11th October 2007

Delicious Seared Tuna Salad with Chayote Slaw

Tonight we tried out a main dish salad from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless. A bed of romaine is topped with a chayote slaw tossed in a guajillo chile dressing and seared tuna. A lot of different textures and flavors going on with this salad!

Chris says:

I really love this guajillo chile dressing — it’s the same one we used on the heirloom tomato salad, but I used champagne vinegar this time.

Lisa says:

It’s great, I love it. The flavors go really well together. Although when I first saw it I thought I’d be starving later.

Chris says:

Yeah, sorry, it doesn’t conform to our usual volume of food. So are you starving?

Lisa says:

Not STARVING… but I’m just a little hungry.

Chris says:

Dessert time!

Seared Rare Tuna Salad with Chayote Slaw and Guajillo Chile Dressing
3/4 cup olive oil, vegetable oil, or a mix
2 medium dried guajillo or New Mexico chiles
2 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
4 tuna steaks, not less than 3/4 inch thick
2 chayotes
4 cups thickly sliced romaine
chopped cilantro

Pour the oil into a large skillet and set to medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the chiles and the garlic. Turn and stir continually until the insides of the chiles have lightened in color and they are toasty smelling — 30 seconds or so. Remove from the heat.
Transfer the chiles to a blender (leave the oil and garlic in the pan), add the vinegar and a teaspoon of salt. Blend for 30 seconds. When the oil and garlic are cool, add to the blender (set the skillet aside without washing) and puree until smooth. Taste and season with more salt if desired. Pour into a jar and secure the lid.
Return the skillet to medium-high to high heat. Sprinkle both sides of the fish with salt. When the oil-filmed skillet is really hot, lay the tuna in the pan. When brown, no more than 1 minute, flip and sear the other side. Remove the skillet from the heat. Thoroughly shake the dressing, then carefully drizzle on about 3 tablespoons dressing. Turn the tuna in the dressing from time to time as it cools.
Cut the chayotes in half lengthwise and remove the pits. Shred the chayotes through the coarse side of a grater. Scoop into a bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons dressing. Taste and season with salt.
Divide the greens among four plates, forming them into wide nests. Top each with a portion of the chayote slaw. Slice each piece of tuna in half crosswise on a bias and place in the center of the salad. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Serves 4

Considering this is the first time we’ve used chayote, and the recipe includes our favorite herb (cilantro), I’m going to submit this as our entry for the Weekend Herb Blogging Two Year Anniversary!

posted in Main Dishes, Mexican Everyday | 5 Comments

10th October 2007

Gremolata-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Tomato Relish

After spending a long weekend in Santa Fe eating tons of Southwestern and Mexican food, we wanted to have a light dinner that didn’t take a lot of time to prepare. I found this recipe in the Weight Watchers Great Cooking Everyday cookbook. We served it with orzo tossed with lemon juice and parsley.

Lisa says:

Yay! Sushi?!

Chris says:

Looks like it, but nope… stuffed chicken breasts! But I’ll put it on our sushi plate set. This was super simple to make, and looks pretty cool.

Lisa says:

Yeah it looks complicated. I like it. You definitely need the tomatoes, they add a lot of flavor. I think it would be pretty bland without it.

Chris says:

Agreed. I do like that filling, though.

Gremolata-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Tomato Relish
4 large plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
4 1/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

To prepare the relish, combine the tomatoes, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bow; cover and let stand at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 450. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Combine the parsley, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
Place the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of waxed paper, skinned side down. Pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Remove and discard the top sheet of wax paper; spread the chicken with the parsley mixture. Start with the narrower ends and roll each chicken breast around the filling. Remove and discard the rest of the wax paper.
Place the chicken, seam side down, on the baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Slice each breast on the diagonal into four pieces. Serve with the relish.

Serves 4 (Yeah, right. In WW land. Try 2-3)

posted in Main Dishes, Weight Watchers | 3 Comments

4th October 2007

Catfish Creole Stew

Thad and Abbie came over tonight to be a part of Lisa’s first experience with catfish. This recipe comes from Great Bowls of Fire, which we’ve (sadly) been neglecting for a while, but now that we’re into the cooler weather I’m sure that spicy stews and hotpots are going to make a more regular appearance. Abbie and Thad brought over some cornbread to serve with the stew.

