Salmon Pan Bagnat

The inspiration: Leftover salmon, gorgeous mixed greens, and wanting to make a quick and easy meal

Leftovers- you have to love them or hate them. Every Shabbat, I prepare baked salmon for my family and there is always some leftover on Sunday. But I was tired of making my usual salmon-with couscous, salmon-with-rice, or salmon-with-pasta using the leftovers. I wanted something with bold flavor, something that would use my leftovers and I wouldn’t have to do more than make a knife (or my hands) dirty.

The innovation: Substituting salmon for tuna, gherkins for cornichons

Pan Bagnat is the classical tuna and vegetable sandwich of southern France. Traditionally, it has hard-boiled eggs, mixed greens or romaine lettuce, roasted squash or peppers (maybe both), cornichons or Nicoise olives and canned tuna. However, like much of Provencal cuisine, the one hand and fast rule is to use whatever is the freshest, the best tasting – and what you have on hand. Works for me! I had salmon to use up, as well as some delicious vegetables and greens. Cornichons add a slightly sour/tart taste that works in perfect contrast to the Dijon in the vinaigrette, but since I was using mixed greens that were slightly bitter and the Dijon together, I was sure the gherkins would add a welcome sweet/tartness to the pan bagnat. You can always omit the gherkins, but I wouldn’t recommend substituting pickle spears or sour pickles. If anything, if you don’t like pickles, add Nicoise or Kalamata olives or capers for a similar taste profile.

My interpretation: Salmon Pan Bagnat

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Ingredients: 

For the vinaigrette:

2 heaping tsp genuine Dijon mustard 

1 and 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar 

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together, set aside in fridge to chill 

For the pan bagnat:

1/2 of a French baguette

1 baked or grilled salmon fillet, about 6 oz, already cooked and cooled

large handful of mixed greens

1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into slices

1 Roma (plum) tomato, cut into slices

2 gherkin pickles cut in half lengthwise 

Olive oil to brush on baguette

Sea Salt 

Black Pepper

To prepare:

1) Brush the insides of the baguette with a light layer of olive oil and sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt and black pepper on top

2) Mix the vinaigrette with the mixed greens til coated very lightly and add to the baguette. You may have extra dressing – that is fine, save it.

3) One layer at a time, add in the cucumbers, tomatoes, pickles.

4) Flake the cooled salmon into large pieces and add to the baguette. 

5) If desired, add the remaining vinaigrette. At this point, it is traditional to wrap the sandwich tightly in foil and refrigerate for an hour.  However, if you are hungry- bon apetite!  

 

 

 

Gluten Free Pasta with Peppers and Capers

The inspiration: A need for a quick meal and to clean out my fridge

Sunday afternoons find me with a need to make a quick meal to feed my family. We’ll have Shabbat leftovers for dinner, but lunch is always about using up what is in the house. Since starting FODMAP, the definition of a ‘quick’ meal has changed. Even so, I didn’t have 30 minutes or an hour to make something. So what to make that would be hot, filling, taste good, and FODMAP friendly?

The Innovation: Using a corn/rice blend pasta instead of completely rice pasta

I’ve tried making rice pasta – it was a mushy overcooked disaster. But at the same time I bought the rice pasta, I also bought a bag of corn/rice blend GF pasta as well. If I’ve never seen it before, I always want to try it. It cooks quickly, too – about the same time and way you’d cook regular pasta. While the pasta cooked, I could saute some peppers I had in the fridge, and add something for a hit of acid. Capers are lovely for that – cooking them a little reduces the astringency a good bit, leaving a lovely almost citrus flavor in its place.  When my two younger kids demanded second helpings, I knew I had a winner.

My Re-Interpretation: Gluten Free Pasta with Peppers and Capers

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Ingredients:

2 large red bell peppers, sliced into strips

1  8 oz bag of GF corn/rice pasta (I used Landau’s)

2 heaping tablespoons of large capers

Olive oil for sauteeing peppers, plus a tiny bit extra

Juice of half a lemon

Juice from the capers to taste

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste.

Dried parsley to taste

To Prepare:

1) Liberally salt the water for the pasta, when it reaches a boil add the pasta and stir frequently as it cooks to prevent clumps. Boil for about 7 -10 mins, testing at the 7 minute mark for doneness. When the pasta is al dente, remove from fire, drain from water and rinse lightly.

2) While you cook the pasta, add a bit of olive oil to your saute pan. When it is hot, add the peppers and parsley.

