Scallops a la Grenobloise with Fennel

grenobloise

Many of you are aware from previous posts that I love scallops. Like a lot. Like in the perhaps you need a support group for your non sensical devotion to them kinda way. But I have no shame. They’re delicious, they’re healthy (if we ignore the amount of butter I drown them in), and compared to the cost of other fish they’re more bang for your buck.

Last week I made Scallops Provencal (again), a frequent mid week dish chez moi , and the Scallops with Brussels Sprouts (again). But this week I attempted a new variation – Scallops a la Grenobloise.  Initially, I was going to attempt Jacques Pepin’s version, but then I found this version in Food and Wine Magazine and thought it sounded a bit simpler for my first go at it.

So what makes it “Grenobloise” you ask? Apparently the presence of capers, lemon, and parsley all on the same plate. Having visited Grenoble very briefly I can’t say I have any real knowledge as to whether this really holds true, but it seems to be the running theme for recipes found here in the States claiming Grenoble as their homeland. This particular recipe included fennel which honestly I could do without. I think capers, lemon, and parsley are perfectly lovely on their own and fennel has that very agressive licorice smell and taste that can be off putting if you use too much of it. I actually cut the fennel in half knowing I would have a problem if I used the amount the recipe called for. But to each their own. If you’re a fennel fan then this recipe is definitely for you.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1 pound sea scallops
  3. Kosher salt
  4. Freshly ground pepper
  5. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  6. 1 medium fennel bulb—trimmed, halved and thinly sliced, fronds reserved for garnish
  7. 2 tablespoons drained capers
  8. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
  9. 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

 

Directions:

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the scallops and cook until just opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a platter and keep warm.
  2. Melt the butter in the skillet. Add the sliced fennel and capers and cook over high heat, stirring, until the fennel is crisp-tender and lightly golden, 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the fennel around the scallops and garnish with chopped fennel fronds. Serve with lemon wedges.

 

Finished product (served over quinoa):

grenobloise2

It was good. Not amazing but good. Personally, if I make this again, I’ll make it completely sans fennel, but that is definitely a personal preference.

Anyone have any go to fish dishes they love to make? I need more recipes!

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Halibut with Charred Corn Salad

yummy corn salad

yummy corn salad

Dinner was so healthy the other night I almost hated myself for it.

Who am I becoming? There was no starch, no complex carbohydrates, and technically there was no butter! Until I added some, because OF COURSE I DID.

Wednesday night’s recipe was Halibut with Charred Corn Salad (found on Serious Eats) and I must say it was delicious. But it was delicious in that healthy feel good way. Not in the healthy SO GOOD way. Does that make me sound crazy?

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 ears of corn, kernels removed (I used canned corn – FOR SHAME)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ jalapeno, minced
3 scallions thinly sliced, light green parts only
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
½ cup fresh mint leaves roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh juice from about 2 limes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 halibut fillets (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds)

Directions

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the corn and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn has charred slightly, about 5 minutes.

LOVE corn, always and forever

LOVE corn, always and forever

2. Add the corn to a serving bowl and mix with the jalapeno, scallions, tomatoes, mint leaves, lime juice, and extra-virgin olive, and season to taste (see above photo). Set aside.

3. Wipe out the same skillet and add the remaining olive oil (AND SOME BUTTER) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Season fish with salt and pepper. Add the fish skin side down and until the skin is crisp, about 4 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until just cooked through, about 3 minutes longer. Serve with the corn salad.

The finished product:

Pretty and healthy

Pretty and healthy

Another pretty plate of food. And super healthy. Like so healthy I needed to eat a handful of Girl Scout cookies an hour later to make sure I wasn’t going so far over the edge of healthy eating habits that my friends couldn’t recognize me.

Would I make it again? Yes. For a mid week healthy option, absolutely. Do I want to make it again the way I want to make the scallops and brussels sprouts again? No, not really. I would never crave this dish, but I will add it to my rotation of options.

Worth a try if you’re looking for easy and light mid week meal!

