Pork Chops with Caper Sauce

By now you know me well; I am always searching Pinterest for new recipes to try. In this case, it was to do with pork chops which I had already thawed. This one caught my eye as we both love capers. And no, they are NOT fish! They are berries from a bush. It turned out great or else I would not share it with you. I quickly steamed some cauliflower to accompany the chops. The flavour was really good. You could omit the capers but it really adds to the flavour.

Pork Chops with Caper Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 1-inch thick center-cup, bone-in pork loin chops (allow chops to sit at room temp for 30 mins)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup capers, drained
  • 2 tbsp Sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS

Pre-heat oven to 200°F.

Pat chops dry with a paper towel, and then generously sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Add the chops and sear on one side for about 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown on the bottoms.  Flip the chops over and sear the other sides for another 4 to 5 minutes. (The chops should be firm to the touch, but still have a little give).

Transfer the chops to the oven to keep warm while preparing the sauce.

Pour all but about 1 teaspoon of oil from pan and reduce the heat to medium.

Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the capers and cook for 30 seconds

Add the vinegar and cook until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.

Add the stock, mustard, a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 – 3 minutes.

Stir in the cream.

Smoked Salmon Carbonara

Some days I just want to be able to throw something together for dinner quickly. Pasta is usually the answer! In this case, I just happened to buy some smoked salmon at Costco to use in salad and I still had some left.

Voila ! Smoked Salmon Carbonara. Bonus – no creams, just fresh eggs and Parmesan for the sauce. Read the recipe carefully, as you don’t want to overcook the eggs and Parmesan. The pasta MUST be a little cool to avoid scrambling the eggs!!! It looked and tasted great. You can skip the capers if it’s not something you like.

NOTE – Capers are immature flower buds from the Capparis spinosa (aka the “caper bush”), which grow all over the Mediterranean, just like olives do. Caper buds are picked before they can bloom into flowers. They are not a fish as some people mistakenly assume, but can be a little salty. Great on pizza, too.

Smoked Salmon Carbonara

Ingredients

  • 14.1 oz (400g) linguine pasta, or similar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 5.2 oz (150g) smoked salmon, sliced thinly
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. of capers (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the linguine or long pasta shape of your choice. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions until al dente.

2. Meanwhile, cut the smoked salmon into thin strips and finely chop some fresh parsley (this is optional).

3. Next, add the eggs to a bowl and whisk together, add the grated parmesan and a good pinch of salt and pepper, stir to combine.

4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back into the pot you cooked it in. Sprinkle over the strips of salmon then add the whisked eggs and parmesan mixture, immediately stir the pasta to coat it evenly in egg and to distribute the salmon throughout the pasta evenly.

5. Tip: wait exactly 1 minute before pouring over the egg mixture. If the pasta is too hot the eggs will scramble but if it’s too cool the eggs will remain raw.

6. The pasta should be creamy and evenly coated in sauce. Divide the smoked salmon pasta between bowls and top with a scattering of chopped parsley and an extra grinding of pepper, serve.

Add capers.

Notes

I’ve seen and made many pasta carbonara recipes in my time and I find that using 1 egg less as many servings works best. Does that make sense? For four servings I use 400g/14oz of pasta (100g per portion) and 3 eggs.

10 Minute Canned Salmon Salad

Just in time for summer, maybe…LOL. This is not your traditional salmon salad. I prefer sockeye when I can get it, but you could use whatever you can find. It will last two days in the refrigerator. I am not a canned tuna fan but you could try it…

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10 Minute Canned Salmon Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 package (10 oz) carrot matchsticks* (I used two whole carrots julienned)
  • 3 large bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 3 oz jar capers, drained**
  • 2 cans (8 oz each) wild salmon
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain
  • 2 large avocados, diced

Instructions

In a large mixing bowl, add carrots, bell peppers and capers. Mash salmon a bit with a fork inside the can and add to the salad.

Add parsley, salt, pepper, mayo, Greek yogurt and gently toss to coat. Add avocado and give a few more stirs. Serve cold.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Notes

*A few cups of coarsely shredded carrots would work. **Use any pickled goodies like asparagus, beans, olives etc.

Crustless Quiche with Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese

Have a friend visiting who is Gluten Free and Lactose Intolerant, except for goat cheese! Since we had smoked salmon on hand, Pinterest was the perfect place to look for dinner! It never fails me. This is a great recipe with lots of flavour. Serve it up with a nice green salad. It would also be great for a brunch.

