Posts Tagged 'lemon'

Pork Souvlaki

Pork Soulvaki6093

Pork Souvlaki

Easy to make and always delicious, kabobs are the perfect way to serve up a dinner hot off the grill. For a little something different, try the traditional Greek kabob pork souvlaki. In this recipe that is simpler than it sounds, a lemony marinade transforms ordinary pork tenderloin into a traditional Greek dish with a bright and fresh flavor that is truly delicious.

The classic Greek ingredients of oregano, lemon, and garlic give these grilled pork kabobs their signature flavor. Even though this marinade is made with simple ingredients, it infuses loads of flavor into the meat because of the large amount of acid from the lemon juice. Typically there is a general rule not to marinate meat with so much acid for too long, but from my experience, letting the pork marinate overnight just makes it all the more better. If short on time, you will still get delicious results by marinating the pork for less time. That said, allow the pork to marinate at least a minimum of one hour before cooking.

Kabobs make an easy weeknight meal since they can be prepared in advance and thrown on the grill when you are ready. As an added bonus, these smaller cuts of meat cook quickly. I prefer to use metal skewers when grilling kabobs because they are no fuss. If using bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes prior to using to prevent the wood from burning.

Traditionally pork souvlaki is served wrapped in pita bread and then topped with a variety of condiments such as lettuce, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce. Instead of this classic pita sandwich version, I often serve these kabobs as a main course over a bed of basmati rice with a small Greek salad and some grilled pita on the side.

Cook them on an outdoor grill or indoors on a grill pan, depending on what’s easier for you.

Enjoy!

Pork Souvlaki

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
Vegetable oil, for the grates
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Skewers (if using bamboo, soak in water for 30 minutes)

In a shallow nonreactive dish just large enough to hold the pork in a single layer, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, oregano, and garlic. Place the pork in the marinade and gently toss until well coated. Cover, place in the refrigerator, and marinate for at least 30 minutes and as long as overnight.

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Remove the pork from the marinade and shake off the excess. Discard the marinade. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Thread the pork cubes onto a skewer.

Place the skewers on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once or twice, until they are well browned on all sides and cooked through, about 8 to 12 minutes total.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: Tzatziki is a cucumber-yogurt sauce that is traditionally served alongside Greek dishes. To make this condiment, combine 2 cups plain Greek yogurt, 1 cup finely diced cucumber, 1 minced clove of garlic, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill.

Recipe from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.

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Soft Shell Crabs

Soft Shell Crabs … if you have never had them, now is the time to give them a try!

Soft shell crabs are one of my favorite treats. They are only available for a couple of months each year – usually late April through June or July. Soft shell crabs are crabs that have just molted. Their shell is soft … allowing them to be eaten whole. No more need to pick out that coveted meat from a hard shell!

Soft shell crabs fresh from the Gulf are now available. I picked some up last weekend at my local farmers market. Each week Paradise Seafood drives fresh Gulf seafood up from the coast to sell at the Memphis Agricenter Farmers Market and the Memphis Farmers Market downtown. Living in Memphis, we are lucky that the Gulf coast is within driving distance.  If you live no where near a coast line, no worries. You can find soft shell crabs throughout the country at gourmet seafood markets. Just ask your fishmonger.

Soft shell crabs are ideally purchased live so they are at their freshest. Store live soft shell crabs uncovered in the fridge over a bed of wet paper towels for no more than one day. Live soft shell crabs will need to be cleaned. It is a really simple process but a necessary one.  Cooking Light Magazine has an excellent post with step by step instructions. Click here.

If you do have to buy frozen crabs, they have probably already been cleaned. Defrost them overnight in the refrigerator before cooking. Fresh is best but the frozen ones are a close second.

I find the best way to enjoy this seasonal treat is sautéed with a simple dusting of cornmeal.  No need for a deep fryer or heavy batter. Whip up a quick homemade remoulade sauce and from start to finish your soft shell crabs can be on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Sautéed Soft Shell Crabs with Remoulade Sauce

For the Remoulade Sauce:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely sliced scallions

For the Soft Shell Crabs:
8 soft shell crabs, cleaned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cornmeal
4 tablespoons olive oil

To make the Remoulade Sauce:

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the scallions. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the Soft Shell Crabs:

Season both sides of the crabs with salt and pepper. Place the cornmeal in a shallow bowl. Working in batches, lightly dredge both sides of the crabs in the cornmeal, shaking off the excess.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Sear the crabs on one side until lightly browned and soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn over the crabs and cook until desired doneness, about 2 to 3 more minutes. Serve warm with a spoonful of the remoulade sauce.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The remoulade dipping sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance. Cover and refrigerate until just before serving.

Lemony Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts and Raisins

With its bright green leaves and stems of yellow, orange, and red, rainbow Swiss chard is by far the prettiest green around.  And in my opinion, the tastiest!

