THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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TIP OF THE DAY: Make Grilled Or Sautéed Fish Special

If you cook fish frequently, a quick broiling, grilling, sauté or poaching may be your technique of choice.

But before you put a piece of plain fish on a plate with vegetables on the side, consider serving it en brodo: in broth with vegetables.

In Italy, not just fish (pesce) but tortellini and other pasta types are served en brodo.

The vegetables get cooked in the broth, which adds more flavor. And if you poach the fish, that takes on more flavor, too.

The purpose of the broth is not to serve as a bowl of soup, per se, but to provide a flavorful base for the dish (and yes, the “soup” at the bottom is eaten, so include a soup spoon as well as a fork).

You can use any fish-friendly broth you like; for example:

  • Coconut milk broth
  • Fish broth
  • Mushroom broth
  • Tomato broth
  • Vegetable broth
    In the recipe below, we use vegetable or fish broth as the base. Both the vegetables and fish are cooked in the broth (i.e., poached fish).

    The broth recipe below has a Thai accent. We’re passionate about Thai flavors, but if you don’t like them, just leave out the asterisked* ingredients.

    Replace them with your choice of bok choy, celery, mushrooms, parsnips, zucchini and herbs of choice. Flavor the broth with salt and pepper instead of soy sauce and lime juice.

    And include something green for a color accent (photos 1-4). You may not want to cook them in the broth, but steam them separately in the microwave. Add to the dish when plating.

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 2 large fish fillets (6-8 ounces each)
    For The Broth

  • 24 ounces fish or vegetable stock
  • 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • ¾-inch slice fresh ginger*
  • 1 Thai chile, seeds removed and chopped* (substitute other chile)
  • 6 cilantro stems with leaves*
  • 2 carrots, julienned (matchsticks)
  • 1/2 cup snow peas
  • 4 scallions/green onions or spring onions (the difference), sliced
  • Dash of light soy sauce*
  • 1/2 lime, juiced*
    For The Garnish

  • Pea sprouts or other sprouts or microgreens
  • Cilantro sprigs
  • -or –

  • Top the fillet with an arugula or baby spinach salad, very lightly dressed in vinaigrette (photo #4)

    Black Bass En Brodo
    [1] Sautéed black bass in vegetable-herb broth with droplets of basil olive oil (photo courtesy Empire Diner | NYC).

    Cod En Brodo
    [2] Grilled cod in mushroom broth (photo courtesy Mihoko’s 21 Grams | NYC).

    Poached Halibut
    [3] Poached halibut in coconut broth (photo courtesy David Burke | Fishtail).

    Snapper En Brodo
    [4] Grilled snapper in tomato broth (photo courtesy Pakpao Thai | Dallas

  • Bonus garnish: 3-4 clams or mussels (photo #4)

    1. PLACE the stock, cilantro, chile, garlic and ginger in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

    2. STRAIN the stock, discarding the cilantro, chile, garlic and ginger. Return the broth to the heat and add the carrots, snow peas and scallions. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the fish fillets and simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes. If using the clams/mussels garnish, add for a minute at the end,

    3. SEASON to taste with a dash of soy sauce and lime juice. Divide the sprouts between 2 large bowls and pour over the soup. Garnish with coriander leaves and accompany with lime wedges.

    Just the language, which impacts spelling and pronunciation. Fillet (FILL-it) is English and filet (fee-LAY) is French.



    FOOD FUN: Two-Pasta Mac & Cheese

    Fancy Mac & Cheese

    This mac and cheese recipe uses both wagon wheels and cavatappi instead of elbows (photo courtesy Barilla Foodservice).


    At Burtons Grill in Andover, Massachusetts, chef Scott Perry has fun with mac and cheese. It turns everyday mac and cheese into food art.

    It’s easy to replicate at home.

