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Salmon on spinach sauce and bean fennel salad

Salmon on a bed of white beans, fennel and orange salad accompanied with a spinach sauce is an attempt to make a crispy skin salmon dish… sadly, the skin wasn’t a success… I’ve burned it. Although the rest of the recipe turn out pretty good, maybe a little excess of sauce… This is the same spinach sauce I’ve used from the prior post; the gnocchis on spinach sauce recipe. This element is optional, of course, the original dish idea was actually without it.salminpin
Salmon on spinach sauce and bean fennel saladFennel have a quite particular taste to it, a delicate anise flavour. I find raw fennel to be great vegetable to crave on, in summertime, there is a certain refreshing feeling to it, similar to mint. This mediterranean veggie is actually one of the primary ingredient to absinth and is filled with health benefits. When eaten raw, the fennel bulb needs to be cut finely, otherwise its taste can be overwhelming. I’ve used the mandolin and slice 2 mm slices of it and marinate it with the rest of the salad ingredient, to let all those flavours develop together.

Orange goes particularly well with raw fennel, they balance one another to perfection. Without saying… it makes the dish even more summerish and fresh. As for the rest, it’s a simple red quinoa and white bean for the protein intake of the day, a few extra veggies and the orange marinade. All this, topped with a great source of Omega 3; salmon. A healthy to the core recipe.

Let’s make this refreshing salmon!


Salmon on a white bean, fennel and mandarin salad and spinach sauce

Makes 2 portions

Ingredients
  • 2 pieces of salmon
  • salt and pepper 
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
Salmon on spinach sauce and bean fennel saladThe bean fennel salad
  • 100g fennel bulb
  • 250g of cooked white beans
  • 50g of red quinoa
  • 1/2 cucumber thinly sliced with the mandoline 2mm cut
  • 1 carrot shaved with a peeler completely
  • 1 orange cut into supreme quarters
The salad marinade
  • 1 tbsp of orange juice
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper
The spinach sauce *optional
  • 100ml of chicken broth
  • 100g spinach
  • 1 tsp of cornstarch (diluted in 1 tbsp of cold water)
  • 1 tbsp of heavy cream 
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
Directions
Spinach sauce *optional
  1. Add the homemade (preferably) broth to a small sized pot and reduce (cook high heat) until it loses a quarter of its liquid, about 5-6 minutes
  2. Add the spinach and salt and let them melt into the broth
  3. Blend the sauce with an immersion blender
  4. Add the cornstarch mix, nutmeg, salt and pepper and reduce until slightly thicker
  5. Add the lemon squeeze and cream at the end of coccion
  6. Adjust the salt and pepper
The bean and fennel salad
  1. Cook for 10 minutes the red quinoa (al dente)
  2. Make the salad marinade by whisking the orange, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper together
  3. Add all the salad ingredients to a bowl, add the marinade and mix
  4. Let marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes
The Salmon with crispy skin
  1. Cut the salmon into portions, take out the bones, also take out the scales of the skin (if any) with a scaler or the back of a chef’s knife
  2. Pat dry the pieces of fish
  3. Add salt and pepper (generous on the skin side)
  4. In a non stick pan, add the olive oil, medium high heat, cook the fish on its skin side for 4-6 minutes (depending of the thickness of your fish) or until the line of coccion on the side of the fish is 2/3 of the way  (80% of coccion on the skin side)
  5. Turn the fish and cook a minute more
  6. Serve on a bed of the bean, fennel salad and a touch of spinach sauce

Enjoy!

