Lemon Thyme and Ginger

Oven-Poached Sole Wrapped in Fresh Herbs

Oven Poached Sole Wrapped in Herbs, recipe.

When I was a young child, Mom rarely made fish for dinner. It was just something we had now and then. That suited me just fine because the thought of eating fish made me cringe. When Mom did cook fish, it was usually sole drenched in Cream of Mushroom Soup, or baked with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs till it was all dried out.  It’s odd to think about because Mom loved sole, especially sole made with the classic French butter and wine sauces, but she never made her favorite sole dishes at home. Fortunately, attitudes toward eating and preparing fish have changed since the 60’s, mine included. Now, I love fish and eat it at least once a week. When I want a change of pace, I make filet of sole for a special treat.

Oven poached sole wrapped in herbs, recipe.

Sole is a common flat fish with tender white flesh filets. The meat has a subtle fish flavor and is very moist. The filets will easily break apart if cooked too long and requires gentle cooking methods. The only tricky part about cooking sole is making sure you don’t overcook it. I discovered from Cooks Illustrated, a great technique of rolling up each filet with a mixture of herbs, then cooking the filets in the oven. This method sways the odds in favor of getting perfectly cooked sole and one I use often.

One of my favorite ways to cook fish is to oven poach it with wine or fish stock, as in Salmon in Spinach Butter Sauce. This technique is not a true poaching method, but also creates steam to cook the fish. There is a layer of liquid in the bottom of the baking dish and a piece of parchment paper nestled over the fish. The parchment paper captures the steam rising from the liquid and cooks the fish. This technique never fails to produce moist and tender fish. It is a perfect method for cooking filet of sole wrapped in fresh herbs rolled up in a neat package.

Oven Poached Sole Wrapped in Herbs, recipe.

Oven Poached Sole Wrapped in Herbs, recipe.

Choose what herbs you like to fill each sole filet. I left that part of the recipe open-ended for you to make it your own. The herbs in a blend don’t need to be in equal amounts either, but it is nice to taste the presence of each herb and not have one herb dominate the rest. If you only want to use two herbs, parsley is a good foundation and either dill or tarragon are wonderful with fish. All the herbs listed have a prominent taste, so keep in mind the other herbs used in your accompanying side dishes.

It wasn’t until I read the cookbook, Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, that I got braver about combining more than one fresh herb in cooking.  I learned from this book that a prominent characteristic in Middle Eastern Cuisine is the generous use of fresh herbs. All these fresh herbs create food that is fresh tasting and vibrant. A classic herb blend in the Middle East is parsley, cilantro, dill and mint and works well with sole. For a French twist use Fines Herbs, it is a mix of parsley, tarragon, chervil, and chives. This blend of herbs inspired my Fresh Herb and Goat Cheese Omelet.

Oven Poached Sole Wrapped in Herbs, recipe.

For special occasions I like to make a sauce with the pan juices. Unfortunately, the butter sauce I made was too rich and turned me off. So, I nixed it and am totally happy about it. This meal does not need it. There is enough flavor between the herbs and fish without adding the extra rich sauce and calories. Save some room for dessert like this Lemon Saffron Syrup Cake. The poaching liquid with the herbed sole keeps the filets moist and has a mild flavor of its own. Use the pan juices sparingly, as a time-saving and healthy alternative to butter sauce. If you want a butter sauce use the poaching liquid from the sole and make the spinach butter sauce linked in this post.

Oven Poached Sole Wrapped in Herbs, recipe.

Oven Poached Sole Wrapped in Herbs, recipe.

Helpful Kitchen Tools for Cooking Sole

Often, I stay away from specialty kitchen gadgets, especially one’s that only have one purpose. They are pricey and take up valuable space. However, a fish spatula, aka slotted offset spatula, is one I highly recommend. The good news is, fish spatulas are affordable and useful with other foods besides fish. This sturdy, thin and flexible spatula slips easily under fish without ripping at the fresh. Regular spatulas don’t have the same ease of use and flexibility as the fish spatula has. I use this spatula every day and often use it instead of tongs because it does not rip up the food. The best rated fish spatula is by Victorinox available on Amazon, and housewares stores. Not all fish spatulas are alike, so I recommend reading the article linked above to learn about the differences between the brands.

