Monday, November 14, 2016

Lentil salad with haricot vert and peppers

This is another great colorful vegetarian main course salad with lentils as the base. The haricot vert is simply sauteed with garlic and the peppers are roasted and marinated in a delicious marinade of fresh garlic, vinegar, olive oil and oregano. The combination of earthy lentils with the slightly al-dente haricot vert, soft peppers and tangy goat cheese makes for a great salad!

Lentil salad with haricot vert and peppers
3/4th cup French green lentils
6 oz trimmed haricot vert
1 medium sized red bell pepper
3 oz goat cheese
2 tablespoons good quality red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
1/8th teaspoon dried oregano
1/8th teaspoon dried red chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the pepper on a sheet pan lined with foil and put it in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn and cook for another 15 till all sides are blistered. Remove and cover with foil till cool. Peel and seed the pepper, and marinate with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, dried oregano, red chili. 
  2. In a 3 quart saucepan bring 3 cups of water and the lentils to a boil. Simmer over medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and continue to simmer for 10 to 15 more minutes till the lentils are cooked but not mushy. If the water has not absorbed, drain the excess water. Transfer to a glass bowl. Add 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil to the lentils and mix. Set aside.
  3. In a 10 inch saute pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon chopped garlic. Saute for a minute and add the haricot vert. Toss it around to mix well. Add 1/4 cup water and 1/8th teaspoon salt, cover and cook for about 8 minutes till the beans are tender but not mushy.
  4. Before plating, warm the lentils in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Taste for seasoning. You might need to add a little more vinegar, salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Spread the lentils on the serving platter, topped with the haricot vert. Chop the pepper into 1/2 inch pieces and arrange it evenly on the salad. Finally crumble the goat cheese and scatter it on top with a good drizzle of olive oil. 
Serves 3 as a main course or 4 as a side.

Note: The peppers taste best marinated for at least 4 hours. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Chettinad style egg curry

This Chettinad style egg curry is a riff on Chettinad chicken curry. I really like the spices used in the chicken curry and decided to replicate it for my vegetarian family. Fennel and coconut milk as well as a high level of spice makes this dish delicious. The Chettinad dishes are spicy and flavorful. If hot and spicy food is not your thing, you can add a little sugar to the dish or increase the quantity of coconut milk and you could of course reduce the cayenne, but it will not be the same. This curry tastes best with any flatbread to mop up the gravy, like a paratha, naan or pita. In a crunch steamed rice will work as well!

Chettinad style egg curry

3 large organic eggs
1 cup packed finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon garlic slices
1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
One sprig of curry leaves (fresh is best)
1 cup chopped tomato
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
3 tablespoons coconut milk
1 tablespoon canola oil
Salt to taste
  1. Place the eggs in a small saucepan covered with water and one teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, shut off the heat. Cover and let the eggs cook in the residual heat for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes are up, place the eggs in ice water to cool. when cool, crack the eggs and remove the shells. Give the eggs a couple of slits and keep aside.
  2. In a 10 inch saute pan, heat the canola oil over medium heat and add the fennel seeds, onion and garlic and curry leaves if using. Saute for about 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat till the onion has softened and is light brown. Now add the chopped tomato and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook over medium heat till the tomatoes have softened and a sauce is formed. Now add the ground fennel, ground cumin, ground coriander and cayenne. Cook for a minute or two so that the spices are incorporated into the sauce. Add the eggs to the sauce and toss them around so that they are well coated with the sauce.  Finally add the coconut milk. If you don't want to open a whole can just for this recipe, use coconut milk powder mixed with water. Stir over low heat so that the coconut milk is well mixed for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Serve with flat breads.
Serves 3.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Butternut Squash and bell pepper soup

The beauty of this soup is in its simplicity. I first tasted it at my mother-in-laws in India, earlier this year. Very skeptically nevertheless, since  I like my soups to have some texture and this is a velvety smooth soup. Contrary to my expectations, this soup was extremely flavorful and very satisfying. The addition of green bell pepper adds a subtle spice which is a good counterpoint for the sweetness of the squash. My mom-in-law also added grated Amul cheese. This is the most famous cheese in India - a pasteurized cheddar with a fair bit of saltiness. You can substitute cheddar cheese for the Amul cheese, but I stuck to Amul cheese since I was craving the version that I had eaten in India.

