Triggerfish, Succotash and Fried Polenta Cakes

Triggerfish, Succotash and Fried Polenta Cakes

Light and refreshing, this meal has it all. Triggerfish has become very trendy at least here in the south. It has a meaty consistency that holds together well whether you grill it or sauté it as I did. It has some of the richness you get from Sea Bass but not as oily. And of course my succotash which I’ve made a million times and posted once here. Each time I make the succotash it will vary depending on what is fresh. This time I used edamame and green garlic. Whenever I need to add a little crunch and starch, I go to grits (or polenta). These polenta cakes are easy to make yourself or you can buy premade polenta to speed the process up. I’ve also posted them several times here, here and here.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-4 triggerfish filets
  • Polenta (make your own or purchase)
  • Egg + milk for egg wash
  • Flour
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • 4 ears fresh corn
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 strips applewood smoked bacon (I prefer Niman Ranch)
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (I used 1 red and 1 yellow)
  • 1 large green garlic, mince the bulb and slice the stem
  • 1 larger jalapeno, minced (I leave the steam and seeds for heat)
  • ½ bag of frozen edamame (or fresh if you can find it)
  • Heavy cream (or half and half)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Olive oil
DIRECTIONS

  1. For the polenta, I had some left over, cooked and cooled polenta but you can use the pre-made polenta logs. Most grocery stores will have them, check near the vegetables or the pasta isle. Cut polenta into desired shapes and thicknesses. I prefer circles and about 1/2 an inch thick.
  2. In a bowl combine the egg and a splash of milk and whisk to combine. In two more bowls add the flour and panko and season with salt and pepper. Dip the cut polenta into the flour, then the egg wash then the panko.
  3. Heat large skillet to medium high heat and add oil to cover the pan. Sauté polenta cakes until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Place in oven at 200-250° to keep warm.
  4. Pre-heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon strips (you can pre-cut them into lardons or you can leave the strips whole and cut them after). Reduce to medium and cook bacon until crispy and most of the drippings (fat) has been rendered. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Depending on how much bacon you use, you should probably remove all but a tablespoon of the fat (but I leave it in).
  5. Add onions, green garlic and jalapeno to the pan with the bacon fat. Sautees the mixture until softened and then add the bell pepper, corn and frozen edamame (they’ll thaw and be nice and crunchy by the end). Season with salt and pepper and toss in pan until of the vegetables are coated and warmed. Pour in heavy cream and continue to toss or stir allowing mixture to simmer until thickened. Add the crispy bacon and toss. Taste for seasoning and re-season if necessary.
  6. Trim the Triggerfish if necessary and pick any pin bones. In a large zip top bag, add just a little flour, salt, pepper, smoked paparika and the fish. We aren’t looking to add enough flour to create a breading, just enough to crisp and brown a little. Toss lightly until coverd.
  7. Meanwhile, in a large skillet (I used the same that I cooked the polenta cakes in) over medium heat add olive oil. Cook fish on both sides until desired doneness is reached. If necessary, finish cooking in the oven. Fish should slightly flake when done.
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Triggerfish, Succotash and Fried Polenta Cakes

Pork Chops au Poivre, Mushroom Ragu, Wilted Baby Spinach and Creamy Polenta

Pork Chop au Poivre, Mushroom Ragu, Wilted Baby Spinach and Creamy Polenta

Quick, easy and delicious…unless you don’t dig on swine, there is no reason not to make this meal. I’ve been making this meal in different variations for years. I finally remembered to snap a photo (let’s not get into how bad of a photographer I am).

Can’t you just call it pork chops with pepper? I know but au Poivre sounds so much better. You could also season with Montreal Seasoning. The mushroom ragu is wonderful and if you “don’t dig on swine” or are a vegetarian you could totally make this meal without the pork. I wilted the greens in the same pan of the pork so they don’t really need any seasoning and I don’t have to clean two pans. Polenta (or grits as we call them in the south) are a perfect starch component that literally holds this meal together. Let me know what you think.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 thick cut pork chips (I prefer bone in)
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound bunches of mushrooms (whatever kind you like, I just “baby bells”
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup Marsala
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Oregano, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Thyme, chopped
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 bunch fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Polenta (or Grits)
  • Milk and water
  • Asiago cheese, grated
Directions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat add a few tablespoons of olive oil and onions. Cook for a few minutes and add garlic. Continue cooking until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms and season to taste. Cook until mushrooms are tender. Add Marsala and cook another 2-3 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add chicken stock, reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half (about 30 minutes). Add heavy cream and fresh herbs, toss to combine.
  2. In the meantime, in a pot prepare potenta per instruction. Instead of all water I use a mixture of milk and water, about half and half. You could also use stock. When the potenta is cooked stir in the asiago and keep warm.
  3. As the ragu and polenta are cooking, season pork with plenty of pepper and some salt. Pre-heat oven to 425 F. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the pork. Sear both sides of the pork and place in the oven. Cook until desired doneness, I recomend not over cooking. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add baby spinach and toss until wilted.
  5. As pictured above, I like to serve it so at some point you get a little of it all. I put the polenta on the bottom, the mushroom ragu, the wilted spinach and then the pork on top. Enjoy!
Pork Chops au Poivre, Mushroom Ragu, Wilted Baby Spinach and Creamy Polenta

Roast Herb Pork, Succotash and Baked Polenta Fries

Roast pork, succotash and baked polenta fries

This succotash recipe is one of my favorites. I liked everything about the roast pork loin and baked polenta fries, but this meal is all about the succotash.

