Seared Scallops with Braised Cauliflower

9 09 2014

Top braised cauliflower with quick seared mini scallops for a fast and healthy weeknight meal. Loaded with flavor and super easy to make!

Seared Scallops with Braised Cauliflower

The following serves 3 (compliments of Lidia Bastianich and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 5 large Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1-2 Tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 12 oz frozen mini scallops, thawed and patted dry
  • Ground black pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat 3 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add 4 cloves of minced garlic, and let it sizzle for a minute or two, stirring. Toss the cauliflower and stir to coat with the oil. Deglaze with a splash of dry white wine.

Add the olives, oregano, salt and red pepper flakes and stir. Next add the tomatoes and their juices, along with the capers. Bring the cauliflower/sauce to a rapid simmer. Cover, and cook 10 minutes. Uncover, and simmer until the cauliflower is tender and the sauce has thickened, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Right before you’re ready to serve, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil in a medium-large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add dry scallops and sear for 4-5 minutes, constantly tossing the scallops in the garlic oil. Remove from heat and season lightly with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve immediately.

Garnish cauliflower with a good handful of chopped parsley. To serve, dish out the cauliflower, top with a little parmesan cheese and finish with scallops and some of the garlic oil they were cooked in.

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Warm Barley and Spinach Caprese

7 04 2014

Caprese is a classic Italian salad of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, dressed with olive oil. I took this simple starter up a notch, turning it into an easy, meatless main or side dish made with healthy barley.

Warm Barley Caprese

Warm Barley and Spinach Caprese

The following serves 2 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 3/4 cup uncooked pearled barley
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 heaping Tbsp minced garlic
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • Couple handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat Italian cheese blend or mozzarella, shredded
  • Grated parmesan
  • Fresh basil
  • Balsamic vinegar

Rinse barley thoroughly with water, drain. Cook according to package directions. Mine called for cooking the dried, rinsed barley in a large pot of water for 35-45 minutes. Then drain and return to the pot, much like pasta.

After the barley is cooked, make the sauce. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering and add the garlic. Cook garlic a few minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and the tomatoes. Cook tomatoes 5 minutes, stirring often. Season with salt to taste. Next, wilt in the spinach over low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked barley and stir well to combine.

At this point you could enjoy the dish as is if you wanted, garnished with parmesan and basil. Or you could mix in a little shredded Italian cheese blend and some basil, then transfer to a small casserole dish sprayed with nonstick spray. Top with a little parmesean and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Dish out the barley, top with more basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar just before serving.





Orange-Salted Cod With Cherry Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

6 04 2014

This deliciously simple Italian fish supper is from one of my fav cookbooks, Piatto Unico, meaning a complete meal. Showcasing one-course Italian meals is what this cookbook is all about. I only changed the recipe slightly, the biggest addition being my orange salt, which brightened the fish. Serve with some crusty bread to mop up the yummy broth!

Orange-Salted Cod With Cherry Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

Orange-Salted Cod With Cherry Tomatoes, Olives and Capers

The following makes 2 servings (adapted from Piatto Unico Cookbook):

  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium-thick skinless white fish filets, I used cod
  • Orange salt (combine a good amount of orange zest, a little kosher salt, dried rosemary and red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1-4 to 1/2 cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 400.

Place the capers in a small bowl and cover with water; soak for 5 minutes, then drain.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the bottom of a casserole dish and smear it around with your hands.

Season both sides of the fish with a little orange salt (be careful not to over salt). Place seasoned fish in the oiled casserole dish.

Combine the tomatoes, olives, drained capers, garlic, half the parsley and wine in a bowl. Pour over and around the fish. Top everything with a Tbsp of oil.

Cover with foil and bake until fish filets are just done, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness.

Dish out fish, tomatoes, olives and broth into shallow soup bowls or plates, and top with the rest of the parsley.

Serve with crusty bread for mopping up the broth, and roasted asparagus or a salad of mixed greens on the side if desired.





Grilled Salmon With Pesto Over Zucchini, Corn, Spinach and Tomatoes

2 09 2013

This is such a tasty and fresh summertime meal, kids! With several layers of flavor and texture, you’ll think you spent way more time on this dinner than you actual did…this is a must try 🙂

Grilled Salmon With Zucchini, Corn, Spinach and Tomatoes

Grilled Salmon With Pesto Over Zucchini, Corn, Spinach and Tomatoes

The following serves 2 with leftovers (compliments of Rachel Ray and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 2 salmon filets, skin or skinless
  • 1 bag of frozen corn
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Handful of scallions, chopped
  • 1 small bag of spinach and arugula, separate the spinach and arugula
  • 2 Tbsp butter (or I can’t believe it’s not butter spread)
  • Dry, white wine
  • Good handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh herbs such as basil and mint, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pesto

Preheat grill to medium.

Season salmon with salt and pepper. Grill until done to your likeness, turning once half-way through. Remove from grill and let rest a minute or two.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the corn and lightly brown, 3-5 minutes. Add the zucchini, scallions, red pepper flakes and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook to soften, 3-4 minutes. Deglaze the pan with some dry, white wine – a good turn of the pan. Be sure to scrape up any brown bits that may have formed on the bottom of the pan. Add spinach and wilt, a few minutes. Next, add the butter and stir to melt, creating a creamy sauce. Remove from the heat and toss with tomatoes and herbs.

In another bowl, toss the arugula with some olive oil, fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Do not overdress.

To serve: Divide zucchini-corn mixture among plates. Top with a piece of salmon, then top salmon with some pesto (I had just made pesto from all the basil in my garden, but you can use store-bought as well). Next, divide dressed arugula to top each salmon piece.