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Posts Tagged ‘Seafood’

We have been so on the go lately and with our busy schedules the weekly menu plan has kind of gone by the wayside. We are finally back on a normal schedule and I was so happy to sit down this morning to plan the week’s menu and make the grocery trip. One of the first things that I do when I’m menu planning is check the store specials. I knew I wanted fish tonight and saw that they were offering rainbow trout at a great price. A quick search on Epicurious led me to this recipe for Sauteed Trout with Pecans.

I made some modifications to the original recipe. First, it called for an obscene amount of butter. I greatly reduced the butter with no detriment to the flavor of the dish. Second, after reading some of the online recipe reviews, I decided to add a bit of brown sugar to the pecans. I loved the hint of sweetness it gave the nuts.

This dish took less than 15 minutes to prepare. It was so simple but provided a lovely Sunday dinner when served alongside brown rice pilaf, green beans and ciabatta. I would have no problem serving this dish to dinner guests. Another win from Gourmet magazine – you just can’t go wrong with their recipes. This would have been a great dish for 68 Days of Gourmet!

One Year Ago: Malted Ice Cream Sundae Pie

Sauteed Trout with Pecans
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, January 2008)

Ingredients:

2 trout fillets with skin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions:

Pat fish fillets dry and rub flesh sides with cayenne, teaspoon salt and pepper. Dredge in flour to coat both sides and shake off excess.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat until foam subsides. Cook trout, skin side down, until skin is golden-brown, about 4 minutes. Turn fish over and cook until just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and keep warm, loosely covered with foil.

Pour off butter from skillet and wipe clean. Cook pecans with remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and brown sugar, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley and spoon over trout.

Yield: 2 servings

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While I was menu planning this week I pulled out my recipe notebook that I use to write down family or passed down recipes and to store recipes I’ve cut from magazines. I started this notebook right after college and haven’t really looked through it in a while.

I found this recipe that I cut from the May 2007 Cooking Light for Tuna with White Bean and Charred Onion Salad. I was in the mood for a lighter dinner and had fish in mind so this was perfect.

The original recipe calls for grilling the tuna and the onions but our gas grill is not working and Brandon didn’t want to fire up the Egg for a three minute tuna sear so I decided to prepare this inside. Although there are several elements to this dish, nothing is too complicated and it was easy to put together. Instead of grilling the onions, I cooked them in a cast iron skillet and let the edges get a little charred. I seared the tuna in a hot skillet for about 2 minutes per side.

I made several modifications  to the recipe. First, I doubled the marinade and only used two tuna steaks. I still made the full recipe for the white bean salad because I wanted to use the leftovers for lunch. Second, I omitted the parsley from the white bean salad and used a mixture of fresh rosemary and basil instead. And third, I omitted the capers because I detest them!

I was very pleased with how this dish turned out. The white bean salad was delicious and paired nicely with the tuna. I enjoyed plating the tuna and white bean salad over mixed greens but you could easily skip the mixed greens and just do a vegetable on the side.

Maybe I’ll have to turn to my recipe notebook for inspiration more often!

Tuna with White Bean and Charred Onion Salad
(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, May 2007)

Ingredients:

FOR THE TUNA
1  tablespoon  grated lemon rind
3  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
1  teaspoon  Dijon mustard
1  teaspoon  olive oil
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1  garlic clove, minced
4  (6-ounce) tuna steaks

FOR THE SALAD
1  medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3  tablespoons  red wine vinegar
1  tablespoon  olive oil
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/4  teaspoon  Dijon mustard
1  garlic clove, minced
1/2  cup  chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/4  cup  chopped flat-leaf parsley (I subbed basil and rosemary)
1  tablespoon  capers (omitted)
1  (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
6  cups  mixed salad greens

Directions:

FOR THE TUNA
Combine the marinade ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag or a shallow dish. Add tuna to bag or dish and seal or cover. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning once. Remove tuna from bag and discard marinade. Prepare grill if cooking outside. Place tuna on grill rack coated with cooking spray and grill 2 minutes on each side for rare or until desired degree of doneness. Alternatively, cook in a skillet over medium high heat with a bit of olive oil for about two minutes per side.

