Olive Tapenade

If you love olives …. why haven’t you tried tapenade?? This is more simple than you can even imagine, and absolutely delicious.

pretty hard to make a pile of minced olives look good …… but try it out and taste it, you will love it - every taste is packed with flavour

pretty hard to make a pile of minced olives look good …… but try it out and taste it, you will love it – every taste is packed with flavour

1/2 pound olives (go ahead, mix it up – kalamata, green, stuffed, whatever you have on hand)
2 anchovy fillets (rinsed)
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp capers
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp really good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp each fresh parsley and basil, chopped

Toss it all into a food processor and whiz it up – taste and season with salt and pepper.

Serve with crackers, fresh baguette, or crisp pita triangles.

Roasted Potato Salad with Red Wine Caper Vinaigrette

This potato salad is light and refreshing – so unlike the mayonnaise or sour cream versions – perfect for warm summer evenings.

I like to use a variety of little potatoes, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Roast on a baking sheet – don’t crowd them – they roast much better with a little space.

Roast potatoes with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until tender

Roast potatoes with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until tender

When roasted until just tender combine with:

Sliced fresh radishes
red onions (I like it best with pickled onions – check our my recipe for them)
minced parsley
1/2 cup bacon (thinly sliced and cooked until crisp)

A perfect fresh potato salad, crunchy and tangy - love it.

A perfect fresh potato salad, crunchy and tangy – love it.

Vinaigrette:

2 tbsp red vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp minced fresh basil
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1/3 cup good quality olive oil

Blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy – toss over vegetables when potatoes are still warm. Serve at room temperature.

Halibut with Caper Beurre Blanc

Probably one of the simplest and most delicious ways to enjoy halibut – in season right now. Start with halibut from a great fishmonger – well worth it.

Moist, flaky and delicious halibut served with Caper Beurre Blanc.

Moist, flaky and delicious halibut served with Caper Beurre Blanc.

Caper Beurre Blanc

2 finely diced shallots
3/4 cup white wine (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc work well)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 cup cold butter, in small pieces

1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1-2 tbsp capers, to taste

In small saucepan simmer the shallots, wine and vinegar until reduced by about half. Add butter one piece at time, whisking well until smooth and creamy looking.

Keep warm until you are ready to serve halibut, adding capers and dill right before serving – just until capers are heated through.

Halibut

6 serving size pieces of halibut fillet

1/2 cup mayonnaise
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
2 tbsp assorted fresh herbs, finely chopped (I like basil, parsley and tarragon)
2 tbsp finely chopped chives or green onions
1 tsp black pepper

Blend the mayonnaise well with all the ingredients. Spread over the tops and sides of the halibut.

This can be done earlier in the day, and allowed to rest in the fridge. I’m not a huge fan of recipes that have fish or chicken slathered in mayonnaise – this allows the flavours of the halibut to work beautifully with the herbs and is enough to keep the fish moist. Feel free to add more mayo though if you like.

Bake halibut in 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on how thick the fillet is. Watch carefully after 15 minutes. The minute your fish starts to flake easily it is done, so remove it from the oven.

Serve with Beurre Blanc sauce – simple white rice is a great carrier for the sauce. We served it tonight with some of the first of the seasons carrots and asparagus, along with fresh garden greens – but I wasn’t fast enough to get a photo of the completed plate!

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp, Capers and Tomatoes

This pasta is quick, light and easy. Most of these ingredients are things I have on hand anyway, so as a last minute dinner it always works – add a fresh, crisp green salad and some garlic toast and your meal is perfect.

Plump juicy shrimp, fresh tomatoes and spring onions combine with capers for a quick easy dinner.

Plump juicy shrimp, fresh tomatoes and spring onions combine with capers for a quick easy dinner.

Put on a large pot of water to boil – salt only once it has come to rolling boil.

While waiting for the water to boil, heat a fry pan and stir in:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter

Once melted, stir in
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
when lightly brown, stir in
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, stir for 30 seconds and add:
3 pounds large shrimp – shelled and deveined
Stir occasionally and cook only until shrimp are cooked through – around 3-4 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper
Finish with 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice and a knob of butter.

Stir well and set aside.

By now your water has come to a boil and you are ready to cook your angel hair pasta – add a generous amount of salt to water, then pasta (enough for 4). Cook for time listed on your pasta container – being careful not to overcook. Drain – reserving 1 cup of the pasta liquid.

