Category Archives: Fish, Shellfish

Fish, Shellfish all things from water

Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes with Mango Salsa

salmon and yam cakes

The other night I really wanted fish for dinner but I hadn’t defrosted/bought any.  I had a few cans of salmon in the pantry which are usually reserved for making salmon salad sandwiches to put in my son’s school lunches.  I decided I was going to get creative and turn a can of salmon into a delicious, super healthy and easy entrée.

The reason I decided to use sweet potato in this recipe (as opposed to mayonnaise) is because I wanted something to help ‘bind’ the salmon mixture together to form a patty, but didn’t want to add a lot of fat and calories.  Instead I wanted to add nutrients.  I only had a sweet potato on hand.  Regular potato or even yam would also work in this recipe.

These salmon cakes could be served with a nice aioli (basically a flavoured mayonnaise), but since I had the ingredients on hand, I went with a delicious corn and mango salsa and served the  salmon cakes on a bed of seasoned greens and cucumber.

This dish can be served as a light entrée for lunch/dinner or as a wonderful appetizer.  Simple.  Healthy.  Delicious.

INGREDIENTS (makes 4 large cakes or 6 small ones)

  • 1 can salmon
  • 1/4 cup mashed/pureed sweet potato/potato/yam
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest + a squeeze of lemon juice (around 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup green onion – sliced
  • 1/4 cup parsley – chopped (or fresh dill would be a nice option)
  • 1 Tbsp shallot – small dice (red onion would also work)
  • 1/4 cup celery – small dice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • oil for frying
  • flour for coating salmon cakes

CORN AND MANGO SALSA

  • 1/4 cup corn
  • 1/3 cup mango chunks – (I used frozen and cut into small bite sized pieces)
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper – small dice
  • 1 Tbsp red onion – small dice
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro – chopped
  • 1 tsp lime juice – possibly more, to taste
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  • Make salsa by mixing all of the above ingredients together.  Adjust seasoning as desired. Put aside.
  • Peel potato/yam.  Cut into large pieces and add to a pot of cold, salted water.
  • Bring water to a boil and turn down to a simmer.  Cook potato/yam until you can easily pierce through it with no resistance (around 15 minutes).
  • Drain the potato and mash until smooth.  NOTE:  I added 1 teaspoon of butter, a Tablespoon of milk and a dash of salt and mashed until smooth but you don’t necessarily need to add those ingredients.
  • Open the can of salmon and drain out any excess liquid (ensure you drain it well as too much moisture will result in loose salmon cakes that easily fall apart when frying).
  • Mix all ingredients together and check the seasoning.  Adjust as necessary.
  • Form the mixture into patties/cakes.  You can make a few large ones or around 6 small ones.  (They should be round and about 3/4 inch to 1 inch thick.  Like little hockey pucks).  (:
  • Dip/dust both sides of each salmon cake with flour just before adding them to the pan.  NOTE:  This isn’t mandatory but helps hold them together and gives a nice ‘crust’ on the outside.
  • Add vegetable oil to pan (around 1/4 cup) and allow it to get hot.  NOTE:  The cakes should sizzle when you add them to the pan.  If the pan isn’t hot enough, the salmon cakes will stick to the bottom.
  • Add salmon cakes to the hot pan.  Do this slowly and carefully to avoid getting any splattered oil on you.
  • Cook until golden brown on one side and then flip and cook the other side until browned.  Around 3 – 4 minutes per side.

salmon cakes in pan

  • Season with a little more salt immediately after the cakes come out of the oil and serve on a bed of seasoned greens/spinach/kale and cucumber slices.  Top with salsa or serve with a side of aioli.

salmon cakes on plate

 

 

The Best Cheesy Spinach, Crab and Artichoke Dip

cheesy spinach, crab and artichoke dip

cheesy spinach, crab and artichoke dip

I brought this recipe over to a friend’s house last week for a ‘girls night’ and served it out of a sour-dough bread bowl with a side of tortilla chips.  I garnished the dip with extra cheese, fresh dill and green onions because, in my opinion, you can never have too much cheese and I absolutely love the taste of green onion and fresh dill with seafood, such as crab.

