Showing posts with label horseradish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label horseradish. Show all posts

Friday, June 10, 2016

Smoked Salmon Tartlets

I am in Ireland now, furnishing my very own cottage (once I get the electric and water turned on). I first visited Ireland in 1998 and fell in love, but it took until 2016 to stake a claim to a small piece of it (one-half acre, to be precise), in the heart of West Cork, where my father’s family came from. In fact, if you look up the hill, you can see where my great-grandmother Bridget Regan was born in 1841. The house is still standing.

When we first started traveling to Ireland, the food was as bad as everyone said: watery stews, with chunks of ham, cabbage and potatoes. The bread and butter were always good, as was the Guinness, but the sit-down meals? Not so much.

Now the food is terrific, even in smaller towns. I’ve watched the restaurants moving in, and I’ve sampled the menus (all for research, of course), and I’m blown away. Even the pubs have stepped up their game.

This recipe is adapted from The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook, which has gorgeous pictures. If I can find a pub where they make this dish, I may stake out a permanent seat. I do know where to find locally-made smoked salmon, made in a small building in Union Hall in West Cork (near the wonderful fish store I keep returning to)—and you can buy it at the Skibbereen Saturday Market. I’ve been known to plan trips so I can visit the market.

Smoked Salmon Tartlets

The original recipe called for six 3-1/2 inch fluted tart pans with removable bottoms. Most of us probably don’t have those, so you can improvise. I had one shallow six-space pan (a flea-market find), so that’s what I used. Line the bottoms with foil if you need to, to make it easy to get the tarts out. (You could also use standard muffin tins or even mini-muffin tins, if you want to make appetizers—just adjust the cooking time.)


1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
5-1/2 Tblsp cold salted butter, cut into pieces

It doesn't get much simpler than this,
does it?
Grease (or line) your tart pans. Put the flour and salt into a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the butter and process until the mixture looks line fine bread crumbs.

Place in a large bowl (or just leave it in your food processor bowl) and add just enough cold water to let the dough stick together. Place the dough on a floured surface and cut into six equal pieces. Roll each piece into a circle, then press into the tart pans. Clean up the edges. Put a piece of parchment paper in each, then fill with pie weights or dried beans and chill for 30 minutes.

I feel the need to point out that in general I am pie-crust challenged. This absolutely simple recipe produced one of the best I have ever made. It was easy to roll and didn’t fall apart, it didn’t get tough with handling, and it tasted great.

(Yanno, you can just buy your crust ready-made and then cut it to fit. I won’t tell.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the tart shells from the refrigerator and bake (yes, still with the paper and beans) for 10 minutes. Then carefully remove the beans and paper.


1/2 cup crème fraiche OR 1/4 cup sour cream mixed with 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp creamed horseradish
1/2 tsp (oh, all right, a squeeze) of fresh lemon juice
1 tsp capers, chopped
3 egg yolks
8 oz. smoked salmon trimmings (the scrappy bits, which is cheaper), coarsely chopped
Bunch of fresh dill, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together the crème fraiche, horseradish, lemon juice and capers and add salt and pepper and blend well. Add the egg yolks, smoked salmon and chopped dill and mix carefully (you don’t want it to turn into mush). 

Divide the mixture amongst the pastry shells and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the top and the crust edges have just begun to brown.

Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes before serving, garnished with sprigs of dill.

They'd look a bit tidier with a different baking tin, but they sure tasted good! (My husband approved.)

Is there a book? Well, the last Irish book was A Turn for the Bad, and in that one I send Maura and her friend Gillian to a nice small cafe in Union Hall, and then to the fish store. It's a lovely tiny town where the fishing fleet is based.

I can't tell you about the next Irish book because I haven't written it yet, and it doesn't have a title. But it will be coming next spring! I'm busy doing research in Ireland now, including exploring one very nice upscale hotel. The life of a writer is hard!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Horseradish Crusted Fish

I seem to be bouncing between fish and cookie recipes. I know, it’s confusing, because the fish recipes are quick and healthy, and the cookie recipes? Well, they’re cookies: they’re good for your soul, if not your body. The good news is, next week you’ll get another cookie recipe!

Before we jump into the fish recipe, one note on fillets: they are never the same size. The only exception that I know of is swordfish, which I think they cut with a circular saw so every piece is neat and tidy and matches every other piece. Makes it easy to cook, but I’ve never been very fond of eating swordfish. If you’re dealing with fillets of reasonable-size ordinary fish, some will be thin, some will be thick, and some will be both at the same time. Don’t worry about it. Just don’t cook them too fast (or you will get raw and dry bits in the same piece), and take them out a bit sooner than you expect, if you’re using your oven or broiler, because they’ll keep cooking from their own heat for a little longer. And using a crust like this one helps them stay moist.

Horseradish-Crusted Fish

4 fillets (say, 5-8 oz. each) of sturdy white fish (cod, hake, haddock)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 egg white
1 Tblsp prepared horseradish (mild or strong—your choice)
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 tsp dry thyme)
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray (or line it with foil, then spray). Place the fillets on the baking sheet and drizzle with the lemon juice.