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Scallops with Brussels Sprouts and Lemon Chive Crème Fraîche

brussel1 Last night I got home and all I could think about was ordering delivery. I wanted someone to bring me hot delicious food while I sat on my couch, had a cocktail, and indulged in some seriously questionable TV programming.

But instead, I rallied. I did the dishes, broke out the recipe book, and tried out something new for dinner. And man am I glad I did because it was DELISH. Like really, really good and super satisfying. And I am so glad I tried it because, in an effort to eat a bit lighter, I’m trying to focus most of my meals on fish and vegetables. I’m also trying to opt for quinoa and veggies instead of for my true love – the potato. The change in focus is not for any particular reason other than it’s been a long winter and quite frankly my body is craving the lighter food. That being said, this particular recipe calls for pancetta and crème fraîche…and some butter…so I suppose by definition it’s not SUPER healthy, but by my standards it’s perfect. All the flavor I need and all the healthy factors as well. I mean, let’s be honest, if there are no potatoes on my plate smothered in butter (and I do mean smothered) then it’s healthy and light according to this home chef.

Lemon chive creme fraiche

Lemon chive creme fraiche

Just based on the recipe, when I began cooking this I wasn’t anticipating it to be that great. I love scallops and I’ve always appreciated brussels sprouts, but despite it sounded relatively straight forward and tasty, I was almost annoyed that I was cooking it simply based on the fact that I was exhausted and wanted someone to ring my doorbell with my dinner. I was not in the mood for any kind of prep work. To be fair, if you’re in a cooking mood, the prep work is pretty light and once all the elements are ready to go, cook time takes less than 10 minutes. Also it turned out SO STUPIDLY GOOD. I got this particular recipe from Food and Wine Magazine and it’s a definite winner:

Ingredients

1/4 cup crème fraîche

1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon snipped chives

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

6 jumbo scallops (about 3/4 pound)

6 thin slices pancetta (about 2 ounces)

1/2 pound brussels sprouts thinly sliced

1 shallot thinly sliced

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 garlic clove, minced

Directions

1. In a small bowl, whisk the crème fraîche with the finely grated lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, snipped chives and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the lemon-chive crème fraîche with salt and pepper.

2. In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Generously season the scallops with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet. Cook the scallops over moderately high heat, turning once, until they are golden and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the scallops to a plate; tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

3. Meanwhile, in another medium skillet, cook the pancetta over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts and shallot and cook, stirring, until the brussels sprouts are softened but still bright green, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the butter and garlic and season with salt and pepper; transfer to plates and top with the scallops. Serve with the lemon-chive crème fraîche.

I followed the directions exactly and it came out beautifully. The only difference was that I didn’t have jumbo scallops so I used more. I mean, seriously, look at it:

YUMMMMMM

YUMMMMMM

There’s obviously more crème fraîche available if you want it but I found a light drizzling to be just enough.

This one is a definite keeper and a new favorite without a doubt. Worth a try if you’re in the mood!

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The Time Has Come – We Are San Francisco Bound

San-Francisco-Fog-Sunset1

The time has finally come. After much discussion and a lot of thought, Erik and I have decided to move back to San Francisco. And can I just say…HALLELUJAH!

There are many reasons why New York and I need to part ways but the biggest one is the simple fact that I’m too old for this shit. Roger Murtaugh knew what he was talking about. And unlike Mr. Murtaugh who kept going back for more (silly), I am a big enough curmudgeon to know that I’m done. More importantly, I’m exhausted.

New York is an amazing city. I won’t take that away from it. It is. But it is a young person’s city. And I really am too old for this shit. I don’t want to be at the bars till 4am, I don’t want to wear the latest fashions (that I can’t afford anyway), I don’t want to snag a table at the newest, best, etc restaurant on a Saturday night, and I most certainly do not want to spend my entire month’s paycheck on my rent. Living in this city, even on a good day, comes with battles and hard edges, extreme emotions and unnecessary stress, and when you look around and can’t find one thing that seems to make it entirely worth it, then it’s time to leave.

