It feels like spring has been approaching for weeks. Apart from a freak storm (that actually ended up being a bit disappointing) this past week, there’s been no snow for us this year, and very few really cold days. Instead, this winter has been filled with the kids running in the yard, trips to the playground, and happy hours on patios. The season for warm soups, stews and comfort foods was pretty short this year. With the warm weather, I’ve been switching to lighter meals with fresh ingredients. Spring foods are making an appearance just a little bit earlier than usual.
My hubby and I don’t eat a lot of seafood – for me, even less since I had Miss. Hazelnut (the aversion of seafood never completely disappeared after she was born) – but this recipe has a special meaning for us. It was the first meal my hubby ever cooked for me, what we consider to be our first date. My hubby laughingly told me the story of getting the recipe from a friend and calling with numerous questions. What’s prosciutto? What’s a zester? Do I have to do that? All of this to impress the new girl in town. The unexpected meal was delicious, the perfect first date.
This recipe is my version of that dish – almost 10 years later.
Prosciutto-Wrapped Salmon with Brie
By Books n’ Cooks
- cooking spray
- 6-6 oz. salmon filets, with skin removed
- 6 oz. brie
- 12 thin slices prosciutto
Preheat oven to 450F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
Place 1 oz. brie on top of each piece of salmon. Wrap each brie-topped salmon piece tightly in two slices of prosciutto, overlapping the slices slightly. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until salmon is cooked throughout.
Serve immediately with your favorite side dishes. (I served it over couscous with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts, pictured above.)
And here are some more easy, spring recipes for you!
- Broccoli and Asparagus Frittata by A Mind “Full” Mom
- Herb and Leek Frittata by My Imperfect Kitchen
- Omelette Farcie by Palatable Pastime
Cakes, Pies, and Sweets
- Coconut Custard Pie by Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
- Fresh Strawberry Meringue Cake by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Mango Banana Bread by Asian in America
- Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Upside Down Brown Sugar Apricot Cake by The Bitter Side of Sweet
Cookies and Bars
- Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies by Pies and Plots
- Maple Syrup Madeleines by The Finer Cookie
- Oatmeal Rhubarb Bars by Turnips 2 Tangerines
- Orange-Pineapple Biscotti by Basic N Delicious
- Pistachio Crumb Apricot Butter Bars by The Crumby Cupcake
- Pistachio Lemon Bars by From the Bookshelf
- Apricot Glazed Tofu Bento by NinjaBaker.com
- Creamy and Tangy Avocado Chicken Salad by Cooking On The Ranch
- Grilled Lamb Lollipops with a Lemon and Pea Dip by Sprinkles and Sprouts
- Lemon Quinoa Salad with Asparagus and Tomatoes by Hardly a Goddess
- Pad Thai Spring Rolls by Brunch-n-Bites
- Parmesan Crusted Pork Tenderloin by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Spring Pizza with Goat Cheese & Asparagus by Wholistic Woman
- Spring Power Bowl by Simple and Savory
- Crab and Asparagus Pasta by My Savory Spoon.com
- Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Asparagus Rotini Pasta by Recipes Food and Cooking
- Pasta Salad with Artichoke Hearts & Feta by Soulfully Made
- Simple Pasta with Peas, Ham and Cream by Cooking With Carlee
- Spinach Artichoke Pasta Recipe by Life Tastes Good
- Baked Swordfish and Asparagus with Lentils and Chermoula by Caroline’s Cooking
- Flaked Salmon Arugula Spinach Watercress Salad by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Salmon with Brie by Books n’ Cooks
- Red Snapper in a Saffron-Tomato Broth with Artichoke Hearts & Potatoes by Gourmet Everyday
- Roasted Shrimp and Asparagus Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette by Jersey Girl Cooks
- Salmon with Parsley Pesto and Peas by Cooking Chat
Veggies and Sides
- Alfredo Scalloped Potatoes with Ham by Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
- Asparagus Ham and Swiss Danish Braid by Crazed Mom
- Asparagus Soup by Bottom Left of the Mitten
- Cheesy Potato Asparagus Tart by Sunday Supper Movement
- Herbed Lemon Potato Salad by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Microwave Carrots and Peas by Cricket’s Confections
- Roasted Spring Vegetables by Food Lust People Love
- Shaved Asparagus Salad by A Day in the Life on the Farm
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One of the things I enjoy most about summer is that most of the weeknight cooking is relegated to my hubby. I prep the meal – usually some sort of protein and veggie – and he grills it. This gives me an extra few minutes each day to relax or play with the little one (at this point, it’s usually less playing together and more, me chasing after her as she climbs up the stairs or pulls things off pantry shelves).