The herbed pork was very tender, a bit too pink for my better half, but very nice. I liked the idea of the polenta fries and I think they turned out nice. Baked, not fried, a healthier option then French fries and they added a nice crunch. Again, the pork and fries were both nice but the succotash is why I made this meal.

I’m from the south and I’ve eaten succotash as long as I can remember. I don’t remember as a kid liking it at all. One of my absolute favorite things to do is take food that I didn’t like as a kid and make it “likable”. This succotash recipe is the best example I can offer. I 100% made this up one night although I am sure I am not the first.

My first step was to remove the lima beans and replace them with edamame. Nothing wrong with lima beans but I just remember those soggy over cooked, mushy lima beans from when I was a kid and wanted something more fun. Plus, I happened to have a bag of frozen edamame already shelled. Ironically, in the photo above I used fresh fava beans, and they were good but what a pain in the ____.

Next I add jalapeno for some heat. I love things spicy and leaving the seeds in gives this succotash some kick.

Next I add bacon and bacon fat. What isn’t better with bacon? Nothing! As I mention in several posts, my preference is Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Bacon. YUM!

The final touch is heavy cream. Since I didn’t do any research on this recipe, this may be normal for succotash. Either way, when the cream reduces and gets thick, wow.

Make sure to use fresh corn and not the frozen kind, it makes a huge difference. Also, don’t overcook the veg, leave them fresh and crunchy.

The richness of the heavy cream and salty bacon, the heat from the jalapeno, the crunch of the fresh corn and bell pepper and even the pop that the frozen edamame give. Uhhh…just yum. This is one of my favorites to make and goes with just about any protein. If you give this recipe a try, please let me know what you think.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Boneless pork loin
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, organo)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 ears fresh corn in husk
  • 1/2 bag of thawed edamame (use fresh if you can find it or broad/fava beans)
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 3+ strips applewood smoked bacon (my fav is Niman Ranch)
  • Heavy whipping cream (or half and half)
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Polenta homemade or store bought (usually in the veg section in a tube)
  • Egg wash (egg + milk or water)
  • Flour for dredging
  • Panko bread crumbs
DIRECTIONS

  1. First we’ll marinate the pork. Coarsely chop two cloves of garlic and whatever herbs you have. In this recipe I used rosemary and thyme. In a large zip top bag place the pork, garlic, herbs, zest and juice of the lemon along with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil (depending on how large your pork is). Squeeze the excess air out of the bag and zip. Mix the marinade over the pork and refrigerate 1-2 hours. Remove 30 minutes prior to roasting.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Cut the tops off the fresh corn and place in the oven (this is the BEST way to cook corn). Let cook for 10-15 minutes or until the outer husk is brown slightly and flip the corn. Let cook and 10 minutes and remove. Let the corn cool and remove the husk. Cut the kernels from the ear and set aside.
  4. If you made homemade polenta, pour it into a sheet pan and allow to cool in the refrigerator. Once it has firmed up, cut into “fries” shape. In all honesty, this is much easier if you by the tubed polenta from the store. Dredge the fries in flour, egg wash and bread crumbs. Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray and line the fries up. It is best to allow these to setup in the fridge for a few minutes but I never do. When the fries are done, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Cut the heat down in the oven to 400 degrees. Place the pork in the roasting pan and cook for approximately 30 minutes. Internal temperature is supposed to be 155 degrees (I usually take mine out sooner). I would go ahead and add the fries here as well. Allow them to cook on the bottom rack for 10-12 minutes and flip them, depending on how crunchy you like them.
  6. Stem and seed the bell pepper and dice. Stem the jalapeno and remove the seed from half (or leave them all in if you like the extra kick), mince. Mince the red onion and garlic.
  7. Pre-heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon strips (you can pre-cut them into lardons or you can leave the strips whole and cut them after). Cook bacon until crispy and most of the drippings (fat) has been rendered. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Depending on how much bacon you use, you should probably remove all but a tablespoon of the fat (but I leave it in).
  8. Reduce heat to medium and add onions, garlic and jalapeno to the pan with the bacon fat. Sautee the mixture until softened and then add the bell pepper, corn and edamame (or broad beans in the photo). Season with salt and pepper and toss in pan until of the vegetables are coated and warmed. Pour in heavy cream and continue to toss or stir allowing to simmer until thickened. Add the crispy bacon and toss. Taste for seasoning and re-season if necessary.
Roast Herb Pork, Succotash and Baked Polenta Fries