Smoked Salmon Quiche

This quiche is the delicious result of plans gone wrong.

I had some wasabi sesame chevre in my fridge, along with some smoked salmon, and was going to make a quiche for our Sunday brunch using both of the ingredients (because I’m just all about the eggs this week).  Unfortunately, the chevre must have been in there a little too long, because it smelled, well, a bit more pungent than the combination of goat cheese and wasabi should have when I opened it, so I had to abandon my plans (and, sadly, toss the cheese).  That’s okay, though, because this quiche more than made up for it.

We buy leafy greens every week – kale, chard, collards, mustard or beet greens, all of which are delicious and extremely nutritious.  They’re good on their own or incorporated into other dishes, and since I’ve had success with them in quiche before, decided that I’d capitalize on the smoky flavor of the salmon and sautéd the collards in ghee and the fat from some hickory-smoked jowl bacon.  I was not disappointed; the two went together really well, especially when combined with the nutty flavor of some grass-fed baby Swiss cheese and the sweet mellowness of caramelized onions.

At least, I think it was good.  My memory is a little hazy, since I got one slice before Beloved devoured the rest. 😛

I used coconut milk in this because that’s what I had on hand – since I strictly limit my intake of dairy, I don’t normally have milk or cream on hand.  If you prefer, substitute the coconut milk with 1 1/2 cups half and half.  If you omit the Swiss, this is dairy-free and Whole30 compliant.

Smoked Salmon Quiche

Smoked Salmon Quiche

Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 3 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch collards or other hearty greens, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 cup shredded swiss cheese
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, cut into small pieces
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 ounces)
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously grease a 10″ deep dish pie plate.
  2. Cook the bacon over medium heat in a lar e skillet until brown and crisp; remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
  3. Reduce the heat slightly and add the onions to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and reserve with the bacon.
  4. Add the ghee and collards to the skillet and cook until wilted, about 10 minutes. Return the bacon and onion to the skillet and lightly toss to combine with the greens. Spread the mixture in the bottom of the pie plate, and sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. Scatter the smoked salmon over the top of the cheese.
  5. Whisk the coconut milk, eggs, pepper and nutmeg together in a large mixing bowl until well-blended. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the greens, cheese and salmon in the pie plate.
  6. Place the pie plate in a pan large enough to hold it; carefully pour very hot water around the quiche, until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the dish.
  7. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean and the quiche is beginning to turn golden brown on top. Remove from the water bath and cool for at least 15 minutes; cut into wedges and serve.
  8. Nutrition (per serving): 313 calories, 26g total fat, 169mg cholesterol, 472.9mg sodium, 318mg potassium, 6.5g carbohydrates, 1.8g fiber, 1.2g sugar, 15.2g protein

Pistachio-Crusted Halibut with Blood Orange Sauce

I think I mentioned yesterday that my cooking has been rather uninspired as of late.  We’ve just been so busy lately that I can hardly tell whether I’m coming or going, much less cook something awesome, photograph it, write the recipe and then put it all in a blog post.  This week isn’t going to any different – we have our annual office holiday party to prep for (although I may have a couple of awesome hors d’oeuvres/appetizer recipes for you once that’s done), and we have The G Man this week while his mommy is out of town on a business trip.

Fun times but, coupled with work, leaves very little in the way of time for extracurricular activities.

Fortunately, I have a backlog of unpublished recipes.  Some turned out just kind of “meh” and the rest are going into, yes, the Great Fabled Cookbook.  This recipe is one of the latter.  I’ve decided to post it because 1) it’s delicious B) it’s seasonal and iii) it gives me a reason to come up with another seafood recipe for the book (I have conch in my freezer!).

If you’ve been reading here for any length of time at all, you know that when it comes to fish I’m quite fond of simple preparations served with sauces or salsas.  This is a good one, and fortunately blood oranges have just come into season.

I love blood oranges, which are so named because of their deeply colored, reddish interior.  Gory name aside, this is one of the tastiest members of the orange family, and are considered to be among the finest dessert oranges in the world.