Salmon on spinach sauce and bean fennel salad (6).jpg

Gnocchi on a spinach sauce with crispy cured hamSmooth gnocchis on a smooth spinach sauce topped with crunchy cured ham, a perfect balance of textures and flavors. If you are a spinach lover, this is the meal for you, also gnocchis, those italian silky potato dumplings are a great compliment to the spinach sauce. A traditional recipe made of spinach already exists; the green spinach gnocchis. I’ve simply separated the gnocchis from the spinach and made a sauce with it. The sauce under the gnocchi makes this dish look better in my option, to see the nice form of each gnocchi opposed to a mix of green balls.gnocchipin

Gnocchis recipes in the cyber world tends to be quite traditional, meaning typical sauces that comes with; for example; the butter sage sauce, pesto, ragout, etc. which are all delicious of course. In my case, I’ve done it with a spinach sauce… mainly because I needed a way to use my leftover chicken broth in the fridge and since all those great traditional recipes are out there already… That’s the purpose of this blog anyway; to experiment and sometime even innovate. So… back to the recipe…

Gnocchi on a spinach sauce with crispy cured hamReducing a good handmade broth goes with everything already, it was just missing some good old vitamins, which, in my opinion, is necessary to any meal. I’ve ended up taking the easiest of vegetables to work with and also the healthiest on earth; spinach. A touch of cornstarch and cream to thickens the sauce and a squeeze of lemon to finish it. So simple yet so tasty and healthy. Talking health… vitamins C (lemon in this case) helps iron getting absorbed into the body, which means, all those dark green vegetables will always benefit your body with a squeeze of citrus.

The main idea here isn’t the spinach really, it’s whatever vegetable you feel like that day; spinach in this recipe could easily be replace by butternut squash, mushroom, etc. Gnocchis are quite polivalent in this way, they go with everything, so the protagonist here is the vegetable of your choice. Then you build around it; a sweet squash goes well with salty cured ham too, mushroom goes well with simple parmesan, spinach always goes to perfection with pine nuts.

The crispy cured ham (serrano, prosciutto, etc.)  add a nice salty and crunchy texture to the overly soft dish. Although the dish holds great without it too. If you want a vegetarian version of this dish, just ditch the ham and replace the chicken broth by a nice veggie broth.

Let’s make those gnocchis!


Gnocchis on a spinach sauce and crispy cured ham

Makes 2 portions

Gnocchi on a spinach sauce with crispy cured hamIngredients
  • 500g of premade fresh gnocchis 
  • 300ml of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 300g spinach
  • 1 tbsp of cornstarch (diluted in 2 tbsp of cold water)
  • 3 tbsp of heavy cream 
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
Toppings *optional
  • crispy cured ham (see below)
  • shaved parmesan or romano
  • grilled pine nuts
Directions
The spinach sauce
  1. Add the homemade (preferably) broth to a medium sized pot and reduce (cook high heat) until it loses a quarter of it’s liquid, about 5-6 minutes
  2. Add the spinach and salt and let them melt into the broth
  3. Blend the sauce with an immersion blender
  4. Add the cornstarch mix, nutmeg, salt and pepper and reduce until lightly creamy
  5. Add the lemon squeeze and cream at the end of coccion
  6. Adjust the salt and pepper
The crunchy cured ham
  1. Add the a few slices of cured ham in the oven at 180°C (350F) for 3-4 minutes
  2. Reserve
The gnocchis
  1. In a big, unsalted boiling water pot, add the gnocchis (contrary to pasta, potato starch get’s mushy in salted water)
  2. Pick them up as soon as they come to the surface (takes about 1 to 3 minutes)
  3. Add on top of the spinach sauce
  4. Add the toppings of your choice (pine nuts, cured ham and parmesan in this case)

Enjoy!

Gnocchi on a spinach sauce with crispy cured ham

Zucchini meatballs pasta

Zucchini vegballs pasta is a great vegetarian version of the famous meatballs spag, even fills you up as much as the meat version. The zucchini balls are made in the oven, so extra healthy, barely any oil used for an ultra healthy vegetarian dish. I saw this recipe in many places online, most of them only contains zucchini, for this particular recipe I’ve done the vegballs with extra onion, garlic and flat leaf parsley for extra flavor.zucmeatPIN

Zucchini vegballs pasta

Zucchini’s water

Zucchinis are often underestimated, because they contain so much water and get soft and mushy as soon as your cook them. Also zucchini doesn’t have the boldest of flavors… again because it’s filled with water. So… for this recipe, we’ll cook the grated zucchini and onion at first, to release most of the water they contain so this way it’s going to concentrate the flavor. All there is left to do is making some nice tasty miniballs with it. The consistency and texture of those zucchini vegballs are similar to the meatball ones, as firm and heavy, you might even be able to trick your guests or family members… it’s meatballs.

