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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Provencal Style Grouper

Provencal Style Grouper (1)

Provencal Style Grouper (2)

A dish known for its flavors from Provence, France.  Lavender fields, and medieval hilltop villages, the southeastern region of Provence stretches from the Rhône in the west to the Italian border.

This sauce with its colorful and bright flavors enhances the succulent taste of the grouper. Grouper should not be overcooked. The fish should be tender and using a fork should flake apart easily.

I’m using asparagus in this recipe, so I need to blanch the asparagus stalks first. I want them to remain vibrant green in color.

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Provencal Style Grouper (1)

Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes, including blanching asparagus
Total Cook Time: 1 hour
Equipment: 12″ saute pan, large casserole dish

Directions for blanching asparagus:
First, you want to rinse, under cold water, the stalks off to remove any dirt that may be attached. Take one of the stalks hold it towards the bottom third of the stalk , then bend the stalk.  This part of the asparagus is the woody end and very fibrous. The stalk will break naturally where the tender part ends and the tough part begins. Have a pot of 6 cups of boiling salted water and a large bowl filled with ice and water on stand-by. Place the stalks into the boiling water and let them cook for 2-3 minutes. Using a pair of tongs remove the asparagus from the hot water and place them immediately into the ice bath. Toss around in the ice water for a minute. This process is called “shocking”. You’re stopping the cooking process. Drain well and transfer to a plate. Next, cut, on the bias, the stalks into 2 inch pieces.

Ingredients For Fish:
3 tablespoons olive oil
4- 8 ounce center cut skinless grouper fillets, 2 pounds
3 tablespoons olive oil, to be used on fillets
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions For Searing Grouper:
Let fish rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes ( utilize this time for prep). Once fish reaches room temperature, prep the fish with olive oil, Kosher salt, and pepper.
Note: A cast iron skillet or a large non-stick saute pan work best for searing fish.

Preheat a large, cast iron skillet, or a non-stick saute pan on med- high heat. Carefully tilt pan off the heat to add the olive oil,  swish the oil around in the pan, then back onto the heat. You may see the pan start smoking, that’s what you want. Next, carefully place the grouper fillets into the pan, presentation side down. Jiggle the pan immediately so fish does not stick. Do not touch the fillets for about 3 minutes. The fillets will release from the pan easily, once they’ve browned on that side. If you believe they’re ready to flip, using a spatula, pick up one corner of the filet and see if it’s not sticking and looks golden brown. Turn the fillets over and sear the other side for another 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Transfer the fillets to a plate until sauce is ready to be transferred to the casserole dish.

Ingredients For Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped fennel, (1 bulb}
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup diced yellow bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic ( 3 cloves)
1-28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
2 tablespoons low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons good dry white wine
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (reserve 1/4 cup for garnish)
1/4 cup fennel fronds for garnish
2 lemons sliced for garnish
4- 8 ounce (1 inch-thick) grouper fillets ( 2 pounds)

Directions For Sauce:
For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large (12 inch) saute pan. Add the onions, fennel, bell peppers, and garlic. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft.

Place the tomatoes and their juices in a large bowl. Take a knife and slice through the tomatoes until they’re large bite-size pieces. Add the tomatoes to the sauce, then the chicken stock, white wine, salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Add the chopped basil and caper and cook for 1 minute.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Transfer the sauce to casserole dish. Lay the seared grouper fillets on top of the sauce and bake for about 15 minutes. To judge if your fish is fully cooked (because oven temperatures may vary and so might the thickness of the fillets), make a small cut with a paring knife to see if the flesh has turned from translucent to opaque. Finally, lay lemon slices, the reserved chopped basil, and fennel fronds over the top.

Place a puddle of the sauce onto a plate, place a filet on top, and garnish with basil, lemon, and fennel fronds.

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Spring Time Outdoors

Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers and Lavender

Lavender and Cinquefoil ( from the rose family) add a spring touch.

My Hanging Herb Garden

Aside from cooking and entertaining, I love flowers and herbs. Early spring, especially, is the time where beautiful flowers are available. Let me show you what I’ve been up to so far.

My Fig Trees

Crotons (1)

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Spathiphyllum

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Jasmine

Having Jasmine grow up a bird feeder with its little star shape white flowers begin to bloom. Their fragrance fills up the yard with such beautiful aroma. I also want to say, checking the zone (climate area etc..) in which what plants or flowers will thrive is really important. I always try to Google the name of the plant or flower to seek the information first.

Haas Avocado Tree

This Haas avocado tree is really an experiment for me. I planted this pit from the avocado and this is what has happened so far. They say that avocado tree grow very slowly, and I guess I’ll just have to be patient.

Hydrangeas.Hydrangeas are definitely my favorite flower. Their beautiful large blooms and deep green leaves add so much color to my back yard,

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Heather

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Planting flowers or plants and watching them blossom and grow is an amazing feeling.