Okay, I could have trimmed these to
make them neat and square, but that
would have wasted fish. These two
totaled about one pound.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg white, horseradish and thyme and mix well. Brush over the top of the fillets.

Stir together the panko, cheese, salt and pepper. Press the mixture on the top of the fillets.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the topping is golden and the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Serve warm. I added soba noodles as a side, because they cook even more quickly than the fish (and they’re still kind of a novelty to me)!

Thanks to all you readers, A Turn for the Bad is on Barnes and Noble's national top ten list for a second week! I'm so glad you enjoy following Maura Donovan as she settles into her new life in Ireland--with some unexpected twists and turns.

If for some reason (you've been living in a cave?) you haven't got a copy yet, you can find it at Barnes and Noble and Amazon, and in plenty of bookstores.

Oh, right, there's a boat on the cover. Maybe that's why I've been thinking about fish!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Does this Meat Dress Make Me Look Fat? Roast Beast with Horsey Sauce from Cleo Coyle

Lady Gaga's meat dress sent the world into a tizzy last year. Maybe you noticed. Maybe you didn't. As a professional observer of human action and reaction, I noticed, and found the varied responses fascinating. (I also loved the meat shoes and matching meat hat and handbag.)

Starlets and singers are supposed to show up at awards ceremonies with designer frocks and big rocks. "What is Gaga doing?" people wondered. "What is she trying to say?!" The stunt unnerved many (as things off the norm scale sometimes do). 

Was Gaga making a pro-vegetarian statement? Or an anti-vegetarian statement? 

Ellen DeGeneres, a fan of Gaga's (and a vegan like Gaga herself), officially presented the singer with a vegetarian version of the outfit: a bikini made of kale and skirt made of bok choy. (Could be some celery in there, too. You be the judge.)

In the end, Gaga said the dress meant many things, among them, an ironic statement about not being seen as just another piece of meat. (Pretty clever, actually.)

So why am I sharing this with you today? Because blogging about a big hunk o' beef, let alone cooking it publicly, will make some people a little bit nervous and others a little bit crazy. (I'm sure Gaga herself would not be happy with me.) My advice: ChillAx.

While Marc and I thoroughly enjoy vegetables, fruits, and legumes, all of which are superbly healthy; and while we have friends and family members who are vegetarian (and we absolutely respect that choice and are grateful for the many culinary ideas that we hear from them), we also enjoy meat. 
Eating, of course, is not always about health or politics. From the bison ribs at 
Tocabe, a Denver eatery run by Native Americans, to the roasted lamb at one of Astoria's many family-owned Greek restaurants, meat is often a part of a culture's culinary heritage; and the cooking and consuming of meat dishes can be a wonderful celebration of tradition. If you are an omnivore, then this post might be of interest. And for our vegetarian friends, our Homemade Horsey Sauce is a delicious dip for raw veggies, too. :)

To read my Poor Girl's
Hot Butt
post, click here.

For a downloadable
PDF recipe on how to prepare
a mini ham click 

A brief note
on today's recipe... 

A fresh roast beef sandwich is a thing of beauty to us, but with deli prices so high, we've taken to roasting our own beefs--and mini hams. 

Last fall, I blogged about making these little hams (see the caption at right for links to the recipe). 

I love how the slow roasting process warms our cozy Queens' row house on chilly fall days, and I often serve these beef and ham roasts with a creamy, tangy horsey sauce, which also livens up our sandwiches.

A Note on Meat Cuts
I'm not sure what cut Gaga used for her little red (meat) dress, but beef rump roasts are our preferred choice for roasting. (For more info on beef cuts and how to cook them click here.) Beef rump roasts have less fat and are less pricey than tenderloins and prime ribs so (unless your name is Trump), they're a great choice for families on a budget (like ours :)). Rump roasts contain three major round muscles: top round, eye of round, and bottom round. Eye rounds are our favorite and today I'm sharing with you the way we prepare ours... 

A roasted beef eye round encrusted with
sea salt and two peppers. See recipe below...

Cleo Coyle, who does not
own a single little red (meat)
dress, is author of the
Coffeehouse Mysteries

Cleo Coyle’s Pepper-Crusted Roast Beef with Homemade
Horsey Sauce 

Tip: Cook two roasts at a time. Serve one for dinner and use the second for a week of sandwiches and snacks. 

This recipe is now available in my culinary mystery novel, Holiday Buzz. To see what other delicious recipes are featured in my 12th Coffeehouse Mystery, click here to view the recipe guide.



One of my favorite blogs,
Dying for Chocolate, is hosting me
as a guest today. Drop by to get my recipe
for Chocolate Fudge Pumpkin Cookies,
and hear the story of how a reader's e-mail
inspired the recipe... 

Eat with joy! 
~ Cleo Coyle author of 

To get more of my recipes, sign up to win
free coffee, 
or learn more about the two
bestselling mystery 
series that I write with my
husband, visit my online coffeehouse at...

Shameless Plug...

