Lemon Thyme and Ginger

Easy Dinner Recipes for the Family

Easy Dinner Recipes: Seared Fish Tacos

At times the hustle of the day’s events makes preparing a family dinner challenging. Preparing a balanced meal of a protein, vegetables and healthy carbohydrates takes time, especially when you cook with a lot of plant-based foods. Are there any solutions for making dinner that is easy to prepare and doesn’t require a lot of time slaving over a stove? Yes, there are. Listed below are links to easy dinner recipes found on my website for a quick and easy reference.

What is an easy dinner? A dinner recipe that requires little prep work and comes together in a reasonable amount of time. There are a couple of solutions to make dinner easier to put together. One short cut is, buy produce already chopped. Many grocery stores offer a wide selection of produce already chopped and ready for cooking. Each item may cost more, but if buying prepared vegetables is the difference between making dinner or not, it is worth the price. I do not usually buy cut up produce because these days I am mostly cooking for two. However, I cannot ignore how buying prepared vegetables saves a lot of time. It is my opinion, the value of cooking and eating a home cooked meal is significant, especially when compared to eating take out dinners.

Another time saver is make dinner in one pan. Sheet pan, or one pot dinners often require minimal prep, work and everything cooks on (or in) one pan. This also makes clean-up a lot easier as well.

All of these recipes easily come together with little prep work, or cooked in one pan or pot, or take a minimal amount of time to cook. Enjoy!

 

Easy dinner Recipe Post, Spanish inspired Mussels

Easy dinners: Shellfish

One of my favorite easy dinner recipe is my Spanish Inspired Mussels with Chorizo Sausage. The mussels are cooked in a broth of tomatoes, garlic, wine and Spanish chorizo sausage. The broth comes together in about 20 minutes and the mussels take 5 minutes to cook. I never served this meal to young children, but many adults love this. It is great for entertaining a small group of friends, because you can cook the sauce ahead of time then cook the mussels 5 minutes before you want to eat dinner. Serve with good crusty bread to soak up the juices and a tossed salad. For a vegetarian option, omit the chorizo sausage.

Sautéed Sesame Shrimp with Spinach is another supper easy dinner recipe. This recipe is an older one of mine, but the shrimp and spinach cook up quickly and with little effort. Serve with white or brown rice or your favorite grain.

 

Easy Dinner Recipes: Fish Tacos with Mango and Avocado salsa

Easy dinners: Fish

I honestly believe all my fish recipes on Lemon Thyme and Ginger are easy to make. By nature, fish does not require a lot of cooking time. They are an especially easy dinner to make when the fish is cooked in a pouch of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Rainbow Trout with Lemon and Dill and Oven Poached Salmon with Spinach Butter Sauce are both prepared en papilloteSole Stuffed with Herbs is similarly prepared, but it is not tightly sealed in a neat package.

Fish Tacos comes together easily when you buy the cabbage already sliced for coleslaw.

 

Easy Dinner Recipe: roasted curry chicken with potatoes and raisins.

Easy dinner: Chicken

Another favorite easy dinner are sheet pan meals. I particularity like to use chicken when I make a sheet pan dinner, either bone in or boneless work. The boned chicken will take longer to cook but the chicken does not dry out as much, especially with chicken breasts. If you want to go the boneless, skinless chicken route, use chicken thighs, breasts dry out too easily. Roasted Curry Chicken with Potatoes and Raisins has minimal prep and is delicious paired with blanched broccoli, green beans or a salad. Oven baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel is another easy chicken dinner baked together on one sheet pan.

 

Easy Dinner recipes: Lamb chops

Easy Dinner: Meat

One of my favorite marinades for meat is the sherry marinade used in Grilled Sherry Marinated Flank Steak. It also tastes great with pork tenderloin. Both types of meat benefit from a flavorful marinade. I like to marinate the flank steak over night, but if you want place the flank steak in the marinade first thing in the morning, it will taste just as delicious. If the current weather prohibits you from grilling, pan grill the flank steak on the stove top. You get more browning and caramelized flavor using a grill pan vs the broiler.