  • A mix of two pasta shapes. Chef Perry uses two different kinds of pasta. Forget the same old, same old elbows and try wagon wheels (ruote) and cavatappi, a fancy corkscrew. Or pick whatever shapes appeal to you. Check out the different shapes of pasta in our Pasta Glossary.
  • A topping of peas for color. You can substitute julienned sundried tomatoes in oil, diced red bell peppers (raw or blanched), or strips of pimento.
  • A rim of bread crumbs. Instead of sprinkling bread crumbs on top, Chef Perry puts them on the rim of the bowl, along with microgreens (substitute minced chives or parsley). We liked this idea so much, we actually purchased soup bowls with broad rims—which trendy chefs are using to serve just about anything.

  • Macaroni & Cheese History
  • Award-Winning Mac & Cheese Recipes 1
  • Award-Winning Mac & Cheese Recipes 2
  • Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
  • Mac & Cheese Party Bar
  • Mac & Cheese With Caramelized Sweet Potato, Garlic & Rosemary
  • Ronald Reagan’s Mac & Cheese Recipe



    TIP OF THE DAY: Buying Vegetables (Who Knew?)

    We love little bits of food trivia that help us make better choices.

    Here are five tidbits from nutrition Madison Linek, RDN, LD, a clinical dietician with Kroger Health (Kroger is America’s largest supermarket chain).

  • Avocado. Some people go by a slight squeeze with the fingers, but you can find the perfectly ripe avocado by checking the color of the stem end. If it’s green, it is ready to eat. Any lighter, it’s not ripe enough and the more brown, it’s overripe. You probably know this trick about browning: To keep the cut surface of the avocado from browning quickly, leave the seed in, squeeze some lemon juice over the flesh and tightly wrap the surface in plastic wrap to prevent air from getting in.
  • Bell Peppers. In all the years of eating bell peppers, we never noticed that some have three sections on the bottom, and some have four. The peppers with three sections on the bottom are better for eating raw (e.g. crudités, salads) since they are sweeter. Those with four sections are better for cooking, where sweetness doesn’t matter as much. But of course, when selecting peppers, you can look for three sections for every use and bypass the four sections.
  • Eggplant. Do you want a less bitter eggplant? Look at the bottom for a more oval shape. These are the males, and they’re less bitter than the females, which have a more round bottom! Male and female eggplants? Who knew?
  • Pomegranates. If you need pomegranate arils but can’t find them prepackaged, here’s how to remove them from the fruit with less mess. Cut the pomegranate into quarters and place them in a bowl half full with water. Keeping the fruit in the water, peel the seeds out of the fruit. Strain them from the water and you’re ready to go.
  • Potatoes. To keep potatoes from sprouting, throw an apple or two in with them. The gasses the apples emit—ethylene, carbon dioxide and oxygen—will prevent potato sprouts.


    Purple Eggplant

    [1] The top and middle eggplants male and sweeter. The bottom eggplant is female and more bitter (photo courtesy

    Sprouted Potato
    [2] An apple will protect your potatoes from sprouting (photo courtesy Alberton Record).




    PRODUCT: Chocolate Truffle Torte Kit

    Chocolate Truffle Torte

    [1] A chocolate torte—a short, dense cake—topped with chocolate truffles (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour).

    Coconut Torte
    [2] A coconut torte: one dense layer (photo courtesy Food 52).

    Chocolate Tart
    [3] A chocolate tart. Notice the chocolate crust around the perimeter (photo courtesy Pichet Ong).


    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    If this chocolate truffle torte looks good to you (photo #1), you can purchase all of the components in one easy kit from King Arthur Flour.

    It has everything you need to make the torte and the truffles, including a pound of Valrhona dark chocolate and the red Emile Henry ceramic tart pan to bake it in.

    Although it’s baked in a rectangular tart pan, this is a torte, not a tart. Here’s the difference, starting with cakes:

    Different cooking traditions led to different styles of baking, creating cakes, gâteaux and tortes.

    All three of these are made from cake batter, with fillings and frostings as desired. There is no crust.

