Category Archives: Fish

Easy Spring Rolls with Shrimp and Crunchy Veggies

Spring rolls are a snap to make once you get the basics down. You may have eaten them at an Asian take-out restaurant before, or have seen them on a buffet somewhere. They are light and fresh and can be filled with almost anything you like.  I like to add whole grains like Bhutanese Red rice for an earthy, chewy texture which contrasts excellently against the succulent, salty-snap of fresh shrimp. I include powerfully nutritious green herbs in this recipe which will align well with your diet plans, and I hope you will make it and enjoy it.

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons turbinado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chili flakes (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil (toasted if you can find it)
  • 4 each 8-inch diameter rice paper rounds (you can use brown rice rounds if you can find them)
  • 1 cup cooked Bhutanese Red rice (cook per package directions)
  • 2 1/2 cups of cole slaw mix prepared (you can find it at the grocery store and it has shredded cabbage and carrots)
  • 1 small avocado halved and sliced
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh Thai basil (regular sweet basil will work if you cannot find Thai)
  • 6 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 8 each cooked and peeled (deveined) shrimp (medium or large) cut in half horizontally
  1. To begin have a bowl or shallow dish of warm water with a splash of the rice vinegar on hand, as well as a clean dish towel or several layers of paper towels at the ready. You will soak the rice paper wrappers to soften them in the warmed water and lay them out on the paper or towel to drain off excess water.
  2.  Combine the first seven ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together with a little sesame oil until the sugar dissolves. This will serve as your dipping sauce, which you can divide into four small portions.
  3. Soften a spring roll wrapper until it is soft and pliable enough to wave gently in the liquid. Remove it to the towel gently, and add several slices of avocado, then two halves of shrimp. Next add some of the cole slaw filling and the green herbs.
  4. Leave about an inch and a half at the top of your spring roll and at the sides. Make sure you place the filling toward the bottom edge of the wrapper.
  5. Now fold the sides up and roll your wrapper like a burrito up and around the filling, pressing gently at the seam. Set your spring roll aside and finish the others in the same manner.
  6. When you have finished, slice each spring roll at the center in a diagonal slice.

You should have 4 servings of an appetizer portion of these delicious spring rolls. Now that you have the technique figured out the sky is the limit for what you can add. Steamed or grilled chicken slices and a creamy, citrus peanut sauce would be a filling treat, as would a spring roll chock full of crunchy veggies alone! If you cannot find fish sauce, or do not particularly enjoy it, feel free to omit it and instead substitute 1/8 cup tamari sauce with 1/8 cup of citrus juice; such as lemon, lime or orange, or even some stock if you have it handy.

 

Salmon Cakes with Bitter Lettuce and Fennel Salad

These salmon cakes are a breeze to make with a food processor. I enjoy the contrast of the robust and fatty salmon against the bitter greens and sweet, pungent fennel root. Fennel pairs so well with citrus as well and I have included the use of orange segments in the salad, as well as pomegranate seeds for a tangy crunch.

For the Salmon Cakes you will need:

  • 1.5 pounds of fresh or frozen and thawed wild caught salmon (pat dry with a paper towel) cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons freshly minced herbs such as tarragon or parsley or both
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise or soy mayonnaise
  • juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • sea salt to taste, about 3/4 teaspoon
  • freshly ground pepper about 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper or old bay seasoning
  • Olive oil to brush onto the salmon cakes, about 1/4 cup

To prepare pre-heat the oven to 400°F and have a sheet pan or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper ready to bake the salmon cakes.

In a food processor add the cut up salmon and pulse until you have small, fine bits, but not a paste. You want a little under 1/4 inch chunks. In a bowl combine some of the  Panko breadcrumbs and the herbs, lemon juice, mayonnaise, Dijon and seasonings. About 3 tablespoons of Panko just for texture. Once the salmon is processed add it to this mixture and fold it all together well. Now you are ready to form the salmon cakes into disks about 3 inches or less across and about an inch high.

The remaining Panko crumbs can be put onto a plate to use to coat the cakes as you form them. Just press them gently into the crumbs as you shape them and try to get an even coating. You should be able to get about 8 cakes at this size, with 2 cakes being served per person.

