Even though the changing temperatures and falling leaves say otherwise, it IS easy being green! The main course of this week’s menu, pesto-roasted cod with pasta and a side of Brussels sprouts, is indisputably delicious. My one self-critique is the unfortunate visual monotony — that the whole thing is green. But I find the intersection of the seasons an intriguing mix; as summer basil wanes, hardier fall crops like Brussels sprouts jump into the forefront. This menu is simple enough for a rushed weeknight, but special enough for company on the weekend.
Sweet Potato Tempura Salad
By Naomi Ross
For the tempura:
1 large sweet potato or yam, peeled
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
1 cup ice water
1 egg yolk
1 cup all-purpose or cake flour
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4 scallions, thinly sliced
Soy-Braised Shiitake Mushrooms (see below)
Asian greens (like Mizuna) or baby arugula
5 oz. sliced shiitake mushrooms
2 Tbsps. soy sauce
2 Tbsps. mirin
1 ½ Tbsps. water
Sesame Miso Dressing
2 Tbsps. red miso
Juice of 1 lime (about 2
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sriracha or chili paste
½ tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 ¼ tsps. toasted sesame seeds
5 Tbsps. peanut oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Slice sweet potato in thin slices, about 1/8-1/4-inch thick — an Asian slicer or mandoline makes short work of this. Set aside.
2. Pour enough oil into a large pot to cover the bottom by 2 inches. Place over medium heat until temperature reaches 350˚ on a fry thermometer.
3. While oil heats, mix ice water and egg yolk together in a bowl until blended. Using a fork or chopsticks, mix in flour until just combined. Mixture should be a bit lumpy – do not overmix.
4. Working in batches, dredge each sweet potato slice in batter and drop into hot oil (do not overcrowd in pot). Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until crust looks golden and puffs slightly. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer to paper towel-lined plates to drain. Repeat with remaining batches of sweet potato slices. Sprinkle sweet potato tempura with sea salt and pepper.
5. Prepare the mushrooms by placing all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and have reduced.
6. Assemble salad immediately prior to serving: Toss greens and a few tablespoons of Sesame-Miso Dressing in a large mixing bowl until leaves are coated with dressing. Divide greens among serving plates. Place 3-4 sweet potato tempura in center of greens. Surround with some mushrooms and a sprinkling of scallions. Drizzle a little dressing over tempura and serve immediately.
To make dressing: Combine all ingredients except peanut oil in a mixing bowl. Whisk until well blended. Add peanut oil in slow stream while whisking constantly until oil is incorporated. Season to taste with salt or pepper.
Serves 8. This recipe originally appeared in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine’s Fall 2014 issue and appears courtesy of joyofkosher.com.
2 lbs. cod fillet
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup pesto (recipe follows)
1 lb. fresh pasta (long, fresh ribbons such as fettucine preferred)
1. Heat oven to 400˚. Lay fish in baking dish, spritz with lemon and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Spread with pesto.
3. Roast for about 15 minutes; while fish roasts, cook pasta according to package directions.
4. Fish is done when it flakes easily and is opaque through. Serve over pasta generously tossed with pesto.
Makes about 2 cups; it will keep in the fridge for about a week or frozen for several months.
10 cloves garlic (best to have all members of the household partake as it is rather fragrant.)
5-6 cups rinsed basil leaves (I remove the tough, thick stems, but leave the smaller, thinner ones.)
1 cup olive oil
1 cup Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. salt
a few generous shakes of red pepper flakes, to taste
4 Tbsps. pine nuts
Mix all ingredients in Cuisinart, and puree until smooth.
Sweet, Smoky, Spicy Brussels Sprouts
1 ½ 1bs. Brussels Sprouts
2 Tbsps. butter
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. smoked paprika (also called “Pimenton”)
1 Tbsp. honey
1. Rinse Brussels sprouts and remove any yellow leaves or tough stems.
2. In large skillet, melt butter, add paprika, salt and honey and cook until just blended.
3. Add Brussels sprouts and sauté until bright green, about 10 minutes.
Liquid Love, or The Best Hot Chocolate
4 Tbsps. unsweetened cocoa powder
8 Tbsps. sugar
4 Tbsps. water
2 cups milk
⅔ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. In medium saucepan, mix cocoa, sugar and water to form a thick paste.
2. Heat over medium until it begins to bubble. Add milk and continue heating, stirring constantly until paste and milk are thoroughly blended.
3. Add chocolate chips, continuing to stir until the mixture is a smooth, thick, luscious potion. Serve immediately on its own or get creative: spike it with a splash of your favorite liqueur, top it with a dollop of whipped cream.