Zucchini vegballs pasta

The trend of “Meatless monday” is high right now, well this dish is a great way to start the week for sure. Especially for those meat lovers out there, this recipe will satisfy even the most vegetarian sceptic out there. So, if you are looking for new ways to eat vegetarian, once in a while, or an actual vegetarian, try these easy to make vegballs!

So let’s make those zucchini vegballs


Zucchini vegballs pasta

Makes 3 portions

Ingredients
  • Zucchini meatballs pasta2 zucchinis grated
  • 1/2 a white onion grated
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 100g of bread crumbs
  • 1 hand of flat leaf parsley finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
Directions

*Bring the oven to 180°C (350F)Zucchini meatballs pasta

  1. Grate the zucchini, onion and add salt to it
  2. In a pot cook with olive oil, at high heat, the zucchini mix and the garlic for 15 minutes or until almost all the water is evaporated
  3. Drain the leftover juice, from the zucchini, mix through a sieve, Zucchini meatballs pastapush down the pulp with a spatula to get rid of all the juice, keep the zucchini water for the tomato sauce (reducing it by half before adding your favorite tomato sauce to it) or discard
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the zucchini pulp and mix (I’ve used 85g of bread crumbs in the balls and 15g to coatZucchini meatballs pasta them)
  5. Form small balls, with oiled hands, and add to baking tray (covered with a baking paper or oiled)
  6. Spray them or brush them with a little olive oil
  7. Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 180°C (350F) (until turning light brown)
  8. Add to the warm tomato sauce pot and cover Zucchini meatballs pastathem with sauce
  9. Serve with pasta

 


 

Serve with a few optional shaves of parmesan. Enjoy!

Zucchini vegballs pasta

 

Cured ham rolled chicken and grilled Mediterranean zucchini potCured ham and sage chicken rolls with mediterranean veggies like zucchinis, yellow pepper, tomatoes, onion, garlic, rosemary and thyme casserole is a light, packed with flavor, easy meal. I know… it’s a long… long… title for such a simple dish. A beloved “under 30 minutes meal” recipe, and filled with mediterranean flavors, who can resist that?curedhampin

Cured ham rolled chicken and grilled Mediterranean zucchini potThe cured ham enveloping the chicken breast is my version of a Canadian recipe called in french: tournedos de poulet. Which consist of a chicken breast enrolled circularly  (supreme) with bacon and holds with the help of a string, so it stays round during coccion. Since living abroad in Spain, I have to reproduce those recipes the best I can, so… for this particular recipe makeover, I’ve took a leaner than bacon meat; cured ham. Then add a little sage leaves in between the slices of ham and the chicken to give it a extra mediterranean flair. I’ve topped it with little pepper and voila!

As for the Mediterranean vegetables casserole, it goes well with this chicken recipe, because they take the same amount of time to cook in the oven. Simply cut thick slices with the mandoline, zucchinis, a few tomatoes, onion, yellow pepper, garlic, thyme and rosemary, add a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper. Terribly simple and delicious!

For the big eaters, I could recommend a couscous to accompany it, adding some of the bottom vegetable juice to it, to give it flavor.

So let’s make this simple, fast, mediterranean flavored dish!


