Friday Dinner

Bourbon Salmon with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Comment: since all these dishes cook quickly, timing is key. This whole meal was prepared in about 30 minutes. I’ve tried to put the recipes in order of how I’d prepare them. Read over the whole process before you start.

Fresh Mussels
16 fresh, closed mussels (8 per person)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
5-6 sprigs fresh lemon thyme if you have it, otherwise use dried thyme or any herb you like.
1 green onion, sliced  (or shallot, or regular onion)
Dry sherry or white wine
olive oil
Clean and debeard the mussels. If you need to hold them for more than 30 minutes, put a wet paper towel on them and keep in the fridge.

Stop here and get the salmon into the marinade, below.

Start your garlic and onions in the oil in a deep pot over med high flame. When your aromatics are sizzling, toss in your mussels. Put in a couple of splashes of sherry and toss the herbs on top. Put the lid on and DO NOT look at them. When the steam comes from under the lid, let them go for 5 minutes then kill the heat. Let them stand for 5 minutes and serve in bowls with the cooking liquid. Serve with crusty bread if you like.

Bourbon Salmon
approx. 1# King Salmon fillet (for 2 servings)
bourbon
brown sugar
mirin (sweet rice wine)

Mix about 1/2 cup bourbon, 1/4 cup mirin and 2-3 Tbl of brown sugar in a shallow dish. Place salmon fillet skin side UP and let marinate while you cook and eat the mussels if you are doing the appetizer. If you are not doing the mussels, marinate for 15-30 minutes. Heads up, you will retain this marinade for the sauce so don’t toss it!

Sautéed Spinach with Pancetta
1 bag fresh spinach
1 Tbl diced pancetta (bacon will work, too, one slice)
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
shredded parmesan for garnish

Start pancetta and garlic with some olive oil in a good sized skillet over med high flame. When the pancetta starts to brown, start putting in your spinach. It looks like a lot, but it will cook down to 2 servings. Really. Keep working in all the spinach by putting fresh on top and turning it under with tongs. When all the spinach has cooked down, splash with balsamic vinegar. It will have the parmesan sprinkled on when you plate it.

Now is the time to take the salmon and put it on a broiling pan. Put the fish skin side DOWN, put a little butter on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stick it under the broiler. The fish will take about 15 minutes for a 1# fillet. You’ll need more thyme (or any herb) to dress this when it’s done. I strongly recommend lemon thyme if you can find it. It is delicious with the sauce!

Cous Cous

I use Near East brand. Follow package instructions. It will take about 10 minutes. Rice is fine with this dish, too, but it takes 25-30 minutes, so start it first.

Wild Mushroom and Bourbon sauce
1/2 package of wild mushroom mix available at most groceries (for 2 servings)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
mirin
sherry
olive oil
1Tbl butter
flour
the reserved marinade from step 1

In a nonstick skillet over a med high flame, start the garlic in olive oil, about 4 turns of the pan. When the garlic starts to sizzle, toss in the shrooms. Put in the butter and when it is melted and everything is sizzly, sprinkle in about 1Tbl flour. Stir until the flour becomes pasty. Pour in about half of the reserved marinade (about 2/3 to 1 cup) and turn up the flame to high. Don’t worry about cross contamination, this liquid is being boiled for the sauce. When the liquid starts to boil and thicken, add a splash of mirin and a splash of sherry. When the sauce is almost the thickness you want, turn off the heat and it will continue to thicken. If it goes too far, you can add chicken stock, more sherry or water to adjust the consistency.

Check the salmon. It should be about 5 minutes away from being done. You are looking for a nice brown color – which is created by the butter and the sugar in the marinade.

At this point, your dishes are all about to finish, so get your plates ready.

To plate: start with about 2/3 c cous cous. Place 1/2 the large fillet (cut longways, without skin) on top of the cous cous. Put about 2/3 cup of spinach (about half of what you have) along side the fish. Spoon half the sauce over the fish. Garnish the spinach with parmesan and the sauce with lemon thyme (or whatever you’re using). Voilà!

We served this with a med body Spanish red wine, but a strong chardonnay would work. Enjoy!

