Category Archives: Fish

Cornbread Crusted Cod

I remember a day when I was eight or so.  I was at my grandparents’ house.  Some of the guys had gone fishing and came home with a couple of enormous fish. They set up a couple of saw horses and threw a piece of wood over and starting carving those babies up in the backyard.  I watched from the bing cherry tree that was my usual perch.  Big slabs of firm, white fish, not as smelly and gross as I was expecting. When I asked what it was I was told it was cod.  My grandma fried a big batch of it up and it was some of the best fish ‘n chips I’ve ever had to this day.

Cod is a great fish to cook with.  Very versatile.  It’s firm enough that it doesn’t fall apart when you cook it, but tender and mild, and goes with a variety of flavors and ingredients.  It’s also usually pretty inexpensive and available year-round.  And it’s an ocean-friendly choice as well (who doesn’t want to save the ocean?).  For the freshest cod, choose the whiter filets.  If they look a little grey, they are likely not as fresh as they should be.

I found these great cornbread croutons and used them to make the crumb coating for these filets.  I don’t see any reason why another kind of crouton (or bread crumbs) couldn’t be substituted instead if you don’t happen to have these on hand, but I did enjoy the corny texture and flavor.

Cornbread Crusted Cod.  With Lentil & Spinach salad on the side.  Yum!

Cornbread Crusted Cod. With Lentil & Spinach salad on the side. Yum!

Cornbread Crusted Cod

3-4 Cod Filets
1 tbsp. mayo
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cayenne
3/4 – 1 cup cornbread croutons
Fresh ground pepper

For sauce:
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp. capers (coarsely chopped if they are large)
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  In a small bowl mix mayo, dijon, lemon juice and cayenne.  Brush onto both sides of fish filets.

A little zippy sauce to coat the fish.  Tastes great and makes the crumbs stick really nicely!

A little zippy sauce to coat the fish. Adds flavor, keeps the fish moist and makes the crumbs stick really nicely!

Put croutons in a ziplock bag and grind some black pepper in there with them (if you don’t have cornbread croutons, any kind will work for this).  Using a rolling pin or the flat side of a tenderizing hammer (or anything really), smash the croutons into crumbs.

These cornbread croutons were a new discovery for me.  If you can't find them, you can use whatever croutons you have.

These cornbread croutons were a new discovery for me. If you can’t find them, you can use whatever croutons you have.

One at a time, put fish filets in the bag and shake to coat with crumbs.  Lay out on the baking sheet.

My own version of shake n bake.

My own version of shake n bake.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until fish flakes easily with a fork and crumb coating is crispy and golden brown.  To make a quick sauce, mix a couple of tablespoons of mayo with a tablespoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of capers.  Drizzle over the top or serve with lemon wedges.

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Brown Sugar Chili Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Crema

The photos had me drooling.  I spotted this on one of my favorite blogs and I had to make it.  Immediately.  And let me tell you, it was amazing. And to top it off, it is one of those recipes that is easy enough to make on any weeknight, but fancy enough for special guests too.

You have to make this.

Sweet with a tiny touch of spice, cooled with a creamy avocado sauce.  The little tang of lime.  Perfection.  I’m told it’s not bad form at all to lick the crema bowl (good thing!).

If you only try one new salmon recipe this year, make it this one.  Easily in my top 10!

Tastes as delicious as it looks!

Could it possibly taste as delicious as it looks?  Absolutely!

Brown Sugar Chili Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Crema
(from canyoustayfordinner.com)

For the crema:
1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
2 tbsp. sour cream
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh parsley (optional, I didn’t have any so I left it out)
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp. salt.

For the salmon:
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
4 – 5oz. salmon filets
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lime, sliced into rounds (at least 4 slices)
In a blender or food processor, combine crema ingredients and blend until smooth.  If you want the sauce thinner, you can add a bit of water to thin it (I didn’t).
In a small bowl combine brown sugar, chili powder, salt and cayenne.  Sprinkle over fish and rub into all sides of the filets.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium high heat. Add 2 of the salmon filets (skin-side-up if they have skin on) and cook, undisturbed, until the underside is crisp and just beginning to blacken, about 4 minutes. Flip the filets and cook an additional 4 minutes, until the fish feels firm to the touch. Remove to a plate immediately. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add the remaining 2 filets of salmon and repeat the cooking process. Once all of the salmon is cooked and transferred to a plate, add the lime slices to the now-empty pan and cook just until they begin to caramelize, about 30 seconds. Flip and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
To serve, top filets with a generous dollop of crema and press a caramelized lime into the top of each filet.
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Seared Tuna Tacos with Tropical Salsa

Sometimes I have an idea for a dish and I just can’t find a recipe for it.  So I make something up.  And when all the planets align and things go like they should, it turns out just how it was in my head.  This is one of those recipes.

