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Posts Tagged ‘Fish’

When shopping for produce the other day, we were distracted by the most stunning poblano peppers we’ve ever seen.  Though neither of us had ever cooked with poblanos, we had to buy them — surely we could figure out something to do with these lustrous and deep green vegetables. Turns out, poblanos are wonderfully easy!

Unlike green bell peppers, which have a fresh, clean, sweet flavor, poblanos are more interesting, slightly earthy and savory, with a slight amount of heat (though this can vary pepper to pepper).  Roasting produces a milder, smokier, and more complex pepper.

We chose a simple approach: stuff with (dressed up) rice, roast covered in foil, finish with a quick broil (why not, right?).  You can be very flexible with your stuffing.  We sauteed onion and garlic, added some chile for spice, and mixed in pre-cooked rice with some grated cheese.  For two poblanos we used half an onion, a few cloves of garlic, half of a small, seeded habanero (we’re a bit gun-shy at the moment due to a recent habanero-ed slaw!), and about a quarter cup of grated cheddar.  Other vegetables, grains, maybe even nuts or meat (chicken, fish, or ground beef) would work nicely as well; why not experiment with a handful of ingredients already in your fridge or pantry?

To stuff the poblanos, cut lengthwise and half-way through across the top (we didn’t want to cut off the top, but there really is no harm if you do).  Clean out the seeds, stuff with rice, and put pepper back together (so it looks like it did before you cut it…sort of).

Place in roasting pan, cover in foil, and bake at 400F for about 30 minutes, until poblanos are soft.  If you want to get some nice blisters, finish for a few minutes under the broiler (you can totally skip this part).  That’s it.

To go with our poblanos, we also baked white fish wrapped in foil, which conveniently cooked for the same amount of time at the same temperature.  We started with frozen fillets, to which we added splashes of lemon juice and olive oil, and pinches of salt, pepper, and thyme.  This is another versatile cooking technique, which would work well with almost any combination of flavors.  We’re thinking of doing a scallion-ginger-soy-sauce recipe next.

As for the “inaugurating summer” bit — it’s freaking hot! We’re melting in this 90+ weather.  How we both grew up in tropical climates now fully escapes our memories and imaginations!

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Seriously, it’s like they don’t exist in this country, except to be slipped surreptitiously into authentic Caesar dressings and for those fathers who order them on the side of their pizza so their families aren’t upset about having to have anchovies on their slices.  Maybe it’s the same problem that brussels sprouts have: a bad reputation and not enough people preparing them properly.  I wouldn’t be too excited about an overly salty and briny addition to my pizza either.  But anchovies, when handled rightly, provide a refreshingly unique way to flavor a dish. Anyway…

Anchovy fillets, deliciously melted into a pool of olive oil, dappled with crushed red pepper flakes, perhaps with a spoonful or two of capers for an extra bite. It’s a complex, robust flavor with the tartness of the capers and the saliferous anchovies held together with the mellow richness of olive oil. Incredible. What’s not to love? The first time we had anchovies was in Amalfi, and we subsequently had anchovies every day while we were there! Anchovies on pizza, anchovies in pasta, anchovies fresh… YUM.

Yesterday we decided to reward ourselves after an exhausting 5-hr long cross-country ski trip (first time, with some unexpected downhill ski slopes thrown into the mix!) with a carbo-feast–and anchovies. We made scialatielli with peas and prosciutto in a tomato sauce and zucchini in a tomato-anchovy sauce.

This Classico tomato sauce has been occupying precious space in our pantry since August when the Hendricksons had their baby. Though we don’t ordinarily use tomato sauce (should we change this?), we bought a Costco-sized bundle of three jars of tomato sauce to make them a lasagna and consequently had two jars left over for the last few months. Friday night, we had the Hernandezes over to introduce their kids to the fine art of pizza making. The two older Hernandez boys (11 and 13) received kids’ cookbooks over Christmas, and we were thrilled to help them along on their way towards becoming versatile young chefs. We had a station of toppings (mozzarella, ricotta, sauteed squash, mushrooms, prosciutto, caramelized onions, chicken, tomato sauce), fully set up with a little stool for little Priscilla to reach the counter. Unfortunately, the young Hernandezes were a bit unimpressed with our choice of toppings (“you don’t have pepperoni?” “trust me, prosciutto is much better”; hence we had lots of squash and prosciutto conveniently left over for our post-ski meal.

Zucchini in Tomato-Anchovy Sauce

2 T olive oil
6 anchovy fillets (from a jar, drained)
4 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
2 T capers
1/4 c tomato sauce
1 medium zucchini, diced

Drizzle olive oil in a pan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add in anchovies, garlic, and capers. (If the anchovies aren’t sufficiently drained, there will be heavy splattering.) Stir until anchovies are melted into oil. Add in tomato sauce, stirring constantly. When tomato sauce is hot, add zucchini and cover. Stir occasionally.

Zucchini should be done in ~5 minutes over medium heat, but can also be simmered longer.

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