Chicken Pot Pie

It wasn’t very often we’d go without a home-cooked meal when I was growing up. But there were times.

And on some of those occasions, when Mom didn’t have time to fix something for us, we had pot pies, the kind from Swanson’s. There were chicken, beef and turkey, as I recall. And they weren’t too bad. either. The nicest thing about those one-pot meals is they didn’t leave you with a big mess in the kitchen.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a pot pie, but a recent e-mail I received about one-pot meals contained a recipe for one from celebrity chef Jeffrey Saad, who was runner-up on Season Five of “The Next Food Network Star” and is a national spokesperson for the Incredible Edible Egg.

While the store-bought versions were pretty tasty, I’m sure the following would be at least as good if not much better with fresh ingredients.

Garam Masala Chicken Pot Pie
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
4 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus 2 teaspoons salt
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons salted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting puff pastry
3 cups chicken stock
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
½ cup frozen peas, defrosted
1½ tablespoons garam masala, plus more for sprinkling
2 sheets (1-pound package) frozen puff pastry, defrosted slightly
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium-size pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and brown on both sides until golden, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan to a cutting board and reserve.
To the same pot add the garlic, shallots, and carrots and saute until golden.
Remove the vegetables to a bowl and reserve.
Turn the heat down to medium.
Melt the butter in the pot, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the chicken stock, and potatoes and cook until potatoes are mostly cooked but still firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. The chicken stock will have thickened to a sauce consistency. Turn off the heat. Chop the chicken into chunks and add the chicken and veggies back to the pot. Stir in the peas, and then the 1½ tablespoons garam masala and 2 teaspoons salt. Ladle the mixture into 4 (10-ounce) oven safe bowls.
On a flat work surface, dust the puff pastry with flour and roll it out just a little thinner than it comes. Cut the puff pastry in squares large enough to hang over the sides of each bowl. Cover the bowls with the puff pastry pressing down around the sides. Brush with a touch of olive oil and sprinkle with some more garam masala. Cut a slit in the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape. Transfer to the oven and bake until the tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Yield: Serves 4.

Hot Diggity Dog

Hot dogs are one of my old-time favorites, and they have been in the news this week. On Wednesday, the Minnesota Twins and Austin, Minn.-based Hormel Foods Corp. announced that Dome Dogs, a fixture in the Metrodome for much of the past decade, won’t be moving with the team to Target Field. A Hormel spokeswoman said the company decided to stop providing hot dogs at Twins games after reviewing the change in cost for sponsorships at the new stadium.

And Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement that calls for choking hazard labels on foods that kids might choke on, making a special case for a mandatory warning label on all hot dog packages. The AAP also would like to see foods such as hot dogs "redesigned" so their size, shape and texture make them less likely to lodge in a youngster’s throat. Some pediatricians are suggesting a square hot dog.

I won’t miss the Dome Dogs, which were the subject of many Hormel promotions at Twins games, including Dollar-A-Dog Night on Wednesdays and the Hormel Hot Dog Row of Fame — where those seated in that row got free hot dogs. I know on some of my trips with the Hoover Caravan — a junket put together by my old friend, Ron Amiot of Crookston — we received coupons for a free Dome Dog with our ticket package. But I usually gave mine away. About the only hot dogs I’ll eat are ones that are homemade.

And as far as labeling hot dog packages, I’m all for that. But changing the shape of a hot dog? You’ve got to be kidding.

Let’s be frank. Hot dogs have been around since the 1400s, and in America, their history goes back to the 1870s, when a German immigrant named Charles Feltman began selling them on New York’s Coney Island. If you want to change the shape, they won’t be hot dogs anymore. And it would be the end of an American tradition.

And what would we do with hot dog buns?

I’d suggest that parents keep a close eye on their kids when they are eating foods that could be hazardous to their health. I remember when my grandson, Rakeem, was little. Therese used to cut up his meat in small pieces so he wouldn’t choke on it. When kids are small, they don’t have the judgment to do the right thing all the time, so it’s up to us as parents and grandparents to watch out for them.

