As promised, today's post will be completely devoted to ideas for using those herb oils and seasonings from last week's post. You got your homework done, didn't you? All your seasonings and herb oils are made and tucked away just waiting for a few awesome recipes, right? No? Well, hang on then, we might just change that real quick here.
So just to review, last week we made some super nifty seasoning salt to keep by your stove and use whenever you might need an extra bit of flavor to amp up your chicken, fish, veggies, potatoes, etc. You can also mix some of that with some creamy Greek yogurt for an outstandingly delicious dip. Another thing I've been doing with all the fresh asparagus out right now is to saute some in pan with a little olive oil and my seasoned salt for about 4-5 minutes. Amazingly good.
We also made two herb oils - one was a spicy garlic oil and the other was a milder, yet still sort of spicy, herb oil. We talked about using those oils to drizzle on pizza, marinate shrimp, or to use for dipping focaccia or crostini or roasted veggies.
But today I'm going to offer you a few more stupendously amazing ways to use your new herb oils and seasoning salt, and first up is this ricotta cheese spread...
We've sort of become addicted to this stuff, which combines fresh, creamy ricotta cheese, some of our spicy garlic oil and grated parmesan cheese to create a luscious, cheesy and perfectly spicy cheese spread. Try to find a good quality ricotta cheese for this. I like Oranic Valley's. It's super creamy and fairly to close to homemade, which is my ultimate favorite.
So where was I... oh yeah. This awesome ricotta spread that we love to slather on crostini...
But you knew I was going to figure out a way to work pasta into this, didn't you. OK, yes, I did, and were we ever rewarded with one of our favorite pastas in recent memory. Oh man, was this good...Italian sausage, penne pasta, our luscious ricotta spread and chopped kale. I'm not even kidding. So amazing.
This was some seriously good stuff.
And then I kept making more of this ricotta cheese and it ended up on a grilled pizza. Oh yeah.
Grilled pizzas have become one of our favorite things recently, and I've developed a super easy way to make them, which I've described in the printable recipe. You can click on the above photo or the printable link at the bottom of this post to read about that.
Grilled pizzas are incredibly easy to make and versatile and lend themselves to all kinds of toppings,
including this one with a good schmeer of our spicy ricotta cheese
and then a couple handfuls of mixed greens and some chopped peppadew peppers, topped with some big gratings of smoked gouda (which seems to be invisible in this photo).
Yep. That was pretty outrageous.
And then that jar of Spicy Herb Oil was just sitting there looking bored, so I dumped it all over some little bocconcini and set that in the fridge for a couple of hours to marinate. I sprinkled them with a bit of kosher salt and then we devoured them in about a nanosecond...
And lastly, but certainly not even close to leastly, I like to marinate chicken breasts in the Herb Oil and grill them up to slice and keep on hand in the fridge for lunches and salads and stuff.
You could roast these, but once they're marinated for a few hours, I love throwing them on the grill pan which creates lovely grill marks and a nice grill-y sort of flavor. Here's how I do it...
I throw the chicken into a ziploc bag with about 1/2 cup or so of the spicy herb oil and about 2-3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar and let them hang out in the fridge for a few hours. Then I throw em on the grill pan for about 5 minutes or so on each side.
Then I throw a lid on em and take them off the heat and let the residual heat of the pan finish cooking them. This way they don't overcook or dry out. (Have you noticed how much stuff I throw around the kitchen?)
It all depends on how thick the breasts are, but 10-15 minutes off the heat should be plenty of time to finish cooking them. You can cut into the underside with a sharp knife to check and see if they're still pink. If they are, then return them to the heat for another 5-6 minutes and let them rest before checking again.
Alrighty then, folks. I think my work here is done. I trust that you've got your herb oils in order and grill pan heating. Here are the recipes...
Click on the links for printable recipes...