Category Archives: fish

[Recipe] Broccoli Browned With Cheese

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”

~ Julia Child

 

It’s a lovely day to celebrate french food and cooking. In my most humble opinion, there is no better day to spend in the kitchen making your favourite french dish than on Julia Child’s 100th birthday!

What can you say about a vibrant trailblazer, a colourful persona like Julia Child’s, the original celebrity chef? I’m sure Julia herself would prefer we not say anything at all, hoping instead that our mouths would be full of soft buttered bread or a sliver of brie.

I would just like to say thank you, Julia. Thank you for inspiring people all over the world to spend time in their kitchens. Thank you for allowing me to know that there’s nothing I can’t take on in my kitchen. Thank you for reminding us that things don’t always have to be perfect, that the imperfections are what make for perfection, personality, make things special and memorable. Thank you for sharing your life and your recipes with us.

Thank you, Julia.

In honour of Julia Child’s birthday, my husband and I cooked up a truly french meal. I peeled broccoli and asparagus. I blanched. I devoured. We dined on pan fried salmon filets with herbes de provence, blanched asparagus with hollandaise, and broccoli browned with cheese.

Divine.

This broccoli recipe is widely publicized, so I have no problem re-sharing it with all of you. Also, it’s typically made with brussels sprouts, not broccoli. However, under the broccoli section of Julia’s book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, she tells us that this recipe will work very nicely with broccoli when brussels sprouts are out of season.

This recipe is nothing short of phenomenal, not to mention easy and quick to make. It’s a great way to get your feet wet with a french dish if you’re intimidated to try one.

[Recipe] Choux Bruxelles (or Brussels Sprouts, or in our case, Broccoli) à la Milanaise

This recipe is a two step process, first requiring the following of a master recipe for braising broccoli in butter. I’ll go over that one first.

[Recipe] Broccoli Braised in Butter

1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 quarts blanched broccoli
salt and pepper
2 to 4 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350F, and smear the first amount of butter in a 2 1/2 quart oven-proof casserole dish.

Cut the florets from the head of broccoli, about 3 inches long.

Peel the broccoli florets. Yes, peel them. Peel them enough to begin to expose the whitish, tender flesh.

Submerge the broccoli in boiling water for about 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Drain immediately.

Layer the broccoli in the casserole dish, covering with the second amount of butter.

Cover the broccoli in the dish with a piece of parchment paper and heat on the stovetop until the vegetables begin to sizzle, then place on the middle rack of the oven.

Bake for about 20 minutes if you aren’t proceeding with the Milanaise part of this recipe. Remove the broccoli from the oven after 10 minutes if you are proceeding. I recommend you proceed.

[Recipe] Choux Bruxelles (or Brussels Sprouts, or in our case, Broccoli) à la Milanaise

1 1/2 quarts broccoli braised in butter (see below for recipe)
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese mixed with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp melted butter

Follow the recipe for braising the broccoli, but when they have been in the oven 10 minutes, remove the broccoli from the oven and turn it into a bowl.

Raise the temperature of the oven to 425F.

Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with a couple of tablespoons of the cheese mixture, coating the bottom and the sides. Layer in a single layer of broccoli. Cover with cheese. More broccoli. The remainder of the cheese.

Pour the melted butter over the broccoli and cheese.

Place in the hot oven, uncovered, in the upper third of the oven, for 10 to 15 minutes to brown the cheese nicely.

To serve with tonight’s meal, we also blanched some asparagus. I peeled it, see?

Look at how beautiful it is after being blanched. Vegetables are gorgeous, aren’t they?

With regards to peeling vegetables… I will probably now always peel both my broccoli and asparagus. They are less bitter this way, and so much more tender. It only takes a couple of minutes and I really do think the effort is worth it. I’ll never go back to outer vegetable roughage again, I fear.

The Hollandaise sauce is compliments of my amazing husband. He makes wonderful hollandaise sauce, usually at least one weekend a month. I know today is Wednesday, but it’s a special occasion. It’s such a decadent treat. It was wonderful on the salmon with herbes de provence.

[FFwD]: Mussels with Chorizo (and Lemon Pepper Linguine)

When you live in the Canadian Maritimes, you eat a lot of seafood, lots of different ways. It’s one of the things we’re famous for, along with our friendly disposition.

In light of that, even though I haven’t cooked a FFwD recipe in quite some time, a mussels recipe was just the thing to get me back in the swing of things. Mussels are a favourite in our home, and they are readily available here, us being so close to Prince Edward Island, home of the best mussels in the world.

We’ve had mussels cooked a myriad of different ways, but never with chorizo, an ingredient not very readily available here. Luckily for us, I found some at our local grocery store this afternoon and didn’t have to substitute hot italian sausage – a small miracle, and a very lucky break.

We really enjoyed this recipe. The chorizo in the mussel broth provided a nice smoky note and left your mouth with a bit of kick. The broth was rich and savoury, a lovely spicy soup we sopped up with crusty bread. We chose to serve the mussels and broth over homemade lemon pepper linguine – a meal fit for royalty.

If you’re hoping to make this dish for guests be sure to let them know to leave their most proper table manners at the door, and just enjoy slurping your way through every delicious morsel.

My husband’s comment: “This was delicious in my face.”