In honor of keeping the hot dog the way it is, here are a few recipes to ponder while you make up your own minds.

Manchego Cheese and Garlic Hot Dogs
RELISH:
2 large heads garlic, top ½ inch cut off
5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ cup roasted red peppers from jar, drained and diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Coarse kosher salt
Pepper to taste
HOT DOGS:
6 grilled hot dog buns or 2½-inch-wide pieces ciabatta cut to hot dog length and split lengthwise
6 grilled all-beef hot dogs
2 ounces Manchego or hot pepper cheese
Sherry wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
To prepare the relish: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place each head of garlic, cut side up, in center of square of foil; drizzle each with 1 teaspoon oil. Enclose garlic in foil. Place packets on oven rack; roast until garlic is tender, about 45 minutes. Open packets; cool 15 minutes.
Squeeze garlic cloves into small bowl. Mash enough to measure 1/4 cup (reserve remaining garlic for another use). Transfer to bowl. Mix in 3 teaspoons oil, red pepper and parsley. Season with coarse salt and pepper.
Arrange the hot dog buns on plates. Top each with grilled hot dog, cheese, garlic relish and drizzle of vinegar.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per hot dog:375 calories, 52 percent of calories from fat, 22 grams fat (8 grams saturated), 32 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams protein, 861 milligrams sodium, 37 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams fiber.

Hot Dogs with Dal and  Red Onion Raita
DAL:
½ cup green or brown lentils
2½ cups water
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
Coarse kosher salt and pepper
RAITA:
½ medium red onion, cut into 4 wedges, then crosswise into paper-thin slices
½ cucumber, peeled, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons minced seeded red jalapeno or serrano chili
2 teaspoons fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste
HOT DOGS:
6 grilled hot dog buns, naan or pita breads
6 grilled all-beef hot dogs
Lemon wedges
To prepare the dal: Rinse lentils; place in medium saucepan. Add 21/2 cups water, cumin and turmeric; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes. Drain, reserving cooking liquid. Mash lentils to a coarse sauce, adding reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if very thick. Season with coarse salt and pepper. Set aside.
While the dal is cooking, make the raita. Combine all the raita ingredients and mix well. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Arrange buns or bread on plates. Top each with grilled hot dog, dal and raita. Serve with lemon wedges.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per hot dog: 365 calories, 44 percent of calories from fat), 18 grams fat (7 grams saturated), 37 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams protein, 836 milligrams sodium, 30 milligrams cholesterol, 6 grams fiber.

Avocado and Spicy Relish Hot Dogs
RELISH:
1 medium avocado, halved, pitted
1 large ripe tomato, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, stem removed, seeded, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup finely chopped white onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
HOT DOGS:
6 grilled hot dog buns
6 grilled all-beef hot dogs
6 tablespoons Mexican cheese blend, divided (optional)
To make the relish, cut the avocado into ¼-inch dice and place in a bowl. Add the tomato, jalapeno, cilantro, onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix gently so you don’t break up the avocado pieces. Arrange the buns on a platter. Place the hot dogs in each bun and top each one with 1 tablespoon cheese, if using, so it melts slightly. Spoon relish on top and serve.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per hot dog: 330 calories, 55 percent of calories from fat, 20 grams fat (7 grams saturated), 26 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams protein, 786 milligrams sodium, 28 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams fiber.

Beer-Braised Hot Dogs with Sauerkraut
SAUERKRAUT:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, peeled, thinly sliced
Salt and black pepper
3 cups refrigerated sauerkraut, rinsed, drained
½ cup dark beer (such as porter)
1 to 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
HOT DOGS:
1 12-ounce bottle Belgian kriek (cherry) or raspberry lambic beer
2 tablespoons sugar
6 all-beef hot dogs
6 grilled hot dog buns
Mustard (optional)
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion slices and cook until dark golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, in a separate heavy skillet, simmer the sauerkraut, beer and 1 to 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (depending on your taste) over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Season with pepper.
To prepare the hot dogs, preheat or prepare the grill.
Bring beer and sugar to simmer in medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add hot dogs; simmer until hot dogs plump and beer syrup coats lightly, about 8 minutes. Transfer dogs to grill; reserve syrup. Top each bun with grilled hot dog, caramelized onions and sauerkraut. Drizzle with reserved beer syrup. Serve with mustard if desired.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per hot dog: 262 calories, 55 percent of calories from fat), 16 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 18 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, 661 milligrams sodium, 24 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram fiber.