The easiest of all meats are lamb chops. They are delicious and quickly cook on a grill or stove-top within a matter of minutes. My recipe for Lamb chops: An early fall harvest dinner for two, describes how to cook lamb chops. In the winter, you can substitute the summer and fall vegetables in this recipe with any vegetable recipe on the blog like, Sweet and Spicy Herbed Carrots, or Green Beans with Roasted Onions.

 

Easy dinner recipes: Pasta with spicy brussels sprouts and sausage

Easy dinner: Pasta

The fastest and easiest cooked tomato sauce I know is Marcella Hazon’s, Tomato Sauce with Rosemary and Balsamic Vinegar. Tomatoes, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, rosemary and balsamic vinegar come together for a silky sauce perfect for penne or other tube-shaped pasta. It makes for a light supper, but a satiating one at that. It also tastes delicious over polenta. If you want a more substantial red sauce and pasta meal, make Pasta with Turkey Meat Sauce.

This time of year Brussels sprouts are easily found at most grocery stores, Pasta Dinner with Spicy Brussels Sprouts and Sausage is a real crowd pleaser, especially for the meat lover in your family. For a vegetarian option substitute the sausage with chickpeas or cannellini beans.

 

Easy dinner recipe: Basil Zucchini Frittata

Easy dinner: Eggs

Often when we are in a hurry or low on food, we make a frittata. Basil and Zucchini Frittata is a great quick and easy dinner for the summer, but in the winter substitute the basil and zucchini with left over Brussels sprouts with pomegranate glaze. Or, make a pasta frittata with left over pasta with turkey meat sauce.

Omelets are another easy dinner choice. However, I prefer to make one omelet at a time as opposed to one big omelet, sliced into individual servings.

 

Easy dinner recipes: Silver Palate chocolate cake

Easy Dessert Recipes:

Swedish Apple Pie is so easy, someone who insists they cannot bake, will have success with this recipe.

Yogurt Panna Cotta is also easy to put together. You can make a spiced fruit sauce with any seasonal fruit.

If a cake is what you want, Silver Palate Chocolate Cake was my go to dessert for many years.

 

If you make any one of my recipes I would love to hear from you. You can share a photo on my Facebook page, or on your Instagram feed and tag me @lemonthymeandginger.

 

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Top Comfort Food Recipes

Supreme White Chicken Chili, comfort food Recipe

Unfortunately, a small accident left my left hand injured and slightly incapacitated. Fortunately, it is nothing more than a minor inconvenience. My index finger required stitches and it must remain immobile in a splint until the stitches are removed. In the end I should have full use of my hand without any issues other than an unsightly scar. Since I can’t chop or clean, one of the perks of my injury, I thought I would look back through my archives for inspiration. For today’s topic I choose comfort food. Maybe because it is so darn cold I seek the comfort of a hot stew, or steamy bowl of soup. Whatever the reason, I am really in the mood to cook and eat warm comfort food.

One of the first things I plan on cooking when I get the full use of my hands is a beef stew. Winter months call for beef stew. It is a time when I do not mind spending extra hours inside cooking a slow meal. These types of diners fill me with a great sense of satisfaction. I don’t mind the extra time because the process becomes a choreographed dance between, procedure, technique and instinct. When it is all done I feel like I accomplished something special and can’t wait to share the results. Whenever I taste the deep and rich stew flavors, I just melt into the braised masterpiece. Stews and chili’s have humble origins but they taste decadent to me.

Also included in this post is my very first recipe I posted on my blog, Lemon and Herb Roast Chicken. Roast chicken in one of my favorite foods. I updated some of the photos and changed the recipe card to my current recipe plugin so I hope everything is in working order.

Additionally, I included a few links to vegetarian/vegan comfort food entrées. It is my desire that my blog offers a variety of information and recipes for all diet preference. Everyone is always welcome at my table.