As all the women in this group, myself included, are health conscience, I wanted to make this recipe as low in fat as possible without taking away the rich flavour or creamy texture of the dish.  I used light cream cheese and  fat-free greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  (If you want to reduce the fat and calories even further, you can opt to serve this dip out of a dish instead of a bread bowl and serve it with vegetables and/or whole wheat pita chips.  It’s also still WONDERFUL without the added cheese on top!)  

spinach, crab and artichoke dip without cheese

spinach, crab and artichoke dip without cheese

INGREDIENTS (serves 8 – 12)

  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp garlic – minced
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (or cayenne pepper)
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 heaping Tbsp shallot – minced
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice + 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup onion – small dice
  • 2 dashes worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard powder (optional)
  • 1 300g pkg spinach (frozen) – thawed and DRAINED
  • 1 120g can crab meat (around 1 cup drained.  Reserve liquid!)
  • 1 398ml can artichokes – drained and chopped. (Reserve liquid!)
  • 1 cup light cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (the best quality you can get/afford)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (you could use low-fat, but I prefer full fat)

OPTIONAL GARNISH:  

  • 1 cup shredded mixed cheese blend (mozza, parm, cheddar, Monterey jack, asiago, etc)
  • fresh dill
  • green onion
  • OPTION:  hollowed out ‘bread bowl’ to serve dip in!

METHOD

  • In a large pan, heat butter, shallot, garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  • Cook on medium-low heat until onions are soft and translucent.  Stir often to ensure nothing gets browned.
  • Turn heat up to high and deglaze with crab juice (add juice ONLY.  Reserve crab meat for later).
  • Reduce liquid by half.
  • Add cream cheese and stir until melted.
  • Add yogurt, mayonnaise, crab, spinach, artichokes, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, ground mustard and parmesan cheese and mix until all is combined.  NOTE:  If mixture is  too thick for your liking, add a little bit of the left-over artichoke liquid or a bit of milk to thin it out slightly.  Ensure you are only adding a very small amount at a time until desired consistency.
  • Scoop mixture into a hollowed out bread bowl (NOTE:  you could always just scoop the mix into a baking dish and cook it in that instead if you don’t want to use a bread bowl).
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and, if desired, garnish with 1 cup of your favourite cheese blend.
  • Put back in oven for 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Remove from oven and garnish with green onion and/or fresh dill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thai Coconut and Lentil Curry with Poached Tilapia

Thai coconut and lentil curry with poached tilapia

Thai coconut and lentil curry with poached tilapia

I first made this dish a few years ago.  It was one of those dishes where I had no idea what to cook and hadn’t gone grocery shopping and was literally rummaging through my fridge and dry storage to throw something together.  I had a can of tomatoes, a can of coconut milk and a can of chick peas.  I had a little bit of Thai red curry paste in the fridge with some onion, cauliflower, lime and cilantro that really needed using right away and I came up with the below recipe.   I knew it would be good because I loved all the ingredients and knew they went well together.  It turned out to be GREAT.  I LOVE making this healthy, delicious dish on rainy days when I want something hearty, a little spicy and exotic and good for me all at the same time.  I load it up with vegetables as I do with most of my recipes.  You can omit or add whatever vegetables you want and it will still taste great.  It’s also great without any fish/seafood at all if you want to make it vegetarian (:

In this recipe I used canned lentils to switch it up from my usual chickpeas.  Either works wonderfully in this dish.  I used tilapia in this recipe because I had it on hand but any white fish would work and if you really want a treat, make it with prawns!  (I LOVE LOVE LOVE this dish with prawns but my kids still don’t like them much so I opted for fish to appease everyone).

This dish begs for some kind of bread to soak up all the last bits of sauce as it’s very stew-like.  A nice crusty loaf or baguette or some warmed naan bread are my favourite choices!