The Breakfast Brunch

It’s been a while since I’ve fixed a big breakfast or brunch for houseguests. But at the end of March, my granddaughter, Naomi, and her boyfriend, Brandon, are coming for a visit on their spring break, and they’re staying with us.

I plan on doing a bunch of cooking while they’re here, and one thing on my mind is a nice breakfast or brunch.

What got me thinking about that was this morning Dennis Horner of Grand Forks (many readers may remember that he was a coach at Midway High School near Inkster, N.D., for many years) gave me two cookbooks that were printed by the Herald in the 1980s and featured readers’ recipes. One is titled "Come for Brunch." In it are many dishes that look quite mouth-watering.

After perusing it a bit, I went online and searched one of many favorite sources for brunch recipes and came across the following one for a breakfast casserole. The nice thing about the Ham and Cheese Strata recipe is that it can be tweaked to include several different ingredients, including sauteed mushrooms, Gruyere cheese, bacon and roasted green chilies.

It looks like a winner, and I bet the kids would love it.

Ham and Cheese Strata
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or as needed for baking dish
1 pound (12 to 14 slices) Italian bread or baguette, cut into ½-inch slices, preferably day-old (can be lightly toasted if fresh)
1 cup diced Serrano or Virginia ham
1 cup grated sharp white Cheddar
1 cup grated Manchego or Fontina cheese
2 tablespoons minced chives or finely chopped green onion
4 roma tomatoes cut in ¼-inch slices
8 large eggs
4 cups milk or half-and-half
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard or 1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Butter bottom and sides of baking dish. Arrange half of bread slices in tight rows to cover bottom of dish. Sprinkle with half of ham, cheeses, and chives or green onion. Add another layer of bread and cover with remaining ham, cheese, chives or green onions. Arrange tomatoes in pattern over the top.
Whisk eggs with milk, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl until well combined. Pour over bread mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let strata sit on counter 20 to 25 minutes, then unwrap and bake for approximately 1 hour, until top is golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Note: You also makes this with sauteed mushrooms, Gruyere cheese, bacon and roasted green chilies and in warmer weather with asparagus and slightly aged Gouda cheese.
Yield: Serves 12.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 339 calories, 25 grams carbohydrates, 20 grams protein, 18 grams fat, 46 percent of calories from fat, 190 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram fiber, 1,090 milligrams sodium.

Pears and Pork

When Rex Huss of Grand Forks recently told me about dish he makes that features pork, pears and sweet potatoes, my interest definitely was piqued. I’m a big fan of all three of those foods as well as the other ingredients in the recipe (including honey, prosciutto and thyme). (See recipe at www.grandforksherald.com/event/tag/group/Features/tag/food/.)

That started me thinking about pairing fruit and meat in dishes. When I was growing up, I remember one dish that was a favorite of my dad’s that my mom used to make. It also featured pork (spare ribs), but the fruit in the recipe was prunes, in the form of a dressing.

It’s been years since I’ve had that dish, but the next time Mom invites us over for dinner, that’s going to be my request.

Rex’s recipe so intrigued me that I’ve decided to dedicate next week’s column on the food page of the Herald to pairing fruit and meat in recipes.

In my research, I came across the following recipe that featured pears, pork, garlic and rosemary. I guess that means there are now two pork and pear recipes that we’ll have to try.