Oven-Poached Sole Wrapped in Fresh Herbs

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Category: Entrée

Cuisine: American

8 servings

Serving Size: 1 filet of sole

Oven-Poached Sole Wrapped in Fresh Herbs

Filet of grey sole is coated in fresh herbs, then rolled up for even cooking. The fish steams in the oven in a bath of white wine or fish stock. This technique produces tender and moist sole filets with delicate flavor. To dress it up, add sautéed mushrooms to the platter of fish just before serving.

Serve with sautéed Brussels sprouts, or green beans for a vegetable. Roasted grape tomatoes are delicious with fish. For a grain, try white rice or Farro with Mushrooms but change the rosemary in the original recipe to parsley or one of the herbs in your fish.

Ingredients

  • 8 filets of grey sole, about 4 - 6 oz (125 g -175 g) each
  • A heaping 1 cup (250 ml) of 2-3 types of minced fresh herbs, like parsley, dill, tarragon, cilantro, or basil. About 1 TB of minced herbs covers each filet of sole. An additional tablespoon of the minced herbs is used in the bread crumbs.
  • Zest from 1 1/2 lemons
  • 2 ½ TB butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) panko bread crumbs, or homemade
  • 3/4 cup (185 ml) of dry white wine, dry vermouth, fish or vegetable stock, or a combination of wine and stock.
  • 8 half-moon slices of lemon, about 1½ lemons

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C / Gas Mark 4
  2. Butter the bottom of a baking dish large enough to just fit all rolled up sole filets.
  3. Gather all the herbs you are using. Make sure they are washed as parsley and cilantro get very sandy. I used parsley, dill and tarragon but not in equal amounts. Another mix I also recommend is parsley, basil and tarragon, or parsley, dill and cilantro. Mince the fresh herbs and add to a small bowl. Add the grated lemon zest to the herbs and mix to combine.
  4. Reserve all but a heaping tablespoon of the mixed herbs.
  5. In a small bowl add the breadcrumbs and 1 TB of mixed herbs and stir to combine.
  6. Toast the breadcrumbs. Add one tablespoon of butter into a skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. Once the butter is melted, add the breadcrumbs and stir to coat them with the butter. Toast the breadcrumbs until they are golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Pour the toasted breadcrumbs on a plate to stop cooking. Reserve.
  8. Lay your sole filets, skin side down on a clean work surface and lightly sprinkle Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper over each filet. Evenly spread about a tablespoon of the herb and lemon zest mixture over each filet.
  9. Start at the tail end, it looks pointed compared to the squared off head end, and roll up each filet. Place each filet of sole into the buttered baking dish seam side down, and arrange the half-moon slices of lemon between each filet. Arrange any extra lemon slices around the fish in the baking dish.
  10. Cut up 1½ TB of butter into 8 pieces and place on top of each filet. Pour in the wine, or liquid of your choice. Add a sprig of one of the herbs you put in the herb mixtures into the wine. Lightly butter a piece of parchment paper large enough to fit inside the baking dish and cover the fish. Nestle the buttered piece of parchment paper into the baking dish so it completely covers the fish and creates a domed cover. Cover the baking dish with a piece of aluminum foil.
  11. Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Peek at your filets to gauge how they are progressing. Continue to cook until and check every 3 minutes until the sole filets are done. Mine took about 15 minutes, but they could take up to 20 minutes. The filets are done when they look milky white. As the fish cooks the flesh will turn from translucent to opaque and easily spring back when touched. The fish should also look moist. If it flakes apart it is overcooked. You can remove the fish from the oven just shy of being done, and allow the residual heat to continue the cooking process.
  12. Once done, arrange the filets with the lemon slices on a warm serving platter, or on individual plates. Pour some of the poaching liquid over the filets then sprinkle each filet with the bread crumbs and more minced herbs.
  13. Serve immediately.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

Filet of grey sole is wrapped in fresh herbs, then rolled up for even cooking. The fish steams in the oven in a bath of white wine or fish stock. This technique produces tender and moist sole filets with delicate flavor.

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

Breads, How to Cook, Recent Posts | December 1, 2017 | By

As I anticipate my family being together for the holiday, my thoughts move toward their favorite meals. When we are all together I try to make an old family favorite like Spaghetti and Turkey Meat Sauce, Tortellini with Basil Pesto, and Pasta with Sausage and Brussels Sprouts, for dinner as well as something new. It is not surprising to see at the top of the list of favorite dinners are pasta meals. When the kids were home, pasta dinners were king, and nothing goes better with pasta than homemade garlic bread.

