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Archive for the ‘Fish’ Category

Ceviche is a popular dish in Central and South America and is gaining popularity in The United States. It is certainly one of my favorite dishes. In a ceviche, cubes of fresh, raw fish are marinated in citrus juice, which denatures the surface proteins as cooking would. I designed my recipe based on my dad’s nostalgic description of the dish he had in Costa Rica. My ceviche has a subtle sweetness from a bit of sugar and a splash of gingerale, which balances the tart lime. Avacados and corn are classic pairings, but I also added juicy  costa rican pineapple, cherry tomatoes, and edamame.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh Marlin and Tilapia, cubed
  • Ripe Avocado, chopped
  • Pineapple, diced
  • Frozen Peas, thawed
  • Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Corn (frozen or fresh)
  • Red Onion, diced
  • Canned Chickpeas

Marinade:

  • Lime Juice, be generous
  • Ginger Ale, a splash
  • Fresh Garlic, minced
  • Jalopeño, minced
  • Salt and Pepper, don’t skimp
  • GOYA Cilantro Cooking Base
  • Sugar, a hint

Directions:

  1. Prepare marinade and pour over ingredients in a shallow dish. There needs to be enough liquid to almost cover the fish. Refrigerate covered for about 1 hour, carefully folding every 15 minutes. Serve alone or with tortilla chips.

Tips:

  1. The fresher the fish, the safer and tastier the ceviche.
  2. Be sure to use enough lime juice than you think or you’ll be eating sashimi, not ceviche
  3. Cut your ceviche pieces all the same size.
  4. Ripe avocados should be tender to the touch. Next, break off the stubby stem. If it’s green, it’s fresh.
  5. Slice lengthwise all around the avocado and twist to open. Take a careful wack with the chef’s knife and twist to dislodge the pit.

 

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We never cook salmon any other way in our house. Gently baked in the oven and slathered with mayo, fresh dill and lemon juice, the salmon is perfectly cooked with tender, bright-pink flakes that dissolve in your mouth. The mayo melts down, flavoring the salmon and keeping it mouthwatering. A tofu stir-fry makes the perfect side; it’s healthy, crisp, full of flavor and slightly sweet.

 

To make the sauce, mix about 1 cup of mayonnaise with about 3/4 the juice of a lemon and lots of fresh, chopped dill. Slather onto the salmon, place in a baking dish in the oven and bake on 350° for about 30 minutes. I used about 1½ pounds of farm-raised salmon, which has more fat and less mercury. It is done when the mayo has begun to turn golden in places, and the salmon flesh is bright pink and flaky inside.

For the stir fry, salt a pot of boiling water. Blanch green beans, cut into bite-size pieces, and broccoli until cooked, yet crunchy. Shock in a water bath with lots of ice. Take a block of firm tofu and wrap in paper towels to take out excess moisture.

Heat a wok on high and add some vegetable or canola oil. Add quartered mushrooms, thinly-sliced onion, the broccoli, the beans, the tofu and three cloves of minced garlic. Add salt, pepper and any seasoning you like. I added some rice seasoning with seaweed and some thai seasoning mix.

For the sauce, mix soy sauce, honey, mustard, sesame oil, rice wine, rice wine vinegar, sugar and sesame seeds. Toss with the stir-fry and serve.

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My parents recently transformed their diets into something much healthier. They reduced the quantity of red meat and started cooking lighter food. We used to bake fatty salmon with mayo, lemon and dill. I used a leaner salmon steak and seared it for as a low-fat preparation. We all know that salmon is healthy because of its protein content and good fats, but did you know that a 4 oz serving of wild salmon provides a full day’s requirement of vitamin D? A honey mustard sauce is high in flavor, yet low in fat. Quinoa is one of the healthiest grains available and I boosted the nutrition with some spinach. I sauteed mushrooms and peas in white wine and marsala wine to add flavor without unnecessary salt or fat. Finally, sweet potatoes are the healthiest item in the produce department, so roasting them alongside seemed like a no-brainer.

Ingredients:

Spinach Quinoa:

  • half a package of quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • chicken stock (follow quinoa package directions)
  • 1 bag of Spinach
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Mushrooms:
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • fresh thyme, de-stemmed
  • Splash of white wine of choice
  • Splash of marsala wine
  • light brown sugar to taste
  • Dash of worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic and onion powder
  • Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Salmon and sauce:
  • Thick salmon steaks (1 per person)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 tablesoon tamari

Directions:

Spinach Quinoa:

Over medium heat, toast quinoa grains in a drizzle of sesame oil for 5 minutes and then add a splash of rice wine. Follow the directions on the package to cook, replacing the water with chicken stock. Sauté spinach in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. When the quinoa is tender and the moisture is absorbed, add the spinach.

