Episode 32: Main Attraction
Honey Sriracha Chicken Thighs, Mustard Roasted Fish, and Tonkatsu or Chicken Katsu
Sometimes you just want an idea for what to do with that pack of chicken thighs in the freezer. Or a technique that you know will have everyone eating dinner. We’ve got solutions to both of those problems with recipes like Honey Sriracha Chicken Thighs, Mustard Roasted Fish, and Tonkatsu. Start one of these recipes, pull out the steam in a bag veggies, and you’re on your way to dinner.
Sweet, salty, and a little kiss of heat, these chicken thighs will add a little zing to your weeknight dinner. The thighs get two hits of sriracha but the honey keeps it mild enough for everyone to enjoy.
We think this could be adapted to chicken breasts but haven’t tried it. The sauce might be worth an experiment.
Increase or decrease the sriracha to your taste and heat tolerance; this is a flexible recipe. Eliminating it, however; would take away a lot of the flavor and might mean another recipe is a better idea.
Rice and steamed vegetables (like broccoli or spinach) were our chosen side dishes.
Not everyone was taken by the recipe name but don’t let that stop you from trying! The fish is flaky and moist with a creamy sauce thanks to the creme fraiche.
Red snapper priced us out at the grocery store. We used tilapia with great results. The cooking time was at the lower end for the thinner filets.
We substituted sour cream for the creme fraiche and it worked a treat. We think the sauce was actually a bit less runny, which may be your preference.
If you have any picky eaters in the house, try baking a filet or two alongside without the sauce.
We roasted potatoes right along with the fish, which made things super streamlined. Cut up your potatoes into 1-2 inch chunks, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out onto your sheet pan. Pop them in the oven 15-20 minutes before you roast the fish. The fish and potatoes should be ready at the same time.
Another side dish could be the roasted green beans from Episode 4. Start the green beans five minutes before the fish.
Katsu is a Japanese style of breaded pork, veal or chicken that is super crunchy thanks to panko bread crumbs. Extra bonus - it’s done cooking in a flash since the cutlets are pounded thin.
While the katsu don’t take a long time to cook, the breading is a bit of a process. If you’re pressed for time, this may not be your recipe.
The sides: sunomono (Japanese pickles), tonkatsu sauce, cabbage, and rice, really do make the dinner. At the very least, we recommend bold flavors as a side dishes to contrast with the crunchy but mild katsu.
Not up to making your own pickles? Any pickles you have in the fridge would be nice here, including any refrigerator-style pickle (like Klaussen) or a bread and butter pickle.
You don’t need to make your own barbeque sauce, either. We added a bit of soy sauce and a splash of rice wine vinegar to some barbeque sauce we had in the fridge to great success.
From the Smorgasbord…
Apple Picking! Celebrate the season and (maybe) overeager picking with these tips or strategies.
Struesel/Crumble Topping (Double Batch)
Freeze this topping in gallon resealable bag. Pull it out whenever you’re up to your ears in apples. Half the recipe will cover a two -quart dish with three pounds of apples.
1 ½ cups white flour (can replace up to ½ cup with whole wheat or another fancy flour if you’re into it. Rye might be nice)
2 sticks (16 TB) butter, at room temperature (not too soft)
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 cups rolled oats (not instant, old fashioned is best)
1 cup walnuts or pecans (for nut free, use 2 cups oatmeal)
½ tsp salt
In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients until well combined. Add butter and cut into flour with a pastry blender, two knives, or your hands. Mix until texture of coarse polenta. Now make the crumbles! Squeeze the mixture in your hand to make larger sized pieces. You want various sized crumbles all through your mixture. Pour into gallon ziploc bag and freeze. Pull out for crumble- don’t thaw before you use it. Pile on top of sliced apples and bake.
Apple Crisp, a general strategy.
Find the baking dish you want to use. Cooking for two? Use that small gratin dish in the cupboard. Feeding a lot? Pull out your 9 x 13 baker. Or finally put that ceramic baking dish you got as a present to good use.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Peel, core and slice your apples. Not too thin- aim for a half to quarter inch. Slice directly into the baking dish you plan to use. A small gratin dish will use about 4-5 medium sized apples. A 9x 13 takes between 12- 15 apples.
Fill the dish within a half inch of the top. Leave a little room for crumble topping.
If the apples are very tart, add a couple tablespoons of brown sugar. If not, sprinkle apples with ½ to 1 teaspoon cinnamon (again, depending on size of dish) and a dash to a ¼ teaspoon nutmeg. Toss together.
Spread the apples evenly in the dish. Spoon the crumble topping on the top. You’re aiming for about ½ inch of topping. Don’t over do it- you’ll get a gummy layer rather than crisp.
Bake for 45-65 minutes, until the apples are tender when poked with fork and the juices are bubbling. Let cool and serve with ice cream. Or with plain yogurt for breakfast.
Make apple butter...even if you don’t have 60 pounds of crab apples, you’ll love the taste of apple picking later in the year.
Kate’s favorite from apple picking as a girl. Just an apple, caramel sauce, and lots of toppings.