Smokin’ It

I love seafood, I love smoked seafood. So on my weekly or bi-weekly trip to Trader Joe’s I of course swung by the demo station. Had a bite of what they were serving (I think it was a egg salad). And at the station, they had a stack of Smoked Trout. While I have had their (and others’) vacuum packed/sealed stuff, this one was canned. Think of a sardine can, with a pull-top lid. It’s farm raised (not my favorite), skinless and in canola oil.

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So I grabbed some and used it on a salad.  Simple arugula, tomatoes, kalamatas, hearts of palm and baby Brussels sprouts. Just delicious blend of flavors. So as long as you’re not totally against the farm-raised, this is great stuff to have on hand. Stack it in the cupboard with the tuna and the other stuff and you’re good to go.

Opah!

Wanted to find something fun to cook the other day so swung into Whole Foods to see what they might have. Roamed over to the seafood section and found something I hadn’t noticed before — Opah. Went to the counter and asked one of the guys what he knew about it. He mentioned it was sort of a cross between tuna and swordfish. Ok, might as well give it a try.

I asked him about cooking and he said either grill or roast. I’d love to grill it but I don’t have the luxury of doing so because I live in an apartment building. I asked about pan searing and he said that works just fine, too. Seasoning-wise, he said don’t go crazy, no more than S&P.

While waiting for it to defrost (dropped it in a bowl of water, still wrapped), did some research on the Opah. They are pretty cool looking. Also found out they are pretty much a Hawaiian fish. Nice way to think about warmth.

It definitely lived up to the ‘firm’ preview. It had a really nice taste  — some creaminess to it and was quite filling. I served it with some kale chips and pita & hummus.

And, let me tell you, the leftovers tasted awesome! Totally worth checking out if you see it at the store.

 

 

 

 

Tartare…touché

I love seafood, and next to the ceviche, I love tuna tartare. I can’t remember where I found this recipe, but I make it quite often. It’s so simple and so good. All you have to do is cube the tuna, then toss all the other ingredients with it. At the end, drizzle some lemon juice on top and garnish with the fennel fronds if you really want.

  • 1 lb tuna or yellowtail, cubed
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T tiny capers
  • 1 T finely chopped shallot
  • 1 T finely chopped Sicilian green olives
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes, or 1 small chile pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 t pine nuts, toasted and chopped
  • S&P to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 T fennel fronds, for garnish (optional)

Good places for the seafood is Costco, if you’re a member.  Also, if you can find the fish flash frozen, such as places like Trader Joe’s, it’s just as good. Enjoy!

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A New Halibut Ceviche

Ceviche is one of my favorite dishes, and halibut is a great fish to use in it (oddly — and when I want to splurge). I have one recipe I love to use and then came across another I thought I would try — Halibut Ceviche with Tomato and Cucumber.

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Ingredients
Servings: 6

1 garlic clove, finely grated
¾ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila blanco (used the (gold) Cuervo I had)
1 teaspoon agave nectar
¼ small pineapple, cut into ½-inch pieces (about ½ cup)
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced
½ jalapeño, thinly sliced
6 ounces halibut fillet, skin, bones, and bloodline removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 avocado, cut into ½-inch pieces
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
¼ cup finely chopped mint
Kosher salt
*I don’t see cucumber anywhere in the ingredient list, even though it’s in the title of the recipe, so they either forgot it in the list or put it incorrectly in the title

Preparation

Mix garlic, lime juice, tequila, and agave nectar in a large bowl. Add pineapple, tomato, onion, radishes, jalapeño, and halibut and toss to coat. Fold in avocado, cilantro, and mint; season with salt.
Chill 10 minutes before serving.

It was good, but not great. There was something off about it.  Maybe the pineapple was the wrong texture?  Not saying I wouldn’t eat it, but not my favorite ceviche.  I think my favorite it the Green Ceviche.

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Fishbone Bar & Grill, Queenstown, NZ

New town, new country, of course new exploration.  The hotel where we stayed recommended a great seafood restaurant for the first night in Queenstown; Fishbone Bar & Grill.  Of course, you have just a bit of water around you when you’re in New Zealand so there is likely to be some decent seafood.