Comfort Food Entrées

Lemon Herb Roast Chicken

Beef with Horseradish Sauce

Supreme White Chicken Chili

Roast Lemon and Herb Chicken my very first recipe post on Lemon Thyme and Ginger

Swedish Meatballs

South Indian Style Vegetable Curry Recipe.

For Vegetarian Comfort Food Selections

Roasted Vegetable Coconut Curry

Kabocha Coconut Curry Soup  If you cannot find Kabocha squash, any winter squash will work, especially butternut or pumpkin or both.

Saffron Cauliflower Risotto

Toasted Farro with Mushrooms and Rosemary  – Add a hearty green like Swiss chard, kale or spinach and chick peas or any white bean for a complete vegetarian/vegan main course.

Spiced Figs with Yogurt Panna Cotta recipe.

What’s for Dessert?

Double Coconut Pie

Spiced Fig Yogurt Panna Cotta – If you cannot find fresh figs, substitute them with pears, quince

Chocolate Stout Cake This chocolate cake with white chocolate cream frosting and stout glaze is too good to only eat once a year around St Patrick’s Day.

 

Looking for more inspiration? Type an ingredient you wish to cook with in the search box. You will find it in the right side bar. For mobile devices, the search box is usually at the bottom of the home page.

Some Food Blogs I Enjoy

David Lebovitz A former pastry chef at Chez Panisse, and is now living in Paris writing books and developing recipes. He has well tested recipes with stories about living in Paris.

Dr Deb Pots: Deborah is a Hudson Valley, psychiatrist, potter and food blogger. Her posts are infrequent, but I like her positive attitude, beautiful pottery, and very healthy meals on her website.

Vanilla and Bean Traci writes a food blog offering vegan and vegetarian recipes and lives in the Pacific Northwest.

The Lemon Apron  Jennifer is a Canadian food blogger with beautiful photographs and recipes

Cloudy Kitchen Erin writes an amazing blog for baking with beautiful photographs. She is originally from New Zealand, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Food 52, everything and anything you want to know about food and cooking. It has an extensive community as well as an online store to buy kitchen wares. New York City based.

If you make any of my recipes post a picture on Instagram and tag me @lemonthymeandginger, or share on my Facebook page. I look forward to hearing form you.

© 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Fried Rice with Salmon and Brussels Sprouts

Fried Rice with Salmon and Brussels Sprouts, recipe.

I love it when everything just falls into place without extra planning or trips to the store. When a spontaneous idea and a refrigerator packed with leftover food from the holidays fit together perfectly like pieces in a puzzle. Today, as I stared into the obis of my stuffed refrigerator an idea for tonight’s dinner just fell into place. As my eyes traveled from the stacks of containers filled with rice to the other remains of our holiday meal it dawned on me, I could make fried rice. I have plenty of rice and salmon, now all I need is cabbage.

Searching through the maze of leftovers was like looking for a misplaced set of keys. “I know it’s in here somewhere”. That one missing thing which is usually right in front of your nose but, you can’t find it anywhere. Fortunately, without emptying my whole refrigerator I found what I was looking for staring right back at me, was a container full of roasted Brussels sprouts. Ah ha, Brussels sprouts are members of the cabbage family, right? Yes. Whoop whoop, no need to run to the store, I’ve got everything I need all in one place. A dinner of fried rice solves four problems at the same time: use up some of the rice, use up some of the Christmas Eve dinner leftovers, clear out space in my refrigerator, and make tonight’s dinner.  Fried rice made with poached salmon and roasted Brussels sprouts for the win.

Fried Rice with Salmon and Brussels Sprouts, recipe.

This recipe is lightly based on an old recipe in Silver Palette New Basics Cookbook, Fried Rice with Shrimp. I used it as a foundation along with one in Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee. My recipe builds on the concept of making a substantial meal from ingredients that by themselves are too small. One 8-ounce piece of salmon isn’t big enough to feed a family. However, when you combine it with ingredients like rice and vegetables, it makes a full meal with plenty to go around. My family loves fried rice and always orders it when we eat out for Chinese food. Why not make it at home and use up some of the leftovers? It is too good to save for takeout.