Angela’s Chicken Pot Pie

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Angela's Chicken Pot Pie

This is an easy one crust chicken pot pie with a luscious creamy filling. Perfect for a cold rainy night! I love this recipe because you can use frozen veg and still get a delicious, homemade taste in just a few minutes!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken, chicken pie, chicken pot pie
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 8
Author misangela

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Cooked chicken cut into 1-2" dice Rotisserie chicken is great, or you can saute some chicken tenders then cut up.
  • 1 Medium White Onion (about 1/2-2/3 cup) small dice (OR 2/3 cup frozen pearl onions)
  • 2 Carrots, (1/2-2/3 cup) small dice
  • 2 stalks Celery (1/2 to 2/3 cup) small dice (you can use frozen mirepoix for the diced veg if you wish)
  • ½ cup Frozen Green Peas
  • 2/3 cup Potatoes (cook in salted boiling water until almost done, then drain) small dice (frozen is fine, no need to cook if precooked)
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 8-10 Cremini mushrooms sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp Thyme fresh or dried
  • 1 tsp Salt Dixie Crystal Kosher
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 Tbl Butter in pieces
  • 3 Tbl A/P Flour
  • 1 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Heavy or Whipping Cream Half and Half if that's all you got
  • 2-3 Tbl Dry Sherry optional, but gives a really nice flavour
  • 1 Pie Crust from the refrigerated section, or make your own if you feel frisky
  • 1 Egg Plus 1 Tbl water, whisked egg wash for crust

Instructions

  • Do all your prep first and have everything ready to cook. Mise en place helps the cooking go more smoothly.
  • Cook the chicken and cool before cutting up, or cut up the rotisserie chicken. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • If you cooked the chicken, in the same pan, add in half the butter to pan on med hi flame. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic and cook until translucent (you’re not browning it, moderate heat accordingly). Add shrooms, peas, potatoes and thyme. Stir. Add salt and pepper.
  • Add the remaining butter and when it's melted, add in the flour, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes.
  • Add sherry (if using), then the chicken broth. Stir and bring to boil for a minute or two.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add in cream until you reach a thick sauce consistency.
  • Add cut up chicken to sauce and veg, fold in gently. Turn off heat. Check seasoning and sauce thickness. It will tighten up a little when cooking, but it should be fairly thick like a spaghetti sauce consistency.
  • Spray a large casserole dish with food release (PAM) and pour chicken and sauce into casserole. Unroll the pie crust and place on top of the casserole. Cut a few holes for steam to escape. Brush with the egg wash so the crust will be brown and shiny.
  • Put in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the sauce bubbles and the crust is browned. If the crust starts to brown too quickly, cover with foil then uncover for the last 10 minutes or until it is the colour you want.
  • When done, let casserole sit for about 10 minutes before you cut it so it will tighten up and serve better.

Italian sausage and seafood sauce

This sauce was inspired by one of my favourite soups: Spicy Clam and Sausage. I had some hot Italian sausage, salad shrimp and pasta leftover from various meals so I decided to use the soup ingredients for a pasta sauce. Nick made the recipe and it’s delicious!

Olive oil
3 pcs hot Italian sausage (mild is fine, too)
1.5 – 2 cups salad shrimp (or whatever size you’ve got, I would peel them, though)
2/3 cup diced or crushed Italian tomatoes
3-4 cloves garlic
1 large or 2 small shallots (or 1/3 c finely diced onion)
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced (roasted red pepper would be good, too)
8 crimini mushrooms (about 1/3 small box; regular white shrooms are fine)
1/4 c mirin (optional)
1/2 c red or white wine (a bit more if you don’t have mirin)
1 tsp dry basil
1 tbl flour
1 tbl butter
1/2 – 1/3 c whipping (heavy) cream
1 tsp anchovy paste (optional, but tasty if you’ve never used it – TRY IT)
specialty ingredient: 2 tbl lemon caper pesto from the Dekalb Farmers Mkt. If you’re not in Atlanta, you can add 1 tbl lemon zest and 1 tbl capers for something similar. If you substitute lemon juice, put it in at the very last after you’ve stopped cooking otherwise it’ll be bitter.

Penne pasta (or whatever you have on hand)

Open up the sausages and drop in bits into some olive oil over med-hi flame.  When it’s about halfway done, add your garlic, shallot, peppers and shrooms. Let cook for a few minutes until the veg is starting to soften – don’t let the pan get too hot! You don’t want browned edges here. Add basil, anchovy paste, butter and flour and raise the heat a bit to get a mild sizzle (this cooks the flour). Add tomatoes, shrimp, mirin and wine – you still want a mild boil here. Add the pesto or substitute. Kill the flame, give everything a thorough stir and then add the cream. This sauce should be thick, but you can make it any way you want by thinning with wine.

Serve over penne (I like mini penne by Barilla the best).  TIP: cook a whole box of pasta at a time and put the leftover into 2 or 4 serving containers. It keeps for a week in the fridge or months in the freezer. A simple reheat and you’ve saved 20 minutes on your next pasta meal!