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs recipe.

Joe’s Dough, my husband’s artisan homemade bread, is also a family favorite, so whenever there is a surplus of sourdough batards, I make garlic bread. What’s not to love about warm bread bathed in butter and garlic? The sweet buttery smell of garlic bread baking in the oven is enough to take me on a dream vacation to the Mediterranean.

As much as I love garlic, it also has a dark side and a reputation for repelling friends and foes away. Often, food made with raw garlic is harsh and sticks around like an uninvited guest who stays for the week. When I used to make garlic bread with raw garlic, my Mediterranean fantasy quickly vanished with each reminder of its’ lingering presence. I totally believe garlic can scare away vampires because after eating a loaf of garlic bread made with raw garlic, the whole family disappears desperately seeking some fresh air.

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs recipe.

Garlic bread with Fresh Herbs recipe.

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

Everything changed once I learned about toasting garlic cloves. This simple technique of dry toasting garlic cloves in a skillet, softens garlic’s harsh bite and lingering presence. The garlic becomes mellow, sweet and nutty like roasted garlic but not as strong. Toasted garlic mixed with soft butter, Romano cheese and fresh herbs, makes delicious garlic bread. The flavor is buttery and garlicky without being overwhelming.

This recipe is adapted from Cooks Illustrated 1999 recipe for garlic bread. I scaled down the amount of butter and garlic, but the technique is the same. What I learned over the years, is depending on the size and type of bread you use, determines the amount of butter you need.

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

Most recipes call for a whole stick of butter per 1-pound loaf of bread. When I make garlic bread, I found that a whole stick, (113 g), of butter was too much and made the garlic bread very greasy. Usually, I use between 4 tablespoons to 6 tablespoons (56 g – 84 g) of butter. Upon reflection, the bread I use is homemade sourdough batard which is very airy and light. There is less surface area to cover then a denser loaf, like Italian bread. This type of bread may require more butter than my sourdough batard. I recommend starting out with the less amount of butter and as you spread it over the surface add more if needed. Too much butter is as unpleasant as too much garlic.

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

I do like the two-step cooking process for garlic bread though. First, I wrap the bread in foil and bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes. This allows the garlic butter to melt into all the nooks and crannies throughout the bread. Then I unwrap the foil and open the bread buttered side up to brown in the oven. I prefer my garlic bread on the soft side, but if you like your bread crispy, place the bread under the broiler. Keep an eye on it, or you will end up with extra crispy garlic bread like the garlic bread pictured in this post.

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs, recipe.

Spice up your garlic bread by adding any of these ingredients:

Lemon zest, before or after cooking

Cayenne Pepper, about 1/8 teaspoon or to taste

More cheese, or two types of cheese like Fontinella and Romano

Change the fresh herbs to compliment your main entrée: rosemary, sage, basil, cilantro

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs

Category: Bread

Cuisine: Italian American

6 servings

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs

Toasting whole garlic cloves in a skillet turns garlic from harsh to sweet and mellow. It makes a garlic bread with sweet and nutty garlic flavor without the harsh aftertaste. Toasted garlic is mixed together with softened butter, Romano cheese and fresh herbs then evenly spread over two halves of your favorite bread.

