This was a really elegant Date Night, but it was easy to put together. With the exception of the asparagus, all of it came from a new book, “How Easy is That?” by Ina Garten. The asparagus I just sauteed stovetop in some butter and olive oil.
For an appetizer, we also had Chipotle Rosemary Roasted Mixed Nuts, from the same book. They were great as well!
CHIPOTLE-ROSEMARY ROASTED MIXED NUTS
Vegetable or olive oil
3 cups whole roasted unsalted cashews
2 cups whole walnut halves
2 cups whole pecan halves
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tbs fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tsp ground chipotle powder
4 tbs minced fresh rosemary leaves, divided
Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush a sheetpan with oil. Combine all the nuts, 2 tbs oil, maple syrup, sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder on the pan. Toss to coat the nuts evenly. Add 2 tbs rosemary and 1 tsp salt and toss again.
Spread the nuts out to one layer. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring twice during cooking. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with remaining 2 tbs rosemary and 2 more teaspoons of salt. Toss well and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
-This serves 8 to 10 as written
CAESAR ROASTED SWORDFISH
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbs anchovy paste
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup mayonnaise
Grated zest of 2 lemons
3 tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper
2 to 6 center cut swordfish steaks, depending on how many you are serving
2 tbs olive oil
3 tbs drained capers
Lemon wedges for serving
Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a sheet pan or 9×13 pan with aluminum foil.
Make the Caesar sauce: place garlic, parsley, anchovy paste, and mustard in a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times. Then add mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice, 1 tsp salt and as much black pepper as you like. Blend to make a smooth sauce.
Place the fish on the pan and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside at least 1/3 of the sauce, more if you are cooking fewer than 6 swordfish steaks. Spread the fish with the sauce on both sides and let it sit for 10 minutes. Roast the fish for exactly 12 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small skillet until very hot, then add the capers and cook for 30 to 60 seconds, until they start to pop and are a little bit crisp. Serve the fish hot with lemon wedges and capers, and the reserved sauce.
Note: I made the full Caesar sauce recipe, I didn’t scale down any, but only made 2 swordfish steaks.
DECONSTRUCTED STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES
2 cups flour
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter, diced
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1 egg beaten with a splash of milk or water for an egg wash
2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced
2 tbs orange liqueur
Heavy cream whipped with a little bit of vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sift flour, 2 tbs sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Of course you can do this with a hand mixer as well. Add butter and mix on low speed until the butter looks like peas. Combine the eggs and cream in a measuring cup, and with the mixer still on low, pour in to the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. The dough will be sticky.
Dump the dough out onto a heavily floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll dough to 1/2 inch thick. It’s okay to see lumps of butter in the dough. Dip a 2 inch biscuit cutter in flour, then cut 16 to 18 biscuits. Place them on the sheet pan, then brush the tops with the egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. Cool on the pan.
To serve, toss the strawberries with the orange liqueur and 1/3 cup of sugar in a medium bowl. Place the berries in six martini glasses. Top each with a dollop of whipped cream and serve with 2-3 biscuits on the side. Enjoy!!