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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Salud! at Whole Foods: The Cutting Edge

I was able to pick up another class at Whole Foods… this time on boning and filleting.  I wanted to see if I could pick up any “tricks of the trade’ so to speak, since the instructors were the store’s head butcher and fish monger.

We started with Jeff showing us how to fillet out a fish.  A catfish to be exact (but any non-flat fish fillets out the same). 

He gave us tips on where to make our first slice and how to find the backbone to guide us so we would have the least amount of waste.
Then we each headed over to our own cutting board to give it a try.

I didn’t do too badly.  Could have been a bit neater across the ribs but I was satisfied with my fillet.  But this wasn’t my ‘first rodeo’… Dad and I used to fish when I was a kid and his rule was “You catch it… you clean it”. 
Good rule.

Then we had a demo from Kevin on how to work up a pork rib roast.  It can be completely boned out for a loin roast.  It can be sliced between the ribs for chops.  You can leave some meat on the ribs after taking the loin roast and have ribs – both regular and baby back.

Next we were shown how to bone out a chicken breast from the whole breast section.  The main thing is to go slow and easy, using the ribs as your guide. 
Make sure you separate the breast meat from the tenderloin meat!
Once again we each had the chance to bone out some chicken at our stations.

Then Merijoy took over and taught us some fantastic recipes using the fish and chicken we’d just prepared.
First was the catfish cooked in parchment paper.  This is a great way to cook delicate meats to keep in the moisture and flavors.

One of the volunteers showed us how to make the parchment pouch using a heart shaped piece of paper.  (Truthfully, the shape doesn’t really matter… just make sure it seals to lock in the moisture). 

My pouch right before I sealed it – yellow squash, mushrooms, fennel, garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper.
Those were put in to bake as we started the next recipe; a chicken roulade (roll-up).   The stuffing was sundried tomatoes and spinach.

Here it is browning up.  Don't forget to take out the toothpicks before you serve!
We did another chicken dish that I’ve included at the bottom of this post.  Fast, easy, and very good.

“Fish in Parchment”

“Spinach Stuffed Chicken Roulade” with a side of wilted greens and mashed potatoes.

A closer look so you can see how it is was rolled up.

“Chicken Saltimbocca” over Linguine Prima Vera (the leftover veggies from the fish recipe!)

Chicken Saltimbocca over Linguine 

(This traditional Roman dish is classically made with veal but can also be made with chicken or turkey.)

4 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets (about 4 oz each)

Salt and pepper

8 thin slices prosciutto

8 sage leaves (more for garnish if desired)

3/4 cup flour

2 Tablespoons butter, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Lemon wedges

1 lb. linguini

Grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Sprinkle each cutlet lightly with salt and pepper.  Top with a sage leaf then the slice of prosciutto.  Place cutlets between 2 sheets of parchment, waxed paper or plastic wrap and gently pound to an even 1/4 inch thickness… pounding the sage and prosciutto into the chicken.

Spread the flour on a shallow plate and dip the chicken in it, lightly coating both sides (without losing the sage and prosciutto!).  Heat a tablespoon of butter and the olive oil in a large pan.  When the butter begins to foam, add the cutlets to the pan, prosciutto side down.  Cook 3 or 4 minutes per side, turning once, until lightly browned and cooked thru.

Meanwhile, cook linguine according to package directions.  Drain pasta and place on platter.  Top pasta with chicken and cover to keep warm.

Add wine to the hot pan and stir with a wooden spoon to loosen all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Let the wine reduce by half, then add the chicken broth and reduce again.  Remove the pan from the heat and swirl in the remaining tablespoon of butter.  Taste and adjust seasoning with the salt and pepper.

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