Category Archives: Fish

Recipes for various fish

Brown Sugar and Maple-Apple Glazed Salmon

 

Salmon is one of my favorite kinds of fish. As I’ve said before, white fish are awesome because they are so versatile, but salmon can hold many bolder flavors while also bringing its own flavor profile to the table. With the mainstream becoming more aware of its amazing protein punch and heart-healthy omega-3s, salmon is increasingly becoming a popular protein option for any meal.

Salmon has a stronger fishy taste than some, but that definitely depends upon how you cook it and what you serve it with. There are so many good options for salmon; including grilling, broiling, sauteing, and baking.

Salmon can easily be paired with something savory or sweet. One of my favorite things to incorporate is brown sugar. The sweet, caramely notes work wonders to bring out the fish’s unique layers of taste. And to go with brown sugar, butter and apples are natural accompaniments.

Ingredients:

  • 2 3-oz salmon fillets (or one big 6 oz-er)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium firm apple (such as Gala or Fuji)
  • 1/4 cup apple juice or cider
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Veggie Rice

  • 3/4 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • Garlic salt to taste

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Step 1: Dice the apple into small bite-sized pieces. In a frying pan over medium heat, add the butter, apple juice, apples, and maple syrup. Bring to a boil, and simmer 3-5 minutes.

Step 2: Add the salmon fillets and cook 5 minutes. Flip, then sprinkle with brown sugar. Cover and simmer 5-10 more minutes, until sugar is slightly caramelized and the fish is cooked through. It should be light pink in color and flake easily with a fork.

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If you’d like to make this rice as a side, dice up the zucchini. Either in a rice cooker or a sauce pot, add the rice, zucchini, spinach, and 1 1/2 cups of water or stock. In a rice cooker, mix and turn on. Fluff before serving.

If using a pot, bring to a boil, and then simmer on low with the cover on for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and serve alongside salmon with garlic salt to taste.

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The salmon is flaky and sweet, with a sugar glaze and apple flavor. The apples become soft and sweet, almost like having dessert with your dinner!

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Lemon Pollock with Olive Tapenade

 

Fish is healthy and delicious, especially white fish like Alaskan pollock, but it can be bland or boring. Some think this is a negative, but I see it as a huge perk. Fish is the perfect neutral, like a flattering beige sweater or couch. You can dress it up however you like, and it goes well with all types of spices, cooking styles, toppings, and side dishes.

Tapenade is a classical Provençal French dip slash topping. It has also been growing in popularity in other areas of the world, like Greece and the US. The base ingredient is olives. The rest of the ingredients vary by location and chef. Typically, capers, olive oil, garlic, and anchovy fillets are also involved. But there are plenty of variations in which you don’t need anchovy, or no olive oil. (I had sardines, not anchovy, so I used that instead. And it turned out fine.)

Ever since I bought a jar of pimiento and a jar of kalamata olives, I’ve been wanting to make olive tapenade. I finally put it on my meal plan, and made it with some white fish fillets. It was indeed everything I ever dreamed it would be!

It is an amazing topping for fish, but I imagine there are so many other possible uses. Spread on crusty bread slices, a condiment for a sandwich, in pasta like pesto, a dip for crudites, a stuffing for poultry, or as a salad dressing. The possibilities are endless! And it keeps for some time in the fridge, as long as you pour a thin layer of olive oil on top to preserve it. So make a big batch.

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Photo from Joyful Abode

Ingredients:

  • 3 white fish fillets
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • Salt + pepper
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 can diced tomatoes

Olive Tapenade

  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup olives, pits removed
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 anchovy or sardine fillet
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice

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Step 1: In a frying pan, place the three fish fillets and cover with lemon juice & fish sauce. Cover with a lid and let cook for 5-7 minutes, then flip. When fish is fully white and flakes easily with a fork, it is ready. Season as desired.

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Step 2: While fish cooks, place olives in a blender or food processor. Meanwhile, boil the rice in 1 cup water and 1 can of diced tomatoes, not drained for 20-25 minutes, until fully cooked.

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Step 3: Blend the olives. Add the garlic, sardine, lemon juice, and a few tbsp olive oil. Blend, adding extra juice or oil as needed to make it smooth.

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Step 4: Place a scoop of rice on a plate, add a fish fillet and a smear of the tapenade topping.

