Moules Marinieres or Mussels in a Wine Sauce


 

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Please forgive my very long absence. This has been an eventful spring and summer for me. Loss of my father-in-law, school letting out, my son graduating, then going on to college ( he went to a summer camp to get ready for what awaits him in the fall at the military academy that he will be going to.), and then vacation started…with the usual in and out of the house.

If you have not seen much recipes, this would be explained by two reasons. One because I had to place myself and my son on a diet to help him trim down the necessary pounds that he needed to lose to fit the requirement of his school.

And two because I have not been cooking as much, preferring eating carpaccio, ceviche and salads rather than cooked meals… though maybe I should have shared those?!?!

After a couple of weeks of training in Charleston, my son finally came yesterday for the week-end. And though he did not complain about the food, in fact called it “pretty good”, I wanted to cook something that he really like: Mussels.

My most favorite ones are the one cooked in curry and coconut milk- I  love Asian food so much and  all those exotic flavors that Curry Mussels count as one of my favorite.

But he wanted the traditional ones, so this is what I will share with you today. I may have already posted a recipe, but this one is slightly different.

Now, I do not know where you will be buying your mussels. I bought mine at Costco, because I do not live closed to the ocean, and Costco offer the best there. But shop the stores in your area, you may have better options.

Before cooking your mussels, you will have to do two things.

  1. rinse your mussels under running water and scrub them a but with a sponge or even a nail brush to remove the dirt, or the algue.
  2. discard any mussels that are wide opened. If they are slightly opened, touch the inside with a knife to see if they are alive. If the shell closes, then they are alive and good to eat. If they are not, then toss it in the trash.

Once you have done those two steps, you are ready to cook them. Now be careful, it only takes a few minutes to cook mussels ( 5-8 minutes at the very very most), so be sure that all your sides are ready before you start.

Generally, mussels are accompanied by French fries or pommes frites, but sautéed potatoes would be good as well. A Boston salad would be a great addition also to both.

Here we go…

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Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of Mussels
  • 1 onion sliced thinly,
  • 2 garlic cloves,
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley,
  • 4 tbsp of butter,
  • 1 cup of white wine,
  • 1 lemon,
  • 1 tbsp of flour,
  • salt and pepper to taste,
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream.

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  1. Clean up the onion and cut it in half. You can slice and dice the onion ver thinly with the knife, but these days I like to use my special tool from Demarle. It really chops my onion really fast, and I do not tear up.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter and saute the garlic, then add the onion.
  3. Add the mussels and stir until they start to open up. Cover for a few minutes, and cook the mussels until they open up. Stir repeatedly so as to make sure that all mussels open up.
  4. Then add the wine, salt, pepper,  1/8 cup of the fresh parsley, and bring to boil. Stir as well. Turn the heat down and set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, melt 2 tbsp of butter, add flour and make a roux ( cook until the flour turns golden), add 2 cups of the mussel liquid, stir and cook for 2 minutes until it thickens.
  6. Then add the cream and continue stirring. Pour it all over the mussels and stir.
  7. Sprinkle the parsley over the mussels.
  8. Serve the mussels in soup bowls, and accompany them with Pommes-frites, and whatever else you wish to serve. If you wish to serve wine, a nice Riesling or a Golden Ale Beer is a great addition. Et voila. Enjoy!!!

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My Theodor was happy. So much so that he ate two large bowls . preferring to eat his mussels over his fries. I would say that that this dinner was a win;-))))

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Mussels in Parsley, Onion and Wine Sauce, or Moules Marinières

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 6-10 minutes
  • Difficulty: Super Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of Mussels
  • 1 onion sliced thinly,
  • 2 garlic cloves,
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley,
  • 4 tbsp of butter,
  • 1 cup of white wine,
  • 1 lemon,
  • 1 tbsp of flour,
  • salt and pepper to taste,
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
  1. Clean up the onion and cut it in half.
  2. You can slice and dice the onion ver thinly with the knife, but these days I like to use my special tool from Demarle. It really chops my onion really fast, and I do not tear up.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt butter and saute the garlic, then add the onion.
  4. Add the mussels and stir until they start to open up. Cover for a few minutes, and cook the mussels until they open up. Stir repeatedly so as to make sure that all mussels open up.
  5. Then add the wine, salt, pepper, 1/8 cup of the fresh parsley, and bring to boil. Stir as well. Turn the heat down and set aside.
  6. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, melt 2 tbsp of butter, add flour and make a roux ( cook until the flour turns golden), add 2 cups of the mussel liquid, stir and cook for 2 minutes until it thickens.
  7. Then add the cream and continue stirring. Pour it all over the mussels and stir.
  8. Sprinkle the parsley over the mussels.
  9. Serve the mussels in soup bowls, and accompany them with Pommes-frites, and whatever else you wish to serve. If you wish to serve wine, a nice Riesling or a Golden Ale Beer is a great addition. Et voila. Enjoy!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Raspberry Chipotle Beef Meatballs



