Thursday, April 17, 2014

Crispy Red Snapper with Chili Tamarind Sauce

If you are from Cleveland, then you most definitely have been to the West Side Market before.  It is one of my absolute favorite places in this city.  If you are visiting from out of town and want to go somewhere with a rich, local history and amazing food, then get your tush down to the West Side Market.  

The market is filled with tons of unique and local vendors.  Pretty much anything you want, it's there.  Spices. Oils. Meats. Smoked Meats. Cheese. Produce. Crepes. Gyros. Breads. Sweets. Fish. It is truly a gem in this great town.  

We went last weekend and found this gorgeous red snapper at the Classic Seafood booth.  The nice gentlemen at the booth filleted it for me and sent me home with the bones and head to make some stock! Since I had an empty schedule that day, I decided to make something special and this is the end result.   

I realize you are probably looking at this recipe and probably saying, "I don't have time nor do I have half of those ingredients!".  Well, the good thing is that you don't have to make it all if you don't want because each of the separate components are just fine on their own.   The slaw is light, fresh and a perfect side.  The crispy fish can be served with a little squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.  

Take what you wish from this but if you do have the time and resources, it really is a stunning dish!  

You don't have to make fish stock but I had the time and ingredients to do so.  Low-sodium boxed would do just fine.

This slaw is so refreshing and pairs nicely with the crispy fish and rich sauce.

Here are most of the ingredients for the sauce.  It is a mix of sour, spicy, salty and sweet and super delicious.  This Tandoori seasoning is made up of coriander, cumin, sweet paprika, garlic, ginger, cardamom and saffron and can be purchased here. If you don't have coconut sugar, brown sugar or honey would work just fine.  

Chop and grate the ginger, chili, garlic and shallot.

Fish stock is ready.  Strain and cool.

Add the aromatics to the coconut oil.

Then add stock...

And tamarind paste.  This is one of the main ingredients used in Pad Thai and has a sour taste.

This is with all of the ingredients added.  It really thickens up.  Add more stock as needed while cooking on low.

I made a quick little dressing for the slaw.

Be sure to season the fish with salt and pepper.

Batter time!  The rice flour makes for a very light and crispy crust, very similar to tempura.

Dunk the fish in the batter.

Then fry in 375 degree oil. 

I also like to dress the slaw last minute so it stays crisp and not soggy.  

Crispy Red Snapper with Chili Tamarind Sauce

2 carrots
2 ribs of celery
3 cloves garlic
1 onion
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
6 cups water

Throw all ingredients in a pot and simmer over medium heat for 30-45 minutes.  Drain and reserve for later use.

Chili Tamarind Sauce
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch knob ginger, grated
1 Thai chili pepper, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced
3/4 cup fish stock
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or honey or brown sugar)
1 teaspoon Tandoori seasoning (can be purchased here)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons Sriracha

In a shallow sauce pan, melt coconut oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, ginger, chili pepper and shallot and saute for 5 minutes until soft.  Add stock, tamarind paste, coconut sugar, Tandoori, fish sauce and Sriracha.   Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Fish and Batter
1/3 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup water, chilled with ice cubes

2-4 red snapper fillets, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
Cilantro, roughly chopped for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish

Peanut oil for frying

Add enough oil to the pan so it is about 1/2 inch deep.  Preheat until oil reaches 375-400 degrees.

In a small bowl, add rice flour, salt and baking powder.  Whisk to combine.  Slowly add ice cold water and whisk until a thin batter forms.

Season fish with salt and pepper.  Dip each filet in the batter then place in the hot oil. Fry for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel lined sheet pan.  Place fish in 250 degree oven to keep warm.  

When ready to serve, place fish on top of a plate with spoonfuls of tamarind sauce.  Top with cilantro and wedges of lime.

Slaw + Dressing
2 cups savoy cabbage
1/2 cup red pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare vegetables by chopping and slicing them.  Place in a bowl.

For the dressing, add soy sauce, vinegar, honey, sesame oil, onion and garlic powder to a small bowl and whisk together.  Slowly add the olive oil and whisk until emulsified.

Ten minutes prior to serving, toss vegetables with dressing.  Serve as a side for the fish.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Roasted Corn and Jicama Guacamole

Hello my lovelies!  Have you all been having fun playing around with my new layout?  I'm not going to lie... I am absolutely thrilled with the new design!  I finally feel like a real blogger!

We got a taste of spring here in Cleveland this weekend and boy did it feel nice.  The sun was shining and I was able to get out with the dogs a few times for some long walks in the park.  

There is this restaurant here in Cleveland called Momcho and it is amazing.  Basically, they serve Mexican cuisine with a modern twist and the entire menu is inventive and delicious. One of my favorite things to order is a sampler of their different types of guacamole.  I love when a classic dish is shaken up a bit.

And that is what inspired me to make this Roasted Corn and Jicama Guacamole.  My love for avocados is unwavering and I could make a meal on just this.  Well, I also washed this down with a few margaritas.  Sunshine, drinks and guacamole... I am one happy girl!     

