Tag Archives: potatoes

Tilapia with Lemon Verbena Cream Sauce on Arugula & Potatoes

tilapia with lemon verbena cream sauce

new potatoes and arugula

lemon verbena cream sauce

I recently changed CSA’s from Farm Fresh to You (which I did for nearly 3 years) to Eatwell Farms–I’ve only received one shipment, but was 100% delighted with the first one which included strawberries, red and white spring onions, huge arugula, fava beans, lettuces, braising greens and best of all–fresh lemon verbena. Normally I don’t like my food to smell like bath products I use or my bath products to smell like food, but in this case, it was a new challenge–I’ve never cooked with the stuff. I almost decided to start making home made face products alla Lush cosmetics, but thought better of it and remembered my growling stomach.

Recipe: Tilapia with Lemon Verbena Cream Sauce on Arugula & New Potatoes
For Two

2 filets tilapia*
4-6 cups fresh arugula, chopped coarsly
6 small new (red) potatoes, sliced in 1/2 inch chunks
4 T creme fraiche
2 C fresh lemon verbena leaves**
1/2 small/medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 C wine
4 T olive oil
2 T white wine vinegar
4 T butter, divided
salt & fresh cracked pepper

For the sauce
Combine the onion, wine, and a generous few cranks of pepper in a sauce pan, and cook until almost translucent at medium heat. In a blender or food processor, add the lemon verbena leaves, white wine vinegar, olive oil and the slightly cooled onion mixture. Blend very well until evenly textured. Set aside and let cool. Just before serving, add creme fraiche and blend briefly to incorporate. Can be made ahead and refrigerated for several days. Flavor will mellow, however, and is most fragrant at room temperature, but most creamy/thick cool.

For the fish and potatoes
Using half the butter (2T), heat a large skillet to high heat and fry the potatoes until golden. If using a cast iron, turn off the heat and add the arugula, stirring to wilt. If using other pan, reduce heat to low and stir until arugula is wilted. Set aside and keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat another skillet with other 2T of butter, and lightly salt/pepper the tilapia filets. Once butter is at medium high heat, add filets, turning when mostly cooked.

Serve fish on top of potatoes and arugula, topping at last moment with fresh sauce.

Great with a dry white wine like pinot blanc or pinot grigio from the north of Italy (Alto Adige region).

* You can substitute halibut, basa, or other mild fish of your choice.
** Fresh lemon verbena is not that easy to come by and dries out very quickly once picked. You can substitute cilantro, but it will produce a very different but equally delicious sauce.

Posted in dinner, lunch, main courses, Recipes, sauces, seafood, Summer, vegetables & hot greens, Wine & Recipe Pairings | Also tagged , , , Leave a comment

Fried Baby Artichokes & Potatoes with Flank Steak

fried baby artichokes and fried potatoes

grilled flank steak

From A Platter of Figs – totally doable on a Tuesday night, shopping and all!
Recipe for Fried Baby Artichokes and Potatoes with Flank Steak
For Two

1.5-2lb flank steak
2 C new potatoes or other tender spring potatoes, washed, boiled until just tender and halved/quartered
8-10 baby artichokes, outter layers peeled, tops cut off and halved or quartered*
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 sprigs parsley (or more/less), chopped finely
1.5 C arugula, optional
2 T olive oil
lots of vegetable oil (sunflower or safflower or other high heat oil)
salt & pepper

* As you clean and prep the artichokes, place them in acidulated water (water with juice of a lemon or lime) to prevent browning.

For the Steak
Generously salt & pepper both sides of the flank steak and set aside. Can refrigerate overnight ahead or season within 2 hours of cooking and leave out at room temp.

For the Potatoes & Artichokes
Prep all ingredients ahead. Heat the grill for the steak and begin cooking steak as you start this processs:

Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and cook the artichokes until beginning to color. This is to remove moisture and prepare for frying. Add the potatoes after about 2-3 minutes of cooking and cook. In a large cast iron or other high sided skillet, heat a generous inch of vegetable oil to frying heat. Test with a potato if needed for even bubbling. Add the potatoes and fry 1 minute, then add artichokes and fry all until deep golden. Remove and drain on paper towels or cooling racks.

In original skillet, heat 2 T olive oil with garlic, cooking at low heat until flavor is infused, about 3 minutes. Add fried artichokes and potatoes, salt, pepper, and parsley. Toss and serve. * Original recipe calls to add fresh arugula to potato mixture if you like.

Posted in dinner, fried, grilled, How To..., Italian, main courses, Produce Delivery / CSA, Recipes, Summer, Travel, vegetables & hot greens | Also tagged , , , 1 Comment

Pan Seared Halibut on Asparagus Potato Hash

pan seared halibut on asparagus potato hash

pan seared halibut

Pacific halibut, local asparagus, capay potatoes and leeks.

Recipe: Pan Seared Halibut on Asparagus Potato Hash
For One
1/3 lb halibut filet, skinned
8 spears asparagus, chopped in 1/2 inch segments
1 leek, sliced finely
1 small spring onion, diced, tender tops chopped and set aside
2-4 T dry white wine
3 T cooked farro or other grain (rice, etc– can omit as well)
avocado oil or other mild oil

In a 8 or 9 ” cast iron skillet (or other pan), heat 1-2 tsp oil at medium heat. Add the onion and leek, cooking until tired looking. Add the asparagus and cook 2-3 minutes until deeper green. Add white wine and cover loosely with a lid, steaming through. When asparagus is tender, remove lid and add farro and onion tops, cooking until hot. Place mixture into your serving bowl or plate.