Although they are best eaten fresh, blood oranges do lend themselves well to cooking and, like most citrus fruits, are marvelous with fish and seafood.  Here I’ve paired them with halibut, pistachios and Szechuan peppercorns for a light and quick dish that is slightly exotic and simply outstanding.

A note about Szechuan peppercorns:  Szechuan peppercorns belong to the rue, or citrus, family and are not closely related botanically to black pepper or chili peppers, despite name.  They are not hot or pungent, but instead have slight lemony overtones and create a tingly numbness in the mouth; they are quite interesting in citrus-based sauces or dishes.  The peppercorns are easily found in Asian markets and online, but if you can’t find them, don’t worry – the sauce will still be quite good without them.

You will likely not use all of the blood orange sauce, so the calorie and carb counts of the recipe are somewhat overstated.

Pistachio Crusted Halibut

Pistachio-Crusted Halibut with Blood Orange Sauce

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 halibut filets
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 medium blood oranges, juiced
  • 1 pinch kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon whole Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place the halibut filets in a lightly oiled glass baking dish; sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Press the top of each with the chopped pistachios and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  3. While the fish is baking, bring the blood orange juice to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat slightly and add the salt, honey and peppercorns. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mixture has reduced by half and becomes slightly syrupy. Stir in the butter until melted; remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Pour about 1/4 cup of the blood orange sauce in the bottom of two wide, shallow plates (reserve any remaining sauce for another use). Top with the pistachio crusted fish and serve immediately.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 363 calories, 14.4g total fat, 67.3mg cholesterol, 280.4mg sodium, 959.8mg potassium, 37.1g carbohydrates, 6.9g fiber, 9.8g sugar, 25.1g protein

Fish and Chips

If you couldn’t guess, yesterday was bad for me hormonally.  I managed to stay on track, although – well, you’ll see.

Breakfast – 2 eggs scrambled in ghee.  3 mugs coffee with coconut milk once I got to work.

Lunch – we had some leftover roast chicken, so I made chicken-potato salad with some chopped onion, celery, a small Japanese sweet potato I quickly peeled, cubed and boiled, along with the last of the spicy mayo from the fish the other day.  Oh…and a handful of dried currants I found in the pantry.  Aaaaaand, I had a banana afterwards.

Yeah, that’s the bad news – the raisins are gone, but the currants are there.  A generous handful of those when we got home from work.  *sigh*  At least there is no added sugar or sulfites.  (I’ve shoved the box in the back of the pantry; we’ll see if I can forget it’s there.)

For dinner I thawed a quart jar of Alex’s marvelous Sausage and Red Pepper Tomato Sauce that I had in the freezer.  I reheated it and served it over zucchini noodles – it was really delicious.  Unfortunately, that whole thing I said about being constantly and ravenously hungry?  Yeah, I had two eggs, scrambled in ghee, later that evening.  I’m sorry, it was that or kill the dog and eat him raw.

Speaking of the leftover spicy mayo that went into the chicken potato salad, did I mention how much I loved the fried perch I made for lunch the other day?  I don’t cook a lot of fish; it’s just not my forté.  This dish, though, has me rethinking that – it was just that good.

Freshwater perch is quite popular in northeast Ohio, and is found on the menu of many family-owned restaurants, especially on Friday.  Of course, it’s usually breaded with a combination of all-purpose flour and corn meal, but trust me – the almond and tapioca flour used here is every bit as good; you’d never know it isn’t “the real deal.”  The spicy mayo with the addition of some apple cider vinegar was my substitute for the tartar sauce I love so much, and it was really, really good.

I hadn’t thought much about the potatoes with the lunch beyond it being something nice to serve with the fish, tomato and watermelon, but when I sat it in front of Beloved, he said, “Oh!  Fish and Chips – cool!”

So there you go.

Note:  if you don’t have, or don’t want to use, lard to fry the fish, Spectrum Organics non-hydrogenated palm oil shortening is excellent for frying.  Also, I used a Japanese sweet for this – they are have less moisture than common, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes and are excellent for pan-roasting.  But if you can’t find them, regular sweet potatoes will be fine.

