Bombs in Iraq, bombs in Pakistan, terrorism threats, the rise of anti-Semitism, banning of head scarves in French schools, gay marriage and a bad white truffle harvest. It’s clear we’re headed for some sort of disaster… or, to paraphrase the Ghostbusters team:
Real wrath of God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling. Forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes. The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats, living together. Mass hysteria!
Now I know this stuff is important. But my cholesterol is up and I put on a few pounds. I’m supposed to go on vacation and lay around a pool with some friends in a few weeks. While that may not sound like a disaster of Biblical proportions, it certainly borders on Rubenesque proportions.
I have to admit, that occupies more of my concern than any of the above, except perhaps the white truffle harvest. I don’t want to start taking Lipitor, that would just seem like license to go out and eat badly. I didn’t put on enough weight to “go on a diet”.
It’s more like I actually have to make use of my gym membership and eat more carefully.
Top that off with some of my readers actually demanding that I provide vegetarian and fish recipes! I was all ready to share some sort of spring lamb extravaganza and then the weight of the world is dumped on my shoulders. Well, if Atlas can shrug, so can I. Have some fun with these dishes:
Pan Seared Salmon in Shallot Sauce
4 6-8 ounce salmon fillets, 1″ thick
2 dozen small shallots, peeled and quartered
1 stick unsalted butter or margarine
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon almond or hazelnut oil
2 branches of fresh rosemary
butter or olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Start the lentils cooking according to package directions (plan on 20 minutes cooking time). Melt the butter with the nut oil, salt and sugar. Add the shallots, rosemary, salt and pepper, toss to coat. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until shallots are soft and caramelized (plan on 15 minutes). Lightly coat the salmon fillets with salt and garlic powder. Sear in olive oil until lightly browned on both sides. Cook until medium rare-medium. Drain lentils, toss with butter, salt and pepper to taste. Put into individual serving bowls, top with salmon fillets and portion the sauce over each fillet.
Okay, there’s butter in this recipe. Deal with it… (actually, I’ve found this great “butter-flavored” olive oil spread from Fleishmann’s that I’ve been using as a substitute).
Farfalle with Peas & Radishes
1 pound package of dry farfalle (bowtie pasta)
8 ounces fresh green peas
8 ounces french breakfast radishes with greens
1 tablespoon chopped mint
salt & black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Follow package directions for cooking farfalle to “al dente” texture. Simmer peas in water with one tablespoon of the butter until tender. Drain. Thinly slice the radishes, salt lightly and cook slowly in the other tablespoon of butter. Rinse the green thoroughly and roughly chop. Quickly saute in the olive oil. Add peas and radishes and season to taste. Add drained pasta to vegetables. Toss with the mint, adjust seasoning and add additional olive oil if needed to coat pasta.
I started writing food & wine columns for the Outlet Radio Network, an online radio station in December 2003. They went out of business in June 2005.