Dinner for One Recipes

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

Poached Cod Fillet with Clams and Peas

Prep time: 16 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

5 ounces cod
¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 small potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil (or a combination of butter and oil)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 easpoon fresh thyme leaves
¼ teaspoon paprika
½ cup dry white wine
6 littleneck clams
¾ cup peas, fresh or frozen
1 tablespoon chives, snipped (or parsley)
Fresh lemon juice, to taste

1. Season the cod with salt and pepper, and set aside. Boil or steam the potatoes until done (about 10 minutes).

2. Heat the oil (or butter and oil) in a small nonstick skillet. Add the garlic, shallot, thyme and paprika, and cook until the shallot is soft. Add the cod, skin side down, and brown lightly on both sides. Add the wine and clams, cover, and cook until clams open (about 6 minutes). Discard any clams that fail to open.

3. While the cod is cooking, boil the peas until just cooked and still green, about 3 minutes. Drain, and place them in a heated shallow bowl. Top with the cod, surround with clams and potatoes, add the cooking juices, chives and lemon juice, and serve.

Thai Beef Salad

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

4 ounces flank or sirloin steak (or deli roast beef)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce, “nam pla” (or soy sauce)
¼ teaspoon brown sugar (or Thai palm sugar)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 Kirby cucumber, peeled and diced
2 to 3 scallions, sliced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
6 to 8 grape tomatoes (or 1 small tomato, diced)
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, snipped
1 cup salad greens

1Broil the steak until medium rare,5 to 8 minutes; set aside. (Or bring roast beef to room temperature.)

2. Make the dressing: Combine the lime juice, sesame oil, fish sauce, brown sugar and cayenne pepper, and mix well.

3. Put the cucumber, scallions, ginger, tomatoes and mint in a bowl. Add the salad greens and the dressing, and toss. Cut the beef into thin slices, place them over the salad with their juices, and serve.

Cornish Hen Roasted with Fingerling Potatoes and Carrots

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

1 Cornish hen, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 whole garlic cloves, skin on
2 shallots, skin on
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 4 or 5 thick pieces
3 fingerling potatoes, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or rosemary) leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Season thehen with ¼ teaspoon salt and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper. Add the oil to a 9-inch-square glass pan (a small ovenproof skillet will also work) along with the vegetables and herbs. Season them with ¼ teaspoon salt and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper, and toss them so they are coated with the oil. Place the hen on top of the vegetables. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until the hen is cooked, basting with the juices and turning the vegetables halfway through.

2. Place the hen on a warmed plate. Using a slotted spoon, place the carrot and potatoes around it. Mash the garlic and shallots, removing their skins, and add them to the vegetables.

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