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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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2018-05-16 16.17.54

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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Chicken Cacciatore

2016-11-05-18-02-13

2016-11-05-18-02-05

A very dear friend of mine, Chris, who just happens to be a fireman with the Orlando Fire Department, shares my passion for cooking and delicious food.

Chris and I were talking recently, he told me that he would like to make a dish for the men and women at the department. I knew just the recipe I wanted to share. I thought my recipe for Chicken Cacciatore would be perfect.

This dish is one that braises chicken low and slow and is basically done in one large pot. I’ve made it on top of the stove, but it can be done, just as easily, in a large disposable pan with a tight-fitting lid, in the oven. Delicious and easy, this recipe can easily be translated into serving a large number of people.

For this recipe, I chose a Pappardelle pasta. Pappardelle is a thick cut pasta.  This style of pasta allows the sauce to cling to the noodles really well.  Egg noodles would also work great and are readily available in most grocery stores.

Equipment: 2 baking rimmed baking sheet pans, 6-quart Dutch Oven
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Chicken Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients For Chicken:
4 bone-in skin-on chicken breast cut in half
4 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, black pepper, dried rosemary- liberal sprinkling

Ingredients:
1 diced onion
2 pints of sliced mushrooms
1 red and yellow bell pepper diced
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
1 tablespoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
1 tablespoon of dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
1 tablespoon of flour
1/2 cup of white wine (Chardonnay)
1/2 cup of unsalted chicken broth
1 28-ounce can of San Marzano whole tomatoes with juice
1 15-ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes with juice
1 16-ounce package of Pappardelle or egg noodles
1 package of fresh basil leaves

DirectionsFor Roasting Chicken:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Take the 4 chicken breasts and cut them in half (giving you 8 pieces) as shown in the pictures above. Lay them out, skin side up, on the baking sheets. Using a paper towel, pat and dry each piece really well. This will allow the chicken to brown nicely. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over each piece and rub the oil all over the top of each one. Next, liberally sprinkle Kosher salt,  fresh ground black pepper, and dried rosemary over each of the pieces.

Tip: Be sure to crush the dried rosemary between your fingers to release their oils.

Bake for 20 minutes in the oven. Switch the oven to broil. Let the chicken continue cooking, another 5 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and golden brown.

Note: If your oven does not have a broil option, then turn the temperature up to 450-degrees F., keeping a close eye on the chicken. Let the chicken brown and crisp up that way. Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.

Directions For Stove Top Method:
In a preheated Dutch oven on medium heat, add in the olive oil and diced onions. Sprinkle in some Kosher salt and pepper, to taste, to start the onions sweating. Stir the onions for a minute, then add in the diced bell peppers and mushrooms. Continue sautéing the veggies, another 5 minutes.

As the veggies start to release their water add the minced garlic, tomato paste, and spices. Continue stirring all the ingredients together. At this point, sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour and stir that through. Next, add the white wine and chicken broth. Let that come to a bubble and cook for another 5 minutes.

Moving forward, add in the whole tomatoes, fire roasted diced tomatoes and brown sugar. Using a wooden spoon, break up the whole tomatoes and stir. Add back into the pot the precooked chicken pieces. Make sure they are not completely submerged. Bring everything back up to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Let everything simmer together on low for another 45 minutes, until chicken is nice and tender.

Transfer the chicken pieces carefully to a plate. This time, keep the lid off, turn the heat somewhere between medium to med-high heat. Let the sauce come up to a bubble, stirring occasionally, cook for another 5 minutes. Once the sauce has thickened, turn the heat off and add in the fresh basil leaves. Stir the basil throughout the sauce.

Have a pot of the boiling salted water ready so while the sauce is thickening on the stove, you can drop the pasta and everything will be done at the same time.

To serve, place the pasta in the bottom of each serving bowl. Top with two pieces of chicken and ladle this delicious sauce over the top. Garnish with fresh basil.