We had this soup for dinner with a small salad and an egg sandwich. Will also be great as a first course for your Thanksgiving menu!

Butternut squash and bell pepper soup 

1 lb peeled, seeded butternut squash, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1/2 large green bell pepper, cubed into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoon chopped Amul cheese
3 cup stock or water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat a 3 quart stock pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the onion and garlic. Saute for a few minutes and then add the butternut squash and peppers. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes, add salt and the stock or water.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and cook covered for 15 to 20 minutes till the squash is soft.
  3. Remove the squash and peppers with a slotted spoon and blend. Add the remaining soup from the stock pot to help in blending. Once the squash has become a puree, add the cheese and give it one last spin. 
  4. Pour the contents of the blender back into the stock pot and adjust the seasoning. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Serves 3.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sauteed radish greens with shrimp

Summer has ended and the bounty of the green market is coming to an end as well. Last week I picked up a bunch of beautiful pink radish with fresh greens attached to them. The result is this visually stunning dish eaten very often in a Bengali household as a first course. Growing up I ate sauteed radish greens with shrimp but I added the beautiful pink radish for visual appeal as well as texture contrast.
It is an extremely simple dish - the time consuming part is making sure the greens have no remnants of soil. The greens are finely chopped and sauteed with radish and shrimp, flavored with nigella seeds and a dry red chili.

Sauteed radish greens with shrimp

1 large bunch radish greens (4 cups chopped)
2 large red radish - about 1/2 cup chopped
4 large shrimp, cleaned and cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds
1 small dried red chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar

  1. Wash the radish greens well to remove any soil that might be sticking to it. Drain and chop them finely. 
  2. Was the radish and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  3. Heat a large saute pan with canola oil. When the oil is hot add the dry red chili and the nigella seeds. As soon as the seeds pop, add the chopped greens and toss them.
  4. After a minute, add the chopped radish and the salt. Mix well. Cook covered over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes depending on how tender the greens are.
  5. Now add the chopped shrimp and sugar. and cook till the shrimp turns pink. 
  6. Serve with hot steamed rice. (Tastes great with a dash of kasundi mustard sauce)

Serves 4 as a first course

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Israeli couscous with squash blossoms

Israeli couscous makes a delicious side or an appetizer. Combined with squash blossoms, roasted garlic, Parmesan cheese and parsley, the creamy dish resembles a risotto, but ready in a lot less time. Squash blossoms are also sometimes called zucchini flowers, but they can come from any summer or even winter squash. They are the edible flowers of the squash plant and usually come in yellow and orange shades. Squash blossoms are soft, delicate, and have a mild taste. This is a healthy, delicate, colorful and elegant dish. The flowers add a sweet taste to the dish.

Israeli couscous with squash blossoms

1/2 cup Israeli couscous
8 zucchini blossoms
8 large cloves of garlic with skin ( or 1 whole head of garlic)
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese pieces
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.  Peel and discard the papery outer layers of the whole garlic bulb, leaving intact the skins of the individual cloves of garlic. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4 to a 1/2 inch from the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.
  2. Place the garlic head in a piece of foil large enough to wrap it. Drizzle 2  teaspoons of olive oil over the exposed head. Cover the bulb with aluminum foil and place it on a baking sheet. Bake on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed. If the cloves are small you might need less time. Check in the middle of baking to ensure the garlic is not turning dark brown as they will dry out. Once soft, remove and keep aside.
  3. Put the pine-nuts in a dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden in spots, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a small saucepan bring 3/4th cup of water to a boil. Add the couscous with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and bring to a boil once again. Reduce heat to simmer, cover the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes as per instructions on the box. The water should be completely absorbed. If there is excess water, drain the water. 
  5. While the couscous is boiling, prep the blossoms. Gently open the petals and check for bugs, as you might find a lingering insect or even a bee in there — you can turn it upside down and give it a gentle shake. Next, remove any pistil or stamen by using your fingers to snap them off. Give the blossoms a rough chop and place them at the bottom of the serving dish. 
  6. Once the couscous is ready, remove from the pan and lay it over the chopped blossoms. The heat from the couscous will help to cook the blossoms. In a small bowl, squeeze out the garlic from the roasted cloves to get about two tablespoons of garlic paste (balance can be used for toast), and blend it with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1/8th teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Toss the couscous and blossom mixture with the roasted garlic mixture. Now gently mix in the lemon zest, bits of Parmesan cheese and the toasted nuts. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and it is ready to serve.
Serves 2 as a side