Bringing same pan to high heat, add a little more oil and fry the halibut on one side until golden. Flip, reduce heat to medium low, cover loosely with a lid and continue cooking a few more minutes until texture firms evenly and fish is cooked, about 3-5 minutes depending on filet thickness. Place on top of farro hash mixture and enjoy.

Posted in California Slow Food, dinner, lunch, main courses, one-pan recipes, Produce Delivery / CSA, Recipes, seafood, Spring | Also tagged , , , Leave a comment

Gorgonzola and Pear Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Gorgonzola e Pera)

Gnocci with Gorgonzola and Pears

Gnocchi alla gorgonzola e pera is actually a pretty common dish in the northern half of Italy; the kind of thing any restaurant that might be serving tourists would throw on (without regard to seasonality, local cuisine, etc), and while that might turn you off, it’s actually quite good. That said, I ate it several places in Florence, and am fairly certain I spotted it on other menus around the way.

I couldn’t find much on the history of this dish, so I think it’s more of a modern classic–prior to not-too-many-years-ago, most classic products of regions didn’t get transported or heavily used much in other regions. There was a time when gorgonzola is what you ate when you were in piedmonte; risotto is what you ate in Milan and in the far north, you ate potatoes in Alto Adige and maybe in Emilia-Romagna. Less so now, with the best of the best being desired by Italians everywhere loving food.

Gnocchi is, however, typical of Alto Adige (where potatoes are most common), and gorgonzola–if it is officially DOP gorgonzola–is from Piedmonte. For this dish, you’ll want to use the opposite of what you’d likely want to snack on in a cheese plate. You’ll use Gorgonzola Dolce, which is the young, “sweet” gorgonzola. As the cheese ages it becomes more “piquante” or spicy, hot. It’ll tickle your throat if it’s the wrong type for this job. If you don’t have a quality cheese chop that carries both and can point them out, look for gorgonzola (imported, not pre-crumbled) that has a more soft, creamy texture with less blue bits–that’s usually it.

For 3-4
3 oz gorgonzola dolce cheeese
1 ripe pear, diced
1 T butter
2 T flour
1 cup light vegetable stock
1/2 cup milk
fresh gnocchi*
salt, fresh ground pepper

Boil your water and have it ready. If you are using fresh gnocchi (which you could be!), they require VERY little cooking time, take what you think they take and cut it by half. Seconds! Otherwise, they’ll fall apart, and you’ll regret it.

Dice your pear, have your ingredients ready. You may or may not need slightly more or less veg stock & milk. Create a roux by heating the butter in a small sauce pan, until clear and stopped bubbling, medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until color darkens slightly, about 2 minutes. Continue whisking and slowly add the vegetable stock, then the milk, until you get a mac-n-cheese type consistency, or slightly thinner. Add the gorgonzola and continue whisking until smooth.

Add the gnocchi to the water and cook; remove the gnocchi as soon as they float to the top of the pan using a slatted spoon or gnocchi paddle. Add the pear to the sauce and let it warm up, adding the gnocchi to the sauce and stirring gently to coat, with a large wooden spoon (don’t use metal, you’ll chop up the dumplings).

Add some salt and black pepper to taste, serve!

Fresh gnocchi makes a huge difference over the vaccu-packed kind you’ll find on the pasta isle. It’s much less dense and has the texture of a down pillow, collapsing in your mouth. I buy mine in bulk from Rainbow market or from Faletti Foods; both carry gnocchi by the bay area’s “Pasta Shop,” which lots of local stores retail products from.

Posted in appetizers, California Slow Food, dinner, Fall, Italian, lunch, main courses, one-pan recipes, pasta, Produce Delivery / CSA, Recipes, San Francisco, sauces, Travel, Winter | Also tagged , , , , 2 Comments

Matsutake Mushroom Gnocci with Watercress

Preface: The only other context I’ve eaten matsutake is in dashi and in a quesadilla (a delicious quesadilla). I don’t think I would make this dish exactly the same next time; I think it would be better in more broth, without the creme fraiche, with egg noodles (Asian style). I used really good quality, fluffy, fresh gnocci for this dish and I think it was really competing with the matsutake, which is a shame because they should have been the feature of the dish.

matsutake gnocci with watercress

matsutake mushrooms cooking

Luckily, matsutakes had a bumper crop this year and they were only $20/lb. In SF, they can be found for $40 or more most years, so this was a really nice surprise last time I popped in at the Japanese market. Yesterday, I even saw them at Rainbow Foods!

I do think simmering the matsutakes in dashi (it was small amounts of mirin, soy sauce, sake, walnut oil and then a larger amount of straight up dashi–water infused with kombu and i-forget-the-name tuna flakes) worked well, I just would have made more of it next time and omitted the creme fraiche I added. The watercress also worked well. So go ahead and do that, and sub those gnocci for egg noodles and I’m pretty sure you’ll have a delicious meal.

Anyway, no recipe here since I won’t stand behind it, but thought you might learn from my experience.

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