Garlic & Herbs

By / Food / April 11th, 2014 / 3

spinach, tarragon and feta cheese frittata

serves 4 to 6

Years ago, I frequented a restaurant that made the best chicken salad I had ever eaten. I finally figured out the secret ingredient was fresh tarragon. Not only does it elevate chicken salad to a new level, it enhances many dishes, including this frittata. Tarragon has an assertive flavour that can overwhelm a dish, so always use sparingly. It’s best added towards the end of cooking as it loses its flavour if cooked too long.

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp olive oil

3 scallions, sliced

3 cups chopped fresh spinach

Salt and pepper to taste

12 large eggs

1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

3 tomatoes, sliced and baked until softened, or sliced fresh strawberries

Preheat broiler.

In a large broiler-proof skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter with 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the scallions; sauté until softened. Add the spinach, salt and pepper.

Cook until spinach is wilted. Remove and cool slightly.

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Stir in spinach mixture. Add tarragon.

In same skillet, melt remaining butter with olive oil over low heat. Add egg mixture, top with feta and cook over very low heat about 15 minutes until top is set and the frittata is cooked through.

Place skillet in broiler. Broil until frittata is lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes, watching closely.

Slide frittata onto plate and cut into wedges to serve. Serve with a side of sliced baked tomatoes or sliced fresh strawberries.

I love mimosas with this dish — sparkling wine mixed with orange juice, each goblet garnished with a sliced orange and strawberry “kebab.”

 

halibut with garden-herb crust

serves 4

Any fresh herbs can be used for this dish.

4 cups chopped rustic Italian bread

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1 tsp fresh rosemary

1 tsp fresh oregano

1 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup butter, melted

4 halibut fillets

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

In a food processor, process bread, parsley, basil, rosemary, oregano and sea salt. Place on a plate.

Coat a baking dish with cooking spray.

Dip halibut in melted butter and place in baking dish buttered-side up; pat on bread-crumb mixture.

Drizzle with remaining melted butter. Roast 20 to 25 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Serve with oven-roasted baby red potatoes and a bibb lettuce salad.

Delicious and elegant with a Pouilly-Fuissé.

 

garlicky braised lamb shanks with fresh tomatoes

serves 4

The secret to yummy lamb shanks is to sauté them slowly, browning on all sides. Don’t rush it; have a glass of wine while you’re cooking. This is delicious with buttered orzo.

4 lamb shanks

2 tbsp olive oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1 onion, chopped

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups chicken stock, divided

2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

4 fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 325˚F.

Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In olive oil in a large skillet, slowly sauté lamb shanks over medium heat, browning on all sides until deep golden brown. Transfer to roasting pan.

Add garlic and onion to skillet. Add more olive oil, if needed. Saute until softened. Add wine; cook 3 minutes more or until slightly reduced.

Add garlic-onion mixture to roasting pan. Pour in 1 cup chicken stock, rosemary and tomatoes. Roast, covered, for 2 hours or until lamb is tender. Add remaining chicken stock if needed.

Divide lamb shanks among 4 shallow bowls. Pour sauce over the lamb and garnish with parsley.

A Barolo would be an excellent accompaniment to the lamb and tomatoes.

 

garlic herb pork roast

serves 4 to 6

This is slow Sunday afternoon cooking at its best. The method of pushing a herbal mixture into a pork roast is sublime. Vary the recipe by using whatever herbs you have on hand, but always make sure there is plenty of garlic in the mixture. I can never resist making mashed potatoes with pork roast and serving a starter of steamed artichokes with butter.

1 small head garlic, peeled and broken into cloves

2 tbsp fresh rosemary

2 tsp fennel seeds

Salt and pepper

1 pork loin roast

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 325˚F.

In food processor, process garlic, rosemary, fennel seeds, salt and pepper.

Make several slits in pork loin and insert herb mixture. Rub roast with olive oil; pat on remaining herb mixture. Place the meat in a roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, about 2 1/2 hours or until tender.

To deglaze pan, remove roast and spoon off fat. Place roasting pan on top of stove. Over medium heat, add wine, scraping up browned bits. Simmer until slightly reduced. Slice pork, place on platter and spoon wine sauce over pork.

A fine dry Riesling from Alsace would fit the bill here.

 

mojo mojito

An awesome drink to enjoy after a tough day battling creeping ivy and insidious weeds. Mint will take over the garden if left to its own devices; Mojitos and Mint Juleps are essential to keep things in check. For a Mint Julep, use bourbon instead of rum. To make simple syrup, heat equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan until sugar melts. Cool before using.

1 tsp superfine sugar or simple syrup

Juice of 1/2 lime

3 or 4 fresh mint leaves, preferably spearmint

1 3/4 oz light rum

Sparkling water or club soda

Mint leaves, for garnish

Put the sugar and lime juice in the bottom of a glass. Add the mint leaves and muddle with the handle of a wooden spoon. Add the rum and top up the glass with sparkling water and ice. Garnish with a mint leaf.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Quench Food Editor, Nancy Johnson, minced, sliced, chopped, sautéed and sipped her way through George Brown College’s culinary program with a focus on food writing and wine. Nancy cooks by the code her Italian grandmother taught her: For the best results, always use the freshest, best ingredients. She writes for Ohio-based Wine Buzz Magazine and recently published a short story in Woman’s World Magazine. She is always on a diet.

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