panko

Pacific cod and caper kebabs

by Heguiberto on January 17, 2013

This is another great recipe from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem. It uses capers! Hurrah!!! How can you go wrong with capers? Salted or brined, these tiny flower buds are alright with me. Yotam writes that caper bushes grow wild around the city of Jerusalem. They’re hardy and you can even find them growing out of cracks in the Wailing Wall (Muro das Lamentações in Portuguese). Isn’t that cool? I’d love to see that someday.

Pacific cod and caper kebabs

Pacific cod and caper kebabs

The original dish also uses quite a bit of dill too, an herb I sometimes find a bit over powering. I think it has to do with the smell of the lagoons around my home town in Brazil. The grasses that grew around those lagoons exhaled a strange dill scent and I always associate these smells with stagnant water. Alas! I think that I must have been a dog or a wolf in a past life. My sense of smell is powerful; which is good sometimes but as in this case, not too great at others. Anyway this dish is all about beautiful colors, flavors and, yes, aromas!

Pacific cod and caper kebabs

2lbs white boneless fish (I used wild pacific cod fillets)
½ cup Italian bread crumbs
½ cup panko break crumbs
1 large free range egg, beaten
5 tbsp capers in brine, rinsed and chopped
3 whole scallions, chopped fine
½ bunch fresh dill, chopped fine
Juice one large lemon
1½ tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil for frying

Cut the fillets into 3 inch pieces, place fish in the food processor and whiz for half a minute. Using a spatula push the fish down. Whiz it again for another half minute.

Transfer to a bowl, add lemon juice and beaten egg. In a separate bowl mix Italian bread crumbs, panko, turmeric, cumin, pepper, chopped capers, scallions, dill and salt together. Incorporate bread crumb mix into to fish using a spatula. Do not over mix.

Wet your hands with a bit of canola oil. Shape fish mixture into patties. Place patties on a wax paper lined tray. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Add some canola oil to a non-stick skillet on medium. Fry patties for about 3 minutes on each side. Serve hot with a side of eggplant baba ghanoush.

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This recipe was adapted from health. Old fashioned but I think making a come-back: after all you make it with horseradish and panko breadcrumbs. That’s real style.

halibut in horseradish panko crust

halibut in horseradish panko crust

Straightforward to make, and really tasty, I’ve already served it a couple of times at home. This is perfect for the holidays. I made it over Thanksgiving with a larger piece of fish which I baked about 40 minutes and served family style.

halibut in horseradish panko crust

4 6oz skinless halibut fillets (only the freshest!)
2 tbsp prepared horseradish
2 tbsp fat free sour cream
2 cloves garlic, mashed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
½ to ¾ cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 tbsp chopped Italian parsley

Pre heat the oven to 400F. Line a baking tray with wax paper. Brush paper with olive oil.

Mix horseradish, sour cream, garlic, parsley and a pinch of salt together. Set aside.

Rinse and dry halibut fillets in paper towels. Place fillets on baking tray few inches apart from each other. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper, drizzle with some olive oil. Top each fillet with a spoonful of the horseradish mix then cover with panko bread crumbs. Bake it in the oven for about 7-8 minutes and voila! You will have a juicy fillet of fish with a nice golden brown crust.

Serve with some sautéed spinach and garlic mash potatoes. Don’t forget to have a glass of red wine too! Always the best with fish 😉

happy holidays from our kitchen to yours

happy holidays from our kitchen to yours

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This recipe is based upon one from Marcella Hazan’s Marcella Cucina. I really love her food. And she sounds like quite a firecracker too. I’ve read somewhere that she’s a big fan of bourbon. Anyone who can cook that well and loves bourbon is alright in my book. I’ve a copy of her autobiography, Amarcord: Marcella Remembers, somewhere around here. I really need to find it soon.

poblano peppers stuffed with Italian eggplant, anchovy and pepitas

poblano peppers stuffed with Italian eggplant, anchovy and pepitas

Her recipe uses yellow or red bell peppers and she makes a big point of having you char and remove the outer membrane. I’ve done that several times, but it is a nightmare. Though I have to agree, it makes the final dish more tender, I don’t think that the effort is worth it. Instead, I’ve steamed my peppers, like I did for the poblanos and reds stuffed with saffron rice.

As to the poblano versus the bell, I remain of the opinion that poblanos simply taste better whereas bells just taste sweet. To each cook his or her own, I suppose. I added pepitas for a bit of crunch and it seems to match the peppers well. I did have two small reds, which I also stuffed. Oddly, these two ended up being leftovers after Hegui and I gorged on the smokier Mexican peppers.

key ingredients for poblano peppers stuffed with Italian eggplant, anchovy and pepitas

key ingredients for poblano peppers stuffed with Italian eggplant, anchovy and pepitas

poblano peppers stuffed with Italian eggplant, anchovy and pepitas

4 to 6 poblano or red bell peppers
1 medium Italian eggplant (about a pound)
salt
2 tbsp pepitas
6 anchovy fillets
2 tbsp Italian parsley
1 tbsp capers
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
¼ tsp oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
1 Roma tomato, peeled and chopped
vegetable oil
black pepper to taste

Cut eggplant into about ½ inch dice. Toss with ample salt in a colander. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Fry in vegetable oil until translucent and soft. Remove from oil to large bowl.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Cut poblano peppers in half and remove seeds and ribs. If using bell peppers, carefully cut tops off and remove seeds and ribs. Steam for ten minutes. Remove from heat and run under cold water to cool.

Toast pepitas in dry pan until slightly browned and popping. Set aside.

Coarsely chop garlic, capers, Italian parsley, and anchovies together. Add to eggplant. Add tomato, oregano, olive oil, pepitas, black pepper, and 2 tbsp panko to eggplant. Fold together.

Using two tablespoons, stuff peppers with filling, about one tbsp each. Place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining panko. Bake 15 to 20 minutes.

Allow peppers to cool to room temperature before serving.



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