3) Saute the peppers at medium high heat for about 5 mins, or til the peppers start to soften and change color.

4) Add the capers, and cook for another 2-3 mins or until peppers are soft but not mushy.

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5) Add pepper-caper mixture to the cooled but still warm pasta. Mix in the caper juice, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

 

Salmon Salad with Donut Peaches and Pistachios

The inspiration: a long Shabbat afternoon spent with a friend

Shabbat afternoon is the time I use to catch up with my neighbors (who also happen to be good friends of mine).  I live in an apartment building in Brooklyn that is home to about 30 families, and we are all like one big extended family. So many a late Shabbat afternoon (about 2 hours before nightfall on Saturday afternoon) you will find my kids and I visiting a neighbor and sharing a light meal with them.  One of the foods we enjoy at that time besides challah is salad – something light to offset the heavy Shabbat lunch from several hours earlier. I will usually go to visit a friend with fresh produce or some sort of fish and between the two of us we make a couple of salads.

The innovation: pairing a fish with a stone fruit

Salads are fun – you can add so many different combinations. So one Shabbat afternoon I showed up to my friend’s house with donut peaches, leftover baked salmon, and roasted pistachios. It had been a last minute invite, and I was basically making it up as I went. This salad was originally made that Shabbat afternoon with iceberg lettuce, but the flavor of the peaches with the salmon and pistachios stuck with me. Donut peaches are not as sweet as regular peaches – they remind me of more of white peaches – and I find they work really well with salmon.

My interpretation:  Salmon Salad with Donut Peaches and Pistachios

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Ingredients

8 oz fresh, boneless/skinless salmon fillet, baked or grilled

10 to 12 oz spring greens or mesclun mix (you want a mixture that has both sweet and  bitter greens)

3 donut peaches, pitted and sliced

large handful of roasted pistachios, crushed

a scant drizzle of best quality light olive oil

a two-finger pinch of sea salt (if desired)

1) Make sure the salmon is completely chilled if you are preparing it fresh. I have used leftover salmon as well – warm fish will wilt your greens.

2) Carefully flake the salmon, and mix the fish, peaches, and olive oil into the greens with your hands delicately.

3) Taste and add sea salt now if desired. If not, top with pistachios.

 

Recipe for a simple baked salmon

In an aluminum tray or pan,  place your salmon skin side down. Add a sprinkle of salt and squeeze half of a fresh lemon over the fish. Cover tightly, bake at 350 for about 15mins. Fish is done when glistening and completely cooked through.

 

Lazy Leftovers Make Super Summer Suppers: Roasted Chicken Salad with Provencal Style Tomatoes and Dijon Dressing

The inspiration: Leftover roasted chicken breasts, garbanzo beans that needed eating, fresh tomatoes, and a need for something to feed my family for lunch.

Leftover chicken breasts can be delicious, but they usually need something to accompany them to really make them taste their best. Rummaging around my fridge, I found some leftover garbanzo beans, and I had tomatoes that needed to be used up.  It was far too hot to stand over a stove to cook, and when I am feeling lazy I usually make some sort of salad. This way I feed my family quickly and it’s not too much work!

The innovation: Giving the whole salad a boost by adding seasoned, roasted tomatoes and a bit of Dijon-red wine vinegar dressing.

I had wanted to make Provencal style tomatoes for a while. I have a cookbook that I read to get inspired (The Provencal Cookbook by Gui Gedda and Marie-Pierre Moine) and I kept coming back to this recipe.  Even so, the salad still needed a kick, something to make it really delicious. I love a good Dijon dressing, and after dipping pieces of cold chicken into some Dijon mustard, I had the idea for this dressing.

This salad is full of flavors and textures – the softness of the salad greens, the bite from the Dijon and the red leaf lettuce, the smooth creaminess of the garbanzo beans, the silky texture and sweetness from the tomatoes, and the roasted flavor and heartiness of the chicken. I think that is what makes it a great salad – no two mouthfuls are indentical.

My Interpretation: Roasted Chicken Salad with Provencal Style Tomatoes and Dijon Dressing

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This recipe is a entree size portion for 2-3 adults.