Fish and Chips
Fish and Chips
Fish and Chips
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Fish
  • 4 freshwater perch filets
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 cup lard or other fat suitable for frying
  • Hot Chili Mayo
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce, such as sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Chips
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or other cooking fat
Instructions
  1. Bring a quart of salted water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the potatoes and parboil for 3 minutes; drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Melt the ghee in a medium sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat; pan-roast the potatoes, stirring frequently, until cooked through and golden brown, about 7 or 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep warm.
  3. Whisk the mayonnaise, hot chili sauce and apple cider vinegar together in a small bowl; set aside.
  4. In a deep, heavy skillet heat the lard to 350 F.
  5. Whisk the egg and water together in a bowl large enough to hold the fish; in a wide, shallow dish, stir together the almond and tapioca flours, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne.
  6. Dip the fish in the egg wash, then dredge it in the flour mixture until well-coated, shaking off any excess. Fry in the lard until the fish is cooked through and the outside is brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Drain briefly on paper towels.
  7. Divide the fish and potatoes between 4 plates; drizzle the fish with the spicy mayo and serve immediately.
  8. Nutrition (per serving): 471 calories, 39.1g total fat, 143.3mg cholesterol, 813mg sodium, 337.6mg potassium, 14.1g carbohydrates, 1.9g fiber, 1.9g sugar, 14.1g protein

 

 

Wasabi Cheesecake With Maguro

I was going to do a Random Tuesday Thoughts post, but the only random thing I could come up with was this:

Darling Daughter is teaching herself to play the ukulele.  If you knew Darling Daughter, you’d know how entirely appropriate that is, which is why I bought her the instrument when she expressed an interest in it.  The only question left to ask is how long it will take her to learn to play Black Dog.

You laugh.

Anyhoo, the first “outdoor” farmer’s market of the season was last Saturday and while Jeanie, The Fabulous Goat Cheese Lady was not there (her son got married last weekend), a friend was kind enough to come to the market in her place.  There is always a lovely variety of cheeses there to sample and that was really my only plan – until I saw the new flavor.

Wasabi Sesame Chevre.

I let out a squeal that could shatter glass and immediately bought two 4-ounce rolls of it.  It has the perfect balance of wasabi heat and just a touch of sesame flavor, all in Mackenzie Farms award winning cheese.  After our purchase, Beloved asked, “What are you going to do with it?”

“Make a cheesecake, of course!” I replied.  ‘Cause who wouldn’t want a savory wasabi cheesecake topped with maguro sashimi?  Well, besides The Young One, who would rather eat barbecue chicken.

A couple of notes – while this is a very simple dish to assemble, it’s very rich so I’d serve it as an appetizer or perhaps as part of a buffet.  It’s taken me and Beloved several days to go through half the cake, and it’s really not very big (but it is oh, so delicious).  My cheesecake also came out a vivid yellow, because of the pastured eggs – the yolks of those babies are a deep, deep orange this time of year.  If you use conventional eggs, I’m sure the results will be a little lighter.

Of course, I know not everyone has access to wasabi sesame goat cheese, so I approximated what seemed to be good amounts of wasabi powder and sesame oil for the recipe – if you make it, please let me know if either should be adjusted.  The crust is just the nuts and coconut; I was going to add some melted ghee to it, but macadamia nuts are so high in fat that it seemed unnecessary.  The crust is still a bit crumbly, so take care when serving if you’re going for presentation.  I’d also added about half a teaspoon of salt to the crust, but between the saltiness of the cheese and the saltiness of the tamari I served with it, it just seemed a tad too much, so I left it out of the recipe.  Feel free to add it back if you like.

Maguro is simply the Japanese name for a type of tuna sashimi – usually Ahi, which is a species of bluefin tuna.