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Lentil and potato salad with caramelized garlic and Parmesan dressing

Caramelized garlic is the star of this salad. I borrowed the recipe for the garlic from Yotam Ottolenghi's garlic tart. Soft and sweet nuggets of deliciousness are spread throughout the salad - just enough to add the element of surprise but not in every bite. Lentils and crispy potatoes provide bulk and baby arugula is the perfect green with a mild bite. The Dijon Parmesan dressing ties it all together beautifully. Makes the ideal main course salad. While this is a lengthy recipe with many steps, the end result is worth all the effort - after all it is "The Main Course"!

Lentil and potato salad with caramelized garlic and Parmesan dressing

1 cup French green lentils
9 large fingerling potatoes
1 large bulb of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon good quality balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup water + more for boiling
Freshly ground black pepper
pinch of salt
2 large handfuls of baby arugula, washed and dried

1 tablespoon good quality red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Add 3 cups of water and 1 cup lentils to a 3 quart saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Simmer over medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and continue to simmer for 10 to 15 more minutes till the lentils are cooked but not mushy. If the water has not absorbed, drain the excess water. Transfer to a glass bowl and set aside.
  2. In another saucepan, boil the fingerling potatoes with the skin in plenty of salted water, for about 10 to 15 minutes till the a knife pierced through goes through. Drain and let them cool. Peel and slice the potatoes about 1/4 inch thick. Preheat the oven to 400 F. While the oven is heating, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkling of kosher salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Arrange the sliced potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and place it in the middle rack of the preheated oven and cook for 12 minutes. Flip and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes till they are crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and set aside
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, place the peeled garlic cloves in a small saucepan with enough water to cover the garlic cloves. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. Wipe the saucepan dry and add the cloves and 1 teaspoon olive oil  and fry on  high heat for exactly 2 minutes just to brown a tiny bit.  Add the balsamic vinegar, 1/3 cup water and bring to the boil.  Simmer gently for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes add the sugar, chopped thyme and a pinch of kosher salt and continue  to cook on a medium heat for a further 10 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated and the garlic cloves are coated in a dark caramel syrup. Set aside.
  4. Whisk all the ingredients of the dressing till it is emulsified. 
  5. To assemble the salad, spread the arugula on the serving platter. Warm the lentils if they were made in advance - 1 minute in the microwave oven will be adequate. Toss the lentils with half of the dressing and then place the warm lentils on the arugula. Scatter the crisp potatoes on top of the lentils and tuck the caramelized garlic spread evenly all over the platter. Drizzle rest of the dressing on top. And its ready to serve.
Serves 3 as a main course.

Note; The potatoes should be the last thing cooked as they are best warm!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Linguine with garlic infused breadcrumbs

If you are in the mood for a carb fest, this is the perfect dish. It's a great way to use up left over artisanal bread and pretty much make a delicious meal out of nothing. The bread is toasted in olive oil (do not skimp on the oil), and infused with garlic, fennel, and red chili. The fennel is subtle and gives this dish the grown up touch. I have adapted this recipe from David Tanis' book One Good Dish. Serve it with some roasted vegetables to feel you are eating healthy!

Linguine with garlic infused breadcrumbs

2 1/2 cups bread crumbs from stale artisinal bread (use the food processor to get large crumbs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon coarsely crushed fennel seeds
scant 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Generous grinds of fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
6 oz whole wheat linguni
A chunk of Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese for grating
Good quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

1.  Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the crumbs and let them fry gently and slowly take on color, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes. When they are golden and crisp, add the minced garlic and fennel seeds and cook for a minute or so. Season the crumbs with scant 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and about 30 grinds of fresh black pepper. Finally add the dried red chili pepper and remove from the heat and keep aside.

2.  Cook the pasta in boiling well-salted water as per the instructions on the box. Drain and toss the pasta with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and garnish with grated pecorino romano cheese. Mix the breadcrumbs and cheese with the pasta before eating.