Cured ham chicken rolls with mediterranean veggies

Makes 2 portions

Ingredients
Cured ham rolled chicken and grilled Mediterranean zucchini potChicken
  • 2 chicken breast
  • 4 serrano ham slices (or your favorite cured ham)
  • 8 sage leaves
  • salt and pepper
The mediterranean vegetables casserole
  • Cured ham rolled chicken and grilled Mediterranean zucchini pot1 zucchini thinly slices (5mm cut with the mandoline)
  • 1 tomato in slices
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper in slices
  • 1/2 onion in slices
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • rosemary to taste
  • thyme to taste
  • 2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Directions

*Bring the oven to 180°C (350F)

  1. Add the 2 slices of cured ham on a cutting board, add the sage in line, in the middle and add the chicken breast on top, salt and pepper and envelope them with the cured ham (you can use some strings to hold it together)
  2. Add to a small oven proof plate and reserve
  3. With a mandoline or knife cut the zucchinis, tomatoes, pepper and onion into 5mm slices and add to a bowl
  4. Chop finely the garlic, thyme and rosemary and add to the veggies
  5. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and mix good (no better instrument then you hands for this)
  6. Add to an oven proof recipient and cook both plates at the same time for 25 minutes at 180°C (350F)
  7. Serve the chicken as it is or you can always cut it into thick slices

Serve with couscous or as it is. Enjoy this mediterranean dish!

Cured ham rolled chicken and grilled Mediterranean zucchini pot

Spinach shiitake pho

Pho Bo soups are such a delicious, delicate and unique dish already, but adding a few extras like spinach and shiitakes makes it a touch more special. The usual traditional pho bo soup contains a few pieces of long cooked meat in it, but here I’ve simply used bones to make the broth and no extra meat pieces. The Shiitakes replace the meat pieces to perfection, in the resulting soup, only those thinly sliced raw pieces of meat remain in this pho version.

Spinach shiitake phoThe difficult part in this soup is to keep the broth clear, although fully packed in flavour. This means, pre boiling the bones at first and rinsing them, then never boiling, a good filter and really low coccion help with this. In my last pho recipe, I’ve add extra pieces of meat, during coccion which made my soup blurry, so as a perfectionist… I had to redo my broth, and this time, finally, I’ve made it crystal clear.

The recipe differs slightly from the previous one, since I’ve used more bones and no chicken carcass or meat. If you are not a big meat eater this is the pho for you. Just a touch of thin beef slices and lots of veggies.

The proper serving bowl is a big and thick bowl, which you preheat before or add a little hot broth or hot water before serving into it. Make sure the soup is hot when you serve it, also warm up the noodles in the broth at first, to prevent the soup from getting cold when you fill it with all those other extras. It needs to be warm enough to cook your final touch; the raw meat slices.

So let’s make this crystal clear and flavorful soup!


Pho Bo with spinach and shiitake

Broth
  • Pho Bo Ga (vietnamese soup)2 kg beef bones
  • 200g of carpaccio (raw beef, thinly cut)
  • 2 big yellow onions
  • 1 piece of ginger (10cm long)
  • 5 anise star
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a few white pepper grains
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 piece of yellow rock sugar *optional
  • Fish sauce to taste (Phu Quoc)
The final step
  • Banh Pho ThuoSpinach shiitake phong Hang (rice noodles)
  • shiitakes
  • spring onions
  • flat leave parsley
  • spinach
  • beans sprouts
  • limes cut into quarters
  • thai chili peppers

Directions

  1. Cover the bones and meat pieces into a big cold water pot, bring to a boil for a minute
  2. Eliminate the water with residues and rinse the bones into cold water for a few minutes (clean up the pot from residues)
  3. Add the bones and meat again to the big pot and fill with water, bring to a low simmer
  4. On a gas burner or in your oven on broil mode, char the ginger and onions until black (keep the skin) on every side (takes 5-10 minutes) Turn with metal tongs
  5. Pho Bo Ga (vietnamese soup)Once the charring is done, cool the ginger and onion before peeling off the skin
  6. Cut the onion and ginger into big pieces and add to the broth
  7. In a pan, add a little oil, and cook the aromatics; anise stars, clove, pepper, cinnamon a minute or 2 before adding to the broth
  8. Leave the broth gently simmer for 5-6 hours (even a night) with cover
  9. When the broth is ready, discard the bones
  10. Clear the broth through a sieve, then through a cheesecloth (or paper towel inside a sieve, or stockings) to make it extra clear
  11. Prepare the rice noodles, by simply soaking them into warm water for a minimum of 15 minutes
  12. In a pan cook the shiitakes, high heat, add extra garlic and parsley in the end of coccion
  13. Add a yellow rock sugar and fish sauce until well seasoned into the broth and bring to simmer a last time
  14. Take a small sieve or mini basket to plunge the presoaked rice noodles into the simmering broth, for about 30 seconds, before adding to a preheated bowls
  15. Top with the raw beef (carpaccio), beans sprouts, spinach, spring onion and shiitakes
  16. Fill the bowl with the broth

