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We’re friends, right?

I can tell you things.

Like my deepest darkest secrets.

I can?

Perfect.

Here’s one: I generally don’t like salmon.

And I feel like I should.

Salmon is one of those foods on every list of stuff that is good for your body. It is low in calories yet high in protein. They also have lots of those good omega-3 fatty acids that we need from food (because our body doesn’t make it on it’s own).

So, here I am. A food lover.

A healthy gal.

Yet, I have had trouble jumping on the salmon train. Because salmon tastes like fish.

Bleck.

I don’t like fish to taste fishy.

Can I get a hallelujah?

A few months ago we had dinner at our friends, Jim and Abby’s house. We do dinner fairly frequently with these two, and it is fuu-uuun. Want to know why?

Because 1. Jim and Abby are fun.

And 2. Jim and Abby love food.

Then 3. Jim and Abby are adventurous eaters.

And 4. Artemis and Paolo- the two cutest ding-a-ling pups you have ever seen.

So, anywho… one dinner, Abby made the most delicious salmon I have ever had. And I don’t mean it was delicious for salmon.

It was so incredibly flavorful and wonderful that it changed my perspective on salmon. Forever.

So, I had the day off for Presidents’ Day (thanks so much Franklin Pierce), and I decided to make the main man and myself a delightful salmon lunch.

Courtesy of Ms. Abby.

Let me just say this. Besides being delectably delicious, this is sinfully easy.

You really have no reason not to try it.

Here is what you’ll need:

1 lb of salmon- feeds 2-3 people

1 T. oil

1 T. soy sauce

1 T. dijon mustard

1 T. honey

1 T. brown sugar

1 T. butter, melted

1 clove of garlic, diced

Get out a shallow pan to make the marinade. I used the same dish to marinade the fish as I did to make the marinade in.

Hooray for one less dish to do!

Add in your olive oil.

Then your soy sauce.

And then some dijon.

How about some honey, honey?

Gimme some sugar.

Plop your butter in a bowl.

Microwave until melted, and add it to the party.

Add in your garlic.

Give it a whisk.

Until it is all combined and looks like this.

Now, unwrap your fish.

Let’s chat a bit about fish, shall we? I buy my fish from one of two places exclusively.

1. Whole Foods (where this came from)

2. A local Fish Market- in Hyde Park for any of you Cincinnatians

Why?

Because both places have their fished shipped in twice a day. That means that it is about as fresh as Ohio fish can be. Also, both places are committed to getting only high quality fish in. There are very few farmed fish options, and if the fish is from a farm (and not from the ocean) it is cultivated using the highest standards and quality feeds.

So, there you have it.

Place the fish, flesh side down into the marinade for at least 15 minutes.

Do not marinate the fish any longer than an hour.

Why?

Because Abby says so.

Pop a lid or some plastic wrap on it, and put the pan in the fridge.

While that marinates, turn your broiler on to high.

Get out a broiler pan.

A broiler pan has a top pan with holes or slats for juices to drip through to a bottom pan.

I happen to have a small broiler pan that was the perfect size for this fish.

You should give it a quick once over with non-stick spray.

I did not do this step.

And I paid for it in manual pan cleaning labor later.

After your fish has marinated (I let mine go for about 30 min), take it out and lay it skin side down on your broiler pan.

Keep that marinade!!

Take a brush,

and slather more marinade on your fish.

Pop it into your oven for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, pull it out.

\

Brush on more of that salty delicious marinade.

Put it back into the oven for another 5 minutes.

Then, pull it out again.

Brush it again.

Don’t be shy. Really slather it on there.

Finish it off for another 5 minutes.

It comes out looking like this.

(Although not so florescent. I was cooking on a very cloudy day so the lighting was weird).

That was a total of 15 minutes cooking time. 15 minutes will cook your fish to about medium doneness (for a filet about an inch thick) which I think is perfect. Medium doneness means a flaky yet moist fish.

Nothing makes a fish nastier than being dry.