Serves 2 with a side of roasted vegetables

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Mung Bean Sprouts Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Mung bean sprouts are very healthy and very quick to make in warm weather as they sprout very easily. I sprout a cup of dried beans every other week and use it in different recipes. My favorites being salads, raita and crepes.This salad combines roasted sweet potatoes or jewel yams with some smoky cumin, a hint of spice from the dried chili flakes, crisp fried ginger, a dash of citrus and some fresh coriander leaves to accentuate that citrus note. We ate it as a first course but could very well be  a lunch bowl in itself.

Mung Bean Sprouts Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 1 cup chopped)
1/2 teaspoon toasted cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon peeled and slivered fresh ginger
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss the cubed sweet potato with 1 tablespoon olive oil, cumin powder, chili flakes and salt. Spread them out evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in the middle rack of a preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes flipping them in between so that the sweet potatoes are soft and golden.
  2. Heat a small pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil and fry the ginger slivers till they are golden.
  3. Toss the roasted sweet potatoes with the sprouted mung beans, fried ginger and lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Finally add the chopped cilantro leaves and toss lightly.
Serves 2 as a first course.

Note; Wiki How shows you how to sprout mung beans step by step. However, in step 6, I drain and leave the moist beans in the soaking dish covered with cling wrap in a warm place for 12 to 18 hours depending on how much you want the beans sprouted. This method works well for me.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Tofu with black bean garlic sauce

The star of this recipe is the black bean garlic sauce created by chef Ming Tsai of the famous Blue Ginger restaurant. This sauce is really easy and very flavorful. This recipe makes more than you need, but it can be refrigerated for two weeks and you can use it with other proteins or to flavor noodles as well. If you don't have time to make this sauce, and use the Lee Kum Kee black bean garlic sauce. However, the flavor will not be the same. Tofu picks up the flavor of the sauce really well

You can use a tofu press to remove the excess water from the tofu, which will help it to absorb flavors better. The bland tofu is a good medium to showcase the intense black bean sauce. The sugar snap peas are sweet and crunchy and the red peppers add a touch of color as well as some sweetness and additional crunch to the dish.

Tofu with Black bean garlic sauce

1 14 oz block of firm tofu
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch thin pieces
2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
3 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce - recipe below
2 tablespoons canola oil
  1. Press the tofu to remove the excess water. Cut into 2 inch long fingers.
  2. Heat a 12 inch saute pan 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add the tofu pieces in a single layer and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes till the tofu gets brown on one side. Flip and cook for 3 to 5 minutes more so that it browns on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Add 1 more tablespoon canola oil to the pan and add the sugar snap peas and cook over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tofu and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the black bean garlic sauce depending on how much sauce you want in your dish. Toss well and cook till the sugar snap peas are cooked but still have a bite.
  4. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
Serves 3 as a main course

Black Bean Garlic sauce by Ming Tsai
1 cup grape seed oil or canola oil
1/3 cup fermented black beans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup minced garlic
1/2 cup peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 bunches of scallions, white and green parts, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 tablespoon sambal oelek or hot red pepper sauce
1/2 cup Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat. Add 1/4 cup of the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the beans, garlic, ginger, and scallions, and stir-fry until the mixture has softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the sambal oelek and wine, decrease the heat to medium, and cook until the mixture is reduced by three quarters, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender and purée it at high speed while adding the remaining 3/4 cup of oil. Stir the purée back into the remaining mixture and cool completely. Use or store. Lasts 2 weeks, refrigerated.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Kung Pao Okra (bhindi)

Crispy okra is good in pretty much any form. In this vegetarian version of the traditional kung pao chicken, the okra is baked to crispness and then tossed with the sweet, salty and spicy kung pao sauce. You could also deep dry the okra tossed with some rice flour for additional crispness. I prefer to go the low fat version for most things. Hence I baked mine - frying would be much quicker though! This dish is best served warm with steamed jasmine rice and a main course of tofu or tempeh.

