Tag Archives: ancho

Recipe review: Pork paillards with sour cream sauce

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photo from marthastewart.com

So, to use up the other half of the tenderloin I used the other night to make herb roasted pork tenderloin, I was again looking for something quick but tasty. I remembered a Martha Stewart recipe I’d torn from a magazine and tucked away months ago, and tracked it down on the web. Here it is: Pork paillards with sour cream paprika sauce.

A paillard (pronounced “pie-YARD”) is simply a cut of boneless meat that that been pounded thin. They’re easy to make — the pounding can be very therapeutic if you’ve had a stressful day! And because they’re thin and of even thickness, they cook quickly and evenly. Here’s a step-by-step explanation, also from Martha.

I made this recipe exactly as written, with the exception of swapping out ancho chili powder for the paprika, in about half the quantity. And since we avoid white flour, I served it with brown rice rather than egg noodles, with a side of green beans and pine nuts.

It was a big hit with both the hubs and me. I’ll definitely be making this one again!

 

Ancho-crusted salmon with avocado crema

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This dish is delish — I mean, truly restaurant-worthy — but it’s also super easy and totally healthy.

I have to give the hubs partial credit for this one.

I had made this spice-rubbed salmon for dinner one night, but hadn’t really figured out a vegetable to go with it, and Eric was doing Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet (which is NO carbs), so I served the salmon with some romaine spears alongside and some ready-made guacamole to dip them in.

But instead of using the guacamole as dip, he put it on top of his salmon — and loved the combination!

Since then, I’ve evolved the recipe a bit. I started out with a recipe called “Broiled BBQ-spiced Rubbed Salmon,” from The Sonoma Diet Cookbook, but I’ve tweaked the spice combo each time I’ve made it, and I was really happy with the way it came out this last time I made it.

For the guacamole, I use Wholly Guacamole brand, and it comes in these boxes that contain individual-use packets. Which is just brilliant! If you just need a bit for a recipe, or you just want a quick easy snack, these are the perfect size, without the risk of the rest of batch turning brown before you can use it. I use the “Classic,” but they also make a “Spicy” version.

Recipe: Ancho-crusted salmon with avocado crema

2 8-oz. salmon fillets, about 1″ thick
1/2 T. ancho chili powder
1/2 T. paprika or smoked paprika
1/2 t. kosher salt (or 1/4 t. table salt)
1/2 t. granulated garlic
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. ground cumin
2 T. olive oil
1 2-oz. packet of guacamole (that’s one two-ounce packet, not a 12-ounce packet)
2 oz. Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
optional, for garnish: diced red onion

You will preheat the broiler later in the recipe.

If the salmon still has its skin, remove it. (Here’s a short video that shows how. Here’s a more detailed one. The directions for the filet start at about 3:00 in this video.)

Measure the thickness of the salmon at its thickest point. You want to be accurate to within 1/4″. To do this, I push a toothpick into the thickest point of the salmon, then pinch the toothpick so my thumb and finger just touch the top of the fish. Then, keeping my fingers in the same place on the toothpick, I remove it from the fish and move it to a measuring stick. Make a mental note of the measurement. (Or a written note, if you have a short memory.)

Drizzle the olive oil in the pan, then spread it around. This recipe is for two servings, and for that I use a 6 x 8″ baking pan, but for more servings, you’ll need a larger pan. This photo is post-drizzled, but pre-spread:

Mix together all of the spices in a small dish. Before you begin to season the salmon, fold any super-thin edges under (or over) so that the thin part is doubled, and the fillet is a fairly uniform thickness across, like this.

Just press it down a little with your fingers; the fish is a bit sticky, so it will sort of adhere to itself.

Next, sprinkle half of the seasoning mix over the top side of both fillets. Pat the spices gently onto the fish.

Then turn them over and season the other side, using the rest of the spice mix.

Move your top oven rack to 4 to 6″ below the broiler, and preheat broiler. Let the spiced salmon sit at room temp while the broiler heats up. Then place them in the oiled pan, folded side down, and put the pan in the oven.

Remember your fish thickness in inches? Now’s when it matters! Cook your salmon for 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. So if your salmon is 3/4″ thick, cook it for 7.5 minutes. 1″ thick: 10 minutes. 1.25″ thick, 12.5 minutes. And, turn it over once, half way through baking.

While the salmon is cooking, mix together the guacamole and the yogurt. I don’t bother to measure the yogurt; I put the guac in first, then just “eyeball” the yogurt so that it looks like about the same amount.

Stir till well combined, and set aside.
Have you turned the salmon over halfway through the baking time? Don’t forget!
If you’re using diced onion for garnish, now would be a good time to dice it.
A minute or two before the recommended time, check your fish. Just poke a fork gently into the side at a thick place, and pull it up a bit to see if it flakes easily. You can also pull up just enough to see the interior of the fish, and see if it’s done to your liking. Some people like their salmon a bit rare, so that it’s orangier on the inside. Not me: I like it just done all the way through, but just so — not overdone and dry. (If you or someone in your house doesn’t like salmon, it’s possible they’ve only had it when it was overcooked, dry and mealy. Yuck! Who wouldn’t hate that?!)
So when the salmon is done to your liking, pull it from the oven, put it on serving plates, and top with the guacamole mixture. Sprinkle diced onion on top, add your side dish, and serve.
Ancho-crusted salmon with avocado crema
This time, I did plan for my side dish: French-cut green beans (from frozen), steamed, and topped with sauteed onions and crispy bacon. The smokey note in the spice crust of the salmon played nicely with the slightly-smokey bacon. There’s a dish dressed to impress!

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Recipe review: Pulled-pork pasta w/ ancho-cream sauce

We had plentiful leftovers from a pork roast my husband had smoked, so I was searching for something tasty to do with them. Of course, I could do pork fried rice or a Vietnamese sandwich, but I didn’t think the smoky flavor would work with Asian. I found this recipe at Group Recipes, and it sounded delish, but I’d never had pork with pasta before and wasn’t too sure how it would turn out.

And I was right, on both counts. The sauce was absolutely yummy, but pork and pasta… eh, a little weird.

I thought salmon would be a better match for the sauce, so we tried that the following week. The flavor combination was good, but stirring the baked salmon into the pasta was a mistake, texture-wise. I think it would work great to serve the salmon filet on top of or beside the pasta, but it just got too shredded and mushy when stirred in.

I haven’t tried them yet, but I think shrimp or chicken would be the perfect meat for this dish.

Oh, and if you’re a spice wimp like me, you might want to knock the ancho chile down to 2 or 3 teaspoons. My hubs and daughter probably would have liked it just fine at triple that, but when I’m making the dish, I get to make the call!

A great side dish for this would be my Slightly Spicy Slaw.