Tag Archives: food

Monkfish à l’Américaine

Swoon. I don’t use that word lightly. But this dish made me swoon.

Years ago I saw Jasper White make Lobster à l’Américaine on Julia Child’s Cooking with the Master Chefs show. I’ve never forgotten the sight of that dish, I could almost smell it, yet I never made it. It popped into my head last weekend when I read in Locals Seafood’s weekly email that they had monkfish at the farmers market.


(Photo by Alexander Mayrhofer/Wikimedia Commons)

Monkfish is called “poor man’s lobster” because of its sweet, firm white meat. It’s a hideous looking fish but its huge tail provides lots of succulent fillets. I went to the farmers market and bought four fillets, about one and a half pounds. Then I hunted for a Monkfish à l’Américaine recipe because I knew my time to make it had finally come.

Monkfish fillets

Monkfish fillets

I found the recipe I was looking for on Sam Hoffer’s My Carolina Kitchen blog. Even better, it was a recipe from Jacques Pepin’s Essential Pepin cookbook. I was in the hands of a master. I only made a few changes based on what I had on hand already. I used a few shallots instead of a leek, ground fennel instead of fennel seeds, and brandy instead of Armagnac or cognac.

I served it with sautéed Johnston County kale from the farmers market and some quick Creole yellow rice from a box – it was the perfect match so I’m glad I was lazy and did that instead of making regular rice. This is a celebration meal – so good. And the leftovers were fantastic too.

If you can’t find monkfish, this sauce would be great with cod, halibut, mahi, snapper or any other meaty white fish. And, of course, lobster.

Monkfish à l'Américaine from Grabbing the Gusto

Monkfish à l’Américaine

Monkfish à l’Américaine

You’ll need a large pan with lid.

  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds monkfish fillets 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/2” pieces – about 1 cup
  • 2 shallots, diced or 1 leek, trimmed leaving some green, cut into 1/2” pieces, about 1 cup
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2” pieces, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1/2” pieces, about 1/3 cup
  • 1-1/4 cups chopped tomato – I used one 14 oz. can of petite diced tomato
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1/2 cup fruity white wine
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

Cut monkfish into twelve pieces. Heat the oil in a large pan until hot but not smoking. Add the onion, leek, carrot and celery and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add tomato, tomato paste, garlic, herbs de Provence, salt, cayenne, fennel, wine, brandy and water. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add fish to the pan. Cover and simmer gently over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan and set aside on a plate. Take the pan off the heat and stir in butter. Then, either use an immersion blender to emulsify the vegetables into a fine puree or leave the sauce chunky — that’s what I did. Add the fish back into the sauce and sprinkle with the tarragon. Serve with rice.

Original recipe: Monkfish à l’Américaine, My Carolina Kitchen

Roasted Salmon with Shallot Grapefruit Sauce

Since citrus season is here, I’ve had grand ideas about preparing lots of dishes with oranges, grapefruits, kumquats, blood oranges and tangerines, but my supermarket isn’t cooperating. One day I see blood oranges but the next day they’re gone. The same with kumquats. Ruby red grapefruit, sorry, we’re pink. So it goes.

I grabbed two of those pink grapefruits for this winter citrusy dish from Ellie Krieger at the Cooking Channel. It’s a winner! Sweet shallots and honey, acidic yet sweetish grapefruit, hint of ginger and tarragon, and the lushness of salmon – well balanced and, of course, delicious.

If you have any winner recipes featuring citrus, please let me know. The season’s not over yet and I’m hoping to get my hands on some tangerines soon.

Roasted Salmon with Shallot Grapefruit Sauce

Roasted Salmon with Shallot Grapefruit Sauce

You’ll need a baking dish big enough to fit the fillets, small bowl for juice and small skillet.

  • 4 salmon fillets, 5 to 6 ounces each, or a large fillet of salmon cut into large pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 ruby red or pink grapefruits
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons honey – decrease the honey if the grapefruit is really sweet
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Optional: 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil or chopped tarragon

Preheat the oven to 350.  Place salmon in a baking dish, skin-side down, and roast until cooked through, about 10-18 minutes, depending on the thickness of fillets and your preference for doneness.

