What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Graze or Gobble: Pan-Fried Porgy Flatbread! Introducing another whitefish that is often overlooked. It’s pretty common in the waters around southwest Florida, making it easily accessible from local fishermen. Less expensive too, in case you’re wondering. Now what to do with it. Hmmm. To be honest, I’ve never heard of “fish pizza” before, unless you count anchovies. However, I hadn’t eaten fish tacos until I visited my friend in San Diego twenty years ago, and here we are. I thought to myself, why not put fish on flatbread to make it a pizza? Call me crazy, but it was swimmingly delicious.
PAN-FRIED PORGY FLATBREAD
8-ounces porgy fish fillet, skin and bones removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 prepared flatbread
1/4 cup pizza sauce
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
2 tablespoons red onion slices, slightly chopped
Fresh baby spinach leaves, gently torn
Preheat oven to 400°. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven while it is preheating. In a skillet, warm olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Place the porgy into the skillet. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and black pepper. Cook 2 minutes; flip and cook porgy 2 minutes longer until crisp and golden brown. Remove pan from heat and set aside. When the oven is preheated, using hot pads, transfer the pizza stone to a heatproof workstation to build the pizza. Place the flatbread onto the stone. Layer with pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese slices, and red onions. Flake the porgy fish with a fork and arrange it on the flatbread. Bake 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted. Top with gently torn baby spinach leaves. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Radish Chive Egg Salad! Meatless meals do not have to be boring, that’s for sure. I find it fun to put together interesting combinations of fresh veggies with egg salad. You can, too. If you like a hint of celery seed, think of feathery green celery leaves instead. Or if you usually add chopped shallots, what about snipped chives this time? Instead of tomatoes, add the crunch of radish slices. Bread doesn’t have to be humdrum either. Ditch the bland white open-faced for rye, pumpernickel, or honey wheat. Do you see where this is heading? Anything goes.
RADISH CHIVE EGG SALAD
6 hard-boiled eggs, shells removed and halved
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 slices honey wheat bread, toasted
12 celery leaves, washed
2 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
Chives, for garnish
Place the peeled eggs in a bowl. Roughly chop into pieces. Add mayonnaise, chopped chives, Dijon mustard, sea salt, white pepper, turmeric, and ground ginger. Mix the ingredients together until combined. Cut the toast into diagonal quarters. Arrange on a platter. Dollop a portion of the egg salad onto each piece of bread. Tuck celery leaves around egg salad. Top with thinly sliced radishes. Using a kitchen shears, snip the chives over all for garnish.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Bright Ideas: Yukon Gold Potato Medley! For my friends who like their veggies, and prefer a meatless diet, here’s a quick way to combine potatoes, carrots, and onions into a very filling meal. It has herbs to enhance flavor, and delicious butter to combat hunger pangs. Plus, butter makes everything taste drool-worthy. Amirite? Did I ever tell you, every time I refill the butter dish, if there is even a sliver of butter in the wrapper, I swipe it across my finger and slip it into my mouth? True confessions. After all, I import the butter from France, so I’m not going to waste one dab.
YUKON GOLD POTATO MEDLEY
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, skin on and quartered
16-ounce jar Pearl onions, drained
1 pound baby carrots, whole
2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon Italian herbs
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine potatoes, pearl onions, and baby carrots in a 4-quart pan. Cover with vegetable broth. Add sea salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Drain the vegetables in a colander. Warm butter in the pan over medium heat. Add turmeric, Italian herbs, black pepper, and garlic powder. Mix thoroughly. Return the potato medley to the pan. Mix well to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh celery leaves.
“Now Autumn’s fire burns slowly
along the woods and day by day
the dead leaves fall and melt.”
~ William Allingham
“A wind has blown the rain away
and blown the sky away and
all the leaves away,
and the trees stand. I think, I too,
have known autumn too long.”
~ e. e. cummings
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Pinto Bean Cottage Ham Stew! Whenever I make a main course meat, I usually have enough excess to freeze a portion or two for recipes down the road. It keeps us from growing weary of eating the same thing over and over until it’s gone. This recipe is one of those “second meals” from the cottage ham dinner recently. It can easily be substituted with ham or completely omitted for a vegetarian meal. It’s nice to have options, isn’t it?
PINTO BEAN COTTAGE HAM STEW
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, diced
6 mini carrots, sliced
15-ounce can pinto beans, with liquid
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups water or broth from cottage ham*
1 cup cottage ham, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
1-2 bay leaves
In an iron skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion, diced celery, and sliced carrots. Cook 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the pinto beans with liquid, garlic powder, marjoram, thyme, liquid smoke, and black pepper. Stir. Slowly add water and cottage ham pieces. Stir to combine. Place the bay leaves on top. Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover. Cook for 30 minutes. For a thicker stew, lightly mash some of the pinto beans. Remove bay leaves before serving.
*Broth was saved from the original preparation of the cottage ham.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Cottage Ham! I’ve made this dense cottage ham three different ways: slow-cooker, stove-top, and oven-bake. The best results came when I used the Le Creuset cast iron enameled Dutch oven.* It seemed to distribute the heat more evenly. The ham was fork-tender, moist, and juicy. Because the pan locks in the moisture, you can keep it warm in the oven until dinner time by reducing the oven temperature after the first three hours. Any leftover cooking water can be used as a soup base the following day.
2 pound smoked shoulder butt
8-10 black peppercorns
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 bay leaves
Preheat oven to 350°. Rinse cottage ham to remove excess salt. Place cottage ham in a 3.5-quart Dutch oven. Add enough water to fill 2 inches above ham. Add black peppercorns, brown sugar, and bay leaves. Cover with lid. Bake cottage ham two hours. Check water level to keep the pan from going dry. If it does, add a little more water. The absorption allows the ham to be fork-tender, not chewy. Bake one hour longer, if necessary. The ham is done when the internal temperature is 160°. Serve with potatoes and vegetables of choice.
*I receive no recompense for mentioning this product.
“Anyone who thinks fallen leaves
are dead has never watched them
dancing on a windy day.”
~ Shira Tamir
“I can smell autumn dancing in
the breeze. The sweet chill of
pumpkin, and crisp sunburnt leaves.”
~ Ann Drake