With a pastry brush or grill brush gently brush some olive oil over the formed salmon cakes and set them onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes until done. They should be firm and lightly golden brown on top.

Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the bitter greens and fennel salad.

For the salad you will need:

  • 1 small bulb of fennel root, washed and shaved on a mandolin or thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup orange segments, supreme is preferred
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 cups mixed greens such as radicchio, mizuna, and endive
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons good Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper

Mix the dressing ingredients in the bottom of the salad bowl you will be using and whisk well until incorporated. Then toss the salad ingredients well with the mixed dressing and season with salt and pepper.

Serve 2 salmon cakes each on top of a plate of this delicious salad and enjoy!

If you like you could substitute 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar for pomegranate molasses if you can find it. Also adding toasted walnuts would be an excellent addition to this salad.

Serves-4

 

 

Bouillabaisse for the Holidays

This is a soup to impress your guests. It is not a cheap soup ingredient wise. However with Thanks-annukah just around the corner (or is it Chanukiving) this year why not go all out for friends and family, while still cooking healthy?

This recipe uses my Fish Fumet and a whole lot of fish and shellfish and spices and herbs. It is a decadent soup with many layers of incredible flavor that just happens to be chock-full of good for you ingredients. This is a large recipe, with 10 servings, so adjust accordingly per your needs. It will do nicely for a meal at home, and will freeze well.

For the Bouillabaisse stock you will need:

  • 2 Tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot (peeled)
  • 2 each large stalks celery chopped (not the whole thing, just 2 individual stalks)
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1 Tablespoon anise seed, ground
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 quarts Fish Fumet
  • 14 ounces canned tomatoes, drained and chopped (I like the tomatoes in the cardboard cartons from Italy)
  • 8 ounces dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

The rest of the ingredients:

  • 10 littleneck clams, scrubbed (or whatever clams you find in your region)
  • 10 mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 2 1/2 ounces lobster meat, cubed
  • 8 ounces shrimp (16/20 count size), peeled and de-veined
  • 8 ounces salmon fillet, cubed
  • 4 ounces scallops, muscle tabs removed
  • 4 ounces perch fillet, cubed (or Red snapper)
  • 4 ounces halibut fillet, cubed (or cod)
  • 4 ounces sea bass fillet, cubed (or grouper)
  • 4 ounces sole fillet, cubed (or John Dory)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped, fresh, parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped tarragon
  • sea salt as needed

Begin by preparing the stock by heating the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, fennel, anise, parsley, orange zest, and bay leaves. Sweat the mixture until the onions are turning translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 45 minutes, and strain.

Rinse the pot and return the strained Bouillabaisse stock to the pot. Bring to a boil. Add the clams and the mussels. When their shells open, remove from the stock and reserve.

Lower the stock to a simmer and add the remaining fish. Simmer until the fish is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Do not allow this to boil as it may break apart the tender fish.

Return the clams, mussels and lobster to the bouillabaisse. Simmer to heat through. Check for saltiness and add sea salt if needed.

To Serve 10-15 people depending.

Use a 12 ounce ladle, or if you prefer less, an 8 ounce ladle will render more portions. Ladle the soup into bowls and arrange the seafood in each bowl and garnish with the remaining parsley and tarragon.

Fish Fumet

So we know that fish and shellfish are a large part of a traditional Mediterranean diet. Typically those cultures will make a broth or stock from the carcass and head of the leftover fish after consuming, or removing the flesh. There is much nutrition yet to extract from the bones of fish.Minerals like calcium, retinol, choline, and fat soluble vitamin A. As well as some Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and protein from the bones.

The French make “Fish Fumet” and it is a delicate and versatile fish stock made primarily from fresh, salt-water, white-fleshed fish such as: Halibut, Sole, Flounder. However you may use any kinds of fish bones that you may have on hand.