While the salmon is cooking prepare the sauce. Cut one of the grapefruits into sections by cutting off a slice from the top and bottom of the fruit, then standing it on one end, cut down the skin to remove the pith and peel. You’ll end up with a naked grapefruit. With a paring (small) knife, remove each segment of fruit from its casing by slicing down at an angle along each side of the casing and releasing the segment from the fruit. Cut the segments in half and set aside.

Squeeze the juice from the grapefruit carcass into a small bowl. Juice the other grapefruit into the bowl and set aside. 

In the skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the ginger, honey, cayenne pepper and grapefruit juice, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce is reduced by about half, about 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and season with salt to taste. Optional: stir in butter off the heat.

Pour sauce over the salmon in the baking dish. Scatter the grapefruit pieces and basil (or tarragon) over the salmon.

Original recipe: Roasted Salmon with Shallot Grapefruit Sauce, Ellie Krieger, Cooking Channel

In the Kitchen: February 3, 2014

In an earlier post, I mentioned that my good kitchen juju faded one Tuesday night. It was bound to happen, I was overdue.

On Sunday I had picked up four chicken thighs at the farmers market. Total weight: .80 pound. What itty bitty little thighs! The word “precious” crossed my mind. It’s remarkable how healthy-looking the skin of a fresh farm chicken looks compared to a supermarket chicken. But next time, I’ll go for a bigger bird.

I picked the wrong recipe for my little thighs or, more likely, I should have made more adjustments to the recipe I had — Stovetop Roast Chicken with Lemon Herb Sauce from Cook’s Illustrated. I think I overcooked the chicken. The sauce was fabulous but the meat, what there was of it, wasn’t that great. Tasty but tough.

Unlike my fabulous Smoky, Spicy Collard Greens, the Spaghetti with Collard Pesto and Mushrooms I made as a side for the chicken wasn’t that good either. I was so disappointed. I love pesto and I love greens. I was looking forward to a new world of pestos. It was better the next day doused with hot sauce and some of the chicken’s leftover lemon-herb sauce. Next time I’ll try to find a recipe that has lots of good comments and give collard pesto another try. My other side that night was an old reliable: Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan.

collard greens

Collard greens
(Photo by Feeb/Flickr CC license)

A few days later I made snapper with fennel, leeks, bell peppers and tomatoes. It’s a Martha Rose Shulman recipe from the New York Times that I often make with cod or mahi mahi. Alongside the fish I served a mix of roasted root vegetables including one I hadn’t heard of before it turned up in our CSA share: Gilfeather turnip – an heirloom rutabaga/turnip cross. I tossed wedges of turnip with sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, red onions, rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper in olive oil and roasted them at 400 until they were tender.

On Saturday, I made vegetable stock out of a bunch of remains I had in the refrigerator: stems from leeks, greens and fennel, plus onions, carrots, celery, sprigs of thyme, bay leaf, a small bunch of parsley and some peppercorns. It will be used for lentil soup one of these days.

I’m keeping a plastic sealable bag in the freezer for stock ingredients. Whenever I’m chopping, I toss the leftover bits in the bag. If you want to go down the vegetable stock path, this post from The Kitchn has good advice.

I wanted to make an easy meal for Sunday, so I chose Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Roasted Brussels Sprouts from the Gimme Some Oven blog. An easy meal that still required three pots/pans, grrr, but was worth the extra dishwashing. I used basil pesto and spicy chicken sausage from my freezer and whole-wheat penne.

I’m a little behind in my In the Kitchen posts already, so you’ll hear more cooking tales soon.

Brussels sprouts on the stalk

Brussels sprouts on the stalk
(Photo by Morten Copenhagen/Wikimedia Commons)

Smoky, Spicy Collard Greens for Collard-Phobes

My world of greens has expanded since belonging to a CSA. I’ve always loved chard, kale and spinach, but this past year I’ve also become fond of turnip greens, beet greens, kohlrabi greens, tatsoi, even radish greens. But I’ve had a tough time with collard greens, a real NC staple.

