Monkfish with Creamy Morels and Frisée

Sometimes when I go shopping I’ll buy an accessory…shoes, a purse, a piece of jewelry and I’ll end designing an entire outfit around that one item. This is essentially what I did when I made this dish. I found morel mushrooms at the farmer’s market and bought them on a whim, even though they were $30 a pound. They’re only around for a short period of time so said figured, what the hell…why not? All the other elements of this design were picked to heighten and complement the flavors of the morels.

Morel Mushrooms

Usually morels are served with rice, pasta, or potatoes so the morels have a blank backdrop to show their true flavor. Morels also pair perfectly with heavy cream. I substituted heavy cream for fat-free half-and-half and instead of serving this sauce with a big bowl of pasta I decided to serve it with frisée which is a very sturdy green that can stand-up to warm dressings and pungent ingredients.

 

Monkfish with Creamy Morels and Frisée

Makes 1 Serving = 7 Points Plus

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

  • 4 oz monkfish
  • ¼ cup onions, minced
  • 4 oz fresh morel mushrooms*
  • 2 tsp thyme, minced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp fat-free half-and-half
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 scallion, sliced, green only
  • 2 cups frisée**
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • salt and pepper, to taste

*If you can’t find morels, you can subtitute any mushrooms you like…cremini, shiitake, chanterelles (would be awesome), oyster, etc.

**If you can’t find frisée use, any sturdy green you like or you can serve this sauce with any mild starch.

Season the monkfish with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add your onions and thyme and sauté for 2-3 minutes until lightly softened. Add the morels and sauté for 7-8 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and cooked through. Turn the heat down to low, and add the white wine. Simmer for 1-2 minutes or until alcohol flavor has cooked off. Then add your chicken broth and let that reduce by half.

While the sauce is cooking, heat a small sauté pan over medium-high heat and add your vegetable oil. Add the monkfish and cook on all sides until cooked through, about 6-7 minutes total. Set aside and keep warm while you finish your sauce.

Add the half-and-half to your sauce and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Turn off the heat and add the butter and swirl the pan to incorporate the butter into the sauce. Add your scallions. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble, lay your frisée on the bottoms of a large plate. Slice your monkfish and lay the slices over the frisée. Top with your creamy morels sauce and give everything a good squeeze of lemon. Dig in and use the frisée to mop up every drop of creamy goodness!

Spice Crusted Pork with Roasted Apples and Potatoes

As most of you know, I am a huge supporter of local farmers, producers, and artisans. I try and buy local products whenever possible and after reading Fast Food Nation, I am even more committed to purchasing local or humanely raised meat. Visiting your local farmers market will open your eyes to the options and opportunities available to you to purchase locally.

My favorite farmers market in NYC is the Union Sqaure Greenmarket (probably because it’s largest in the city and also open 4 days a week). I based this entire meal around the protein, a pork tenderloin from Flying Pigs Farm which is located in Washing County, New York where they raised heritage breed pigs.

I tried to keep everything really simple to let the pork shine. When you are using heritage breed pork or chickens, you want to be able to taste the flavor of the meat because it is so much more complex, rich, and intense than factory-farmed animals.

Mmm...crusty

Spice Crusted Pork with Roasted Apples and Potatoes

Makes 4 servings

1 serving = 8 Points Plus

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Spice Crust:

  • 1# pork tenderloin, fat trimmed
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil

Roasted Apples:

  • 2 large Rome apples, each apple cut into 6 pieces (about 1#)
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey

Roasted Potatoes:

  • 1# mini new potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tarragon, minced
  • 1 tbsp parsley, minced
  • salt and pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Crush your fennel seeds with the bottom of a heavy sauté pan or a meat mallet. This allows the essential oils and aromatics to be released from the seeds. Combine the fennel seeds, dried thyme, and fresh sage in a small bowl. Rub the pork tenderloin with this mixture and wrap the pork in plastic wrap. Let this hang out on the counter for at least 30 minutes. This allows the spice mixture to penetrate the pork tenderloin and also takes the “chill” off the pork tenderloin for more even cooking.

After 30 minutes, unwrap your pork and pre-heat a heavy-bottom (oven-safe) sauté pan over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray and also add 2 tsp of vegetable oil. Season the pork heavily with salt and pepper. Add your pork to the sauté pan and sear on all sides. This will take about 6-7 minutes. You want to develop a rich brown color without burning the herb crust.

When the pork is seared on all sides, remove the pork from the pan and set aside. Lower your heat to medium-low and add your apples. I chose Rome apples because they are said to be the best cooking apple. You can feel free to substitute your favorite apple, just be careful because some apples are meant to be eaten raw.

You want to brown your apples on both sides, allow them to cook for at least 5 minutes. When both sides of the apples are browned, add your shallots, and garlic and cook for at 1-2 minutes. Place your pork back in the sauté pan (with the apples) and place into the oven. Cook for 10-13 minutes or until pork is about medium (the internal temperature is around 140°F).  The best way to tell the “doneness” of meat is to use a thermometer. When the pork is finished remove from the sauté pan along with apples. Allow the pork to rest and cover with aluminum foil.

Place the sauté pan back on the stove, and turn the heat up to medium. In a separate bowl, combine chicken broth, mustard, apple juice, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Add this mixture to the sauté pan and allow to simmer and reduce for 3-4 minutes until the right consistency is achieved. Add your apples back in the sauce allow them to hang out for 2 minutes, just to get a nice coating and to be heated through.

Simmering Sauce

Coat the Apples

For the roasted potatoes, coat your potatoes in the olive oil and season very, VERY heavily with salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven for 30 minutes or until tender.

When they are finished (right before serving them) toss the potatoes with the tarragon and parsley. Enjoy this local meal with people you love.

I know you might be thinking that this is the perfect dish for fall or even the winter season, and you’re right! However, March and April are dormant months in New York…they are also rainy, chilly, and gray. And since I still try to buy local whenever possible you’re still going to be eating winter squash, pears, and apples throughout the early spring months. And that’s okay because they are delicious!