Mushrooms:

Over medium-high heat, sauté the onion in 3 tablespoons of olive oil with two cloves of garlic and salt. Wash and slice the mushrooms and add to the pan. Add fresh thyme leaves and a splash of white and marsala wine. Add some light brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.

Salmon:

1. Heat a pan on high and sear the salmon steaks with 1 tablespoon of olive oil for about 4 minutes on each side. Both sides should be well browned and peek inside the flesh to determine doneness. The center should be bright pink, yet still flaky. To make the sauce, combine honey and your favorite mustard. I like either Dijon or something grainy. The last component is tamari, which is thicker, richer, more complex and a little less harsh and salty than soy sauce.

2. Plate the salmon steak over the quinoa and mushrooms and drizzle the sauce over the salmon. I served the dish with roasted sweet potatoes, which can be made by rubbing the skins with olive oil, salt and pepper, poking them with a fork, wrapping them in aluminum foil and roasting in a 350° oven until fork tender all the way through.

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Photo by Jordan Emont

You don’t need a stove to make a delicious seafood dinner. By marinating diced tilapia and shrimp in an acidic mixture, the seafood flesh actually cooks. Well, it’s not cooking per se, but the denaturing of the proteins mimics the process. With fresh ingredients, the South American dish is perfectly safe. In fact, my Peruvian ceviche is both low in calories and high in vitamins and protein. The seafood has a tender, yet resilient texture, which, along with ripe diced avocado, tomatoes, and red onion, soaks up the flavor of the marinade, tangy with lime juice and slightly sweet from fresh coconut water. Served in a coconut bowl, the only other perfect accompaniment would be Peru’s national cocktail.

Sneak Peek: Check the blog next week for my take on the Pisco Sour.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 1 coconut/ ¼ cup coconut water
  • 1 tilapia filet, diced
  • ¼ pound peeled rock shrimp meat, diced
  • ¾ cup lime juice
  • 1/8 habañero pepper, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons small-diced tomato
  • 3 tablespoons small-diced diced red onion
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • ½ avocado, diced

Important: Because the ceviche marinade will only kill surface bacteria, the tilapia and shrimp must be extremely fresh. It is best to prepare the ceviche on the day of purchase.

Directions:

 1. To make the coconut bowl, use a screwdriver to make a whole in the base, drain the water and reserve.

2. Place the coconut on a towel in your palm. Use the blunt side of the knife to whack it forcefully where a natural line is visible—be sure to wear protective eye gear. Once a crack forms, continue to pound it until the crack spans its entirety. Pull it apart and fix jagged edges.

3. Generously salt the equally sized tilapia and shrimp cubes and mix with ¼ cup of the coconut water, the lime juice (with habañero and garlic added), the tomatoes and the red onion. Make sure everything is submerged in the marinade. Refrigerate for 40 minutes, mixing at least once.

4. Generously salt to taste and add chopped cilantro, and avocado. Add fresh ground black pepper. Scoop into the coconut bowl, draining the ceviche of excess marinade. Serve immediately as it will continue to “cook”.

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For those of you who have not had fish tacos, you’re missing out on a real pleasure. Chewy, dry corn tortillas can be transformed into crispy, yet pillowy ones by lightly frying them. With fish tacos, it only takes one bite to enjoy many flavors and textures: tender and flaky tilapia with a fresh grilled flavor, cool crema with a hint of tequila and the bright flavor of lime, a Margarita salsa fresca that is slightly sweet and bursting with flavor. Some fresh lettuce or cabbage slaw tops off the presentation as well as the final textural component. I served mine with crispy plantain tostones and black beans.

Tilapia: tilapia, salt, pepper, dried oregano, annatto seeds, olive oil

Season the fish with salt, pepper, dried oregano, and annatto seeds. Annatto provides a subtle peppery flavor, but mostly gives the fish an appealing orange color. Grind the annatto in a coffee/spice grinder or buy pre-ground. Coat the fish in olive oil and grill until they are almost done. Finish them off in the oven (this will prevent flaking on the grill and will allow you to make sure the fish is hot when you serve it)

Tequila Lime Crema: sour cream, lime juice, tequila, cumin, garlic, Goya Adobo seasoning

Mix sour cream with lime juice and a few tablespoons of tequila. You should be able to taste tequila and lime easily, but they should not be overpowering. Add minced garlic, ground cumin, and a little Adobo seasoning. Let the flavors marry in the refrigerator for an hour and taste again for readjustments.