Ingredients:

3 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts (already cooked and cooled completely)

2 cups already cooked garbanzo beans

4 beefsteak tomatoes

1/4 tsp of the following spices: sugar, fine sea salt, oregano, and garlic

1 (12oz) bag of butter lettuce/red leaf lettuce mix (or 12 oz of your preferred salad greens)

3 tblsp of Dijon mustard

2 tblsp of capers

2 tblsp of juice from the capers

2-3 oz of red wine vinegar

A three- finger pinch each of  sea salt and black pepper

Olive oil 

To Prepare:

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the tomatoes in half, and with a spoon carefully scoop out the seeds and white interior (set aside for another use or dispose). Turn upside on a sheet tray and leave sit for at least 30 minutes to remove excess liquid. 

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2) Oil a oven-safe baking dish with a light layer of olive oil, and arrange tomatoes in dish cut-side up. Sprinkle insides with the sugar, fine sea salt, oregano, and garlic. Bake at 400F for about 45 mins, then remove and let cool to just above room temperature.

3) Cut the tomatoes into slices – you may notice that the skin comes away as you cut, and that is ideal. Whatever skin remains after cutting, carefully peel away. Refrigerate and chill completely.

4) While you wait for tomatoes to cool assemble the dressing. Using a stick blender, blend together everything except the olive oil.  Very slowly and in a thin stream add the olive oil til mixture looks a bit fluffy and is a very pale yellow.Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. 

5) To assemble, slice the chicken breasts on the bias, then cut in half down the middle (for a fancier presentation leave in strips) Add the garbanzo beans, and roasted tomatoes to the salad greens. To avoid over-dressing the salad, dip the fingertips of one hand into the dressing, then fold the dressing onto the salad, gently mixing the ingredients at the same time. Save leftover dressing for another use. 

 

 

 

 

Nicoise Salad with Potatoes – May Kosher Connection Challenge

Shavuot is about two weeks away, and I am already planning my menu. Especially for the last meal, on the second day of the holiday. In our Hasidic group the men and boys gather in the synagogues to observe the passing of a previous Rebbe (Grand Rabbi) on that day. They are away from early morning til very late in the afternoon, and even eat the festive holiday meal in the synagogue. These yahrzeit seudot (meals to commemorate the passing of a holy person) take place twice a year – once on Shavuot and once during Sukkot. We women take these times to eat with friends – groups of women co-ordinate and get together and eat in each other’s homes. Just as the men and boys bond together in the synagogues, the women and girls bond together over a delicious Yom Tov meal. It is also a chance to relax the menu a bit – it is our custom to eat meat at every Yom Tov meal except these. nicoise This is a more modern interpretation of a Nicoise salad – it features seared tuna, as well as green beans and baby red bliss potatoes. Instead of a vinagrette, it is merely dressed with fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.  This is a recipe for one large, main course salad, and is easy to multiply for larger amounts.

Ingredients:

1 tuna steak,about 6 oz

4 baby red potatoes, cut in half lengthwise

4 black olives (with pits)

1 Romaine heart (I use Andy Boy), torn into bite size pieces by hand

1 hard boiled egg

8-10 fresh green beans, ends trimmed

Juice from one fresh lemon

3 oz extra virgin olive oil

Table salt for salting water

Sea salt for seasoning

Olive oil spray for grilling

To Prepare: Fill a large pot at least halfway with water, and add table salt to the water, enough so there is the finest layer on the bottom of the pot Add your egg and when the water is at a full boil, add your green beans and potatoes set a timer for 8 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove egg with slotted spoon and set into a bowl of cold water to cool.  Boil for a few minutes more, testing once midway. The beans are done when still crispy and green but not hard. Use a slotted spoon to remove green beans and set aside. Boil for another 10 mins or so, then check potatoes by gently poking with a fork – if they are soft but not mushy, they are done. Drain and remove, setting aside with the green beans. Put a grill pan on the stove, and get it very hot. Spray the pan lightly with olive oil spray. Place the tuna steak into the pan for 2- 3 mins, depending on thickness. Flip once, cook another 2 mins on the other side, then remove from pan, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and set aside. Roll the lemon on a cutting board or counter and cut in half, squeezing into a bowl and removing the seeds. Add the olive oil a tiny pinch of sea salt. Mix well. When all ingredients are cool but not cold, take everything except the tuna, egg, and olives and combine. Garnish with the remaining ingredients and serve immediately.

Lazy Leftovers Make Simple Suppers: Sprouted Beans and Rice

The inspiration: Leftover rice and a need for a quick, light yet filling supper.