If you don’t like medium, you can give your fish another 2 minutes or so. But you REALLY don’t want to overcook it.

Actually, that rule holds true to just about any protein.

Overcooking=dry, tough, nastiness.

Let the fish rest for 5 minutes. It will continue to cook just sitting there, and the resting will keep some moisture in.

I sliced off a chunk of the salmon, and I popped it on to a lovely green salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette.

Um, yeah.

It was good.

And good for me.

Can’t get much better than that.

Except, of course, if the picture would have turned out better. The fish was not radioactive and florescent.

Even though it looks that way.

Try something new this week.

You’ll be glad you did.

XO,
Leah

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It seems impossible that my ears are burning from the cold air whipping around as I walked our ding-dongs tonight.

Just a week ago, I was soaking up the sun and drinking mai-tais in Hawaii.

I’ve mentioned that while we were there, we had some incredible meals.

And none of them rocked my world more than my Uncle Steve’s red snapper.

Yowza.

I learned that this fish dish of his was what he made for my Aunt Lynda on their very first date. No wonder she came back for date #2!

Since leaving Hawaii, I have been dreaming about that dish. So, I decided to make it tonight to momentarily transport us back to the warm ocean breeze (you know, away from the cold fall blustery gusts of Ohio).

Now, I faced a couple of problems right off the bat.

1. I live in Ohio.

2. You cannot get the Hawaiian Red Snapper  (one of the only Red Snapper varieties to not be overfished and on the “do not eat” list) in Ohio.

3. If you could get the whole darn thing, Brad and I could not eat an entire fish.

4. Who would eat the eyeballs and brain without Steve here?

So, I set out to make a more mainland friendly version. All of the ingredients I used are easily found in Ohio, and I have both a chicken and a seafood version. So, if fish isn’t for you… stick around for the chicken.

Hang tight.

And hang loose.

I’ll walk ya through Uncle Steve’s recipe, and at the end I’ll give you our mainland version.

Dear Fish,

Thank you for giving your life for us. It meant a lot. Truly.

You were delicious.

XO,

Leah

Those are fish guts.

Know who likes fish guts?

This little guy.

So, this big guy shared the guts with the little guy.

Steve took the whole gutless fish and placed it on a Ti leaf, sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and then wrapped another Ti leaf around it. He wrapped the whole bundle in foil, and he put it on the grill.

It both grilled AND steamed it.

Magical.

Here he is all cooked up.

Squeeze a little lemon on our buddy, Mr. Fish.

And a bit of soy sauce.

Now.

Oh now.

Now is the part that changed me.

On this plate is chopped garlic, ginger, and macadamia nuts.

Yes, please.

In this pan is oil. When it gets to the perfect temperature, the oil will bubble a bit around the chopsticks.

When it bubbles, toss in your plate of wonder.

Well, don’t toss.

That’s hot oil you are dealing with. And it could splatter. And that would hurt.

As soon as it hits the oil, oh Sweet Mary Patricia.

It is the smell of the islands.

When it gets a little golden, you are golden.

And you should pull it off of the heat.

Take that whole sizzling pan and pour it over Mr. Fish.
It crackles and adds those flavors to the entire dish.

Sprinkle it generously with chinese parsley (aka cilantro) and green onion.

Did I mention that Mr. Fish had to lose his tail?

Know why?

Because the house we rented had a small grill, and poor Mr. Fish couldn’t quite fit.

Look at that spread!

Pretty fantabulous.

In Hawaii, we had this with pad thai, white rice, seared ahi tuna, and a delicious green salad.

The after dinner show was pretty entertaining too.

Uncle Steve partook in the fish eyeball.

I cannot overstate how nasty this eyeball looked. The lens of the eyeball looked like a small white eyeball.

Sick.

But Steve is an island boy, through and through.

So, he slurped up the ball of eye.

Now, this is my cousin.

He is my uncle’s mini-me.

And he wanted the other eyeball.

At the very least, he wanted to be like his dad.

By the looks of his face, I’m not so sure he actually wanted the eyeball.