And leave we will, for our beloved San Francisco. The Bay Area is not exactly cheap, but the quality of life is far richer than any life I’ve experienced in NYC. It is the city that I believe holds the deepest root to my family and houses the open arms of my dearest and closest friends. Top that off with perfect weather and amazing food and you’ve got what I believe to be a recipe for happiness.

We’re not sure yet if we’ll be setting up shop in the city or going back to our old stomping grounds in Berkeley, but either way, we’re coming home Bay Area.

Murtaugh OUT.

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Lyrics of the Day

leonard-cohen
“I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm,
your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm,
yes, many loved before us, I know that we are not new,
in city and in forest they smiled like me and you,
but now it’s come to distances and both of us must try,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.
I’m not looking for another as I wander in my time,
walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme
you know my love goes with you as your love stays with me,
it’s just the way it changes, like the shoreline and the sea,
but let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.
I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm,
your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm,
yes many loved before us, I know that we are not new,
in city and in forest they smiled like me and you,
but let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.”
Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye, Leonard Cohen

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Lyrics of the Day

sarah-mclachlan-BLACK-WHITE
“I remember the nights I watched as you lay sleeping
Your body gripped by some far away dream
Well I was so scared and so in love then
And so lost in all of you that I had seen
But no one ever talked in the darkness
No voice ever added fuel to the fire
No light ever shone in the doorway
Deep in the hollow of earthly desires
But if in some dream there was brightness
If in some memory some sort of sign
And flesh be revived in the shadows
Blessed our bodies would lay so entwined

And I will oh I will not forget you
Nor will I ever let you go
I will oh I will not forget you
I remember when you left in the morning at daybreak
So silent you stole from my bed
To go back to the one who possesses your soul
And I back to the life that I dread.
So I ran like the wind to the water
Please don’t leave me again I cried
And I threw bitter tears at the ocean
But all that came back was the tide…”
I Will Not Forget You, Sarah McLachlan

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Farfalle a la Vodka with Bacon

Farfalle a la Vodka

Farfalle a la Vodka

Due to my amazing V-day gift from Erik, the theme of this week’s meals is BACON. We have a ton of bacon to use and my job this week has been to find recipes that incorporate bacon so that our massive quantity of fat doesn’t go to waste. Last night, we opted to make a new pasta dish that I found in Food and Wine Magazine that uses bacon in a vodka sauce – Farfalle a la Vodka.

Ingredients:

  1. 1/4 pound applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  2. 2 cups finely chopped onion
  3. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  4. Kosher salt
  5. 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  6. 1 cup vodka
  7. One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  8. 1 cup heavy cream
  9. 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  10. 1/3 cup torn basil leaves
  11. Freshly ground pepper
  12. 1 pound dried farfalle pasta
  13. Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving

DIRECTIONS

In a large, deep skillet (we used our dutch oven), cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and nearly crisp, about 8 minutes.

mmmmmm - bacon

mmmmmm – bacon

Add the onion and crushed red pepper, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden, about 10 minutes.

vodka2

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Carefully add the vodka and cook, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add the tomatoes with their juices and bring to a boil.

vodka3

Cover and simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes start to break down, about 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the cream and peas and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper.

DELISH

DELISH

Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the skillet along with the reserved cooking water and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the pasta is coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the pasta to bowls, sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve right away.

Ta - da! Not the best pic but you get the idea. SO GOOD

Ta – da! Not the best pic but you get the idea. SO GOOD

Our only issue was that the sauce came out a bit watery, but that was our fault as we didn’t seem to reduce the sauce enough. The recipe itself is great and the flavor is spot on. My only adjustment would be more red pepper flakes – I like things spicy!

Tonight we’re attempting bacon wrapped tuna over a frisee and avocado salad. That’s all the recipe calls for which is lovely, but I need some starch so I see some buttery boiled potatoes getting added to our plates tonight. I mean, really. My Irish side can’t accept a meal without some kind of potato. It just feels wrong.

If you know of any great recipes with bacon please send them my way! We have a lot left to use.

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