Tag Archives: dill

Rainy Day Comfort

I was perusing my favorite cookbook of the moment, One Pot of the Day published by Williams-Sonoma, when my eye fell on a recipe for meatloaf.  Normally, I wouldn’t consider making meatloaf in spring, since I view it as one of those cozy meals that’s best served when it’s cold and unpleasant outside.

But despite the fact that it is now May, we just haven’t truly reached spring weather yet here in Chicago.  Meatloaf is the perfect meal for this weather.

This particular meatloaf is a little bit lighter than most, because I adapted the recipe by using a proportion of about 3/4 ground pork to 1/4 ground beef instead of 1 pound ground beef and 1 pound ground veal called for by One Pot of the Day.  The flavor also has been enhanced by lemon zest and fresh herbs.

First I cut up four slices of white bread into small cubes and soaked them in a cup of milk.


While the bread was soaking, I chopped up dill, Italian parsley, and prosciutto.  I grated a  lemon and about a half cup of Parmesan cheese.


Using my hands – okay, I know it is slightly disgusting, but using your hands is the only way to properly mix ground meat – I mixed in the herbs, lemon zest, and prosciutto.


I gently squeezed the milk from the soaking bread and added the bread to the ground meat mixture.  I formed all into a loaf shape and topped it off with sliced red onion and more Parmesan cheese.

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While the meatloaf was cooking I roasted some red potatoes and steamed some green beans. The result was a really tasty meal that hit the spot on a spring day that hadn’t yet sprung.

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In fact, it was so delicious I somehow forgot to take a picture of the final meal.  You’ll have to give it a try to see how good it is. Enjoy!


  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 4 slices of white bread
1 cup milk
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1/4 pound ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
4 ounces prosciutto, chopped
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
zest of 1 lemon
sliced red onion

Preheat oven to 375º.  Cut the white bread into small cubes and soak in milk for 10 minutes.  Mix the ground meat with the eggs, prosciutto, cheese, herbs, and lemon zest.  Add salt and pepper.  Squeeze the milk from the bread and add to the mixture.  Form into a loaf shape.  Top with slices of red onion.  Bake at 375º for one hour.  


Panko Salmon

One of the best things about being the cook in the family is that we eat what I feel like eating on any given night.  As I pour myself a cup of coffee in the morning, I think about what we will be having for dinner that night.  If I am feeling ambitious, we’ll have an elaborate meal with many ingredients; if not, I might pull leftovers from the freezer.

Yesterday morning I felt the need for a really healthy meal that night.  The night before I had been to a cocktail party, where I had “passed food” for dinner.  It was to time for some real nourishment, so I pulled some flash-frozen wild Pacific Coast salmon from the freezer.


I decided to prepare this meal based on a pretty standard formula:  herbs, lemon zest, and panko crumbs.  Variations of this recipe have appeared in a number of cookbooks.  I chopped up some fresh dill and parsley, and added them to about a half cup of Panko crumbs. If you are unfamiliar with Panko, these are Japanese style dry bread crumbs that can be found in almost any grocery store.  I always keep them in my pantry because they tend to add a little more crunch than typical bread crumbs.  Next I added some lemon zest and olive oil for flavor.


I seasoned the salmon with salt and pepper.  I spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on top of each piece of salmon and then pressed the crumb mixture on top of that.


Now here’s the best part:  I heated a cast-iron pan on medium high, added some olive oil, and then pan fried the bottom of the salmon for about 3 to 4 minutes.  This sears the skin of the salmon and makes it nice and crispy.


Then I popped the pan into the oven at 400º for about 10 minutes.  I was careful not to overcook the salmon; if I did, it would be dry instead of nice and flaky.


I served the salmon with artichokes that I cooked for about 30 minutes in a large pot of boiling water with whole garlic and some lemon juice.  I had trimmed the stems and the tops off the artichokes with a heavy knife.


Artichokes are one of those rare vegetables that are better overcooked than undercooked.


The meal was truly delicious.  The salmon was so good, I still have a fond memory of it as I write this today.  The combination of the lemon zest, fresh herbs, and crispy crust qualifies this recipe for a go-to meal.

Panko Crusted Salmon

 3 to 4 four pieces of salmon

1/2 cup panko crumbs

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

zest of one lemon

olive oil

 Preheat oven to 400º.  Mix chopped herbs and lemon zest with panko crumbs and drizzle a little olive oil.  Season salmon with salt and pepper, then spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on each piece.  Press the crumb mixture on the salmon.  Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add a little olive oil, sear the salmon for about 3 to 4 minutes, then put the pan in the oven.  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through.  Serves 4.