Friday, May 18, 2012

Zesty Lime Grilled Sweet Potatoes and Garlic Lemon Aioli

Picture via Bobby Flay's recipe on Food Network
This blog post is all about side dishes and sauces – two of my favorite things. Last night I was on my fish kick again, but really didn’t feel like cooking up a big meal because it’s been a very long week. So I picked up some tilapia stuffed with crab and lobster meat as the entrée and figured I would go homemade with my sides and sauce. I will always find an excuse to grill when it is nice outside, so I started thinking about what I could make that was healthy and delicious. That led me to grilled sweet potatoes and my favorite garlic lemon aioli.

Needless to say.. it was a crowd pleaser. As with most of my recipes, it was the perfect Thursday night meal because it took only 40 minutes to make, was healthy, and tasted amazing! My boyfriend was a little upset when he found out I hadn’t slaved over the hot stove all night making the stuffed tilapia by hand, but I think I made up for it with the rest of the meal.
I loved the acidity from the lime zest and the kick from the cayenne pepper. You could also add some cilantro, but I happen to hate cilantro so I decided against it.  The aioli is one of my favorite recipes in my arsenal. It is SUPER easy to whip up and can be used as a sauce, sandwich spread or as a dip for veggies (see brussel sprouts recipe).
If you live in the Northeast, it is supposed to be a beautiful weekend, so fire up the grill and try these sweet potatoes.
Zesty Lime Grilled Sweet Potatoes
Serves 3

3 sweet potatoes, unpeeled
Kosher Salt
Zest of 3 limes
Pinch (or two) of cayenne pepper
¼ cup vegetable oil
Freshly ground pepper
Juice from 2 limes
  1. Parcook the potatoes: Place in a pot of water and boil until fork-tender. Let cool. Slice each potato lengthwise into eighths.
  2. Preheat your grill to medium/medium high.
  3. Mix 1 tablespoon salt, lime zest and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Brush the potato wedges with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until golden brown on all sides (including the skin) about 2 minutes per side.
  5. Transfer to a platter, brush lightly with oil again and sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potatoes. Juice the lime over the potatoes and serve.
Garlic Lemon Aioli

¾ cup of greek yogurt (or mayonnaise)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of half a lemon
Zosher Salt
Fresh ground pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for a half hour.
  3. Serve in a side dish or on top of your meat or fish.
** Yes, it really is that easy!**

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Grilled Pacific Cod with Bacon Vinaigrette, Red Mashed Potatoes & Sautéed Butter-Thyme Mushrooms

I am trying to incorporate fish into my diet more often as it is so healthy, but I just haven’t been able to find many recipes that intrigued me … until now. This recipe (adapted from I Can Cook That) achieved my ultimate goal of eating healthy while having a satisfying and filling meal. The bacon vinaigrette had the perfect kick to it that went well with the fish as well as the potatoes and mushrooms. Being Irish, I can find a way to incorporate mashed potatoes into any meal, so that was added goodness to the meal. The mushrooms added meatiness to the meal that the fish lacked and absorbed the flavors of the shallots and thyme perfectly to give an earthy balance.
The original recipe called for Striped Bass, but they didn’t have it at my local Wegman’s (which is surprising considering it is native to New Jersey waters). Instead I used a Pacific Cod since it has a mild flavor and I thought this would be better for my carnivorous family’s introduction to fish.
I must say this was a complicated recipe – not because it was particularly hard or time consuming – but because it required serious multitasking. If you have a night where you can pour yourself a glass of white wine, put on good music and get down to cooking a great meal then this is the recipe for you!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Serves 4

1.5 lbs of pacific cod (or 4 individual fillets)
salt, divided
freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 package center-cut bacon
3 large shallots, finely chopped and divided
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 large red potatoes
2 garlic cloves, halved
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 (8-ounce) packages pre-sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  1. Begin preparing your mashed potatoes. Peel the majority of the skin off each potato and slice into quarters. Boil the water. Place peeled potatoes into the boiling water, turn the temperature down to low and cover the potatoes for 30 minutes until they are fork tender.
  2. Chop the shallots and fresh thyme. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2/3 of the chopped shallots to the pan. Cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Add your mushrooms and a ½ teaspoon of salt to the sauté pan stirring occasionally. Cook the mushrooms for about 13 minutes or until they are lightly browned and the majority of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. While waiting for your mushrooms to brown, start heating up another sauté pan and cook the bacon until it is crispy. Set aside in a paper towel for a few minutes and then crumble the bacon into small pieces for your vinaigrette. Make sure to save some of the bacon grease drippings for your vinaigrette (about 2 tablespoons).
  5. Return your crumbled bacon and the remaining 1/3 shallots back to your bacon sauté pan. Add the bacon grease and cook together for 2 minutes.
  6. Remove bacon sauté pan from the heat and start adding your vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar and black pepper. Stir frequently so the ingredients blend very well together. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the vinaigrette and let it emulsify. Taste the mixture to see if there is any ingredient you should add more to for the desired taste.
  7. Return to the mushrooms and add the ½ cup of dry white wine to the mixture. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the wine has mostly evaporated. Stir in the thyme.
  8. At this point your potatoes should be fork tender. Dump out the water and return the potatoes back to the pot. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and the milk to the potatoes. Mash until they have a smooth texture adding more butter or milk if needed.
  9. Last but not least, the fish. Salt and pepper the fillets and add cooking spray to a grilling pan. Lay the fillets skin side up onto the grilling pan, and flip after 4 minutes. The fish should take a total of 8 minutes (4 minutes each side) to cook perfectly.
  10. Finally, it is time to eat! Add the fish, mushrooms and potatoes to your plate. Drizzle the fish and the mashed potatoes with the bacon vinaigrette.