Category: How To

Roasted Fish Fillets

Roasted Fish Fillets

This is the final video in our Fish Master Class series: Roasted Fish Fillets topped with a couple of delicious compound butters.

Wild Alaskan Cod Tenderloin

The first fish is a wild Alaskan cod tenderloin. This is a mild-flavored, flaky fish. The texture and flavor of this fish is best when cooked through. It’s a forgiving fish; the natural cod oil keeps the fish moist and even if you happen to overcook it a little. I chose to top this with the Garlic Herb Compound Butter.

Wild Sockeye Salmon

Baked Salmon Filet with Lemon Dill Compound Butter

Our second fish is a wild sockeye salmon also from Alaska. This is a leaner salmon and shouldn’t be overcooked. This fish is medium rare to medium. The taste and texture are excellent at any temperature point. The lemon dill compound butter is perfect for this fish.

Roasting Method

Roasting fish fillets is simple. Cut the fillets into individual portions before cooking, it has a neater look. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush with a little olive oil. Season both sides of the fish fillets with salt and pepper. Lay on the baking sheet, rub and turn to coat with the oil.

Roasted Fish Fillets

Baking time depends on the depth of the fish, at a minimum a thin fish like the sockeye no less than 6 minutes and the thicker cod could be 12-15 minutes.

Roasted Fish Fillets

Watch our video here.

How to Skin Fish Fillets

fish fillet

Removing the skin from fish is optional. You can certainly cook the fish skin on and serve it that way. You can also remove the skin after cooking, but it disturbs the delicate meat and doesn’t make a very nice presentation.  We demonstrate here how to skin fish fillets before cooking.

Remember, too, that any fish monger will do this for you, you just have to ask.

I also like to cut the fish into individual portions before cooking. It’s easier and much neater.

How to Skin a Fish Fillet

It’s always a great teaching moment when things don’t go smoothly. My knife didn’t stay the course (the knife, not me) and a strip of skin stayed in place. A mistake when teaching is always a golden opportunity to show how to correct it.

See how to fold the thin portion on a salmon fillet to cook evenly.

We roasted these beautiful cod and salmon fish fillets and used these compound butters to create a quick and easy sauce.

Watch the video here.

Check out our Fish Master Class on YouTube.

 

How to Select a Fresh Fish Fillet

fresh fish fillets

This is another segment in our Fish Master Class on how to select a fresh fish fillet.

A reputable fish monger keeps a very clean store, it’s odor free and has lots of fresh ice in the case with the fish on top and good drainage below. Look for a busy store, which means quick turnover and fresh fish.

Qualities of Fresh Fish

Good quality, fresh white meat fish is moist, no cracks in the flesh, somewhat opaque, and has a fresh clean smell. Avoid any fillets that appear dry, cracked, have pooling water, a funky/fishy smell or the flesh is turning a chalky white.

In a dark-fleshed fish, such as salmon or tuna, look for the same qualities as above, but with vibrant color, tuna is almost red and salmon a bright orange to somewhat of a melon color. Avoid any fillets that appear dry, cracked or the flesh is turning a dark color.

Purchase your fish fillets the day of or day before cooking. Keep wrapped in the back of the refrigerator on the bottom shelf.

See our post on roasting these beautiful cod and salmon fish filets.

Watch the video here.

Next week, we demonstrate how to remove the skin from a fresh fish fillet.

Identifying Fresh Fish

Characteristics of Fresh Fish

We had lots of fun making this Fresh Fish Master Class video. I had my first guest, Aust Martin
from thisishomesteady.com. Aust stopped on the way over, on a rainy, gray day, to catch a trout for the show. You can’t get any fresher than that!

It’s really important to purchase your fish from a pristine fish monger. The place should sparkle, have a very fresh smell, like seawater. The cases should be filled with lots and lots of ice, but the fish should not be in any water. Another important key to freshness is turnover, which means frequent purchases and replenishment

Fresh Fish Characteristics
Eyes

Yes: Crystal clear, plump, moist
No: sunken or cloudy

Characteristics of Fresh Fish

Gills

Yes: Clean, cold and bright color
No: Slimy and dark color

Fins

Yes: wet and whole
No: dried out, torn or broken

Flesh

Yes: cold, wet, slippery and resilient when poked
No: sticky, finger indentation remains when poked

Characteristics of Fresh Fish

Smell

Yes: Clean, fresh
No: funky, fishy

Watch the video here.

How To Clean Berries

Here’s a quick primer on how to clean berries; a necessary task.

It always frustrates me when I read an article or hear someone say it’s not important to clean berries because they’re too delicate. I’ve even read that raspberry skins are so thin they let water in, ruining the fruit. I wonder what happens when it rains?

We were at a restaurant many years ago, a very well known and well regarded place. When I went to the dessert table, the bowl of raspberries looked like it was moving. The berries were covered with tiny bugs. Yuk!