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This past Sunday, I hosted a Super Bowl Appetizer cooking class for some of my friends and acquaintances to show off some easy recipes that were delicious, but that could be prepared in advance. Because it is fun to host a Super bowl party or to go to one. What is less fun is to try to get ready, while getting the food ready on time and warm for the guests. I hope that you will try this recipe. It is easy to fix, delicious and actually quite healthy because I am only using lean ground beef. It can also be prepared in advance, even frozen and warmed up right before your guests arrive or right before you are ready to go.

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Ingredients for 6-8 people:

  • 1 pack of lean ground beef ( 1 1/2 lbs),
  • 3/4 cup of bread crumbs,
  • 1/2 tbs of garlic salt,
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper,
  • 1 egg,

Sauce:

  • 2 times 1/4 Maple Chipotle SauceIMG_4579
  • 2 times 1/4 seedless raspberry jam
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl, or mixer and mix all until you have a well blended mixture.IMG_4475
  2. With a small ice-cream or cookie cutter, scoop small balls and place them into the deep flexipan that you would have already placed on a perforated  sheet. Of course, if you do not have, you can just use a regular cookie sheet that you will line with parchment paper.IMG_4476
  3. Cook them for about 15 minutes.IMG_4482
  4. While they are cooking, mix the raspberry and the maple chipotle sauce.IMG_4481
  5. When the meatballs are done, pour half of the sauce over them and mix well to coat the meatballs.IMG_4483IMG_4484 Put them back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes.IMG_4491
  6. When they come out, pour the other sauce and coat them again before eating them. Enjoy!!!IMG_4492 2

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Raspberry Chipotle Beef Meatballs

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: Super Easy
  • Print

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Ingredients for 6-8 people:

  • 1 pack of lean ground beef (  1 1/2 lbs),
  • 3/4 cup of bread crumbs,
  • 1/2 tbs of garlic salt,
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper,
  • 1 egg,

Sauce:

  • 2 times 1/4 Maple Chipotle Sauce
  • 2 times 1/4 seedless raspberry jam
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl, or mixer and mix all until you have a well blended mixture.
  2. With a small ice-cream or cookie cutter, scoop small balls and place them into the deep flexipan that you would have already placed on a cookie sheet.
  3. Cook them for about 15 minutes. While they are cooking, mix the raspberry and the maple chipotle sauce.
  4. When the meatballs are done, pour half of the sauce over them and mix well to coat the meatballs.
  5. Put them back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
  6. When they come out, pour the other sauce and coat them again before eating them. Enjoy!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Barbecue Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites


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I love, love my cell phone. I love to be able to check on my children, call whenever I can, text, take pictures. I love it all. What I love less, is the ability to browse the internet. A friend told me that she does not like to go on Facebook because she feels that it swallows her, and that can waste hours in what feels only seconds of her time. I think what i like the least is the ability to get on the internet. Once I get there, I get lost either in the clothes, or in the food… and I spend hours, ….. Do you have that problem???

This recipe is just one of them I saw on Pinterest. I just added mon “petit grain” as we say in French because I did not want to use some of the ingredients and was unable to locate the raspberry Chipotle Sauce as suggested.  I added bits here and there and I am also using my Demarle cookware to cook it ( easy to clean, and non-stick). Of course any pan would do. I hope that you will try them. They cook so fast and are deliiiiiciiouss!!!! Yes, not very healthy but delicious!!!!

