Dinner for One Recipes--Extra

Ah, time alone—and time for a little indulgence. Try these savory recipes from Moira Hodgson. They aren’t difficult to prepare, but the results are light-years ahead of Chinese takeout or a containerful from the salad bar 

by Moira Hodgson
fish recipe image
Poached cod fillet with clams and peas
Photograph: Christopher Testani

1. Cook potatoes in lightly salted water until tender. Drain, and set aside.

2. Dice tomatoes, reserving their juice.

3. Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion, garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the potato cubes. Saute, about 3 to 5 minutes, turning them from time to time, until they are golden brown.

4. Meanwhile, wash the mushroom and cut off the stalk and discard. Pat the mushroom dry with paper towels.

5. Remove the potatoes from the skillet and keep them warm in a low oven. Add the mushroom and saute it, turning it over a few times, until it exudes its juice and starts to brown. Add the diced tomatoes with their juice, and the olives. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the tomatoes have reduced to a sauce (if it gets too dry, moisten with a dash of water or dry white wine). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the mushroom the plate that holds the potatoes and surround it with the sauce. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Lamb Merguez Sausage with Mint Couscous, Watercress and Endive

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

¼ pound merguez sausage*
1 small clove garlic
Coarse sea salt
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon red wine vinegar (or more to taste)
1 to 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup watercress leaves
1 small endive, cut in thin slivers vertically
½ cup couscous cooked according to package directions
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, snipped

1. Grill or broil the sausage until brown on both sides (about 7-10 minutes).

2. Meanwhile make the salad dressing. Peel and chop the garlic. Place it in a mortar with a dash of salt. Pound until you have a paste (or mash with a fork). Mix in the mustard and the vinegar. Gradually add the oil until you have an emulsion. Correct the balance of vinegar, and season to taste with freshly ground pepper.

2. Trim the stalks from watercress. Place about a cup of the leaves in a salad bowl (Refrigerate the remainder of the bunch in a wet paper towel placed in a plastic bag). Slice the endive vertically into thin slivers. Cut the slivers in half and add them to the watercress leaves. Toss with the salad dressing and set aside.

3. Cook the couscous (this should take a matter of minutes). Fluff it with a fork and sprinkle with mint. Place it with the sausage on a warmed plate. Serve the salad on the side.

*Merguez is available in specialty stories or by online from Dartagnan.com.

Glazed Pork Chop with Balsamic Vinegar and Rosemary

The chop is seared and finished in the oven with slivers of roasted fennel.

Prep time: 21 minutes
Cooking time: 36 minutes

1 ½-inch thick pork chop
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small bulb fennel
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 shallot, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the fennel in half, removing the stalks, the tough end and paring away any browned bits. Slice the fennel and place it in a roasting pan large enough to hold the slices in one layer. Add the garlic, shallot, rosemary and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Toss so all are coated, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, turning from time to time.

2. Meanwhile, pat the pork chop dry with paper towels and season it with ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. In a small frying pan, heat the remaining oil over moderately high heat until hot, but not smoking. Brown the chop on both sides and place it on a warm plate on the back of the stove.

4. Add the vinegar and a little water to the frying pan, bring to boil and scrape up the brown bits.

5. Remove the fennel from the oven. Make a space for the pork chop and place it in the center. Pour the sauce over the chop and return the pan to the oven. Roast for a further 8-10 minutes or until the chop is done, turning it once.

Stir-fried Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Rice

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