Roast Pork Tenderloin and Pears
6 ripe pears
2 1-pound pork tenderloins
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
Heat oven to 475 degrees. Peel and core the pears, and cut each into 4 wedges; set aside. Cut 10 small slits in each tenderloin and stuff with garlic and rosemary. Season pork with salt and pepper, and set aside.
In a large oven-proof skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook pears, cut side down, until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.
Add pork to skillet and cook, turning to brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Return pears to skillet and transfer to the oven. Roast, stirring pears once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the pork registers 145 degrees, about 10 minutes.
Transfer meat and pears to a platter; let rest 5 minutes. Season pan juices with salt and pepper if needed and set aside.
Cut pork into ½-inch slices. Serve with pears, spooning pan juices over both. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Approximae nutritional analysis per serving: 268 calories, 38 percent of calories from fat, 11 grams fat (3 grams saturated, 6 grams monounsaturated), 86 milligrams cholesterol, 27 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 64 milligrams sodium.

Shrimp Stir-Fry

Pollock is on the menu tonight when I’ll be the guest server at this Lenten season’s first fish fry put on by the East Grand Forks Sacred Heart Men’s Club. (The annual fundraiser for the Sacred Heart High School’s athletic department will continue each Friday night until Good Friday on April 2.)

For those of you interested in attending, we will start serving meals that also include coleslaw, a baked potato and homemade buns beginning at 5 p.m. I believe the cost is about $7 or $8, which is quite a bargain considering you get two nice fillets (and homemade tartar sauce).

It will be my second meal of fish this week. On Ash Wednesday, we had baked walleye and shrimp. I used some store-bought coating made by Shore Lunch. It’s pretty good, although not as tasty as the breading at the Sacred Heart event.

What I did find out, though, was that the coating worked well with the shrimp, which were baked for about 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees. (You dip them in egg first.) They came out nice and crispy and reminded me of the deep-fried version that I enjoy at some Chinese buffets. But what made them better was that the coating for the shrimp wasn’t laden with oil.

I have another bag or two of shrimp in the freezer and hope to fix them the same way shortly. It will be a good way to celebrate the Chinese New Year. (Incidently, it’s the Year of the Tiger.)

Speaking of Chinese cooking, here’s a stir-fry recipe for shrimp that also looks like it might be worth trying.

Stir-Fried Egg Noodles with Shrimp, Chili and Bean Sprouts
¼ cup vegetable oil
12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left on
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 piece (1½ inches long) ginger root, cut into 12 slices
1 16-ounce package fresh, flat egg noodles, cooked al dente
2 tablespoons each: Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, soy sauce
1 tablespoon malt vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 large red chili, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 cup bean sprouts (optional)
Heat wok or skillet over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to the wok; heat until shimmering slightly. Add shrimp; stir-fry until pink, about 2 minutes. Remove from wok or skillet; set aside. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil; stir-fry the garlic, red onion and ginger 1 minute.
Add the noodles, reserved shrimp, wine, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and sesame oil; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add half of the green onions, half of the chili and the bean sprouts. Stir-fry until the shrimp are just cooked through and noodles are hot, about 30 seconds. Remove ginger; discard. Serve in bowls; top with remaining green onions and chili.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 625 calories, 26 percent of calories from fat, 18 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 32 milligrams cholesterol, 94 grams carbohydrates, 22 grams protein, 700 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.

Olympic Panini

The Olympics are in full swing, and no doubt, many of you have been tuning in to catch some of the action on television.

Of course, it would quite exciting to be there in person (there are more than 350,000 spectators from 80 countries), not only to watch the outstanding sports performances but also to try some of the food at the many venues.

We all know that’s hardly possible, but I’m offering readers a chance to view their favorite atheletes during the games while at the same time enjoying a healthy treat that’s being served at the Ontario Pavilion in Vancouver, B.C.

The following panini recipe comes from Woolrich Dairy, a family-owned goat cheese company with facilities in Canada and the U.S. Woolrich, one of the sponsors of the games, is providing more than 330 pounds of fresh unripened goat cheese for the recipe, which is available at the pavilion, located in close proximity to the Athletes Village and Canada Hockey Place.

Sounds like it’s the next best thing to being there.