FOR THE SALAD
Place onion slices on grill rack coated with cooking spray and grill 5 minutes on each side or until tender. Cool and chop. Alternatively, cook onions in a cast iron skillet over medium heat with olive oil, salt and pepper until tender and browned.

Combine vinegar and next five ingredients (through garlic) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until blended. Add onion, cucumber, parsley (or herbs), capers and beans to vinegar mixture and toss to coat. Arrange 1 1/2 cups salad greens on each of four plates. Top each serving with about 1/2 cup onion mixture and 1 tuna steak.

Yield: 4 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet:  Day 30

I know I’ve mentioned this before but I love staying in on Friday nights and cooking something a little more special than our average weeknight meal. This week sea scallops were on sale at the grocery. Since they are one of my favorites, I decided to base our Friday night meal off of them.

I browsed through the highly rated scallop recipes from Gourmet online and thought that this recipe for Seared Scallops with Tomato Beurre Blanc sounded perfect. I love sundried tomatoes so I knew I would enjoy this beurre blanc.

I went to a hot vinyasa class at Y2 yoga after work yesterday. The founder of the studio, Tanner, was teaching so I was very excited to check it out. It was an awesome class and I couldn’t believe the amount of work he packed in to 60 minutes. Usually, I prefer 90 minute yoga classes but I don’t think I could have made it through 30 more minutes of this class! I definitely think there was 90 minutes of work packed into the 60 minute class! I left exhausted but with a smile on my face – ready for the weekend and ready for these scallops!

The online recipe says that the preparation time is 2 hours and 15 minutes. That is not true. I don’t know how it could have taken that long. The only time you have to build in is making your sundried tomato butter. You can do that the day before or cheat like me and put the butter in the freezer to harden! :)

I loved this recipe. Simple but delicious preparation. I served it with Orzo “Risotto” (I was going to make real risotto but ran out of time and energy for it!) and roasted asparagus. Perfect Friday night feast!

Seared Scallops with Tomato Beurre Blanc
(Recipe source Gourmet, May 2002)

Ingredients:

FOR BEURRE BLANC
1/4 cup packed soft dried tomatoes (I used very soft, ready to use sundried tomatoes and skipped the rehydration step)
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup minced shallot
2/3 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

FOR SCALLOPS
2 lb large sea scallops (30), tough muscle removed from side of each if necessary
About 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

FOR THE BEURRE BLANC
Soak tomatoes in warm water until softened, 20 to 25 minutes (I skipped this step because I used ready to eat softened sundried tomatoes). Drain and pat dry, then mince. Mix together tomatoes, softened butter and salt. Form butter into a log on a sheet of plastic wrap, roll up and chill until firm. About 1 hour in fridge or you can cheat and put the butter in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Cut tomato butter into 12 equal pieces.

Heat a small heavy sauce pan over low heat. Cook shallot in 1 piece of tomato butter for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add wine and boil over medium heat until liquid is reduced by half, to about 1/3 cup. This should take anywhere from 5-10 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and whisk in remaining cold tomato butter 1 piece at a time, adding each piece before previous one has completely melted and lifting pan from heat occasionally to cool mixture (sauce should not get hot enough to separate). Whisk in water and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Transfer beurre blanc to a bowl and keep warm, covered, in a larger bowl of warm water.

FOR THE SCALLOPS
Rinse and pat scallops dry. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sear scallops, turning once, until golden on each side and cooked through. About 2-4 minutes total. Work in batches if you need, keeping previously cooked scallops warm on a platter covered with foil. Wipe out skillet and add more oil in between batches.

Serve scallops with 3 tablespoons of beurre blanc – either spooned onto the bottom of the dish or spooned over the scallops. I served my beurre blanc over the scallops and the orzo.

Yield: 6 servings
(I did not make 6 servings for the 2 of us. I just cut the beurre blanc in half and used about 1/2 pound of scallops.)

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 19

I have said this before but I have to say it again. Weekly menu planning and shopping makes life so much easier. I have converted so many friends to this practice and believe me, it’s life changing. First, you save tons of stress by not having to worry about what to make for dinner and having time to make it to the store. Second, you save money by planning meals based on weekly specials and only making one trip. On average I spend between $65-$80 a week on our groceries. Whenever I go to the store for just one meal, I never leave without spending $20-$30. That would quickly add up if you were making nightly trips. Also, if you don’t already have a plan, there’s the added temptation to go out instead of cook.