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Ingredients for about 4-6 people (it is a wide range, but those are so good it is hard to stop at 4 or 5;-)))

  • 2 chicken breasts,
  • 6 bacon strips cut in fourth,
  • 1/3 cup of barbecue sauce,
  • 2-3 tbsp of brown sugar,
  • salt and pepper.
  1. Trim the chicken so that it is cleaned of fat and nerves.IMG_4501
  2. Slice the chicken breast half in its length, then cut each half into small bites of about 1 inch wide ( about 5-6 cut per half).IMG_4502
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.IMG_4503
  4. Then roll each bite within the bacon strip.
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  5. Place the bacon wrapped chicken into the deep flexipan that you would have placed onto a medium perforated sheet.IMG_4506
  6. Pour the barbecue sauce over the top of the bacon and with a brush, brush evenly the barbecue sauce.IMG_4508
  7. Sprinkle the sugar all over the chickenIMG_4510
  8. and bake the chicken for 30 minutes at 400 or until the bacon is crisp and the fat has melted.IMG_4511 You may cook it longer if you need to, but I was happy with the texture after 30 minutes.IMG_4512 2

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Barbecue Bacon Chicken Bites

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: Super Easy
  • Print

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Ingredients for about 4-6 people (it is a wide range, but those are so good it is hard to stop at 4 or 5;-)))

  • 2 chicken breasts,
  • 6 bacon strips cut in fourth,
  • 1/3 cup of barbecue sauce,
  • 2-3 tbsp of brown sugar,
  • salt and pepper.
  1. Trim the chicken so that it is cleaned of fat and nerves.
  2. Slice the chicken breast half in its length, then cut each half into small bites of about 1 inch wide ( about 5-6 cut per half).
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  4. Then roll each bite within the bacon strip.
  5. Place the chicken into the deep flexipan.
  6. Pour the barbecue sauce over the top of the bacon and with a brush, brush evenly the barbecue sauce.
  7. Sprinkle the sugar all over the chicken and bake the chicken for 30 minutes at 400 or until the bacon is crisp and the grease has melted.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Brie Tartlets with Confit Tomatoes


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A friend of mine gave me some baby tomato plants last year, and despite me doing anything this year, they all came back and have given me many tomatoes. Ordinary I would eat the tomatoes off the wine because they are so good, but this particular tomato plant makes tomatoes that are not sweet and so I have to cook them, or accommodate them to eat them. As I was browsing easy vegetables appetizers, I came across a candied tomato recipe from the Power of Family Meal. I changed a few things and here it is:

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Ingredients for 20 medium sized tartlets:

  • 1 box of small baby tomatoes of about 1 pint ( the smaller the better- you really need 20 small tomatoes),
  • 250 gr. or about 10 oz of brie cheese,
  • 1 pie crust,
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar ( I used the Mediterranean Balsamic with Fig),
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar.
  • 1/2 tbsp of olive oil.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a medium saucepan, warm up the oil and when it is sizzling,
  2. Add the tomatoes that you would have cut in half.IMG_2630
  3. Cook them for a minutes or two.IMG_2631
  4. Then add the vinegar and the sugar, a dash of salt and pepper and bring to boil.IMG_2635
  5. Cook for another 1 or 2 minutes. Set aside.
  6. With a cutter, cut the dough to fit the tartlet pan ( you will want to use the medium or the mini muffin pan because the cheese may over flow).
  7. With a shaper, push the dough down. Then with a fork, prick the dough so that the tartlet will stay flat and a pocket will not form at the bottom.
  8. Cut the cheese in 1/2 inch thick slices, then in rectangles of about 1 inch wide.
  9. Squeeze them and place them in each tartlet.
  10. Spoon two halves of tomatoes in each brie tartlets.IMG_2530
  11. Cook the tartlets in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes.
  12. Meanwhile place the saucepan back on the stove to reduce the liquid to about half. When the tartlets are cooked, and removed from the oven, drizzle some of that juice on top of the tartlets and eat ;-))IMG_2645

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Brie Tartlets with Confit Tomatoes

  • Servings: 7-10 people
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Super easy
  • Print

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Ingredients for 20 medium sized tartlets:

  • 1 box of small baby tomatoes of about 1 pint ( the smaller the better- you really need 20 small tomatoes),
  • 250 gr. or about 10 oz of brie cheese,
  • 1 pie crust,
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar ( I used the Mediterranean Balsamic with Fig),
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar.
  • 1/2 tbsp of olive oil.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a medium saucepan, warm up the oil and when it is sizzling,
  2. Add the tomatoes that you would have cut in half.
  3. Cook them for a minutes or two.
  4. Then add the vinegar and the sugar, a dash of salt and pepper and bring to boil.
  5. Cook for another 1 or 2 minutes. Set aside.
  6. With a cutter, cut the dough to fit the tartlet pan ( you will want to use the medium or the mini muffin pan because the cheese may over flow),
  7. With a shaper, push the dough down. Then with a fork, prick the dough so that the tartlet will stay flat and a pocket will not form at the bottom.
  8. Cut the cheese in 1/2 inch thick slices, then in rectangles of about 1 inch wide. Squeeze them and place them in each tartlet.
  9. Spoon two halves of tomatoes in each brie tartlets.
  10. Cook the tartlets in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile place the saucepan back on the stove to reduce the liquid to about half.
  12. When the tartlets are cooked, and removed from the oven, drizzle some of that juice on top of the tartlets and eat ;-))