To make 1/2 Gallon of Fumet for use, and freezing you will need:

  • 1 Tablespoon good olive oil
  • 6 pounds of good quality fish bones
  • 5 ounces of mushroom trimmings (whatever you have leftover from preparing mushrooms), stems, or chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup onion, roughly cut
  • 1/2 cup leeks, washed, and rough cut
  • 1/2 cup parsnips, peeled, and roughly cut
  • 1/2 cup celery, washed and roughly cut
  • 2 1/2 quarts of fresh, cold water
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 sachet d’epices*

*(A sachet d’epices is a French “bouquet” used to flavor stocks and soups without overpowering them and allowing the herbs and spices to float freely.)

To make a Sachet d’epices you need some Cheese-cloth, about a 4 inch by 4 inch square. Place ingredients inside the cheese-cloth, and tie off the ends well, or use kitchen twine to tie a good knot to keep the spices from falling out.

  • 3 parsley stems
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 springs fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dry
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked fresh pepper
  • 1 crushed garlic clove

To make the Fish Fumet

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed, stock pot on medium-high heat. Add the fish bones, and vegetables. Sweat the ingredients until they become aromatic. (Sweat=cook gently until liquid from the ingredients begins to bead up and release on the outside). Add the remaining ingredients, and simmer slowly (important not to boil) for about 35-40 minutes. Skim the impurities which rise up to the surface frequently.

When it is done, strain through some cheese cloth draped over a chinois, or sieve, into another container which will comfortably hold the liquid. Use a large piece of cheese cloth so that it drapes over the sides of the container. I usually use another pot. Ladle it slowly into the new container. Cool and store in the refrigerator  for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Makes 8 cups.

Baked Salmon “Lettuce” Wraps using Collard Greens

Leafy greens are powerful veggies. Packed with antioxidants, calcium, protein, fiber, iron, vitamins: K, C, B, D, as well as potassium. They are strongly anti-inflammatory as well as super low on the glycemic index. They are super easy to prepare and versatile. Used in soups, as a side dish, pickled, or raw in juices, smoothies, or in salads.

Pairing greens with a low fat protein like fish provides a very satisfying meal. I like to use baked salmon which has been chilled for a cold wrap with a nice tangy sauce or dressing.

Kale can be substituted for Collard greens, or turnip greens or even if you’re feeling spicy-Mustard greens.

Wash the greens well in a sink full of clean water, swishing well to allow loose dirt to fall to the bottom of the sink. Drain in a colander, or gently shake dry and pat with paper towels.  There will be a large stem which runs up the length of the leaf as a vein. Pinch the vein with one hand and gently fold the leaf over on itself grasping both sides with your other hand. Peel the vein and stem away holding the folded half to remove the tough stem. You can also just tear each side off of the central stem. Whatever works.

Using 2 Salmon fillets, bake them at 350 for about 10-15 minutes, until cooked through. If the white fat is coming up out of the tops of the fillets they are well done. If you would like to season the salmon use any of your favorite spices, or simply salt and pepper. I like to use a spicy mix of cumin, coriander and smoked paprika. I am also a fan of Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Seasoning salt. Cut cooked salmon into bite-sized chunks, or break apart into pieces with your hands.

Tangy Jicima Slaw

  • 1 large jicama , peeled, then julienned on a mandolin, or grated using a hand held grater or grate attachment on a food processor (easiest to work with if you cut the jicama in half first.)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, julienned or grated
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienned or grated
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, julienned or grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 a large cucumber, seeded, chopped, or julienned
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Pinch of Spanish paprika
  • Salt

Optional

  • 1/2 avocado chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

1 Toss together the jicama, bell peppers, red onion, cucumber, orange, and cilantro in a large serving bowl. Pour lime juice over all. Sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne and paprika. Season generously with salt.

2 Let sit a half an hour before serving.

You can use the Collard green leaf halves as a taco or lettuce wrap and pile on the tangy jicima slaw!

Nicoise-Style Salmon

This recipe is a variant on the classic tuna Nicoise without salad and substituting Salmon for Tuna. An excellent Summer entree, which is easy to prepare.

