How to Use My Lemon-Pepper Herb Rub

 

Some dishes – and some days! – just beg for a light touch. Many rubs and spice blends can accomodate that desire if they are applied with a more delicate touch. But Lemon-Pepper Rub is created to evoke the lightness and brightness of a Mediterranean summer day.

The problem for me is the pre-blended Lemon-Pepper mix so often used as the base. Pre-packaged Lemon-Pepper mix is both too heavy on the pepper side, and laced with bitter-flavored extras like citric acid, salt (not even sea salt), and even, in some blends, sugar (I suppose to try to hide the bitterness)! 

My Lemon-Pepper rub is pure. It starts with dried lemon peel and grated black pepper that I blend to a ratio of my own satisfaction – which means it leans toward the lemon. To that I’ve added selected spices to provide a solid floor for the springy taste of the lemon and pepper dance, and just a titch of sea salt to make it sparkle on the tongue.

Lemon-Pepper Fish Fry

Try this delicious fish recipe as a great luncheon dish, or as a variation for dinner on Fish Friday!

Directions

1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil), 2 tablespoons white wine, and 1 tablespoon Lemon-Pepper Herb Rub in a saucepan over medium heat.

2. Rinse and pat dry 1 pound white fish filets (tilapia, cod, and haddock are good options).

3. Place filets on a broiler pan. Brush with butter-herb mixture.

4. Broil 4-6″ from the heat element for 8-10 minutes until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Options

Bake in a pre-heated 375 F oven for 10-15 minutes, until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Or, grill on the BBQ grill, on either a grill-safe pan or a sheet of aluminum foil.

Side

Prepare a side dish of summer vegetables by thinly slicing yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, celery, and carrots. Toss lightly in olive oil or melted coconut oil, sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of Lemon-Pepper Herb Rub or my Mellow Santa Fe Rub, and roast alongside the fish in the oven or on the grill. Stir once or twice to expose all sides to the heat element to encourage light browning and prevent burning.

20-Minute Mediterranean Chicken Stir-Fry!

Here’s a lean and tasty one-pan meal for mid-week “hump day!”

Directions

1. Thaw 1 pound of skinless, boneless chicken all day in the refrigerator.

Tip: Use pre-cut chicken tenders to make this an easier meal to prepare. Whole breasts will need to be sliced into tenders. Thighs can also be used if you prefer dark meat.

2. Rinse the chicken pieces, pat them dry, and if necessary slice them into chicken tender-size strips.

3. In a bowl, toss the sliced chicken with 1-2 tablespoons of my Lemon-Pepper Herb Rub. Coat thoroughly and set aside.

4. Prepare 3 cups of summer vegetables.

Suggestions: Slice yellow squash or zucchini into 1/4″ thick rounds; snap or cut green beans and baby asparagus into 1/2″ lengths; slice a fresh tomato into thin (1/2″) wedges; slice a stalk of celery thinly; cut a sweet red or green bell pepper, or a carrot, into matchstick-sized pieces; chop up some leaves of spinach or kale; thinly slice a sweet onion or several scallions; add some bean sprouts. 

5. Heat a large skillet on medium temperature with 2 tablespoons olive oil.

6. When the oil is hot, add the chicken strips and brown on all sides.

7. Add the vegetables and (optionally) a little water. If you have a lid to cover the skillet, turn the heat down and cover – the vegetables will steam, cooking faster.

8. When the harder vegetables are al dente (or to your liking), turn off the heat and sprinkle up to 1 tablespoon Lemon-Pepper Herb Rub over the dish. (Optionally also add a pinch or two of salt.) Stir and serve.

Optional: garnish with whole green olives.

Optional: serve with a side of sliced fresh mozzarella drizzled in olive oil with a drop or two of balsamic vinegar added, and sprinkled with Italian seasonings.

 

 

 

 

Squash Soup

A perfect side dish, or stand-alone meal when you are just not that hungry. Serve cold on a hot summer evening, or hot on a cold winter evening, with inch-thick chunks of Italian bread.

Directions

1. Dice 2 lbs (about 10 cups) of peeled, seeded squash, and place in a large stock pot.

Tip: Our favorite squash for soup is the naturally sweet Red Kuri. Other good soup squashes include Butternut and Acorn. Even Pumpkins make great soup.

2. Add about 4 cups of chicken stock (more, to cover) and 1 cup of diced onion. Cover and bring to a slow boil; cook until squash is soft.

3. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture into a smooth soup; or, puree in batches in a blender, temporarily placing each batch of puree in a bowl. Then return all of the puree to the stock pot.

4. Add 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil and 2 tablespoons Lemon-Pepper Herb Rub. Mix thoroughly with a spoon, whisk, or immersion blender.

5. Add 1/2 cup milk or coconut milk and stir until just blended. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Tip: Make your own chicken broth. When you cook a whole chicken, set the included neck, gizzard, liver, and heart in a small sauce pan with one coarsely chopped onion, one chopped celery stalk, a carrot cut in 2″ lengths, one large bay leaf, and (optionally) half a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns. Cover and simmer on low for 45-60 minutes, then strain into a mason jar and store in the refrigerator to use within a week. Or freeze the broth in ice cube makers or other nonbreakable container to use later as a nutritious homemade addition to soups and broths. (You can also add Italian seasoning or my Lemon-Pepper Herb Rub to the simmering broth for a more Mediterranean flavor.)

Lemon-Pepper Pasta

Try this creamy pasta dish as a side, or topped with chicken or beef for a complete meal!

Directions

1. Cook 8 ounces of pasta. Set aside.

2. In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt 1/2 stick (4 oz) butter, then sprinkle on 4 tablespoons flour and whisk or stir to form a thick, lump-free paste.

3. Add 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in and continue to stir until the sauce thickens.

4. Stir in 3 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon Lemon-Pepper Herb Rub. Taste test and add more Rub if desired.

5. Pour lemon-butter sauce over individual side dishes of pasta. Garnish lightly with more Lemon-Pepper Herb Rub and a few pinches of either finely chopped fresh parsley or finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves. Serve.

Options

Top with chicken strips quickly stir fried in a light combination of 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons dry white wine, perhaps with a mere splash of tamari or soy sauce. Add to the pasta, then lightly sprinkle with Lemon-Pepper Herb Rub and a pinch or two of either freshly chopped parsley or freshly chopped cilantro leaves.

Alternatively, top with sirloin tips quickly stir fried as above, except with red table wine rather than dry white.