Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ina Garten's Mustard-Roasted Fish


Source: Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients by Ina Garten (New York: Clarkson/Potter, 2008), p. 136.

As I've mentioned before, this is one of my absolute favorite cookbooks (received last Christmas as a gift from my wonderful aunt). I had hesitated with this one because I tend to find cream sauces and the like too rich for my palate (and my digestive system). However, Ina Garten has yet to fail me, and since I ate rather conservatively for Thanksgiving, I figured--why not?

Well, the trick here folks is the crème fraîche. Don't get me wrong--low-calorie this dish is not. But the crème fraîche balances the mustard flavor perfectly so that it doesn't overwhelm the fish (she suggested snapper, I used tilapia) and it is much lighter than using traditional heavy cream or whipping cream. The fish almost poaches in the sauce, rather than roasts, so if you are looking for a crispy fish recipe, this is not it. The fish was, however, delightfully flaky and full of flavor of its own (not just mustard), and best of all--10 minutes to prep and cook (sans side dishes, of course). This is definitely a favorite recipe!

5 stars/5!
No modifications.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

More October 2009 Real Simple Recipes

I've been enjoying the "A Month of Easy Dinners" issue of Real Simple (October 2009). I hope to try all of them, but some of them may have to wait until next Fall. This week, however, I managed to make the "Ravioli with Apples and Walnuts" and "Meatballs with Sautéed chard".
Modifications: I added some andouille chicken sausage we had in the fridge.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Notes: very good in concept and I liked the apples with the spicy sausage. I did find the dish to be too dry, however, and think I will toss it all in some truffle oil next time. Nice balance of flavors.
Modifications: none (served with whole-wheat couscous instead of suggested baguette)
Rating: 4/5 stars
Notes: really loved these meatballs--would make easy appetizers for a party, too. The combination of pine nuts, currants, cinnamon and pork gave them a Mediterranean taste and the moisture from the chard kept them from being too dry. Could be whipped up ahead of time and then broiled prior to serving.