All that said, tilapia was on sale for $3.99 a pound this week. It was just too good of a deal to pass up and tilapia is one of the few fish that I can get Brandon to eat without grumbling. I found this recipe on Epicurious and was surprised to see that it had received 456 reviews and had a 4-fork rating. It sounded like something we’d really enjoy. This recipe was so simple to make. You could have this on the table in 20 minutes – easy. The chili lime butter was so full of flavor and wonderful melted over the pan sauteed tilapia. Brandon told me at least 5 times during dinner that he loved this preparation and wanted to add it to the regular rotation. We also decided that the chili lime butter would be good melted over grilled flank or skirt steak.

Don’t be scared of the peppers in the butter. The flavors are very balanced and it’s not overly spicy. I had a couple bites with some kick but nothing too bad. The lime juice and zest really add a brightness to the dish. This is a great fish dish to add to your collection.

Chili Lime Tilapia
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, July 2003)

Ingredients:

FOR CHILI LIME BUTTER
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lime zest, finely grated
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh Thai or serrano chile (preferably red), including seeds (I used jalapeno because it’s all I had)
1/2 teaspoon salt

FOR FISH
6 (5- to 6-oz) pieces skinless tilapia fillet or farm-raised striped bass fillets with skin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

FOR THE CHILI LIME BUTTER
Mix together the butter, peppers, shallots, lime zest and juice and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

FOR THE FISH
Rinse fish and pat dry. Generously salt and pepper and then dredge in flour and shake off excess. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and heat until shimmers. Carefully place fish into skillet and cook about 2-3 minutes per side, until fish is golden brown and reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees.

TO SERVE
Serve each piece with a dollop of chili lime butter. The butter will melt and spread over the fish.

Yield: 6 servings
(I made the full recipe of butter and only 2 tilapia fillets. We had a little bit of leftover butter but not tons – we are fatties and it was delicious! We kept spreading more on! :) )

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 8

Day 8 of 68 Days of Gourmet! Only 60 more posts to go! I made an exciting purchase last night – The Gourmet Cookbook. It includes over 1,000 recipes. I started flipping through it last night and have already flagged well over 60 recipes that I want to try and that was just appetizers, soups and salads! It’s going to be tough to narrow it down but I’m happy to have this resource in my kitchen.

Sashimi grade tuna steaks were on sale at the grocery this week and they looked great. I picked some up on my weekly shopping trip. I found this recipe that included an amazing looking marinade in Gourmet. The marinade reminded me of a recipe I’ve always loved that my parents use for salmon.

It was just as good as I’d hoped. While cooking the tuna, I brought the marinade to a boil so we could spoon extra sauce over our fish and rice. The combination of the teriyaki and soy sauce with the fresh ginger and garlic was so delicious. I will definitely be making this marinade again for tuna and also for salmon. I usually have most of the ingredients in my pantry so it’s a great standby fish preparation.

Asian Marinated Tuna Steaks
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, September 1996)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon Sherry or white wine
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely diced
2 scallions, chopped fine
a pinch dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
2-4 tuna steaks, depending on how many you’re feeding

Directions:

Combine everything except for fish in a baking dish. Whisk to combine. Place fish in marinade and let sit at room temp if you’re marinating for less than an hour, in the fridge if you’re marinating over one hour and bring to room temp when you have about an hour left. The reason for this is so your fish won’t be cold in the center when seared. Marinate fish for up to 2 hours total.

Remove fish from marinade and pat dry. Place marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil and let cook for a few minutes. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Sear fish about 1 minute per side for rare tuna.

Spoon a bit of boiled marinade over tuna before serving.

Yield: 2-4 servings, depending how many steaks you cook

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Crispy Oven Fried Fish

crispyovenfish

Every Sunday I plan our meals for the week and go to the grocery. My dad did this growing up and posted the week’s menu on the fridge. We always knew what was for dinner and I can only imagine how much simpler it made his life while working full-time with two kids. When someone asks for advice on cooking my first suggestion is always to plan meals and shop for them. You are much, much more likely to cook at home during the week if you know what you’re having and already have the ingredients on hand.