"A Favorite Book of the Year"
Reviewer's pick 2010 ~ 

For a peek at some of the firehouse-inspired recipes featured in Roast Mortem, click here.

Now a national bestseller
in paperback

To purchase the book, 
click here or here or here.


"...a tasty tale of crime and punishment,
lightened by the Blend's frothy cast of
lovable eccentrics." ~ Publishers Weekly

For a peek at some of the chocolate 
recipes featured in Murder by Mocha,
click here

Now a national bestseller
in hardcover 

To purchase the book, 
click here or here or here

Audiobook produced by AudioGo (BBC Audiobooks America) Available at iTunes and


Friday, January 28, 2011

Crusted Beef Tenderloin Crisis with a Happy Ending

I talk about vegetables here fairly often, and I do love them, but when I'm in the mood for a treat, I like a good steak. Filet mignon is one of my top choices, but crusted filet medallions take perfection to a higher level. I first ordered crusted filet medallions at Wildfire (a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant... gosh I love them!) years ago. Since then, whenever I've been lucky enough to find them offered at a quality restaurant, I indulge.

Last week, my husband and I happened upon a lovely beef tenderloin at our local market. We were having a small dinner party over the weekend and as soon as we found it, we knew what we were serving!

I've made whole beef tenderloins in the past. They're good. Very good, in fact. But this time I decided to slice the tenderloin into filets. Even better, I decided to try -- my first attempt ever -- to crust them.

Success? Yes. Absolutely.
But I did a practice run first with some small pieces and I'm *so* glad I did.

I found a recipe online for a blue cheese crust. Mmm... sounded great, and I love blue cheese. So what went wrong? I'm not sure exactly. Maybe it was the brand of blue cheese I used, but when I finished broiling the medallions and brought the pieces up for my husband and eldest daughter to sample, I noticed a peculiar smell. Not blue-cheesy. Something else. A smell I recognized from a recent excursion. One that does not belong in a kitchen.

My husband (who will eat anything) claimed no issue and thought the samples were great. But my daughter and I exchanged glances. "You know what this smells like?" she asked me. I knew before she said it. "This smells like the zoo."

It did. Specifically, like the elephant house.


Why am I telling you this? Isn't this an absolutely horrific topic to include in a recipe blog? Sure, it is, but there's a happy ending, so bear with me.

My husband and I love horseradish, so I tried a new crust using that ingredient. Excellent, if I do say so myself. But we realized that there are a lot of folks who don't care much for horseradish, so I came up with an alternate idea. Mushroom crust.

Oh boy, these were excellent! And easy. What I loved about preparing this dinner was that I could make the side dishes ahead of time and cook the steaks right before I served. This means lots more mingle time, lots less hassle in the kitchen. And that's what dinner parties are all about, right?

What follows below is my mushroom crust (simple, simple, simple)
and directions for preparing crusted medallions (just as simple)
The only thing I'd change going forward is the size of the medallions. Next time I'll slice the whole tenderloin into thicker servings.

Mushroom Crusted Filet Medallions

Filet medallions allowed to come to room temperature (one thick filet per guest)
Olive oil
About 3 Tbsp butter
Panko crumbs
Fresh mushrooms (I used 1/2 pound for four guests) coarsely chopped

Saute mushrooms in butter until softened and brown and until they've given off their liquid. Combine with enough Panko crumbs to make a nice mealy mix that almost holds together. Not too wet, not dry. <-- See picture. Set aside.

Set oven to 500 degrees and place an oven-safe frying pan inside to heat. It's empty at this point. Don't add the steaks yet. Coat both sides of each filet with olive oil. (I added a little of our favorite rub too. But just a teeny bit.)

Once the oven has gotten to 500 degrees, and you're almost ready to serve, remove pan from oven and set it over high heat on your stovetop. Be super careful. I burned my wrist on this. Ouch!

Sear filets (don't let them touch each other) in the hot pan. My filets were thinner than they should have been (they felt thick when I was slicing, but not so much once they sat a while), so I only seared them for about 1 minute per side. Depending on the thickness, you may want to go up to 2 minutes per side.

As soon as both sides are seared, place pan back in the super hot oven until meat *almost* reaches desired doneness. We like ours medium rare and we left them in for two minutes. Yep, really. Only two.

Remove from oven and turn oven to broil. Arrange prepared crust atop each filet. If some spills, no problem. As soon as each filet is crusted, place pan back in oven, under the broiler, close enough for it to crisp those crusts.

Watch carefully. Ours broiled up nicely in about a minute and a half.

Remove from oven and let the meat sit, lightly covered with aluminum foil, for about ten minutes.


This is a really elegant meal. And the best part is how simple it is.

Hope you have fun. I can't wait to try this again. Soon! Maybe I'll even be brave and attempt it with a different brand of blue cheese. Just not when guests are expected. I wouldn't want our visit to be "trunk"-cated.


Author of:
Grace Interrupted (second in the Manor House Mystery series, coming in June, 2011)
Buffalo West Wing (fourth in the White House Chef Mystery series), out now!