Leaving Las Vegas

State night is back! This week we wanted to see what the Silver State had in store for us. Las Vegas as we all know is known for its endless buffets and high-end steak houses, but we thought we’d venture a bit beyond Vegas. In researching the local produce we came upon many references to the pinyon pine nut. The pinyon pine nut has a rich history in Nevada where it sustained the native people of the Great Basin for thousands of years. In fact, we read that it was the primary source of protein for the Shoshone, Paiutes and Washoe nations.

We’re no strangers to pine nuts, but we’ve never had a U.S. grown pine nut. Sadly we won’t tonight either as they’re not available around here, but based on the reviews, you can bet we’ll be trying them the next time we head to the Southwest. As for tonight we’re going to make do with our pine nuts imported from China and whip up a Paiutes inspired Pine Nut Crusted Cod and a Spinach, Portabello and Pine Nut Salad.

The salad requires a simple preparation. Requiring only these ingredients:

First we tossed the pine nuts with the spinach. Then we sautéed the portabellos with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and oregano.

We then added the portabellos over the spinach, added some shaved parmesan and ground pepper. We served the salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. (Well, dad and I did. Mr. N and Miss A opted to leave the mushrooms out and used their own favorite dressings.) Voila! Salad is done.

We then moved on to the fish. A trout would have been more true to Paiute cuisine, but we used a cod tonight. First we toasted a 1/4 c of pine nuts in the oven until golden brown. Then we ground another 1/2 c of pine nuts using the mallet (I got to wield the mallet tonight!) and combined it with corn meal, salt and pepper. We dipped the cod in whisked egg and coated with the nut/corn meal mixture.

We then baked the fish for 25 minutes at 350F. As the fish was baking we melted some butter over medium heat and added some lemon juice. When the fish was done we drizzled the butter over the fillets and sprinkled with the toasted pine nuts.

Although we didn’t have official Nevada pine nuts, this meal was wonderful and refreshing. It was another healthy week night option and one that I think we’ll be making again. The salad received three spoons from Dad, Mr. N and I. Miss A only ate the nuts and cheese, but she did like those. And as for the fish, Dad and I gave the fish two spoons. Mr. N gave the fish three spoons (he actually asked for more) and Miss A didn’t actually eat any fish, but spent dinner smearing herself with cottage cheese. I’m thinking Miss A might do better with a Vegas-style buffet. 😉

Print this recipe: Spinach Portabello Pine Nut Salad

Print this recipe: Pine Nut Crusted Cod

15 thoughts on “Leaving Las Vegas

  1. Kathryn says:

    I enjoy reading your blog so much. No kiddos of my own, but my sister has a 6 month-old, and I can’t wait to enjoy food with her the way that you do with your children. 🙂

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    • ChefMom says:

      Thanks Kathryn! We’re having a ball and glad that you enjoy reading our adventures. Have fun with your sister’s little one…it’s so much fun when they first start to eat foods – the expressions are priceless!

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    • ChefMom says:

      If she had more than her big girl underpants on, I probably would have! 😉 She took her shirt off at dinner…At first I thought it was so that she didn’t get it dirty, but I’m beginning to wonder if it was for the sole purpose of painting herself with food.

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    • ChefMom says:

      I knew what you meant. She’d like to think she wears everything well…cottage cheese, yogurt, salad dressing. Bath is immediately following dinner these days. 😉

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  2. Grammie says:

    I am quite proud of Mr. N’s appetite, and I am quite sure she wears cottage cheese very well. This is a meal I think I must try–yes, I will eat fish!

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    • ChefMom says:

      Thank you Patty. And thank you for stopping by and reading. The pine nut crusted fish was good. Not my favorite way to prepare fish, but it was enjoyable. If it was fall I would have made my favorite way recipe to for pine nuts – a pumpkin risotto though. Mmmm. Have a great night!

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