Gluten-Free Pink Lentil Encrusted Halibut

14 04 2012

A couple of nights ago I decided to treat myself to a home cooked meal. I went to Whole Foods and picked out a pristine piece of halibut, some fresh peas and leeks (seasonal spring veggies), and fingerling potatoes. It might sound surprising, but when you cook professionally for others all of the time it seems like you are never have the time to enjoy the fruits of your own labor. How counterintuitive? If you ask most cooks what they eat for dinner on a weekday, if they are alone, the answers are often pathetic: pizza, Chinese, Ramen noodles, cereal, a stiff vodka martini, or simply nothing. As professionals, we are trained to cook and care for our customers first. Consequently, we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves.

With that being said, the dinner I made Thursday night was a treat! Not only because I was eating something healthy and delicious, but also because I discovered a new way to think about cooking fish. My initial plan was to bread the halibut, using the standard breading procedure of flour, eggs and bread crumbs, sear it in a pan to crisp up both sides and finish the cooking in the oven. This is my “go-to” way to prepare simple crispy fish.

Instead, I started thinking about different ways I could get the same crispy result by substituting breadcrumbs with a gluten-free option. I thought it would be nice to add some vibrant color to the fish so I went through my pantry and found the perfect substitute “breading” solution: pink lentils! I knew dried lentils would be way to hard to use in their whole form so I took out my spice grinder and ground up the pink lentils, spiced them up with some salt and fresh orange zest, and suddenly I had great breading substitution. Instead of using regular flour I substituted garbanzo bean flour and I was ready to go!

Ground lentils are only one example of a gluten-free “breading” option. Other ingredients you could use include red quinoa, millet, toasted and ground nuts (pistachio’s would be great), cornmeal/polenta, ground wild rice and much more. I challenge you to let your imagination run wild and try a healthier gluten-free “breading” option for your next meal.


Spice Video, Ep. 2: Coriander

22 09 2011

Today I am going to take you inside my apartment for a little cooking adventure.  I encourage you all to try this recipe at home.  It’s easy, super healthy and something you’ve most likely never made before.  Let me know your feedback!

Recipe:  Creamy Millet with Coriander and Parmesan Cheese
(Serves 2)
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 shallot, minced
1/2 cup milllet 
3/4-1 Tbs. coriander, freshly ground
1/2-1 Tbs. kosher salt
2 cups water (or stock)
2-3 Tbs. Parmesan Cheese, grated fine
Heat 2 Tbs. of olive oil in a small saucepan.  When the oil is hot, add the minced shallot and saute for 20 seconds.  Next, add the millet to the pan and toast the grain, stirring occasionally, for 30 seconds over medium heat. Add the water/broth and bring the liquid up to a simmer.  
While the liquid is heating up, place 1 Tbs. of whole coriander in a small saucepan over medium heat (without any oil or butter).  Heat the coriander, stirring the pan, until the seeds are hot to the touch.  Transfer them directly to a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.  When the coriander seeds are cool, grind them to a fine texture.  Add 3/4-1 Tbs. of the freshly ground coriander to the millet and season with kosher salt.  
Once the millet has come to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for 18-22 minutes.  Stir in the shaved Parmesan cheese and season to taste with kosher salt.  Serve immediately.
* For breakfast, creamy millet goes wonderfully with poached eggs, soft scrambled eggs, bacon or some seasonal vegetables
*For dinner, creamy millet is a wonderful accompaniment to seared fish, meat or roasted vegetables.