After all the Yom Tovim ( Jewish Holidays) of Rosh Hashana and Succot. with all the cooking and planning that it entailed, I was exhausted. For a month straight, it was back to back weeks of holiday, with a  few days to shop, restock, and cook again in between. So the Sunday after Simchat Torah (the last holiday) when my family said they were hungry, I could not bring myself to make a large meal for them.  I also could not bring myself to order takeout. Each day when I had been too busy cooking/cleaning/shopping/preparing, DH and the kids had gleefully lived it up eating takeout – pizza and falafel, mostly.  Enough was enough. Time for a home cooked meal, too tired or not.

The innovation: Using frozen sprouted beans to cut down on my cooking time

I rummaged through the fridge to find something the DCs would not turn up their nose to, and thankfully there were not that many leftovers.  I found a half of a 9×13 disposable pan of leftover, plain basmati rice, and I grabbed a pack of frozen sprouted beans. They were mixture of garbanzo, kidney and navy beans. Couldn’t find stock, so water and white wine had to do for cooking with.  Too tired to mince herbs and garlic – so a bit of dried cilantro, salt and pepper came to the rescue. Not the fanciest or most thought out meal I ever planned, but it was good and filling, and at the end of the day, everyone was happy.

My interpretation: Sprouted Beans and Rice

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Recipe:

8 oz raw basmati rice, cooked to package instructions and set aside, or 3 to 4 cups cooked rice

1 12oz package frozen sprouted bean blend

2 to 3 cups water or vegetable stock, plus a bit more (keep some on reserve as you may need to add during cooking)

3 oz dry white wine

Two generous pinches of dried cilantro (substitute with parsley but use a tiny bit more pepper to compensate)

Salt and pepper to taste.

To Prepare: 

Have the rice on reserve. Take a 6 Qt pot and add the water or vegetable stock and white wine. Bring to a boil and add the beans, covering tightly with a lid and cooking on at a low boil for at least 20 minutes. Check at least once to ensure there is enough liquid. When the beans are nearly finished – about 30 to 45 mins – drain almost all the liquid. Add the rice, a bit of salt, pepper, and the cilantro at this point, mix well and cook on medium to low until beans are done and rice is hot all the way through.

 

 

 

Salmon Tail Gravlax

The inspiration: A package of salmon tails and the need for new recipes for the High Holidays

Have you ever gone into a grocery store and walked out with something you never expected to buy? Perhaps it was something you never saw before. I’ve seen salmon tails before – they are quite common in Boro Park supermarkets.  I never thought to buy them, and I still don’t know what possessed me to, but I did.

When the fish is cut into fillets, the tail ends are left separate, and are usually a dollar or two cheaper per pound than a regular salmon fillet.  Salmon tails pieces are rather good to serve to young children as they are naturally boneless.

So the question was: what was I going to do with them?

The innovation:  Taking salmon tails to make something new and interesting

In the run-up to the High Holidays, I’m completely in experimenting mode – I like to try new recipes a month or six weeks before a holiday so I have time to refine them. This way, every Yom Tov I can add new dishes to my menu.  So I decided to try gravlax – I’ve never made it before and it’s less salty and fishy-tasting than regular lox, so I knew this would also appeal to my family.

From Rosh Hashanah through Simchat Torah, my family has a tradition not to eat anything sour or bitter – no lemons, vinegar, pickles, those sorts of things. We believe that what we eat during this time is an indication of how our year will be, so we enjoy a lot of sweet and savory dishes. We also partake of foods that are more elegantly prepared and presented than we do during the year, and gravlax fits this perfectly.  Using Levana Kirschenbaum’s recipe for gravlax was a stroke of genius – it gives the salmon a bold and unique flavor while still allowing me to keep with my family’s traditions for the High Holidays.

My interpretation: Salmon Tail Gravlax

Home cured salmon tail gravlax. Try to cut as thin as possible using a very sharp knife and a single cut per slice. The fish tears easily, so take care. Any torn slices are perfect for a tartare or mixed with mayonnaise and made into salad.  .

Home cured salmon tail gravlax. Try to cut as thin as possible using a very sharp knife and a single cut per slice. The fish tears easily, so take care. Any torn slices are perfect for a tartare or mixed with mayonnaise and made into gravlax spread.

I used Levana’s recipe http://www.levanacooks.com/gravlax-recipe/  and applied the mixture to six tail fillets of salmon. I cut the recipe in half (hers is enough for 2 full sides of salmon). I then wrapped in Saran Wrap and packed into a 9×13 tin, then covered the top with aluminum foil. To weigh it down, I took 4 32oz jars of duck sauce that were sitting in my cabinet.

