Bean + Protein Dinners

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Recently, I tried out two recipes that make use of a can or two of beans paired with a piece of protein that cooks on top of the beans. It's a technique that could be used for an infinite variety of legume and protein combinations. The two dishes I made were very different from one another, but both were delicious: The first is a white bean and lamb dish from the late great Everyday Food, and the second is a Bobby Flay recipe for slow-roasted salmon with chickpeas and greens from Bon Appetit. These are the kind of meals that make a better-than-average weeknight dinner or a fairly impressive entrĂ©e for guests. 

A few quick notes: I halved the lamb recipe, and I would recommend you stick to the full four-serving version, so you can really get the beans nice and thick and saucy (it worked on a smaller scale, but it got a little dry with less in the pan). For the salmon recipe, I couldn't find mustard greens, so I used a bunch of chard and one bunch of red chard, which worked out beautifully -- I'd definitely do two bunches of greens, not just one. I also upped the garlic to three cloves because, well, I like garlic. Here are the recipes; give them a try:


Lamb and White Beans with Rosemary
From Everyday Food, November 2006

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 loin lamb chops, (each about 6 ounces and 1 1/4 inches thick)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, (or 1 teaspoon dried), plus more for serving (optional)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Instructions:
1. In a large skillet with a lid, heat oil over medium-high. Season lamb generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Place in skillet; cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side (lamb will finish cooking in step 4). Transfer chops to a plate (keep oil in skillet); loosely cover with aluminum foil, and set aside.
2. To skillet, add onion, garlic, rosemary, and red-pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add beans, sun-dried tomatoes, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low; cook until mixture is slightly thickened and saucy, 4 to 6 minutes.
4. Place chops on top of beans in skillet (adding any juices that have accumulated on plate). Cover skillet, and simmer until meat is medium-rare, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve chops with beans, and garnish with rosemary, if desired.

Serves 4


Slow-Cooked Salmon, Chickpeas, And Greens
From Bon Appetit, March 2014

Ingredients:
Salmon:
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more
1 15.5-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 bunches small mustard greens, ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 heaping teaspoon honey
4 6-oz. skinless salmon fillets
Vinaigrette and Assembly:
½ small shallot, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, patted dry

Instructions:
Salmon:
1. Preheat oven to 250°. Brush a large baking dish with oil. Combine chickpeas, cumin, and 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium bowl. Mash about half of chickpeas with a fork; season with salt and pepper. Transfer chickpea mixture to prepared dish.
2. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add mustard greens and cook, tossing, until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Add honey and ¼ cup water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until greens are completely wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to dish with chickpea mixture. Season salmon with salt and pepper; arrange over greens and chickpea mixture and drizzle with oil. Bake until salmon is opaque in the center, 30–35 minutes.
Vinaigrette and Assembly:
3. Whisk shallot, lemon juice, mustard, and honey in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in olive oil; season with salt and pepper.
4. Heat vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook capers until opened and crisp, about 30 seconds; drain on paper towels.
5. Drizzle salmon with vinaigrette and top with capers.

Serves 4

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