Abbie says:

Yuuum! Hey, why didn’t you take a picture of my cornbread?

Thad says:

It was good; I wasn’t paying much attention and then I looked at my bowl and realized I had eaten all my fish.

Chris says:

I haven’t had much catfish since moving from Dallas… I used to love me some fried catfish and hushpuppies… Lisa, what did you think about your first taste of catfish??

Lisa says:

It’s good… catfish tastes…. fishy. I mean, fishier than some other fish. I think I’d have it again.

Catfish Creole Stew
2 tbsp canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (14 oz) stewed tomatoes
1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp bottled red hot sauce
1 1/2 lbs boneless catfish fillets, coarsely chopped
4 cups cooked long-grain white rice

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of the oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the stewed tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, and hot sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil. Stir in the catfish and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until the catfish is cooked in the center and opaque, about 7 minutes. Fold the fish into the sauce and return to a simmer.
Spoon the rice into shallow bowls and ladle the stew over the rice. Serve with corn bread.

4 Servings

posted in Cajun, Great Bowls of Fire, Main Dishes | 2 Comments

2nd October 2007

Tuna Machaca

This is the first recipe we’ve made from The Border Cookbook, which features home cooking from the American Southwest and Northern Mexico. Marinated tuna is quickly seared in a pan with onion, tomatoes, and peppers. We served it with Green Rice, which is quickly becoming our go-to side dish for Southwest dishes.

Chris says:

Wow, this might be one of my favorite dishes. I love recipes like this; simple and yet really flavorful.

Lisa says:

Mmmmmmm… I agree — it’s really good, and unique!

Tuna Machaca
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp dried thyme
1 serrano, minced

1 1/2 lbs fresh tuna steak, cut in 1/2-3/4 inch dice
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1 small onion, minced
1 serrano, minced
2 green onion tops, minced
1 tbsp butter

In a shallow dish, combine the marinade ingredients. Stir in the tuna and let the mixture sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Warm a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Drain the tuna from the marinade. When the skillet is very hot, place the tuna and marinade that still clings to the pieces in the skillet. Immediately add the tomato, onion, serrano, and green onion tops. Fry just 1 or 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Avoid overcooking or the tuna will become dry. It should be seared on the outside with just a hint of pink remaining in the center. Stir in the butter just before removing the machaca from the heat, and serve immediately.

4 servings.

posted in Main Dishes, The Border Cookbook | 2 Comments

2nd October 2007

Cilantro Soup

I’d been looking forward to making this soup for a while but was waiting for an opportunity to have it as a starter. That plan came to fruition tonight. We enjoyed this soup, based on a recipe in Healthy Latin Cooking, as a first course before moving on to our Tuna Machaca.

Lisa says:

Whoa, is this as healthy as it seems? It’s really good, and thicker than it looks.

Chris says:

Yep, it’s really healthy — basically just an entire bunch of cilantro, some peppers and onions, and chicken broth.

Lisa says:

Looks hard to photograph.

Chris says:

Harder than making it, that’s for sure.

Cilantro Soup
1 large poblano pepper
2 bunches fresh cilantro, stemmed
1 medium onion, coarsley chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper
tortilla strips
sour cream
queso fresco

Preheat a broiler to high. Place the chile pepper directly under the broiler. Roast, turning once, for 6 to 8 minutes or until charred and blackened on all sides. Transfer to a paper bag. When cool enough to handle, scrape off as much of the skin as possible. Split the pepper and remove and discard the seeds.
In a food processor, combine the chile pepper, cilantro, onion, and garlic; puree until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan. Pour in the chicken broth and simmer over medium-high heat for 5 to 8 minutes. The soup should be highly seasoned; sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Spoon low-fat sour cream into the center of each bowl. Sprinkle with tortilla strips and queso fresco.

2 Servings

posted in Healthy Latin Cooking | 0 Comments