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I got a little creative with the plating. Which do you think looks best?

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The fish is tart and moist yet firm, and is a perfect canvas for the olive masterpiece. The level of saltiness will depend on which type of olive(s) you use, I had a combination of green pimiento and kalamata. You can omit the sardine or anchovy fillet if you don’t have it or don’t like it, but I think it adds an extra layer of “seafood” taste, and since they were packed in tomato paste they also added a subtle tomato flavor.

This is a great, healthy alternative to something like mayonnaise or hummus, with lower fat and carb content yet a huge hit of flavors. Take a walk on the Mediterranean side and try some tapenade today.

 

Silly American attempts to make Salmon Nigiri

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I absolutely adore sushi. There are few types I dislike. Something about the soft buttery fish and rice with copious soy sauce just makes me swoon. I know I violate rules by using as much sauce as I do, but I’m over it. Low blood pressure and all that. I flipping love soy sauce okay?
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Oh, and not all sushi is raw fish. Common misconception. Actually the majority of sushi is not raw. You must have nigiri or sashimi to be sure it’s raw. And even then… probably some exceptions. The blog The M Resort has a handy guide for keeping sushi terminology straight. The main ones are sushi, maki, nigiri, and sashimi. I won’t even try to overwhelm you or myself with all the different nuances of flavor, texture, color, and types of fish, or vinegars, additives, and temperature’s effects on rice.
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Sushi = any Japanese style fish roll, may or may not be raw, include vegetables, or be rolled in seaweed (nori).
Maki = rolled sushi using a bamboo mat. Typically rolled in seaweed, but can also use thinly sliced cucumbers.
Nigiri = raw slices of fish served over a hand-rolled slab of rice, no nori. Some sushi chefs add wasabi between the fish and rice.
Sashimi = raw slices of fish served without rice, as naked as it gets. Try it with wasabi and soy sauce mixed together.
So one day I’m grocery shopping, and see a gorgeous salmon fillet on sale that needs used today. As often happens when at the grocery store, just seeing one item sparks an idea, and today’s idea was “why not try to make my own sushi at home?” Don’t mind if I do. I did recently purchase a rice cooker (which I also flipping love) so hopefully that would make the process even easier.
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I did nothing special to the fish itself, as I wanted its natural flavor. I did try to doctor up the rice, and made my own dipping sauce. I also had some dumplings in the freezer, which I thawed and fried to make a lovely lunch.
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Ingredients:
1 8 oz salmon fillet
1 cup white rice
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
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Garlic-Ginger Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tsp diced garlic
1 tsp sriracha
1 in piece ginger, peeled and sliced
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cornstarch
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Step 1: Put the rice and water in the rice cooker and cook. Alternatively, cook the rice in the microwave or stove-top according to package directions.
Step 2: White rice is cooking, mix all dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl, and heat 3 minutes in microwave. Whisk well and set aside.
Step 3: Slice the fish fillet as thinly as possible on the diagonal. Once rice is cooked, let cool to room temperature. Add vinegar, sugar, and salt and mix well.
Step 4: Take a tbsp of rice, and form into an oblong oval shape with your fingers. Press a thin slice of fish onto the rice and place on plate. Repeat with all fish slices.
Step 5: Fry dumplings according to package if you have them. Place dipping sauce on a plate with the nigiri.
Step 6: Enjoy! While not as good as a sushi restaurant, it was dang good for my first attempt. You better believe anytime fresh fish is on sale I will be trying this again.
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You could use really any type of filleted fish, and if you want to get real crazy, buy some nori (seaweed) sheets and make rolls. Add in avocado, carrots, cucumber, cream cheese… the possibilities are endless. Sushi is a great vegetarian and vegan option, you can even make dessert sushi! Give it a try.
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What’s your favorite type of sushi?

Tropical Shrimp Tacos

Since the weather has been chilly and snowy, I’m feeling the urge for all things tropical. Dreams of sunshine, beaches, pineapples, little umbrella drinks, and fresh produce keep me going through the seemingly endless winter months. Pineapple is one of my favorite fruits and always makes me think tropical, so I decided to make something with a pineapple marinade. A quick check of the freezer showed me I had a bag of shrimp, so shrimp tacos it is. Toppings included my perfect refried beans and the marinade was nearly the same as the perfect pancake syrup, with a few additions.


Ingredients:
1 pound shrimp
Tropical Shrimp Marinade (below)
Toppings of your choice: rice, beans, coleslaw, onions, peppers, fruit compote, avocados, salsa, ranch, go crazy!

Tropical Shrimp Marinade:
Juice of 1 lime
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup honey
4 tbsp fish sauce (or soy sauce)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 can of pineapple chunks plus juice
Squirt of sriracha

Step 1: Mix all your ingredients in a small bowl.

If you don’t have a garlic press (like me) you can just use a fork to smash the garlic.

Give the marinade a whisk to incorporate the honey and Sriracha and mix everything together. (PS, you can save the marinade to use it one more time. I put a pair of pork chops in for the next day, and they were also delightful! Served over some extra rice I made. Efficiency.)

Step 2: Peel off the tails and let the shrimp marinate overnight or during the day, at least 4-6 hours.

Step 3: In a frying pan, cook the shrimp over medium heat on one side until it begins to get brown and crispy. Flip and cook another 5-10 minutes.

You want that gorgeous color and crunchy covering. I stir fried bell peppers, onions, corn, and the rest of the can of pineapple chunks to go with the shrimp. I also made some plain rice, and my Perfect Refried Beans to round out the meal.

Layer all your toppings in, and enjoy! I loved the sweetness of the pineapple, and the shrimp don’t have a fishy taste at all. If I had cabbage I would have made coleslaw and a chipotle ranch sauce, but I guess I’ll save that for another time.

 
What’s your favorite thing to do with shrimp?

‘Merican fish and chips

Fish and chips is a beloved dish in many countires, most notably Britain. As most common and popular dishes do, it has a long and debated-over history. The potato was said to have been brought over to England from the New World in the 17th century. It quickly became a cheap staple food. It is believed that frying the potato into chips originated in France. Obviously potatoes were hugely popular in Ireland as well. Being near a coast, fish was a popular poor fisherman’s food. Fried fish was introduced in London’s East End in the 1800s. The Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist even refers to a ‘fried fish warehouse’. The Historic UK website says that both Lancashire and London claim to be the first to put these two together into the iconic meal. For a more thorough history of the dish check out the BBC’s history of fish & chips article one and article two.

The “chips” referred to in this dish are what Americans would call “French fries”, not the flat Lay’s type chips we know. Typically the fish is a white fish such as cod or haddock, coated in a thick batter and deep fried. Not the most healthful of meals, it nonetheless meets all working class requirements: it’s cheap, filling, easy to eat out of a newspaper while walking home from the pub, and warms you on a chilly night. Common ways to eat it include sprinkling with salt and/or vinegar, mayonnaise, tartar sauce, ketchup, or plain naked. About.com’s page for British Food gives statistics on nutrition as well as the claim that fish & chips is the nation’s most popular take-away food, four times more popular than Indian curry. I think in America, nothing can overtake the pizza, but who am I to say?

My version of fish & chips is baked rather than deep fried, making it more waistline friendly. It takes minutes to prepare, then you must be patient while it cooks. Go read a book, do some laundry, take a bath, whatever. Then sit down to a hot and crispy meal you can feel good about.

Ingredients:
2-3 large potatoes, diced
2-3 fillets white fish
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup crackers, crushed
Italian spices, garlic salt
Spray oil

Step 1: Spray a pan with oil, spread out the potatoes, and spray them. Sprinkle the spices over them. Put in the oven at 350 for ~35 minutes. Make sure to mix them up once or twice to cook on all sides.

Step 2: In a shallow bowl beat the egg. Coat the fish on both sides, then roll in the crushed crackers. Sprinkle with spices and place on a sprayed pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, turning once.

Once the fish flakes easily and the potatoes are soft when poked with a fork, remove and place on a plate. Because this is not fried there is far less fat content, if you eat the equivalent of one whole potato (these little cubes are seriously addictive, I know I could!) there are about 10 grams of fat. The fish and chips combined have about 480 calories, 47 g carbohydrate, and 48 g protein per serving. Not to mention tons of vitamins and trace minerals. {Nutrition info calculated on SparkRecipes recipe calculator}. Add a baked veggie if you like to round out the meal.