Our CSA would often give us a choice: kale or collard greens. I always went for kale since Jim didn’t seem to think much of collards. But when I was at the farmers market, I bought some baby collards. I’m so glad I did.

I combined the ingredients from two recipes on the Whole Foods Market website – Smoky Collard Greens and Spicy Collard Greens. My lord, it was delicious. So well balanced with lots of flavor but not enough to mask the good, yes, I said good, collard flavor.

If you’re not a fan of collards, this recipe might change your mind. Try it first with baby collards, not the foot-long (or more) older leaves. But if that’s all you can find, I’m sure they will still be fantastic with this recipe. You just might have to add more liquid and cook them a bit longer. I’m finally ready to give the big boys a try.

Smoky, Spicy Collard Greens recipe from Grabbing the Gusto

Smoky, Spicy Collard Greens

You’ll need a large skillet with lid.

  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 1 bunch collard greens, thick stems removed, leaves sliced crosswise and rinsed, but not dried
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • At least 1 cup of chicken broth, vegetable broth and/or water

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and bacon, cook for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno, cook for 1 minute. Add greens with water still clinging to the leaves, stirring often until wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add vinegar, paprika, salt, pepper and about 1 cup of chicken broth and/or water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered until the pan is nearly dry and collard greens are very tender, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on their age and heat of stove. Add more broth/water during cooking if the greens get too dry.

Original recipes: Smoky Collard Greens, Spicy Collard Greens, Whole Foods Market

Sicilian Tuna and Potatoes

Last week I found a decent looking, big piece of tuna on sale at my local supermarket (Lowes Foods). Jim’s not into the usual ahi preparation – seared on the outside, raw in the middle – so I had to come up with something different. I couldn’t find a recipe that fit my mood so I combined a bunch of flavors and came up with my own recipe.

I had a bunch of leftover black garlic roasted potatoes – that was my start. Scanning the frig, I saw fennel, red bell pepper, herbs and lemon. I started writing down ingredients and then put them into cooking order. The resulting dish was full of flavor. Real comfort food.

Why Sicilian tuna? Because tuna, fennel, peppers, capers and lemon conjure up an image of lunch alongside a rocky Sicilian shore.

If you don’t happen to have roasted potatoes lying around, you could take time to make some or use white beans instead. The rest of the dish takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. 

Sicilian Tuna and Potatoes recipe from Grabbing the Gusto

Sicilian Tuna and Potatoes

You’ll need a large sauté pan.

  • Olive oil
  • Large piece of tuna
  • Medium onion or leek, sliced
  • Fennel, green stems removed, trimmed, sliced
  • Red, orange or yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Roasted potato cubes or wedges
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • Garnish: chopped fresh parsley and basil

Heat oil. Sauté tuna on both sides until it’s cooked to your liking. Remove to a plate.

Add more oil if needed. Sauté onion, fennel and red bell pepper until softened. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, ground fennel and capers, stirring frequently, until fragrant and sizzling but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until softened.

Add wine, bring to simmer and cook about 1 minute. Stir in tuna, potatoes, parsley, basil, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper and cook a few minutes. Turn off heat. Stir in butter if you’re using it. Taste for salt and pepper and add more, if needed. You could also sprinkle it with a little more parsley and basil.

Escarole with Prosciutto

Escarole was new to me until I started making a minestrone soup based on Rachael Ray’s recipe for minestra – a cousin of minestrone. Her recipe uses escarole as the green.

When I first went looking for escarole in the market, it was only by matching each sign to a head of greens and using the power of deduction to figure out which one was escarole. When I got home, I compared what I bought to photos on the web, hoping I didn’t come home with a head of Boston lettuce.

Escarole (photo by ilovebutter/Flickr CC license)

(photo by ilovebutter/Flickr CC license)

I think of escarole as a fluffy endive. Here’s Fine Cooking’s description:

“Escarole, a member of the chicory family, has wide, succulent stems and leaves that look more crumpled than curly. Like other chicories, it has a bitter flavor, though somewhat less so than curly endive. Though it can be eaten raw in salads, its hearty leaves benefit from cooking and is delicious with bacon, sausage, and added to white bean soups.”