Ingredients

  • 1- 1 lb (453 g) loaf of good quality bread, like long Italian bread, Seeded Italian Bread, or Sourdough batard
  • 4-6 TB (56 g - 84 g) butter at room temperature, more or less depending on your bread
  • 6 medium garlic cloves with skins left on
  • 3 TB (14 g) grated Romano Cheese
  • Pinch of sweet paprika
  • Small handful of Italian parsley, minced
  • 4 basil leaves, minced (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F /176°C and place the rack in the middle position.
  2. Place a small heavy bottom skillet on a burner and turn the heat to medium-high. Heat the skillet for 3 minutes then add the garlic cloves, with their peel still intact, to the skillet. Toast the garlic cloves turning them over from time to time so each side gets nicely browned and the cloves soften, about 5-10 minutes. Some garlic cloves will take longer than others to finish toasting. Remove each garlic clove when you see they are soft and browned.
  3. Once the garlic is done, let them cool slightly until you can handle them. Peel away the skin and cut off the root end. Cut the garlic in half lengthwise and remove the green germ if present.
  4. On a cutting board, group the garlic cloves together, then roughly mince them. Sprinkle a small pinch of Kosher salt over the minced cloves. With the side of your chef knife, press down on the cloves and smear it to the side to mash the garlic. Clean of the garlic paste off the knife blade and repeat, pressing down and smearing the garlic with the side of the knife until a smooth paste is made.
  5. In a small bowl add the soft room temperature butter, the garlic paste, grated Romano cheese and mix until evenly combined. Add half of the minced herbs and mix.
  6. Use a serrated knife and cut the loaf of bread in half down the length of the loaf. Open the bread like a book with the cut side of each half facing up.
  7. Spread the garlic butter evenly over the cut sides of both halves of bread. Sprinkle a light dusting of sweet paprika over the buttered bread and add the remaining fresh herbs.
  8. Place the top half of bread over the bottom piece of bread and cover with aluminum foil.
  9. Bake the garlic bread in the oven for 15 minutes
  10. Unwrap the foil then open the bread halves so both buttered sides are facing up. Bake until the edges start to brown, about 5 minutes.
  11. Or place under the broiler until the edges are browned and crispy.

Notes

If you want cheesy garlic bread, add additional grated cheese after the bread has baked in the foil. Sprinkle the cheese over the buttered surface of each half, then place under the broiler and broil until the cheese has melted. If you are adding lemon zest, don't place the garlic bread under the broiler. It may burn and taste bitter.

Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

Garlic Bread with Fresh Herbs is made with good quality bread, toasted garlic, butter, Romano cheese and fresh herbs.

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Fresh Herb Omelet with Goat Cheese

Fresh Herb Omlet with Goat Cheese Recipe.

One of my earliest posts on my blog was a story about when I first learned to make an omelet. It was a treasured moment between me and Aunt Bunty. I will never forget it. The post included two omelet recipes. Currently, my recipe plugin only allows one recipe per post, and now each recipe must stand on their own. Fresh herb omelet has bright flavor from the fresh herbs, goat cheese and roasted peppers. I believe it is outstanding, and compare all other omelets to this one. Click on this link to read the story and recipe for Cheese Omelet.

I still stand by my premise from my original post: If you can only learn how to cook one thing let it be with eggs. An omelet is perfect for any meal of the day, inexpensive, and provides a nutritious meal. Fresh herb omelet with goat cheese is fancier than the standard cheese omelet, but it is worth knowing how to make. You never know when you will need to make something impressive.

Fresh Herb and Goat Cheese Omelet recipe.

Fresh Herb Omelet with Goat Cheese recipe.

No matter what age, starting out on your own is daunting. Learning to cook is no different. Having the skill of making a meal, such as an omelet, can help soften any transition be it work, school or learning how to cook.  There will come a time when friends and/or family members will put out a call to action for the in-house “chef” to satisfy a hankering of a home cooked anything. The person, who can satisfy this need, usually reaches celebrity-nobility status for life.

Your friends might not remember your record-breaking accomplishments throughout your tenure in college or successful career, but they will remember your late-night comfort food and thank you for it. An omelet is a great place to start. If you can only cook one thing, make it with an egg.

The fresh herb omelet with goat cheese and roasted red pepper is inspired by a Barefoot Contessa episode “Fines Herb Omelet”.   It is a creamy and luxurious omelet. Fines herb is a French term for the fresh herb combination of tarragon, chervil, chives and parsley. Unfortunately, I cannot get chervil at any market around me, so I usually use whatever fresh herbs I have at home. Use equal amounts of fresh herbs in any combination of 2 to 4 fresh herbs to your liking. Great combos are: 1) basil and parsley (you could also add mint), 2) chives, tarragon and parsley, 3) Fines Herbs, 4) dill, 5) whatever suits your taste.

Enjoy.