You will need:

  • 2 pounds Salmon, skin on, pin bones removed ( fishmonger or grocer will do this)
  • 2Tablespoons Canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2 Summer tomatoes, seeded and diced (a quick way to seed them is to cut them in half, give a decent squeeze, and fling out the seeds into a bowl, then proceed to dice them)
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into thin rounds
  • 4 bunches basil, removing 8-10 of the best looking leaves, save the rest on the stem for later use
  • 1 large bulb fennel, thinly sliced ( chop off green top about 1/4 into the white bulb part, discard. Slice bottom root end and discard. Slice in half, and there is a thick core which you can make a ‘V’ cut with a knife tip to remove, then lay flat and thinly slice across.)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Kosher salt, white pepper and black pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 20-25 Nicoise olives, pitted

Preheat oven to 350F and pat the fish dry with a paper towel. Rub the flesh of the fish with the olive oil and season with Kosher salt and about 1 teaspoon white pepper.

Place the fish on an oven proof tray (or cookie sheet) lined with parchment paper, and place in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the fish is cooked to about medium. (There will still be a hint of extra light pink in the middle but not overwhelming) Remove from oven and let rest.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat the Canola oil over medium heat. Add the fennel and lemon, and cook until the fennel begins to soften but Not brown. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon, or heat resistant spatula.

Add chicken stock and basil stems you reserved. Cook this over medium heat until the entire volume is reduced by about 60%. Discard the basil stems at this point and continue reducing the stock some more–to a thick consistency, where it would stick without running quickly to the back of a spoon. Take of heat at this point, and let sit to room temperature.

Add tomatoes, olives and olive oil to the sauce and heat through. Pour the sauce over the salmon and serve warm. This is a dish where everyone can serve themselves from the side of salmon. It also works, for the sake of convenience to purchase fillets from your store instead of a 2 pound side.

A great addition to this dish would be an Arugula Avocado Pistachio Salad with Champagne Dressing, as follows:

  • 1/2 cup Brut champagne
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces baby arugula leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 ounce fresh basil leaves, stems removed
  • 1 large orange, peeled and sliced (Naval work best-no seeds)
  • 2 medium avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup pistachio nuts, chopped

Ina non-reactive, small sauce pot, reduce the champagne over medium-high heat, by boiling until only 1/4 cup remains. Let it cool to room temperature. In a food processor, mince the garlic, then add lemon juice, Dijon, and salt and process. Gradually with the machine running, pour in the olive oil to create an emulsification. Add basil and process to mix.

Arrange the arugula on a platter, spread the orange and avocado slices over the arugula, top with some basil leaves, and drizzle with the champagne dressing. Top with the pistachios.

Salmon and Swiss Chard

  • 4-6oz. salmon fillets, skinned and around an inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • about 1 inch or 1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger. (grating is easy too)
  • 1 tablespoon good honey
  • sea or kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste

For the Relish

  • 1 medium red onion, small dice or fine shop
  • 1 bell pepper, red, green or yellow (your choice)
  • 1/2 cup seeded cucumber, small dice or chopped
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced small or chopped
  • some fresh chopped parsley or cilantro (some people don’t like cilantro!)
  • about an inch or 1 tablespoon peeled, chopped ginger
  • 1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple in juice. (reserve in juice)
  • juice of 1 medium lime, or 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon good honey
  • sea or kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste

So preheat your over to 400 degrees F and start the relish while that is going on:

Just combine all the ingredients, stir a bit and cover with plastic and store in refrigerator while you bake the salmon.

To prepare the salmon:

  1. Combine honey, ginger, olive oil, mustard, and a little fresh black pepper in a bowl.
  2. On a non-stick baking pan or sprayed with non-fat cooking spray, place fillets with the side the skin used to be on down touching the pan.
  3. Rub the mixture or brush onto the tops of the salmon and stick in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Serve with the yummy relish!

A good accompaniment for this would be a yummy carrot and Swiss chard slaw that you could make ahead of time when you do the relish or while the salmon is baking.

For the slaw:

  • 1 large or 2 medium bunches Swiss chard, sliced diagonally (about 3 cups)
  • 4 carrots julienned or shredded (about 3 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, julienned
  • handful fresh, chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cardamom, cumin, garlic powder, fresh ground black pepper, sea or kosher salt ( mix together if you like in a small bowl)
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup champagne or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a small bowl whisk the honey, vinegar and spices.
  2. Add Dijon mustard and salt.
  3. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to form a dressing.
  4. Add all veggies to a bowl and toss with the dressing.

