Asparagus and Mushroom Salad with Parmesan Crisps

Asparagus and Mushroom Salad with Parmesan Crisps features salty, crunchy crisps with a fresh vegetables coated in a citrusy vinaigrette. In order to create substantial asparagus quarters you will need to find medium to large sprouts. Alternatively, the thinnest asparagus can be used as is.

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Asparagus and Mushroom Salad with Parmesan Crisps
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

Serves 4 to 8

4 oz. Parmesan, grated
1 large bunch medium asparagus, blanched and chilled
½ lb white mushrooms
2 Tbsp minced chives
2 garlic cloves, minced finely
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.

Mix the grated Parmesan with salt and pepper. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon sheet. Spoon the grated Parmesan in 1-tablespoon mounds on the sheet; press lightly to flatten. Bake until the cheese is melted and browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven; cool and transfer the crisps to a rack.

Quarter the blanched asparagus lengthwise. Trim the bottom from the mushroom stems so they will sit flat on a cutting surface. Slice the mushrooms as thin as possible.

Place the chives and garlic in a small bowl; cover with oil. Add the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of salt; whisk until smooth.

Gently toss the asparagus and mushrooms with the vinaigrette to lightly coat the vegetables.

To serve, divide the salad on serving plates; season with freshly ground black pepper, and garnish with the Parmesan crisps.

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Parmesan Risotto with Roasted Shrimp

Topping a rich risotto with juicy roasted Gulf shrimp is a simple way to make a luxuriant meal out of a few simple ingredients. Make Parmesan Risotto with Roasted Shrimp for a special dinner.

This recipe calls for shrimp stock. If you don’t have any in your pantry or freezer simply boil the shrimp shells in chicken or vegetable stock to make a faux shrimp stock.

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Parmesan Risotto with Roasted Shrimp
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

Serves 6 to 8

1 ½ lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp paprika
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 cups shrimp stock
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 small white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 cups Arborio rice
½ cup white wine at room temperature
1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1 cup finely chopped Italian parsley

Rinse shrimp: pat dry with paper towels. Toss them in a bowl with olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Spread the shrimp on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Warm the stock in a saucepan until almost simmering then keep it warm over low heat. In a separate Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion. Soften the onion, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the rice and stir thoroughly to make sure the rice is coated with butter. Cook for about 2 minutes. Deglaze with white wine scraping the pan with a wooden spoon until the wine has evaporated.

Begin adding the warm broth a ladle at a time, stirring frequently. Wait to add another ladleful until the liquid has mostly been absorbed by the rice. Repeat until most of the broth has been used, about 20 minutes.

During the last 5 minutes of cooking the risotto, put the pan of prepared shrimp in the oven. Bake until the shrimp is pink, about 5 minutes.

When the risotto is ready, turn off the heat; stir in the Parmesan and about ½ cup of chopped parsley. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately topping the risotto with shrimp, a sprinkle of parsley and freshly grated Parmesan.

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Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Ginger-Pepper Ketchup

My Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Ginger-Pepper Ketchup feature two twists on the classic burger recipe. One is the combination of ground beef sirloin along with lean ground turkey. The second is a homemade ketchup that is fortified with some ground fresh ginger and red peppers.

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Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Ginger-Pepper Ketchup
(Adapted from a recipe courtesy of FoodandWine.com, April, 2014)

Serves 4

1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 medium red pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 4-inch focaccia squares, split horizontally
1 lb. ground sirloin
1/2 lb. lean ground turkey
4 slices provolone

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar and sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until a medium amber caramel forms, about 10 minutes. Remove the caramel from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Carefully add the tomatoes and red pepper to the caramel and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is very thick, about 20 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree. Strain the ketchup through a sieve. Stir in the ginger and season with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until golden, about 20 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Gently form 4 large burger patties. Brush both sides of each patty with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the burger over direct heat for 8 minutes, turning once, for medium-rare. Place a slice of provolone on each burger during the final two minutes of grilling time. Also, toast the focaccia slices during the final two minutes.

To serve, top each burger with a healthy dollop of caramelized onions and a squirt of Ginger-Pepper Ketchup.

