Saturday, July 24, 2010

Food: Grilled Salmon with Blueberry Pan Sauce

One of my favorite, mid-summer finds at the market is fresh blueberries. So when July rolls around each year, I look forward to loading up my cart (and freezer at home) with several quarts of the purple skinned fruit. I mean what could be better than something that not only tastes awesome but has a major variety of uses and contains 25% of your daily Vitamin C and tons of antioxidants in one serving?!?

Blueberries bring back so many memories from when I was younger. My childhood neighbors had a huge blueberry patch in their backyard and those bushes provided the basis for countless blueberry muffins and pie and jam and pancakes and of course, lots of opportunities to just eat them plain on a fresh bowl of morning cereal.

When I moved to Michigan almost 10 years ago, some friends and I decided it was about time we found our own "you pick" blueberry patch and drove over the border to Canada to pick blueberries at Klassen's in Essex. It was a fun adventure but unfortunately a rather long haul from Detroit. So luckily, a couple of years ago, I discovered a Michigan patch that was closer and try to make an effort to take a summer afternoon each year to go picking. (BTW...A good website for finding "pick your own" places near you is: http://www.pickyourown.org).

Although my normal use for berries, when not just eating them plain, consists of traditional items like muffins and pancakes, when I received my Bon Appetit the other day, I knew I just had to make this recipe. I will admit I'm normally not the biggest fan of fruit sauces and fish (since most of them are too sweet). But this sauce was fresh and savory and nicely complimented the salmon and mashed sweet potatoes. The mint also provided a bright flavor which made the meal so well suited for the summer. And let me just say, there's really nothing like a quick, healthy meal to make you enjoy the hot summer weather while feeling fulfilled and refreshed.






Grilled Salmon with Quick Blueberry Pan Sauce
From: Bon Appetit - August 2010 Issue
Recipe by Lori Longbotham

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for brushing
  • 3/4 cup sliced shallots
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt plus additional for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme plus additional for seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice plus additional for seasoning
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 7-ounce salmon fillets (each about 3/4 inch thick)
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint, divided


Preparation

  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/4 teaspoon thyme, and 1/8 teaspoon allspice. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add blueberries, 1/4 cup water, and vinegar. Stir to blend. Mash berries with potato masher or back of fork and cook until sauce thickens, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Remove from heat. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm before using.

  • Brush grill rack with oil. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush salmon on both sides with oil; sprinkle with coarse salt, thyme, allspice, and black pepper.

  • Grill salmon until just opaque in center, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plates. Stir 2 tablespoons sliced mint into warm blueberry sauce. Spoon sauce over salmon and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon mint. Serve immediately.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Food: Zucchini Pesto

OK...I know I'm hugely guilty of not posting things in over A MONTH. But did I mention my little sister was getting married? The wedding was actually this past weekend...and it was beautiful and fun and EXHAUSTING :) So now that I've had a little recovery time, I'm back in the game for sharing more recipes with you.

Farmers Markets are in full swing now. And it couldn't be better that one of my favorite veggies (zucchini) is in abundance (along with other wonderful summertime produce). So in case you still have a bunch of it in your fridge right now, or a craving for a wonderful summer dish, here's a quick and easy pasta recipe that uses a couple of zucchini as the base for a fresh, pesto-style sauce.

Also, if you happened to make my Sugo-stype caramelized onions in bulk and froze some, these work perfectly in this dish. If you don't have any, though never fear. You can caramelize some in the skillet using a quicker-cooking method. If you don't know how to do this, drop me a note and I'll post some instructions.




Zucchini Hazelnut Pesto with Bowties
Adapted from Bon Appetit, Oct 2009

Ingredients
  • 1 small zucchini (~2 cups shredded)
  • 2/3 c toasted hazelnuts
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T finely grated lemon peel
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 c plus 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t truffle salt
  • A handful of fresh green beans, stemmed and snapped in half
  • 1 14.5 oz box of bow tie pasta
  • 1/3 c freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Caramelized onions
Directions
  • Fill a pot with enough water to cook one box of pasta, salt generously, and bring to a boil. Cook pasta per directions.
  • When pasta is al dente, reserve 1 c of cooking liquid. Then drain, return to cooking pot, toss with 1T olive oil, and set aside.
  • In a food processor, combine zucchini, hazelnuts, lemon juice, truffle salt, and garlic. Slowly add olive oil in a steady stream until the mixture resembles a thick, green sauce.
  • In a small pan, add a couple of tablespoons of water, heat to medium, and steam green beans a few minutes until cooked but slightly crispy.
  • Toss bowties with "pesto" and green beans. Top with caramelized onions and freshly grated parmesan and serve!
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