Fresh Herb Omelet with Goat Cheese

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Category: Breakfast or Brunch

Cuisine: American

1 omelet

Serving Size: 1 omelet

Fresh Herb Omelet with Goat Cheese

For all the goat cheese lovers, this omelet is for you. It is brusting with fresh flavor from the blend of your favorite herbs and roasted red pepper. The goat cheese gets really soft and creamy. You will want to savor every bite.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 oz (28 g) goat cheese (crumbled)
  • 2 TBS mixed fresh herbs (any combination of minced herbs, tarragon, chive, parsley, basil, mint, chervil)
  • 1 oz (28 g) chopped roasted red pepper
  • 1/2 TBS (7 g) butter

Instructions

    Mise en Place
  1. Get all your ingredients prepped and ready for cooking.
  2. Mix the two eggs in a small bowl until they are completely combined.
  3. Chop the herbs and mix half of the herb mixture into the eggs.
  4. Chop the red pepper.
  5. Measure and gently crumble the goat cheese. Set all ingredients to the side of the stove for easy access.
  6. Get all your cooking utensils and pan ready. I use an 8-inch frying pan, a heat proof rubber spatula and a pancake spatula.
    Cooking the omelet
  1. Place an 8-inch frying pan on a burner and turn the heat to medium high. Heat the pan and melt the butter.
  2. When the butter is completely melted, lift the pan and swirl the butter around so that the butter completely covers the bottom of the pan and up the sides.
  3. Pour the mixed eggs into the center of the pan. Let the egg mixture settle for a few seconds. Using your utensil, (fork, wooden spoon, heat proof rubber spatula), gently pull the eggs from the edge of the pan towards the center. If needed, slightly tilt the pan by lifting the handle, to help guide the eggs into the cleared space.
  4. Repeat this step 3-4 times going all the way around the perimeter of the pan.
  5. Before the eggs are cooked all the way through, the eggs will still be a little wet on the top, place the rubber spatula between the edge of the pan and the eggs and slide it all the way around the perimeter to make sure that the eggs are loose and not sticking to the pan.
  6. Slide the spatula under the eggs then flip the omelet over like a pancake. Once flipped, immediately sprinkle the goat cheese, roasted red pepper and half of the remaining herbs down the middle of the omelet.
  7. Turn off the heat.
  8. Tri-fold the omelet: Using your spatula, fold over one side of the omelet over the center of the omelet to cover the cheese and herbs
  9. Continue to gently roll the omelet over, using your spatula to encourage the omelet to roll over onto itself, towards the other side of the omelet.
  10. Place your serving plate at the edge of your pan and slide the omelet onto your plate seam side down.
  11. *A slightly easier way to tri-fold your omelet after you have sprinkled your fillings down the center of the omelet, fold over one side of the omelet to cover the cheese filling in the center, then fold over the opposite side toward the center to cover the filling. Use your spatula to lift the omelet out of the pan and place it seem side down onto your serving plate.
  12. Sprinkle the omelet with salt and pepper and the remaining fresh herbs and serve.

Notes

I prefer to make an individual omelet with two eggs verses a larger omelet with more eggs and for more portions. The one portion omelet cooks quickly and more thoroughly. If you want to make larger omelet you should use a 10-12-inch skillet, (depending on how many eggs), and possibly not flip the omelet over like a pancake, just fold the omelet in half. A larger sized omelet will be more fragile and it could rip. Once folded in half the eggs will continue to cook while the cheese melts.

Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Honey Mustard Spatchcock Chicken

Honey Mustard Spatchcock Chicken recipe.

It is obvious, roast chicken is one of my favorite foods. To me it is pure comfort food at its best. The perfect roast chicken has tender and juicy meat with rich flavors that only roasting can bring. Unfortunately, when my children were young, having roast chicken for dinner was an event because it took so long to make. I wish I knew then what I know now. Those oven-stuffer birds of the 90’s would roast in half the time if I removed the backbone. This technique is also known as, spatchcock chicken. A whole chicken with its back bone removed and laid flat in a skillet or roasting pan.

Honey Mustard Spatchcock Chicken recipe.

Honey Mustard Spatchcock Chicken Recipe.

In the 90’s, I knew about Chicken Under a Brick, but I did not transfer that information to my roast chicken recipes until later. From my years as a cook in a gourmet food store, I learned how to cut up a whole chicken into 8 pieces. I knew the process and was very confident using sharp knives and handling raw meats. For whatever reason, I did not cut up the chicken at home.  If I had, those 7 pounds plus oven-stuffer roasters would have made a more frequent appearance on my dinner table. The usual 2 1/2 hours roasting in the oven would decrease to 1 hour 15 minutes. It still takes time to roast a spatchcock chicken, but it is more reasonable. Better late than never.

Honey Mustard Spatchcock Chicken Recipe.

