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cod with caper sauce
Grilled Cod with Caper, Green Olive Tarter Sauce

polenta salad
Polenta Salad

 baby zucchini
Stuffed Baby Zucchini (Courgette)

Menu Plan for the week of July 12, 2013: Day 1 Recipes

Grilled Cod with Caper and Green Olive Tarter Sauce
Polenta Salad
Stuffed Baby Zucchini (Courgette)

Cooking time:  40 minutes for menu, plus 10 earlier      Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

     Summer is here - We're playing with the zucchini....   Once again, lighter meals for the heat of summer.

Grilled Cod, Caper, Green Olive Tarter Sauce     Preparation, cooking time: 25 minutes
   I get a long piece of cod 'back' that is without bones and perfect for grilling.  Cut it in half for easier handling and serving.

1 - 2 filets of cod, or other thick, firm white fish, 12oz (360gr) total weight
1 tbs white Balsamic vinegar
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard 
1 tbs olive oil
2 tsp dill weed
Caper, Green Olive Tarter Sauce
8 green, pimiento stuffed olives   about 2 tbs chopped
1 tbs capers
2 tsp dill weed
3 tbs Greek or plain yogurt or all mayonnaise
1 tbs mayonnaise
2 tsp lemon juice

Cod: In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, mustard, oil and 2 tsp dill weed.  Spoon over the cod.  Cook on barbecue grill, covered or partially covered, 14 - 18 minutes, without turning.
OR put on baking sheet and roast in 400 F oven for 15 - 20 minutes, depending on thickness. It will be opaque and flake easily with fork when done. 
Transfer to a small platter and serve, Caper, Green Olive Tarter Sauce on the side.
Caper, Green Olive Tarter Sauce:  Chop olives.  Put all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.

Polenta Salad                                    Preparation and cooking time:  10 minutes plus 10 minutes
   The cooking time assumes quick-cooking polenta.  This idea came from the recipe for Italian Bread Salad.  We so rarely have the type of bread needed for the salad (leftover) I decided to come up with my own version using polenta cubes.  I used a combination of Greek and green olives, but any will work.  Use your favorites.

1 cup (8oz, 240l) chicken stock
1/4 cup plus 1  1/2 tsp quick-cooking polenta
8 dry-cured, Greek olives
8 green olives
10 cherry tomatoes
8 - 10 small mozzarella balls, half or a package   they're about the size of the tomatoes  Keep any left in the liquid. You could use half of a larger, whole mozzarella, roughly chopped.
1 tbs fresh snipped chives
2 tbs fresh snipped basil
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
2 tbs plus 1 tsp salad olive oil

Polenta: Bring stock to boil in a small saucepan.  Add polenta, whisking constantly - or it will have little volcanic eruptions spewing polenta all over your stove.  Turn heat down and cook about 5 minutes (or whatever your package tells you), stirring constantly.  When done remove from heat and pour into a small pan or baking dish lined with lightly oiled plastic wrap (cling film, saran wrap...).  You want the polenta to have a flat surface and be 1/2 - 3/4 inch (1.5 - 2cm) thick.  I use a small, flat skillet with straight (vertical) sides. Smooth the top as flat as you can, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Can be made hours ahead, in the morning or the evening before. 
Salad:  Cut cherry tomatoes, olives and mozzarella balls in half and put into a salad bowl.  Snip chives and cut large basil leaves in half; leave small ones whole.  Add herbs to bowl.  Whisk together 1 tbs vinegar and 2 tbs oil.  Add to bowl and stir to combine.  Cut polenta into 1" (2.5cm) squares or chunks.  Heat 1 tsp oil in a nonstick skillet.  Add polenta and fry until golden on both sides.  Add polenta to bowl, mix gently and serve.

Note:  Polenta can vary between brands and types.
When making polenta for cooling and cooking again, either frying or on the grill, it's important to get it very stiff. It should be hard to stir, and hold any shape you put it it when you are done cooking it - before chilling it.  If it isn't stiff enough, sprinkle another 1 - 2 tsp polenta per 1/4 cup on the cooked polenta and stir in, vigorously.  When cool it should be very firm.
Note 2:  Polenta can be cooled quickly by setting the metal or heat-proof pan in a bit of cold water to start, then putting it in the fridge or freezer. If cooling quickly, don't cover.

Stuffed Baby Zucchini (Courgette)              Preparation and cooking time: 40 minutes
   I used 2 small yellow squash for these, about 6" (15cm) long but only an inch (2.5cm) in diameter.  No need to be precise.  The ham helps hold the stuffing in place.

2 small yellow squash or zucchini (courgette)
4 tbs finely chopped tomato
2 tbs finely chopped red onion
2 tbs shredded Parmesan
4 tsp fresh basil, snipped
2 slices Prosciutto or other dry-cured ham
4 cherry tomatoes for garnish

Cut each squash in half the long way.  Using the tip of a small spoon, scrape out the seeds and a bit of flesh, leaving about 1/4" (.5cm) all around.  Divide and spread the onion, then tomato, basil and cheese into each of the halves.
Cut the Prosciutto in half the long way.  Wrap each half slice diagonally around a squash half, tucking the ends under the squash.  Place on a baking sheet and bake, 400F (200C) for 25 minutes.
To Serve:  Cut cherry tomatoes in half.  Remove Stuffed Zucchini, arrange on plates, garnish with tomatoes and serve.

Cooking Schedule: 40 minutes plus 10 earlier
Assemble all food, utensils and serving dishes
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
scissors, small saucepan, flat pan/dish for cooling
polenta, medium nonstick skillet, baking sheet,
barbecue grill and basket or mat or baking sheet
Line/oil dish for cooling polenta
Make polenta
Pour polenta into dish to cool
Turn oven on, 400F (200C)
Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds
Finely chop onion, tomato
Snip all herbs, divide for squash / polenta
Shred cheese if needed
Slice Prosciutto in half

Stuff squash, wrap in ham, bake
Turn on/light barbecue grill
Chop olives
Make Olive Caper Sauce
Mix vinegar, mustard, oil, dill, spoon on fish
Prepare fish basket or mat, cook fish
Cut polenta into cubes
Sauté polenta
Cut cherry tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, put in bowl
Add herbs to bowl
Whisk oil and vinegar, add to bowl
Turn polenta
When squash are done, remove
Finish Polenta Salad
Remove fish
Plate fish, add dollop Caper Olive Tarter Sauce

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