Riddle Me This

I am an avid fan of Bobby Flay. Say what you will but he is the business. He is also a ginger, added bonus. Mesa Grill in NYC was one block east and a handful of streets south of my Chelsea apartment. I cruised by it on foot almost daily. I am convinced he lived near me as I would see his wife every now and then in the hood. She is also a favorite of mine thanks to my love of Law & Order SVU. I watched this on regular rotation when I lived in the Big Apple. In fact, often times, they filmed near to my apartment so I would go and watch. I told someone on set once that I was obsessed with the show and watched it almost every single night. I was told to get a life. Ouch.

Every once in a while, we catch one of Bobby's shows on the television. He is usually al fresco, grilling up a storm and whipping up serious alcoholic concoctions in his blender. He makes grilling meat look like such an effortless art. I enjoy his banter and commentary. I find him straightforward, personable, engaging and most of the dishes he prepares are ones that any civilian can emulate at home. After viewing one of his afternoon fire sessions, I found myself galvanized. We started grilling nectarines and stuffing them generously with blue cheese before drizzling them with honey and fresh cracked pepper. Optional, add a few chopped herbs on top and you are a bona fide gourmet cook. Perfect appetizer or if you are going for the Euro angle, omit the greens and call it dessert. Make this for friends, it is uncomplicated and uber impressive. Thanks Chef.

I must admit, his endorsing Fruyo Fage on the commercials has prompted me to exclusively buy this brand for Matthew. Oh how easily swayed I am by Bobby. You can therefore imagine my excitement when Bon Appétit magazine gave him a multipage spread focused on how to get it right in the kitchen. I breathlessly read off a laundry list of did you know’s, guess what’s, excited proclamations and finally recipes. His suggestions and tricks are genius. How to hijack the finesse of lemon zest, the best way to dress your greens, the importance of getting oil in the pan good and hot before cooking. He also shared a boatload of truly outstanding recipes. We already made a rendition of grilled pork paired with spice rubbed carrots and his harissa Greek yoghurt. The recipe was foolproof for the marvelous weather and perfect for a certain someone who had a yen to grill.

Last week, I informed Matthew that moving forward, he and I will be eating more fish. I grew up eating fish regularly. My folks eat fish multiple times a week. It is so healthy. Low calorie. Great source of Omega 3, vitamins, minerals and all that jazz. Plus, doesn’t it fit into Meatless Mondays? Jury might be out on that one. Great for those managing cholesterol. Yada yada. When I was pondering what type of fish to procure, an image from this Bobby Flay article flashed before my eyes. At the time of my hyperventilating about the pages and pictures, Matthew agreed that the dish was something he would eat. Great success there.

I checked online just to ensure that I was not dreaming. The photograph that filled my computer screen comprised a bed of golden garbanzo beans covered in bright, wilted greens with a handsome piece of grilled salmon on top. The fish was decorated with a handful of capers for good measure. So after work yesterday, in the pouring rain, I swung by Fresh Market to pick up salmon. I also grabbed an orchid because their selection is amazing. An elegant orchid or two in the house makes me happy. The rest of the goodies I had at home. I pulled this together in ten minutes and popped it in the oven for 45. Another one pot wonder, my favorite. With this, dinner is served.

Salmon, Garbanzo Beans and Greens
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Recipe by: Bobby Flay

Pick Up

Approximately 1 lb of salmon – I like wild, not farmed
3 TBS olive oil plus a bit extra for drizzling
1 can of garbanzo beans – drained and rinsed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes – if you can’t take the heat, leave it out
2 garlic cloves – chopped
16 oz greens of your choice – kale, spinach, mustard greens – we used kale
2.5 tsp honey
Kosher salt
½ shallot – chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 TBS capers

Get To Work

1. In a small bowl, mix your garbanzo beans with ½ TBS olive oil, cumin and red pepper flakes. Mash half of them with a fork. Believe me, this is an outstanding stress reliever and cheaper than a bottle of wine. Scatter your beans across the bottom of an oven safe dish.

2. In a pan, heat 1 TBS olive oil on medium high heat. Add half the garlic, 1 tsp of honey and let it become fragrant for a pair of minutes. Throw in your greens. You will most likely have to cook this in two batches so once you take the first lot off, throw in another TBS olive oil as well as the remaining garlic, 1 tsp of honey and greens. Once finished, carefully spoon on top of the garbanzo beans.

3. Salt and pepper your salmon. Carefully place it on top of the greens. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. You be the judge. Now you want to bake it in the oven at 250 for approximately 45 minutes. Just to be sure, check on it after 30 minutes. All ovens are different. I am speaking from experience because ours is downright crazy. You know it is cooked when texture is uniform throughout and your fish is flaky. My tastes are probably an anomaly but unless I am eating sashimi, I like my salmon well done. 

4. While your fish is baking, prepare your vinaigrette. Whisk together your chopped shallot, the juice of two lemons, Dijon mustard, honey, 1 TBS olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. If you like more oil, add more oil.

5. To serve, cut up the fish, carefully scoop out the garbanzo beans and greens. Drizzle with your vinaigrette and scatter the dish with some of the capers.

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