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Archive for the ‘Fish’ Category

Balsamic Rosemary Salmon

The last month or two of my pregnancy with Rice Kernel was, well, spoiled.  For starters, there was no toddler to run after.  I was home at that point and enjoyed leisurely mornings at the gym, followed by a little work and time to prepare whatever my belly desired that evening.  There was likely also a nap on the couch somewhere in the middle of the day.

This time around, there is a little Rice Kernel.  He’s busy with activities and, when home, in need of a playmate.  I’m happy to oblige, truthfully – the (rarely) sentimental one in me is going to miss our time “alone.”  But this leaves little energy – and desire – to think about dinner.  We’ve been subsisting on leftovers a few nights a week (not that this is a problem, but it is rare given that I usually have the time and inclination to cook) and, on some nights, my Dad is eager to bring food or FHE suggests we head out “before we can’t for a little while.”  Good excuse, hun. 

After a few days of sushi, leftover ribs and pasta, I decided fish at home would be a good idea.  It’s quick and Rice Kernel always enjoys it.  Baked in the oven, it’s flavorful, healthful and ready in about 20 minutes. 

Balsamic Rosemary Salmon

 


Ingredients

4 (4 ounce) salmon fillets
sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced

 Directions
  1. Season salmon fillets to taste with sea salt, and place into a shallow, glass dish. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and rosemary; pour over salmon fillets. Cover, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil grate.  Remove salmon from marinade, and shake off excess. Discard remaining marinade. Cook on preheated grill until fish is opaque in the center and flakes easily with a fork, about 4 minutes per side.
  3. Bake: In a preheated oven at 425 F for 12-15 minutes (Depending on your preference for doneness.)

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Spicy Lemon Maple Salmon

We spent the afternoon with one of Rice Kernel’s buddies, Adam.  Adam is Rice Kernel.  Rice Kernel is Adam.  (Except for the whole blond v. brown hair thing.)  And that’s a good thing for me and Adam’s Mom, Lyn.  That means we make no excuses to each other for our loud, energetic, opinionated, fire engine-obsessed, and poop jokes-loving 3-year-olds.  (That also means we’ve got someone to stand by us when Moms with calmer children glance over at our boys.)

On playdate days, dinners are a bit rushed.  I’m either prepping/cooking while Rice Kernel naps or scrambling when we get home.  This recipe is perfect for the latter situation – with no scrambling required.  This is a flavorful, healthful preparation for any night you are short on time. 

Spicy Lemon Maple Salmon, adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light magazine

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil, plus additional
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
2 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Whisk together the first 5 ingredients in a shallow bowl or baking dish just large enough to hold the salmon fillets in a single layer. Add fillets to marinade, turning to coat on all sides. Marinate fillets at room temperature for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
  2. Preheat broiler.
  3. Transfer marinated fillets to a plate and season with salt and pepper. Reserve marinade and microwave on high for 1 minute. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a little canola oil then place the fillets in the skillet flesh side down. Sauté for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly coat foil tray with canola oil. Transfer fillets to foil tray, cooked side up. Brush fillets liberally with marinade.
  4. Transfer foil tray to broiler pan, sliding it from the baking sheet. Broil until fish is just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Use the baking sheet to remove foil tray from broiler. Sprinkle lemon zest over fillets and serve immediately.

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We don’t consume nearly enough fish as we probably should.  Rice Kernel has been ambivalent about salmon, which we almost always have on hand.  But with a delicious, appetizing glaze, there’s no way my little Sauce Lover can deny this piece of fish.

