Recipe and restaurant review

True confessions.  I didn’t cook tonight.  We went to a new restaurant, True Chesapeake Oyster Company with friends.  Since I just got back to blogging, I felt guilty about not providing a recipe so I’m giving you an old favorite.  Since it’s a repeat, I’ll also tell you a little about the restaurant.

The restaurant just opened at the beginning of October in Clipper Mill.  The space is really neat looking, in fact the one server said “When I’m here, I don’t even feel like I’m in Baltimore.”  The menu is not extensive but if you like seafood, you won’t have any trouble finding something you like.  (I find it hard to believe that many people will go to a restaurant called True Chesapeake Oyster Company and order a $79 Tomahawk steak.)

There were 6 different varieties of oysters offered from the raw bar and we tried a sample.  The oysters were fantastic and were served on ice in big bowls with cocktail sauce, lemon slices, horseradish, mignonette and what looked like a medicine bottle that we were told was a hot sauce.  Not being a spicy girl, I skipped the hot sauce.  Keith tried it and reported that it was good.

I love a good oyster stew so could not resist ordering that.  I felt a little bit piggy ordering raw oysters, oyster stew and fried oysters but the portions were small so I ended up feeling happy that I had ordered what I did.  The oyster stew had wonderful flavor and the oysters were plump and delicious.  The fried oyster portion was 5 small fried oysters.  Again, flavors were excellent but I could have eaten a few more.  I would describe it as an appetizer.

Keith had oyster stew also and enjoyed very much.  He also had monkfish which was mild and flaky.  He thought it was well prepared with a nutty crust and a squash puree.  He gave me a taste and it was good, but again the portion size was small.  Keith said “Maybe it’s a restaurant for thin people.”

The server was very nice and enthusiastic but the service was slow, particularly for a weeknight when it was not crowded.  I would recommend True Chesapeake but we felt it was expensive for what we had.

If you want to be full, go ahead and fix the swordfish:

Grilled swordfish with tomato fennel sauce and cous cous

  • swordfish fillets (6 – 8 oz per person)
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 TB olive oil (plus additional for brushing on fish)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 28 oz canned plum tomatoes, drained
  • 2 TB chicken stock
  • 2 TB white wine
  • 2 TB capers, drained
  • 2 tsp butter
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • cous cous

In a heavy pan, saute the onion and fennel for about 12 minutes or until soft.  Add garlic and stir in.  Add tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 20 minutes over low heat.  Add chicken stock and wine and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.  Add capers, butter and basil and simmer for 5 minutes.  (NOTE: You can make ahead of time and wait and add basil right before serving.)

Brush swordfish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill for 5 minutes a side over high heat (either on an outdoor grill or an indoor grill pan).  Fix cous cous according to package directions.

Inspiration

I love looking through cookbooks to get new ideas.  One of my favorites is Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa.  I love watching her show and I have all of her cookbooks.  I don’t think I have ever made anything from any of her cookbooks that we didn’t like.  I saw a recipe in How Easy is That? for caesar roasted swordfish.  The idea intrigued me but I was slightly concerned that it cooked in the oven (with the potential for a strong smell in the house for several days) and the fact that the recipe stated – “Be sure your oven is very clean.”  Sad to say, I’m not sure our oven is very clean.  😦

The sauce for the swordfish sounded delicious so I thought I would tweak it a little, grill the fish and grill some Romaine lettuce for a grilled caesar swordfish salad.  And even better since swordfish is on sale at Graul’s this week!  Here is what I did:

Grilled Caesar Swordfish salad

  • 4 – 6 oz swordfish per person
  • olive oil
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Parmesan cheese

Halve lettuce longwise and brush with olive oil.  Grind pepper on lettuce.  Brush swordfish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Combine garlic, parsley, anchovy paste, mustard, mayonnaise and lemon zest and juice in a food processor.  Puree until smooth.  Marinate fish in about 1/3 of sauce for 15  – 20 minutes.  Grill fish for about 4 minutes a side on a hot grill.  Remove from grill and cover on a plate or dish with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, grill lettuce halves for about 1 1/2 minutes a side (with grill open).  Remove from grill.

Top lettuce with some of remaining sauce and Parmesan cheese.  Top with fish and additional sauce.  Serve with cous cous.  Yum!   A definite do-over.

Grilled Caesar Swordfish salad

Grilled Caesar Swordfish salad

Dinner in a flash

My husband and I are going to an early cocktail party/meeting this evening.  We’ll probably be there from about 5;30 to 7:00.  I don’t expect to eat a lot there and we’ll want to have dinner right when we get home.  The swordfish is perfect – I’ll get the sauce made before we go so when we come back, I just have to fix the cous cous and my husband will grill the fish and dinner will be ready in a flash.  (Plus swordfish is featured at Graul’s this weekend – on sale and it looks great!)

Grilled swordfish with tomato fennel sauce and cous cous

  • swordfish fillets (6 – 8 oz per person)
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 TB olive oil (plus additional for brushing on fish)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 28 oz canned plum tomatoes, drained
  • 2 TB chicken stock
  • 2 TB white wine
  • 2 TB capers, drained
  • 2 tsp butter
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • cous cous

In a heavy pan, saute the onion and fennel for about 12 minutes or until soft.  Add garlic and stir in.  Add tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 20 minutes over low heat.  Add chicken stock and wine and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.  Add capers, butter and basil and simmer for 5 minutes.  (NOTE: You can make ahead of time and wait and add basil right before serving.)