Honey Mustard Spatchcock Chicken Recipe.

Prep a Spatchcock Chicken

Like traditional roast chicken, spatchcock chicken lends itself to an infinite variety of seasoning and types of cuisines. It is delicious plain marinated in buttermilk, salt and paprika, or seasoned with Middle Eastern flavors like Za’atar, fennel and preserved lemons. Take a culinary trip around the world with spatchcock chicken by simply adjusting the herbs and seasonings.

No matter what flavor profile you want, chicken tastes best when seasoned with salt, several hours before cooking. If I plan correctly, I will spatchcock and season a chicken with Kosher salt and keep it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight. I prepare the chicken during dinner cleanup so I don’t dirty a clean kitchen. Often, I am likely to forget about this step if I wait till the morning of. I admit there were times I forgot. If that happens, season the chicken with salt then leave it to rest at room temperature for an hour. Even that bit of time makes a difference in flavor and tenderness.

Honey Mustard Spatchcock Chicken Reicpe.

Honey Mustard Spatchcock Chicken Recipe.

I never miss an opportunity to roast vegetables, especially potatoes, with chicken. After a long roast, the vegetables become luscious with pronounced flavor. For this recipe, this extra step is optional. If you roast the chicken in a skillet, roast the vegetables in a separate dish. It will be too crowded in the skillet, and the chicken will steam. Sheetpans are perfect pans for roasting chicken with vegetables.

What is for dessert? Try    Double Coconut Pie 

Chocolate Stout Cake

Swedish Apple Pie

Honey Mustard Spatchcock Chicken reicpe.

Honey mustard spatchcock chicken is a family favorite and so easy to make. All you have to remember is use equal parts honey and mustard. Any additional amounts of herbs and spices is up to you and your taste buds. Personally, I love sage and chicken together and believe it adds earthy notes against the sharp mustard and sweet honey. Also, I like this sweet and savory sauce with some heat from chili peppers. My preference with spicy ingredients is their heat hangs in the background without drowning the other herbs and spices. Sometimes adding a small amount of chili pepper makes the other ingredients more pronounced. Play around with the different herbs and spices and see what you create.

This recipe is also delicious cooked over indirect heat on the grill.

Honey Mustard Spatchcock Chicken Recipe.

 

Honey Mustard Spatchcock Chicken

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Category: Entree

Cuisine: American

4-6 servings

Serving Size: 6-8oz of chicken

Honey Mustard Spatchcock Chicken

Chicken roasts in half the time without its backbone. Removing it is easier than you think, when you have good kitchen scissors or a big chef knife. If you prefer, ask your butcher to spatchcock your chicken.

Dry brine the chicken overnight for a juicy and seasoned chicken. This step makes a big difference in the flavor of the chicken. If you can't do it, at least salt the chicken and let it rest on the counter an hour before you cook. It is better than not doing it at all.

The prep time does not include the overnight brining time. Cook time depends on the size of your chicken.

Ingredients

  • 1 4-5 lb (2 K) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt, depending on the weight of your chicken, about 1TB
  • 10 sage leaves - divided
  • 1/4 cup (63 g) Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup (82 g) honey
  • 1/8 - 1/4 tsp ground chili powder (or to taste)
    Optional roasted vegetables
  • 8 oz (385 g) small new potatoes cut in half or quartered
  • 4 / 6 oz (170 g) shallots, peeled and cut in quarters
  • 1/2 fennel bulb (216g) sliced in thin wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, cut in half lengthwise
  • 12 oz (358 g) grape tomatoes
  • 3 TB extra virgin olive oil - divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt- divided
  • 3 sprigs of thyme

