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Whole Grilled Golden Trout and Grilled Corn

31 Jul

This whole grilled golden trout stuffed with lemon, dill, and garlic served alongside an ear of grilled Ohio sweet corn is tasty summer simplicity at its finest.  The golden trout is lightly perfumed with the citrus of the lemon and flavors of dill and garlic with crispy, lightly charred skin and tender, flaky flesh.  The natural sweetness of the corn is coaxed to a new level from the caramelization on the grill, making this some of the best corn I’ve ever eaten.  The husks prevent the kernels from burning, while allowing the smokey charcoal flavors of the grill to make their mark.

I cooked the corn on the grill first before cooking the fish because our grill is tiny and it acted as a great appetizer.  If you have a big grill, then there’s no need to do that.

Whole Grilled Golden Trout and Grilled Corn

Whole Grilled Golden Trout:

1 whole golden trout, weighing approximately 1 lb.

1 lemon, cut into half moon shapes

1/4-1/2 cup dill fronds

3-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Non-stick cooking spray

1 lemon, for serving

Make sure all cavities in the fish are empty and trim off all fins using a pair of kitchen scissors.  Cut three deep slashes in each side of the fish, to but not through the bone.

Rub fish inside and out with olive oil.  Season the inside of the cavity of the fish, the slits cut into the fish, and both sides of the fish liberally with salt and pepper.

Squeeze a tablespoon or so of lemon juice into the cavity of the fish.  Stuff the cavity of the fish with most of the lemon wedges, dill, and most of the chopped garlic.  Stuff remaining chopped garlic into each of slits cut into the fish.  Place a few slices of lemon both under and on top of the fish.

Let marinate, refrigerated, for about an hour (not necessary but I believe helpful).

Preheat your grill to medium-hot.  Make sure your grill grate is clean and very hot.  Spray the grill with non-stick cooking spray.

Add fish, removing any lemon wedges stuck to the bottom and placing on top.  Let cook, without touching for 5-8 minutes.  Using a spatula and tongs, carefully un-stick the fish from the grate of the grill.  Let cook another 3-4 minutes, for a total of 8-12 minutes.  Remove the lemon wedges from the top of the fish.

Carefully flip the fish.  Replace the lemon slices and cook another 5-8 minutes before carefully un-sticking from the grate of the grill.  Cook another 3-4 minutes.

When cooked through, the flesh of the fish should be opaque and semi-firm to the touch.  The skin of the fish will be darkened and even charred in some areas, and the internal temperature should reach 140º.

Carefully remove to a serving dish and serve immediately with another lemon for squeezing.

Grilled Corn:

2 ears corn

2-3 tbs. olive oil

Butter, to taste

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Take corn and pull back outer green husks without removing them.  Remove the silk of the corn and discard.

Brush the kernels of the corn with olive oil and season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Reposition the husks back over the kernels.

Place corn on grill heated to medium heat.  Grill approximately 20 minutes, turning as necessary to keep from charring, covered.  When cooked through, the corn will flex in your hands without breaking (be sure to wear oven mitts), the husks will be darkened and charred in places, and the kernels will slightly darker in color and tender.

Miso Glazed Beets

25 Jul

For the past few weeks, it has been almost unbearably hot in Cleveland.  And everywhere else.  Living within miles of a Great Lake does not help – the humidity can be a little brutal.  Plus, we only have a window unit in our living room to cool the entire place, which is, as you may have guessed, highly ineffective.

So when we got beets in our CSA, I knew my beloved preparation of oven roasting the beets was out.  But pan-roasting was definitely in, especially since I had recently received some insanely beautiful copper cookware from my Grandma Pat as a gift at my wedding shower.  One of the pieces is a beautiful, deep sauté pan with a tight fitting lid that has already proved its worth beyond measure as far as evenly distributing a wide range of heats to any and all vegetables.  I had mentioned months and months and months ago that I wanted some copper cookware because I had heard about the quality and my amazing grandmother remembered and so now, as a soon-to-be married couple, Zak and I will have these beautiful pots and pans for years and years to come.  I have my wonderful grandmother to thank for that – and for these really yummy beets.