But I have to admit, for years I was not a greens fan.  I’d turn my nose at all different types: turnip, mustard, kale …. You name the variety; I was not going to eat it.

Then last year in my weekly Fall CSA, I kept getting a big bunch of Swiss Chard. The first bunch died in the back of my fridge.  The second week, I gave my Swiss Chard to a friend.  The third week I decided, “I have to give this a try.” Wasn’t one of the reasons I participated in a CSA to try new ingredients?

I called my friend Melissa (who had happily taken that second bunch of  Swiss Chard off my hands) and asked her how she prepared hers.

“Be sure not to overcook the Swiss Chard. Its flavor is best when it is just lightly sautéed ,”she advised.

So, I cooked it just like a do spinach …  sautéed with garlic in a little olive oil until just wilted.  

Before I took the first bite I wondered, “Is this even cooked enough?”  All the greens I had encountered on menus in the South had been cooked for hours … not minutes.

But Melissa was right!  Lightly sautéing is the trick!

As I continued to get Chard (and other greens) in my weekly CSA, I played around with a few other recipes. This lemony version is my favorite.  The lemon brightens the flavor of the greens and the pine nuts and golden raisins add a delicious texture.

Swiss Chard is in season in the Fall. Go out and give it a try.  Who knows?  This nutrient-packed green may become a favorite of your too!

Enjoy!

Lemony Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts and Raisins

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely-diced shallots
6 cups coarsely chopped rainbow Swiss chard leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pan. Add the shallots and cook until they are soft, about 2 minutes.

Add the chard and cook, stirring, until the leaves just begin to wilt, about 1 minute. Stir in the lemon juice, water, lemon zest, and raisins. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is tender and the liquid has almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: I prefer rainbow Swiss chard due to its brightly colored veins, but varieties with only white or red veins are equally delicious.

Variation: For more texture and color use the stems in this dish as well. Cut the stems into 1/2-inch pieces, add to the pan before adding the leaves and cook until the stems are tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then add the leaves and continue with the recipe.

Note: A CSA (short for Community-Supported Agriculture) is also known as “subscription farming.” At the beginning of the growing season, you purchase a subscription from a local farmer just like you buy a subscription to magazine. But instead of receiving a magazine each week, shareholders receive a weekly supply of veggies, herbs, fruits and sometimes even eggs and meat. It’s a win-win for the customer and the farmer. The customer gets fresh, locally-grown foods.  The prepaid CSA fees are a source of financial security for the farmer.

Lemon Salmon

If you have ever been nervous about cooking fish, this is the recipe to help you overcome your fear.

Despite popular belief, cooking fish is probably one of the easiest kitchen skills.  When armed with a few basic facts, you will be cooking fish like a pro.

Smell it!

When buying fish, ask to smell it.  The fish should smell more like the ocean than dead fish. If it smells overly fishy, that means it is past its prime and will taste overly fishy too.

Don’t overcook it!

Fish should be treated like red meat.  It is best served at medium-temperature. Overcooking will give your fish a strong fishy taste and odor.

I like to remove my fish from the heat (whether oven, stove-top, or grill) just before I think it’s done and let it finishing cooking in the hot pan.

Marinate it!

Marinating fish will add moisture and flavor. However, keep in mind that fishes are delicate.  Fish should never be marinated no longer than 1 hour.

In this recipe, baking the salmon in the marinade helps the fish stay tender and moist.

Ready, Set, Fish!

Enjoy!

Lemon Salmon

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 boneless salmon filets (4 to 6 ounces each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a shallow non-reactive baking dish whisk together the lemon juice, white wine, and oil. Scatter the shallots, lemon slices, and thyme sprigs evenly across the bottom of the pan. Place the salmon filets, flesh side down, into the pan. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but no longer than 1 hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 385 degrees.

Remove the pan from the fridge, and let it stand until the fish is to room temperature, about 10 minutes on your kitchen counter. Turn the fish over, so the flesh side is up and the skin side is down, and place it back in the marinade. Generously season the fish with salt and pepper. Bake the fish in the marinade for 30 minutes, or until cooked to desired temperature.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tips:

This lemony marinade is also delicious with other types of light and flaky fish (such as tilapia, orange roughy, and halibut) as well as shellfish (scallops and shrimp). The cooking times may vary slightly depending on thickness.

When marinating anything in an acid such as lemon juice, wine, or vinegar be sure to use a non-reactive container. Cookware made from glass, ceramic, plastic, or stainless steel are all non-reactive and safe to use. (Plastic storage bags are also a great, mess-free option.) Avoid cookware made from aluminum or copper when marinating because those metals will react with the marinade and give your food a metallic taste.


Jennifer Chandler

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