I’ve been craving tacos.  But not just any tacos.  Fresh tuna tacos!  Nicely seared with spice and fruit and bright, tropical, summery flavors.  I imagined myself lying on a beach somewhere and eating tacos made from all sorts of island goodies.

Alas, I am not on an island, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t just an absolutely wonderful luau happening right in my mouth.  This is my favorite recipe I’ve made up this summer (so far!).  You can bet your flip flops we’ll be making them again soon!

Spicy Seared Tuna Tacos with Tropical Salsa.  So freaking good!

Spicy Seared Tuna Tacos with Tropical Salsa. So freaking good!

Spicy Seared Tuna Tacos with Tropical Salsa

2-3 tuna steaks
1 small red chile, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Drizzle of olive oil
2 limes
Salt & pepper
1 cup pineapple, diced
1 mango, diced
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (or less if you don’t like it spicy)
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped napa or savoy cabbage
2 tbsp. mayonnaise or sour cream

Place tuna steaks in a shallow dish.  Sprinkle with red chile, garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, juice from 1/2 lime and some salt & pepper.  Rub all over both sides.  Side aside.  Don’t do this ahead of time since the acid in the lime will “cook” the fish if left more than a few minutes.

Just a quick, simple marinade for the tuna.

Just a quick, simple marinade for the tuna.

In a bowl combine pineapple, mango, jalapeno, onion, cilantro and the juice of one lime.  Stir to blend and set aside.

Spicy Tropical Salsa.  So good!

Spicy Tropical Salsa. So good!

In a small bowl combine mayo or sour cream with the juice of half a lime.

Heat skillet over medium high heat.  Drizzle with olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.  When pan is hot add tuna.  Sear 1-2 minutes on each side, leaving it rare in the middle.  Remove from heat.  Slice against the grain into thin slices.

Warm tortillas in the oven or microwave.  Build your taco with a few slices of tuna, topped with salsa and cabbage.  Drizzle with a bit of sauce if desired.

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Another Dinner on a Cookie Sheet

On nights I’m home alone, sometimes it seems like a lot of effort to cook a whole dinner.  But I’m trying to eat less take out and I’ve stopped buying cereal, so lately this has been my go-to solo meal.  I spread a few things out on a cookie sheet and bake or broil it.  No fuss, real food, and best of all, no dishes!

Now don’t get me wrong.  This isn’t only a method that works when you’re cooking for one.  I do this when the kids are home too.  It’s just so easy and versatile.  The possibilities are endless.

Dinner on a Cookie Sheet, take 2

Dinner on a Cookie Sheet, take 2

Dinner on a Cookie Sheet – Broiled Salmon, Asparagus, and Peppers

1 salmon filet
Lemon pepper
Salt
Olive oil
Lemon slices
6-8 spears asparagus
1/2 red pepper, sliced in thick strips
1 oz. goat cheese (optional)
1 tsp. pesto
1/2 tsp. mayo
Squeeze of lemon juice

Preheat broiler.  Line a cookie sheet with foil.  Spray with cooking spray.  Place salmon on the pan.  Spread out asparagus and peppers in a single layer.  Sprinkle everything with lemon pepper and salt.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Dot peppers with goat cheese. Top salmon and asparagus with lemon slices.

Cut veggies so everything is a similar size for more even cooking.

Cut veggies so everything is a similar size for more even cooking.

Broil 7-10 minutes until fish flakes easily and veggies are tender.  While dinner is broiling stir together pesto, mayo and lemon juice for a quickie sauce to top the salmon and asparagus.

Want another option for Dinner on a Cookie Sheet?  Check out Honey Mustard Chicken with Smashed Potatoes and Green Beans!

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Parmesan-Crusted Salmon

Getting my kids to enjoy seafood was a challenge.  This recipe (and a few similar ones) were the turning point for them. A cheesy, crunchy topping is something any kid recognizes and loves, no matter what it’s on.  Doesn’t hurt that I love it too.