Wasabi Cheesecake with Maguro
Wasabi Cheesecake with Maguro
Wasabi Cheesecake With Maguro
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces chevre or other soft goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons wasabi powder, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, roasted
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 8 ounces raw sashimi-grade tuna
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Process the macadamia nuts in a food processor until very finely ground, almost a nut butter; scrape into a medium-size mixing bowl. Add the unsweetened coconut to the food processor and pulse several times, until it is very fine. Add the ground coconut to the bowl with the ground mac nuts and mix with your hands until very well combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and halfway up the sides of an 8″ pie plate. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the goat cheese, wasabi powder and sesame oil on high speed until smooth. Reduce the speed to medium and beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing on medium until the mixture is smooth and lump-free.
  4. Pour the cheese mixture into the macadamia crust and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  5. With a sharp knife, slice the tuna as thinly as possible. Cut the cheesecake into 12 wedges and carefully plate. Top each wedge with 2 or 3 slices of the raw tuna; serve with fish roe, gluten-free tamari or soy sauce and additional wasabi, if desired.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 237 calories, 20.7g total fat, 46.9mg cholesterol, 92.8mg sodium, 157.9mg potassium, 4g carbohydrates, 2.5g fiber, 1.4g sugar, 10.5g protein

Baked Haddock with Uglimole

Yesterday was the last day of the Paleo Iron Chef competition, but we’ve been given a couple of days to finish submitting recipes and vote, which I’m extremely grateful for since we were so incredibly busy this last week and weekend.  The not-so-secret ingredient is Halibut/Haddock/Tilapia.

I chose haddock for this last recipe.  Halibut is terribly over-fished, especially in the Atlantic, and virtually all tilapia for sale in this country is farmed.  In our home, the same rules apply to farmed fish as they do beef, bison, pork, chicken and eggs:  unless we can be certain the fish were raised in good conditions with their well-being being a top-priority (fish farming can be every bit as nasty as beef or chicken farming), we don’t eat it.  All of the seafood we eat is either sustainably farmed or wild caught.

So, haddock it was.  I don’t remember eating haddock before, although I’m sure I have at restaurants, and I certainly have never cooked it.  It’s a nice, firm, white-fleshed fish with a mild flavor much like that of cod (appropriate, since the two are related species).  Since I was cooking this for our lunch on a workday, I decided it was best to keep the preparation simple so I merely seasoned and baked it, before topping it with a homemade guacamole that included some supremed, diced Ugli Fruit.

Ugli fruit is a variety of tangelo grown exclusively in Jamaica.  It gets its name from it’s lumpy shape and mottled green/yellow color (if it’s not a mottled  green/yellow color, it’s not ripe yet).  We picked one up on a whim a few weeks ago and were surprised at how much we liked it – it tastes like the love-child of a grapefruit and a pineapple.  I thought it might give the guacamole an interesting flavor and texture, and I was right.  It was very, very good.

My friend, Mrs. Dash, makes another appearance in this recipe; this time it is the Fiesta Lime flavor, which complimented both the fish and the guacamole very well.

The membranes surrounding the segments of the Ugli Fruit are pretty thick, so it really should be supremed for this recipe; you can see how to supreme any citrus fruit here.

Baked Haddock with Uglimole
Baked Haddock with Uglimole
Baked Haddock with Uglimole
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 5 large haddock filets
  • kosher or sea salt
  • Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime Seasoning Blend
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Uglimole
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1 medium Ugli Fruit, supremed and chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1 medium jalapeno chili, stemmed, seeded (if desired) and minced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 medium ripe avocados
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and brush with the olive oil.
  2. Pat the haddock filets dry; rub each side with salt and the Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning blend. Place the filets on the oiled baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  3. While the fish is baking, assemble the Uglimole. Combine the tomato, Ugli Fruit, onion, jalapeno and lime juice in a medium mixing bowl. Halve the avocados; remove the seeds and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Add the avocado to the mixture in the bowl, mashing with a fork, until well-blended; stir in the cilantro. Taste, season as needed with salt and pepper and cover the surface with plastic wrap until ready to use.
  4. Place each haddock filet on a plate, and top with 1/5 of the Uglimole. Serve immediately.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 293 calories, 16.8g total fat, 73.5mg cholesterol, 297.5mg sodium, 805.4mg potassium, 13g carbohydrates, 6.1g fiber, 4.2g sugar, 24.3g protein.