When I came across this recipe from Saveur, I was eager to try escarole in a new way. I’m glad I did. Escarole’s flavor meshes well with prosciutto. Greens and pork – a classic combination.

I made a few changes based on comments to the Saveur recipe. Because I had a head of curly endive (or chicory) from our CSA, I used that as well, as the recipe suggested. But instead of boiling the greens, I steamed them in a covered pan using the water that remained on their leaves after washing, plus about 1/4 cup more.

I also simplified the recipe. I didn’t use the additional ham it suggested, only the prosciutto. I didn’t fry the prosciutto until crispy, instead I sautéed it. Since I was leaving it in longer, it would have time to cook further.

Instead of doing what the recipe does — sautéing an ingredient, removing it from the pan, wiping the pan dry and going on the next ingredient — I simply kept adding ingredients to those already in the pan. Doing it this way, I saved time (no removing ingredients and wiping the pan) and olive oil.

Escarole with Prosciutto recipe from Grabbing the Gusto

Escarole with Prosciutto

You’ll need a large deep pan with cover, colander and bowl.

  • 2 head of escarole and/or chicory, tough outer leaves discarded, washed, drained only slightly, and sliced in 2” sections crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto, sliced into strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste

Add the hopefully still wet escarole to a large pan; steam, covered, until tender, about 3 minutes — your times might vary depending on your stove. Add more water while steaming if all the water evaporates and the escarole starts sticking too much to the pan. When done, drain escarole in a colander set over a bowl. Reserve the liquid in the bowl. Wipe pan dry.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in the same pan. Add prosciutto strips and cook, stirring, until they start to change color and crispen a bit. Add another tablespoon of olive oil, if needed, along with the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for 30 seconds, or until the garlic begins to golden. Add the reserved cooking liquid and scrape up any browned bits in the pan. Add more water if you need it – you want to end up with a bit of a broth.

Add the escarole and cook until hot, 2–3 minutes. Add more water if your broth has evaporated too much. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon juice.

Original recipe: Escarole with Prosciutto, Saveur

In the Kitchen: January 15, 2014

New ideas for a New Year. Sometimes I cook really good dishes but forget to take photos, so I don’t blog about them. Or, I don’t stray at all from a recipe and feel funny about just copying it without making it mine. Why keep all the good recipes and tips to myself, right? So here’s what I’ve been up to in the kitchen.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to cook more out of my Cook’s Illustrated magazines – my parents buy me a subscription every year so I have quite a collection. CI recipes are an excellent way to learn new techniques, plus they never disappoint.

Last week, I made Shrimp fra Diavolo from the January/February 2014 issue. I learned a new method for making shrimp stock. Usually I simmer the shells in water with aromatics, but this method was even better. Instead, brown the shells, deglaze the pan with white wine, simmer and then add the reserved juice from a can of whole peeled tomatoes. Such deep flavor.

The shrimp were delicious. Instead of the usual pasta, I served them alongside one of my old standards, Broccoli Rabe Sautéed with Onion and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Gruyere, a new recipe from the Food 52 blog. I followed the blog’s advice for making a lower fat version by steeping gar­lic, pep­per­corns and thyme in 1% milk and making a béchamel with it, instead of using heavy whipping cream. I’ve been using that method frequently in the last few months whenever a recipe calls for heavy cream.

Shrimp fra Diavolo with Broccoli Rabe and Scalloped Potatoes

Shrimp fra Diavolo with Broccoli Rabe and Scalloped Potatoes

On Sunday night, I made another Cook’s Illustrated recipe, Roasted Butternut Squash with Radicchio and Parmesan. I’ve never roasted squash quite that long – about an hour. The squash was caramelized in places to a dark brown – crunchy and delicious. The flavors of sherry vinegar, sliced radicchio and parmesan cheese were a nice counterbalance to the sweet squash. I’ll make this one again too.

I served the squash alongside Chicken with Artichokes and Mushrooms in a White Wine Sauce, a recipe from Annie’s Eats. This would make a great weeknight meal since it comes together in about 30 minutes, maybe less. My other side dish was Roasted Potatoes with Black Garlic.

