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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, in 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. This dish, I call, Provencal-style Grouper will have your family and friends wanting to recreate this dish at home.

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

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Stuffing (2)

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Olive Oil

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Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

Provencal Style Grouper (1)

 

 

 

 

Prep Time: 15 minutes, (time includes blanching asparagus)
Total Cook Time: 1 hour
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 12″ saute pan, 11 x 13-inch casserole dish, colander spoon, tongs, large mixing bowl

Directions For Blanching Asparagus:
First, rinse the asparagus stalks under cold water to remove any dirt or sand. Take one of the stalks, hold it towards the bottom third of the stalk gently bending it until it breaks.  The bottom end that snapped off is the part of the asparagus that’s woody and very fibrous. The stalk breaks naturally where the tender part ends and the tough part begins.

In a 3-quart saucepot of salted boiling water (6 cups) add the asparagus. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a colander spoon or pair of tongs, immediately transfer the asparagus to an ice bath (a large bowl filled with ice water).  Allow the asparagus spears to cool down completely. This process is what’s known as “the shocking method”. You’re stopping the cooking process and setting the asparagus’ vibrant green color. Drain well before cutting the spears on the bias into 2-inch pieces.

Ingredients For Fish:
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 (8-ounc) 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

Ingredients For Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup fennel, (1 bulb), diced
1 cup of red bell pepper, diced
1 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons of garlic (3 cloves), minced
1 (28 ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes
2 tablespoons chicken broth, unsalted
2 tablespoons Pino Grigio (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

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 works 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.

Directions For Sauce:
For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) sauté 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 a 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. This is my Provencal-style Grouper.

*blanch: Blanching is a cooking process in which a food, usually a vegetable or fruit, is scalded in boiling water, removed after a brief, timed nterval, and finally plunged into iced water to stop the cooking process.

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Baked Cod With Capers, Fennel, And Tomatoes

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This delicious and healthy dish is a favorite at my house. Cod is a light white flaky fish that absorbs whatever flavors you may add. This is my Baked Cod With Capers, Fennel, And Tomatoes.

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Fennel bulb

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Onion

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Olive Oil

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Sweet Basil (2)

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 18 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, 11 x 13 baking dish, large spatula

Ingredients:
4 (6-ounce) cod fillets
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 pint of red grape tomatoes, halved
1 pint of yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1 fennel bulb, diced (reserve fennel fronds for garnish)
1 medium diced onion
1 Fresno chili, seeded and minced
3 garlic cloves,  thinly sliced
1/4 cup of capers, drained
1 tablespoon of Pernod
1/2 cup of white wine
1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 1/2 lemons (1 sliced and 1/2 juiced over the fish)
Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.

First, prep all the vegetables for the dish. Once prepped,  in a large sauté pan over medium heat heat the olive oil. Add all the vegetables, minced Fresno chili, and minced garlic to the pan. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes. As the veggies start breaking down and soften, add the white wine. Bring this up to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the tomato and fennel mixture until wine has reduced and the sauce starts to come together another 7 to 10 minutes. At this point, add in the drained capers. Turn the heat off allowing the pan to remain on the burner.

In an 11 x 13 baking dish, add the Pernod to the bottom of the dish. Add, spreading out evenly in the bottom of the baking dish, the sautéed fennel and tomato mixture. Sprinkle each of the 4 cod fillets with Kosher salt and pepper to taste. Place the fillets on top of the fennel and tomato mixture. Spoon a little of the sauce over the top of each fillet.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the cod is tender and flaky. Remove from the oven add squeeze fresh lemon juice over all the fish. Add sliced lemons. Sprinkle over the whole dish with chopped fresh basil leaves, and the Italian flat-leaf parsley.

To serve, ladle the caper, fennel, and tomato sauce, first, on the bottom of a plate. Using a spatula, transfer one of the fillets on top of the sauce, spooning a generous amount of the sauce over the top of the baked cod. Garnish with a lemon slice. This is my Baked Cod With Capers, Fennel, And Tomatoes.

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Tuna Tapenade

 

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This recipe for my Tuna Tapenade I love because it can be done in advance. It’s great to serve as Hors d’oeuvre for parties or just if you want to have it as a meal.

Tapenade is an olive spread that is served on bread. In this recipe, I’ve made the star the tuna. This one is made with Italian style tuna I just found in my local grocery store. Of course, you could use regular tuna and that would be delicious.  Let me show you have this recipe comes together.

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Ciabatta

Toasted Ciabatta Bread

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 12 to 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Yields: 16 crostinis
Equipment: 10-cup food processor, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans

Ingredients:
1 6.7-ounce jar of Italian style Tuna packed in water drained (substitute Starkist tuna packed in spring water)
half a red onion, chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
4-ounces Mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon lemon zest
juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
3 tablespoons flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 loaf Tuscan Garlic Ciabatta Bread, sliced, (yields 16 slices) substitute plain Ciabatta or a good French baguette

For Spicy Tuna Tapenade:
Add 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or a Fresno chili, seeded

Directions For Ciabatta Bread:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.

Slice the Ciabatta bread at a 45-degree angle into 1/2 -inch thick slices. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet topped with a rack. Brush the top surface of each slice of Ciabatta lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Place into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12to 15 minutes, or until the bread is golden. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the toast cool slightly before adding the toppings.

Note: Each oven may vary slightly in temperature, watch the bread closely to prevent from burning.

Directions:
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, start with half a red onion and 3 ribs of celery and 3 cloves of garlic. In a food processor fitting with the metal blade pulse until the ingredients are finely minced. I like to give them a head start before adding the other ingredients.

Next, add the tuna. To the tuna, add Mascarpone cheese, capers, lemon zest, the juice of half a lemon, Kalamata olives, flat-leaf Italian parsley, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper. Pulse all of these ingredients together until smooth.

When the Tapenade has reached a smooth consistency, it’s done. Taste to make sure you’re happy with the seasoning.

Transfer the Tuna Tapenade to  the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.

If you like a spicier version, at the beginning of the process, you could add some cayenne pepper or add a Fresno chili at the beginning, that would be delicious too. I like to serve this on some toasted or grilled ciabatta bread.

To serve, I like to top the Tuna Tapenade with roasted asparagus and a few roasted Piquillo peppers for a little sweetness.

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