Directions For Making More Than 4 Servings At One Time:
Equipment: Large disposable foil pan with tight-fitting lid, and 1 large or more than 2 1/4 sheet pans.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Prepare and precook the chicken the same as above.
Adjust all the ingredients, from the (4 chicken breasts) 4 servings above to the amount you intend to make.

Add all the ingredients to the large foil pan. Mix all the ingredients together. Next, place precooked chicken on top making sure not to completely submerge the chicken. Place the lid on tightly. Bake for 1 hour. Remove the lid, remove the chicken from the pan and place onto a plate covered with foil to stay warm. Note: Check to make sure chicken temperature is at 165 degrees internally, and nice and tender. Due to the fact that cooking on top of the stove in comparison to oven cooking times may vary.

Pour the sauce from the pan into a large pot. Turn the burner to medium to med-high heat. Let the sauce cook down and thicken, stirring occasionally. While the sauce is starting to reduce, have a pot of salted boiling water ready, drop the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package. Once the sauce has thickened, turn the heat off, stir in the fresh basil leaves.

To serve, place pasta in the bottom of the serving bowl. Place two pieces of chicken on top, and generously ladle the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with fresh basil.

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Brown And Wild Rice Medley

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Taking help from your local grocery store is not something you should feel guilty about. There’s nothing better than using a few simple ingredients to help make rice,  POP! I found that “Minute Rice” has come out with a brown and wild rice variety, in cups. Basically the rice is ready to serve in sealed cups. What I’ve done, is to jazz it up a bit.  I’m using a store bought Cantina style salsa. I absolutely love this variety of salsa and  I always have a container in my frig.  This is a side dish that pairs well with chicken, pork, or fish.

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Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2-4.4 ounce cups of ready to serve Brown and Wild rice
1 can of reduced sodium rinsed and drained black beans
1 can of shoe peg corn ( large can 11 ounce)
1 plum tomato seeded in finely diced
1/2 a green bell pepper finely diced
1/2 a diced white Spanish onion
1 teaspoon of  Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of fresh cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons of Cantina style fresh salsa (available in most produce departments)
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves

Directions:
First, I saute the diced tomatoes, onions, and green peppers in the olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle in the Kosher salt and pepper, stirring that though. Once they’ve started softening, about 2-3 minutes, add in the ready to serve Minute Brown and Wild rice. Then add the, drained and rinsed, shoe peg corn and black beans. Stir all this though to combine. Let the black beans and corn to come up to temperature. Finally, add the salsa and stir to combine. Turn the heat off and sprinkle in the chopped cilantro.

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Candied Grape Tomatoes

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The grape candied tomatoes are so delicious. They’re great to add in  salads, a garnish for soups, or even to top chicken, steak. or even a nice piece of halibut. These little jewels are a staple in my frig and are so easy to make.

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I have 2 pints of red grape tomatoes that have been halved. In a bowl I add in olive oil, Kosher salt, and black pepper. I toss everything together so all the tomatoes are coated.

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Make sure all the tomatoes are spread out into one layer on a sheet pan. Place them into a 300 degree oven for 2-1/2 hours. After they come out of the oven and are still hot, I sprinkle some extra fine sugar over the tomatoes and let them cool completely. The sugar just enhances the sweetness, of the already sweet tomatoes Once they’ve cooled completely, I place them into a sealed tight canning jelly jar, and right into the frig. They are ready whenever I need them.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 2-1/2 hours at 300 degrees F.
Equipment: sheet tray, a seal tight container
Shelf life in frig 7 days
Ingredients:
2 pints of halved grape tomatoes
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon extra fine sugar

Directions:
Halve 2 pints of grape tomatoes. In a bowl place the tomatoes, olive oil, Kosher salt, and black pepper. I then place them in one layer on a sheet tray and bake them low and slow at 300 degrees F. for 2- 1/2 hours. Once they come out of the oven and are still hot I sprinkle the sugar over the top and toss them gently. I let them cool completely and then put them into a seal tight jar.

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