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Grilled Tuna Salad

Grilled Tuna Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette is a refreshing dish for spring and summer. It can be a meal or a first course served before a more substantial seafood entree. Add a fried egg for another layer of flavor.

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Grilled Tuna Salad
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Louisiana Cookin’, May/June 2014)

Serves 4

1 1/2 lb. sushi-grade tuna
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups baby arugula
1 seedless cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced radish
1 avocado, sliced

Preheat grill to medium-high (350 – 400F).

Brush tuna with oil to coat. Season fish with salt and pepper, pressing gently to adhere. Grill tuna, until 1/8-inch border is opaque but still very rare inside, turning once, 4 to 6 minutes total.

Transfer tuna to cutting board and cut across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine arugula, cucumber, radish and avocado. Add 3 tablespoons Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette (see recipe below); toss gently to combine. Divide salad among serving plates. Layer tuna over salad. Serve with remaining vinaigrette.

Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette

Makes about 1/2 cup

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a blender or food processor, add lemon juice, oil, herbs, salt and pepper; process for 20 to 30 seconds until smooth.

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Broiled Eggplant with Balsamic, Basil and Capers

Broiled Eggplant with Balsamic, Basil and Capers is a good side dish to accompany baked poultry or grilled pork. The key to this dish is finishing the eggplant under the broiler to achieve the desired golden brown appearance and soft-crunchy texture.

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Broiled Eggplant with Balsamic, Basil and Capers
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large eggplant, trimmed, skin removed, sliced 1/2″-thick crosswise
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp capers, drained
6 basil leaves, thinly sliced

Simmer the vinegar over medium heat in a small saucepan until reduced to a thick syrup, about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place the sliced eggplant on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Brush both sides of each slice with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the eggplant slices over and re-season with salt and pepper. Bake for another 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and reset the oven to broil. Place the eggplant slices under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown – take care not to burn.

To serve, placed the eggplant slices a platter, drizzle with the balsamic reduction, and garnish with capers and basil.

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Orange-Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloins

Orange-Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloins is a dish to consider when planning your Memorial Day barbecue or a graduation celebration. The sauce takes minutes to prepare. The pork grills up quickly. And, the end product is tender, juicy and elegant.

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Orange-Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloins
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

Serves 6 to 8

1 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 oranges)
4 Tbsp orange marmalade
2 Tbsp stone ground mustard
2 1 1/4 lb pork tenderloins
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine juice, marmalade and mustard in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour half of the sauce into a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and allow to cool and reserve. Continue simmering the remainder of the sauce until it is syrupy, another 5 – 10 minutes. Allow the reduced sauce to cool while the tenderloins marinate and are grilled.

In a large bowl or ziptop bag, coat the tenderloins with reserved sauce. Marinate in refrigerator for at least two hours before grilling.

Heat grill to medium for indirect grilling. Warm the reduced sauce over very low heat. Remove tenderloins from the marinade and shake away any excess. Season the tenderloins with salt and pepper. Place the pork on the grill and cook for 10 minutes, turning them once. During the last 5 minutes baste with some of the reduced sauce. When an instant-read thermometer registers 140F the pork is done. Remove the pork from the grill and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Slice the tenderloins into medallions and drizzle them with the remaining reduced sauce. Serve immediately.

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Pan-Fried Flounder with Lemon Vinaigrette

After a long cold winter a fresh fish dinner seemed like a good idea. Pan-Fried Flounder with Lemon Vinaigrette is a great way to usher in Spring. This dish can be prepared using other white fish such as tilapia or halibut. The best alternative of all would be a skin-on trout. If you use a skin-on fillet, place the skin side down on the pan.

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Pan-Fried Flounder with Lemon Vinaigrette
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

Serves 4

3 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lime
1 Tbsp shallot, minced
1 1/2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup grapeseed oil, divided
1 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 12 – 14 ounce flounder fillets, each cut in half crosswise

In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, shallot, fish sauce and sugar. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup of the oil. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Season both sides of the flounder with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add the flounder pieces and cook for about 3 minutes, until the cooked side is golden brown and releases from the skillet with a spatula. Place the skillet in the oven and cook the fish until it is opaque, about 2 minutes.

To serve, plate a piece of flounder on each plate and drizzle with the lemon vinaigrette.

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