I made fried rice with salmon because that is what I have, but if you have tons of turkey, ham, pork, chicken, or goose from Christmas dinner you can’t go wrong mixing any of those foods with fried rice. You can also switch up the vegetables. Instead of cabbage or Brussels sprouts use, broccoli, asparagus, peas, sugar snap peas, kale, green beans, or Swiss chard. You can make it with prepared food, or entirely from scratch. Heat up, or cook each ingredient separately in a wok or skillet, then toss everything together with a soy sauce and sherry seasoning.

Fried Rice with Salmon and Brussels Sprouts, recipe.

A nice garnish with the salmon fried rice is removing the skin off the salmon and frying it. You get very crispy salmon skin pieces to mix in with the soft rice. It is a nice contrast and tastes great. I cut the skin into strips then fried it in peanut oil. You could fry the skin whole then break it into smaller pieces if you wish. Just cook it till it is dark brown and very crispy then sprinkle some salt over the crackly skin when you are done.

Fried Rice with Salmon and Brussels Sprouts, recipe.

 

Fried Rice with Salmon and Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Category: side dish or entree

Cuisine: Asian American

7 1/2 cups fried rice

Serving Size: 4 - 12 oz

Fried Rice with Salmon and Brussels Sprouts

Fried rice is a great meal to make when you have lots of leftovers, whether it is salmon and Brussels sprouts or turkey and broccoli. Anything goes. This recipe is slightly sweet from the sherry or vermouth with just a hint of spice. A real family favorite. Fried rice works best with day old rice. Freshly made rice is too moist and will get sticky.

Ingredients

  • 5 TB peanut oil or canola oil (divided)
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 lb (8 large) shrimp, cut into thirds (optional)
  • Kosher Salt to taste
  • 8 oz (201 g) cooked salmon
  • 1 onion thinly sliced into half-moon pieces
  • 7 oz (201 g) cooked Brussels sprouts, slivered (or 1/2 half a head of Napa cabbage, thinly sliced)
  • 1-2 medium carrots (2.25 oz / 61 g) julienne
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cups (14.5 oz / 412 g) cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sherry or vermouth
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 TB sherry vinegar
  • Garnish with fried salmon skin, or chopped peanuts, sliced scallions, or sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 TB peanut oil or canola oil in a large skillet, set at medium high. Add the half of the minced ginger and minced garlic and sauté until soft, but not brown. Add the prepared shrimp and cook until just done. The shrimp will no longer be translucent, and are tender when pierced with a fork, about 5 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a plate and reserve. Add the salmon and sear on the top and bottom sides of the salmon of a couple of minutes. Remove the salmon and reserve.
  2. Add 2 TB of peanut oil or canola oil to the pan and heat. When warm add sliced onion and cook until soften, but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and ginger and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add carrots and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the cooked Brussels sprouts (or fresh Napa cabbage) and cook until warmed through. If you are cooking fresh vegetables cook until soft but retains some of the bright green color, about 10 minutes. Season the vegetables with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  3. If using peas add them to the vegetables and cook until heated through. Remove the vegetables from the pan and keep warm.
  4. Combine the soy sauce, vermouth or sherry, and hot sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
  5. Wipe out the pan and add the last tablespoon of oil and heat up. Add the rice and cook until warmed through.
  6. Break apart the salmon to large flaky pieces and add to the rice. Add the vegetables, shrimp and soy/sherry or vermouth mixture and toss to coat. Cook until the rice mixture is hot.
  7. Make a well in the center of the rice and pour the eggs into the well. Cook undisturbed for about one minute then stir the eggs with a fork to encourage the eggs to make small curds. Mix the eggs with rice and vegetables until cooked through.
  8. Turn off the heat and add the sherry vinegar. Stir.
  9. Garnish with your favorite garnishes, like sliced scallions, parsley, basil, chopped salted peanuts or pistachios, salmon skin cracklings, or sesame seeds.
  10. Serve immediately.

Notes

To make the fried salmon skin, add 2-3 tablespoons of oil to a skillet or wok and heat on medium high. Add the skin to the hot skillet and cook undisturbed for a couple of minutes. Stir to cook the skin on all sides and not burn. When crisp and brown, remove the skin using a slotted spoon and place on paper towels. Sprinkle with a small pinch of Kosher salt.

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Fried Rice with Salmon and Brussels Sprouts is a new twist on a favorite family recipe.

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

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen

Turkey Breast Roulade with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Roasting a 15-pound turkey is intimidating and not without its challenges. It is difficult to get the white and dark meat well-seasoned, properly cooked and done at the same time. The size of a turkey is enough to stop people from cooking one. Not everyone needs or wants the whole bird and fortunately turkey parts are more available. When I entertain a small group for a holiday meal, I like to make turkey breast roulades. It has the wow factor like a roast turkey, but is more impressive seeing the cheese and herbs rolled inside the turkey breast. The bonus is, it takes 45 minutes to cook.

This recipe is from 2014 Oct/Nov issue of Fine Cooking Magazine. It is a great recipe by Jenn Louis and perfect alternative to roast turkey. What first attracted me to the recipe was a couple of things. I was hosting a small gathering for Christmas dinner and did not want to roast a whole turkey.

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Turkey Breast Roulade with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Turkey Beast Roulade with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

 

Second, there is a special ingredient in this recipe and it is not the bacon. Fennel Pollen. If you have never had it you are in for a treat. In this recipe, fennel pollen is mixed with bread crumbs, garlic and fresh sage. This mixture gets rolled into the turkey breast with fontina cheese and gives the turkey an exotic flavor. A lively je ne sais quoi flavor. If you tasted this recipe without the fennel pollen it would still taste great, but adding the fennel pollen brings the turkey roulade to another level of surprise and sophistication.

I first discovered fennel pollen a few years ago and believe it is a magical ingredient. I could cook with fennel pollen every day and never get tired of it. The flavor is more pronounced than fennel seed, but in a complex way. It is amazing with goat cheese, which is how I first discovered fennel pollen. A little goes a long way because the flavor is not shy. I love bold flavors and if used properly and with nuance, transforms a meal from delicious to unexpected in an extraordinary way.

Fennel pollen is expensive and hard to come by, but I believe it is worth it. I purchased fennel pollen at Savory Spice Shop in St. Petersburg FL, when I was visiting St. Pete. You can source fennel pollen at your local spice shop or farmers market. Or, you can also buy it online at Amazon or at Pollen Ranch.

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Turkey Breast Roulade

Making turkey breast roulade is a production, but once assembled it is easy to cook and one you will feel very proud of. This impressive entrée is worth the extra effort. I found the most difficult part is pounding out the turkey breast to an even half-inch thickness. It is not that it is hard to do, it just takes some elbow grease and extra time. The good news is you can release any pre-entertaining angst with each whack of your meat mallet. It took me about 20 minutes to finish shaping the turkey breast. Essentially, you are taking an uneven shaped lobe and pounding it into a half-inch thick, 9 x 10 inch semi-rectangular shape. If you do not have a meat mallet, use a heavy-duty skillet. I tried it with both and found I had more control with a mallet.

Rolling up each turkey breast then wrapping them in bacon is something that requires some coordination, but gets easier each time you make it. The first time you make this, don’t let any insecurity of the unknown seep in and question your performance. Read the directions carefully and trust your instincts. After you see your first turkey roulade you gain twice as much confidence to tackle the second one. The plastic wrap is an excellent helper and assists in rolling up each turkey breast and wrapping the bacon over each turkey roulade. I included a video made by Fine Cooking that shows how to make a roulade for your convenience. Hopefully, all your questions get answered between my instructions and watching the video.

Turkey Breast Roulade, with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

Helpful Hints for Making Turkey Breast Roulade

Time is the extra ingredient. Make sure you give yourself lots of time, especially the first time you make the roulade. It is important not to be rushed or cut corners due to time constraints. Whenever I feel rushed or cut corners, I make mistakes and do not get as good results. You can make turkey breast roulades the day before you want to serve it, which is a huge stress reliever and time saver when entertaining. Plan ahead and give yourself enough time to brine the turkey breasts for 12 – 24 hours, and assemble the roulades ahead of time. There are 8 steps – brining, pounding, stuffing, rolling, wrapping, cooking, making the au jus, and slicing the roulades. No one step is difficult, they just take time.

I always find it is helpful to read the recipe from start to finish a couple of times before I start cooking. Being familiar with the process helps anticipate each step.

If you cannot find boneless skinless turkey breasts, ask your butcher to cut one for you. Most stores carry whole turkey breast on the bone. A good butcher will use it and prepare it any way you want.

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

How to work with raw turkey breast

Making the turkey breast roulades requires you handle the turkey meat and get your hands dirty. As long as you have your Mise en place, cross contamination of unwanted bacteria won’t be an issue.

  • Remove all jewelry from your hands and wrists. Even if you wear latex gloves, take off your rings.  If you have a plain ring, like a wedding band, you can leave it on.
  • If you have medium to long hair, tie it up to keep it out of your face.
  • Push your sleeves up and wear an apron to protect your clothes.
  • Do all your prep before you start handling the turkey breast and station them at your work area. Place all the utensils, plastic wrap cut to size, roasting pan within reach, and a couple of kitchen towels nearby. Mise en place.
  • Wash your hands a lot. I wash them before I start, between steps, and when I’m finished. Every time I step away from raw poultry, I wash my hands.
  • Throw out unused ingredients, like the extra grated cheese.
  • Wash and rinse the counter and area where you worked.

Turkey Breast Roulade with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

I know you can do it. Turkey Breast Roulade with Fontina and Sage is an impressive and delicious meal. One that you will feel proud to make as well as enjoy eating.

 

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Category: Entrée

Cuisine: American

8-10 servings

Serving Size: 1-2 slices

Turkey Breast Roulades with Fontina and Fennel Pollen

Turkey breasts are stuffed with breadcrumbs, sage, garlic, fennel pollen and fontina cheese, then rolled up and wrapped in bacon for a spectacular turkey dinner. This is a delicious turkey dinner to make for a small crowd. It is perfect for entertaining because you can assemble the turkey roulades the day before you serve it.

Special equipment: Meat mallet, or heavy-duty skillet Medium size flameproof roasting pan Instant read thermometer Tooth picks Fat separator Whisk

The prep time dose not include the 12 hours of time required to brine the turkey breasts.

Ingredients

    Turkey Brine
  • 2 TB granulated sugar
  • 2 TB Kosher Salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, halved and green germ removed
  • 2-1½ lbs (750 g) boneless, skinless turkey breast halves, remove tenderloins from each breast
    Turkey Roulades
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) fine unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 4 cloves of garlic, green germ removed and minced
  • 2 TB finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tsp fennel pollen or ground fennel seed
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 6 oz (175 g) fontina, grated (about 2 cups / 500 ml)
  • 2 brined turkey breasts
  • 1 lb bacon, about 18 - 20 slices total
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
    Au Jus
  • 2 oz / 4 TB (50 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 TB pieces
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (500 ml) homemade or low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • Kosher salt