This recipe is quick and easy for your summer entertaining. Prep the peanut sauce earlier in the day, grill up some shrimp, and serve. There’s only about 15 minutes total prep and cook time, and that’s if you’re cooking the shrimp instead of talking your hubby into it. I’d recommend serving the shrimp hot, but room temperature is fine too.
Shrimp with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 96
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer, Yields 1 c. Sauce
- 1 medium limes
- 1/2 c. creamy natural peanut butter
- 2 tsp. Aisan garlic chili paste or sauce, more to taste
- 3 Tbs. chopped fresh mint, more for garnish
- 1 1/2-2 lbs. cooked shrimp (I grilled them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper)
In a food processor, combine zest from 1 lime, juice from two limes, peanut butter, garlic chili sauce, 3 Tbs. mint, and 1/4 c. cold water. Process until smooth. Taste – add additional chili paste if you’d like a spicier sauce. Add an additional tablespoon or two of water and/or lime juice for a looser consistency.
Serve with cooked shrimp, either hot or at room temperature.
Crab cakes are one of my favorite special occasions dinners. My family makes them most years for our meatless Christmas Eve dinner, and I made them for my husband one Valentines Day. When I was planning a bridal shower luncheon for my seafood-loving best friend, I knew immediately that these crab cakes would be on the menu. Not only are they delicious, but the creole meuniere sauce elevates them to another level.
Recipe Note: The below recipe for Creole Meuniere Sauce is half of the original recipe. I’ve even gone so far as to make half of the recipe listed below. The sauce is amazing but very rich, and a little bit goes a long way.
Crab Cakes with Creole Meuniere Sauce
Makes 10 crab cakes
Ingredients for the Crab Cakes:
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 c. diced yellow onions
- 1/2 c. diced celery
- 1/2 c. diced bell peppers
- 1 Tbs. minced garlic
- 1 lb. lump crab meat, drained and cleaned
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
- 2 Tbs. dijon mustard
- 1/2 c. mayonaisse
- 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce1/2 c. chopped scallions
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 c. plain breadcrumbs, divided
- 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbs. water
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- vegetable oil for frying
- 3 tsp. Emeril’s creole seasoning (recipe below)
Ingredients for the Creole Meuniere Sauce:
- 1/2 c. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 c. chopped yellow onions
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lemon, peeled with pith discarded and quartered
- 1/4 c. + 2 Tbs. heavy cream
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into dice
- 1/4 tsp. Emeril’s creole seasoning (recipe below)
- scallions, chopped (for garnish)
Ingredients for Emeril’s Creole Seasoning:
- 2 1/2 Tbs. paprika
- 2 Tbs. kosher salt
- 2 Tbs. garlic powder
- 1 Tbs. black pepper
- 1 Tbs. onion powder
- 1 Tbs. cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbs. dried leaf oregano
- 1 Tbs. dried thyme
Make the Crab Cakes: Heat olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add onions, celery and bell peppers, sauteing until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
While vegetables are cooling, combine mustard, mayo, Tabasco, and Worstershire in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine crab meat and lemon juice. Fold in cooled vegetables, scallions, and parsley. Fold in mayo mixture as well as 1/2 c. bread crumbs and 1 tsp. creole seasoning.
