It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.
This is a fast and fresh tasting dinner option adapted from Cooking Light that literally cooks in minutes (so be sure to prep all of your ingredients before beginning to cook). There are just a handful of ingredients and best of all, everything is cooked in a single pan meaning cleanup is a snap as well. I’ve used flounder in this recipe but use whatever firm white fish you prefer.
BROWNED BUTTER FLOUNDER w/ LEMON SNAP PEAS
4- 6 ounce flounder fillets
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- Combine the flour, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika and salt in a shallow dish.
- Dredge the fish in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.
- Heat half of the oil in a large non-stick skillet set over medium-high heat.
- Swirl the oil to coat then add the fish to the pan, cooking for 3 minutes on each side or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
- Remove the fish from the pan and keep warm.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter to the pan.
- Cook for 1 minute or until the butter begins to brown.
- Pour the butter into a small bowl, stir in half of the lemon juice and the parsley.
- Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the remaining oil.
- Add the snap peas and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until just tender crisp.
- Stir in the remaining lemon juice and zest and serve alongside the fish topped with the brown butter.
Nothing personifies Irish food and St. Patrick’s Day like Irish soda bread. Neither savory nor sweet this raisin studded bread is incredibly simple yet unforgettably good. I would describe both the taste and texture as being similar to a scone. And best of all it is incredibly easy to make.
There are many recipes out there for this classic bread but my favorite is this one from Simply Recipes. So in honor of St. Patrick’s Day go ahead and bake up a loaf, or two. Eat it as is or my preferred way, toasted until warm then slathered with butter. Yum!
IRISH SODA BREAD
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 Tbsp butter
1 cup raisins
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 4 cups of flour, the sugar, salt, and baking soda.
- Using your fingers or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal, then add in the raisins.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the beaten egg and buttermilk to well and mix in with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir.
- Dust your hands with a little flour and then gently knead dough in the bowl just long enough to form a rough ball. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add in a little more flour. Be careful not over-knead the dough.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf. Note that the dough will be a little sticky, and quite shaggy (a little like a shortcake biscuit dough).
- Transfer the dough to a large, lightly greased cast-iron skillet or a baking sheet (it will flatten out a bit in the pan or on the baking sheet).
- Using a serrated knife, score top of dough about an inch and a half deep in an “X” shape.
- Transfer to oven and bake until bread is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 35-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the bread sit for 10 minutes before moving it to a rack to cool briefly.
- Serve the bread warm, at room temperature, or sliced and toasted.
Yields 12-16 slices
This cake has been all over the Internet in recent weeks so I’m not really sure whose recipe it really is. I first found it on Global Table Adventure so that is where I’m going to let the credit lie). But back to the cake….or cupcakes as I made them. Oh my goodness is this cake good–which probably explains why they have been everywhere.
The cake is rich and chocolately without being overly sweet. Best of all it is so easy to make, and unlike so many cakes, it isn’t fussy and cake be made in a matter of minutes. Top it all with rich butter cream frosting and you have an unforgettable treat that is perfect for St. Patty’s Day or any day of the year. Yum!
DARK CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE w/ BAILEY’S BUTTERCREAM
For the cake:
1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup Guinness Stout
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
For the buttercream:
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 lb powdered sugar, sifted
2-4 Tbsp Bailey’s Irish Cream, as needed
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Line two 24 cup miniature muffin pans with baking papers or lightly grease and flour 2 8″ round cake pans. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter.
- Whisk in the Guinness, vanilla extract and cocoa and immediately remove from the heat.
- Whisk together the sugar, flour and baking soda in a large bowl.
- Add the Guinness mixture and then whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Beat until the batter looks shiny.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans, filling each cup 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake the cupcakes for 12 to 14 minutes or the cakes for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, make the buttercream by whipping together the softened butter and sugar in a standing mixer fitted with a wire whip.
- Add the Bailey’s, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat the buttercream for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
- When the cakes are completely cool, pipe or smooth on the buttercream.
Yields: 48 miniature cupcakes or 1 8″ 2-layer cake
Think of this as a giant chocolate chip studded scone. With its crispy crust and cake like interior this is a quick bread that is just as nice for dessert as it is for a snack. And it is easy; very easy. The recipe comes from the kitchens of the Washington Post and the first time I baked this recipe the bread got eaten so quickly that I now make two (baked on two separate baking sheets). It is that good. The loaf is free formed so you can experiment with its shape–make two or four smaller loaves, make it round or rectangular–whatever you prefer. Just be sure to adjust the baking time if your loaves are smaller.
And because I am a fan of chocolate I prefer to use miniature chocolate chips since I think they give you more chocolate for your buck. You can also switch out the chocolate chips for diced dried fruit or use a combination of chocolate and fruit (sour cherries are particularly good).
RUSTIC CHOCOLATE CHIP TEA BREAD
3 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
1/3 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into teaspoon-size chunks
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons, if needed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and 1/3 cup of the sugar.
- Drop in the chunks of butter pulse until pea sized dough balls form. Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, the 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of buttermilk and the vanilla extract.
- Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture, sprinkle with the chocolate chips. USe a wooden spoon or paddle to stir, forming a rough, cohesive, slightly sticky dough. If the dough seems a little dry, drizzle it with an extra tablespoon or two of buttermilk.
- Gather the dough into a rough mass with your hands, then knead lightly until it comes together completely, using firm strokes to gather it all cohesively. Form the dough into a 5 1/2-to-6-inch ball.
- Place the ball of dough at the center baking sheet. Use a sharp paring knife to score an 1/8-inch-deep cross in the top of the ball of dough, then sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the top.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the loaf is set, golden on top and baked through. It should sound hollow when you lightly tap the top or bottom with a wooden spoon.
- Cool, on the baking sheet, on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes.
- Slip a metal spatula under the loaf and transfer it to a separate rack to cool completely.
- Use a serrated knife to cut slices or wedges.
It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.
Fish is the perfect end of the week dinner since it is versatile and whether you bake, grill, or pan sear it, it cooks up fast. I love the delicate taste of salmon and it pairs especially well with a simple lemon and butter sauce. I prefer salmon steaks but you can easily substitute filets and reduce the cooking time by five minutes. And because salmon is a (healthy) oily fish, it is virtually impossible to overcook it so you are guaranteed to end up with a flaky and moist dinner. Pair the salmon with this basic lemon caper sauce adapted from Martha Holmberg’s Modern Sauces, add a grain and a vegetable and you have a complete dinner in a flash.
PAN SEARED SALMON w/ LEMON CAPER BUTTER
For the fish:
4 salmon steaks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and garlic powder evenly over both sides of the salmon steaks.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, carefully place the salmon in the pan taking care not to move the steaks while a crust forms.
- Cook the first for 6 minutes then carefully flip each steak. Cook for an additional 6 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through to your liking.
For the sauce:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1/2 cup cold butter
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained, and minced
2 tablespoons fine lemon zest
Salt & pepper to taste
- Place the lemon juice, vinegar, and onion in a small saute pan. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Reduce the temperature and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the juice has reduced to approximately 2 tablespoons.
- Add the butter in one piece and use a wooden spoon to swirl it throughout the pan. Stir the melted butter into the lemon juice until a creamy mixture forms. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Stir in the capers and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately over the top of the salmon steaks.
Yields: 1/2 cup