Did you know that you can roast corn in the oven?  I discovered this a few months ago and I don't think I will ever go back to the traditional shuck/boil method.  It is so easy because you just throw the whole thing in the oven.  And best part is that you don't get corn silk and husks all over your kitchen!

What the heck is that?  Jicama!  Otherwise know as the Mexican turnip.  The best way to describe the taste is crisp and fresh with a texture similar to an apple or water chestnut.

If you've never worked with one before, you can see it is pretty simple to chop up.  Slice off both ends.

Then run your knife down the side to peel the skin off.

Slice into 1/4 inch slices.

Now you can stack and chop into sticks or cubes.

It's also really good plain.  Toss with some chili powder, salt and lime juice for a healthy snack!

See how easy that husk peels right off?

You don't have to char the corn but I like the way it looks and tastes.  In effort to save time, I just ran my kitchen torch over the kernels a few times.  I love getting my torch out because it makes me feel like a bad-a$$!

Prep all of the veggies.

Then slice the avocados.  To remove the pit, whack it with your knife and twist.  Then I just use a spoon to remove the flesh.

You don't want to mash the other veggies so add those later.  The little bit of sour cream adds a touch of creaminess to the guac.

::quick tip:: 
To keep the guacamole from turning brown, place plastic wrap directly on top of it.  It will keep the air out and prevent the dip from turning that nasty brown color.  Cool, eh?!?!

Roasted Corn and Jicama Guacamole
4 Avocados
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 cup jicama, chopped into small cubes
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon jalapeno, minced

To roast the corn, place ear, husk and all, in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.  Shuck the corn, then either throw on the grill, under to broiler or use a kitchen torch to char the kernels.  Run a knife down the length of the corn to remove the kernels.

Prep vegetables by chopping and mincing the jicama, red onion, cilantro, garlic and jalapeno.

In a large bowl, add the flesh of the avocados, salt, pepper, hot sauce, sour cream and lime juice.  Using a potato masher, mash all of the ingredients until combined but still leaving small chunks of avocado.

Add the jicama, red onion, corn, cilantro, garlic and jalapeno and mix with a spatula until combined.  Serve with corn chips and jicama sticks.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Maple Bourbon Roasted Chicken with Crispy Sage

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!  I have been tremendously excited to share my new layout with you for so long!  This has been in the works for months and with the hard work of Bobbi from Ready to Blog Designs, the day has finally arrived!  She is such a lovely lady and I felt like she really listened to me to develop a page that complimented my vision. A professional through and through and I cannot recommend her enough! She also has a really fun personal blog and you can find that here!  

Some things you will notice, I now have a navigation bar at the top.  By exploring these, you can learn a little more about me, find recipes easier and have a glimpse into my non-food related posts on Life and Local happenings.  

You can also now connect with me though all social media platforms.  Go ahead... I would love for you to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and RSS.  Take a minute to subscribe to my blog so you never miss a post. I promise... no spam!  Hover over a picture and you can pin it directly from this site.  So excited about that. 

Another feature that I am super stoked about is that you can now finally search this blog for recipes.  You want chicken for dinner, then type chicken in the little box to the right and any dish featuring chicken will pop right up in the search results... How cool is that?!?!   We are still working out some kinks but it should be up and functioning shortly! 

 So please, take a few minutes and explore my new site.  Send me your feedback. How do you like it?

Oh... I also made this Maple Bourbon Roasted Chicken with Crispy Sage Leaves and it did not disappoint.  Chopping the chicken up into small chunks makes for the perfect size bites and it also cooks pretty fast if you are crunched for time.  I also suggest not to skip the crispy sage because it really adds a savory flavor to this dish.   

I'm not even a bourbon drinker but this exciting new reveal makes me want to have a drink and celebrate!  So bottoms up and please do stay for a while!  

Cheers and love my friends xoxo

Maple Bourbon Roasted Chicken with Crispy Sage
3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 cup olive oil
12-15 fresh sage leaves

Preheat oven to 415 degrees

Remove chicken from packaging and cut up into bite size cubes.  Season with salt and pepper and then set aside. 

In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, bourbon, olive oil, soy sauce, mustard, garlic, onion powder and paprika.  Pour half of the mixture over seasoned chicken and place in oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.  

While chicken is baking, heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot (almost smoking, but not quite), add about 3 sage leaves at a time and fry for 5-10 seconds while moving them around with a fork.  If oil is too hot, remove from heat for about 30 seconds so the leaves do not burn.  Remove leaves from oil and drain on a paper towel.  Set aside. 

Once chicken has baked for 30 minutes, remove from oven. Turn off heat and turn the broiler on high.  Drain juices from the pan into a small bowl and set aside.  Toss the chicken and brush with remaining marinade. Place back in oven and brown for 3-5 minutes.  Remove one more time, flip the chicken with a spatula, place back in oven and brown the other sides for another 3-5 minutes.

Remove from oven and toss with reserved juices.  Serve chicken with crispy sage leaves.     

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