Chicken Goat Cheese Panini
¼ cup Chevrai unripened goat cheese, softened
¼ cup fresh Ricotta cheese
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tomato, sliced
2 focaccia buns, sliced in half
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cooked or grilled boneless chicken breasts, chopped
1 cup baby spinach leaves
¼ cup shavings of Parmesan
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl, blend goat cheese with ricotta and Italian seasoning.
Place tomato slices on hot grill to slightly char; set aside. Brush one side of each focaccia slice with olive oil. Place 2 focaccia slices oil side down on work surface covered with waxed paper and divide goat cheese mixture, chicken, spinach, tomatoes and Parmesan between each. Sprinkle with pepper and top with remaining focaccia halves, oiled side up, gently pressing to pack.
Place sandwiches in grill, close the top plate and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.
Yield: 2 sandwiches.

A Lenten Chowder

Well, Lent has arrived, and that means no meat today and the next seven Fridays.

I have a plan for tonight. My grandson, Rakeem, is coming over after school and will be staying for supper. I pulled out a package of walleye fillets from the freezer. It was fish he caught this past summer at Devils Lake while fishing with his Ohio cousins — Naomi and Theo.

I plan on picking up some Shore Lunch for baked fish. I like deep-fryed fish but have found that with the right coating baked tastes just as good and is much healthier.

For the next couple of months, I’ll be on the lookout for more fish and seafood recipes. After all, there usually are some pretty good deals at the local supermarkets, including the Hugo’s where I shop.

Today, I scoped out the following spicy shrimp and corn chowder soup recipe that will have cooks thinking Cajun.

Cajun Shrimp and Corn Chowder
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon Cajun or Creole spice or seasoning, divided, more to taste
2 12-ounce boxes frozen corn
2 cups chicken stock, more as needed
1 cup bay shrimp
1 cup heavy cream, more to taste
Chopped parsley for garnish
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 2½ tablespoons butter. Add the onions and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in 1 tablespoon Cajun spice, corn and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until the corn is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, saute the shrimp. Season the shrimp with the remaining Cajun spice. Heat a large saute pan over high heat, melt the remaining butter and quickly saute the shrimp until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and move the shrimp to a bowl. Set aside in a warm place.
Stir the heavy cream into the soup and heat to a gentle simmer. Cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes to thicken the soup slightly.
Remove from heat and puree the soup until smooth. Adjust the seasoning as needed and stir in additional cream if desired. Stir in the cooked shrimp.
Serve the soup garnished with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 323 calories, 10 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 19 grams fat (11 grams saturated), 87 milligrams cholesterol, 7 grams sugar, 476 milligrams sodium. 

Spicy Shrimp Sandwich

It’s Fat Tuesday, which means Lent starts tomorrow. For me as a Catholic, that means no meat on Ash Wednesday as well as the Fridays during this season of fasting and abstaining.

I’ve already stocked my pantry with several cans of chunk light tuna along with a couple of cans of salmon in anticipation.

But I haven’t waited forl Lent to get started. We had a salmon loaf the other night with creamed peas, carrots and potatoes. It’s one of my favorite meals. I also envision a tuna casserole or two before the meatless Fridays routine comes to an end.

What I’m really looking forward to is fixing the shrimp that’s been socked away in the freezer.

I make a couple of shrimp dishes that we really like, but the recipe for the following sandwich looks real interesting, especially the spicy chili mayonnaise topping. This sandwich definitely will find its way to our dinner table in the next couple of weeks.

Shrimp Sandwiches with Chili Mayonnaise
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
2 teaspoons bottled red chili sauce (such as sriracha) or to taste
8 slices white bread or brioche, toasted
1 pound large cooked cleaned shrimp, sliced lengthwise
1 small bunch arugula
1 large ripe avocado, sliced
Whisk together the mayonnaise, red onion, lemon juice and chili sauce in a small bowl.
Spread half of the toast slices with 1 tablespoon chili mayonnaise each, or to taste; layer with shrimp, arugula leaves, then avocado. Top with remaining slices of toast; press lightly with palm of hand. Slice on diagonal.
Yield: 4 sandwiches.
Approximate nutritional analysis per sandwich: 414 calories, 29 percent of calories from fat, 21 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat), 173 milligrams cholesterol, 32 grams carbohydrates, 24 grams protein, 628 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.