Pan-Fried Salmon with Citrus Vinaigrette, from Food and Wine

Ingredients

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 medium shallot, minced
2 tablespoons snipped chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Eight 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the orange, lemon and lime juices and simmer over moderate heat until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Pour into a heatproof bowl and let cool to room temperature. Whisk in the shallot, chives and the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In each of 2 large skillets, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil until shimmering. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and add 4 to each skillet. Cook over moderately high heat until browned and just cooked, about 3 minutes per side.
  3. Transfer the salmon to plates and spoon some of the citrus vinaigrette on top. Pass the extra vinaigrette at the table

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We really enjoyed this recipe.  Perfect for a light supper or a special brunch, the salad can be prepared just before serving or the components can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated.  While the vinaigrette is wonderfully savory and herbaceous, in a pinch you can use any store-bought dressing, tapenade or pesto.  

Salmon, Red Potato, and Green Bean Salad, adapted from Williams Sonoma

Ingredients

1 lb. salmon fillet, skin removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lb. small, round red-skinned potatoes, each about 1 1/2 inches in diameter
3/4 lb. green beans, ends trimmed
Mixed greens or baby spinach, optional

Ingredients for Vinaigrette

4 dry-packed sun-dried tomato halves
Boiling water as needed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Cook salmon in a pan or on the grill.  Transfer the salmon to a plate and let cool to room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a large saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, peel and cut into slices 1/2 inch thick. Set aside on a large plate to cool completely.
  3. Cut beans into 1-inch lengths. Place in boiling water and cook until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.   Pat dry and arrange next to the potatoes on the plate.
  4. When the salmon is cool, cut it into 1-inch chunks.
  5. To make the vinaigrette, put the sun-dried tomatoes in a heatproof bowl, add boiling water to cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain and cut into 1/4-inch dice. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, dill, orange zest, garlic, 2 Tbs. water, salt and a grind of pepper until blended.
  6. Sppon vinaigrette over the green beans, potatoes and salmon. Using a large, flat spoon or spatula, gently coat the ingredients evenly with the dressing.  Serve at room temperature.  Add additional mixed greens or spinach, if desired.

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Nearly every time FHE and I came home from college, our parents would get together for a meal at a local Afghani restaurant.  Everyone delighted in the flavorful stews and soups, beautifully grilled meats, and fresh breads.  My husband grew up eating Afghani fare and his face still lights up at the mention of kebabs, sambosas, kadu, and his beloved bowl of aush.   

This is a simple marinde that is perfect for the summer grilling season – or the oven or stovetop, as is the case tonight.   Delicious paired with chicken, beef or seafood, tonight it is used as a marinade for pork chops and served with tumeric-roasted carrots and cauliflower and a side of brown basmati rice.  (I recognize Afghanistan is a Muslim country and the majority do not eat pork, but we have pork chops on hand tonight and the marinade pairs deliciously.)  The only thing to make this more delectable would be some traditional Afghan bread.

Afghan Yogurt-Spiced Marinade, source long forgotten

Ingredients

2 medium onions, peeled
2 cups plain yogurt, any fat content you wish
Dash of Lemon juice or rice vineger
Pepper to taste
2 tsp ground cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 – 3/4 tsp cayanne pepper or Chili paste
2 tsp Fresh ground ginger
3 Garlic cloves
Chopped cilantro to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric

Directions

  1. Simply blend all ingredients in the food processor. 
  2. Simmer/cook over medium heat until thickened slightly and flavor is set, about 5-7 minutes.  Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Cool.
  3. Marinate chicken, beef, pork, or firm fish (like tuna, swordfish) for up to 2-3 hours (marinate fish for less time, about 1 hour).  You can use whole pieces of meat or cubes to form on a kebab.  Cook as directed. 

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As I’ve said before, fish cures my inevitable dinner crankies quandries.  This is another quick and flavorful recipe, drawing from pantry ingredients to pull together a respectable, healthful meal.  Here, subtle white cod is baked in a Brazilian-style sauce marrying fire-roasted tomatoes, spicy jalapeño, rich coconut milk, and beautiful purple eggplant.  After simmering in the oven, the sauce becomes mellow and smooth, absorbed by the flaky, mild fish. 