The best part of this recipe is it’s simplicity.  It literally takes under 20 minutes to make from beginning to end.  Enjoy with your favourite white wine (:

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 1 can lentils (or chickpeas)
  • 1 can coconut milk (light coconut milk works too)
  • 1 can diced tomato (540ml can)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (half for cooking fish.  Other half for sautéing vegetables)
  • 1 Tbsp red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen red curry paste.  You can find it in ANY grocery store!)
  • 2 cup cauliflower – cut into small florets
  • 1.5 cup spinach – packed and sliced/shredded
  • 1/2 cup corn (frozen is fine)
  • 1 cup bell pepper (orange, yellow or red, or a mix of all!) – large bite size chunks
  • 1/2 cup white onion – large dice
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger – grated/minced
  • 1 tsp garlic – minced
  • 1 – 2 kaffir lime leaves (can be found at Super Store or most Asian grocery stores)
  • 2″ piece of lemon grass (can be found at Super Store or any Asian grocery store)
  • 4 piece tilapia (or any white fish OR 16 to 20 prawns)
  • salt and pepper to taste

GARNISH

  • 1/4 cup cilantro – chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion – diced
  • 1 lime – cut into wedges (some to squeeze onto fish/prawns.  The rest for garnish)
  • OPTION:  baguette/crusty bread or naan bread for dipping

METHOD

  • Get all your vegetables, herbs, ginger and garlic ready, open your cans, season your fish with salt, pepper and squeeze some lime juice on it (only right before cooking or it will cook the fish).
mis en place curry and fish

mis en place curry and fish

Tilapia with lime juice and salt and pepper on both sides

Tilapia with lime juice and salt and pepper on both sides

  • In a large pot, add around a half a tablespoon of olive oil, white onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf.  Stir on medium heat until onion is soft and garlic and ginger are fragrant.  Around 3 minutes.  Watch to ensure garlic doesn’t burn.
  • Add cauliflower, Thai red curry paste, salt (about 1/4 tsp) and pepper and stir together.  Cook for 1 minute more.
onion, garlic, ginger, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaf, cauliflower and Thai red curry paste in pot

onion, garlic, ginger, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaf, cauliflower and Thai red curry paste in pot

  • Add all the other ingredients (except fish and garnish) and bring to boil.  IMPORTANT:  RESERVE 1/4 CUP COCONUT MILK AND 1/4 CUP TOMATO JUICE FOR POACHING THE FISH.  (If you forgot to do this, just ladle out a bit of the broth into the pan with the fish).  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for around 15 minutes or until cauliflower reaches desired consistency.  (It should be fairly soft but not falling apart).
curry simmering in pot

curry simmering in pot

  • While curry is simmering, add oil to a large frying pan and turn heat to high.  Once pan is hot, add fish.  Cook on medium-high heat for around 3 minutes or until sides look cooked and the fish is browning.
  • Carefully flip the fish over and add 1/4 cup of coconut milk and 1/4 cup of tomato juice.
  • Add half the green onion.   Turn heat down and simmer fish in broth for around 3 minutes more or until it’s cooked through and easily flakes apart.  DO NOT OVER-COOK or fish will be dry.
poaching tilapia in coconut milk and tomato juice

poaching tilapia in coconut milk and tomato juice

  • Ladle curry into a large bowl and place fish on top.  Garnish with cilantro and a lime wedge.  SUGGESTION:  Serve with your favourite crusty bread or naan bread and a glass of white wine!

 

 

 

Capellini Pasta with Spinach Basil Pesto, Sweet Bell Peppers and Sautéed Prawns

capellini pasta with spinach basil pesto, sautéed bell peppers and garlic lemon prawns

capellini pasta with spinach basil pesto, sautéed bell peppers and garlic lemon prawns

Last night I wanted something light and packed with veggies for dinner.  The boys, as usual, wanted pasta.  I decided we could have both.

About the pasta…

I love capellini pasta (also known as angel-hair pasta).  It’s similar to spaghetti but much thinner, hence the name angel hair.  There’s something about the way it twirls on my fork.  It makes me happy eating it!  (:   Capellini is such a delicate pasta that, in my opinion, it requires light ingredients.  I never serve it with meat or a heavy sauce.  My absolute favourite way to eat it is with a delicious, light pesto and some type of seafood.

spinach basil pesto angel hair pasta with garlic lemon prawns 5

About the prawns…  

In the recipe below, I removed the tail and halved the prawns down the middle.  I’ve never understood why restaurants keep the tail on the prawns (other than the obvious reason of making it look like you’re getting more than you are.  Maybe that’s the only reason…).  There’s nothing I find more annoying (okay, there are lots of things, but this is up there) than having to dig through a hot pasta dish with my fingers to try and get the tail off the prawns.  It drives me nuts.

