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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 medium 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) always add a spring touch.

My Hanging Herb Garden

Rain Lillies

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. Above are my rain Lilies. They bloom during the summer rainy season.

My Fig Trees

Crotons (1)

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Spathiphyllum

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Bird Feeder

Having Jasmine grow up a bird feeder with its little star-shaped white flowers begin to bloom. Their fragrance fills up the yard with such a 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.

Hass Avocado Tree.jpg

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 the avocado tree grows 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 backyard,

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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 can see outdoor cooking videos in my future!

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Cheese Ravioli Lasagna With A Tomato Basil Meat Sauce

Let's Dish

Cheese Ravioli Lasagna

Cheese Ravioli Lasagna (2)Check out this classic dish with a slightly new twist.

Tomato Basil Meat Sauce

Is it crazy to imagine taking a classic dish like lasagna shaking it up a bit. What about taking some help from your local grocery store.  A great start is buy purchasing a really good jarred sauce and making it taste as if you made it from scratch.  Using a pot that requires no oil, a very lean ground sirloin, for a deep savory flavor, a little unsalted beef broth, and fresh basil leaves. This sauce will taste likes its been simmering on the stove all day.

The other ingredient I’m going to be using for this dish is a good quality store-bought cheese ravioli. They’re found in the freezer section of the grocery store. My favorite are the mini cheese raviolis. Those are the ones I’m using for this recipe.

What’s great about this recipe is you can prepare everything in advance.  All you need to do is to prepare the sauce and cheese ravioli.  Layer all the ingredients in the baking dish. Spray off the dull side of the foil with non-stick cooking spray before tightly wrapping the baking dish. That will prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil in the baking process. Once the dish is at room temperature, place the whole covered dish in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake and serve. I recommend baking it off no later than one to two days. The baking time will vary ( may take 45-50 minutes or until golden and bubbly) if it’s been previously refrigerated.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’m utilizing each one of my fresh herbs, from my garden, and incorporating them into different dishes. I’m highlighting sweet basil in my Cheese Ravioli Lasagna With A Tomato Basil Meat sauce.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 1- 8 x 11 baking dish

Ingredients:
Note: this square copper pot requires no oil
1 tablespoon of olive oil (depending on the type of sauce pot)
1 pound lean ground sirloin
2-24 ounce jars- tomato basil Marinara variety
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup of unsalted beef broth
2- 1 pound 6 ounce packages of frozen mini cheese ravioli
1 cups of fresh basil leaves
1/2cup of finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
2 packages of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (grated Parmesan is fine)

Directions:
If you have a pot (like the one in the above pictures) that doesn’t require the use of any oil, add in the ground sirloin. Turn the stove to med-high heat. Add Kosher salt and black pepper. Using a wooden spoon, break up the ground meat and cook until completely brown, about 10 minutes.

Next, add in the beef broth and cook for another 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add in the two jars of tomato basil sauce. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and add in 1 cup of fresh basil leaves and stir through.

While the sauce is simmering have a large pot of boiling salted water ready. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to prevent the ravioli from sticking. Let cook just under the required time on the package, about 5 minutes. They will continue their cooking during the baking process. Rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process, then drain well.

Start by layering with the tomato basil sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Next, place the mini ravioli in the dish covering all of the sauce. Then add the 1 package of shredded Mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of the grated Parmigiano- Reggiano covering all the ravioli. Sprinkle the top of the ravioli with 1/2 of the finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley. Again with another layer of the tomato basil sauce. Repeating this process one more time. You want to have it so that the shredded Mozzarella and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano end up on top. Finally sprinkle the rest of the finely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley over the cheese. The 8 x 11 baking dish will finish with two full layers of the ravioli.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the underside or dull side of the foil with non- stick cooking spray and cover the dish tightly. This will prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil. Place the baking dish on top of a sheet pan. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 10 or until the top is golden brown.

Let the baking dish rest for at least 15 minutes to set, before cutting.  Serve with fresh basil leaves.

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Heirloom Tomato Salad

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The Heirloom Tomato goes back generations. When in season, you’ll see them in many colors as well as multi-colored. Unique because they are beautifully misshapen. If that wasn’t enough, they now come in cherry size! I love to have present them, in different ways. I’ll cut a few into wedges, and the cherry size I like to leave whole, giving a beautiful contrast to the dish.

Bocconcini are small mozzarella cheeses shaped into small balls. They come in a container and the cheese in set in whey or water. They add a creaminess to the Heirloom Tomato Salad. To finish, add fresh basil leaves and finely chopped tarragon.

Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
4 heirloom tomatoes cut into wedges
2 pints of heirloom cherry tomatoes
6-8 whole basil leaves
3 tablespoons of tarragon leaves, finely chopped
1 tub of Bocconcini, drained and dried and seasoned
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
E.V.O.O. to taste

Ingredients For Bocconcini Seasoning:
1 tub (18-20 ct.)  Bocconcini that have been drained and dried well
2 tablespoons of *E.V.O.O.
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:
In a small bowl mix together all the ingredients for the seasoning of the Bocconcini. Place the drained, and really well dried, Bocconcini into the seasoning mixture and toss really well. In a large bowl add the tomato wedges, cherry tomatoes, and seasoned Bocconcini. Add the Kosher salt, black pepper, and chopped tarragon leaves. Toss everything together gently. Lastly, place the whole basil leaves throughout.

When plating, drizzle each serving with *E.V.O.O. ( A splash of red wine vinegar is optional).

*E.V.O.O. is Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

 

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