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Strawberry Bruchetta


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Ahh  Summer, so much vegetables and fruits to eat!! Everything looks delicious, it is really difficult not to purchase all that looks appetizing and that smells so delicious…

I am lucky to live in a location where we have tons of farmers and tons of local produces. Though it is a tad difficult to go to the produce market during the school year, I have enjoyed going these past few weeks. Everything smells so good in that store, that it is very tempting to buy everything that is at your fingertips;-)

Last time I went there, a couple of days ago, I bought a few peaches, a cantaloupe, a few red tomatoes and a gallon of strawberries. Yes, a gallon… That is a lot  I know, but I intended to use them in my morning shakes, eat them for a snack during the day, and give some away. I wanted to give some away to my mother-in-law, but when I went to here house, I saw that she, too, had purchased a gallon of strawberries … so I had to take mine back home and figure out what to do with them before they got spoiled.

Really, what can you do with strawberries?? especially a gallon of strawberries??? Of course you can make fruit salads, jams, tarts, cream, ice-creams and many, many more desserts!

I wanted to use them otherwise than as a dessert so I decided to make a Strawberry Bruchetta. It is actually quite easy to make, fast, inexpensive and it is beautiful to the eyes and your tastebuds;-) You would think that it is too sweet, but the tang of the goat cheese, and the fact that the strawberries are seasoned with vinegar, salt, and pepper, it makes them taste almost unsweetened. It was a delight for me;-) I dare you to try;-)

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Ingredients to make 30-40 individual pieces:

  • 1 French baguette sliced thinly,
  • 1 log of goat cheese at room temperature ( about 6 oz.)
  • 1 pint of fresh strawberries ( use local ones if you can, they taste so much better),
  • 1 tbsp of basil olive oil, I used the Demarle Basil olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp of traditional balsamic vinegar,
  • 1 tbsp of fresh basil chopped.
  1. Slice the baguette thinly, and place it on top of the silpain atop a medium perforated sheet. If you do not have either, place the bread onto a cookie sheet. 
  2. Cook the slices for 5-7 minutes or until they are crisp on both sides.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the strawberry topping. Chop the strawberries and place them into a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, a dash of salt and of pepper, the chopped basil and mix well.IMG_1828
  5. When the sliced baguette are crispy, remove them from the oven and let them cool down.
  6. Spread the cheese over the baguette.IMG_1827
  7. And spoon a bit of the strawberry mixture atop the cheese. Eat right away;-))) Miam.IMG_1832

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Strawberry Bruchetta

  • Servings: 8-10 people
  • Time: 5-7 minutes
  • Difficulty: Super easy
  • Print

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Ingredients to make 30-40 individual pieces:

  • 1 French baguette sliced thinly,
  • 1 log of goat cheese at room temperature ( about 6 oz. )
  • 1 pint of fresh strawberries ( use local ones if you can, they taste so much better),
  • 1 tbsp of basil love oil, I used the Demarle Basil olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp of traditional balsamic vinegar,
  • 1 tbsp of fresh basil chopped.
  1. Slice the baguette thinly, and place it on top of the silpain atop a medium perforated sheet. If you do not have either, place the bread onto a cookie sheet.  
  2. Cook the slices for 5-7 minutes, or until they are crisp on both sides.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the strawberry topping. Chop the strawberries and place them into a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, a dash of salt and of pepper, the chopped basil and mix well.
  5. When the sliced baguette are crispy, remove them from the oven and let them cool down.
  6. Spread the cheese over the baguette.
  7. And spoon a bit of the strawberry mixture atop the cheese.
  8. Eat right away;-))) Miam.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Salmon, Chives and Cream Cheese Canapé


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What to do for appetizers when you have a few people over and don’t want to serve the boring dip, salsa and chips?? you make those really fancy appetizers. They are pretty, taste wonderful and will impress any crowd.