While Zak thought these were overly sweet, I thought the dish was tasty and well-balanced.  The sweetness of the beets and onion was a nice foil to the salty miso and acidic white wine.  The earthiness of the mushrooms and the beets is also quite pronounced, making this a really flavorful and delicious vegetable side dish.  It also reheats well as leftovers in the microwave, which is a big bonus for me since I pack leftovers for lunch most weekdays.

Miso Glazed Beets

3 beets, peeled

2 cups sweet onion (such as knob or Vidalia), sliced into 1/4″ slices

1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped

2 tbs. butter

3-4 tbs. olive oil

3-4 cloves roasted garlic

1 1/2 tbs. white miso paste

2-3 cups white wine, such as chardonnay

Parmesan, if desired, for serving

In a deep sauté pan with tight fitting lid, heat butter olive oil over medium heat until butter is melted.  Add roasted garlic and whisk until mostly incorporated into the oil.  Add miso paste and whisk until mostly incorporated into the oil.  Add beets, onions, and mushrooms.

Sauté vegetables 3-4 minutes, stirring often to coat with olive oil and miso.  Add 1/2 cup of white wine and cover.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 10-15 minutes.  Remove cover and sauté 3-4 minutes until all of wine is evaporated.  Repeat process 3-4 times until beets are cooked through but retain a bit of bite to them, for a total of about thirty five to forty five minutes.  Be sure to monitor the temperature, lowering if necessary.  Remove cover and cook, stirring frequently, until all wine is absorbed.  Serve immediately with starch of choice (we used pearled barley).  Top with a few shakes of Parmesan, if desired.

Barley and Roasted Zucchini in Lemon Caper Butter Sauce

17 Jul

Pearl barley is a seriously underrated grain.  It’s got a great toothsome texture, absorbs flavors beautifully, and is filling.  It also has loads of dietary fiber, as well as iron and niacin.  Mostly, though, it’s just wholesome and delicious.  This is a very simple grain-based side dish, pumped up with slightly sweet oven-roasted, caramelized zucchini, creamy butter and olive oil, salty caper, and bright and fresh lemon rounded out with some slightly nutty, slightly cheesy Parmesan.  Yum.

Though the pearl barley does take awhile to cook, it’s totally hands off and the active time for this dish clocks in at around 15 minutes, max.  Despite it’s ease, however, it’s really delicious.  And, as a bonus, makes for awesome leftovers because barley reheats particularly well.

Barley and Roasted Zucchini in Lemon Caper Butter Sauce


1 cup pearl barley

6 cups water

1 bay leave

Bring water and bay leaf to a boil over high heat.  Add barley and reduce heat to medium in order to maintain a steady simmer.  Simmer barley for 45 minutes until tender and most of water is absorbed.  Set aside.

Roasted Zucchini:

1 medium zucchini, cut into 3/4″ cubes (about 3 cups)

3-4 tbs. olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°.

 On a tinfoil-lined baking sheet, toss zucchini with olive oil, salt, and pepper until coated.

Transfer to oven and bake 25-30 minutes, tossing a few times to ensure even cooking, until edges are golden brown and zucchini is tender.  Set aside.

Barley and Roasted Zucchini in Lemon Caper Butter Sauce:

Barley, from above

Roasted Zucchini, from above

2 tbs. butter

2 tbs. olive oil

1 lemon, juiced and zested

1 tbs. capers

3-4 tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and butter over medium-low heat until butter is melted.  Whisk in lemon juice and capers.  Add barley and zucchini and toss to coat with sauce.  Add a tbs. or two of the cheese and stir to combine.  Cook, stirring frequently, until barley and zucchini are heated through.  Serve immediately topped with remaining cheese.