It always takes me a while to menu plan because I’m pretty indecisive. This week was especially challenging for some reason. Part of my process is to see what’s on sale at the store. I saw this week that flounder fillets were on sale and I remembered this recipe for Crispy Oven Fried Fish from Cook’s Illustrated (note, you must have a subscription to view recipe). There was a bit of a bump in the road when I got to the store and the flounder fillets were cut paper thin. I thought this would turn out better with a thicker fillet so I switched to cod instead.

The fish had a great flavor. Making your own bread crumbs really enhances the crispiness and the addition of shallots and parsley take it up a notch. This would be a quick weeknight meal if you made your breadcrumbs ahead of time. I thought it would be fun to do a healthy spin on fish and chips so I decided to serve this with roasted potatoes.

Crispy Oven Fried Fish
(Recipe source Cook’s Illustrated)

Ingredients:

4 large slices white sandwich bread , torn into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 small shallot , minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup plus 5 tablespoons  all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 1/4 pounds skinless cod, haddock or other thick white fish fillet (1 to 1 1/2 inches thick), cut into 4 pieces
Cooking spray
Lemon wedges

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pulse bread, melted butter, salt and pepper in a food processor until bread is coarsely ground. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and bake until deep golden brown and dry, about 15 minutes. Stir twice during baking time. Cool crumbs to room temperature and transfer to a pie plate or medium sized bowl. Toss with parsley and shallot.

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.

Place 1/4 cup flour in a second plate. In a third plate, whisk eggs, mayonnaise, paprika, cayenne pepper (if using), and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper until combined. Whisk in remaining 5 tablespoons flour until smooth.

Spray a wire rack with cooking spray and place in rimmed baking sheet. Rinse fish and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge 1 fillet in flour and shake off excess. Coat with egg mixture and then dredge in bread crumb mixture. Gently press crumbs so they adhere to fish. Transfer to wire rack and repeat with remaining fish.

Bake fish for about 15-20 minutes, or until instant-read thermometer inserted into centers of fillets registers 140 degrees. Carefully transfer to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

Yield: 4 servings

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cajuntilapia

I am always hearing the question, “What can I do with tilapia?” One of our all-time favorite tilapia preparations is this Cajun tilapia. For a while I kept this Cajun seasoning in the pantry and even gave it out as a Christmas gift in mason jars a couple years ago.

So I was looking for a way to jazz up  the Cajun tilapia. I usually just serve it with roasted potatoes (sprinkled with the Cajun seasoning) and a vegetable. I found myself with some peppers and mushrooms in the fridge and decided to saute them and serve the fish over polenta. It was great!

If you’re looking for a new idea for tilapia and you like a little spice, this recipe is for you!

Cajun Tilapia with Polenta and Peppers
(Recipe source: Tilapia – Cooking Light, Polenta – Joy of Cooking, Vegetables – a Bakin’ and Eggs original)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CAJUN SPICE MIX
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons red pepper
2 tablespoons thyme
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar

Mix everything together and store in a airtight container. You can use this Cajun seasoning on anything – poultry, pork, fish, vegetables.

FOR THE FISH
1 pound tilapia fillets
4 tablespoons Cajun seasoning mix (enough to coat fish fillets)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for coating fish
Sliced lemons (optional for garnish)

FOR THE POLENTA
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onions, finely diced
2 1/2 cups water, divided
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup yellow cornmeal
Salt, to taste

FOR THE PEPPERS
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

FOR THE FISH
Coat each fish fillet in olive oil. Coat with Cajun seasoning.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat until shimmering. Carefully add fish fillets and cook about 3-4 minutes per side. Fish should be opaque and flaky. Internal temperature should read about 145 degrees.

FOR THE POLENTA
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water and 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and bring mixture to a boil.

While the mixture is coming to a boil, mix together 1 cup water and 1 cup cornmeal. Gradually stir into the boiling water and then reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the cornmeal is thick and leaves the side of the pans when it is stirred. About 25 minutes. Add extra water or chicken stock in small amounts if necessary while cooking the polenta. Season with salt to taste.

FOR THE PEPPERS
Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat until shimmers. Add sliced peppers and mushrooms and cook about 8-10 minutes, or until vegetables have softened a bit. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

YIELD: 4 servings

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