Brush swordfish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill for 5 minutes a side over high heat (either on an outdoor grill or an indoor grill pan).  Fix cous cous according to package directions.

Swordfish – easy and elegant

My husband is playing tennis tonight.  That means he doesn’t get home until a little after 8 and we are both ready for dinner pretty promptly.  This swordfish works well because I made the sauce (which is sitting on the back of the stove in a pan), I have the cous cous set up and ready to go so all I need to do is cook the swordfish.   I have even made the sauce the night before.

Christie and Kevin are in Maine for a family wedding.  Their gift to the couple was a special dinner fixed and served waterside.  A few weeks ago when we went out to dinner we came back and waded through all sorts of cookbooks trying to plan a menu.  Christie decided to make the crab salad in cucumber cups, a carrot ginger soup (I tasted it on the dry run and it was awesome!), this swordfish and chocolate mousse.  She texted me that the dinner was a big success.  So fix your swordfish and toast your glass to Linda and Roger – much happiness!

Grilled swordfish with tomato fennel sauce and cous cous

  • swordfish fillets (6 – 8 oz per person)
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 TB olive oil (plus additional for brushing on fish)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 28 oz canned plum tomatoes, drained
  • 2 TB chicken stock
  • 2 TB white wine
  • 2 TB capers, drained
  • 2 tsp butter
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • cous cous

In a heavy pan, saute the onion and fennel for about 12 minutes or until soft.  Add garlic and stir in.  Add tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 20 minutes over low heat.  Add chicken stock and wine and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.  Add capers, butter and basil and simmer for 5 minutes.  (NOTE: You can make ahead of time and wait and add basil right before serving.)

Brush swordfish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill for 5 minutes a side over high heat (either on an outdoor grill or an indoor grill pan).  Fix cous cous according to package directions.

 

Book Club night

Tonight was my book club night (The Paris Wife – about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife) so I wanted something easy.  I actually made the sauce for the swordfish last night, up to the point of adding the fresh basil in.  When I got home from work, I reheated the sauce and chopped the basil and added it in.  This goes really well with cous cous to sop up some of the sauce.

We had an entertaining game at dinner because our five year old decided to start acting out things and we all had to take turns acting things out and guessing what they were, including a mouse, ice skating, getting money out of an ATM machine, sewing, playing golf and a walking cheetah.  (The walking cheetah was particularly difficult!)  When most of your work is done ahead of time, you can spend your time playing games at the table!

Grilled swordfish with tomato fennel sauce and cous cous

  • swordfish fillets (6 – 8 oz per person)
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 TB olive oil (plus additional for brushing on fish)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 28 oz canned plum tomatoes, drained
  • 2 TB chicken stock
  • 2 TB white wine
  • 2 TB capers, drained
  • 2 tsp butter
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • cous cous

In a heavy pan, saute the onion and fennel for about 12 minutes or until soft.  Add garlic and stir in.  Add tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 20 minutes over low heat.  Add chicken stock and wine and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.  Add capers, butter and basil and simmer for 5 minutes.  (NOTE: You can make ahead of time and wait and add basil right before serving.)

Brush swordfish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill for 5 minutes a side over high heat (either on an outdoor grill or an indoor grill pan).  My husband was particularly proud of his grill marks tonight on the indoor grill – check them out on the photo.

Make cous cous according to package instructions.

Mound tomato sauce on one side of plates and cous cous on the other.  Place fish on top of sauce and serve.

Eating in on Saturday night

It’s very cold here and there are football games to watch so we decided to stay in tonight.  Tomorrow is our second weigh in and we wanted to eat healthy tonight.  We considered getting carryout but figured we would eat better if we cooked.  We went with grilled swordfish with a tomato sauce and saffron cous cous.  My husband decided that we should get a grill pan to use on top of the stove so we made a trip to Williams-Sonoma.  I love that store.  I wanted an apple slicer and I also found a mango slicer and a Microplane box grater.  Since I’m a big fan of my two Microplane zesters, I felt that the box grater was also necessary.  Throw in the grill pan and two new cookbooks and my husband pointed out that it would have been cheaper to go out to dinner.  Here is what we made with our new grill pan.

Grilled swordfish with tomato fennel sauce and saffron cous cous

  • swordfish fillets (6 – 8 oz per person)
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 TB olive oil (plus additional for brushing on fish)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 28 oz canned plum tomatoes, drained
  • 2 TB chicken stock
  • 2 TB white wine
  • 2 TB capers, drained
  • 2 tsp butter
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup cous cous
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp saffron, chopped

In a heavy pan, saute the onion and fennel for about 12 minutes or until soft.  Add garlic and stir in.  Add tomatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 20 minutes over low heat.  Add chicken stock and wine and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.  Add capers, butter and basil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Brush swordfish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill for 5 minutes a side over high heat (either on an outdoor grill or an indoor grill pan).

Boil chicken stock, butter and saffron.  Stir in cous cous, remove from heat and cover.   Let sit for about 10 minutes and then fluff and serve.  Our five year old said that the cous cous tasted “weird” but she ate a very healthy serving of it.

Mound tomato sauce on one side of plates and cous cous on the other.  Place fish on top of sauce and serve.