I love the idea of halving the prawns because then you don’t have to either shove a whole prawn in your mouth at once or use a knife to cut it.  When you cut it in half BEFORE cooking, it really does feel and look like you’re getting twice as much and it’s the perfect amount for one bite.  NOTE: It’s easiest to slice them lengthwise in half when they’re still a bit frozen (see picture below).

About the peppers…

I added bell peppers to this dish because I had them and I wanted a bit of sweetness and bite to the dish.  Also, I just like adding extra vegetables to EVERYTHING, as long as it ‘makes sense’ in the dish.  In this case, the bell peppers compliment the prawns and pesto beautifully.  I was going to add diced tomato as well, but decided against it – this time.  Perhaps next time…

About the cheese…

I recommend garnishing this dish with good quality parmesan.  If you only have the pre-grated stuff, use that.  No big deal.  But the ‘good stuff’ is a nice treat.  I buy Grana Padano at Costco and it lasts me a month or more.  I shave it onto EVERYTHING.

grana padano cheese

grana padano cheese

About the pesto…

Lastly, you can certainly just use a store-bought pesto for this dish but it will have a LOT more fat and calories (from much more oil, cheese and pine nuts) and much less nutrition (without all the spinach).  Pesto literally takes 5 minutes to make and will last up to a week in the fridge!  It also freezes well.  I make it all summer while I have basil in the garden.  (I add it to sandwiches, wraps, soups, salads, rice dishes, fish dishes, vinaigrettes and dips, to name a few).  Yeah, I like pesto.  Click on the link for the recipe: spinach basil pesto.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 300 – 375g capellini pasta (or vermicelli)
  • 3/4 cup pesto (store bought or homemade)
  • 12 – 16 prawns – peeled, deveined, tail off, and cut in half LENGTHWISE (see picture below)
  • 2 Tbsp shallot – diced
  • 1 tsp garlic – minced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup yellow and/or orange bell pepper – large dice (red pepper would work as well)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth/stock   OPTION:  1/4 cup white wine and 1/4 cup chicken broth to deglaze with for a ‘grown-up’ version.  Deglaze with wine FIRST.  Reduce by half, then add the chicken broth.
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • OPTION: 1 Tbsp butter – to finish pasta

METHOD

  • Bring pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Mis en place everything (get all your ingredients ready to use).  NOTE:  This is important because the prawns cook so quickly.  Have everything ready so you don’t have to stop to grate cheese or squeeze lemon juice or anything.  This will ensure nothing gets overcooked or goes cold.
mis en place prawns, veggies, cheese and pesto

mis en place prawns, veggies, cheese and pesto

  • Add oil into pan and get hot on medium high heat.  Meanwhile, season prawns generously with salt and pepper.
  • Drop pasta into boiling water and set timer.  Cook for 4 minutes and drain immediately.
  • While pasta is cooking and when the pan is hot, add prawns, peppers, shallot and garlic and cook for about ONE minute, stirring occasionally to ensure garlic isn’t burning.

prawns, peppers, garlic and shallot in pan

  • Deglaze with lemon juice (and wine, if using).
  • Add chicken broth and cook for 30 seconds more until broth is slightly reduced.  Don’t cook for too long or prawns will over cook and become rubbery.
adding chicken broth and lemon juice to pan

adding chicken broth and lemon juice to pan

  • Turn off heat and add the pesto.
adding pesto to pan

adding pesto to pan

  • The pasta should be cooked by now.  Add pasta to the pan (and butter, if using) and toss to mix all the ingredients together.  Top the pasta with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

spinach basil pesto angel hair pasta with garlic lemon prawns

Suggestion: I always serve this dish with wine and a nice crusty warmed baguette. (Because EVERYTHING is better with wine and bread!)

spinach basil pesto angel hair pasta with garlic lemon prawns 6

spinach basil pesto angel hair pasta with garlic lemon prawns 2

eating pasta!

my 4 year old son enjoying dinner!

my 4 year old son enjoying dinner!