Instructions

    How to spatchcock a chicken.
  1. 1- Remove the neck and gizzards from the cavity of the chicken. Rinse the inside and outside with cold running water. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
  2. 2- Place the chicken on a cutting board breast side down with the legs pointing towards you.
  3. The back bone runs through the middle of the back and is about 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches wide.
  4. 3- Grab hold of the "tail" end with one hand and cut along a side of the backbone toward the neck with good kitchen scissors. Repeat on the other side of the back bone.
  5. 4- If you do not have kitchen scissors, score the skin through to the meat with a sharp chef's knife along each side of the backbone. Turn the chicken upright onto its neck, and slice along the side of the backbone. Cut through the skin, meat and bones down to the neck. Lay the chicken down and open the chicken up like a book, and cut through the other side of the backbone.
  6. 5- Once the backbone is removed, turn the chicken over breast meat facing up, and press down on the sternum until you hear a pop and feel the breastbone release and lie flat.
  7. 6- Tuck the wing tips under the back of the neck, or trim them off so they do not burn.
  8. Save the backbone for chicken stock.
    Prep the chicken
  1. The night before, cut the back bone off the chicken.
  2. Generously, sprinkle Kosher salt all over the chicken on both sides. Slide a sage leaf under the skin and on top of the breast meat on each breast. Repeat for each thigh. Let the salted chicken rest for 30 minutes uncovered on the counter.
  3. Place the chicken in the refrigerator, uncovered overnight and up to 24 hours.
  4. One hour before you want to begin cooking take the chicken out of the refrigerator. Let the chicken come to room temperature.
    Putting it altogether
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C)
  2. While the chicken is coming to room temperature, make the honey mustard sauce. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, honey, ground chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt until combined.
  3. Rough chop, or snip with scissors, 4 sage leaves and add to the honey mustard. Taste and correct the seasonings.
  4. Once the chicken has come to room temperature, baste the chicken on both sides with the honey mustard. Get a good even coat over the whole bird .
  5. Place 4 sage leaves in the center of a low sided sheet pan, or 12-inch skillet,(30 cm) and place the chicken over the sage leaves.
  6. If adding the optional vegetables, put the potatoes, fennel shallots and garlic into a medium bowl. Stir in 2 TB extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt. Add the prepared vegetables in an even layer around the chicken on a sheet pan. Then scatter the thyme sprigs over the vegetables.
  7. Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile add the tomatoes in the same bowl you used for the vegetables, and stir in 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt. Later, scatter the tomatoes around the vegetables after 20 minutes of roasting.
  9. If you have honey mustard sauce left, baste the chicken with the remaining sauce. Use up all the honey mustard sauce.
  10. Rotate the pan left to right and front to back, and roast for 20 minutes more. Check the chicken and vegetables to see if they are done cooking. The chicken is done cooking when the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh is at 165°F (74°C) and the breast meat is 170°F (77°C), and the juices run clear. There should be no cloudy, pink or blood color in the meat juices. Make sure you check the temperature of both breasts and thighs. The vegetables are done when they are tender in the middle when pierced with a fork.
  11. If the chicken is not done, continue to roast and check at 5 - 10-minute intervals depending on how much more the chicken needs to roast. Often the breast and thighs cook at different rates and one is done roasting before the other. If either part is done and you still have a way to go before the other portion of the chicken is done, cut off the done part and let it rest on a carving board.
  12. If the vegetables are finished roasting before the chicken, remove the vegetables and place in a serving dish or plate. You want the vegetables to be tender, but still maintain its shape. Keep the vegetables warm while the chicken is roasting.
  13. When the chicken is done, place it on a carving board and let it rest for 10 - 15 minutes before cutting it up.
  14. Cut into 8 pieces and place on a platter surrounded by the roasted vegetables. Serve family style.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

My Favorite Basil Pesto Recipe

My Favorite Basil Pesto Recipe

It is October and that means I need to trim my herb garden and use up all the annual herbs before the temperature drops below 50°. It would break my heart if they went to waste, especially my basil. I have four basil plants and after a rough start they grew, continuously producing new stems and leaves for my pleasure. I was not so fortunate last year. What a difference having an herb garden makes. I can select the amount of herbs I need, and pick them when I want them. Nonetheless, it is time to use it or lose it. Fortunately, the best way I know how to use up a bunch of fresh basil is make basil pesto.

Summer Vegetable Steak Salad with Spicy Citrus Dessing Recipe

Sweet Basil Pesto recipe

There is nothing like a fresh herb pesto to add bright herbaceous pizzaz to pasta, vegetables, and fish or chicken. Usually, I also add in an extra leafy green vegetable or herb, like arugula or spinach, when I make basil pesto. The additional greens add extra body and texture to the pesto. Spinach leaves really softens the basil flavor and smooths the pesto. Arugula’s peppery bite brightens the basil flavor. Both versions taste delicious. For my recipe if you want to omit the arugula, go ahead. This is a classic basil pesto recipe, if you omit the lemon zest and arugula there is no need to add in more basil leaves to supplement it.

