A Delightful Winter Menu
Fort Wayne, Indiana (February 11, 2011) — During winter’s chilly months, stay in with your loved ones and make a delicious homemade meal. For an easy-to-make dinner, try our Pan Grilled Cod served over a fresh bed of greens and shallot vinaigrette. Pair it with a side of Yukon Gold Potatoes and Blue Cheese Sauce. Finish off on a satisfying note with our luscious Croissant Bread Pudding. Simple, sweet and perfect for sharing!
About our featured chef: Nan Yablong has embraced the Vera Bradley Foundation as her special cause because she lost her mother to cancer 22 years ago. She has enthusiastically served on almost every committee in her eleven years as a Classic volunteer. As a graduate of LaRivage French Cooking School in Dartmouth, MA, with a passion for both cooking and baking, she was the perfect choice to help us develop healthy and delicious cancer-fighting recipes.
Pan Grilled Cod (Serves 4)
- 4 5-6 ounce portions cod
- 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of a Provençal blend of spices, which may include basil, parsley, oregano, pepper, etc.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Wash and dry fish portions and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside.
- Whisk together the next six ingredients for the glaze, drizzle over the top side of fish pieces.
- Preheat grill pan lightly coated with a non-stick spray or a drizzle of olive oil.
- Place fish pieces in very hot grill pan making sure they do not touch. Cook about three minutes or until fish begins to lose its translucent look. Fish should be turned only once.
- Drizzle fish with glaze and turn so skin side is now down and cook until flesh flakes easily.
- Remove pan from heat, set aside to rest while preparing plates.
Note: Fish should be cooked about 8-10 minutes per one-inch of thickness. If you have a favorite blend of spices, feel free to experiment with flavor. You also may opt to use fresh chopped herbs of your choice.
Butter Lettuce Salad with Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette (Serves 4)
- 5 shallots
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Melt butter and blend with tablespoon olive oil, toss with shallots, place on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until shallots are very tender, turning once during cooking time.
- Remove from oven and let cool at least 10 minutes.
- In food processor, pulse shallots with vinegars and sugar. With motor running, drizzle in remaining olive oil, pulse until emulsified and well blended.
- Season with salt and pepper. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to five days.
- 1 bag Butter Lettuce blend
- 1 small can orange wedges
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup minced celery
Divide salad among four serving plates. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Place piece of fish on top of salad. Serve with additional vinaigrette on the side.
Note: Pomegranate seeds are available at most local grocery stores or you can also seed your own. There are several cooking websites that have video instructions on how to de-seed a pomegranate. Here is one easy-to-follow video at gourmet.com.
Yukon Gold Potatoes with Blue Cheese Sauce (Serves 4)
- 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
- 2/3 cup skim milk
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3-4 Tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
- 1-2 Tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Scrub potatoes and quarter, place in large saucepan and cover with water. Add one tablespoon of kosher salt.
- Boil potatoes until fully cooked, test with a fork for doneness and drain. Return potatoes to saucepan and cover to keep hot.
- In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter, careful not to boil. Add blue cheese crumbles and continue stirring until cheese is melted, remove from heat.
- Smash potatoes lightly, pour blue cheese sauce over and finish smashing potatoes. Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste, serve.
Note: Potatoes are done when a fork splits a piece easily and without resistance. Preparation and cutting the potatoes into even pieces assures even cooking. Be careful no to overwork the potatoes when smashing as they can develop a gummy consistency.
Croissant Bread Pudding with Nutella and Bananas (Serves 4)
- 2-3 large croissants, cubed
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 1/2 cups skim milk
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup Nutella
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- Sliced bananas
- Flaked coconut, optional
- Coat a small casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.
- In large mixing bowl, beat together egg yolks, eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla until well blended.
- Place cubed croissants evenly distributed over bottom of prepared dish. Pour egg mixture over croissants making sure bread is soaked in mixture. Hint: Place a weighted plate on top of croissants to make sure pieces are submerged. Cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare water bath for custard dish by placing casserole dish in a larger pan with one inch of hot water surrounding it.
- Bake covered for 40 minutes, uncover and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160ºF.
- Meanwhile, prepare sauce by placing Nutella in large microwavable bowl, heat for 30-second intervals. Add cream one tablespoon at a time and stir until well blended and drizzling consistency.
- Remove bread pudding from oven, allow to rest on wire rack. Scoop servings into individual bowls, drizzle with Nutella sauce and sprinkle banana slices over top. Add coconut flakes as desired.