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Fava salad
Warm Fava Beans, Green Garlic, Bacon on Polenta

sole with capers
Sautéed Sole with Browned Butter and Capers

barley fets
Barley with Feta and
Greek Olives

asparagus lemon
Asparagus with Lemon Sauce

Menu Plan for the week of March 29, 2013: Friday's Recipes

Warm Fava Beans and Green Garlic on Polenta
Sautéed Sole with Browned Butter and Capers
Barley with Feta and Black Olives
Asparagus with Lemon Sauce

Cooking time:  40 minutes for menu          Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

   When peeling the favas, if the outer skin is tough pierce it with a fingernail. It's a fine line between blanching long enough to peel easily and not so long as to get the bean mushy. As we're not using the oven for anything else, cook the fish before having the starter and keep warm in a barely warm oven.

Warm Fava Beans, Green Garlic and Bacon on Polenta             Time:    30 minutes
    Fava beans are one of the first spring vegetables to appear at the local markets.  They are a bit of work to prepare, but not at all difficult, much like fresh peas.  If you can't get them substitute edamame or white kidney beans.

3/4 cup peeled fava beans
4 slices streaky bacon
8 green garlic  substitute 4 green onion and 2 cloves garlic
2 tbs polenta
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) chicken stock
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbs truffle oil

Peel fava beans:  Break open the pod and take the beans out. Don't bother with any really tiny ones. Blanch in rapidly boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and put into cold water.
After blanching they will have a whitish outer shell. Just squeeze lightly and the inner, bright green bean will pop out. It may split in half... that's okay.
Make polenta: Heat chicken stock in a small saucepan until simmering. Add polenta, stirring constantly until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover to keep warm.
The rest:  Trim green garlic and slice, using as much of the green tops as reasonable or trim and slice green onion and mince garlic.  Cut bacon into small pieces.  Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a medium skillet.  Add the bacon and fry until light brown and crisp.  Drain off all but 2 tsp fat.  Add the green garlic (or onion and garlic) and stir-fry 1 minute.  Add the fava beans and heat through.
To finish:  Spoon polenta into 2 flattish  soup plates.  Spoon fava and green garlic on top, drizzle with truffle oil and serve.

Sautéed Sole with Browned Butter and Capers                         Time: 10 minutes
Sole is a delicate fish with a mild flavor that pairs well with lemon and capers.  It's normally served with the tail and bones intact: just skinned and cleaned but not filleted. They cook very fast and if you are not careful when you take them by the tail to turn them over the skeleton will come away in your hand.  The flesh comes away easily with a fork to eat.  Or, even better, buy them skinned and filleted.

2 whole sole or 4 filets, 10oz (300gr) total   ask your fishmonger to clean and skin them
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp paprika
4 tbs butter
1/4 cup capers
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tbs white wine
1 lemon, quartered

Put the flour and paprika on a plate large enough for the fish to fit.  Mix with a fork until combined.  Over medium-high heat melt the butter in a nonstick skillet large enough to hold both fish.  Rinse fish and pat dry.  When butter is sizzling dip both sides of fish (hold it by the tail) in flour and add to pan.  Sauté 1 - 2 minutes on each side depending on size of fish.   When lightly browned and done remove to plates.  Add capers, wine and lemon juice to skillet.  Quickly stir, loosening and browned bits.  Pour over each fish.  Serve with 2 lemon quarters to squeeze over top.

Note 1:  You can cook them slightly underdone, to this point, then put them on a platter, cover them loosely with foil and put in a 200F (100C) oven to keep warm.

Note 2: If you get sole filets, they will cook even faster.  Use a long spatula to turn them carefully.

Barley with Feta, Greek Olives and Browned Shallots                    Time:    25 minutes
     Barley is a healthy alternative to rice.  With the feta, shallots and olives, this is a flavorful side dish.

1/2 cup quick-cooking barley
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken broth
2 shallots
2oz (60gr) feta cheese
1/4 cup Greek, dry-cured black olives
2 tsp olive oil

Cook barley in stock until tender and stock is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
While it cooks: Slice shallots. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots and sauté until tender and starting to brown.  Reduce heat and let brown slowly until barley is done.  Cut feta into small cubes.  Pit and chop olives.  When barley is done, add shallots, feta and olives.  Stir well to combine and serve.

Asparagus with Lemon Sauce                           Preparation and cooking time: 15 minutes
     The Lemon Sauce is surprisingly similar in taste and consistency to Hollandaise.... Needless to say, much lower in fat and calories.   Lay white asparagus on the counter while peeling to prevent them from breaking. 

10oz (300gr) asparagus, green or white
Lemon Sauce

Snap off ends of asparagus. If white use vegetable peeler and peel the bottom half of stalk. Put into a skillet big enough to hold them without cutting, add water to cover bottom by 1/4 inch, cover and bring to boil. Lower heat and cook just until done, 6 - 8 minutes, longer for white. When done drain and put into a serving dish, drizzle with Lemon Sauce and serve, hot or cold.

Lemon Sauce

3 tbs plain yogurt
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 tbs good olive oil

Whisk together yogurt, lemon juice and mustard. Drizzle in oil, whisking. 

Cooking Schedule: 40 minutes for menu
Assemble all ingredients and utensils
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
medium saucepan, strainer, bowl, small skillet,
(used 2X), medium skillet, lid, large skillet, 2 small
saucepans, one lid, oven-proof platter, plate

Remove fava beans from pods
Heat water in medium saucepan over high heat
Slice shallots, sauté in small skillet
Trim, cut green garlic or green onion / garlic
Trim asparagus, peel if needed
Put asparagus in skillet with water, set aside
Combine flour, paprika on plate
Squeeze lemon for juice, quarter lemon for serving
Blanch fava beans
Mind the shallots
Peel fava beans
Turn oven on, 200F (100C)
Remove shallots, keep warm
Heat stock for polenta
Make lemon sauce
Add polenta to stock, stir

Cube feta if needed
Cut black olives
Cut bacon, sauté bacon in small skillet
Prepare fish, dip in flour, set to side of plate
Start to cook asparagus
Drain bacon, add green garlic, stir-fry
Add fava beans, remove from heat
Cook barley
Heat oil for fish, add fish, fry
Turn fish
Remove fish to platter
Add capers, lemon, wine to skillet, stir
Pour over fish, put fish in oven to keep warm
Spoon polenta into plates, spoon fava beans on top
Turn off asparagus, remove from heat
Serve Fava Beans, relax, enjoy
Add shallots, olives to barley, stir well
Add feta to barley, stir gently
Remove asparagus to plate, spoon lemon sauce over
Remove fish

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