It’s a simple task to clean delicate berries. Fill a large bowl with cold water, gently dump the berries in, swish around and scoop them out with your hands into a colander. Drain and use. It’s that simple!

My mother uses hydrogen peroxide to clean all her fruits and vegetables, which I’m not a fan of. There are websites that recommend a combination of vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide to remove pesticides. I’ve checked the FDA, CDC and www.foodsafety.gov websites and can’t find any recommendations other than using cold water to wash fruit.

Here’s a recipe for Triple Berry Crisp.

Be sure to read the article on the history of fruit desserts following the recipe. Similar to barbecue, these fruit desserts have staunch followers and specific fruit and cake-type fillings.

Roasted Asparagus

One of the simplest and most delicious side dishes is roasted asparagus. Simply toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until bright green and with just a little crunch for texture – it takes only minutes.

Sprinkle the hot asparagus with grated Parmesan cheese; it melts and the salty, nutty flavors are a tasty delight.

Another simple topping is grated lemon peel. Sprinkle over the top of the hot asparagus to release the essential oils in the lemon.

 

 

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Roasted Asparagus

Want to fancy up the dish a little, sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese over the asparagus as soon as it comes out of the oven. It melts and the salty, nutty flavors are a tasty delight. Another simple topping is grated lemon peel. Sprinkle over the top of the hot asparagus to release the essential oils in the lemon. Spectacular!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 mins
  • Total Time: 18 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Vegan/Vegetarian
  • Method: Roasting
Scale

Ingredients

2 bunches asparagus, rinsed and trimmed
olive oil
coarse salt
freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil.

Lay the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with a little oil, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and toss well to coat each spear.

Spread the asparagus into a single layer after tossing and bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes.

The asparagus is done when it’s bright green with a little crunch.

Keywords: asparagus, roasting, side dish, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, nut free,

 

How To Clean Mushrooms

Cleaning mushrooms is annoying task. In culinary school I was trained to gently wipe the tops and bottoms with a damp cloth or paper towel. If you’re only using a few mushrooms, that’s not so bad. But, if you need a couple of pounds worth, then it’s absurd. Yes, mushrooms do absorb liquid, but they have to remain in that liquid for a long time to become waterlogged. Here’s how to clean mushrooms, lots of them or just a few.

To clean mushrooms, fill a large bowl with cold. Dump the mushrooms in the water and swish around. Let sit for 30 seconds to allow the dirt to settle to the bottom. Scoop into a colander with your hands. Large batches of mushrooms clean in batches, refreshing the water.

Rinse the mushroom with a quick spray and turn out onto a large flour-sack towel, cover and gently dry. To store, place in a brown paper bag (lunch bag) in the vegetable bin. These will stay fresh and firm for days.

Don’t trim or cut the mushrooms until you’re ready to use them. The cut edges only dry out and need to be trimmed again.

Here’s one of our top recipes, Roasted Mushroom with Fresh Herbs and Garlic.

Watch How to Clean Mushrooms here.

How To Roast Meat

how to roast

This is the first segment in a Master Class on How To Roast Meat, which provides information on preparing, cooking, resting and serving a perfectly cooked roast.  We broke the class down into five separate videos for easy viewing. See the master class playlist here.

How To Tie a Roast

Tie a boneless roast to keep an even shape and cook evenly.

 

Factors that Affect Roasting Time

There are three factors that affect roasting time:

  • How much it weighs.
  • Whether it’s bone-in or boneless.
  • The temperature or the roast before cooking

 

How to Cook the Perfect Roast

I like the low and slow method of roasting for even cooking and juicy meat. Sear the meat first, let it sit out to warm up before putting in the oven and set your time to match the desired internal temperature, such as rare or medium rare. Click here to get a chart on cooking times per pound and here to see minimum internal temperature recommendations.

Rest the Roast for Optimum Results

Rest the meat after taking it out of the oven to maintain juiciness and flavor.

Here’s a quick recap of the important points on the roasting technique.

 

 

 

How To: Caramelize Onions

Caramelized onions

It’s not a complicated process to caramelize onions, but it does require your full attention. Don’t be alarmed by the number of onions this recipe calls for, once the onions are cooked, they reduce by
three quarters: 16 cups or 4 pounds of raw onion become four cups of caramelized onion!

A heavy-bottomed pan is best, it holds the heat, creates a barrier from the direct flame and cooks the onions evenly. Heat up the pan, pour in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, slide the sliced onions into the pot, add 2 teaspoons coarse salt and stir to combine.

Caramelized onions

Cover the pot and sweat over medium heat, which allows them to expel some of their natural water content and soften. Because of the amount of onions, sweat for 10 minutes, stirring three times.

Caramelized onions

It isn’t always necessary to cover the pot to sweat vegetables, but because of the volume of onions, it makes the process go a little faster.

