Tuesday, November 9, 2010

monday - seared scallops, smashed celeriac, sautéed cabbage, & artichokes

I have to admit, I wasn't really looking forward to this meal compared to all of the other meals on the plan this week. It felt like a mish-mash of random ingredients that didn't quite fit together. I was pleasantly surprised, though, as everything was delicious! I made very simple and lightning-fast seared scallops (Alton Brown has a great straightforward recipe at foodnetwork.com), topped with a white wine-lemon reduction. On the side, I served celeriac, sautéed cabbage, and whole artichokes, none of which I'd cooked before. I've been eyeing the knotty, strange-looking celeriac, or celery root, at the farmers' market, and finally decided to try it out this week.

I used this recipe for smashed celeriac from jamieoliver.com because it just calls for celeriac; most other recipes I found have it mixed with potatoes or another root vegetable, and I was really interested in getting the true taste of the root. The raw celeriac smells like very, very strong celery, but when cooked it really mellows out and was surprisingly nice. I would like to try it again with one of the potato-based recipes--I think it would add a great flavor to mashed potatoes.

I had about 3 cups of sliced cabbage left over after last week's meals, so I decided to sauté it for an additional side dish. I usually eat cabbage raw in slaws or add it to soups or other dishes, but I'm so glad I tried cooking it on its own--so easy and quite tasty.

Finally, I cooked whole artichokes for the first time. I often use canned or frozen artichoke hearts in recipes, and I have eaten whole artichokes, but I've never actually cooked them myself. Courtney requested them after noticing them at the farmers' market, and I'm so glad. They always seemed like too much effort, what with all the leaf-trimming and choke-removing, but I was wrong! They're super simple and very hands-off. I based the technique on this recipe from eatingwell.com--I planned on grilling them, but it was cold here last night and I didn't want to venture outside, so I just boiled them instead. I made a quick and easy (and delicious) lemon-yogurt sauce based on this recipe from ifood.tv. Definitely a healthier choice than melted butter!

Seared Scallops

1/2 pound dry sea scallops, approximately 8
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Remove the small side muscle from the scallops, rinse with cold water, and thoroughly pat dry.

Add the butter and oil to a large skillet (preferably cast iron) on high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops. Once the fat begins to smoke, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Sear the scallops for 2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center. Transfer scallops to a plate.

Turn off the heat, and add the wine and lemon juice to the hot skillet. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits in the pan. Let the mixture reduce by about half. Drizzle the white wine-lemon reduction over the scallops.

Makes 2 servings.

Smashed Celeriac

1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 celeriac, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons water

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add celeriac, garlic, and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Stir until celeriac begins to lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, add water, and cover. Simmer until celeriac is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, smash the celeriac until lightly mashed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Sautéed Cabbage

1 teaspoon butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons water

Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cabbage, and sauté until beginning to soften. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add water, cover, and cook until cabbage is tender, about 10 to 15 minutes, adding an additional tablespoon of water as needed to keep the pan from becoming too dry.

Makes 3 servings.

Artichokes with Lemon-Yogurt Sauce

Juice of 1 1/2 lemons, divided
2 large artichokes
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt

Fill a large pot with water; add the juice of 1 lemon. Trim leaves from the top of one artichoke. Remove the outer layer(s) of leaves from the stem end and snip all remaining spiky tips from the outer leaves. Trim a half inch off the bottom of the stem. When the artichoke is prepared, drop it into the lemon water to prevent it from turning brown. Repeat with the remaining artichoke.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Boil until the base of the stem can be pierced with a fork and a leaf can be easily plucked, 17 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, and let stand until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

To make the dipping sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mustard, salt, and juice of the remaining 1/2 lemon.

Serve the artichokes warm, at room temperature, or chilled. When eating the artichokes, pull off the leaves, dip into the lemon-yogurt sauce, and eat the “meat” off of the bottom half of each leaf, discarding the leaves. Once all of the leaves have been eaten, the artichoke heart will remain. With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fibrous part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.

Makes 2 servings.

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