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And to kick off the meal in the new country we started with some vino, of course.  We opted for some Rockface Pinot Gris from Waipara, NZ.  Pretty dry, which is why we picked it to pair with upcoming seafood.

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For dinner we decided to go with 3 appetizers.  They were good sized as we saw them going to other tables, which is why we went this route.

Seared Tasman Sea scallops with tomato and fennel ragout, shaved fennel, orange and fresh fennel pollen

Sesame-crusted west coast Albacore tuna sashimi with Daikon, cucumber and bok choy, black garlic mayonnaise

Salt & chili arrowhead squid with radicchio, endive, orange, and squid ink mayonnaise.

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I don’t think you could find a piece of food left on these plate.  The tuna was perfect crusted in sesame seeds and the perfect size, the squid had been cooked to perfection and was the perfect texture and those scallops, oh those scallops.  This place needs to open a location in DC.

Saffron Fish Stew

Even before this crazy snow started falling (so last week), I was searching for soup.  It was actually while needing to sit on the couch for several hours watching football.  So a recipe I came across to check out was Bon Appetit/Epicurious’s Saffron Fish Stew with White Beans.  I love getting something with that sharp color of saffron (and you can find it for a great price at Trader Joe’s).  When I came across this recipe it has so many of my favorite herbs.  Anything with seafood is wonderful!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup pre-chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground fennel (love it!)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (heaven)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 thyme sprig
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh orange rind
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups clam juice
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pound flounder fillet, cut into (2-inch) pieces (for this I just threw in a bunch of stuff from my freezer — some white fish, scallops, langoustine tails.  I also had a bag of mixed stuff from TJ’s that I’ll use next time)
1 (14-ounce) can great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
Fresh thyme leaves

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Preparation

1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel, coriander, garlic, and thyme sprig; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in rind and saffron; add water, clam juice, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in salt, fish, and beans; cook 5 minutes. Top with thyme leaves.

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This was so quick to make!  Served it with some rosemary bread (can’t take credit for making that).  Delicious.

Oh My Cod

Another new recipe, of course.  What would I do if cooking magazines went out of publication?  I love posole and normally it’s made with chicken.  But in a recent edition of Bon Appetit (can you see what I get often?) there was a recipe for Green Posole with Cod and Cilantro (Duh on the last ingredient!!! How can you live without that stuff?).

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 serrano chiles, thinly sliced, divided (skipped these, see below)
8 medium tomatillos (about 1¼ pounds), husks removed, rinsed (Lazy on these because I use green salsa.  I usually just get the ‘normal’ stuff from Trader Joe’s.  Well they just came out with some super spicy green stuff — Hatch Valley.  So I used one jar of the normal and one jar of the spicy, which replaced the chiles, and oh I am glad I only used one jar!)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 cup cilantro leaves with tender stems, plus more for serving
1 pound cod fillet (frozen chunked from Trader Joe’s)
1 15-ounce can white hominy, rinsed (used a bigger can, because that’s what I had — 25 oz)
1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
3 small radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced (skipped them because it was garnish)
Lime wedges (for serving) (ditto as above)

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Preparation:

-Heat oil in a large pot over medium. Cook shallots, garlic, and half of chiles (this is the part I skipped, chile-wise because of the salsa), stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, 6–8 minutes.
-Meanwhile, purée tomatillos in a blender until smooth. 
(didn’t have to do this because of the ease of green salsa)

-Add half of tomatillo purée to pot and cook, stirring often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup cilantro to remaining purée in blender and blend until smooth; set aside. 
(I just chopped the cilantro very well and added it a step down).

-Add cod, hominy, clam juice, and 1 cup water to pot. Bring to a simmer and gently cook over medium-low until cod is opaque throughout and beginning to flake, 8–10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in reserved raw tomatillo-cilantro purée, breaking cod into large chunks; season with salt and pepper. 
 (If you used the cubed stuff from Trader Joe’s or elsewhere, you don’t have the break down the cod, already done — simplicity in the kitchen!).

-Divide stew among bowls and top with radishes, cilantro, and remaining chile. Serve with lime wedges.

IMG_4232[1]This stuff was good!  Pretty thick/heavy, too.  A bit spicy for me, but my friends inhaled it and loved the spice.  Love getting variations on posole.  Definitely recommend giving this a try.