Pesto has three essential ingredients: basil, olive oil and freshly grated cheese. The quality of these ingredients influences to the flavor of the pesto. I always recommend buying the best quality food or product you can afford. This is especially true for the olive oil. For pesto, an all-purpose extra virgin olive oil is fine to use. There is no need to buy top shelf extra virgin olive oil, save that for salads. I use California Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil for my every day use and I am very happy with the flavor. Unfortunately, the labels on olive oil are misleading and not regulated. 100% olive oil is often not 100% olive oil.  For more information about buying olive oil, here is an article about how to find real olive oil at the grocery store. Also, here from Business Insider.

My favorite basil pesto recipe.

 

Sweet Basil Pesto recipe

Other than the fresh herb in pesto, the freshness of the grated cheese impacts the flavor. The traditional cheeses in pesto are Parmesan or Romano and sometimes both. I use Romano cheese for its sharper flavor, and it’s less expensive than Parmesan. Whichever cheese you use, only use freshly grated cheese. If possible, buy a chunk and grate the cheese at home. Parmesan and Romano cheese are expensive, but they last a long time. If you need to buy grated cheese, buy the cheese that is grated at the store. It is a lot fresher than buying factory grated cheese with preservatives in it.

Want more herb sauce recipes? Check out my recipe for Rolled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Sweet Basil Pesto recipe.

Every Italian cookbook author, says never to cook Basil pesto. In general I follow this rule, unless I am grilling salmon with pesto (without cheese). Any level of heat will darken the color of the basil, dull its flavor, and diminish the scent. For best results, serve pesto at room temperature, stirred into warm pasta. When I make it, I make a batch and freeze it before adding the cheese. That way if I need it for pasta or to garnish a soup, I can use the pesto either with or without the cheese. Stir in the cheese a little before adding the pesto to your pasta dish. This will allow the ingredients to meld and the cheese to absorb the oil and basil.

Enjoy.

My Favorite Basil Pesto

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Category: Sauce

Cuisine: Italian

3/4 cup (200 ml)

My Favorite Basil Pesto

Homemade basil pesto is bright and bursting with fresh basil and flavor. I like to add an additional green herb or leafy vegetable, like arugula or spinach to help balance the basil flavor.

If you are making a lot of pesto and want to freeze it, omit the cheese. Store the pesto in an airtight container with a layer of olive oil over the top to protect the basil. The pesto will keep in the freezer for up to three months. Defrost the basil pesto in the refrigerator and add the grated cheese before you use it.

Pesto is delicious stirred into pasta. This recipe makes more than enough of sauce for a pound of pasta.

Ingredients

    Basil Pesto
  • 2 lightly packed cups (38 g) basil leaves, cleaned, dried, and stems removed
  • Small handful (3/4 cup / 20 g) of arugula, cleaned , dried and stems removed
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Shy 1/4 cup (27g) pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (40 g) freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese, or a blend of both
  • Little squeeze of fresh lemon juice if needed to brighten the pesto*

Instructions

    Basil Pesto
  1. Place the basil leaves in a food processor and process until the leaves are slightly chopped. Add the arugula and process with the basil to combine.
  2. Add the garlic, lemon zest, Kosher salt, and pinenuts and pulse until an even consistency is achieved.
  3. Add half of the olive oil and process until smooth. Using a rubber spatula scrape down the sides of your food processor and stir it around. Add more olive oil until you reach the consistency you want. Taste and correct seasoning. Before you add more salt, remember the cheese is not added yet and is salty.
  4. If using soon, pour the pesto into a small bowl and stir in the grated cheese. Start by adding half the cheese, stir and taste. Add more cheese as you wish. Regrigerate the pesto without the cheese until needed. Add the cheese to the pesto before using.
  5. Stir the specified amount of pesto into your favorite pasta and serve immediately.
  6. Pesto is best used immediately or the day it is made. It will last for a week in the refrigerator, or freeze, without the cheese, for 3 months.
  7. Never heat up pesto. Heat causes the pesto to change color and the flavor lose its intensity.

Notes

*Adding an acid like lemon juice could change the color of leafy greens and other vegetables. If you feel the pesto needs to get brighter, add a little squeeze of lemon juice just before using.

Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Food Blog Theme from Nimbus
Powered by WordPress

%d bloggers like this: