Looks as Lovely as It Tastes! Saint Martinique Salmon and Shallot-Cranberry Green Beans

Looks as Lovely as It Tastes! Saint Martinique Salmon and Shallot-Cranberry Green Beans

I was so psyched to make maple-dijon salmon fillets for dinner this week. We had some frozen salmon in the freezer, and maple + dijon always equals so, so good. But then, when I started to make dinner and put together the sauce, I realized that our maple syrup had gone bad! Cue, saddest face.

Bill was on fillet duty since he is the fish boss in our house, so we scrambled together to improvise something to replace the icky syrup. Enter: MOLASSES!

I will admit, I was skeptical at first – won’t that be too sweet? It would overpower the fish? Right? WRONG!

Turns out, molasses is a truly delicious salmon glaze. The heartier taste of the fish stood up to the smoky sweetness of the molasses, and it was helped along by the herbaceousness of all the other delicious ingredients. We definitely needed to brighten up and serve as a base for this savory and sweet salmon.

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The next addition to our party: green beans! Shallots, cranberries, and red wine vinegar made a delicious, complex base of flavor, with some saltiness added by a last-minute addition of parmesan cheese.

All together, this was a truly delicious dinner and it photographed up so pretty too 😉 I asked Bill what we should call it, since molasses salmon doesn’t sound tasty. He decided that, based on the French flavors in the recipe and the Caribbean influence of the molasses, plus the salmon (of the sea) – a French island colony would lend the perfect name. Enjoy!

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Saint Martinique Salmon

Ingredients:
  • 4 skin-on salmon fillets, 4 ounces each, boned
  • 4 Tbsp molasses
  • 1½ tsp freeze-dried shallots
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Âź tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
  2. Place the salmon fillets on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, combine all the non-salmon ingredients until you have a thick paste. Add more spices and/or molasses to taste.
  4. Generously baste the salmon fillets with the molasses mixture. Use up all that molasses-y goodness!
  5. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and cook until the salmon is just cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove skin, and plate!

Based on a recipe from the Cookin’ Canuck

Shallot-Cranberry Green Beans

Ingredients:
  • 12 ounces fresh green beans
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Âź tsp salt
  • 2 tsp freeze-dried shallots
  • ½ tsp granulated roasted garlic
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Âź cup dried cranberries
  • Âź cup grated parmesan cheese
Instructions:
  1. Steam your green beans – personally, I like the steam-in-the-bag ones I grab from HEB.
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat, then add olive oil, salt, and green beans.
  3. Saute green beans for 1 minute, then add the shallots and roasted garlic.
  4. Saute green beans for 1 minute more, then drizzle with the red wine vinegar and add the dried cranberries.
  5. Continue stirring the green beans for 2-3 minutes more, or until they reach your desired crisp-ness.
  6. Top with the parmesan cheese, stir until cheese begins to melt, then serve!

Based on a recipe from Food Loves Writing

saintmartinque

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

I do not claim to be the wisest woman in all the land, with lo my 2 1/2 years of marriage, but let me impart some wisdom on to you, oh Internet. Wisdom which, hopefully, will lead you to a delicious and happy life.

Wisdom number 1: If your husband is from the Northern lands, trust him with fish. Even if you just wanted salmon to make sliders this week, and your eyes goggle out when he returns with a $24 package of just 1 3/4 pounds of fish. Trust him in this – he has magical knowledge which leads him to the delicious-est fishes.

Sub-wisdom number 1: If your husband knows how to divide and grill fish, make him do it. If you’re like me, you’ll wind up with some funky-sized and -shaped pieces which cook funny otherwise.

Wisdom number 2: If your husband declares dinner the best thing you’ve ever made, make it again. We had this recipe for dinner on Sunday, thinking just to use up some of the ‘extra’ Atlantic fresh-caught salmon Bill chose before I made sliders for dinner on Monday. Behold, we had this exact recipe 3 nights in a row. It is delicious.

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

So, yeah. Bill and I made the best, most delicious salmon of all time. And it is the SIMPLEST marinade. I do not know what sort of hoodoo voodoo is contained within the Williams-Sonoma Newlywed Cookbook that my aunt gave us  when we got married, but I trust in it. And you should too.

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

Succulent, flavorful, simple salmon, topped with a tasty herbed compound butter, served alongside oven potatoes with a salty Parmesan zip and spinach sauteed with shallots. I mean, are you drooling?

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

I mean, the butter just melts into all the little crevices of the perfectly cooked salmon, turning in into this creamy luscious main dish, with the fresh green pop of spinach and the crispy crunch of the potatoes. The balsamic and parmesan used throughout the dish make it a truly cohesive dish that’s not too heavy, but is perfectly filling.

This recipe may seem a little complex, but I have timed just right after making it so many nights in a row!

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

  • 6 fresh salmon fillets, skin on (Bill recommends North Atlantic)
  • 1 stick salted butter, softened
  • Âź + ½ cup Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon + 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons herbes de Provence
  • 2 large garlic cloves, diced
  • 2/3 cup + 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 pound small gold potatoes, cut into thin rounds
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or freeze-dried shallots
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  2. First, make your delicious compound butter.
    • Place butter, Âź cup Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, and the herbes de Provence in a food processor.
    • Pulse butter mixture in food processor until well-combined, add pepper to taste.
    • Scoop out butter mixture into a plastic ziptop bag and squish into a cylinder. Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  3. Next, create the marinade
    • Combine 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar with diced garlic, 2/3 cup olive oil and thyme in a wide, shallow dish.
    • Add salmon fillets to marinade dish and turn to coat well.
    • Cover dish and place in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Now, get the potatoes going.
    • Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and add potato rounds.
    • Add 1/3 cup olive oil, sea salt and pepper to potatoes on cookie sheet. Lift up edges of aluminum foil and shake to combine all ingredients.
    • Place cookie sheet in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. When the oven timer goes off at 20 minutes:
    • Top potatoes with ½ cup Parmesan cheese, and return to oven for 5 minutes.
    • Heat a grill pan over medium heat.
    • Saute the spinach!
  6. Spinach time!
    • Melt a pat of the compound butter over medium heat in a medium pan. When butter is melted, add shallots and spinach.
    • Stir constantly until spinach is wilted, then cover the pan and remove heat.
  7. Turn the oven off, but keep the potatoes in to continue crisping up that yummy cheese.
  8. Let’s cook the salmon!
    • When grill pan is heated, add salmon fillets and a nice glug of marinade to the pan. (The oil from the marinade will keep the fish from sticking).
    • Cook the salmon for about 3 minutes on each side, or until crisp on the outside and opaque all the way through.
  9. Remove potatoes from oven.
  10. Serve salmon fillets with potatoes and spinach, topping the salmon with another slice of the compound butter.
  11. Enjoy! (make sure you remove the salmon skin before eating)

Based on a recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Newlywed Cookbook, plus potatoes and spinach from my brain 😉

Balsamic Salmon with Parmesan Potatoes and Sauteed Spinach

 

Calamari Fritti

Calamari Fritti

Hello all, it’s time for the first Mancktastic recipe of 2014! Bill and I enjoyed this delicious dish of squid on Christmas Eve, and we’ve decided it’s going to become a family tradition.

Calamari Fritti from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

In this dish, tender calamari tubes and tentacles are covered in flavorful spices and flour, then quickly fried in peanut oil. It’s a delicious treat to enjoy with a simple squeeze of lemon, or tossed with pasta and marinara sauce for a heartier meal.

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Calamari Fritti

  • Peanut Oil
  • 1 pound Calamari, tubes and tentacles
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Pour enough peanut oil to come 2 inches up the side of your dutch oven or other thick-bottomed, high-walled pot. Heat on medium to medium-high, or until flour dropped into the oil immediately sizzles and disperses.
  2. Cut your tubes into 1/2 inch rings, rinse the tubes and tentacles, then set aside.
  3. Combine flour, parsley, salt, peppers, paprika, Greek seasoning and garlic powder in a large bowl, stir well.
  4. Toss the tubes and tentacles in the flour mixture, making sure to coat well.
  5. When the oil is heated, fry the calamari in small batches, stirring to ensure complete cooking, for about 2 minutes, or until golden.
  6. Drain the calamari on paper towels and sprinkle with additional salt.

Calamari Fritti from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

Based on a recipe from Harvest of the Sea

 

 

Greek Baked Potato Soup

Greek Baked Potato Soup

I talk a lot about Bill and I’s food “love languages” here on the blog, usually in a sweet, dessert context. It’s not just sugar that shows our love, though, sometimes it can be savory too! Today’s recipe is speaking my language: potatoes. Straight up, I love potatoes in any way, shape, or form. Baked potatoes, french fries, hashbrowns, it’s all delicious. There’s something about starchy, salty, filling goodness that satisfies part of my soul 🙂
Greek Baked Potato Soup from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com
Now, it may seem a little strange to be talking about a thick, warm soup in the middle of the heat of summer, but this tasty recipe demanded to be shared! We start with the traditional Baked Potato Soup, but then add the delightful flavors of Greek cuisine for a fresh and delicious twist. Feta, dill and Greek spices add a unique flavor to this familiar dish that will have you coming back for more!
Greek Baked Potato Soup from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com
This is the perfect soup to curl up with in some comfy clothes, a good book, and a cool glass of wine. The potatoes are filling without overpowering the delicate flavor of dill while you get the salty, savory undertones of both Feta and bacon. Greek yogurt adds a decadent, silky undertone to the soup that you’ll love.
Greek Baked Potato Soup from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com
If you want a little more texture, you can add in some of the cooked skins from your potatoes ala mashed potatoes. This recipe makes several folks’ worth of soup, so go ahead and freeze your leftovers now to enjoy on the cool Fall days that will be here before you know it!
Greek Baked Potato Soup from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

Greek Baked Potato Soup

  • 8 potatoes, baked and skins removed
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Greek spice mix
  • ⅓ cups flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 cups Feta cheese
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • Fresh dill, to taste
  1. Add 4 tablespoons butter to a stockpot over medium heat.  When the butter has melted, add minced garlic, shallot, oregano, Greek spice mix and flour. Stir flour until absorbed by the butter and cooked, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add chicken stock to the flour mixture, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Bring to a simmer then turn heat to low. Add potatoes, salt and pepper, smooshing the potatoes with a spoon. Cover pot and continue to cook over low heat until ingredients are well-incorporated.
  3. Add bacon, Feta and cheddar cheeses, Greek yogurt and dill into the pot of soup. Stir well and continue to cook over low heat until heated through and cheese is melted.
  4. If you want an extra-smooth soup, use blender to reach desired consistency. Serve soup topped with additional bacon and cheese.

based on recipe from Tasty Kitchen

Greek Baked Potato Soup from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread

There’s a huge debate in the South: sweet or savory cornbread? Is it truly cornbread if you include sugar or honey? My family’s always gotten around the argument by calling the sweet stuff Johnnycake instead of cornbread, and enjoying both to boot!

Today’s delicious cornbread definitely falls into the savory category several times over, though. It combines the salty and spicy flavors of green chiles and bacon with melty sharp cheddar cheese to make a dense and flavorful cornbread. The taste is reminiscent of enchiladas and breakfast tacos, with a tang and depth of flavor from the buttermilk that’s all its own.
Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

We start with equal parts cornmeal and flour, then add baking soda, baking powder and salt for lift and rise, plus sugar as a little nod to Johnnycake, then come in the delicious bits. Sharp cheddar and crumbly bits of bacon join the party to add their own tasty notes to the dish. Next come the wet ingredients: melted butter for savory richness, buttermilk for tang, eggs and, finally, lightly spicy green chiles. Everything is stirred together to spread the yummy bits throughout, then topped with extra cheese and bacon to form a crispy crust on top. Into the oven it goes for 35 minutes, then out comes an extra-yummy and savory treat!

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread combines all the great tastes of Tex-Mex into a one-dish, easy-clean-up delight that is delightful solo or as the accompaniment to chili or Chicken Tortilla Soup. With a moist, rich interior and a smoky, crispy cheese and bacon crust on top, it’s a dish that’s worth turning the oven on even in the middle of summer!

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Ÿ cup sugar
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cupcooked, crumbled bacon
  • 4 ounces diced green chilies
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ stick butter, melted
  • additional cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon, to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 400° F.
  2. Whisk cornmeal, flour, cheese, baking powder, baking soda, bacon, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the chiles, buttermilk, eggs and melted butter and stir well until completely combined.
  3. Pour batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square baking dish, top with additional cheese and bacon, and bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

based on a recipe from Eat, Live, Run

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

Bill’s Favorite Sandwich

Bill’s Favorite Sandwich

As I write this, Bill and I are Albany-bound to visit his wonderful parents (my in-laws) via a good ol’ fashioned road trip! Since we’re going up to the great cold North as a pre-30th-birthday celebration for this husband, I figured this would be a great time to share Bill’s most favorite sandwich so you can enjoy it with us!

Bill's Favorite Sandwich from Mancktastic!

This sandwich is based on one we first enjoyed at the always-mentioned-HEB as part of their World of Sandwiches celebration last month. They combined Serrano ham, Manchego cheese and some sort of proprietary spiced mayo on a baguette, then toasted and served it my salivating husband.

Bill's Favorite Sandwich from Mancktastic!

To recreate this tasty lunchtime treat at home, we used prosciutto and balsamic mayonnaise, along with melty Manchego and crispy baguette. The balsamic mayonnaise adds a wonderful hint of sweetness to the salty, cured flavor of the ham, while the Manchego’s distinctive goat cheese flavor ties it all together on a crusty base of baguette. A simple toasting in the oven brings it all together.

Bill's Favorite Sandwich from Mancktastic!

Bill’s Favorite Sandwich

  • Prosciutto
  • Thin-sliced Manchego cheese
  • Balsamic mayonnaise (the one I found was from Hellman’s)
  • Split Baguette
  1. Preheat oven to 375◦ F.
  2. Spread balsamic mayonnaise on both sides of a split baguette. Layer Manchego cheese and prosciutto to your taste.
  3.  Place sandwich(es) on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7-8 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!

Bill's Favorite Sandwich from Mancktastic!

Spice It Up a Little: Taco Burgers

Spice It Up a Little: Taco Burgers

Mmm, who doesn’t love a good cheeseburger? We’re not going to rest with cheddar on beef, though, let’s make in a little spicy, up the cheese factor and put a Mexican twist on this classic! This stuffed and studded burger is packed with flavor and spices.

Taco Burgers from Mancktastic!

To impart that Mexican spice, we combine crunchy corn chips with taco seasoning and mix it throughout the ground beef for our burgers. Rather than just laying cheese atop the patties, we also stuff them with what my grocery store calls “Fiesta cheese”. And, for a final layer of flavor, we crust the patties with additional taco seasoning.

Taco Burgers from Mancktastic!

You’d be surprised how much flavor plain ol’ corn chips can add to a simple burger, but it gives a distinct earthy flavor that is a natural counterpart to the beef. Corn is a traditional flavor for Mexican cuisine, so it’s a fine pairing. The cheese cuts through the saltiness of the chips and seasoning for a well-balanced dish.

Taco Burgers from Mancktastic!

Taco Burgers

  • 1 pound ground beef (I used 96/4)
  • 1 cup corn chips
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Mexican cheese chunks
  • Âź cup taco seasoning, divided
  • 4 slices colby jack cheese
  1. Crush corn chips by pulsing them in a food processor. Add 2 Tablespoons of taco seasoning to the work bowl and combine.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix spiced corn chip crumbs, ground beef, and egg, until well combined.
  3. Shape ground beef mixture into 8 equal balls. Place Ÿ cup cheese chunks in between 2 balls and combine into a patty. Form 3 more patties using same method.
  4. Pour the remaining taco seasoning on a plate. Place each patty on the seasoning, press to adhere, flip and repeat.
  5. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and grill 7-8 minutes on each side. For the last minute of grilling, lay a slice of colby jack on each patty.
  6. Serve with salsa and tortillas.

Taco Burgers from Mancktastic!