Crustless Quiche with Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8- 10 eggs depending on size
  • ¾ cup full-fat milk (or coconut milk)
  • 6 ounces wild caught smoked salmon, chopped
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh dill, (divided)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Capers, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Grease a 8 x 10 Pyrex baking dish very well with olive oil. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized heavy bottom pan heat the olive oil over a medium high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Spread the onions out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium or medium low if the onions begin to brown too quickly. Don’t stir too often, let them brown. Continue to cook until the onions are caramelized and lightly golden brown. About 15-20 minutes.
  3. Arrange the onions in a single even layer in the greased sheet pan.
  4. In a large-bowl beat the eggs. Add the milk and a small amount of each the smoked salmon and goat cheese and all but 1 tablespoon of the fresh dill. Season with black pepper and just a little pinch of sea salt. Combine.
  5. Pour the mixture over the onions in the prepared sheet pan. Arrange the remaining smoked salmon and goat cheese evenly on top and place in the center of the oven.
  6. Bake until the eggs are set, about 30 minutes. Check if it needs more time. Let cool 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve with the remaining fresh dill as well as capers.

 

Filetes a la Veracruzana (Fish Fillets in the style of Veracruz)

Lee was asking for some fish dishes a while back. Today and next week, I will post two excellent fish dishes which never fail….here’s my first favourite… you can also search here for salmon…

 

Filetes de pescado a la Veracruzana (Fish Fillets Braised with Tomatoes, Capers, Olives & Herbs)
No matter where fish is served, you can be sure that pescado a la Veracruzana will be on the menu. It’s a delicious blend of Old and New World ingredients: Capers, olives, herbs, and garlic weave their way through two of America’s greatest contributions to Mediterranean cuisine – tomatoes and chilies. Though practically any firm, white-fleshed fish would work well, when the dish is made with fresh Gulf snapper – as it often is in Veracruz – it’s a revelation.

This is a company favourite in Mexico….well worth the prep time!
Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can of chopped tomatoes)
• 1 cup sliced pitted manzanilla (or green) olives, divided
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/4 cup capers, divided
• 1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapeño peppers, divided * (optional)
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon salt, divided
• 6 (6-ounce) red snapper or other firm white fish fillets
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• Flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional)
Preparation
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup olives, water, 2 tablespoons capers, 2 tablespoons jalapeños*, parsley, oregano, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until reduced to 6 cups. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Discard bay leaves.
Arrange fish in a single layer in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish; drizzle with lime juice, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes; discard marinade.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spoon sauce over fish. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup olives, 2 tablespoons capers, and 2 tablespoons jalapeños*. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.

Shrimp and Artichoke Linguini

Always great to have dinner with longtime friends. Made even better by this great tasting dish! Know you will enjoy it. Test out some of the optional ingredients at the end…

Shrimp and Artichoke Linguini a la Chuck

This recipe is great for pasta and shrimp. I think I might even try the sauce over cooked chicken, served with rice!

500 grams linguini pasta

2 T olive oil

1 large onion chopped

4 cloves garlic crushed

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

 

Sauce:

1 can artichoke hearts

½ cup white wine

4 T lemon juice

4 tsp. lemon zest

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

½ cup chicken stock

Corn starch

4 T fresh chopped parsley

 

Optionals: 1 T capers and/or ¼ cup diced red peppers and/or 1 T Dijon mustard and/or crushed red pepper flakes

 

1.       Cook pasta in boiling water.

2.       Sauté onion and garlic (and red pepper) in oil for about 5 minutes while pasta is cooking. Remove to a bowl.

3.       Add shrimp to drippings and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in artichoke hearts, wine, lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper and cooked onion and garlic. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, cover for 4 minutes.

4.       Thicken with cornstarch.

5.       Toss with pasta and parsley. Serve immediately.

 

Spinach & Feta Stuffed Salmon

We are back from our three week trip and an overnight trip to our friend Valerie’s Pickled Onion in Santa Elena. In celebration of her birthday, we prepared this incredible stuffed salmon! Originally prepared by our favourite TV Chef Stefano Faita (Canadian), we think you will agree it is a special dish! For more wonderful recipes, visit his website – www.cbc.ca/inthekitchen

Spinach & Feta Stuffed Salmon     Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

INGREDIENTS

1 side of salmon (about 2 pounds)
Olive oil, as needed
1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 tbsp. chopped dill
4 to 5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
2 tsp. lemon zest (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 lemon, sliced and each slice cut in half

Dill and Caper Sauce
1 cup yogurt
2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. capers
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

PREPARATION        Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add spinach and sauté in olive oil just until starts to wilt. Let cool and squeeze out excess liquid. Add spinach, garlic, shallot, dill, feta, lemon zest, salt and pepper, and 2 tbsp. olive oil to a bowl. Stir to combine.

Trim the very end of salmon tail and reserve for another use. Cut salmon in half.

Take one of the salmon halves and score the skin side in 1 1/2-inch intervals. Set aside.

Add the other salmon half to a parchment-lined baking sheet, skin side down. Spread evenly with the spinach and feta stuffing. Cover with the remaining salmon half, scored side up.

Fill score marks with lemon slices. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil.

Bake until salmon reaches internal temperature of 140 degrees F., about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. Serve with Dill and Caper Sauce.

Dill and Caper Sauce
Add yogurt, dill, Dijon mustard, capers, lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and salt and pepper to a bowl. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning.