Northwest NEWS

March 4, 2002

Home & Garden


Dining In: Dinner for a special occasion

Hazelnut Encrusted Pacific Salmon
   1 16 oz. fresh salmon fillet, boneless and skinned
   Salt to taste
   1/4 c. fresh lemon juice, divided
   6 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
   1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
   1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill weed (1 tsp. dried)
   1/3 c. grated fresh Parmesan cheese
   1/3 c. toasted bread crumbs
   1/4 tsp. salt
   1/2 c. coarsely chopped roasted hazelnuts
   Heat oven to 450 degrees. With sharp knife slice salmon in half horizontally to within 1/2 inch of the sides and back, forming a pocket. Lightly salt top and center of fish. Brush with 2 Tbsp. lemon juice. Place on shallow baking pan.
   In small bowl whisk butter until smooth; stir in parsley, dill weed and remaining lemon juice.
   Spread half the butter mixture in pocket and half on top of fish. Stir Parmesan, bread crumbs, 1/4 tsp. salt and roasted hazelnuts into remaining butter. Pat mixture evenly on top of fish.
   Bake in 450-degree oven until firm, 10-15 minutes, depending upon thickness. Broil approximately 1 minute, until top is bubbling and lightly browned.
   Makes 4 servings.
   Farmers' Market Salad
   4 medium zucchini (1 lb., sliced)
   1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
   8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
   1 medium onion, thinly sliced
   Mixed greens
   1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
   6 Tbsp. red or white wine vinegar
   1/4 c. honey
   1-1/2 tsp. Dijon style mustard
   1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves or 1 tsp. dried crushed basil
   1 tsp. garlic salt
   1/4 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
   In large bowl, combine marinade ingredients; whisk until blended. Add sliced vegetables; marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour or up to overnight. To serve, arrange vegetables on a bed of mixed greens.
   Makes 8 servings.
   Spinach Pie
   Cooking oil spray
   3 packages (10 oz. each) frozen spinach
   1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
   2 large egg whites at room temperature
   1/4 c. (1 oz.) crumbled Feta cheese
   1/4 c. all-purpose flour
   3/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
   1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
   1/4 c. chicken broth
   1/4 c. chopped dill (4 tsp. crumbled dried), or to taste
   Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat an 8-inch spring form pan with spray. Set aside.
   Cook spinach according to package directions. When cool enough to handle, squeeze spinach out to remove most of the water.
   Coarsely chop spinach. Transfer to a bowl and toss with olive oil.
   In medium bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Mix in Feta cheese, flour, salt and pepper to make a sticky dough. Stir in chicken broth and dill. Add spinach and mix well to combine. Spread mixture in prepared pan into an even layer. Bake 15 minutes, until set.
   Cool in pan. Release spring lock and carefully remove sides of pan. Cut into 8 slices. With wide metal spatula, transfer slices to serving plate, arranging them in a circular pattern, pointed ends facing inward.
   Serve warm or at room temperature.
   If desired, pie can be stored up to 24 hours by covering with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerating. Bring to room temperature before serving, or reheat in oven or microwave.
   Makes 6 servings.
   Stove Top Pilaf
   2 Tbsp. oil
   3 medium, peeled carrots, cut into 1/2 inch dice
   2 medium fennel bulbs (cored, with leaves removed), cut in 1/4 inch dice
   1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
   1 medium onion, diced
   3 c. long grain brown rice
   1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
   3/4 c. dried thyme
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
   In large Dutch oven or other oven-proof pot that holds 16 cups, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add carrots, fennel, celery and onion and cook, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Adjust heat if necessary to prevent burning.Stir in rice, chicken broth, cranberries, thyme, salt and pepper. Add 4-1/4 c. water. Cover and heat to boiling.
   Reduce heat to low and cook so that liquid barely simmers. Cook until rice is tender, about 1 hour, 14 minutes. Stir bottom of pot occasionally and check that liquid is barely simmering, adjusting heat if necessary.
   Poached Pears With Chocolate Hazelnut Filling
   1/4 c., plus 1 Tbsp., fresh lemon juice, divided
   4 fresh, ripe, whole pears (Bartlett, Bosc or Anjou) peeled, cored, stems removed
   3 c. water
   1 c. granulated sugar
   1 cinnamon sticks
   6 whole cloves
   Chocolate Hazelnut Filling, recipe follows
   Chocolate Sauce, recipe follows
   Raspberry Sauce, recipe follows
   Chocolate leaves for garnish
   Rub pears with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring water, sugar, cinnamon stick and cloves to boil. Remove from heat and add 1/4 c. lemon juice. Place pears in warm liquid for several minutes, until slightly softened.
   Rapidly chill pears and liquid by placing pan in bowl of ice water. Weigh pears down with small plate to completely cover with liquid. Refrigerate until used, up to 12 hours.
   Makes 4 servings.
   Chocolate Hazelnut Filling
   1/4 c. heavy cream
   4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
   1/4 c. finely ground, roasted hazelnuts
   1 Tbsp. pear liqueur (optional)
   Heat cream to simmering; add chocolate and stir until melted. Stir in hazelnuts and pear liqueur. Let stand until slightly thickened.
   Chocolate Sauce
   1/2 c. heavy (whipping) cream
   6 oz. chopped semi-sweet chocolate
   1 Tbsp. pear liqueur (optional)
   Heat cream to simmering. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Stir in pear liqueur and let stand until of thick pouring consistency.
   Raspberry Sauce
   16 oz. sweetened, frozen raspberries
   2 Tbsp. raspberry liqueur (optional)
   Heat berries in one-quart saucepan to simmering. Force mixture through sieve or juice. Return juice to saucepan; discard solids. Add additional sugar, if desired. Simmer over medium high heat until liquid is reduced by one-half. Cool and stir in raspberry liqueur.
   To serve: Remove pears from liquid and pat dry. Using 1/2-inch round pastry tube, fill center of pear with chocolate hazelnut filling. Cut a small slice off the bottom of pears so they will sit in pool of raspberry sauce. Drizzle with chocolate sauce, add chocolate leaf.
   Note: To make chocolate leaves, coat the underside (veined side) of small nontoxic leaves with melted confectioners coating chocolate. When firm, gently pull the leaf away from the chocolate. To enhance hazelnut flavor, spread shelled nuts on cookie sheet and roast at 275 degrees for 20-30 minutes until skins crack, stirring occasionally. To remove skins, rub hazelnuts briskly while warm with rough terry towel.