How to properly store fragile herbs, like basil, cilantro, and parsley, has for most home cooks been a quandary and mystery. Here is a simple technique you can use for storing those precious herbs. I realize some people might say, if they go bad then I’ll buy fresh. Well, that may be true, but as a cook you have to figure out ways to keep cost down and maximize your bottom line. With a herb like basil, just cut off the stem just above the root level (re-snipping helps water absorption) and place into a quart container or something like it, glass is fine — then cover the whole thing with a clear plastic bag, or a zip-lock bag. Keep basil on the counter and never refrigerate. On the other hand, cilantro and parsley, can be kept inside the refrigerator, using the above method described. Simple efficient and it works. Harvest fresh herbs and change out the water occasionally and that’s it. I keep my basil right next to my hooch and sourdough starter. Enjoy!
I started this dish the other night, with a lot of expectation as I do most of my dishes and dinners for the most part (yes this is my dinner). It was well after 1 AM, and I was pretty exhausted by then, but the urge to cook something up for my self was too intense and so well, I got to cooking, or roasting and boiling some red bliss. The branzino for all intents and purposes was absolutely brilliant. Not because I had really a whole lot to do with it, but because it is just such an easy fish to roast and well, if you do it right and follow some simple tips, you just can’t mess it up. The potatoes are also an easy way to add a side to an already delicious meal be it by it self. They’re boiled till tender and cooked through but not overly cooked. Tossed in some Greek olive oil and finished with lots of freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt and Moldan’s sea salt for some added crunch.
1 whole branzino
6-8 sprigs fresh parsley (fresh cilantro alternative)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4-6 lemon slices
fresh cracked pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Be sure that your fish is clean and tempered at room temperature before cooking. Also, be sure to pat the fish dry with plenty of clean paper towel before seasoning. At this point in the recipe, I also hope that you or your fish monger has cleaned and scaled your fish (for you!). In a 13 x 9 inch sheet tray, spray with cooking spray, or coat by brushing with olive oil, with a pastry brush. You can also use a aluminum foil to cover the tray and make cleaning easier. Remember to spray or brush with oil too. Make 4 or 5, 2 inch slits using a chef knife or boning knife, 2 inches apart, on both sides of the fish. Place some Moldan (sea salt) or kosher salt into each slit. Into the cavity of the fish (belly), which should be cleaned and rinsed by your fish monger, season with salt and pepper and place the lemon and fresh herbs. To the outside of the fish, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and drizzle with plenty of olive oil to coat. Place your fish into your preheated oven to roast for 6 minutes. Do not turn or play with the fish during this time or you will tear the skin. It’s important to be careful while turning the fish with a fish spatula (fish slice), during this point. Once flipped cook for an additional 5-6 minutes. Once cooked, place the fish into the broiler to blister the skin and caramelize the outside. You can blister both sides as I prefer to do, but it can be tricky turning the fish. With much patience and practice you will get the hang of it. Enjoy!
To store parsley and cilantro, you must first rinse the leafy herbs under cold water, to rinse away any soil or small bugs that are collected in between the stems and leaves during the growth and harvest. Once rinsed, shake off any excess water from the leafy bunch and allow to drain over the sink in a colander or sieve. Once dry, (some moisture will remain but that’s okay) place the bunch on a cutting board and cut off the bottom of the plant just above the root end. Get a mason jar and add just enough cool water to cover just 2 to 3 inches above the cut end of the bunch. Place a clear plastic bag or zip lock bag over the leafy tops and place the whole thing into the refrigerator. (The idea is to create a small green house). That’s it! Now you will have fresh parsley when ever you need it for as long as the plant will remain healthy and this can be a very long time. I have kept some parsley in this state in my fridge for up to 2 months. (No joke!). You can treat cilantro in the same manner and have the same success with it. Just break off a bunch by clasping a few stems and tearing as little or as much as you need, and cover the rest. Change the water every few days (3-4 days) and the parsley will last even longer.
Today was one of those days, where I was looking for something, anything to shoot. Some of you might know me and some of you might not know, that I eek out a living as a photographer. So the point of this essay or project was to not only illustrate the deliciousness of this ingredient and or condiment, but to also satisfy the photographer urge to point my lens at some kind of food creation; big or small. So here I thought to make one of my favorite little condiments that can go over so many different proteins, from fish, poultry, pork, beef and game: venison, bison, boar etc. I did have an uncooked pork chop from last nights offering and thought why not make a gremolata to accompany my entree. It was the perfect topping for a perfectly prepared chop. (In addition I made an onion and garlic sauteed rice cooked in a chicken bouillon broth with diced carrots.) Ingredients are accessible to most home cooks and foodies, as I am assuming most of you keep a larder or pantry of basic ingredient as I do, for just such occasions. I.E. parsley, garlic, lemons, salt and pepper. In Argentina, a similar preparation is made for marinating meats, or as a condiment to put over steak, called “Chimichurri”. This version however, is made with the addition of olive oil, pimenton, red chilli flakes and oregano. Gremolata preparation: mince a garlic clove and finely mince a small handful of parsley and zest 1/2 a lemon. Combine with a bit of salt and freshly cracked black pepper and you have an amazing condiment to accompany your dish any time.
Who doesn’t love pasta, especially one made with a delicious and flavorful savory tomato sauce. Well, this sauce transforms any pasta to an exciting new level. When the weather is crappy out and you just need a comfort food to warm the heart and soul, this one is it in my book. A wonderful rich Bolognese tomato sauce from Bologna. This ragu Bolognese, can be served with your favorite pasta.
Freshly chopped herbs for compound butter on Thanks Giving day. These herbs include fresh Rosemary, Thyme, Tarragon, Marjoram, Parsley, Sage and Oregano. The herbs were combined in a small bowl with an organic butter, creating the most delicious butter for infusing flavor under the skin of the bird. There is nothing better than fresh herbs for roasting a turkey or any type of fowl.