 

 

 

 

 

Grilled Crab Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

crab stuffed portobello mushroom

crab stuffed portobello mushroom

crab stuffed portobello mushroom with filet mignon, blue cheese sauce and garlic grilled tomato

crab stuffed portobello mushroom with filet mignon, blue cheese sauce and garlic grilled tomato

My husband had 2 friends over last night for dinner and I wanted to cook a special and memorable meal for them.  Anything grilled on the BBQ immediately came to mind for this time of year.  So I barbecued some beautiful beef tenderloin steaks (filet mignon) and served them with a shallot & blue cheese sauce.  I also made a caesar salad (with dressing from scratch) topped with homemade garlic and herb croutons, bacon and shaved parmesan.  Lastly, I served grilled crab stuffed portobello mushrooms.  I’ve been working on the crab stuffing for a few months trying to get the recipe just right.  This was my first time using portobello mushrooms instead of button mushrooms.  When I saw the giant portobello’s I couldn’t resist and since I’m barbecuing the steak anyway, this seemed like a great choice.  It was.  The meatiness of the portobello mushrooms was perfect for the rich, creamy crab mixture.  It was a great meal and not one I’ll soon forget despite the 3 bottles of wine we drank with it!  (:

INGREDIENTS (makes just under 2 cups of filling)

  • 6 portobello mushrooms
  • 2 can crab meat (2 x 120g cans)  yields 1 packed cup of crab
  • 1 cup crab juice (squeezed from the crab meat in the cans! If you end up with a little less, it’s no big deal)
  • 1 tsp garlic – minced
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup shallot – small dice
  • 1/4 cup white onion – small dice
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 T light cream cheese (or regular is fine too)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 1% but any milk is fine)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1.5 Tbsp fresh dill
  • 2 tsp lemon juice – fresh
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/16 tsp white pepper (if you don’t have it, don’t worry)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or more.  Always check seasoning)
  • 1/4 Panko breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup 4 cheese blend (Romano, Emmental, Provolone, Mozzarella)  If you don’t have this 4 cheese blend, just use a mix of parmesan and mozzarella
Kraft Italian 4 cheese blend

Kraft Italian 4 cheese blend

METHOD

  • In pan, heat olive oil, onion, garlic, shallot, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  • Cook for about 3 minutes on medium low heat until the onions & shallots are translucent and garlic is fragrant.  NOTE:  you do NOT want colour on the onions.  you just want to soften them.
onion, garlic, shallot in pan

onion, garlic, shallot in pan

  • Add butter and flour to the pan and stir to combine.  NOTE:  you are essentially making a roux here.  Cook for around 3 – 4 minutes stirring constantly until flour is ‘cooked out’.  (Cooking the flour with the butter ensures you don’t end up with a floury tasting sauce).
butter and flour added to form a roux

butter and flour added to form a roux

  • Turn the heat up to medium high and deglaze the pan with the crab juice.  Bring to boil.
  • Whisk quickly to combine all the flavours and allow the liquid to reduce by about one third.
  • Add the milk and cream cheese and continue to whisk until the sauce begins to thicken.  About 2 – 3 minutes more.
deglazing the pan with crab juice then adding milk and cream cheese

deglazing the pan with crab juice then adding milk and cream cheese

  • Turn the burner off and add the lemon juice and zest, herbs and crab meat.
adding crab meat to bechamel

adding crab meat to bechamel

all ingredients added to the pan

all ingredients added to the pan

  • Check seasoning and adjust as desired.  NOTE:  ensure you’re not adding too much salt as the cheese that you’ll be topping the mixture with will also by a bit salty.
  • Allow the crab mixture to cool completely in the fridge (for at least one hour and preferably over night).
  • Remove stems from mushrooms and brush both sides with a generous amount of olive oil.
  • Season mushrooms with salt and pepper and place on grill gill side down for 5 minutes.  (The grill should be between 450 and 500 degrees).
  • Remove mushrooms from grill, place on sheet tray and top with filling.  Place in a 450 degree oven for 6 minutes.
crab stuffed portobello mushroom

crab stuffed portobello mushroom

  • Remove from oven and top with cheese and panko mixture.
  • Put back in oven for 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted and bubbly and panko is starting to brown.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN THE PANKO BREADCRUMBS!
  • Remove from oven and serve immediately.
crab stuffed portobello mushroom with filet mignon

crab stuffed portobello mushroom with filet mignon

dinner is served

dinner is served

 