Mushroom Barley Risotto

11 Jul

On the Fourth of July, we attended a lamb roast/pot luck at the dock slip of a family friend.  While the lamb was absolutely killer and a very special treat because it’s not something I get to eat very often, one of my favorite bites of the day was a mushroom and barley dish.  I didn’t find the awesome cook who whipped it up to ask for the recipe, but both Zak and I thought it had some risotto-like characteristics, so I decided to make a knock off the very next day (yes, it really was that damn good).

While this version wasn’t really a replica of what we had previously eaten, it was delicious in its own right.  This could also very easily be made vegetarian by using a darker vegetable stock, but I love the unctuousness of a true meat-based bone broth.  The mushroom flavor permeated the barley in a really special way due to cooking it risotto-style, and the mushrooms added a hearty meatiness that made this dish filling enough to act as a main course.  Zak commented that the flavors here would also make a great soup, which was totally true – next time, I plan to add a few cups of stock to the recipe and then simply serve it without reducing the last batch added to make for a hearty mushroom and barley soup.

Mushroom Barley Risotto

Adapted from Epicurious

4 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock

1 cup pearl barley

1 1/2 tbs. butter, divided

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 tbs. olive oil

1 lb. mushrooms, sliced (portobello and crimini)

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup red wine, such as pinot noir

Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium, cover, and maintain a simmer.

Melt 1 tbs. butter in a large sauté pan.  Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5-6 minutes.  Add barley, thyme, bay leaf and 2 cups stock; bring mixture to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until most of stock is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 6-8.  Add remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time, allowing stock to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until barley is tender, about 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in another large nonstick skillet over high heat.  Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté until beginning to brown, about 3-5 minutes.  Raise heat to medium high and deglaze the pan with red wine.  Add 1/2 tbs. butter and stir to combine.  Let wine reduce by 2/3.  Transfer to barley mixture directly after adding last half cup of stock.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spoon risotto into bowls and serve immediately.

One Pan Green Chile and Onion Cheesy Rice with Pinot Szechuan Sauce

3 Jul

I was in the mood for a hearty dish with a lot of flavor, but I was emphatically not in the mood to do a whole lot of dishes.  So I conceptualized a baked cheesy rice and beans dish that could be made in one pan.  The key here, of course, is to use an oven proof pan, preferably cast iron because it will create a nice crust along the sides and bottom of the rice.  This dish has a dirty rice kind of feel to it, but the flavors are really unique thanks to The Czar’s Pinot Szechuan sauce and the green chilies.  Every bite has a nice mix of flavors and textures, from slight heat of the green chiles and pinot szechuan sauce to the cool plain Greek yogurt, the creamy beans and cheese and crunchy rice … it makes this dish interesting and addictive.

It also heats up super well as leftovers and drew several comments about how great it smelled in the kitchen at work.  It also works really well as either a side dish or a main course, and can be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable stock for chicken stock.

One Pan Green Chile and Onion Cheesy Rice with Pinot Szechuan Sauce

2-3 tbs. olive oil

1 cup jasmine rice

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

1 7 oz. can roasted green chilies, roughly chopped

1/3 cup Pinot Szechuan Sauce

2 cups homemade chicken stock

1 cup taco flavored shredded cheese

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, for serving, optional

Paprika, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 375º.

Heat olive oil in a 10″ cast iron pan set over medium heat. Add rice and cook, stirring, until rice turns opaque. Add onions and cook until fragrant, roughly 1 minute. Add onion and cook until transparent, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes.  Add green chilies and stir to combine.  Slowly whisk in stock and bring to a boil over high heat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat.  There should be about 1/4 cup liquid remaining in the pan at this point.  Add the beans and cheese and toss to combine.

Place in oven and bake uncovered for 20 minutes until rice is tender.  Serve immediately topped with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt and some paprika.

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