Barefoot with Ina: Prosciutto Roasted Bass with Autumn Vegetables

This weekend has been a busy one in the kitchen.  Part of that it is due to our effort to save “mo’ money” in November, and part of that is the pure joy of having a kitchen and the ability to cook again.  Sometimes, there comes a point  – usually when you’re traveling – when you just cannot order one more meal out.  (Did I really just write that?)

While, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, weeknight meals tend to be quick or one-pot affairs, the weekend allows me a bit more time.  Enter our girl Ina.  As my sister talked about a couple weeks ago, there is a serious love for Ina in our households, that began with my mom and trickled down to both of us.  With a little more time on my hands to cook, I chose this particular recipe as part of my ongoing bid to get the Husband to enjoy fish (um, it has prosciutto!).  Because if Ina can’t get the husband to tolerate it, who can?

Prosciutto Roasted Bass with Autumn Vegetables, adapted for 2

  • 2-3 cups peeled & diced butternut squash (tip: the pre-diced at Trader Joe’s will save you loads of time)
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • optional: 1 potato, peeled and diced (unless they’re fried or mashed, I am generally not interested in potatoes, so I skipped this part)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 8 oz. fish skinless white fish fillet (recipe calls for bass, I used snapper, which was on sale…and forgot to ask for skinless)
  • 2-4 slices prosciutto
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • juice of 1 lemon, plus wedges for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  On a jelly roll pan, toss the diced vegetables (except for the garlic) together and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Ensure everything is nice and coated; spread out in a single layer and roast for 30 minutes.
  2. While vegetables roast, line another sheet put with aluminum foil and place a baking rack on top of the foil (I don’t have one of these, so I skipped this step.)  Brush the fish fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Wrap the fish in prosciutto, all the way around.  Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Back to our roasting vegetables.  After the 30 minutes or so, toss the garlic in with the rest of the vegetables, stir them around a bit, and roast for about 10 minutes more.
  4. While the vegetables and fish finish up, melt the butter over medium heat  in a saute pan and add the rosemary sprigs.  Cook over low heat until the rosemary is crisp and the butter browns a bit.  Stir in some lemon juice and set aside.
  5. Depending on your oven, and whether you used skinless fillets or not, your fish will be done at about the 12 minute mark.  Plate it with roasted vegetables and spoon the rosemary butter over the fish.  Garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately.
crispy prosciutto, melted butter, delicious veggies...yum.
crispy prosciutto, melted butter, delicious veggies…yum.

The Verdict:

The recipe clearly calls for skinless fillets, which I neglected to buy.  I also have a strong suspicion the baking rack roasting method is designed to keep an even flow of heat around the fish, so that it cooks quickly without being overdone.  That being said, the fish still turned out beautifully, if potentially slightly overdone. The prosciutto was crispy and added both a texture and a saltiness to the sweet, roasted vegetables.  The best compliment was the Husband’s empty plate, and his pronouncement that he’d “definitely” eat this again.

Also – I’m going on record now: parsnips are to 2015 the way kale was to 2014.  I’m going to start a parsnip watch.  Join me?

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Ina’s Lamb Shanks with Orzo

I’ve tried many a cookbook and many a chef, but Ina Garten is just my number one, all of the time. Every recipe I’ve tried is just delicious and is never impossibly difficult (ie. use every single spice that you’ve never heard of, chiffonade your vegetables, flambe your meat – is that even possible? – leaven your flour, etc., etc.). You know the kind of insane recipe I’m talking about. So this Sunday, with a bit of time on my hands and the first weekend of November reminding me that winter is, indeed, coming, I attempted a recipe that I had been eyeing: lamb shanks with orzo (taken from Ina’s Foolproof). And it did NOT disappoint.

Lamb Shakes with Orzo

  • Flour (for dredging)
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • Grapeseed oil (I think you can probably go without)
  • Olive oil
  • 2-3 yellow chopped onions
  • 4-5 diced carrots
  • 3-4 stalks of diced celery
  • 1 handful of chopped rosemary
  • 3-4 minced cloves of garlic
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups of white wine (and extra for serving)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2 cups of orzo

Step 1 – Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Step 2 – Combine the flour, a handful of salt, a handful of pepper on a plate or in a bowl and dredge each of the lamb shanks, wiping off the excess.

Step 3 – Heat the grapeseed oil (or olive oil) in a large dutch oven and cook the lamb shanks on medium-high heat for 10 minutes, turning every few minutes, until browned.

Step 4 – If using grapeseed oil, wipe out the Dutch oven. If just using olive oil, proceed and cook the onions, carrots, celery and rosemary for 8-10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender, then add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.

Step 5 – Add the tomatoes (including the liquid from the cans), beef broth, wine, a few handfuls of salt and pepper for seasoning, and then the lamb shanks. Place the lamb shanks so that they’re basically submerged in the liquid. Place the bay leaves in the pot and bring to a simmer. Once the pot is simmering, place the cover on it and stick it in the oven for 2 hours (turn the lamb shanks once while it’s cooking).

Step 6 – After two hours, stir in the orzo and then return the pot to the oven for 20-30 minutes or so. Once the orzo is cooked, put in a splash of white wine, throw in some more salt and pepper, don’t eat the bay leaves, and begin enjoying the delicious feast you just made!

(And that’s what we did, folks. Which is why we have no pictures. Along with the fact that a stew is almost horrifyingly non-photogenic.) But we promise: A+. And I’ll say it one more time: Ina, I (we) love you.