 

 

Summer Spinach & Seafood Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

summer spinach & seafood salad with citrus vinaigrette

summer spinach & seafood salad with citrus vinaigrette

I went fruit and vegetable shopping today and on the days I do this I tend to go a little crazy with my food combinations.  I just want to try everything, in every way, right away!  Grocery shopping excites me.  As much as I love a good challenge (like how to turn the last 4 items in the fridge, that are past their prime, into something edible), what I love even more is having 20+ fruits/veggies and a selection of cheeses to truly ‘play with’!  Today I did just that and it turned out awesome.  It’s another hot day and I just got back from a vacation that consisted of WAY too much drinking and eating; and it was ‘vacation – no holds barred’ kind of eating.  I didn’t see a vegetable for days.  So now I’m feeling bloated and lazy and I desperately need to get back to my regular routine of exercise and healthy food choices.  Today’s healthy lunch is a good start!  (I had some lobster meat on hand (rough life) so I used that, but baby shrimp, prawns, crab, or even canned salmon or tuna would work!  You could even go for turkey or chicken or just leave it vegetarian…. Whatever you like).

NOTE:  The most important thing you need to make this salad great are delicious, in-season, perfectly ripe ingredients.  (Fresh spinach, ripe nectarine/peach, firm watermelon, ripe juicy tomato, etc).   “This salad is only as good as its parts!” 

The measurements below are estimates only.  If you want more bell pepper, add it!  If you have some fresh strawberries or other fruits/veggies to use up, toss ’em in!  This is a guideline only.  Have fun and customize it just the way you like it!

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

  • 4 cup baby spinach leaves (or a mix of kale, baby arugula, spinach, mesclun greens, etc)
  • 1/4 red bell pepper – cut into thin strips (about 1/2 cup) – any color of pepper would do!
  • 1/2 small nectarine (or peach) – sliced
  • 1/3 English cucumber – sliced
  • 1 cup watermelon – large dice
  • 1 small tomato – sliced or diced (your favorite kind/whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/4 red onion – THIN slice
  • 1/4 green onion – chopped
  • 1/4 cup cashews (pecans or almonds would also work here)
  • 1/4 feta – crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp shallot citrus vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup crab meat, lobster, salmon, prawns, baby shrimp or any other seafood you enjoy/have on hand – or a combination of a few!
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  • The key to a great salad, in my opinion, is the quality and combination of the ingredients (duh) and the SEASONING.  Even a salad with great intentions can be boring if it’s not seasoned properly.  Always season each layer and make sure you season the greens BEFORE you add the dressing.
  • Start by chopping/dicing vegetables and putting them in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the fruit.
  • Add the greens and season those.  Gently toss everything together with the dressing and ALWAYS taste to see if it needs a little more salt and pepper.  Start off with a small amount of dressing and add more as needed.  You almost always need less than you think you do.  Also, never add the dressing until just before serving to avoid a soggy, heavy salad.
  • Lastly, top the salad with seafood (or whatever you’re using), cheese and nuts.

 

 

 

 

Fun Fish Tacos (PERFECT for entertaining!)

Fish Tacos

I LOVE fish tacos done right.  They are the epitome of summer.  I love ‘build your own’ anything and these are so much fun to eat – and unbelievably delicious.  I have been ordering fish tacos at restaurants forever.  Sometimes I’m happy with them, but usually I’m very disappointed.  There’s just not enough ‘love’ put into them.  I can’t stand getting 3 tacos with some bland fish, shredded cabbage or lettuce and a few diced tomatoes.  I want FLAVOUR!  I want TEXTURE!  I want WOW FACTOR!  

I have been working on this recipe for a while now.  I’m obsessed with it.   It might just be the best recipe I’ve ever come up with.  I’m not going to lie, it takes work.  That’s why I only break it out if I’m having people over to dinner or my girls over for a night of drinks and sitting on the patio.  This is the kind of meal you want to show off.  I prep over 2 days.  The first day I go out and buy all the ingredients I need.  Then I make the sauce and pickle the onions and jalapenos.  On the day we’re eating, I do the cabbage and bell pepper slaw, the avocado dish, and the pico de galo.

**This can all be done hours ahead so when guests are ready to eat, all you have to do is throw the fish in the oven and lay out the condiments and tortillas and you’re all set!  Voila!**

TIME SAVING TIP:  when prepping, get all the bowls and ingredients out for everything at once.  You’ll notice that all the different dishes here share a lot of the same ingredients.  So arrange your bowls, and as you’re using one ingredient, prepare it for all the dishes.  It makes things SO much quicker.  (for example, there’s cilantro in 3 of the dishes.  I add up how much I need in total, chop all of it at once, and then divide it up according to the measurement needed for each dish….)

all fish taco condiments

Don’t let all the steps below scare you.  They’re all easy and it’s a labour of love.  Make this while enjoying a cold cerveza, glass of white wine or your favourite margharita!  

RECIPE:  Serves 4 – 6   (if guests are eating an average of 4 tacos each!)

1.  THE FISH & TORTILLAS

The fish I use is High Liner Frozen English Style Pacific Cod Filets.  You could always use a non-breaded fresh fish of choice for these tacos, but I really do love the flavour of the fried fish.  I buy this particular fish at Costco and it’s the best frozen, breaded fish I have EVER eaten.  Like I said, I don’t make these often, so it’s a real treat and I don’t mind eating some fatty fish once in a while!  I use a 1/2 piece of fish per tortilla.  Just put fish out on a platter with a knife and let guests cut the fish and use tongs to put into tortillas!

As for the tortillas, use your favourite brand.  (I’m using President’s Choice whole wheat small tortillas because I love President’s Choice anything, and they were on sale…)

Fish and Tortillas in bag

2.  PICKLED RED ONION AND JALEPENOS

PICKLING LIQUID – Ratio 2:1 water to vinegar

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 red onion & 1 jalepeno pepper

METHOD: Combine water, vinegar, salt and sugar. Shake in the jar or container you want to keep the pickled food in. Add the Onion and Jalapeño. Seal container/jar. Wait at least one hour to eat.

pickled onion

3.  FISH TACO SAUCE  (Chipotle, Cumin and Lime Dip)  Makes 1 cup

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (use 1/2 cup may and 3/4 cup yogurt for a thicker sauce)
  • 1 cup greek non fat yogurt (or sour cream if you don’t have yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic – minced
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp chipotle pepper (use more if you like it spicier!)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 – 1.5 tsp lime juice, 1/4 tsp lime zest
  • 1/4 tsp salt

NOTE:  you can buy chipotle peppers in any grocery store in a can.  I don’t use them very often and they are VERY spicy so you don’t need to use much at once.  I just freeze them in a ziplock bag and break off a frozen chunk when I need a little!

Frozen Chipotle

METHOD:

1.  Combine all ingredients in food processor (or blender) and blend.  2.  Pour into squeezy bottle for serving (you can find these squeezy bottles in almost any dollar store).

Fish Taco Sauce in squeeze

4.  PICO DE GALO

  • 3 tomatoes – diced + 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro – chopped
  • 1.5 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 cup red onion (or white)
  • OPTION: 1/2 tsp jalapeno
  • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:  

1.  Dice tomato and place in fine strainer with teaspoon of salt to drain out excess liquid.  Let sit for half an hour (you should have about a half cut of tomato water left over.  TIP:  Save this liquid to cook rice/quinoa/grains in!).  2.  Combine rest of ingredients and put into bowl for serving.

pico de galo

5.  CABBAGE AND BELL PEPPER SLAW

  • 3 cup green cabbage – shredded
  • 1/2 cup green onion – green part only
  • 1 cup mixed bell pepper julienned (sliced)  – red, orange and/or yellow
  • 1/2 cup cilantro – chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice, 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

METHOD:

1.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Cabbage slaw

6.  AVOCADO WITH LIME

  • 2 medium ripe avocado – diced
  • 1/2 tsp jalepeno – diced
  • 1.5 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 2 Tbsp red onion – diced
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro – chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Avocado

“Mediterranean Style” Fish (with lemon quinoa & grilled veggie skewers)

 

Food all laid out

It’s HOT out today.  I really don’t feel like doing much cooking or eating anything heavy.  So I’m going to make something light and healthy that represents the best of summer.  Fish with the freshest, simplest Mediterranean Style salsa, quinoa (I already have some leftover from the other night.  I’m just going to add some lemon zest, parsley and feta to it to ‘reinvent it’), and veggie skewers using (mostly) vegetables from my garden.  TIME SAVING TIP: I’ve prepped about 3 times the veggies I will be using tonight (it’s just me and the kiddies this evening) so I can just reheat them tomorrow for lunch or dinner.  I ALWAYS cook more vegetables than I need because it’s so easy to toss them into other dishes or eat them cold out the fridge when I wake up hungry in the middle of the night – I do that a lot).

veg skewers on BBQ

The fish I’m using tonight is Tilapia but any white fish would be wonderful with this salsa.  (cod, snapper, halibut…).

 

salsa final

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

(the measurements here are estimates ONLY.  Honestly, just throw as much of each ingredient as you like into the mix.  You really can’t go wrong!)

  • 8 kalamata olives
  •  3 Tbsp Italian parsley – fresh
  • 1 Tbsp dill – fresh (you can omit the fresh dill but I had it in the fridge, and I LOVE dill with fish, so I’m adding it!)
  • 1 tomato (any kind of tomato will do as long as it’s ripe.  I used a vine tomato)
  • 1/4 cup red onion   NOTE:  I’m using the homemade pickled red onion I have in the fridge (see my “pickling liquid”recipe if you want to know how I pickle onion!)  If not, just use regular onion
  • 2 green onion – green part only
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 1/2 lemon – juice and zest
  • 1/4 tsp garlic – minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

MEP salsa

METHOD

Chop parsley, dill and green onion.  Dice tomato and red onion.  Quarter kalamata olives. Mix all ingredients in a bowl with the lemon juice, minced garlic and capers.  Taste and adjust ingredients and seasoning to your liking.  Serve over fish and enjoy with a big glass of your favourite white wine!

Tilapia meal on plate

 

Tuna Salad Sandwiches

I’m lucky.  My boys LOVE fish.  Breaded, sauteed, canned, you name it.  I have started making tuna salad and/or salmon salad sandwiches for my 6 year old for school and he loves them – and so do I.  I usually make this tuna salad on Sunday and have it in the fridge for the rest of the week.  It’s great for sandwiches and especially for little wraps.  When I don’t want to eat a lot of fat, I put 1/2 the mayo in this recipe and then just add more ‘to order’ for the boys (I don’t mind mine a little bit dry.  I’ll just add some tomato slices or avocado!)

We’re also a family of egg eaters so I make egg salad at the same time as most of the ingredients are the same!  Just don’t add the pickle or lemon to the egg.  Maybe add a little paprika, if that’s your thing (:

THERE!  Now I have egg salad and tuna/salmon salad for the week for quick breakfasts (on toast, English muffin, bagel, wrap…) and/or lunches!  My kids love them with slices of cheddar, provolone, havarti or whatever cheese you have in the fridge.

RECIPE

  • I can tuna (chunk or flaked in water)
  • 1/4 shallot (or white onion but shallot is better!)
  • Mayo to consistency (you can use lite mayo or even substitute some of it with fat free greek yogurt for a healthier version!)
  • 1T dijon mustard
  • 1/4 finely diced celery
  • 1 baby dill pickle – diced
  • 1 – 2 t fresh lemon juice plus a little lemon zest
  • OPTION:  green/spring onion (I throw green onion or chives into just about EVERYTHING when I have them on hand – and I almost always do!)
  • salt and pepper to taste