This is especially good if done a day ahead or several hours.

Hope you enjoy! Use up those good veggies I recommended with lots of colors and nutrients!

Shrimp and watermelon salad

I love mixing these two flavors, they really work well and we’ll add some feta cheese in for texture and saltiness. You want to get a half of a small or a quarter watermelon, seedless is best, and cut it so you can dice the pieces into a medium or small dice. Reserve those in a bowl and get some pre-cooked, or fresh shrimp that you have cooked on the grill, or boiled. Chill the shrimp and begin to compose the watermelon salad. For 4 servings you will need:

1/2 large or 1/2 small watermelon, seedless (small to medium dice)

2 pounds shrimp, cooked

1/8 cup basil, chiffonade (take leaves, lay them on top of one another, roll like a cigar, and slice thinly into strips)

1 tablespoon mint chiffonade

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1 medium cucumber, small dice

1/4 cup feta cheese, drained and crumbled.

Assemble the ingredients together except for the shrimp. Squeeze a little lemon juice and toss. Serve up 4 portions and assemble shrimp over watermelon salad and drizzle your best extra virgin olive oil on top.

Simple baked salmon with brussels sprout leaves

I love making Brussels sprout leaves as a side dish. When you cook them they crackle and pop and sound like popcorn. Of course I use butter at the restaurant, but olive oil works too! You don’t even have to pan sear them, unless you’re good at it, and want to hear them crackling. If you have Brussels sprouts from the market chances are you will have leaves left over from preparing them for use. Take your paring knife and cut the sprouts from the stalk if you got them on the stalk. Then wash them in a sink full of clean water, and begin to trim off the ends about 1/4 ” up. Some leaves will fall off and this is great, they’re the outer leaves kind of like a mini-cabbage. I like to get salmon fillets with the skin off, because for this we want to slow bake the fillets and the skin wouldn’t remain crisp. You can get a side and cut it for your family or bake it whole and then cut it to serve. I sprinkle it with Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, then rub it with some basil pesto, just to coat. On a non-stick sheet pan, or cookie pan, or lined with parchment, bake at 300 for about 10 minutes, until opaque and cooked through. To prepare the sprout leaves, after you finish trimming the ends of the Brussels sprouts, and collecting the leaves, cut them in half lengthwise and have a pot of salted, boiling water ready to blanch. Have also at the ready a bowl or container of ice water to shock the sprouts to stop the cooking process, and to maintain a crisp, green color. Submerge the sprouts in the water with the leaves you picked as more will fall off the sprout in the water. After one minute or so, when the water returns to a boil, carefully strain the sprouts and quickly plunge into the ice bath at the ready. Drain them after they cool off and you are ready to heat up the sprouts as you need them. The ice bath method helps when you want to save some for later and keeps your vegetables crisp and green.
While the salmon is baking, and after you’ve blanched your sprouts and gotten more leaves. Heat up a saute pan with about 2 teaspoons olive oil and toss in the leaves and some sprouts with some slivered garlic and warm through. Season with salt and cracked black pepper and a squirt of fresh lemon, and enjoy with the slow baked salmon.

Fish Filet in Foil

1 pound fish filet, your choice

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground pepper

3/4 cup sliced mushrooms

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup onions, finely chopped

4 teaspoons lemon juice

4 teaspoons parsley and dill, rough chop

Divide the fish into four equal portions; sprinkle with salt and lemon juice. Saute the onions in the olive oil until transparent, add sliced mushrooms and saute until tender. Stir parsley and dill into onion and mushroom mixture.

For each of the four portions, use about a 12×9-inch piece of double-thickness aluminum foil. Place each portion on foil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each portion with the onion/mushroom mixture.

Turn foil up and around fish, and wrap securely sealing the edges. Place on a pre-heated grill, or on a baking sheet under the broiler of an oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes-turning once-or until fish flakes.

Serves 4.