A Chinese Valentine

Today is Valentine’s Day as well as the beginning of the Chinese New Year.What better way to celebrate both than to fix something Chinese for your sweetie.

The following recipe os from Ming Tsai, the host of public television’s "Simply Ming" cooking series.

Shrimp and Egg-Fried Rice Timbale
2 tablespoons oil
1 egg, beaten
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
¼ pound small shrimp, cleaned, peeled, patted dry
3 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced, kept separate
1 carrot, grated
1 rib celery, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 piece (1-inch long) ginger root, peeled, minced
1½ cups leftover cooked brown and white rice combination
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When oil is hot, pour in beaten egg. Season with 1/8 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste. Cook until egg puffs up and is cooked through, about 3 minutes; transfer egg to a large plate lined with paper towels.
Add shrimp to the wok; season with remaining 1/8 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste. Stir-fry until just cooked through. Remove shrimp to a plate; reserve 2 for garnish.
Pour in remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil, if needed. Add the green onion whites, carrot, celery, garlic and ginger. Stir-fry until softened, about 4 minutes. Add rice, shrimp and egg, using a spatula to break up the egg. Toss thoroughly until heated through. Add the soy sauce; toss. Adjust seasonings.
Moisten interior of 2 small bowls or cups with water. Place 1 of the reserved shrimp on bottom of each. Add fried rice to fill to the top; press to pack. Unmold bowls into center of 2 plates; garnish with green portion of green onions.
Yield: 2 appetizer servings.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 400 calories, 40 percent of calories from fat, 18 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 190 milligrams cholesterol, 43 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams protein, 1,149 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

A Crunchy Salmon

With Lent approaching, there’s no doubt some people will be looking for some new fish recipes. I’m one of them.

This season starts smack, dab in the middle of American Heart Month, which promotes healthy eating, including adding more fish to your diet, preferably the kind that’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. A good choice is salmon.

These days, it’s not hard to get fresh salmon. Fresh Atlantic salmon is available year-round in supermarkets. And vacuum-sealed frozen salmon, which loses little in terms of quality, also can be found every month of the year.

The following recipe, which I came across today, showcases salmon that’s potato-crusted and served with a tomato and arugula relish. I can’t wait to give it a try.

Potato-Crusted Salmon with Tomato and Arugula Relish
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 medium tomatoes, cut into ½-inch thick slices
Salt and ground black pepper
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1¼-pound salmon fillet, skin removed, cut into 4 portions
7-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into thin slices
2 cups baby arugula, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil, then brush 1 teaspoon of the oil over each.
Arrange the tomato slices in a single layer over one of the baking sheets. Season with ¼ teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until softened. Let cool for 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks. Set aside.
Use the slicing side of a box grater or mandoline, slice the potatoes into very thin disks, discarding the ends. Arrange the potato slices in a single layer on the second baking sheet. Add them to the oven and roast until golden brown and crispy, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
While the potatoes and tomatoes roast, remove any bones from the salmon. Season both sides with ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
In a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. When the oil is very hot, slide the salmon fillets into the pan and cook until golden on the underside, about 5 minutes. Carefully turn the salmon over cook until golden on the second side, about another 4 minutes.
Place the skillet in the oven. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until the salmon is just opaque at the center. Transfer the fish to serving plates and cover to keep warm.
Return the skillet to medium heat on the stovetop. Add the peppers, arugula and capers. Stir until the greens are wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar and cornstarch, then add the mixture to the skillet. Add the tomatoes and stir until the relish is heated through and slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.
Top each serving of salmon with potato slices and the arugula and tomato relish.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 300 calories, 82 percent of calories from fat, 9 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 74 milligrams cholesterol, 24 grams carbohydrate, 33 grams protein, 4 grams fiber, 686 milligrams sodium.