Friday, January 13, 2012

Whole Foods Friday: Mac and Blue (and fish, too)

I love taking well-known dishes and adding my own twist. This twisty little meal started when I was thinking about macaroni and cheese. The first brainstorm was to use blue cheese. We've been on a bit of a blue cheese splurge, so using it for mac and cheese made a lot of sense.

Plain old mac and cheese is comfort food, diner food, or something you might find on a kiddie menu. But it's not something you'd serve to company. Make it with blue cheese and serve it in cute little ramekins or teeny Dutch ovens, and it becomes fancy food.

The cheese sauce comes together quickly - you can make it while the noodles cook.

The usual companion for macaroni and cheese - at least in my childhood - was fish sticks. Yeah, that needed an upgrade, too. Baked turbot was on the menu, instead.

Mac and Blue

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
4 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces blue cheese (plus more for garnish)
1/2 pound dry noodles, cooked
Parsley for garnish (optional)

Heat the butter in a large sauce pan. Add the flour, and cook, stirring, until the roux begins to brown slightly - just a very pale tan.

Add the milk and cook until the mixture thickens. Add the cheese and cook, stirring, until the cheese melts into the sauce. The blue cheese might not melt completely, but you don't want large chucks - small bits distributed through the sauce is fine.

Add the cooked noodles to the sauce and stir to coat. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the pasta cooking water or more milk, if you prefer.

Serve hot, and garnish with additional blue cheese and/or parsley, if desired.

Baked Turbot 

4 serving-size portions of turbot
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 pats of butter
Ground white pepper, to taste
Paprika, to taste
Salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Lay the turbot fillets on a baking sheet or baking dish. Drizzle with lemon juice, then sprinkle with white pepper, salt, and paprika. Lay a pat of butter on each portion - you can break the butter in smaller bits if you like.

Bake at 425 degrees until the fish is cooked through - about 20 minutes. Serve hot garnished with a bit of lemon.

Slice the remaining 1/2 lemon into wedges and serve it with the fish.

For more information about Whole Foods Friday and my partnership with Whole Foods, see the tab at the top.