Margarita Pico de Gallo: Tomatoes, onion, margarita mix, honey, Adobo, white vinegar, corn

Dice tomatoes and add diced onion. Add Jose Cuervo Margarita mix and a good drizzle of honey. Add diced mango, more of that Goya Adobo seasoning, and a bit of white vinegar.  Cilantro would make a great addition. Boil an ear of corn, char it on the grill, and add it to the Pico de Gallo.

Black Beans: olive oil, onions, garlic, oregano, Adobo

Use either canned or fresh beans—fresh must be soaked a whole day. Sauté diced onion in a pot in some olive oil with plenty of minced garlic. Add the beans and season with dried oregano and Adobo. Canned beans may be salty enough already.

Tostones: Plantains, olive oil, salt

Use plantains that are just beginning to yellow. Cut into thick slices, coat lightly in olive oil, and bake in the oven on a foiled sheet pan for about 10-15 minutes on 350°. With a spatula, press them so they’re half as thin. Brown both sides in a pan with a light coating of olive oil, transfer to some paper towels and salt generously.

Making the Taco: corn tortillas, canola oil

Heat about an inch of canola oil in a pot and fry the corn tortillas on both sides until they are crispy, yet pliable. transfer to de-grease on paper towels and serve immediately.

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Inspired by a Caribbean restaurant in Delray Beach, FL, this basa basa is steamed inside a banana leaf with exotic spices, fresh vegetables, cilantro, coconut milk, and lime juice. The fish comes out of the sauna, refreshed and invigorated, while all the vegetables are imparted with the coconut and lime flavors. Feel free to eat as much as you want; this dish is low on calories.

Ingredients:

  • banana leaves
  • basa basa
  • salt
  • blackpepper
  • garam masala
  • turmeric
  • red curry powder
  • ground cumin
  • canned corn
  • zuchinni
  • squash
  • limes
  • cilantro
  • coconut milk

1. Blanch a banana leaf in boiling water for about a minute. Lay down a skinless filet of basa basa and season on both sides with the spices. Top with slices of zuchinni and squash, canned corn, squeezed lime wedges, torn cilantro leaves and a pour of coconut milk. Finish with some more salt and pepper for the vegetables.

2. Wrap up the fish like a present and flip over onto aluminum foil. Wrap it up in the foil and flip again. Place on a sheet pan and bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.

3. Open the package and take a taste, if it is not fully cooked, finish it off in the oven uncovered.

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Photo by Karen Knauff

I like to think outside the box when it comes to food; this dish has Thai and Indian elements. One might not expect flavors from across the Bay of Bengal to marry well, but seared salmon rubbed with garam masala was delicious when paired with jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk with mangos, cilantro, and peas. I finished the dish finished with a rich curry-coconut sauce.

Ingredients:

  • Box of jasmine rice (white rice will work)
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • salt
  • ¼ cup of chopped dried mangos or fresh
  • 1 lemon
  • Cilantro
  • Frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of curry powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Salmon filets (Follow Trader Joe’s thawing directions)
  • Garam masala (my version had coriander, chilies, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, and cloves—The five Cs)
  • Cooking oil

Pour the contents of a box of rice into a medium saucepan. My jasmine rice called for two cups of water, so I used a cup of coconut milk, a cup of water, and a pinch of salt. Follow the cooking direction and start rehydrating the dried mangos in a pan with a ½ cup of water, over medium heat. Remove from the heat when they are soft. This is not necessary if you have fresh mangos.

When the rice is finished, add the juice of half a lemon, mangos, chopped cilantro, thawed peas, and salt to taste.

For the sauce, sweat the minced shallots and garlic in butter with salt and pepper. When they are fragrant and soft, add the remaining coconut milk. Finish with curry powder, lemon juice, and cinnamon. I chose to strain out the garlic and shallots for a cleaner looking sauce. Reheat when the salmon is finished.

For the salmon, salt and pepper the flesh and massage with plenty of garam masala. Get a nonstick pan very hot and pour on a thin layer of canola or olive oil. Sear the filets skin-side down first. Also, start the thick piece first and watch the side until almost all the flesh has lightened in color. Flip and cook the spiced side for a minute, being careful not to burn the spices.

When the fish is firm and flaky, serve immediately over a mound of coconut rice and spoon over the coconut curry sauce. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve right away.

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