I had a chance to try two recipes from Kathleen Flinn’s book last night. I made Fish en papillote (baked in paper) and a simple Alfredo Sauce with linguine. Sounds fancy right? Well it was so easy. Both recipes were described in her book and used during her lessons. I made a mental note when I read the book to try these out. I’m so glad I did.
It was late when I started preparing this meal and the kids were all skeptical. Especially Sean, he is my pickiest eater right now. They all go through phases, but he seems to be going for a record. He wanted to make is own dinner, but we told him that he would enjoy this and just to wait and see.
I used frozen salmon fillets that were defrosted, some rosemary for the fresh herb, lemon slices and some onions and zucchini. The prep for the fish took 10 minutes Â and it cooked in 15 minutes. The fish was delicious. I don’t think I’ll cook it any other way from now on. The other week I cooked this same fish and it tasted fishy and dry. Cooking it in the paper with the lemon, herbs and vegetables kept it moist and tender.
After I had the fish in the oven I focused on the sauce. I couldn’t believe the ingredients were so simple. I’ve Â never made my own Alfredo sauce before. I’ve always relied on the store-bought version. Â As recommended by Flinn, I used fresh grated parmesean cheese in the sauce and that made all the difference.Â Â I have always used the inexpensive, powderyÂ parmeseanÂ cheese in the can that you find in the centerÂ aislesÂ of the grocery store. I actually have never purchased a fresh block of parmesean cheese before. This sauce was sweet, creamy and full of flavor.
Wanna know what the kid’s verdict was? They loved it! They had white sauce all over their happy faces and I only heard good things about the food. That sure feels good. I don’t know how many times I’ve made dinner only to be disappointed by the kid’s reaction. It’s nice to spend the time cooking, enjoy the food myself and make others happy.
I highlyÂ recommendÂ these recipes. Try them and let me know what you think!
Fish en papillote
2 (10 x 12) inch pieces of parchment
2 (4 oz.) piece of fish or thinly sliced chicken breast
1 Â½ tablespoons olive oil
Few sprigs of fresh herbs (dill, basil, thyme, rosemary) or a Â½ teaspoon dried
Splash of white wine or water
Few thin lemon slices
Pinch of cayenne
Optional: About Â½ cup of vegetable for flavor and garnish: shallots, onion, garlic, zucchini, carrot, broccoli, fennel, mushrooms, etc. each finely chopped or sliced
Basic Alfredo Sauce
This is a great way to use up leftovers such as shredded chicken, cooked shrimp, grilled
vegetables, and so on. Just toss them in near the end of cooking. Use cream, not milk. Start
cooking the pasta before you begin the sauce. As an easy shortcut, toss chopped vegetables
such as broccoli, asparagus, peas, artichokes, and the like into the pasta water to cook
them briefly; frozen vegetables work well. Add cooked chicken, vegetables, diced ham,
cooked shrimp and whatever you have on hand with the pasta and heat through.
Makes 3 to 4 servings
2 cups heavy cream (2 tablespoons reserved)
Â½ teaspoon salt
Â½ cup grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces cooked pasta
Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Carefully reserve one cup of the pasta water to use in
the sauce. Over medium-high heat, add all but 2 tablespoons of the cream to a sautÃ© pan or skillet. When
it bubbles, add the salt. Small bubbles will erupt into larger bubbles. Stir. When the sauce thickens enough
to cover the back of a spoon or leaves a clean line in the bottom of the pan when you pull a spatula across
it, add the pasta water. Cook over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, until it bubbles again and the
sauce thickens. Add in the reserved 2 tablespoons of cream, heat through, and then add the cheese, garlic
(if using), and a few cranks of pepper. Taste, and add more salt if needed. Add in the cooked pasta, any
additional ingredients and stir well to coat.
(recipe credit: Kathleen Flinn,Â The Kitchen Counter CookingÂ School)