Kung Pao Okra

1 1/2 lb okra
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 cup chopped Spanish onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 slices of ginger (quarter sized)
3 whole dry red chilies broken into two pieces each
1/2 - 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes (depends on how spicy you like it)
1/2 cup roasted shelled peanuts

Kung Pao Sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar or light brown sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar ( or unseasoned rice vinegar)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoons salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Wash the dry the okra. Trim the okra and cut vertically down the middle. Toss with 2 tablespoons canola oil and lay it out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place the tray in the middle rack of the preheated oven. Roast for 15 minutes. Toss them around with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and roast for another 20 to 25 minutes depending on how crisp you want the okra. There is a fine line between crisp and dry - hence they need to be monitored after the second 15 minutes.
  3. While the okra is being roasted, mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a mixing bowl and stir till the sugar is well integrated.
  4. In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil and add the dry red chili and saute for 20 seconds. Add the ginger, minced garlic, chopped onion and dried chili flakes and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes till the onions are just beginning to soften. Add the roasted okra and toss once. Now add the sauce and give it a quick boil. The okra should have a nice sheen from the sauce. Sprinkle the roasted peanuts and serve immediately.
Serves 3

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Monkfish stew with kohlrabi and peas (olkopi diye macher rosha)

Monkfish is often referred to as the poor man's lobster. It is a wonderfully meaty fish and much less work than a lobster. The fish butcher sells it all cleaned up. This is a mildly spiced stew that my mother would make growing up with shrimp. Monkfish is not available in India - it is found in the Atlantic ocean. Here I have adapted my mom's dish to work with monkfish. I first tasted monkfish in New York and loved the texture, non-fishy taste and how it holds up to stews. Kohlrabi pairs well with the fish. If you have never eaten kohlrabi, this is one way to try it. In the western world it is mostly used in a salad or as a puree. In India, raw salads are not very popular and it is used as a vegetable for either stewing or sauteing. Here are some other ways to use kohlrabi.
The kohlrabi in this recipe, is first cooked with tomatoes and spices and then stewed with the monkfish. Peas are added at the end to retain their color. Great one pot meal to eat with steamed rice.

Monkfish stew with kohlrabi and peas

2 small kohlrabi, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (About 1 1/4 cups)
10 oz monkfish tail, cut into six, 1/2 inch slices (Ask the butcher to give you a cleaned tail)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 medium vine ripened tomato, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander powder
1/3 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
Kosher salt to taste

  1. Heat oil in a 3 qt saute pan. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds. Add the kohlrabi as soon as they pop. Reduce heat to medium and saute the kohlrabi for about 3 minutes till it gets some color. Add the cumin powder, coriander powder, cayenne, turmeric, and the chopped tomato. Cook till the tomatoes are fully cooked and oil leaves the sides of the pan about 10 minutes.
  2. Now add the pieces of monkfish and saute for about 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and cook covered at medium low heat for about 13 to 15 minutes stirring occasionally till the fish and kohlrabi are completely cooked. If the sauce looks too dry, add a few more tablespoons. The end product will be saucy but not soupy!
  3. Finally add the peas and sugar - check for salt and cook for 2 more minutes.
  4. Serve hot with steamed rice.
Serves 2 as a Main course or 3 as part of a shared meal.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Lentil and arugula salad with roasted red pepper and artichokes

French green lentils are the perfect lentil for salads due to its wonderful quality of holding its shape. I combine them with meaty roasted artichoke hearts, sweet roasted red peppers, peppery arugula and tangy goat cheese for the perfect main course salad.

Lentil and arugula salad with roasted red pepper and artichokes

1/2 cup French green lentils
1 large red bell pepper
2 cups packed baby arugula
8 oz frozen artichoke hearts
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Freshly ground  black pepper
4 oz goat cheese

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the red bell pepper on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes in the middle rack turning once in between till the pepper is blistered all over. Remove from the oven and keep the pepper in a brown paper bag or in a bowl covered with foil. This will allow the pepper to sweat and make it easy to remove the skin. When it is cool enough to handle, remove the skin, discard the seeds and the pith and cut the pepper into thin strips. 
  2. While the pepper is cooling, toss the frozen artichoke with salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Drizzle olive oil and spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in a 400 F oven for 20 to 30 minutes till the artichokes have a golden brown color.
  3. In the meantime, rinse the lentils and put them in a saucepan with plenty of lightly salted water. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to a simmer, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender; be careful not to overcook them. If there is any water left, drain the lentils.
  4. Whisk all the ingredients of the dressing and taste for seasoning.
  5. To assemble the salad, place the lentils, roasted peppers, and roasted artichokes in a large bowl. Just before serving, add the arugula pour the dressing over the salad. Toss to coat evenly. Gently fold in the pieces of goat cheese.
Serves 3 to 4