Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sausage, Brown Rice and Leek Frittata

So the Bald Guy and I like to cook a leisurely brunch-type meal on weekend mornings. This morning, as we discussed the various merits of oatmeal versus pancakes while standing huddled in front of the open refrigerator door, I had a Vision - of using leftover brown rice with sausage, egg and leek to create a Sunday Morning Frittata.

I would have gotten a decent photo, but we ate most of the results.
Serves 2 generously, 4 if you're serving other things with it.

About a third of a package of ground sausage, your choice of flavor. I used Jimmy Dean Hot Flavour Pork Sausage
1 c. brown rice (optional, but I like the way it texturizes the frittata and gives it a little more oomph)
4 eggs
Splash of milk
Half a leek - mostly white part, sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, minced/pressed/squished. Or 1 t. jarred minced garlic (Hey. It's a Sunday morning and I'm lazy.)
Three or four white button mushrooms, sliced
About 1/4 c. dry white wine (optional - you could use white wine vinegar or even cider vinegar if you wanted to. I used a splash of the sauvignon blanc that was sitting on the counter)
Seasoning: I used between 1/2 t. and a teaspoon each of garlic powder, Israeli paprika (which is a little sweeter than Hungarian), black pepper, kosher salt, and cumin (go light on the cumin - it's such a powerful taste!). You could add a little more green in with some parsley flakes or basil, but with the leek and spring onions and sausage already competing for flavors, you don't want to add too much extra stuff.
2 spring onions, green part only, sliced thinly
  • Get yer skillet and heat it up to medium-hot. Add in the sausage and cook until browned, breaking up the sausage into crumbles as you cook it.
  • When the sausage is cooked, use a slotted spoon or spatula to dump it out of the pan and onto a plate lined with a paper towel (to drain the grease) and set aside.
  • Leaving the sausage grease in the pan, dump in your leek and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes or so.
  • Add the sliced mushrooms and cook another 3-4 minutes, then add the wine and let simmer for 5-6 minutes or until the liquid is mostly absorbed.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the rice, eggs and milk together. Add the seasonings and the sausage and mix until blended.
  • When the leek and mushroom is nearly dry (as in, all the moisture from the wine or vinegar has been absorbed), add them to the egg/sausage mixture slowly (you don't want to dump all the hot ingredients in with the eggs at once, because that'll cook your frittata before you're ready)
  • Wipe out your pan and add a little more oil to it - I used spray oil.
  • Splunk the whole shebang into the pan and cook at medium-LOW heat (you don't want the bottom to get burned) until the top is set.
  • Optional: I got tired of waiting for the top to cook while I listened to my stomach growl, so I heated up my broiler and stuck the whole pan under it for about 5 minutes, once the frittata was mostly set. ONLY do this if you're using a skillet that can go from stove top to broiler! Watch it really carefully; I've been known to burn the heck out of a frittata because I got impatient, stuck it under the broiler, and then forgot about it. ALSO (and I know I'm silly with the warnings, but I speak from experience): when you take out the skillet from the broiler, REMEMBER THAT THE HANDLE IS FREAKIN' HOT and use an oven mitt.
  • Serve with a little dollop of sour cream and an extra sprinkle of sliced green onion, if you wish. Read the Sunday comics and watch the snow fall. Or frantically write a paper on finance (while procrastinating by writing a foodie blog).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Poached salmon with fennel and orange

This dinner was tastier than I expected. Hindward viewing being what it is, I would make sure the fennel is very finely sliced, separating the little arches as necessary, to create a thinner more uniform effect. If you can get one with a nice bunch of those dill-like leaves still attached, I think they'd make an excellent addition.
I didn't bother to totally de-membrane the orange, a) because I think that's more of a pain in the patoot than a quick Sunday night dinner warrants and b) because I was using a mineola orange, which doesn't lend itself well to de-membraning (which sounds like something you'd do to an alien, but anyhoo).

I poached the salmon. It was good that way. If you insist upon grilling it or broiling it or pan-frying it, more power to ya.

I halved this recipe (mostly because I'd already used half the one fennel bulb I had in another recipe.)

Adapted from the January 2010 edition of Bon Appetit, p. 50.

1/4 c. sugar (I used half of this and it was fine. Just fine. Thank you.)
1/4 c. unseasoned rice vinegar
2 whole star anise*
4 c. cold water (why you need this much is beyond me. I used the amount of two coffee cups, which is considerably less than 4 cups)
1 1-pound salmon fillet with skin (or without skin. Whatever.)
2 navel oranges
1 cup small fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Place sugar, vinegar, star anise, and cold water in a large deep skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Admire the pretty star anise spinning in the boiling water.
  • Add salmon fillet, skin side up, to skillet (or whatever side you pull out of the package, in the event that your salmon, like mine, has been flayed. What an interesting and kind of gross word, nay?)
  • Cover skillet and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, turn salmon over; cover and let stand until salmon is just opaque in center, 5 to 6 minutes longer. Remove salmon from liquid and cool.
  • OPTIONAL: Coarsely flake salmon into medium bowl, removing bones and skin; set aside. I didn't do this. I served the fennel stuff on top of my fillets. But then I wanted more of a "this is actually dinner not some frouffy salad-y" feel to the dish. You might like the frouff.
  • Cut top and bottom 1/4 inch off each orange. Stand 1 orange on 1 flat end. Using small sharp knife, cut off peel and white pitch. Working over large bowl, cut between membranes, releasing segments into bowl. Repeat with remaining orange.
(OMG you guys I so didn't do that.)
  • Add salmon, fennel, mint and olive oil. Gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
*Star-shaped seedpods that make you wonder if they're actually alien. Score two for me for mentioning aliens twice in the same recipe.

I served this with herbed parsnip mash and sauteed spring greens, which officially made the whole thing disgustingly healthy. Also, this is not a good representative photo, since the salmon's buried under the fennel stuff. But you're out of luck, because the subject matter is now being digested.