* Gluten-free chocolate chip cookies
* Goat cheese grits
* 'Everything Cookies'
* Red beans and rice
Welcome to the last Fare Exchange of June, with requests old and new to start.
First, the old: We are looking for lost recipes for gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, goat cheese grits and "Everything Cookies."
A new request came from Hungry Husband. "I love red beans and rice but cannot find my favorite brand-in-a-box. I am asking for a recipe for red beans and rice from scratch, the authentic New Orleans kind."
FISH, FISH ...
These summer days seem to be good ones for cooking fish, and you all were thinking that very thing. We can all thank Marilyn Murphy and Mary Ann McInturff for the recipes they sent. This might be our first all-fish Exchange in recent memory, or in faraway memory. Only the ramen noodle idea in Just a Dash omits fish and seafood altogether.
Marilyn Murphy sent "three of my favorite fish dishes. One is a tuna salad, which I know [you have recently printed a recipe for], but this one is excellent." Today's other recipe is for stuffed salmon, and, next week, Aegean fish stew.
Fresh Tuna Salad with Avocado
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fennel seeds (I do not add this, but the original recipe calls for it)
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 (3/4 pound) tuna steak, cut 1 inch thick
Salt to taste
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 anchovy fillets, minced (I do not add this, but the original recipe calls for it)
2 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
2 celery ribs, including leafy greens, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1 small red onion, finely diced (I do not add, because I am not a fan of raw onions, but is called for in the original recipe)
1/2 cup lightly toasted walnut pieces (more or less, depending on your preference)
1/3 cup pitted, sliced Kalamata olives
4 avocados, halved and pitted
Garnish: pea shoots or alfalfa sprouts (optional)
In a medium saucepan, combine the olive oil, fennel seeds (if using) and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer over moderately low heat. Season the tuna with salt, and add it to the saucepan. Simmer the tuna steak over low heat, turning once, until barely pink in the center, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate, and scrape off fennel seeds and peppercorns. Strain and reserve the oil.
In a large bowl, blend the mayonnaise with the minced anchovies (if using), capers, garlic and 1 tablespoon of the fresh lemon juice. Stir the celery, onion (if using), walnuts and olives into the dressing. Using a fork, break the tuna into 1-inch pieces, then fold into the dressing. Season with salt.
Set 2 avocado halves on each of 4 plates, skin side down. Drizzle the avocado flesh with some of the reserved spice-infused olive oil and the remaining 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the tuna salad into the center of each avocado half. Garnish with pea shoots or alfalfa sprouts, if desired.
Creamy Spinach-Stuffed Salmon
4 skinless wild-caught salmon fillets
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided (reserve 1 for cooking)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter (reserve for cooking)
4 ounces of frozen spinach, thawed
4 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional garlic butter:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Place each salmon filet on a flat surface. Season both sides with salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and lemon juice. Cut a slit or pocket about 3/4 of the way through, being careful not to cut all the way.
Squeeze excess liquid out of the spinach, and discard liquid. In a medium-size bowl, mix together the spinach, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
Fill salmon pockets with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture, spreading evenly with the back of the spoon.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the salmon, and cook until golden (6 to 7 minutes). Carefully flip fish and allow to cook on the other side until golden and cooked through (another 6 to 7 minutes, depending on the size of the fillets. If fish still does not seem cooked through, cover with a lid and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes, if necessary, until cooked through)
Transfer to a warm plate.
For garlic butter, melt the butter in the remaining oil/juices in the pan left over from cooking the salmon. Add the garlic and lemon juice, and sauté until the garlic is fragrant (about 30 seconds). Remove and serve with the salmon.
If you prefer to oven-bake the fish, heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the stuffed salmon fillets in a shallow, lightly greased baking pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until salmon is cooked through, opaque in the center and flakes easily with a fork.
AND MORE FISH
When thinking about fish, Mary Ann McInturff hearkened back to an old favorite, salmon croquettes — easy, nutritious and economical. Ms. McInturff continued, "My version, without really precise ingredient amounts, is really good and so simple and quick."
1 (7.5-ounce) can pink salmon
Dried minced onion to taste
Dried minced parsley to taste
Black pepper to taste
A few drops Tabasco to taste
4 or 5 crushed saltine crackers (more will make the patties too dry, even though it may seem at first that they are too moist.)
Drain and clean salmon, removing skin and large round bones. (Smaller bones crushed into the patties are good for you.)
Add seasonings, egg and crushed crackers.
Form into 2 patties, about 4 inches around.
Place into refrigerator for at least 10 or 15 minutes to firm up.
Fry in small amount of vegetable oil (I use canola) in skillet over medium-high heat until brown, then turn and brown the other side. Drain on paper towel, and serve with tartar sauce.
Here's a challenge for next week. Ms. McInturff noted that store-bought tartar sauce is terrible, so we can hope that one or more of you will supply a homemade version. And today we will finish with Just a Dash.
JUST A DASH
A college student came visiting to Chattanooga last week, and brought her own meal — that is, brought her own assortment of ramen noodles. It was a good reminder that one can feast on this easy bargain food even if way past college age.
Here is the simple tweaking that J.L.E. recommended, ramping it up slightly from simple sustenance fare.
"Prepare according to directions on the package, and then season with Sriracha sauce and a dusting of garlic powder."
Dessert? "Of course," she agreed: "That would have to be Moose Tracks ice cream."
To Reach Us:
Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send.
Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750