Return the pasta to the pot, toss in the shrimp mixture, including and juices, along with:
2 small tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp capers
green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Stir well, adding pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce up a bit and season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you don’t have any frozen shrimp on hand, this works really well with chicken too!

Shrimp Stuffed Sole with Caper Butter Sauce

I felt like making a special dinner tonight …. will be away for 9 days without Grant, in Phoenix.  Nope, not for shopping, or golf, or even the spring training going on at the ball diamonds.  No, Hayley is having surgery again, and we are putting our trust and all our hope in the physicians that we have grown to know and love at the Mayo Clinic.  

I often make a rolled, stufed sole dinner but this one was so delicious it had to get on the blog before I forget what I did … something I am known for….

Image

Serves 2, but of course, feel free to adjust for however many people you are serving.

Preheat oven to 350

2 good sized sole fillets (of the same size)

4 large fresh shrimp (or prawn)

1 shallot (minced)

2 tbsp capers

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup bread crumbs

2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley (or whatever herb you have on hand that you feel like using)

1 tbsp olive oil

butter

In a small saucepan soften minced shallot in 1 tbsp olive oil, and 1 tbsp butter.  When softened, remove half the shallots to a small bowl.  To the rest of the shallots, add 2 tbsp good, dry white wine and 1 tbsp white wine vinegar.  Allow to cook just enough to reduce a bit, and add the capers.  Add another 1 tbsp of butter and allow to keep warm.

To the reserved shallots add the bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste and 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley.

Season the sole fillet with salt and pepper, lay the shrimp/prawn down at the thick end and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on.  Roll up tightly and allow to rest.

Heat an oven proof saute pan, melt a little butter with oil and gently place the rolled fillets in.  Place in preheated oven (350) and cook for 25 minutes.  Be watchful for this – depending on the size of your fish, and your stuffing, it could take as little as 20 minutes, or as much as 30.  Do not overcook your fish – as soon as it flakes easily it is done.

Remove from heat, stir the remaining parsley into the butter caper sauce, and season with freshly squeezed lemon juice and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.  Drizzle over the fish.

Chicken in Caper Cream Sauce

Chicken in Caper Cream Sauce

 

4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts – lightly pounded to uniform thickness

1 tsp lemon pepper

(or finely grated lemon zest and 1 tsp freshly ground pepper)

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

3 tbsp. butter

lemon juice

olive oil

1 cup whipping cream

4 tbsp capers – drained and rinsed           

garnish:  parsley/lemon slice

Lightly rub chicken breasts with lemon juice and a wee bit of olive oil.  Combine all the spices and sprinkle over the chicken, allow to rest for a bit.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Increase heat to medium high and add chicken breasts – turning often until they are browned – about 5 minutes.  Turn heat down to medium again and cook for a further 7 minutes, until chicken is just barely cooked through.  Remove chicken to a warm serving platter and keep warm.

Increase skillet heat to high, add whipping cream and whisk continuously until sauce has reduced enough to be thick and glossy.  Remove from heat and add capers.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  (add any juices that have run out of the chicken)

Spoon over the chicken breasts, garnish with parsley, lemon slice and serve over a bed of herbed noodles.

Variation:  Use dill weed instead of paprika!

Italian Bread Salad (Panzanella)

Aside

This salad is the perfect way to really enjoy the fresh tomatoes and cucumbers in your garden right now!</h3>

panzenella italian bread salad 2

Vinaigrette/Dressing

  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (at least!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well to blend.

I like to at least double this recipe and keep it in the fridge – a really great, simple dressing that tastes fabulous on vegetables, grilled chicken or fish, or just plain greens.

1 cup bread cubes

2 cups roughly chopped vine ripened tomatoes

1 cup roughly cut cucumber

1 tbsp. capers

generous amount of fresh basil – torn into smaller pieces

very thinly sliced red onion

small amount of feta – crumbled

Toss all vegetables together with a small amount of the dressing and allow to rest just so the tomato juices flavor everything right through.  I like to wait until just before serving before I add in the bread cubes and a bit more dressing – I love my croutons still crunchy!

For the bread I prefer to make croutons out of slightly stale bread – just chop them into your favorite crouton size piece and toss in a plastic bag with a variety of herbs, salt and Pepper – drizzle with a little olive oil and give it a good shake.

Toast in a toaster oven, or in a fry pan until the bread is really well toasted and crunchy – allow to cool.