Posts Tagged ‘fish’

I’ll admit the thought of a fish stew didn’t immediately grab me for a fun weeknight in the kitchen. But upon closer inspection of this recipe, the layers of Mediterranean flavors were very intriguing: garlic, artichoke hearts, capers, green olives, white wine and tomatoes. Wow.

Served over couscous, it didn’t disappoint.  Fresh lemon juice and chopped ginger, cumin and basil, crushed red pepper. So many flavors that intertwine to create a zesty, light — and healthy! — dish.  Tilapia was on sale at the market and it worked out perfectly here.  Give this one a try.


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Salmon has long been my go-to fish for weeknight cooking since it’s easy to find at grocery stores, pretty reliable in terms of quality and very forgiving in preparation. But I recently decided to give these thick, flaky, buttery sea bass filets a try and in doing so rediscovered a fabulous fish that can be dressed up in a flash.

Over high heat in a little olive oil, sear the filets for 2-3 minutes per side to develop a crisp outer layer and seal in the flavors and moisture of the fish. Season simply with salt and pepper.  Then, place the filets in a baking dish with a little white wine, olive oil and clam juice — adding any chopped garlic and fresh herbs — and top with fresh cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives and artichokes.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

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If America is a melting pot, Momofuku is its kitchen.  This hot spot in New York’s Lower East Side (East 13th Street and 2nd Avenue) serves fusion cuisine with an Asian flair.  The menu, which features seasonal regional ingredients,  has categories like “raw bar” and “country hams” — stuff you’d never find at your average Chinese, Japanese or Korean restaurant.

Momofuku has an interesting assortment of dishes, representing the ethnic crossovers that characterize New York City; definitely no pure, “authentic” Asian cuisine here. The pickles plate, above, for example is a play on Japanese oshinko, using local vegetables like baby bok choy, tomatillos, potatoe slices, cucumber, and turnips. Korean kimchee is also on the side.


The restaurant itself is a sleek, hip hall of hardwood tables and communal seating that flow into an open kitchen in the rear. You can watch as the chefs meticulously prepare each dish. One I highly recommend: the steamed buns with pork belly, hoisin, cucumbers and scallion (below).  Unbelieveably good.


Other plates to try… believe it or not, the $8 “Bread & Butter” is worth it, featuring fresh, soft sea-salt butter from Vermont and whipped lardo (bacon fat) on the side for schmearing.  The plate of sliced Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Ham — from Madisonville, TN — is tasty and unique.  The Satur Farm’s Snap Peas with mint, egg and XO was a bit too salty, but a creative preparation with Korean inspiration. And, the Santa Barbara Uni are to die for!  Super fresh sea urchin topped with celery, nori and a lemon juice-based cool broth. Incredible.


By far my favorite dish was one of the specials: grilled yellowfin tuna collar. Moist, flavorful, tender with a soy-miso-scallion dipping sauce on the side.


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Grilled swordfish

Grilled swordfish

“Eat it raw!” That’s the slogan at Half Shell Raw Bar in Key West, where raw is “in” and the clams and oysters are fresh as can be. The wooden seaside shack at the end of Margaret Street is open-air, overlooking the marina and out to the Gulf. It’s a very laid back atmosphere with Jimmy Buffet playing overhead. To start, enjoy a cold beer or rum runner with a bucket of beer-steamed mussels or shrimp or a platter of oysters on the half-shell.  Then, go for a basket of fried or stuffed Key West shrimp or a grilled fillet of snapper, grouper or swordfish, fresh off the boat. No frills here, just incredibly delicious.

Stuffed shrimp

Stuffed shrimp

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Do Oxen moo?  If so, then I’d let out a long “mooooo” of satisfaction over this feast in celebration of the Year of the Ox! (I actually felt like an ox strung out on MSG after grazing here for hours, but I digress…) The food at Chatham Square Restaurant, 6 Chatham Square in NYC’s Chinatown, is solid Cantoneese cooking. Their raw materials were quality and fresh. The seafood dishes were particularly well-done — like the fried whole fish with ginger and scallion, honey glazed prawns and broccoli, and scallops with sugar snap peas. The pork fried rice, shown here, was underwhelming; but the orange-glazed fried pork cutlets were mighty tasty.   Oh, and notice all those bottles on the table?  The restaurant allows BYOB. Cheers!

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After a week of rich holiday eating – beef roasts, honey hams, and stuffed turkeys – there’s nothing like a simple piece of pan-roasted fish complemented with light, citrusy sides dishes. These fresh cod fillets were lightly floured, seasoned and browned in olive oil creating a crispy outer layer around the moist, mild and flaky fish.


A warm medley of wilted raddichio, white beans and sautèed celery, leeks and garlic is tossed with a delicious lemon-herb vinaigrette full of fresh chopped parsley.  Finish off your presentation with a drizzle of the vinaigrette on top of the crispy cod.  Delightful!


The lemon-herb sauce is adapted from New York’s Union Square Cafè cookbook.

Union Square Cafè lemon vinaigrette for cod, raddichio and white bean entrèe
1 tablespoon lemon zest
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped parsley


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fish tacos

These fish tacos with salsa verde and radish salad are light and wonderfully delicious for a spring weeknight dinner. Tasty and incredibly healthy.

What makes these distinctive are the tart and crunchy toppings: a fresh cilantro, lime, green chile salsa and a radish-celery slaw with jalepeño and green onion.  (Leave it to Martha Stewart!)

The salsa verde is prepared in a blender with a touch of olive oil, a bunch of fresh cilantro, a small can of chopped mild chiles, the juice of one lime, salt/pepper, and a little mined onion and garlic.

The “slaw” of thinly sliced radishes, celery, green onions, and half a jalepeño is mixed with a touch of olive oil, juice of one lime, and salt/pepper.

Put together on warmed corn tortillas atop chunks of broiled, seasoned tilapia creates an unbelievable flavor. We also added a little diced avocado as well.

This and a couple previous posts might suggest that we cook with fish all the time. Unfortunately, cooking fish is somewhat of a special meal for us.  Finding fresh and affordable seafood in Atlanta is surprisingly difficult.

The major chains – Kroger and Publix – do carry three or four types of fish, but in nearly every case the fillets are previously frozen, farm raised, and foreign – from Chile or Thailand. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with frozen or farm raised; but when you see those filets in the case – compared with the fresh, more local, wild-caught offerings in upscale stores like Whole Foods – they don’t look entirely appealing. (Maybe I’m a fish snob? :o) 

Lately, however, we’ve found some good fish on sale at a reasonable price – and the tilapia in this recipe is a case and point. $6.99/lb, fresh USA farm raised from Whole Foods. Can’t beat it. 

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