Ingredients for 12 canapes:

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry,
  • 1 pack of smoked salmon,
  • cream cheese at room temperature,
  • fresh dill or chives chopped,
  • coarse black pepper.
  1. Place the puff pastry onto the silpat.
  2. With the rolling pin, roll it thinner ( not too much, just a bit).
  3. Cut the rectangle into 12 squares ( or smaller if you want to make bit sizes).
  4. With a butter knife, spread the cream cheese in the middle of each square.
  5. Place 2 slices of salmon a top the cream cheese.IMG_0008
  6. Sprinkle some dill or chives. Fold the two sides over the salmon. It will look like a diamond.
  7. Sprinkle some coarse pepper. Continue this process until you have used all the puff pastry. Place the canapé on a silpat that you would have previously placed atop a medium perforated sheet.IMG_0009
  8. Cook in warm oven at 400 for 15 minutes. Miam, Miam…IMG_0013

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Smoked Salmon, Chives and Cream Cheese Canape

  • Servings: 6 people
  • Time: 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Super Easy
  • Print

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Ingredients for 12 canapes:

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry,
  • 1 pack of smoked salmon,
  • cream cheese at room temperature,
  • fresh dill or chives chopped,
  • coarse black pepper.
  1. Place the puff pastry onto the silpat.With the rolling pin, roll it thinner ( not too much, just a bit).
  2. Cut the rectangle into 12 squares ( or smaller if you want to make bit sizes).
  3. With a butter knife, spread the cream cheese in the middle of each square.
  4. Place 2 slices of salmon a top the cream cheese.
  5. Sprinkle some dill or chives.
  6. Fold the two sides over the salmon. It will long like a diamond.
  7. Sprinkle some coarse pepper. Continue this process until you have used all the puff pastry.
  8. Place the canapé on a silpat that you would have previously placed atop a medium perforated sheet.
  9. Cook in warm oven at 400 for 15 minutes. Miam, Miam..

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

French Salad with Lemon Flavored Oven Roasted Salmon


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What do you eat when you are not very hungry, you do not really want to cook, but you are trying to be really good??? Most people would say cereals, some people would say popcorn and some would say salad. It is not very often that I don’t want to cook, but with the beautiful days coming, I have been more keen on reading my book in the sun, than spending time in my kitchen. Still one has to eat, and since we don’t generally eat out, or order out, someone ( me) has to cook. Last night was meat salad and pan roasted potatoes for my husband, and salad and salmon for me- good, easy and satisfying;-)

Ingredients for 1-2 person:

  • 1 petite filet of salmon ( fresh or frozen that you would have thawn out)
  • 1 small head of boston lettuce
  • 1-2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 -1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp of strong mustard ( grey poupon or even stronger)
  • 1/16 tsp of pepper
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • lemon
  1. Place the salmon on a pan. Here we will be using either the deep flexipan or the medium silpat that we would have placed on the medium perforared sheet.
  2. Sprinkle some salt, pepper and drizzle a bit of lemon juice over the salmon. Cook in the oven for 8-10 minutes ( depending on how you like it).
  3. Meanwhile rinse the salad, and prepare the salad dressing. In a small bowl, mix all together the vinegar, oil, mustard, salt and pepper and stir well so that it will thicken ( yes this is the true French dressing ( not that yucky orange looking dressing that we sell here;-(
  4. Add the salad to the dressing and toss well.
  5. Then add the salmon that you would have cut in smaller pieces.
  6. Toss again and serve. Yum!! A real delight, fresh, light and tasty;-)

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

French Salad with Lemon Flavored Oven Roasted Salmon

  • Servings: 1-2 people
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: Super Easy
  • Print

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Ingredients for 1-2 person:

  • 1 petite filet of salmon ( fresh or frozen that you would have thawn out)
  • 1 small head of boston lettuce
  • 1-2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/2 -1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp of strong mustard ( grey poupon or even stronger)
  • 1/16 tsp of pepper
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • lemon
  1. Place the salmon on a pan. Here we will be using either the deep flexipan or the medium silpat that we would have placed on the medium perforated sheet.
  2. Sprinkle some salt, pepper and drizzle a bit of lemon juice over the salmon. Cook in the oven for 8-10 minutes ( depending on how you like it).
  3. Meanwhile rinse the salad, and prepare the salad dressing. In a small bowl, mix all together the vinegar, oil, mustard, salt and pepper and stir well so that it will thicken ( yes this is the true French dressing ( not that yucky orange looking dressing that we sell here;-(
  4. Add the salad to the dressing and toss well. Then add the salmon that you would have cut in smaller pieces.
  5. Toss again and serve. Yum!! A real delight, fresh, light and tasty;-)

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!