November 25, 2008
There are two truths about me. Well, there are more but this is relating to the kitchen. Well, even there, there are more but we are going to discuss two today.
- I usually cook from a recipe. It helps the control freak/planner in me to relax.
- Once a recipe is mastered, I start to get a little bored with it and turn into a mad scientist of sorts.
Sometimes my frankensteining pays off and sometimes it goes horribly wrong. When I was 7, I thought I could trade in my beloved tarter sauce for grape jelly when eating my fish sticks. Horribly horribly wrong. At 13, I made chicken and dumplings for my father. I incorporated a plethora of ingredients into the dumpling dough including cheese and bbq sauce. Horribly horribly wrong. At 18, I started frankensteining with mixed drinks and alcohol. A bartender I am not but a toilet cleaner I became. Horribly horribly wrong.
Eventually, I hit my stride though and now, I can modify recipes with the best of them like this stuffed chicken recipe from Alton. The original recipe was for stuffed flounder and I have made it with that and tilapia and now chicken. And I promise you I have left my “culinary frankensteining” in the past and this is just Good Eats. (I crack myself up)
Baked Stuffed Flounder (Or whatever)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for the sweat and for seasoning fillets
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 (10-ounce package) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning fillets
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 10 ounces grated Cheddar
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds flounder fillets
- 3 cups leftover cooked rice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium saute pan over low heat, melt the butter; add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add the spinach and lemon zest and cook until just heated through. Season with the salt and pepper, add the parsley, and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
Place the heavy cream and wine into a saucepan over medium heat. Once the mixture begins to simmer, gradually add the cheese and stir until melted. Set aside and keep warm.
If the fillets are large, cut in half. Season each filet on both sides with salt and pepper. Divide the spinach mixture evenly among the fillets and roll the fish around the mixture. Place the rice into a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish and spread evenly. Place each roll on top of the rice, seam side down. Pour over the cheese sauce and place in the oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
For chicken: Cut a pocket into the chicken breast and insert the cooked spinach mixture. Use toothpicks to secure the pocket closed. (Be sure to remove those later). Sear the chicken in a pan over medium/high heat until no longer pink on the outside. Lay on top of rice and pour the cheese mixture over the chicken. Cook for 40 minutes or until internal temperature is 165.