Take 3 shallow bowls and prep the breading. In the first bowl, combine flour and 1 tsp. creole seasoning. In the second bowl, combine egg and water. In the final bowl, combine remaining 1 c. bread crumbs with 1 tsp. creole seasoning.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Use a 1/3 cup measuring scoop, portion crab mixture into 10 equal portions, patting each to 1-inch thick cakes. Dip first in flour mixture, then in egg mixture, and finally in bread crumb mixture. Fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side.
Allow to drain slightly on a paper towel-lined plate before serving with creole meuniere sauce. If preparing ahead of time, crab cakes can be warmed in an oven.
Make the Creole Meuniere Sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine Worcestershire sauce, onion, bay leaves, and lemon. When mixture starts to warm, mash lemons with the back of a wooden spoon to release the juices. Bring to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer until thick. Whisk in cream. Then whisk in butter, a little bit at a time. Finally, stir in creole seasoning. Strain through a find mesh sieve. Garnish with scallions and serve over crab cakes.
Make the Creole Seasoning: Combine all ingredients in an airtight container. Shake well. Yields 1/2 cup.
I’ve really been craving scallops lately. I’ve been drooling over googlereader recipes, pinning new recipes… I just can’t stop thinking about them. I was going to splurge on them for dinner one night a couple of weeks ago – when I was home alone, drinking a citrus martini and blogging – but I completely forgot to get them at the grocery store. There was no way I was going back to get them – the store was particularly crowded and had a short power outage which added to the madness. Last week, with my hubby out of town, I indulged with two of my besties. A light, tasty meal, a little wine… it was the perfect way to break up the week.
This was the first time I’ve ever made scallops and it was a great success. I did make sure all of the ingredients were prepped beforehand, which helped ensure that the scallops were cooked properly. In fact, the scallops were cooked perfectly. Melt in your mouth perfectly. The herb-butter sauce gave the dish an indulgence I don’t often find in quick-cooking meals, making these scallops great for a weeknight dinner or a special occasion.
I still haven’t satisfied my scallop craving, so you might be seeing another recipe or two over the next couple of weeks.
Serve with a couscous and side salad for dinner, or for an appetizer. I served Pinot Grigio with this dish but you can also try a Oregon Pinot Gris per Fine Cooking‘s recommendation.
Seared Scallops with Herb-Butter Sauce
Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 72 (p. 49)
- 1 lb. large sea scallops
- 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, divided
- 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbs. finely diced shallots (from 1 medium-sized shallot)
- 1/4 c. dry white wine
- 1/4 c. finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (i.e. 1/8 c. chopped parsley and 1/8 c. chopped chives)
- 1/4 tsp. grated lemon zest (from 1/2 a lemon)
- lemon wedges, for serving (optional)
- Prep the Scallops: If scallops don’t come with the muscle removed, remove the muscle from the side of each scallop. Rinse under cold water to remove any grit and pat dry with paper towels. If desired, cut scallops in half (mine were huge – I cut them in half so that the portions didn’t look so tiny). Set aside.
- Mise en Place: If you haven’t prepped your ingredients – chopped and measured your herbs, zested your lemon, etc. – do so now. The scallops cook very quickly – you want to make sure your ingredients are ready to go so that you don’t overcook the scallops or burn the herb-butter sauce.
- Cook the Scallops: Heat a 10-12 in. skillet (I used a cast-iron one) over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbs. butter and olive oil, heating until hot and starting to sizzle. Check scallops and pat dry again, if necessary. Season with a little salt and pepper and place in pan in a single layer. Cook 2-4 minutes per side, until browned and crisp. Flip and cook another 2-4 minutes. Move to a clean plate set near the stove to keep warm.
- Make the Pan Sauce: Lower heat to medium and add 1/2 Tbs. butter. Once melted, add shallots, cooking until soft, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook until reduced by half, another minute or two. Use a wooden spoon to get up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Add herbs, lemon zest, and remaining butter, cut into 3-4 pieces. Whisk until butter is melted.