While FHE and I enjoyed the flavors and rice-soaked sauce, Rice Kernel and my Dad weren’t as enthusiastic.  I’m pretty sure Dad was thinking, “I’d rather be eating Brazilian churrasco.”  Sorry there wasn’t a fifth person to break the tie.  Have you tried this Brazilian sauce?

Brazilian-Style Fish with Tomatoes, Coconut, and Eggplant, from numerous sources

Ingredients

1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 onion
1/2 small eggplant
1 jalapeno, seeds removed
3 cloves garlic
1/2 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
1 (15 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 pound fish (halibut, cod, mahi mahi, or tilapia.  You can also use shellfish.)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2-3 cups short-grain brown rice, cooked

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Finely chop the red bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, eggplant, and garlic by hand or in a food processor.  Drizzle the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the chopped vegetable mixture in the oil until softened, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the coconut milk, diced tomatoes, and honey to the mixture.  Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and allow the sauce to simmer until it thickens, about 8-10 minutes.  Add lime juice to the sauce and remove from heat.
  2. Place the tilapia in a deep baking dish.  Pour the sauce over the fish, making sure it’s all well coated.  Bake in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when pulled with a fork.  Serve over brown rice.  Garnish with chopped cilantro.

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In college, FHE and I ate out quite a bit.  There were a few local places we tended to frequent, but one institution received a few more visits than the others.  Chipotle.  Then known as Cha-pa-tul.  (Yes, we knew how to pronounce it, but that’s just what silly – nay, idiot – college students referred to it as.)  Nothing like the authentic Mexican fare we grew up with in the Bay Area, we became (embarassing, to some extent) smitten with their corn salsa, chipotle grilled chicken, and cilantro lime rice.  We didn’t often eat inside Chipotle – it was more of a grab-and-run meal.  One we’d then sneak into the library at all hours of the late morning, afternoon, evening, and wee hours of the morning.  Especially during finals.

Despite all the accolades about Chipotle’s farm-raised meats, fresh produce, and cooking methods, we knew our beloved burrito packed a caloric punch and contained enough sodium to make us bouyant.  My nutritionist mother-in-law gasped at the behemoth, carbohydrate-dense flour tortilla.  It wouldn’t have been a big deal if we ate it once in a blue moon but, for a good school year or two, our moon was always blue.  Slowly we weaned ourselves.  And while FHE was reluctant to give up the wrapper to his portable meal, I was thrilled to see the introduction of the burrito bowl (a.k.a. a burrito sans tortilla).

These days, Chipotle is truly a once-in-a-blue-moon stop.  Not because we don’t enjoy it – FHE might still be there several times a week if he could – but because it’s easier and more healthful to make a homemade version.  Consider this “recipe” as a template – vary the protein to your liking (beans, tofu, shredded pork or beef, grilled chicken, leftover rotisserie chicken) and incorporate as many of the salsa ingredients as you have on hand or enjoy.  (Tonight, we simply seared the salmon with salt and pepper.)  With all those saved calories, you’ve more than earned a beer or churro to finish off your Mexican-inspired meal.

Burrito Bowl

Cilantro Lime Rice, adapted from Chipotle

Ingredients

1 tsp vegetable oil or butter
2 tsp fresh cilantro
2/3 cup brown (or white) basmati rice
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lime

Directions

In a 2-quart heavy saucepan, heat oil or butter over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted.  Add rice and lime juice, stir for 1 minute.  Add water and salt, bring to a full rolling boil.  At boiling, cover, turn down to simmer over low heat until rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 25 minutes.  Fluff rice with a fork and add additional cilantro, if desired.

Mango Salsa
Add your choice of salsa ingredients and season with salt, pepper, and lime juice.  Mix, chill, and serve.

1 large beef steak tomato or 3 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
1 small white or red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced (optional)
2 Hass avocado, peeled and diced (underripe today, so we didn’t add)
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/4 to 1/2 cup (loosely packed) chopped cilantro
Juice of ½ lime, or more
Salt and pepper, to taste

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