Well, my food photos for ths one really did not turn out well. So disappointing, as I had such high hopes for this, too! This is my Royal Foodie Joust entry for May! This month's Royal Foodie Joust, presided over as always by The Leftover Queen has been quite a challenge.
Rather than specific ingredients, tThe theme for this month's joust is Red, White, and Green. When I heard it, I instantly imagined snowy white fish filets wrapped up in ruby-veined chard. I guess there must be some slavic or scandinavian blood in this here Indian, because I am just crazy about beets and chard. Chard is actually a variety of beet that is raised for its leaves and yummy stems. Every spring I just seem to crave beets in all guises. I decided it would be colorful and fun to add some beet slices and a garlicky crabmeat stuffing to the chard packets as well.
I am quite fond of chard, even though it's a bit of a pain to wash and chop. It's really important to wash it well, as it is very sandy. I always drop the leaves into a sinkful of lukewarm water and let soak for 3-4 minutes, long enough for the dirt to sink to the bottom.
Then carefully lift the leaves out of the water. Wow, just look at all the sand that got left behind!
Here's my original recipe for
Stuffed Sea Bass Wrapped In Chard Leaves
with Pomegranate-Hazelnut Vinaigrette
with Pomegranate-Hazelnut Vinaigrette
8 large Swiss Chard leaves, preferably ruby or rainbow chard
4 6 oz. sea bass filets
1 med. beet
8 T softened boursin cheese
zest of 1 lemon
1/8 c. fresh basil leaves
1 lg. shallot
4 0z. "crabmeat" (I used the fake crab flakes)
2 T freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
1/2 t. Cholula or other hot sauce
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the vinaigrette:
1/2 c. pure pomegranate juice, such as Pom Wonderful
juice of 1 fresh lime
1 T red wine vinegar
2 T fresh basil leaves, preferably purple basil
4 T extra virgin olive oil
4 T walnut oil Salt and pepper to taste
2 T. chopped toasted hazlenuts
First, roast the beet. Preheat the oven to 400F. Trim away any leaves, leaving 1" of stem, and wash the beet well. Rub with some vegetable oil and add salt and pepper.
Wrap in foil and place on a baking sheet.
Bake for 30-35 min., or until the beet is easily pierced by a knife. When cool, remove from the foil and remove the beet skin gently with your fingers. Slice into paper-thin slices. (I used my food processor, fitted with the 2mm blade.)
To prepare the chard leaves for stuffing, remove the stems and reserve for another use. Dip the chard leaves in boiling water for 5-10 second to blanch, and drop into an ice water bath.
Dry on kitchen towels. With a sharp paring knife, carefull pare down the thick ribs on the back side of the chard leaves so the leaves are of even thickness.
Spread the leaves out and set aside.
To prepare the stuffing, place the boursin cheese, the lemon zest, the shallot (chopped), the basil leaves, hot sauce, cayenne, parmigiano-reggiano and the crab meat in bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until smooth, and add salt and pepper to taste.
My fininshed stuffing:
To prep the fillets: Preheat the oven to 400F. Spread the 4 filets on a work surface.
Season them on both sides with salt and pepper. Cover 2 of the filets with beet slices. Then add a generous layer of stuffing, and top the stuffing with more beet slices.
Top with the remaining fish filets.
Cut each of the two stuffed filets in half cross-wise, to make 4 stuffed pieces.
Lay 2 chard leaves on the work surface to form an X. Place one of the stuffed filets on top of the chard leaves, and wrap tightly in the leaves.
Repeat with the remaining filets.
Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 T olive oil. Add the chard packets and sear for 1 minute. Then place the skillet in the oven and roast the chard packets for 12-16 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the pomegranate vinagrette. Place the pomegranate juice, the lime juice, the basil, the red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor. Turn on the machine and add the walnut and olive oils slowly. Taste and correct seasoning as needed.
When the chard packets are done, serve drizzled with the pomegranate vinaigrette and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.
To go with the fish packets, I made braised new potatoes and an old family favorite, that sounds weird but is quite delicious. I find myself craving it every spring: Balsamic Beet and Apple Puree.
It's an old standy-by from The Silver Palate that is really simple to make. For 3 servings. roast 2 medium or 1 large beet in foil at 400F, as descibed above, until very tender. Let cool, peel, and cut into several pieces. Meanwhile, chop one yellow onion and saute slowly in 2-3 T of butter with salt, pepper, and 1 T. of sugar. Add 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped, and saute until the onions and apples are very tender. Add 1-2 T balsamic vinegar. Puree the beet with the apple and onion mixture in the food processor.
We really enjoyed this meal, even if the entree didn't turn out to be as photogenic as I had hoped. It is actually pretty simple to prepare, and goes together quite quickly, once the beets are roasted. The pomegranate vinagrette and chopped hazelnuts added just the perfect tart, tangy and rich touch to the fiinshed dish. It was delicious!
I think this vinaigrette is one of the best uses I've found thus far for the case of Pom Wonderful that the company generously sent me. I will be experimenting with it more this week, now that we are mostly settled into the new house. (Not that there isn't still plenty of unpacking to do, LOL!!)
Happy Spring, All!
Just found out about a great APRON giveaway!! A Wrestling Addicted Mommy is giving away a Carolyn's kitchen hot pink sweetheart apron, deadline is May 5!
Get the details here. As you all know, I am wild for vintage aprons, and Carolyn's Kitchen's aprons are sizzlin'! So don't miss Wrestling Mommy's giveaway!
Yours in culinary love,