This picture does not do justice to the fresh line-caught halibut with a citrus-y gremolata, and musky artichokes with soft new potatoes and feta cheese.... Simply divine, and on the table within 30 minutes of walking in the door (okay, I didn't bother to take off my coat or my boots, so add 2 minutes for that, and I had the gremolata already made, so add another 5 for that). I came up with the potato/artichoke/feta dish in the car on the way home and lucked out -- it was even better than I thought it would be. Mr. Food Musings and I fought over seconds. (Tip for the ladies: if you ask enough times, "Are you going to eat that?" usually you can score an extra bite or two.)
So now I'm two for two, because one night last week I was in the same position -- wanted to cook but didn't have the energy to spend hours julienning carrots or braising beef cheeks (hahaha...as if). I pulled a recipe for roasted salmon with dill and zucchini from my weeknight bible and the most labor I had to do was chop a zucchini -- which has to be about the easiest veg in the world to slice through -- and toast some pine nuts. Gee, think you could do that?
Next time you're tired and hungry but too ashamed to call for take-out, put either of these dinners on the table in a half hour (I dare you, Rachael). The only snafu? The artichokes. If you haven't ever prepped a fresh artichoke, it might take you longer than it did me. Check here for step-by-step instructions with photos and voiceover, and steel yourself to throw away more than you save. You keep thinking to yourself, "This can't be right." But it is. And it's worth it, too. Fresh artichoke hearts taste nothing like the marinated stuff you buy in a jar. Seriously. I'm not entirely sure they're the same vegetable. It has the makings of a vast right-wing conspiracy, folks.
Halibut with Gremolata
Fresh Artichokes, New Potatoes and Feta
Yield: Dinner for 2
gremolata (Instructions and ingredients are here, just ignore the stuff about the rack of lamb unless you want to make that instead of halibut -- it would also be good with the side dish.)
6-8 small new potatoes, cut in two
4 fresh Globe artichokes, prepped and cut into eighths
2/3 lb. halibut fillet
1 TBSP olive oil + more for rubbing fish
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 TBSP butter
1/4 cup feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1. Make the gremolata per the instructions. I'd do this first so that it's out of the way, and the flavors can sit and mingle, have their own little gremolata happy hour while you cook dinner.
2. Place potatoes in a pot with water to cover and heat on high. While you wait for the water to boil, prep the chokes. Once water boils, cook potatoes until a knife pierces them easily, 7-10 minutes.
3. Heat oven to broil and place oven rack 4 inches from heat. Rub halibut with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for a moment.
4. Meanwhile, heat 1 TBSP olive oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet. Add artichokes and sauté till outsides soften, about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Now, throw the fish into the oven! (See how this is timed to perfection?) Cook artichokes till they can be easily pierced with a knife, about 5-7 minutes. Drain, then toss in a bowl with drained potatoes, butter, feta cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Fish should be happily cooking away. The amount of time depends on how thick your fillet is, but do not overdo it -- tough halibut sucks. Broil till fish flakes easily with a fork, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with a few spoonfuls of gremolata over top.
Roasted Salmon with Zucchini, Lemon and Dill
Cous-cous with Pine Nuts and Feta
Yield: Dinner for 4
Click here for the salmon recipe.
For the cous-cous:
4 servings cous-cous, prepared according to package directions (e.g. boil water, add cous-cous, let sit 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup good quality feta (buy the best so it's milder and less salty)
1. While you're making the cous-cous, toast the pine nuts in the toaster oven or oven at 300 for 5-7 minutes. Watch them carefully and remove once they begin to brown. I've learned it's a fine line indeed between golden brown and burnt to a crisp.
2. Add toasted pine nuts and feta to prepared cous-cous, and mix. Serve with salmon dish.