This week I have the extraordinary opportunity to be a participant in the Marx Foods 4th Annual Blogger Morel Recipe Challenge. This is an annual contest open to bloggers like me or, to coin a phrase, “morelnauts”, to help celebrate the Morel mushroom, which comes into season in a few short weeks. I simply offered up my interest, and was dutifully accepted! So, having received my free sample of dried morels, it was time to suit up.
My first thought, after consulting with my wife, was to make a fresh ramp and morel quiche, but I really wanted to put some sizzle into my entry. So after pondering it for a bit, I thought, ”Fortune favors the audacious”, I instantly said, SOUFFLÉ! Problem number 1; I had never made a soufflé before! I had all the flavor affinities in my head, the eggs, the morels, the ramps, the goat cheese. I just needed to learn how to make the vehicle! So on Saturday, I went about my research and even took a test drive and made a Mexican Chocolate Soufflé! I soon learned that a savory soufflé is nothing more than an enriched bechamel sauce with some egg whites folded in! I can make a bechamel with my eyes shut, so this should be fun!
Morels have a unique earthy flavor and a musty aroma that pairs quite well with the pungent, garlicky-onion flavor of the fresh ramps. They are both at their prime in the spring, so why not use them together! I was able to find some fresh ramps at a local purveyor this weekend, and I thought why not deepen that earthy flavor with the deep smoky flavor of the poblano chile and toss in some rich, tangy goat cheese. Finally I added a bit of freshness with the chopped cilantro plus, I cannot be too far away from my Mexican flavors!
Well, here it is, my entry into the Marx Foods 4th Annual Blogger Morel Recipe Challenge! Enjoy…
The lucious Morel Soufflé
Morel, Wild Ramp, Poblano & Goat Cheese Soufflé
- 2 oz. dried morels
- 2 chile poblanos
- 4 oz. fresh ramps
- 2 oz. fresh goat cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 egg whites
- Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.
- Take 4 – 8 oz. souflee cups and grease with some butter.
- Soak the mushrooms in hot water for about 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, drain and dry very well with some paper towels.
- Roast the Poblanos in the oven, then peel, remove the seeds and de-vein. Chop to a nice dice and set aside.
- Wash the fresh ramps and remove the roots and the greens
- In a food processor, place the morels and the ramps and pulse several times to a nice coarse chop.
- In a medium sautee pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Then saute the ramps and morels for about 3-4 minutes, ensuring that any liquid is cooked off.
- Add the chopped poblanos and the dried thyme and continue to sautee for another 2 minutes to incorporate all the flavors. Then set aside.
- For the bechamel, heat 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Once the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk until smooth. Continue to cook until the mixture has a slightly golden color and smells a bit nutty, about 3 minutes.
- Take the milk and add it a bit at a time, continuously whisking as you add the milk. I usually add it in 1/4 cup portions. Make sure to whisk out any lumps!
- Once all the milk is added, add the goat cheese and season the bechamel with white pepper and salt.
- Now, incorporate the mushroom, ramp, and poblano sautee, and the chopped cilantro, mix well.
- Remove the sauce from the heat.
- Separate your yolks and whites, whisk the egg yolks until they are a pale yellow.
- Take about a large spoonful of the bechamel and temper the yolks so they do not cook once you add them to the bechamel.
- Once they have been tempered, add them to the bechamel and mix well. Cover the pan with some plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the sauce.
- Take the egg whites and whisk until the have hard peaks (I take the bowl and invert it over my head, if they do not fall out and hit me, the whites are ready!) TIP: For greater lift make sure you use egg whites that are at ROOM TEMPERATURE!
- Now fold the whites into the sauce in 3 different stages. Simply divide the whites into thirds and fold each section separately.
- Take your greased souflee cups and spoon the sauce into each one a little more than 3/4 of the way up each one.
- Place in the center of your oven and bake for about 20 minutes.
- Quick!!! Serve immediately before they deflate!
If you ever get to travel to Mexico’s Gulf Coast, you will find that Mexicans really know their fish; it’s not all just about tacos and Ceviche!