Serve with the usual side of thai peppers, lime and extra fish sauce for the salt lovers. Enjoy!

Spinach shiitake pho

 

Chicken couscous with leeks

This chicken couscous recipe is a no brainer… It’s so simple and healthy, a everyday kind of meal. I went to Morocco a while back, and every single restaurant offered whether a chicken couscous dish or the famous chicken tajine dish. Don’t get me wrong here, it was delicious, but after 3 weeks of eating one or the other every diner… I thought I was done for life with couscous… if you know what I mean. But time pass, and you forget about that excess of couscous that happened a while back, and surrender all over again. Just not everyday though…

Chicken couscous with leeksCouscous is a western African meal, the origin isn’t known exactly but it goes back to around 200 b.c., created by the Berbers.  I’ve met that nice Moroccan guy and he told me that the couscous we eat in our “westerners” life isn’t the same as the real couscous. The real one is pick up by hand, broken into those smaller balls, then dried up. It’s actually the hard part of durum semolina, it’s traditionally a process made by woman over a couple of days, then they dry the fine semolina they’ve subtracted and cook it way longer, than our “5 minutes” versions. I’m no professional, so in my case I’ll stick to the 5 minutes version.

Let’s get cooking!


 

Chicken couscous with carrots & leeks

Makes 4 portions 

Ingredients
  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1500ml chicken broth
  • 400g couscous
  • 4 carrots thick slices
  • 3 leeks cut in slices
  • 3 french shallots finely sliced
  • 30 ml brandy *optional to deglaze after step 3
  • 1 tsp of each Coriander dried herbs (or, I used thyme)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • Salt, pepper
Directions
  1. Start by seasoning the drumsticks with salt and pepper
  2. In a big iron cast, bring high heat
  3. Add olive oil, brown the chicken skin
  4. Add the aromatics, vegetables and brandy, scratch the bottom of your pan
  5. Let cook for an hour, low heat, mid covert
  6. In a bowl add the couscous, a pinch of salt and olive oil
  7. Pour hot water, just enough to top it, covert and wait a few minutes
  8. Salt, pepper the broth of the chicken to make sure it’s tasty
  9. Serve in deep bowl, and make sure to add a lot of broth, the couscous absorbs it.

Enjoy!

 

artichoke with citrus basil butter sauce

Artichokes are flower buds cut out just before blooming, no wonder why they look so much like a flower… There is about 140 varieties, from small purplish ones to big massive ones. In Spain, they grow all year long although there is a higher seasons which are spring and fall. In Spain, you’ll see them in many restaurants, cut simply in halfs and cooked directly on the grill or also fried. All good stuff, but the way my dad showed me when I was a kid stays my favorite. I simply vapor cook them and add a citrus butter sauce to it, to dip each leaf in, and then the “piece de consistence” the delicious and tender like butter heart.

Use every bit of your artichokes

artichoke with citrus basil butter sauce

To recycle all those leftovers of leaves and the tails you cut out at first, you can make a nice soup with it. Just add all the leftovers to a big pot, than add water to cover, cook 20 min then blend and pass through sieve, reduce it withsome aromatics like thym. Add maybe a little cream, broth of your choice and voilà! It’s a good way to recycle your artichokes leftovers.