And believe me, he was even more unsure he wanted the eyeball once it was in his mouth.

Ha.

Did I mention that I’m from a family of good eaters?

Now, trust me when I say that even if you are not a seafood person you have to try a version of this dish.

It is so delicious, and on a cool fall day it will take you away to the islands.

I roasted some chicken tenders that were coated with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

350 for about 15-20 min (depends on the thickness).

I also wanted to try this dish with tilapia- a pretty easy-to-find fish in Ohio.

I used the frozen version from Kroger.

Get out a piece of parchment paper, and give it a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Place your defrosted fish down and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Cover with another sheet of parchment paper.

We’re making a little pocket to steam the fish in while its in the oven.

This method keeps the fish super moist.

Have I ever mentioned that I rather loathe the word  moist?

Start at one corner and fold it like this:

Move over a couple of inches, and fold it again:

Keep going and folding!

Until it looks like this.

It doesn’t have to be perfectly sealed, but you want a pretty good pocket for some solid steam action.

Put it on a piece of foil or on a pan so that if juices start to flow, they don’t flow directly to the bottom of your oven.

Pop that into the oven with the chicken for the last 10 minutes of the chicken cooking.

Again, this will vary based on the filet’s thickness.

If you have paper thin tilapia filets, you could need as little as 5-6 minutes.

Take a peek, and if they are white all the way through- they are done!

Now, I fried up the garlic, ginger, and macadamia nut mixture.

I’m going to insist on mac nuts. Normally, I would say to be flexible and use what you have.

But the mac nuts take it over the top.

They really do!

Put your meat on a pan, and drizzle the most flavorful goodness over it.

Please note, I forgot to add a squeeze of lemon juice and about 1/4 cup of soy sauce.

You should not forget this step.

But rest assured, if you do, it will still be deeeee-lish!

Top with cilantro and green onion, and pop it on a plate!

I served it up with a roasted butternut squash casserole with blue cheese in it (recipe is coming soon). So stinking good.

I’m convinced that the garlic/ginger/mac nut along with the cilantro/green onion topping would be delicious on just about anything.

I’m thinking that I might need to try it on shrimp and scallops next.

Yes, I think so.

Know what would be perfect with this?

A pina colada.

Or a mai tai.

Or a glass of crisp white wine.

Have a great weekend!

If you are feeling inspired, transport yourself to the islands with this dish.

XO,

Leah

I love fish. Not the looking at them or swimming with them or the keeping of them in an aquarium… rather, the eating of them.

I was well into adulthood before I realized I really loved the creatures of the sea.

For dinner.

The best part about fish is that it is pretty simple to prepare, and it is usually very good for you- WOO!

So one night last week (when Brad and I were on a tight timeline- we had to get to a sand volleyball court by 7 after a full day at work) I ran to the fish market to grab me some tuna.

I frequent this little shop about 3 miles from my house where fish is delivered twice a day. I have consistently had a good experience.

Until, I went to buy this tuna. The two fifteen year old yahoo boys working there have never served a customer prior to me. I’m sure of it.

And I’m certain they have never filleted a fish before. So, please ignore the three (even though I wanted two?) strangely shaped tuna fillets.

The tuna was looking good though. Bright red (no brown- DO NOT BUY if it is at all brown) and smelling like the ocean NOT a stinky fishy smell.

Anyhow, this may just be the easiest recipe I’ve ever posted. Tuna is so, so delicious. And honestly, it is hard to screw up.

For two people, you’ll need two chunks of tuna (ideally- not three hacked up pieces), about 1/4 c. of sesame oil, 1 T. black sesame seeds, 1 T. white sesame seeds.

Now, take a brush and coat the fish with the sesame oil.

Now, sprinkle with the sesame seeds to coat.

Aaaaaannnnnndddddd, thats the preparation. I told you it was stupid easy. Now, lets grill!

I must take a firm stand now.

Quality tuna (yellowfin, ahi, bluefin) should be eaten rare.

I will negotiate with you if that skeebs you out too much- you may cook it to medium rare.

