Walnut & Herb Crusted Salmon

Walnut & Herb Crusted Salmon

Crusted salmon was for dinner but I was far too exhausted to notice. In a half coherent state I sat at the table. Sitting felt good--I could stay a while. There wasn't much for conversation that night, neither of us had the energy. But we ate, filling our bellies with nourishment. 

With each bite my eyes grew more weary, begging my head to find a pillow. My fork would waver, just above my next bite, and then hesitate as I mustered every ounce of energy to slice off a piece. Have you ever been so tired? Somehow I managed my way through a few more bites, until my eyes just would not stay open any longer, and I slumped in my chair.

Walnut & Herb Crusted Salmon
Walnut & Herb Crusted Salmon

In my next moment of consciousness, my dad is waking me with a start: Caitlin! Caitlin. I jolted upright. Where am I? It took a few seconds for me to realize what had happened. My plate, still warm, sat in front of me unmoved. I rubbed my eyes. Sleep, I just wanted sleep. My dad took the sign and sent me to bed, dinner half eaten. Sleep. I love sleep. 

I was recently reminded of how much I love sleep, so I remembered this story. I was too tired to know what was for dinner that night, but this is a dish that my dad would serve regularly: salmon crusted with a nutty herb topping. I think his recipe used Panko and pecans--or maybe not, I can't quite remember. This version uses walnuts, parsley, and oregano, and it echoes my memories from that same dinner table where I fell asleep half way through dinner. 

Walnut & Herb Crusted Salmon

Walnut & Herb Crusted Salmon

Paleo, Primal, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Salmon is topped with mixture of walnuts and herbs, which forms a crispy crust.

Serves: 4   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 pound salmon fillet
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place salmon on top. Set aside.
  2. Place walnuts, parsley, oregano, garlic, lemon zest, and salt & pepper in food processor. Pulse until a fine crumb forms.
  3. Using your hands, pat crumb mixture oven the fleshy side of the fish, creating an even layer (watch the video above!)
  4. Place salmon in the oven and bake for 8-15 minutes, until salmon is flakely and opaque (8 minutes for a thin fillet, 12 for a medium fillet, and 15 for a thicker fillet). Remove from oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Middle Eastern Spiced Shakshuka

Middle Eastern Spiced Shakshuka

For the third time this month, I pushed the tomato sauce in our skillet from one side to the other, swirling in a dollop of Harissa paste. Once the Harissa paste was completely mixed in, it was time for the eggs. They found their place snuggled in the spicy sauce, and cooked there. 

Just as I started mincing parsley for a garnish, it hit me. Why isn't this recipe on the blog? I keep coming back to it, undoubtably because the ingredients are easy to keep on hand. 

Middle Eastern Spiced Shakshuka

When I make shakshuka I eat it with a spoon or a fork--honestly whatever I find first. Lately I've been toasting a piece of sour dough for Oliver, so that he can pile the eggs and spicy tomato sauce on top and eat it like an open face sandwich. You can pretty much each it however you want though, and for whatever meal you want, too! 

Middle Eastern Spiced Shakshuka
Middle Eastern Spiced Shakshuka

Lately, the finishing touch on our spicy shakshuka is a sprinkling of feta cheese, which balances out the bold Harissa paste that is swirled into the sauce. I didn't grow up eating shakshuka, but it's made its way into my standard day. 

Middle Eastern Spiced Shakshuka

Middle Eastern Spiced Shakshuka

Paleo, Primal, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Regular shakshuka gets a swirl of harissa spicy for some spicy flare, and a sprinkle of feta.

Serves: 2   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Harissa paste (1 if you prefer less spicy)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 small white onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons parsley leaves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. While it melted, dice the onion and bell pepper. When the oil glistens, add the onion and pepper to the pan. Sauté until the onion is transparent.
  2. Pour the canned tomatoes into the pan, and add the harissa paste. Stir and bring to a simmer.
  3. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, make 4 indents in the tomato where the eggs will sit. Crack one egg into each indent, and place lid on pan. Reduce heat to low. Keep covered until egg whites are fully cooked (I leave my yolks runny, but you can cook the eggs for a bit longer if you prefer your yolks hard).
  4. Sprinkle with feta and minced parsley. Serve hot.

Zucchini Ricotta Manicotti

Zucchini Manicotti

When you pull this casserole out of the oven, the first thing you'll see is bubbling cheese, that tempts you even when it is too hot to eat. Then, only seconds later, a hot steam that carries the smell of fresh basil and ripe tomatoes hits you. By the time the dish makes in to the counter, the sizzling begins to slow. With in a few minutes the dish sits still. It begs for you, even now when it would burn your tongue. (Maybe you sneak a bite anyways).  

By now the whole house has smelled like home cooked Italian food for 20 minutes or more, and people are beginning poke their heads into the kitchen. Is it ready? Can we eat yet? What are you up to in here? 

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Zucchini Manicotti

Cheese. Wine. More cheese in the form of ricotta. That is what you are up to. This recipe is pretty much everything. If your "everything" is ooey, gooey, and delicious, that is. And somehow folded in there is a pile of vegetables too: zucchini for noodles, spinach folded in with the ricotta, and a homemade tomato sauce that will make you proud.

This is a pile of cheesy Italian flavor you'll feel really good about eating. Despite begin literally stuffed with cheese, this recipe is light: it doesn't leave you feeling groggy the way this dish would if it was made with traditional pasta. We serve it with extra marinara sauce (I love homemade marinara sauce) and a side salad, and call it a meal. Oh--and don't forget the glass of wine! Red is perfect for this dish. 

Zucchini Manicotti
Zucchini Manicotti

If you're worried about the logistics of wrapping a bunch of cheese in thinly sliced zucchini, I don't blame you! But it's even easier than I originally thought it would me, so watch the video below to see how this impressive dish comes together, and you'll see you have nothing to worry about!

Zucchini Ricotta Manicotti

Paleo, Primal, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Zucchini is cut thin and rolled around ricotta as a stand in for traditional manicotti!

Serves: 4   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup grated parmesan, split in half
  • 1 8-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
  • Salt & pepper


  • For sauce:
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced - plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. First, make the marinara sauce: heat avocado oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Dice white onion, and mince garlic. Add both to sauce pan once oil is hot, and sauté until the onion is translucent and the garlic begins to brown. Pour wine into pot, and use a wooden spoon to scrape any brunt pieces from the bottom of the pot. Allow to simmer, then add tomatoes. Stir. Add oregano and basil, and then season with salt & pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  2. Spread 1/2 of sauce in the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish.
  3. Make the ricotta filling next. Place thawed spinach in a fine mesh sieve and squeeze out any excuses water. Place in a mixing bowl, and combine with ricotta, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, egg, and a few sprinkles of salt and freshly cracked pepper. Stir until combined.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F and assemble: use a potato peeler or mandolin to slice the zucchini in long, thin strips (watch the video above to see an example). Place two zucchini strips on a flat surface so that they overlap by about 1/2 an inch. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture on the short edge of the zucchini strips, and then roll up the zucchini strips around the ricotta like a roll of sushi. Place in the baking dish. Repeat until you run out of ricotta.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan over the manicottis and place in oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until cheese is gooey, and sauce is bubbly. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with fresh basil as garnish. I also serve with extra sauce (the remaining 1/2) because I love marinara sauce!
  6. Note: I find that when I get to the middle of the zucchini, it becomes hard to slice because of the seeds, so I move on to the second zucchini and reuse the middle of each zucchini later for another meal.

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