Nick’s Chicken Piccata

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Nick's Chicken Piccata

This is Nick's version of chicken piccata. It is more like a schnitzel since the chicken is breaded. If you prefer a more traditional piccata, just dust the chicken in flour and sauté rather than bread it.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword breaded chicken piccata, chicken, chicken piccata
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author misangela

Ingredients

  • 4 thinly sliced chicken breast slices 2 butterflied breasts
  • 1 egg + 2 Tbl water whisked together in shallow dish for wash
  • 1 Cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 Cup A/P flour
  • 1/4 Cup corn starch Mix together flour and corn starch
  • ½ Cup ground parmesano reggiano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried sub marjoram for a lighter taste
  • 1 tsp basil, dried
  • ½ tsp sweet or smoked paprika
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice in separate bowls
  • 2 Tbl capers with brine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbl butter, salted
  • olive oil as needed
  • ½ Cup chicken stock
  • 3/4 Cup white wine
  • 1 Tbl corn starch mixed with water or stock thickener
  • chopped parsley garnish
  • dash of sugar, if needed if sauce is too acidic
  • orzo, cooked as package directs any short pasta, but orzo is excellent
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Instructions

  • Do all your veg and ingredient prep first. Mise en place will greatly enhance your cooking efficiency.
  • Start the pasta water. Add plenty of salt - pasta water should taste like the ocean.
  • If you did not do this first, put the egg and water in a shallow dish and whisk. Add a splash of the fresh lemon juice to this wash.
  • Combine flour + cornstarch, 1/2 tsp salt, oregano, basil and paprika in second shallow dish.
  • Combine parmesan and panko in third shallow dish.
  • Heat a large skillet over med hi heat with a thin layer of olive oil in the bottom.
  • Dip each breast filet into the flour + cornstarch and shake off excess. Then dip in egg wash, then press into the panko mixture to get good adhesion. Gently add breaded chicken to the pan and do not crowd the pan - cook in batches.
  • Cook approximately 5 minutes on the first side, until it is golden brown and the edges of chicken are cooked. Moderate the heat if the breading is cooking too fast. You want a nice sizzle, but a fairly slow cook. Turn the filets once and cook another 3 minutes or so. When golden brown, move to paper towels to drain.
  • Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. In the same pan, add butter and a splash of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and cook gently until translucent. Add lemon zest and stir for one minute. RESERVE one TSP of zest for orzo.
  • Add chicken stock, wine and capers and bring to a simmer. Add lemon juice and simmer for another minute.
  • Add cornstarch slurry and bring to a boil for one minute. If the sauce is too tight, thin with stock. It should be a slightly thin sauce, not thick like gravy.
  • Check seasoning, add salt or sugar as needed.
  • Add butter and lemon zest to drained orzo.
  • Serve over pasta with remaining sauce over chicken. Garnish with parsley and a bit more parmesan.

Notes

Serve this with the same wine you used in the sauce. 

Layered Shrimp Dip

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Layered Shrimp Dip

This is a great party dip! You can add crab to this for even more seafood goodness.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword party dip, seafood, shrimp dip
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings 8
Author misangela

Equipment

  • Glass pie plate or other rimmed glass dish

Ingredients

  • 8 oz whipped cream cheese whipped makes for a lighter, more consistent dish
  • ½ Cup mayonnaise optional if you don't like mayo
  • ½ Cup sour cream a little more if you skip mayo
  • ½ Cup cocktail sauce
  • 2 Cup finely shredded cheddar or cheddar jack cheese
  • 1 pound salad shrimp, cooked and thoroughly drained cooked in liquid Old Bay (or Zatarains) with 1 tsp salt (do not use powdered boil mix)
  • Old Bay liquid boil OR Zatarain's
  • Old Bay powder to taste
  • 3 roma tomatoes seeded, diced small, salted
  • Frank's Hot Sauce or whatever you like
  • 4 scallions finely sliced on the bias
  • 2 Tbl fresh dill, minced (use half if dried herb) OR substitute cilantro or parsley if you prefer

Instructions

  • Gather all your ingredients and prep anything that needs to be cut up before you start cooking. Mise en place will make your cooking experience much more efficient.
  • Blend together cream cheese, mayo and sour cream until smooth. Spread on the bottom of pie plate. Sprinkle with Old Bay.
  • Spread cocktail sauce over the cream cheese layer.
  • Add shrimp on top of cocktail sauce. Sprinkle with Old Bay and dot with Frank's.
  • Add cheese over shrimp.
  • STOP HERE if you are holding this dip more than a couple of hours for service. You can hold for up to a day in the fridge. If you add the tomatoes too early, the dip will be soggy.
  • Add tomatoes, scallions and dill for service.
  • Serve with a cracker selection.