- Finishing Up & Serve: Return scallops to pan. Using tongs or spoon, toss scallops to coat in sauce. When scallops are warmed through, remove and serve immediately, with lemon wedges if desired.
I don’t like football, so the Super Bowl is not very exciting for me. I’ll go to the party, book in hand, and will read if I can’t convince someone to sit on the sidelines and chat. However, I can’t complain too much, it gave me the perfect excuse to make crab dip again.
I found this recipe late last year and immediately loved it. It is thick with a pound of lump crab meat and freshly grated pepper jack cheese, which gave it just a little bit of a kick. If you don’t like the extra spicy, I’m sure a mozzarella or other melty cheese would work just fine.
Crab Dip with a Kick
Adapted from Paula Deen’s Hot Crab Dip Recipe
- 1 lb. jumbo lump crab meat
- 1 c. shredded pepper jack cheese
- 3/4 c. mayonnaise
- 1/4 c. plus 2 Tbs. grated Parmesan, divided
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 3 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon or lime juice
- 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
- 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
- Pour into an oven-safe bowl, sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbs. Parmesan, and cook for 40 minutes, until hot throughout and slightly browned on top.
Serve hot with fresh bread, crackers, or tortilla chips
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
My hubby loves crab cakes but I don’t make them very often, both because fresh crab is expensive and they tend to be a bit time-consuming. I always make Emeril’s crab cakes – a meaty crab cake tossed with Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, bell peppers, and all sorts of other goodies, fried, and then topped with a lemon-butter sauce that’s has a kick from “Emeril’s essence,” his “bam!”
I love Emeril’s recipe, but for some reason, I wanted a change. These mini crab cakes were a less time-consuming to make than Emeril’s. There was less prep work and no frying. Instead, panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan make a little crust for a creamy crab mixture. Pop them in the oven and you’re good to go.
I can’t emphasis how much everyone enjoyed the crab cakes. I made a double batch (over 50 mini crab cakes) and within half an hour, they were all gone and I had three request for the recipe. This new recipe was most definitely a success!
Mini Crab Cakes
Makes 24+ crab cakes
- 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¾ c. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 large egg
- ¼ c. sour cream
- ½ tsp. lemon zest
- 3 Tbs. minced fresh chives, divided
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 8 oz. fresh lump crab meat, patted dry and coarsely chopped
- 1 c. panko breadcrumbs
- 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a stand mixer, beat cream cheese, 1/4 c. Parmesan and egg on medium speed until just combined.
- Add sour cream, lemon zest, 1 Tbs. chives, kosher salt, and cayenne pepper. Beat to combine.
- Fold in crab meat and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs, remaining 1/2 c. Parmesan, and remaining minced chives.
- Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. In each cup, place 1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs, pressing down slightly to form a crust. Top with another heaping tablespoon of the crab mixture. Sprinkle with a little more of the breadcrumbs.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until crab cakes begin to brown.
- Garnish with fresh chives, if you’d like. Serve hot.+
* While the crab cakes are best hot, I have served them at room temperature.
I’m always looking for quick and easy weeknight recipes. Both the hubby and I work full-time, sometimes more than full-time, and either go to the gym or play some sort of sport almost every day of the week. As much as I love cooking and baking, it’s impossible for me to plan anything too ambitious for dinner with such a schedule. However, that doesn’t mean that I want dinner to be boring. I still want our dinners to be flavorful and different. This roasted shrimp recipe definitely satisfied those requirements. Ready in about 30 minutes, this shrimp recipe is packed with flavor from the oregano, tomatoes, and feta.
Serve with lemon slices, for a bit of freshness. I served it for dinner over rice, but this would also be phenomenal served over grilled slices of bread.