Fill a measuring cup with cold water and place it next to the stovetop. Remove the cover, raise the heat to medium-high and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, to evaporate the water. This may take another 15-20 minutes. At this point the natural sugars in the onions begin to stick to the bottom of the pan creating a fond – that delicious brown caramelized sugar that gives color and flavor to food.

Caramelized onions

This happens quickly and adjusting the heat and deglazing the pan with a little cold water occasionally to dissolve the fond and incorporate it into the onions are essential to prevent burning. Once the onions are soft and golden in color, remove from the heat.

Caramelized onions

These four cups of onions are just the right amount for French Onion Soup.

Other uses for caramelized onions are omelets, mashed potatoes, topping a burger or sausage sandwich. Add a little vinegar and a pinch of sugar and make an onion jam!

Caramelized onions freeze well. Freeze in small amounts for various uses in the future.

Watch the How to Caramelize Onions Video Here

 

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How To: Caramelize Onions

It’s not a complicated process to caramelize onions, but it does require your full attention. Don’t be alarmed by the number of onions this recipe calls for, once the onions are cooked, they reduce by three quarters: 16 cups (4 pounds) of raw onion become four cups of caramelized onion! A heavy-bottomed pan is best, it holds the heat, creates a barrier from the direct flame and cooks the onions evenly. Other uses for caramelized onions are omelets, mashed potatoes, topping a burger or sausage sandwich. Add a little vinegar and a pinch of sugar and make an onion jam! Caramelized onions freeze well. Freeze in small amounts for various uses in the future.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 25 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x
  • Category: How To
  • Method: Saute
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 pounds yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 cup cold water

Instructions

  1. Heat up the pan, pour in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, slide the sliced onions into the pot, add 2 teaspoons coarse salt and stir to combine. Cover the pot and sweat over medium heat. When we sweat vegetables, it means we’re simply allowing them to expel some of their natural water content and soften. Because of the amount of onions, sweat for 10 minutes, stirring three times.
  2. It isn’t always necessary to cover the pot to sweat vegetables, but because of the volume of onions, it makes the process go a little faster.
  3. Fill a measuring cup with cold water and place it next to the stovetop. Now remove the cover, raise the heat to medium-high and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, to evaporate the water. This may take another 15-20 minutes. At this point the natural sugars in the onions begin to stick to the bottom of the pan creating a fond – that delicious brown caramelized sugar that gives color and flavor to food.
  4. This happens quickly and adjusting the heat and deglazing the pan with a little cold water occasionally to dissolve the fond and incorporate it into the onions are essential to prevent burning. Once the onions are soft and golden in color, remove from the heat.

 

Crostini

Cheesy crostini

Crostini, which means little crusts in Italian, is simply toasted slices of a baguette or other crust bread. This can be done a couple of ways: baked in the oven or placed on a hot griddle or grill to get a smoky taste and aroma.

Brushing with a little oil on the surface is optional and not necessary for this recipe since we’re topping our crostini with Gruyere cheese, which we’ll melt in the oven. Use with our French Onion Soup!

Cheesy crostini

Another way to flavor the crostini is to rub a whole clove of garlic on the toasted bread as soon as it comes out of the oven, the heat of the bread softens the sharpness of the garlic.

By cutting the crostini on an angle the shape is elongated and takes three to four bites to eat.

Cheesy crostini

For a smaller size crostini, cut straight across.

Cheesy crostini

Top with sliced cheeses or meats, roasted vegetables or a wide variety of spreads. The possibilities are endless.

Cheesy crostini

Crostini go great with cocktails and are easy to prepare. Keep them in an airtight container to prevent them from getting soft. Top just before serving to keep them crispy.

Cheesy Crostini Video.
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Cheesy Crostini

Cheesy crostini

Crostini go great with cocktails and are easy to prepare. Keep them in an airtight container to prevent them from getting soft. Top them just before serving to keep them crispy.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 30 crostini 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 baguette
  • olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Slice the baguette either on an angle or straight across into slices wide enough to hold a topping and yet thin enough not to overwhelm it.
  3. Optional: lightly brush the slices with oil.
  4. Place the slices on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
  5. Optional: rub the garlic clove over the top of each crostini.
  6. Cool.

 

How to Slice Vegetables

sliced onions

Watch our latest video on How to Slice Vegetables. It may seem pretty straight forward, but we include a couple of tips for different shapes, including a  unique one for a crudité platter. Try our recipe for Scallion Parsley Humus!

See our Knife Skills Master Playlist here.

crudite platter celery

Cutting celery and carrots is exactly what you’d think. Slice across into the thickness you want. Carrots can be sliced as whole or half coins. Learn how to make an interesting shape for larger chunks of carrot in a stew that are just a wee bit fancy!

credit carrots

How to Slice Video