Hello, my friends:
Waking up to the beautiful sound of birds singing and warmer temperatures can only mean spring is near, another sign is the berries on Manzanita bushes.
How many of you attend the monthly Jazz in AZ concerts at the Community Presbyterian Church? March featured saxophonist Steven Von Wald and his jazz quartet -- it was amazing, one of the best performances I've seen in a long time. The musical group complemented each other so well -- encouraging, challenging -- and were having so much fun playing together that the energy was truly incredible. I am looking forward to the next concert. Thank you, Payson Friends of Jazz.
Now let's step into my kitchen where lemons are at center stage with Pan-Seared Lemon Sole and Lemon-Parsley Risotto. This combination served together is delicious.
- To maximize the amount of juice you can squeeze from a lemon, first place the lemon in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes, then roll it on the counter a few times before cutting and squeezing.
- Since the risotto takes more time to cook than the fish, you'll want to start the rice about 25 minutes before starting the fish.
Pan-Seared Lemon Sole
Total prep and cooking time: 20 minutes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 sole fillets (or you may substitute cod, whitefish, tilapia or other mild-tasting white fish)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4-1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 lemon, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
Place flour on a plate. Season the sole with the salt and then coat it in flour, shaking to remove excess; set aside. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Slice the lemon into 12 thin circles and add them to the skillet. Cook until the lemon is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Push the lemon to the side of the skillet and add the fish. (You may need to cook it in batches.) Cook until the fish is the same color throughout and flakes easily - about 2 minutes per side. Add remaining butter and capers to the skillet. Remove from heat and tilt the skillet to swirl the butter until it melts. Transfer the sole and lemon to individual plates and spoon the capers and butter over the top.
Total prep and cooking time: 45 minutes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
zest of one lemon, grated
1/2 cup of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Reduce heat, add the wine, and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed.
Add the broth, a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally and waiting until it's absorbed before adding more. This should take about 30 minutes total. The rice should be tender, but still slightly firm. Remove from heat. Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, Parmesan and the remaining butter and stir until the butter melts. Spoon into individual bowls and sprinkle with the zest and parsley.