I had some fresh Haddock filets that I wanted to cook and my family does not particularly like the standard approach New Englanders take to their seafood; often deep-fried in heavy breading, or baked, drowned in butter and topped with crackers. Sometimes, there is nothing better than whipping up some beer-batter, deep-fry those filets, and have yourself some luscious Baja Fish Tacos, but were looking for something a bit more healthy! As I went through the recipe Rolodex in my head, I remembered a recipe that I once read in Diana Kennedy’s The Essential Cusines of Mexico for Pescado en Cilantro. In her version she uses snapper, but I had no access to fresh snapper, so I improvised and used the haddock instead!
What I really like about this dish is the sauce. The chile, onion, and cilantro flavors combined with the fiery juice from the can of chiles make for a unique combination. To accompany this dish, I decided on using my go-to recipe of Saffron Rice. I just love the flavor of saffron with seafood.
You can go about the preperation two different ways. You can make the sauce and add the sauce to the casserole dish halfway through cooking, or you can simply drizzle it on the fish once you plate. I, out of sheer forgetfulleness (I wanted to cook the fish in the sauce to add the flavors of the fish and lime), ended up drizzling the sauce around the rice. It all turned out well in the end, the acidity and heat of the cilantro sauce complimented well with the fish and rice. After all, the taste of the sea, the chiles, cilantro, and saffron seem to be a match hard to beat!
Bacalao en Cilantro
(Baked Haddock in a cilantro sauce)
- 2-3 pounds haddock or cod, cut into 6 ounce portions.
- 1 onion, sliced
- 3 Jalepeños em escabeche
- 1 cup of cilantro, packed
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- 3 tablespoons juice from the chile can
- 8 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Cut the fish into 6 ounce portions
- Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a saute pan and saute the onions over medium high heat for about 5-6 minutes.
- In a casserole dish pour the lime juice and lay down half the onions.
- Season the fish with salt and pepper and place the fish on the bed of lime juice and onions, drizzle 2 tablespoons of oilve oil and place the rest of the onions on the fish
- Cover with foil and bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
- Take a clove of garlic, the jalepeños, the juice from the chile can and the cilantro and place into a 3 cup food processor, drizzle in the remaining olive oil with the motor running.
- When the fish is cooked, serve by laying down the saffron rice, top the rice with onions and a piece of the fish. At this point you can drizzle on the sauce or spoon it along the circumference of the rice. Top with chopped cilantro and serve!
Bacalao con Cilantro
- 1 1/2 cups white jasmine or basmati rice
- 1/4 white onion diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/4 teaspoon Saffron threads
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Place the water, saffron, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then turn off to let the saffron steep.
- Heat oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
- Add onion, rice, and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes
- Add the saffron mixture and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until water is absorbed and rice is tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
- Let rice stand, covered, off heat 5 minutes
- Fluff with a fork and serve with your fish!
Cilantro Pesto Cruster Turkey Tenderloins
This recipe evolved from the simple boredom of having the same meal once a week. Normally, with turkey tenderloins, I simply pound them flat, give them a quick soak in some sort of marinade, and throw them on the grill. This go around, I wanted to do something different and a bit more flavorful. Looking through a list of recipes, I was intrigued by one recipe that I found that encrusted the tenderloins in a sage pesto using walnuts. Inspired by this recipe I decided to put my own MexItalian spin on it!
I have taken turkey tenderloins and baked them with a coating of cilantro pesto. I just love how the fresh, almost floral flavors of the cilantro combine with the garlic and citrus to add complexity to the turkey. The pesto also gives the added benefit of keeping the turkey moist during the roasting process. This recipe is kid tested and approved! My daughter, on first sight, did not want anything to do with green colored turkey. Upon tasting it, she proudly exclaimed “Whoa!”… That sure sounded like a seal of approval!
Cilantro Pesto Crusted Turkey Tenderloins
- 2 turkey tenderloins, about 1 pound each
- 8 medium red potatoes, quartered
- 1/2 of a white onion, sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 8-10 nopales paddles, cleaned and diced (optional but recommended!)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a mixing bowl combine the potatoes, onion, garlic, nopales, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
- Prepare the cilantro pesto (Follow the recipe for the cilantro pesto below!).