  • Torte is the German word for cake. Tortes are generally shorter and wider than cakes, and one layer. They are often unfrosted, topped with a sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar (photo #2). A torte is usually 10 to 12 inches in diameter compared to the typical 8-to-9-inch cake. That’s to compensate for the short single layer, so each short wedge will be a good portion. The Italian torta is the same concept.
  • The single torte layer is often no more than 2-1/2 inches high, because there’s not much, if any, flour to rise. Flourless cakes are tortes. The crumb is denser than the airy crumb of a layer cake; it’s similar to the density of a bundt cake.
  • Tortes are made with many eggs and little or no flour, using ground nuts (and sometimes breadcrumbs) for texture.
  • Since there’s an exception to every rule, the creator of the chocolate truffle torte in photo #1 elected to use a rectangular tart pan instead of a round pan.
  • Cake, as we know, is the English word. It is usually made from multiple layers that are taller but more airy than a torte; with filling between the layers (although there are single-layer sheet cakes and bundt cakes) and frosting on the top and sides.
  • British culinary tradition created lighter cakes like layer cakes, as well as sturdier, longer-lasting pound cakes and fruit cakes. Tortes have the richness and density of the latter.
  • Gâteau is the French word for cake. Gâteaux are generally more delicate confections, light and rich but with fresh decoration such as fruit or whipped cream, that makes them perishable.
  • The French went for layers filled with custard, whipped cream or butter cream, the surface frosted, and decorated with fresh fruit. These ingredients make gâteaux very perishable.
  • British cakes, German tortes and Italian tortas are hardier creations than delicate French gâteaux.

  • Tart is a close relative of a pie. Both have a crust and a filling. Pie-tart differences include:
  • Tart has only a bottom crust.
  • A tart crust is different from a pie crust. A tart crust is firm and enables the tart to stand on its own, outside of the baking pan.
  • A pie crust is soft and flaky. A pie needs the support of its baking pan.
  • The type of pan is also different: straight for a tart, sloped for a pie.
    Here’s much more on the difference between pies and tarts.




    TOP PICKS OF THE WEEK: For The Kitchen

    Recently we previewed some new housewares, just arrived on the market. Here are three that have found a permanent place in our home.

    It’s a simple invention but a very useful one: a kitchen towel with a hook attached, the whole thing going straight into the washing machine.

    The soft, flexible, machine-washable handle is made of a unique rubber. It hangs on just about any drawer or cabinet pull, refrigerator handle or door knob.

    In six colors, the towel blends into every decor.

    Consider Hook and Hang for laundry rooms, garages and baby’s rooms as well. A set of two 18″ x 28″ towels is $25.99.


    Now that consumers are aware of the landfill created by plastic straws, some are turning to reusable, washable, eco-friendly straws.

    Options have been on the market for a few years, but Hot Sips are particularly appealing. They’re soft, bendable and useful for hot or cold drinks.

    They also prevent teeth-staining drinks, and come in a portable carrying tube. They fit most lids and travel cups.

    Hot Sips’ oval, patent-pending shape even reduces the effort to sip.

    They’re made of FDA grade material, are BPA free and dishwasher safe.

    They’re $8.95 for two 6″ straws (photo #1)and $9.95 for 9.5″ straws. And they’ll last a long, long time.


    Everyone has a straight vegetable peeler for potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables.

    But OXO has gone a bit farther to give serious cooks a complete set of peelers. In addition to the straight peeler, you can have a/an:

  • Asparagus peeler, to quickly remove the tough woody layer at the bottom.
  • Citrus peeler, to effortlessly peel and zest citrus fruits.
  • Julienne peeler, to easily peel precise strips of carrots, zucchini and more.
  • Large vegetable peeler, to easily peel large veggies like eggplant or shred cabbage quickly.
  • Serrated peeler, to peel soft fruits and vegetables with ease.

    Ritz Hook and Hang Towels
    [1] Hanging kitchen towels is elevated to an art, with Hook and Hang kitchen towels (photo courtesy John Ritz).

    [2] Sip hot drinks with ease, and cool ones without throwing straws into the landfill. Shown: 6″ in cup, 9.5″ in tube. (photo courtesy My Hot Sips).

    Oxo Prep Peelers
    [3] Three of OXO’s prep peelers. The line of six makes food prep easier, even fun (photo courtesy OXO).

    We particularly love the easy julienne, making tomato roses with the serrated peeler, and peeling and zesting citrus (no more effort peeling grapefruits and oranges!).

    A set of three is $14.99.

    We hope these new items are as enjoyable for you as they are for us.


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