Roasted Shrimp with Feta (and Tomatoes)
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That? (p. 146-7)
- 4 Tbs. good olive oil, divided
- 1 Tbs. (3 cloves) minced garlic
- 1/4 c. dry white wine or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
- 2 tsp. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 1/4 lbs. jumbo shrimp (16-20 shrimp per pound), peeled and deveined (I remove the tails as well, but you can leave them on)
- 5 oz. feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
- 1 c. plain bread crumbs
- 3 Tbs. fresh parsley
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 2 lemons (for serving, optional)
In a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat, heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add wine/chicken broth, cooking 2-3 minutes, until reduced by half. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook, simmering for 10-15 minutes until thickened slightly.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 and in a small bowl, mix remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, bread crumbs, parsley, and lemon zest. Set aside.
Turn off heat and layer shrimp, in a circle with tails up, over the tomatoes. Sprinkle feta and bread crumb mixture evenly over shrimp. Finish cooking in oven for about 15 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through and bread crumbs are golden brown.
Serve with slices of lemon.
Every other year, my husband’s extended family all come home for the Christmas holidays. It’s an awesome time, with 50 of the clan in town to celebrate Christmas and catch up with each other. This past year, a couple of us were hanging around the table, talking about our favorite meals to make, favorite new ingredients, etc. It’s a fun conversation, since my hubby’s family is all from the south, and I grew up in New England, so our favorite meals are pretty different. Anyway, I was telling everyone how I really love cardamom, but it’s not used in many of my recipes – my mom and I discovered it when we made a cranberry-pear tart one year. Ever since then, I’ve been seeking out new recipes to test out this spice. Renner, the soon-to-be newest addition to the family, was telling me about this baked tilapia recipe he makes using cardamom. First I heard of it – I had to have the recipe. Well, Renner apparently cooks like I do – he must do a little of this, and a little of that, because in lieu of a recipe, I got a list of ingredients (Thanks Renner!) The first time I made the tilapia, I measured, using the below proportions (skipping the fresh rosemary just because I didn’t have any in the house). Ever since then (and I have been making this weekly since we tried it out), I throw on a little of everything until I’m satisfied. This recipe has become a hit in our house – hubby and I both love the fresh basil, the slightly crunchy Parmesan, and the smoky hint of the cardamom. Quick and easy, this is has become one of our regular weeknight dinner. Enjoy!
Renner’s Tilapia with Cardamom & Basil
Yields 3 filets (2-3 servings)
- 3 tilapia filets
- olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. cardamom
- 3 Tbs. minced fresh basil
- 3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350F.
Set tilapia filets on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Drizzle with a little olive oil and rub in.
Combine salt, pepper, and cardamom in a small bowl. Sprinkle on tilapia.
Combine basil and Parmesan in a small bowl. Sprinkle on tilapia.
Bake 15-20 minutes, or until tilapia is cooked through. For a slightly crispier coating, broil for last 3 minutes of cooking.
Last week was crazy, but I still got a few precious minutes of tv time. And how did I fill it? Food Network, of course!
I was watching Giada de Laurentiis do a picnic menu, and thought her Chicken and Shrimp with Pancetta Chimichurri sounded like a great recipe for the grill this weekend. I prepped the chicken and shrimp, and got started on the chimichurri early in the day, and went to taste the chimichurri to make sure it was good. Not such a fan. I found it very acidic. To salvage the chimichurri, I decided to use it as a marinade instead of as a post-grill sauce. This ended up working out great – the chicken and shrimp were flavorful and moist (definitely use fresh herbs for this marinade and not dried herbs).
Serving Suggestion: I would recommend serving this with a flavorful tomato or fruit salsa.
Herb Grilled Chicken & Shrimp Marinade
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis
Yields enough marinade for 2 lb. shrimp and 2 lb. chicken
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 c. fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 c. fresh oregano leaves
- 1/3 c. red wine vinegar
- 1 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbs. lemon juice
- kosher salt (to taste)
- ground black pepper (to taste)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor, pulsing until smooth.
Marinate chicken and/or shrimp for 2+ hours before grilling.