Salmon tail 'bundles' ready to be wrapped. It is extremely important to wrap as tightly as possible. and to place in a tray deep enough that will catch the excess liquid and oils.

Salmon tail ‘bundles’ cured and ready to be wrapped. It is extremely important to wrap as tightly as possible. and to place in a tray deep enough that will catch the excess liquid and oils. Make sure to drain it  away.

It is important to turn the salmon over twice a day so that it gets equal pressure on all sides. After the third day I unpacked, removed the dill, sliced and tasted it. The texture was fantastic, and I will be making this again for Yom Tov. Store well refrigerated in Ziploc or air tight container.

August Kosher Connection Linkup: Turkey Apple Sage Meatballs (Two Presentations)

The inspiration: The August Kosher Connection Recipe Challenge

Every month, the Kosher Connection features a Recipe Challenge.  An ingredient or style of cooking is chosen at random and the bloggers who participate (all kosher food bloggers are welcome) need to create a recipe featuring that. For August, because Rosh Hashanah is about 3 weeks away, the ingredient is apples.

The innovation: A sweet meatball that highlights apples

I wanted to do something a little bit different. While going through my fridge and freezer  to see what I have on hand, (I’m elbow deep in preparations for the upcoming High Holidays) I came across a pack of frozen dark turkey meat, a couple of packages of white stuffing mushrooms, a small amount of sage, and a few other odds and ends. Looking at all the ingredients, I realized that by adding apples to the list, I had my recipe.

My interpretation: Turkey Apple Sage Meatballs (Two Presentations)

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Recipe for Turkey Apple Sage Meatballs

1 and 1/2 lbs ground dark turkey meat

3 Early Apples (remove core)

1/4 Spanish onion

2 packages of large white button mushrooms (remove stems and peel outer layer off caps, chop stems and reserve caps.)

6 large fresh sage leaves

1/2 bunch of parsley (leaves only. Get one small bunch at the store. Leave the band on. Cut half the top off. Save rest for your stock pot or something else.)

12 to 14 fresh tarragon leaves

3 cloves fresh garlic

3 3 fingered pinches of salt

1 3 fingered pinch of coarse ground black pepper

Add the salt and pepper to the ground turkey, then set aside in fridge. Take 1 apple (cored), the mushroom stems and the remaining ingredients and mince together well.  Mix with ground turkey.  This recipe makes 14 medium stuffed mushroom caps and 12 meatballs. See below for preparation suggestions.

Recipe for Homemade Tomato Raisin Sauce

4 lg carrots, chopped

4 lg cloves garlic chopped

1 lg Spanish onion rough chopped

4 fresh sage leaves rough minced

1 small handful fresh tarragon leaves rough minced

8 fresh basil leaves rough minced

Olive oil for sauteing

5 lb ripe Roma tomatoes (look for ones that are bright red and only the slightest bit soft or not soft at all) cut into quarters

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (look for a can that says Imported from Italy)

1/2 of 750ml bottle of dry white wine ( I prefer Chablis)

8 oz golden raisins ( I prefer Dole brand)

Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Heat olive oil in the bottom of a 10Qt or larger stock pot. Add carrot, garlic and onion, cook on high heat til they just start to color. Lower heat, then add fresh herbs with the white wine, cover with lid and leave sweat for at least 30 mins, or until vegetables look more tender. Add fresh and diced tomatoes, as well as the raisins, season with salt, pepper and sugar (use a little now, adjust later as needed) and let cook covered at a low simmer for at least 2 and a half hours. The vegetables should be tender, and there should be a significant amount of liquid in the pot. At this point, take a immersion or hand blender and blend everything into the pot together very well, til mixture is thick and mainly smooth. Cook a bit longer, about 30 mins, then turn off heat and allow to cool completely before storing away. This will make a large quantity of sauce – I filled 4 2lb deli containers.

 

Preparation Suggestions:

Stuffed Mushrooms: Using reserved mushroom caps, fill entirely with a bit of the meatball mixture, garnish with a slice of apple. Bake at 350F for about 30-35 mins. Check for doneness by sticking a butter knife into the meatball. If it comes away smoothly, very hot and completely clean, it is done.

With tomato -raisin sauce: Form the turkey mixture into meatballs the size of a golf ball.  Taking a small portion of your tomato sauce in a separate bowl (see recipe above) use a plastic soup spoon and cover the top of each meatball with the sauce. Bake at 350F for about 30 mins. A knife stuck through the center should come out smoothly, very hot and completely clean.

 

 

 

 

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