- Spread the pesto all over the tenderloins and place in a roasting pan.
- Spread the potatoes, nopales, and onions in the same pan around the turkey.
- Roast for 40 minutes, or until the tenderloins reach a internal temperature of 165F. Let the tenderloins rest for 5-10 minutes prior to serving. Serve with the potatoes and nopales and a glass of Pinot Noir!
1 bunch or 2 cups of fresh cilantro (washed well and dried well!)
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Put the pine nuts and the garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times.
Add the cilantro, lime juice and slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the cotija cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Everyone in the blogosphere was posting their Super Bowl recipes this past week. Since it was my birthday on Super Bowl Sunday, although I had not planned on cooking anything, it came around to sunday afternoon and I could not think of a better way to spend my birthday than cooking one of my all-time favorite recipes for my family.
Chipotle Wings with Cilantro-Lime Tzaziki
This is my take on chicken wings. There are two rules when it comes to chicken wings for me. The golden rules are as follows: #1 Always use fresh chicken wings and #2 Never fry chicken wings. The opinions I have in this respect are mine alone, but I do not like chicken wings when they are fried, this is the easy way out when it comes to flavor. Anyone can fry a chicken wing. It is also imperative to use only fresh chicken wings, you’ll never get the dreaded “black bone”. This happens when you use frozen wings, so the next time you are in a restaurant and order chicken wings, check the bones, if they are black, then they have used frozen chicken wings!
Following these simple rules, I oven bake them and I always use fresh chicken wings. Usually, I make three different sauces for my wings. I make a Honey BBQ for my daughter, my famous (at least famous in my family) Chipotle sauce, and a simple Sriracha sauce that is my personal favorite. I almost always serve my wings with a Cilantro-Lime Tzatziki. Its a flavor affinity for the chipotle wings and is also a fresh, light alternative to blue cheese dressing. These recipes are a bit approximate, I have never written this one down until now, so you may need to adjust for your personal tastes!
Chipotle Wings still steaming!
- 2-4 lbs. of Fresh Chicken Wings
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- DelGrosso All-Purpose Rub (See below for recipe)
- Cut chicken wings at the joint to the upper wing and the lower wing section and at the wingtip joint. Reserve wing tip for stocks and toss the forearm and upper wing in a colander.
- Wash wings well, drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the olive oil and toss well.
- Add the rub and mix well with hands, making sure all the wings a well coated with seasoning.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place in a square roasting pan and cover with foil. What I usually do is place each wing next to each other, in this step it does not matter if they are touching, we are going to essentially steam the wings in this step (it makes them fall off the bone tender!)
- Cook for 35 minutes.
- Transfer the wings to a baking sheet lined with foil to prevent smoking. Set the oven to 500F and broil. Put the top rack of the oven on the second tier (about 6-8 inches from burner).
- Broil the wings for 10 minutes, then flip the wings and broil another 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and toss with sauce in a large mixing bowl.
- 1 Can of La Costeña Chipotles in Adobo
- 1 Clove Garlic, peeled
- 1 slice of onion (cut the onion in half and take 1 layer from onion)
- 1 cup of tomato puree
- Juice of half of a lime
- ½ cup water of chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- In a blender add the chipotles, garlic, onion, and tomato puree and liquid (water or stock).
- Puree mixture in blender until smooth.
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Then force puree through a medium mesh sieve and then add the salt.
- Cook on low for about 15 minutes or until it reduces to a nice creamy consistency.
NOTE: This sauce is a bit on the HOT side of the heat index. So if it is too hot for you, you can add more tomato puree until it mellows out.
Sriracha Wing Sauce
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat then add the Sriracha and reduce to low. Simmer on low for 5 minutes.
- Squeeze in the lemon juice for balance.
DelGrosso All-Purpose Rub
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground chipotle chili powder
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to mix or place in a jar, cover it, and shake to mix. Store the rub in an airtight jar away from heat and light.
Super Bowl Chipotle Wings