The mayo may seem like a weird choice, but it keeps the fish moist, the breadcrumbs stick to it beautifully and it’s non-dairy, which was essential when the kids were younger because Luke had a milk allergy.  Even though he doesn’t have that problem now, it works so well I’ve just kept using it.

Parmesan-Crusted Salmon

Parmesan-Crusted Salmon

Parmesan-Crusted Salmon

1 or more salmon fillets
1-2 tsp. mayonnaise
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
Salt & pepper
1/4 tsp. dill
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400˚.  In a small bowl mix panko, parmesan, lemon pepper, a pinch of salt & pepper and dill.  Put your fish on a baking pan covered with foil.  Coat surface of fish with mayonnaise.  Pile on the breadcrumb mixture and press into it to make sure it stays put.

Ready to go in the oven.

Ready to go in the oven.

Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until fish flakes easily in the middle.

parmesansalmon2

Parmesan-Crusted Salmon, right out of the oven. By the way, the little crispy breadcrumbs that fell off the salmon make great crouton-ish salad crunchies.

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Tilapia Verde

The food around this time of year is enough to make my heart sing, my taste buds dance, and my tummy ache.  It’s so easy to overdo it and I’m guilty of that all too often.  To get through the holidays without gaining too much around my middle, I like to intersperse the food frenzies with some lighter meals here and there.

This simple fish dish used some leftover verde sauce (from black bean enchilada stacks) that was waaaaay to good to throw away.  A little time baking/poaching in the oven and dinner was served.  I served mine over a bed of rice, but it’s just as good by itself if you’re watching the carbs.  If you have leftover sauce, just stick it in the freezer for next time you have a craving.

tilapiaverde

Tilapia Verde

Tilapia Verde

Verde Sauce:
12 oz. tomatillos (7-8 large)
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped roasted green chiles (canned works fine)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped

Tilapia filets (or any other mild white fish would work just as well)
Salt & pepper
Feta
Rice (optional for serving)

To make sauce, remove husks and stems and wash tomatillos.  Cover with water in a saucepan and boil about 10 minutes, until tender.  Put tomatillos and all other ingredients in a blender and puree.  Set aside until ready to use.

Heat oven to 400˚.  Sprinkle fish with salt & pepper, spoon sauce over fish, enough to cover and have a little extra in the pan, especially if you are serving over rice.  I used about 1/2 cup for 1 filet.  Sprinkle with feta and pop in the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes or so, until fish flakes easily and feta is starting to brown a bit.  Remove from oven.  Serve over rice if desired.

 

 

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Saucy Salmon

After minimal cooking for the better part of a week, I bought a bunch of groceries, visited farmer’s market and got back in the kitchen.  Even better, I’m feeling somewhat healthy and adventurous.  Although I have nothing against carbs – in fact those who know me know that I have quite a love affair with some of them – whenever I want to shed a few pounds I also shed a few carbs to help me along.  I don’t go entirely no carb because that’s simply a miserable diet in my opinion, but cutting down on the amounts and having at least one no-carb meal a day does seem to make a difference, at least for me.

So tonight, I made a low-carb dinner with some fresh salmon and whatever I could find in my fridge to slather over the top of it.  I ended up with a tangy sauce with an Asian flair. Served with a garden salad and mashed cauliflower (tune in tomorrow if you’re interested), it was delicious and satisfying.  And I feel skinnier already.

Saucy Salmon

Saucy Salmon

Salmon filets
1 tbsp. Hoisin sauce
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. honey

Heat oven to broil. Place salmon on a cookie sheet or pizza pan covered with foil (you don’t have to use foil but it eliminates the need for washing the pan so why not?) Mix hoisin sauce, ginger, soy sauce and honey in a small bowl.  Brush or pour over salmon.  Broil 10 minutes or so, until sauce starts to caramelize and fish flakes easily.  Do not overcook.

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Blackened Rock Cod & Black-Eyed Slaw

Oh look, a new Food Network magazine on the rack.  Can I resist?  Um…no.  I’m weak.  A cooking magazine addiction is a terrible (but tasty) thing.  This one was chock full of recipes to use up summer produce and eat light.  And not so light.  But for now we’ll avoid the Banana-Coconut Marshmallow Meringue Pie (oh yeah, that’s happening) and start with something healthy-ish.  I especially like the weeknight cooking section with recipes that are quick to make.

