Tag Archives: onions

Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions (Burger Topping Extraordinaire)

15 Mar

Now that I have recuperated from the trauma of car buying and am tooling around happily in my beautiful new (for me) automobile and impressing the neighbors — a bit like Toad, only better-behaved (extra points if you get the reference)  — a host of other little things are making life challenging.

You know, unexpected meetings (note the use of the plural – not one, not two, but many!); unexpected need to write recommendations; unexpected oily messes from poorly shut jars of sun-dried tomatoes that somehow tipped over in the fridge at 11 p.m. after one of those unexpected meetings; unexpected armies of black ants marching through the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen; just unexpected stuff that keeps popping up in the middle of attempting to actually finish something, just one thing, for the love of God!

Still life with mushrooms

So I am swamped and overwhelmed, but none of it is bad or life-threatening, and even though I haven’t kept you informed, we are still eating real food over here (and I am still washing heaps of real dishes, which is becoming a real problem because I have fisherman’s cracked hands). So, I’ll count my blessings and try to catch you up on some recent favorites.

The original topper from which this recipe is derived....YUM-Burger

I promised you this burger topper recipe weeks ago, from a mid-winter BBQ with Marianne & Co. when the weather was mild enough to warrant firing up the grill. It is still mild enough! I have since made it to dress-up black bean burgers – it really made me feel as though I was having a restaurant meal. And I needed that.

With black bean burgers

Onion and Mushroom Burger Toppers

2-3 Tbs salted butter

2 medium onions, sliced

8 oz. button mushrooms, stems trimmed and sliced (2-2.5 Cups)

1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce, plus more to taste (optional: from what I know Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies, so it is not vegetarian; other steak sauces like A-1 may be vegetarian. Check the label!)

Salt to taste

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet on medium-high. When foaming subsides, add onions to skillet, stir to cover and lower heat. Allow to wilt and caramelize (at least five minutes; more if you have the time).

When onions have cooked and browned, remove and set aside. Add mushrooms to skillet with existing butter (add more if desired) and cook at medium –high, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have released their liquid (about five minutes), liquid has evaporated somewhat and mushrooms are tender and browned. Add more butter, if desired (I desire a lot of butter!), return onions to skillet and stir to incorporate. Add Worcestershire sauce to taste as desired, a teaspoon or so at a time. Serve atop cooked burgers, grilled meats or vegetable or veggie/bean burgers.

Oh. My. Cod. Fresh Filets with Onions and Capers

20 Jan

As a Caribbean person, I often forget the existence of fresh cod.

In my world, cod is called bacalao, usually comes in salt-crusted bricks or paddles, much as it was when it arrived in the New World, masterminded by intrepid Basques and other seafaring peoples, to make an important (and tasty) protein source last and last and last. It has to be soaked for ages with many changes of water and, if you don’t like fishy-fish, you are probably not going to like bacalao.

I promise that I will get to the fresh (non-fishy, non-salty) version in a second and give you a killer recipe that is all flair and no hard work and can be used with any firm-fleshed white fish, but  indulge me for a moment as I take my tastebuds for a saunter down a Puerto Rican Cuisine Memory Lane.

Think batter-fried bacalaitos (best-eaten from a battered pot full of dubious grease bubbling over coals at a palm-roofed beachfront kiosk marshalled by an old lady in rollers and washed down with an ice-cold Medalla beer), or shredded into rice (arroz con bacalao) for the holidays, or dressed with vinaigrette and served with boiled tubers (serenata) on a Lenten Friday, or in a reddish sauce with hard-boiled eggs (bacalao a la vizcaína) any old time.

I am dabbing nostalgic tears from my eyes and nostalgic water from the corners of my mouth right now, overwhelmed by food memory.

Fortunately, my present latitude offers some solace.

As a Caribbean person adapting to living in the cruel Northeastern winter, frozen fish has taken the place of salted fish (and fresh too, to be honest). And so, I recently discovered the wonder of some vacuum-packed slablets of frozen fresh cod (a phrase which only makes sense in contextual comparison to salted fish) at, you guessed it, Costco Warehouse. As it is “Wild Alaskan”, it is also a good choice from a non-polluted environment and in terms of sustainability (visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch site if you are concerned about that sort of thing http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/sfw_recommendations.aspx). I sauteed a couple experimentally just for me and the result was a quick yet good-looking plate of big flakes of fish just sliding apart and yet another way to incorporate capers into a dish.

This one I would definitely serve on date night.

Sauteed Fresh Cod Dressed with Onions and Capers

(tilapia or any firm white fish would work well here)

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs butter

2 small slabs fresh cod filet (5-8 oz each)

Salt and pepper

½ medium onion, peeled and sliced thin

1-2 tsp capers, mostly drained

Heat oil and butter together in a heavy skillet at relatively high heat.

Using about ¼ tsp salt, sprinkle fish on all sides. Do the same with the pepper, preferably fresh cracked.

When the foaming of the butter subsides, cook fish on each side at high heat until just white. Then lower heat and cook on each side from 4-6 minutes each (I prefer my fish somewhat undercooked; if you are just learning to cook fish, simply use a fork or knife in the center to check for done-ness: no more translucence).

Remove cod and set on a plate (preferably warm). In the same skillet, sauté the onions in the oil and butter at medium high until wilted and somewhat tender. Add the capers to warm them up. Then spoon the onions and capers over the fish and serve.

This fish would be great over wilted greens, polenta or couscous or with Snap and Go Asparagus. I ate my second slice cold over salad and it was yummy!

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