Protein-packed gourmet recipes
Cook to impress
January’s unwelcome combination of extreme weather and extreme recession means the dawn of the new decade isn’t the greatest time to be a foody: even if you make it to that fancy new restaurant, your budget certainly won’t stretch to the specials board. Luckily, spice-meister Schwartz has come up with some rather more appealing contemporary combos. Hole yourself up in a cosy kitchen and attempt these two culinary challenges involving your favourite proteins and the versatile courgette. You’re sure to impress your partner with the results far more than your signature “special” spag bol.
Courgette and mackerel salad with mint
“As well as being great for protein, mackerel is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes, as well as being essential for healthy brain function,” says nutritionist Carina Norris. Additionally, the courgettes are a good source of potassium, folate, and vitamins A and C. “And using olive oil rather than a saturated fat (like butter) means the dressing is good for your heart,” adds Norris.
The ingredients (serves 4)
4 medium courgettes
Zest and juice of 2 limes
2 tbs mint
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
250g (9oz) tin mackerel fillets, in oil
8-12 anchovy fillets
Extra-virgin olive oil
Ground white pepper
1 Wash the courgettes and slice into ribbons, using a peeler. Set aside in a salad bowl.
2 Mix the zest of 1 lime, reserving the remaining zest for garnish, and the juice of 2 limes together in a small bowl. Stir in the mint, drizzle in the olive oil and season to taste. Add the courgette ribbons and toss to coat evenly.
3 Place the courgette ribbons onto individual plates or bowls. Flake the mackerel and add to the courgettes. Place 2-3 anchovy fillets on each salad, according to preference.
4 Drizzle with any remaining lime dressing and garnish with the remaining lime zest.
Herbes de Provence-marinated chicken with chorizo salsa and courgette purée
“Chicken is a great low-fat protein source and tomatoes are good for vitamin C and lycopene,” says Norris. “Vitamin C is an immune-boosting nutrient, so this is a good recipe for winter.” It’s also fairly high in fat – so try it on your designated no-holds-barred day or tweak it with Norris’ fat-reducing suggestions (see below).
The ingredients (serves 4)
For the chicken
1 tbs Schwartz Herbes de Provence
3 tsp Schwartz Easy Garlic
75ml (3fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
For the courgette purée
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp Schwartz easy garlic
3 courgettes, sliced
1 tbs Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbs butter
For the chorizo salsa
2 tbs olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 tsp Schwartz Easy Garlic
100g (4oz) chorizo, diced
1 large courgette, diced
4 medium-sized plum tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
½ bunch fresh coriander leaf
Sea salt and black pepper
1 Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl, add the chicken breasts and coat with the marinade. Cover with cling film and allow to marinade in the refrigerator for 4 hours or, for best results, overnight.
2 For the courgette purée, heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and courgettes and fry for 4-5 minutes, season to taste. Place in a blender and purée until smooth. Add the Parmesan cheese and butter and blend for a couple of seconds. Refrigerate until ready to use.
3 When ready to cook the chicken, pre-heat the oven to 200°C, 400°F Gas Mark 6. Transfer the chicken to a baking tray and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
4 For the salsa, heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the shallots and fry for 2 minutes over a medium-heat. Add the garlic, chorizo, courgette and tomatoes, cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the Coriander Leaf and season to taste.
5 To serve, place some of the purée in the middle of a warm plate, slice the chicken and place on top. Serve with a generous helping of the chorizo salsa.
Some healthy tweaks
To make the recipe above slightly healthier, Norris advises the following:
1 For the chicken marinade, you only need a tablespoon of olive oil.
2 Take the butter out of the courgette purée.
3 Chorizo is high in fat and salt so cut the quantity down to 50g.
4 Only use a single teaspoon of olive oil to fry the shallots in