Friday, May 14, 2010

We're Back! (and Grilled Swordfish with Tomato-Braised Cauliflower)

Aaaaand we're back after a month-long hiatus! For most of the last month, my life has looked a little something like this:

The hubs and I moved across a state-line, into the 'burbs. And while I miss my old, walkable neighborhood dearly (Seriously, why are the suburbs so anti-walking? We tried to walk to a nearby strip mall the other day and were nearly killed by oncoming traffic), I get to live in this big beautiful house with a big beautiful kitchen and laundry room.

The interior is still a work in progress (wallpaper is dead to me), but it's mostly cosmetic issues, and the kitchen is an absolute delight. I adore my dishwasher and garbage disposal and miles of counter space. And my new stainless-steel, french-door, bottom freezer refrigerator makes me smile every time I walk into the kitchen. It's refreshing to have an appliance that doesn't have 20+ years of someone else's dirt and grime in it.

So, I unearthed my cookbooks and have been cooking up a storm these past couple of weeks. Fresh Michigan asparagus has been abundant in the local groceries (which leave something to be desired, but more on that later), so we've been eating loads of it. If you're looking for a kick-ass recipe with asparagus, look no further than this gem from Smitten Kitchen. We had it for brunch last Sunday and it was amazing.

You know how when you move, you find things you forgot you had and make resolutions to actually use them? Well, I have made a resolution to cook from more of my cookbooks and not just my usual standbys (ahem, ATK and Smitten Kitchen). When we were in Greece, I bought this lovely book called "How to Roast a Lamb" by Michael Psilakis. Some of the recipes are quite advanced, but this Grilled Swordfish with Tomato-Braised Cauliflower is so simple and full of delicious flavors. If you're near a body of water or in a big city, you can probably get amazing swordfish, and if you're in the sticks like me (and you google "Fish Markets" in your zip code and come up with Long John Silvers) you may have to go with a flash frozen variety, which was actually quite delicious. This cauliflower is so good, I ate it the next day for lunch, just by itself. Don't be alarmed by the cinnamon in a savory dish - just trust me, it is fabulous.

Grilled Swordfish with Tomato-Braised Cauliflower
from "How to Roast a Lamb" by Michael Psilakis

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
Large pinch ground cinnamon
1/2 large Spanish or sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dried
2 cinnamon sticks
1 TBSP tomato paste
2 TBSPs red wine vinegar
1 and a half cups of water
2 whole sprigs thyme
2 tsps Dijon mustard
4 swordfish steaks, about 5 oz each

In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil until it is very hot. Add the cauliflower florets. Season with kosher salt and pepper, and dust with the cinnamon. Shake the pan for 2 to 3 minutes, until nicely golden. Add the onion, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar. (This means pour it in and stir, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom). Add the water, thyme sprigs, and mustard. Partially cover the pan and braise over low heat until the cauliflower is tender. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks.

Preheat a charcoal or gas grill (or cast-iron grill pan or skillet) until very hot. Season both sides of the swordfish steaks with salt and pepper and grill for 1 and a half to 2 minutes on each side (Psilakis says that swordfish should be cooked to the same temp as you would enjoy a tuna steak, so somewhat raw on the inside - you can cook it slightly longer if you prefer it more done on the inside). Rest steaks for a few minutes before serving.

This all comes together VERY quickly, which makes it perfect for a weeknight dinner, but it's also fancy enough for company. And you probably already have most of the ingredients for it in your pantry and fridge. I'd serve it with some crusty bread and maybe a Greek salad. Enjoy!

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