When it comes to making dinner, do you usually have a plan in place for the week ahead, with meals decided upon and shopping complete for the whole week?
Or…do you shop for a few days at a time, deciding as you go?
Or.. do you cook on the fly with no planning involved and wing it with whatever you have in the house?
I guess I kind of fall somewhere in the middle. I try and plan out a good part of the week, and shop a few days at a time for items I need. That way I have the freedom to change my mind if I am craving something different than what is planned (which happens a lot), or for times like this occasion when I arrived at the market to find some beautiful fresh halibut looking out at me from behind the seafood case.
I really like the contrasting textures and flavors in this dish: crunchy/creamy/salty/sweet all rolled into one. If you have never tried adding saffron to mashed potatoes, now is your chance. We are after all, in mashed potato season, right? I have also included a few tips for getting your mashed potatoes just right; just in time for Thanksgiving!
Panko Crused Halibut
4 (4 ounce) halibut fillets, skin removed
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoon minced chives
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Season both sides of fish with salt and pepper. Dredge both sides of fish in flour, then dip in milk , followed by panko crumbs.
Heat oil to shimmering over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Add halibut fillet and cook until panko browns lightly. Turn fillets over, reduce heat to medium and cook until fish is just becoming flaky, approximately 7 minutes.
For gremolata: Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl
Saffron Mashed Potatoes
1 1/3 pounds (4 medium) Yukon Gold potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut into uniform 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons warm butter
Pinch of saffron threads
1/2 to 2/3 cup hot milk, half & half, or cream
In large saucepan, Add potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and just enough cold water until potatoes are covered; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
While potatoes are cooking, either in another saucepan or microwave, heat butter. Also heat hot milk or cream to a simmer (do not boil) separately from the butter in another saucepan or microwave. NOTE: Do not add cold butter or cold milk/cream to when making mashed potatoes.
When the potatoes are cooked, remove from heat and immediately drain potatoes thoroughly in a colander. Return to saucepan; heat over medium-low heat approximately 1 to 2 minutes to dry potatoes, stirring occasionally.
In the same saucepan that the potatoes have been heated in, mash potatoes with a potato masher, potato ricer, or beat with electric hand mixer until chunky. Stir in warm butter, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, saffron threads, and 1/2 cup of the hot milk. Add additional milk, a little at a time, if necessary, for desired consistency
Season to taste with additional salt, if desired.
A few mashed potato tips:
* Do not cut the potatoes into smaller chunks as too much water will be absorbed by the potatoes. After cutting the potatoes, immediately place in cold water to prevent discoloration of the potatoes.
*Gluey or gooey mashed potatoes are caused by vigorous over mashing, as anyone who has tried to make the side dish in a food processor can attest. When potatoes are boiled, their starch granules swell. If those granules are broken too vigorously, the cells release copious quantities of starch, resulting in a potatoes with the consistency of wallpaper paste.
* Boiled potatoes left in water will start to jellify and may even increase in volume, becoming swollen and watery. That is why it is important to let the potatoes drain for a couple of minutes in a colander immediately after they are cooked.
Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto
3 lbs. fresh Brussels sprouts
5 slices of Prosciutto
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 small shallots, chopped finely
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Trim stems and remove outer leaves from Brussels sprouts; wash, then cut larger sprouts in half. In a covered pot, boil Brussels sprouts with enough water to cover until tender. Approximately 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, cook prosciutto in hot oil over medium heat; once crispy, remove. Use same pan and oil to cook shallots, garlic and butter. Allow to soften, then add sprouts, salt and pepper.
Cook for approximately 8 minutes or until browned. Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with prosciutto.