Growing up in Oregon, I didn’t ever eat black-eyed peas as a kid.  In fact the first time I ate them, somewhere in the wilds of Arkansas, I was shocked to find that they weren’t gross at all, as I had always suspected, but actually pretty darn tasty!  In fact, there are places where people eat them all the time!  Some people even eat them for luck every year on New Year’s Eve.  I have no idea if that works but there are certainly worse traditions out there.

I think you could use any kind of white fish fillet to make the blackened fish dish.  I happened to have rock cod, so that’s what I used, although the original recipe called for tilapia.  I also played a bit with the slaw recipe.  I guess I’m just not that great at following directions, but the results were terrific!  I made some incredible corn bread to go with it.  If you’re interested in that, tune in tomorrow.

Blackened Rock Cod with Black-Eyed Slaw & Cornbread

Blackened Rock Cod
(Adapted from Food Network Magazine)

1 tbsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Salt & pepper
4 rock cod or tilapia fillets

In a small bowl combine paprika, cumin and salt and pepper.  Rub most of the rub on one side of the fillets, using any leftover for the other side.  Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add fish, spicy side down.  Cook 3-4 minutes.  Flip carefully and continue to cook another 2 minutes or so until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Black-Eyed Slaw

Black-Eyed Slaw
(Adapted from Food Network Magazine)

1/3 cup prepared salsa verde (I like the Herdez brand)
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. sour cream
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 cups shredded cole slaw mix (one 14 oz. bag)
1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

In a large bowl whisk together salsa verde, vinegar, sour cream and olive oil.  Add cole slaw mix and black-eyed peas and gently toss until all ingredients are combined.  Taste for seasonings, and add salt & pepper if needed.

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Onion-Crusted Rock Cod

I had every intention of making oven-baked fish & chips for this meal, but with temperatures nearing 100 degrees, there was no way I was turning on my oven.  So we’ll save that for another day.  Instead I opted for a quick pan-fried fish and cool cucumber and tomato salad.

Rock cod is not only nice and mild tasting, but its firm texture holds up well for pan-frying, keeping its shape and not falling apart.  The onions mixed with the breadcrumbs caramelize as they cook, adding a nice bump of flavor and a subtle sweetness.

Onion-Crusted Rock Cod

Onion-Crusted Rock Cod

Rock cod filets
3/4 cup panko
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
Salt & pepper
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup greek yogurt

In a shallow dish combine panko, onion, olive oil and a pinch of salt & pepper.

Bread crumb mixture. Love the extra flavor from the onions in the mixture!

Rub cod filets all over with yogurt and then press into bread crumb mixture until well coated on both sides.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Flick a few drops of water into the pan.  If they sizzle, it’s ready to go.  Add filets to pan and cook 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown on both sides.

Pan-frying rock cod filets

Serve with your favorite tartar sauce or wedges of lemon.  Or mix up your own fishy sauce with a bit of mayonnaise, a squeeze of lemon and squirt of sriracha.

Creamy cucumber salad is the perfect complement for this fish dish.  Since I had a couple of garden tomatoes I added them to the recipe as well.  Add a little fresh fruit on the side and you have a perfect summer meal.

Rock cod with creamy cucumber salad and fruit.

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Broiled Salmon & Padron Peppers

Last year when I was in Spain I ate tapas.  Mmmmm….tapas.  Little plates of different goodies that are just one wonderful thing after another.  One of the best tidbits were padron peppers.  I had never had these before and I’m still amazed that these little peppers, cooked with nothing more than a bit of olive oil and sea salt, were so dang good!  Not spicy, just full of flavor.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I found them at farmer’s market this weekend!  I snatched up a pint, took them home and cooked the whole  mess of them up just for me, along with a lovely piece of salmon.  Leftovers were thrown into my scrambled eggs the next morning.  Absolutely delicious.

Broiled Salmon with Pesto Mayonnaise & Padron Peppers

Broiled Salmon with Pesto Mayo

Salmon (I used a 6 oz. portion, enough for 2 servings, or one big serving)
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
1 tsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp. pesto
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Sprinkle the salmon with salt & pepper.  Drizzle with a small bit of olive oil.  Broil for about 8 minutes, until it pulls apart easily in the middle with a fork.  In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, pesto and lemon juice.  Mix well.  Drizzle over the top of the salmon and serve.

Pan-Roasted Padron Peppers

1 pint padron peppers
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add peppers.  Cook 8-10 minutes, tossing once in awhile until tender and browned in spots.  Toss with sea salt and serve.  I cooked these with the stems on.  It makes them easier to eat since you can pick them up by the stem and munch.

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