Tag Archives: fresh herbs

Mussels with Saffron Cream Sauce

mussels with saffron

Mussels with Saffron Cream Sauce

Throughout the centuries saffron has been a symbol of wealth and elegance. Cleopatra used saffron water to keep her skin soft and because she felt it improved her lovemaking skills. Roman Emperor Nero sprinkled the streets with saffron water to honor his return to Rome. Persians considered it a tonic for the heart as it was thought to alleviate melancholy. A spice consisting of the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus, it was introduced into Spain by the Arabs and later cultivated in Mediterranean regions and elsewhere in Europe.

1 large yellow onion, halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
¾ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 pounds cultivated mussels, rinsed well and debearded
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Thinly slice the onion.

Add oil to a skillet set over medium heat. When hot add onion and until translucent. Add the  saffron and ½ teaspoon salt and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Add wine and bring to a boil, then stir in cream, pepper, remaining salt, and mussels. Cook, covered, checking after 8 minutes and discarding any mussels that remain unopened. Transfer opened mussels to soup bowls with a slotted spoon.

Stir parsley into broth, pour over mussels and serve with warm baguette. (Garnish with lemon wedges if you’d like.)

Serves 6

Scallops with Green Herb Sauce

scallops with green herb sauce

Scallops with Green Herb Sauce

Legend has it that the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, was carried to earth on the shell of a scallop. Thanks to this, scallops have enjoyed an aphrodisiac reputation since antiquity. 

For the scallops:
2 pounds dry sea scallops
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons olive oil or chipotle avocado oil *
salt and pepper

For the herb sauce:
1 cup olive oil or chipotle avocado oil *
1 cup parsley, chopped
1/3 cup chives, chopped
1/4 cup drained capers, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano, chopped
1/2 teaspoon tarragon, chopped
1/3 cup lemon juice
salt and pepper

Make the herb sauce by mixing all ingredients together and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Add butter and oil to a large saute pan set on high heat.

Salt and pepper the scallops and, when the oil is hot, gently add to the pan making sure they are not touching each other. Sear for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side – they should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center.

Serve with the green herb sauce and warm baguette.

* If you’re looking for a little kick, substitute olive oil for Avocare chipotle avocado oil. The smokiness of the chile releases endorphins which can add another level of heat to the game plan. Plus Avocare produces extra-virgin, cold-pressed, GMO-free certified avocado oils. That’s pretty sexy for Valentine’s Day, or any day!

Serves 6

Tomato and Pomegranate Salad

tomato pomegranate salad

Tomato and Pomegranate Salad

This recipe is adapted from one of my recent favorite cookbooks, Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty More.

The pomegranate has ancient connections to love. When Hades, the king of the underworld, fell head over heels for Persephone he tricked her into eating pomegranate seeds so she’d have to spend a portion of each year as his queen. When Persephone was with him in the underworld, her mother, Demeter, the goddess of harvest, went into mourning causing all the plants to die and thus creating fall and winter. When Persephone went home to her mother, their happiness created spring and summer.

2 pounds cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 small red onion, finely diced
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons pomegranate molasses
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
seeds of one pomegranate
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon mint

Mix together the tomatoes and onion in a large bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, and ½ teaspoon salt until well combined. Pour this over the tomato mixture and gently mix.

Gently toss the pomegranates seeds with the tomato mixture and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs, drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve.

Serves 6 to 8

photo by Audrey Chan

Roasted Cod with Tomatoes and Olives

roasted cod with tomatoes and olives

Roasted Cod with Tomatoes and Olives

Consumed fresh or dried and salted, cod is historically one of the world’s most important fish. It has been an important economic commodity in international markets since the early Middle Ages and the Norwegians, Portuguese and Basques have all played an important role in its trade. The North American east coast developed in part because the fish, and many New England cities are located near cod fishing grounds. It’s one of my favorite fishes.

1 ½ pounds cod
1 pound assorted grape and cherry tomatoes
30 assorted olives, pitted
3 sprigs thyme
¼ chopped basil and oregano
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons chicken broth
salt and pepper
juice of one lemon, or more to taste

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Place the tomatoes in an ovenproof dish and toss with garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Add the thyme and roast for about 10 minutes. While the tomatoes are cooking, cut the fish into 6 equal sized pieces, rinse, pat dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Remove the tomatoes from the oven. Add the chicken broth and wine to the dish and nestle the fish into the tomatoes. Scatter the pitted olives and return to the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. The cod should separate easily and be just opaque in the center when cooked through.

When cooked through sprinkle with the fresh herbs and drizzle with lemon juice and serve.

Serves 6