Gettin’ crabby

Maryland, Labor Day weekend, unofficial end of summer, an important thing to do was eat crabs.  A friend has crab traps right at her place so had to go join right where the action was taking place.

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The dog has way to much fun and snagged one right on the lip.

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With six traps we had an entire bushel by the time we collected everything.

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Damage done.  Such a great feast.

Poke Tuna

I love tuna, I love sashimi, but then was told about Poke Tuna — new one to me.  Hmmm…time to check this stuff out.  Of course had to google this term and millions of things came up.  How to narrow this down?  Was tough to pick one, but it did have to happen.

Ingredients

1 pound Ahi tuna loin cut into 1/2 inch dice — used the frozen stuff from TJ’s after some recommendations because it’s flash frozen
1/4 cup minced maui onion
1 teaspoon grated ginger
3 tablespoons scallions thinly sliced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Juice of half lime

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Whisk together all ingredients except for tuna. When ready to serve combine dressing with tuna and squeeze a half lime over top.

IMG_3628[1]So good, so easy…and tough not to keep eating and eating!  Great for summer (though, yes, I know it’s about over), since it’s a no-cook meal.  Have some this weekend as we head into Labor Day and the hot temps are still around.

Sashimi-me

Hot days mean cool dinners.  When Bon Appetit arrives at my door it means reading the index of recipes first to see what needs to be made!  The recent issue has so much good stuff it was/is hard to pick.  But with the recent temps of 90+, little cooking is ideal.  So the recipe of Snapper Sashimi with Seaweed and Fennel could not be turned down (the hardest part, honestly, was going to the grocery store after sitting at the pool for awhile).

Ingredients (oh the fun…)

-2 teaspoons dried cut wakame seaweed (I went to Whole Foods.  You can either buy a bag of these things for about $8. Or, after talking to one of the guys who works there, we decided that I could try using one of the little seaweed snack pieces, that look like green stained glass, that cost $1.99 cost the entire box…hmmm…
-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 teaspoon finely grated peeled horseradish (I can’t eat the stuff so can’t tell you what it tastes like with this, but I am sure it add tons of great taste)
-1 teaspoon soy sauce
-1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
-Small pinch of sugar
-Kosher salt
-¼ small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced on a mandoline (just random, there were no regular size fennel bulbs, just these tiny guys, maybe the size of 2 or 3 grape tomatoes, pretty cute, then they have tons or fronds. I saved those, heck yeah!)
-2 small radishes, trimmed, very thinly sliced on a mandoline
-½ pound skinless, boneless red snapper fillet, sliced ¼ inch thick (Let’s talk about Whole Foods and fish. The recipe also says “The type of fish you use is less important than its quality. Black bass, striped bass, and fluke all translate well.” They didn’t have any of those on a Friday evening. It’s ‘rush hour’ — I didn’t know what to do, not did the guy working. He deduced that I could try Cobia. I just still just a bit taken aback that Whole Foods didn’t have any of the prime seafood it called for)
-½ cup chervil leaves (Another problem, Whole Foods had no chevril leaves, ok, I live walking distance from it and did not want to drive to get anything. The produce guy said the best substitute would be flat leaf parsley)
-1 teaspoon fennel pollen (optional)
-Flaky sea salt

IMG_3546Getting all this together was pretty easily, definitely fun.

Directions:

-Soak wakame in 1 Tbsp. cold water in a small bowl to rehydrate, 5–8 minutes; drain.  Ok, it was sort of slimy afterwards — very cool.

IMG_3549(Don’t forget to take those radishes and that fennel to the mandoline).

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Combine lime juice, oil, horseradish, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and sugar in a medium bowl; season with kosher salt. Add fennel, radishes, and seaweed to dressing; toss to combine.

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Arrange snapper (or fish at hand) on a platter. Spoon dressing and vegetables over and top with chervil and fennel pollen, if using; season with sea salt. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.

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WOW!  The Asian-flair of flavors all came together to hit the palate and gave an amazing taste.  I also happened to serve this on a platter I bought in Japan so of course it made it taste even better!  So good.  Will definitely try it with bass, too.