If you find it necessary to cook it beyond that, I really wouldn’t recommend this recipe. It won’t be good.

Promise.

So, for rare- which means seared on the outside, and pink and cool in the center- I do each steak (1 1/2 in. thick) on a hot grill for about 2 minutes max on each side.

For medium rare- which means seared on the outside, and pink and warm in the center- I would do each steak on a hot grill for about 2 1/2- 3 minutes on each side.

Please don’t judge my frozen spinach and half an orange side dish. I told you I was in a hurry.

The tuna made up for it. I only got one not too great picture of what the inside should look like because I was anxious to woof this bad boy down.

Oh, sweet Mary. Yes.

Served with a little wasabi, ginger, and soy sauce.

I’m not sure life can get better.

Nope, I don’t think it does.

Yours in creatures of the sea making your mouth and belly very happy,
Leah

I don’t know why I only discovered fish tacos in the past couple of years.

That feels wrong in so many ways.

Because they are so delicious.

I understand that some people don’t really groove on fish. But, you should try this anyway. And if I can’t talk you into eating creatures from the sea, you could substitute chicken.

But I wouldn’t.

Because the fish is delish. Har. Har. See what I did there?

Here is what you need:

So, I’m just using tilapia from the freezer section in the grocery store. It is cheap, convenient, and perfect for an after-work dinner because they don’t take long to defrost.

However, any flaky white fish will do.

For the main man and I, I used three filets (each about 1/4 in thick).

For the marinade, you’ll need a lime, some cilantro, a jalapeno, extra virgin olive oil, and a little salt and pepper.

Put some of that oil (1/4 c.) in your marinade bowl.

Now, zest your lime. Just the green part. The white part is the opposite of delicious.

Now, lets use the rest of the lime. Juice that bad boy.

Chop your jalapeno. Don’t touch your eyeballs.

Chop up 1/4 c. of cilantro. I love cilantro. So, does the man in my life.

I think that is why our  marriage works. That, and that alone.

Throw the jalapeno and cilantro into the bowl.

Here’s what you should be looking at. It is a little thicker marinade.

Pretty, non?

Now, we shall marinate. If you are using thin fish fillets like a good soldier, cover with the marinade and stick in the fridge for 30 minutes.

The lime will start to cook the fish if you marinate much longer.

If you are a rebel, and you are using chicken, you may marinate the meat longer.

Now is also a good time to get your grill goin’.

While the grill is heating up and the flava is soaking in to the meat, we shall prepare toppings.

I like some pico (I told you I use this stuff ALL the time), an avocado sliced up, sour cream, a squeeze of fresh lime, and a super simple cabbage slaw.

Here’s how I make the slaw.

You only need a bit of slaw. I would say a 1/2 cup for 2 people.

Chop up the cabbage. Put it in a small bowl. Squeeze in half of that lime.

Now a drizzle of the olive oil- a teaspoon.

And a sprinkle of coarse Kosher deliciousness and pepper.

And mix it up. And done.

Now lets grill some corn on the cob AND our fish. The fish, because it is so thin, cooks quickly. Like 2 minutes on each side.

Finish grilling, and lets make a TACO. Yes! Yes! Yes!

I toasted my tortilla just for a second. I like it warmed up a bit. Then I use my fork and flake all of the fish a part.

Then, I pile on the slaw, avocado, sour cream, pico, and a little extra fresh cilantro.

Top it off with a squirt of fresh lime.

Fold ‘er up.

And stick it on your plate with some corn and fruit salad.

Can you see those blackberries in the fruit salad. They are huge!

Want to see?

HUGE, I tell ya. And yummy.

So, the tacos are and forever will be a hit.

Look.

This one really wanted to be a proper dinner guest.

She tried extra hard to get a morsel.

Those etiquette classes are paying off.

And this one too. She doesn’t care that she’s not invited to the table to sit. She’s quite happy catching anything that flies off of the table.

Please make these tacos. Your life will be unfulfilled if you don’t.

It really will.

Lots of love,
Leah

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