Black garlic is the bomb. Jim’s cousins sell organic black garlic (along with other delicious-looking goods) that they grow on their farm, Obis One, in southern New Jersey. That’s what I used in the potatoes – added some cayenne too for a little kick. Black garlic has all the flavor of garlic yet it’s mellower, sweeter and something else I can’t quite put my finger on. You can easily eat it raw – don’t worry, no garlic breath! If you haven’t ever tried it, you’re missing out.

Black garlic from Obis One

Black garlic from Obis One

Earlier in the week, I made Cod with Fennel, Leeks and Tomatoes (New York Times) alongside Sautéed Kale with Beans and Pancetta (Italian Food Forever) – sorry, forgot to take photos, again. The cod recipe is one of my regulars whenever I’m in the mood to splurge on fennel and leeks. Fennel is a little easier to come by these days since it’s sold at Trader Joe’s in very affordable two-packs, and sometimes I get it in my CSA share.

Another one of my resolutions is to eat healthier this year. We eat pretty healthy as it is but I’m going to try to choose more recipes that feature nutritious foods, like greens and beans. Because of the CSA, we eat greens a few times a week when they’re in season. I’m planning to cook more beans from scratch – just need to develop that habit. This recipe from The Kitchn for beans in the slow cooker might help.

Beans and greens are fabulous together, add chicken sausage and you have a complete meal. I’ve made the kale and beans recipe from Italian Food Forever  several times.

And, of course, we had leftovers too! What yummy dishes have you made lately?

Hoisin Pork with Napa Cabbage

Fine Cooking has always been a reliable source of good recipes. I used to get the magazine but, as a tactic to tame my outlandish food magazine library, I stopped subscribing. Plus, I knew I could get more recipes than I’d ever need online.

When I lived in Virginia, a tall Ikea shelving unit in my bedroom was full of cooking magazines dating back to the 80s – yup, that many. I culled that collection when I moved to California and then again when I moved here to North Carolina. I sometimes mourn the loss of those old Gourmets – should I have saved some of the covers to frame? Wanting to downsize, I let them go, but only after going through all of them to clip my favorite, proven recipes. You can imagine how much time that took – the things we do for our obsessions!

I found this recipe on the web, not in my clippings – honestly, I hardly ever look in that file box, although I should – treasures lie within! One week in November, our CSA share included a head of Napa cabbage so I searched within my pins to see if I had a recipe. I love using Pinterest as an online recipe box. I’m a sucker for anything hoisin, so I seized upon this recipe.

This dish takes less than 30 minutes to prepare so it’s a great option for a week night. I served it with cauliflower faux fried rice instead of regular rice.

Hoisin Pork Tenderloin Stir-Fry with Napa Cabbage recipe from Grabbing the Gusto

Hoisin Pork with Napa Cabbage

You’ll need a large bowl, small bowl and large skillet or sauté pan.

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips about 3 inches long
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 6 cups Napa cabbage (about 3/4 pounds), sliced crosswise into 1-1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, thinly sliced, and cut into 2 to 3 inch lengths
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives (or scallions)

In a large bowl, season the pork with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. In a small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, red pepper flakes and vinegar.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the pan over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the pork and cook, stirring, until it browns and loses most of its raw appearance, about 2 minutes. Don’t crowd the pork or it will not brown. Instead, sauté in stages, if necessary. Transfer pork to a plate.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the garlic, and once it begins to sizzle (don’t let it darken), add the cabbage and pepper. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the cabbage starts to wilt, about 2 minutes.

Add the hoisin mixture, pork and half of the chives and cook, tossing, until heated through, about 1 minute. Let sit for 2 minutes off the heat. The cabbage will release liquid and form a rich broth. Toss again and garnish with the remaining chives.

Original recipe: Hoisin Pork with Napa Cabbage, Fine Cooking

Chicken Parmesan Muffins

Chicken Parmesan is one of our favorite comfort food meals. On a cold night, our tummies and brains are always pleased by a crispy, tender chicken cutlet covered with cheese and red sauce with a heaping pile of spaghetti, sautéed or roasted green veggie and glass of red on the side. Sounds fabulous, right?