Instructions

    Brine the Turkey Breast
  1. Combine all the brine ingredients, except the turkey breast, in a medium saucepan. Bring the brine to a boil and simmer until the sugar and salt dissolves. Turn off the heat and pour the brining liquid into a large, non-reactive bowl. Let the brine cool to room temperature. Once cooled add the turkey breasts and up to 4 cups (1 liter) of water so the turkey breasts are completely covered in the brining liquid. (I needed less than 2 cups of water). Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
    Make the Roulades the following day.
  1. In a small bowl combine the breadcrumbs, sage, fennel pollen and minced garlic. Stir to combine.
  2. Remove the turkey breasts from the brine and pick off any spices. Pat each breast dry.
  3. Place a large piece of plastic wrap down on your work surface and place one breast, skin side down on top of the plastic wrap. Cover the turkey with another piece of plastic wrap. Do the same for the remaining turkey breast.
  4. Use a meat mallet or the underside of a heavy-duty skillet, and pound each turkey breast to an even ½ inch (1 cm) thick, and approximately 9 x 10 inch (23 x 24 cm) rectangle. It won't be exactly like a rectangle, but it will be close. Use a downward and forward motion when pounding on the turkey breast, stopping every now and then to straighten out the plastic wrap on top of the breast. When you think you are close to done, stop and feel each flattened turkey with your hands for any uneven areas. Pound out these parts until each piece is flat with an even half inch width.
  5. Remove the top piece of plastic wrap from each breast and evenly sprinkle Kosher salt over surface, about 1/4 tsp each breast. Add a few rounds of freshly ground black pepper over each breast.
  6. Sprinkle the breadcrumb and herb mixture over each turkey breast, leaving a ½ inch (1 cm) boarder around the perimeter of each turkey breast. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the breadcrumbs and herbs. Make sure you have a nice even layer spread over the turkey's surface.
  7. Fold inward a half-inch boarder along the long sides of each rectangular turkey piece. This will enclose the bread crumbs and cheese so they don't spill out when you are rolling it up and while cooking.
  8. Start at the short end and roll up each turkey breast, keeping the folded edges inside the roulade. Use the plastic wrap to guide the turkey into place. Set aside.
  9. Preheat the oven to 425°F / 220°C / Gas Mark 7 and place the rack in the middle position.
  10. Lay a piece of plastic wrap lengthwise on a work surface. Arrange the bacon slices lengthwise across the middle of the plastic wrap. Overlap each piece of bacon, about 1/3 of the way over each piece lengthwise. Make sure there are no gaps. The bacon should line up across the middle of the plastic wrap to equal the length of each roulade. About 8-10 slices of bacon per turkey roulade.
  11. Lay a turkey roulade across the middle of the bacon slices, so that the bacon strips run perpendicular to the turkey roulade. Lift the top side of plastic wrap with the bacon, up and over one side of the turkey. Peel away the plastic wrap while holding the bacon in place. The bacon slices should lay over half the width of the turkey roulade meeting close to the seam. Repeat with the other side. If the bacon ends do not meet, stretch them until they completely cover the turkey around its girth. Secure the bacon to the turkey with toothpicks. Set aside and repeat with the other turkey roulade.
  12. Place a medium flameproof roasting pan on a burner set at medium-high heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil and heat until shimmering.
  13. Add the roulades top side down into the roasting pan and sear the bacon for 4 minutes. The bacon will begin to brown. Turn each roulade over on its' side and sear for one minute. Repeat for the remaining sides, ending with the top side up.
  14. Place the roasting pan in the oven and bake until an instant read thermometer registers 165°F / 74°C at the thickest part of each roulade, about 35 minutes.
  15. Place each roulade on a cutting board and let the turkey rest for 10 minutes and up to an hour.
    Make the Au Jus
  1. Pour the drippings from the pan into a fat separator and let the pan juices settle. Place the roasting pan on a burner set to medium heat. Add 1 TB of the fat from the pan juices and 1 TB of butter to the roasting pan. After the butter melts, add the shallots and sage to the pan and cook until the shallots are soft, about 3 minutes. Stir to prevent the shallots from browning. Add the chicken stock and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom. If there are any drippings at the bottom of your fat separator, not the fat, add them to the stock. Whisk to combine, and taste then correct for seasoning. Bring the au jus to a gentle simmer. Turn the heat down to low and add the remaining butter one tablespoon at a time, whisk between each addition until the butter is incorporated. Turn off heat and add the lemon juice. Season to taste.
    Serve
  1. Carefully remove all the toothpicks and slice. Serve with the jus.
    Make Ahead
  1. The turkey roulades can be assembled and wrapped in bacon up to 12 hours before cooking. Cover each roulade in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator before cooking. Remove the roulades 30 minutes prior to baking to bring up to room temperature.
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Turkey Breast Roulade with Fontina and Fennel Pollen, recipe.

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

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.
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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.

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