History

Those vegetables are not so innocent, they are a big part of many stories throughout history… starting with a Aegean legend of the poor Cynara turned into an artichoke by Zeus, after he discovered his “lovely goddess” acting too human… The Greeks and Romans considered artichokes to be a delicacy and an aphrodisiac, also a way to secure for newborns to be boys… old times…  The artichoke symbol is everywhere in history, even a popular ornament in architecture throughout the years.

So let’s do this mystical veggie!


 

Artichoke with Citrus-basil sauce

Ingredients
  • As many artichokes you want
  • 2 tbsp salty butter
  • 2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • few leaves of fresh basil (or dried)
  • black pepper, white preferably
Directions
  1. Cut the top 1/5 of the artichoke with a knife, and the bottom of the stalk
  2. Cut the tip of each remaining leaf (optional)
  3. Soak in water to get rid of the impurities
  4. Add a little olive oil or butter in the center
  5. In a bain-marie add the artichokes, heads up and cover
  6. Cook for 25-35 minutes depending on the size of your artichokes
  7. For the dip, melt the butter
  8. Add the lime juice, basil and pepper to the melted butter and mix

 

Voilà! Simply dip each leaf before gently scratching off the meat from the bottom of each leaf with your teeth. At the end, when you reach the fur part, simply use a small spoon to take it off the hairs and dip that delicious tender heart to finish on a high. Enjoy!

 

 

Coconut chicken

Feeling like a fresh, light, summer meal? Get those rice noodles out and let’s make a simple wok dish. The coconut chicken recipe is really similar to a yellow curry sauce, but this one is for lazy people, you can use weather the yellow curry paste but I simply used the curry powder. That powder is actually a British invention to reproduce the orient flavours. The powder usually contains curcuma, ginger, turmeric, coriander, fenugreek, pepper, cardaCoconut chickenmom etc. It a mix of at those asian flavours in one pot, some powders are spicier than others, the ingredients tends to change depending of the company. I use this curry powder on popcorn, with butter, it’s delicious!
Coconut meat constipate while the coconut water is a natural laxative, how perfect is that? A perfect balance within a single coconut. In the recipe, coconut milk is used, but it could be switched to coconut cream, to make it fatter,tastier and smoother.

Oh! and if you like what you see, don’t be shy to follow me on Yummly, or other nice food sharing networks to see my future recipes and more.

 


Coconut chicken noodles

Makes 2 portions

IngredientsCoconut chicken
  • 250g rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 2tbs curry powder
  • 2 chicken breast in small cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 3 kaffir (makrut) limes leaves *optional
  • 3tbs fish sauce, or salt
  • 2tbs coconut oil, or peanut, vegetable oil.
  • 1tbs sesame oil
Toppings
  • lime
  • 1 peeled carrot
  • black sesame seeds
  • basil or coriander leaves
Directions
  1. Cut your chicken into little cubes and add 1 tbs of fish sauce to marinate a few minutes
  2. Add a pot of water to boil for the noodles
  3. Cook the glass noodles, only 2 minutes, keep the hot water to regenerate the noodles later
  4. Take out the noodles, drain, and rinse in cold water (gives them that nice texture)
  5. Add the sesame oil to the noodles, mix a bit and reserve
  6. Cut all the vegetables, peel a full carrot
  7. In a hot wok, or a big sauté pan, add the coconut oil
  8. Add the chicken and sauté it until light brown
  9. Add the pepper, onion, curry powder, kaffir lime leaves and coconut milk, reduce for a few minutes (about 3 minutes to high heat)
  10. When the sauce consistency is thick, add the fish sauce so salt up your dish, if no fish sauce use simply salt or soy sauce
  11. In the hot water pot from the precooked noodles, add the noodle a few second again to warm them up
  12. Serve the chicken, sauce on top of the noodles, add the peeled carrot slices, black sesame seeds and basil on top.

Serve with a piece of lime on the side and chopsticks. Enjoy!