Herb and Potato-Crusted Salmon with Italian Sauteed Spinach Salad


Commercially prepared shredded potatoes, sold in plastic bags in the supermarket frozen-food department, usually end up as hash browns. This recipe suggests an entirely new use for them: seared onto fat fillets of salmon to form a fantastic crisp crust. Serve up the salmon with a side of sautéed spinach, onions, garlic, and fresh tomatoes is beyond delicious and extremely easy to make.


Serves 4

For the Salmon:
4 cups frozen shredded potatoes (hash browns), thawed and squeezed dry
2 tablespoons snipped chives
2 tablespoons minced dill
2 tablespoons potato starch
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Four 8-ounce skinless salmon fillets
2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Spinach:
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 peeled and julienne red onion
3 finely minced cloves of fresh garlic
2 each tomatoes cut into wedges
10 oz  fresh baby spinach
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste


For the Salmon: In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with the chives, dill and potato starch and season with salt and pepper. Lay the salmon fillets, skin side down on a work surface and season with salt and pepper, then evenly spread on the mustard. Next, evenly add a layer of shredded potatoes onto the top of each fillet. Pat the potato down on the salmon to make sure it stays in place.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil and melt the butter. Carefully add the salmon fillets to the skillet, potato side down, and cook over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until browned, about 8 minutes, or until a dark brown crust has formed on the potatoes. Carefully flip the salmon and cook for 1 minute longer. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the salmon to plates. Using a clean paper towel, blot off any excess oil from the salmon.

For the Spinach: Heat a large sauté or frying pan over medium to medium-high heat and caramelize the onion and garlic, until the garlic is golden brown, about 2 minutes, add in tomatoes and sauté for 2 to 3 more minutes. Lastly, place in the spinach and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

To serve, transfer the spinach salad and salmon to plates and serve.



Sausage Ricotta Meatball Bake


Serves 4 to 6



For the Sausage Ricotta Meatballs

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground black pepper ‘

1-pound ground Italian pork sausage

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


For the Basil Pomodoro Sauce

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced

4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

One 28-ounce can Italian crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated  



To prepare the meatballs, preheat the oven to 400° F. Add the breadcrumbs to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and pulse until finely ground. Place breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl. Add the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley, fennel, oregano and pepper and stir to combine.

Add the sausage meat and gently stir again. Form meat into roughly 2-inch meatballs and place in a 10” cast iron skillet.

Bake in preheated oven until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove meatballs from the skillet and set aside on a plate. Let skillet cool for about 5 minutes and leave oven on.

For the sauce, return the skillet to medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to low and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook just until garlic is fragrant and nutty but not browning, about 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes to the skillet and stir. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook until sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the basil and sugar, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the meatballs back to the skillet and stir to coat with the sauce. Top the meatballs with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and place the preheated oven. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 10 minutes.


Cook’s Notes:

Short Cuts

For a quick and easy way to make this dish, use frozen meatballs of your choice and cook according to the package directions. Set aside.

Add one  28-ounce jar of prepared  marinara or spaghetti sauce to a 10″ cast iron skillet and heat over medium high heat. Stir in crushed red pepper flakes and fennel seeds. Reduce heat to medium low and bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook until sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the basil and sugar, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the meatballs to the skillet and stir to coat with the sauce. Top the meatballs with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and place in a 400 F preheated oven. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 10 minutes.


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Harissa Spiced Honey Roasted Chicken Thighs with Persimmons and Lemons

This spicy harissa and persimmon chicken is a little sweet, a little spicy, and packed with flavor! It’s the perfect one-skillet winter meal!

Serves 4


For the Marinade:
1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-4 teaspoons harissa dry seasoning or paste, to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Chicken:
4 to 5 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup white wine
1 large shallot, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 to 4 fuyu persimmons, sliced
2 lemons, sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary,finely minced
1/4 cup water


In a small bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients. Place the chicken in a shallow dish or Ziploc bag, cover with the marinade and toss to coat. Let marinate for 1 hour at room temperature. For best results, allow the chicken marinate in the fridge overnight, just be sure to let it come to room temperature for an hour before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.Shake off excess marinade before searing the chickenm but do not wipe it all off as that’s what gives you the flavorful crust Sear the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side or until there is a golden brown crust. Remove from the skillet and place ona clean plate and set aside.

Pour in the wine to deglaze the skillet, then add in the thyme, rosemary, garlic shallots, persimmons and lemons. Add the water. Return the chicken back to the skillet and place the skillet in the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through to an internal temperature of 160°F and the skin is crisped.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.



Cook’s Notes:

You can substitute the Greek yogust with plain full fat yogurt.

Chicken Breasts can be used in place of the chicken thighs, if desired.

There are two main types of persimmons that you’re likely to see at the grocery store between October and Januray, hachiya and fuyu.

Hachiya persimmons are elongated and shaped like a heart or acorn, they are very astringent, like quince, before they are ripe You don’t want to eat them unless they are extremely soft to the touch (almost soupy on the inside).

Fuyu persimmons are shaped like a tomato like the ones above in the photo, and have a delicately sweet flavor similar to peaches. They can be eaten when they are still very firm and are still delicious when they soften.For this recipe, you would want them on the firmer side.

Note that persimmons that are very firm will last at home for about two weeks if stored in the crisper draw in the fridge.