place the potatoes in the prepared baking dish and drizzle with the olive oil then season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.
Combine the panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, and paprika together in a bowl until well combined. Sprinkle the panko mixture on top of the potatoes evenly. Place into the oven and roast for 20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

Roasted Pencil-thin Asparagus

Ingredients

1 bunch pencil-thin asparagus
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons chopped almonds

Directions

Wash and trim off 1″ from the bottom. Place the asparagus on a large, rimmed baking sheet; add salt, pepper, and oil. Toss with your hands. Spread out into a single layer and sprinkle with almonds.
Bake in a 400-degree F oven for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

 


I recently saw Katie Lee prepare this steak dish on an episode of “The Kitchen” and decided to adapt it for our dinner. The marinade gives the steak great flavor.

Skirt Steak with Plum Sauce

Ingredients

3 ripe plums, a combination of red and purple, diced
1 cup teriyaki sauce/marinade, homemade (see recipe) or store-bought
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sriracha
1 pound skirt steak
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions

Puree the chopped plums in a blender until smooth. Stir together the pureed plums with the teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, Dijon and sriracha in a large ziplock bag. Add the steak, tossing to coat in the marinade, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.


Preheat a grill pan to medium heat.

Remove the steak from the marinade letting most of it drip off the meat into the bag and pat dry on paper towels.
Pour the marinade in the bag into a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Salt and pepper each side of the steak and grill over medium heat on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Once grilled on both sides, remove from the heat to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.

Slice the skirt steak against the grain and brush some of the boiled marinade on it.
Save some of the marinade to serve with my baby back rib recipe that will be posted Monday.

Teriyaki Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup of water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons mirin
5 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Directions

Combine all the ingredients except the cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until nearly heated through, about 1 minute.
Mix cornstarch and 1/4 cold water together in a cup; stir until dissolved. Add to the saucepan. Cook and stir sauce until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.

Italian Pan-Fried Lemon Potatoes

Ingredients

1 pound whole small potatoes
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 lemon, cut in half
Kosher salt
Olive oil

Directions

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add garlic, rosemary sprigs and one lemon half to the water and season well with salt. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain well and reserve the lemon half, garlic cloves and rosemary.

Let potatoes cool to room temperature and peel them. Cut potatoes in half. Place on a plate until ready to cook.
Zest the lemon half that was not cooked with the potatoes. Chop the reserved garlic and rosemary and mix together with the lemon zest. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet and heat. Add the potatoes cut-side down to the skillet. Cook until the bottom of the potatoes are a deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a metal spatula, turn the potatoes and cook on the second side for an additional 3 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and drain well. Place the potatoes in a serving bowl. Squeeze both lemon halves (cooked and uncooked) over the potatoes and sprinkle with the garlic, rosemary reserved mixture.

Green Beans with Shallots and Almonds

Ingredients

Salt and black pepper to taste
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup almond slices, toasted

Directions

Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. Add green beans and cook until just tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain in a colander. Set aside.
Heat the butter in the empty saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and light golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Return the drained beans to the saucepan and add parsley, almonds, and black pepper and toss gently. Transfer to a serving bowl.


Prosciutto-Wrapped Baked Zucchini

Ingredients

2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise
1/2 of a small shallot, finely minced
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded chili
1 garlic clove, grated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 slices thinly sliced prosciutto, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Score the cut side of the zucchini halves 1/8 inch deep in a diamond pattern. Toss shallot, olive oil, chili, garlic, 1 salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Rub the mixture on the cut sides of the zucchini halves. Wrap each zucchini piece with 2 prosciutto pieces, and arrange, cut side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until zucchini is crisp-tender, 20 minutes.
Transfer zucchini to a serving plate. Sprinkle with parsley.

Turkey Piccata

Ingredients

4 boneless, skinless turkey cutlets
1/2 cup flour
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Season the flour with salt and pepper, and lightly pound the turkey breast into thin cutlets. Dredge the cutlets in the seasoned flour. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy frying pan, and add the cutlets to the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side over medium heat, until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove the cutlets to a plate and keep warm while you prepare the sauce.

Add the wine to the pan and cook over high heat until reduced by half. Add the lemon juice and chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the capers and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Return all of the cooked cutlets to the frying pan, and heat in the sauce. Serve hot.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

ingredients

1 pound Yukon Gold or russet potatoes
Coldwater, for cooking, enough to cover by 1-inch
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
Salt to taste

Directions

Scrub potatoes well and peel them. Cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces and place the potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water, then stir in the 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil on high, then reduce the heat to maintain a low boil until potatoes are tender and a knife moves easily through the center, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes.

In a small pan, gently melt the butter and cream and mix together, keep warm.

Return the drained potatoes to the cooking pot, turn the heat to medium and let the excess water cook off for a minute or two, shaking the pan occasionally. Mash the potatoes until smooth. With a spatula, slowly turn the cream-butter mixture into the potatoes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve immediately.

Note: the potatoes can be prepared earlier and reheated in a casserole dish in the oven with the roasting zucchini.



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