Comfort Place

Periwinkles

Changing up your accessories for the season can give you whole new look. My lavender is growing so fast and the aroma fills up my “comfortable place”.

English Ivy

Just a few seasonal changes can make such a big difference. My next project is new patio furniture and a couple of new grills. I see future outdoor cooking videos in my future!

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Sweet Italian Sausage With Roasted Vegetables Over Creamy Polenta

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This recipe is one that brings comfort food and bold flavors together, and that’s all you really want to achieve, in a great dish. I’ts really easy to make. Let me tell you how I pull this together.

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Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time `1 hour 40 minutes
Equipment: 2 sheet pans, 1 large saucepan, indoor grill pan

Ingredients:
2 pounds of sweet Italian sausage, grilled and sliced
1-1/2 cups of unsalted chicken broth or stock
2 cups 1 inch diced zucchini
1 red bell pepper, seeded and 1 inch dice
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1 inch dice
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and 1 inch dice
1 red onion diced
5 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground cracked black pepper
1/4 cup of finely Julienned fresh basil leaves
Creamy Polenta (recipe below)

Directions For Sweet Itaian Sausage:
In a large sauce pan with a tight fitting lid, add 1-1/2 cups of unsalted chicken broth. Using a fork prick all the sausage link on both sides ( 3 sets on each side) to allow for faster cooking.  Turn the heat to med- high, place the links into the saucepan, and place the lid on tight. Let the chicken broth come up to a hard boil.  The sausage links steam for about 10 minutes, turning them, once, halfway through the process.

Transfer the sausage links onto a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any liquid from the steaming process.  Next, place the links onto an indoor grill pan that’s been preheated. On med-high heat, grill the sausages for 3-5 minutes per side. You may need to do this in 2 batches. Once the links all have nice grill marks, transfer to a cutting board and slice links, on the bias.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Place the vegetables, minced garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper into a large bowl. Toss to combine. Pour the vegetables onto two sheet pans, spread out evenly into one layer ( this way they will roast and not steam!). Roast for 30-40 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and begin to brown.

Lower the heat to 350 degrees F., Add the slices of grilled Italian sausage to the pans with the roasted veggies and bake for another 10 minutes. Transfer the all veggies and sausage to a large bowl, add the basil and toss. Serve over hot creamy Polenta.

Creamy Parmesan Polenta: serves 6-8
3 cups of unsalted chicken broth
3 cups half and half
1 tablespoon of grated garlic
1-1/2 cups stone-ground corn meal
1 tablespoonKosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground cracked black pepper to taste
1/4 cup room temperature Mascarpone cheese
1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons of room temperature unsalted butter, diced

D;irections:
Combine the chicken stock, half and half, and garlic in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and very slowly add the cornmeal, whisking continuously to make sure there are no lumps.

Sitch to a wooden spoon, add 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons pepper, and simmer over very low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until thick. (cooking time may vary slightly .) Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan thoroughly while stirring. Off the heat add the Mascarpone, grated Parmesan cheese and butter. Taste for seasoning.

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Cajun Style Jambalaya

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A great way to be transported to the French Quarter right from your own dining room! This one pot wonder is done in layers. What I mean is, I’m going to season and cook each layer as I go, building layers of flavor.

First is to prep all the vegetables. Next, on to the proteins for the dish.

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I marinate the chicken and shrimp in a mixture of olive oil,  Kosher salt, cracked black pepper and a Cajun seasoning blend.

Next, is to marinate the diced chicken breasts.

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Slice the sausage.

Marinate the shrimp. This is the last ingredient to go into the pot and needs to be refrigerated until they are added to the pot.

The liquids and tomato paste are ready. So we are ready to start!

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Equipment: 6 quart Dutch oven
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Cook Time 1 hour
Yields: 6-8 servings

Marinate For Chicken and Shrimp:
Shrimp:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
Chicken:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 diced yellow onion
1 diced red bell pepper
1 diced yellow bell pepper
1 diced Poblano pepper
1 finely chopped Fresno chili
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 green onions, whites sliced,  (slice on the bias, green tops save for garnish)
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
1-12 ounce package Andouille sausage sliced ( 5 links)
2 boneless- skinless chicken breast (about 1 pound)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning blend
1-1/4 cups long grain white rice
1-(28 oz.) can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
3 cups of unsalted chicken stock

Directions:
1. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, heat olive. Add garlic, Fresno chili, white parts of green onion, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Saute for about 1 minute.

2. Add in marinated diced chicken. Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes

3. Add in bell peppers, diced onion, diced Poblano pepper, tomato paste, sliced Andouille sausage , and stir through. Cook until fragrant, about 4 minutes.

4. Add unsalted chicken stock, Cajun seasoning blend, crushed fire roasted tomatoes and rice. Reduce heat to medium low heat.  Cover with tight fitting lid and cook until rice is tender and liquid is almost absorbed, about 25 minutes.

5. Add the shrimp to the pot and cook until shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.

6. Turn heat off and stir in green onion tops for garnish and serve.

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