One night, I decided to mix it up and make these chicken parmesan muffins instead. It’s basically a chicken meatloaf recipe baked in muffin tins. I was dubious – wouldn’t they be too dry? But they weren’t. And besides, if they were, I’d just smother them in more cheese and sauce.

I made a few changes to the original Chow recipe. I added red bell pepper to it and took the extra step of sautéing the pepper with the onion and garlic – in the original recipe, the onion and garlic are added raw to the muffin mixture. I also substituted basil pesto for fresh basil since I have a freezer full of pesto cubes. And I added fresh parsley and red pepper flakes to the mix for extra flavor.

According to Chow, the muffins will be drier and less flavorful if you use ground white-meat chicken. I took their advice. Luckily, my local supermarket sells ground dark-meat chicken from one of the national brands.

These muffins would be a good choice for a potluck feast. You could heat them up in the oven when you get there and serve some warm tomato sauce on the side. Now I’m wondering what they’d be like cooked in mini-muffin pans – an even better portion for a party. You could still try to smoosh a cube of mozzarella in them, but you’d have to keep an eye on them so they don’t overcook and dry out.

Chicken Parmesan Muffins recipe from Grabbing the Gusto

Chicken Parmesan Muffins

You’ll need a sheet pan, 6-well muffin pan, small sauté pan, large bowl and wire cooling rack.

  • Cooking spray or olive oil
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for sautéing
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/3 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 pounds ground dark-meat chicken
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto (or 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley (or 1/2 dried parsley)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 with a rack in the middle. Line a sheet pan with foil. Place a 6-well muffin pan on the pan and coat the muffin wells and the top of the muffin pan with cooking spray or olive oil to coat the pan.

Combine 1/3 cup of the panko, 1/3 cup of the Parmesan and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl until evenly moistened.

Sauté onion and red bell pepper in olive oil until starting to soften. Add garlic and sauté one minute. Take off heat and let cool.

Place the beaten egg in a large bowl. Add the remaining 1/3 cup panko and 1/3 cup Parmesan, chicken, pesto, oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and onion/pepper mixture. Mix everything with your hands until it’s combined – take care not to squeeze or overwork the mixture or the muffins will be tough.

Divide the mixture among the wells of the muffin pan. Evenly divide the mozzarella pieces among the wells, pushing them into the center of the chicken mixture and enclosing them. Smooth out the tops of the “muffins.”

Optional – add some of the marinara to the tops of the muffins before baking.

Sprinkle the reserved panko-Parmesan mixture evenly over the tops of the meatloaf muffins and gently press to adhere.

Place the sheet pan with the muffin pan on it into the oven and bake until the muffins are cooked through, about 25-30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the tomato or marinara sauce and keep it warm.

When the meatloaf muffins are done cooking, set the oven to broil and broil until the panko topping is golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Run a small knife around the outside of each muffin to loosen and remove it. Serve with the marinara sauce.

Original recipe: Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf Muffins, Chow

Ingredient of the Week: Watermelon Radish

Have you ever seen a watermelon radish? From the outside it looks a bit like a blushing turnip tinted with green.

watermelon radish

Photo by Stacy Spensley (Flickr CC license)

But sliced open, the pretty pink inside is revealed.

watermelon radish

The watermelon radish is an heirloom variety of daikon radish that we’ve been getting in our CSA share the last few weeks. I’m not a huge fan of radishes, correction, radishes sold in supermarkets, but I love this variety. Its mild, sweet flavor reminds me of radishes I used to buy at the farmers market in Sacramento.

Although we’ve only used them in salads, I bet they would also make pretty crudités or quick pickles. Slather some sweet butter on a baguette and top with slices of watermelon radish – I used to do this with French breakfast radishes. Check out the Kitch’s Ingredient Spotlight post (and comments) on the watermelon radish for more ideas.

It’s a cool weather crop available in the spring and late fall. According to one of the websites I read, they’re all the rage at farmers markets so I hope you can find them.

watermelon radish