Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Taste The Love

Heirloom Tomato Salad

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The Heirloom Tomato goes back generations. When in season, you’ll see them in a variety of colors as well as being multi-colored. Unique because they are beautifully misshapen. If that wasn’t enough, they now come in cherry size! I love to present the tomatoes in different ways, for example; I’ll cut a few into wedges, the cherry tomatoes I’ll leave whole.

Bocconcini are small mozzarella balls. I love the creaminess they add to the Heirloom Tomato Salad. To finish, add fresh basil leaves and finely chopped tarragon.

Tarragon

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Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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Local Florida Heirloom Tomatoes

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: Chef’s knife, large mixing bowl, large serving platter

Ingredients:
4 heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 pints of heirloom cherry tomatoes, whole
6 to 8 whole basil leaves
3 tablespoons of tarragon leaves, finely chopped
1 tub (18 to 20 ct) of Bocconcini, drained, dried, and seasoned
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
*E.V.O.O. to taste
Red wine vinegar, (optional)

Ingredients For Bocconcini Seasoning:
1 tub (18 to 20 ct.)  Bocconcini drained and dried
2 tablespoons of *E.V.O.O.
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
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 Bocconcini seasoning. Place the drained, and really well dried, Bocconcini into the seasoning mixture, toss to combine.  In a large mixing bowl add the tomato wedges, cherry tomatoes, and seasoned Bocconcini. Add the Kosher salt, black pepper, and chopped tarragon leaves. Gently toss the tomatoes and Bocconcini together. To finish, place 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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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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Fennel And Onion Stuffed Pork Loin

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This dish comes to me from a recipe I saw on a cooking show, Fennel And Onion Stuffed Pork Loin. I do love pork of any kind, but this particular cut is perfect to stuff with a variety of ingredients any of which is up to you. Two reasons I say this, one, is because of the finished dish, and two, and even better is, it can be made ahead of time.

I’m making a few changes of my own and I’ll tell you about those in a minute. Let me start with the filling that’s going to go into the center of my pork loin.

Onions

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Onions (2)

fennel-bulb

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Olive Oil

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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thyme (1)

thyme (2)

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If there is extra filling and you’re not sure how to prepare the fennel and onion mixture that’s leftover. Place the extra filling in a small oven-safe baking dish. Top with a little more of the Panko and grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese. Drizzle the top with a little olive oil and bake at 375-degrees F. for 20 minutes. Place the leftover filling in the oven during the final 20 minutes of cooking time for the stuffed pork loin.

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Now when I went to my grocery store and found this beautiful cut of pork loin, I spoke to the butcher at my local grocery store and had him/her butterfly this one for me. Of course, you can do this yourself but why? If the butcher will do it for you then I say go right ahead! 

I also made some cheesy, buttery French bread to go alongside. Everyone loves bread!

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Prep Time: 20
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Yields 4 servings:
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans aluminum foil, 12-inch sauté pan, 3-quart sauce pot, mixing bowl, mini food processor, instantl-read thermometer

Ingredients For Filling:
2 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Pernod (substitute white wine)

Ingredients:
4-pound boneless pork loin, butterflied
1 red onion, quartered
2 to 4 large red potatoes, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, unsalted
butcher’s twine
3 tablespoons of Kosher salt (2 for the pork, 1 for potatoes)
3 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper (2 for the pork, 1 for potatoes)
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Ingredients For Gravy:
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
3 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
2 dashes of  Kitchen Bouquet browning seasoning sauce
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Ingredients For Bread:
1 loaf of French baguette bread
1 stick of butter, unsalted and room temperature
3 tablespoons of good mayonnaise
1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese freshly grated
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Directions For Fennel And Onion Stuffed Pork Loin:
Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.

For the filling heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter in a large sautépan. Add the onions and fennel with 1 teaspoon Kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the onions and fennel are tender and lightly browned add the garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and thyme and cook for 1 minute more. Add the Pernod to deglaze the pan, by using the back of a wooden spoon to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Once the fennel and onion mixture has cooled add the breadcrumbs, stir to combine.  Lay the pork on a board fat side down, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Spread the stuffing evenly on the pork and roll up lengthwise, ending with the fat on top of the roll. Tie the pork loin up using 5 pieces of kitchen twine, rub with olive oil and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper all over the outside of the pork loin.

Now at this point, you can put the stuffed pork loin into the frig wrapped really well in plastic wrap the night before or even 2 days before. You don’t want season the outside of the pork loin until it’s ready to go into the oven. The onions and potatoes are only to be prepped right before they’re ready for the oven.

On a rimmed baking sheet, lay out the quartered potatoes and onions in one even layer. Add the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspooon of fresh ground black pepper, toss to coat. Pour 1 1/2 cups chicken stock into the bottom of the sheet pan to prevent the potatoes from burning or sticking. This liquid will eventually evaporate during the cooking process.

Place the rolled pork loin on top of the potatoes. Roast for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 350-degrees F. roast for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 137-degrees F. Note: If the thermometer hits the stuffing it will read at a higher temperature, test the meat in a few different places. Remove from the oven, cover tightly with foil.

Turn the oven up to 450 degrees F. Once preheated, return the potatoes to the oven for another 20 minutes while the pork is resting. The onions will be sweet and tender, and potatoes will be golden brown on the outside and fork tender on the inside. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Allow the pork loin to rest for 20 minutes.

I like to serve this dish family style with the Fennel And Onion Stuffed Pork Loin and my roasted potatoes on a large platter then drizzled with light brown gravy.

Directions For Bread:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
In a mixing bowl add the butter, mayonnaise, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Kosher salt, and black pepper, mix to combine. Slice the French bread in half then again lengthwise. Slather the butter mixture on both halves of the bread. Place the tops on, wrap tightly in foil. Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and slice. Serve hot.

Direction For Gravy:
In a saucepot over medium heat melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk until the raw flour is cooked, paste-like, and golden blonde in color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, Kitchen Bouquet, dried thyme, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Switch to a wooden spoon, adjust the heat to medium-high, bring up to a boil stirring continuously, until gravy thickens. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 1 to 2 minutes.

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