What’s you favorite way to eat fish?

Everything bagel with lox & cream cheese

Since I was first introduced to lox during my undergraduate studies I’ve been in love. Lately I’ve been noticing that it’s more and more popular in restaurants, which makes me happy. Unfortunately it is rather more expensive for smoked salmon than an egg. Therefore, any chance I get to make it myself I jump at. Last week salmon went on sale at the grocery store, and that was my cue. I was a happy camper for almost a week of breakfasts.
The fanciest of places also have capers, lemon, and tomato and onion slices. I’m not terribly fancy though.

Ingredients:
1 everything bagel (or whatever kind you like. Onion, wheat, regular.)
2 tbsp cream cheese
1 oz or so smoked salmon (also known as lox)

Step 1: Spread the cream cheese over the bagel.
Step 2: Rip pieces of salmon and place it around the bagel. See if you can hold yourself to only an ounce… I did but only because I wanted it to last.
Step 3: I also sprinkled lemon juice and sea salt over each half.

Crusted salmon & veggie alfredo

Still trying to use up all my freezer/pantry items, I pulled together this meal with frozen fish fillets (1 cod 1 salmon) a box of straight pasta, a can of alfredo sauce, frozen veggies, crackers, and various spices. This is a good example of what I call “kitchen improv”.
Ingredients:
2 fish fillets, ~6 oz
1 cup crushed crackers
Black pepper
Paprika
Garlic salt
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 lb pasta
2 cups frozen veggies
1 can alfredo sauce

 Step 1: Smash the crackers in a plastic bag & add spices. Coat the fish on both sides. Spray a frying pan and cook over medium heat about 10 minutes (to thoroughly thaw) then flip and cook another 10 minutes.

 Step 2: In a large pot, boil a gallon or so of water. Once boiling, add the pasta and simmer 7-9 minutes, until al dente. Add the frozen veggies and boil another 2 minutes. Drain.

 Step 3: Put the pasta back into the pot, add the alfredo sauce and stir well.

Very filling and lots of protein & Omega-3s. This is a good way to get your fish for the week without it seeming too ‘fishy’, which turns some people off. Even the salmon taste & smell wasn’t terribly strong thanks to the alfredo flavor and crust.

Salmon Latkes

When you have a mission to eat only (or at least mostly) food you already have for a month, it is certain that you will come up with some… interesting… combinations. That is exactly what I’ve decided to do, due to moving situations, I have 2 boxes of canned/boxed food and handfuls of frozen meat that I am determined to get through. Since pork chops and rice can only be tolerated so many days a week, I decided to get creative with tonight’s dinner. I had some frozen fish fillets and most of a 5 pound bag of potatoes, so I said, self, salmon patties are delightful, and latkes are good. What happens when I put a fish inside a baked potato patty? Turns out, something quite delicious happens.

Ingredients:
2 small potatoes
1 large salmon filet (8-10 oz)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups spinach
2 tbsp sour cream (optional)
2 slices old bread, torn up
2 inch square chunk feta (you can use whatever cheese you like, or none at all)
Garlic salt
Paprika
Parsley

Step 1: Wash the potatoes, poke holes all over with a fork. Microwave 6-8 minutes, until slightly soft. Then dice and boil another 8-10 minutes until mashably soft. (That’s a word now.)

 Step 2: Microwave the salmon 2 minutes per side and cut into small pieces.

 Step 3: Mash the potatoes in a large bowl. Add the salmon pieces.

 Step 4: Put all remaining ingredients into a bowl and mash together well. I just dug right in with my hands.

 Step 5: Get about 1/4 cup oil hot in a frying pan over medium heat. Form palm-sized patties with the salmon-potato mixture. Place into the oil and enjoy the sizzle. Cook about 5-7 minutes per side, until nicely browned and cooked through.

 These were delicious, it really is like a mashed potato with a slightly fishy flavor. You can add whatever other spices you like, take out the spinach, add other veggies if you want. If you want it vegetarian, just take out the cheese, sour cream and egg, and use some of the potato cooking water to hold it all together. I guess technically the salmon makes it pescatarian. Maybe lacto-ovo if you leave the egg and sour cream. You can also use bread crumbs, cooked old rice, or oats as a binding agent if you don’t want bread or the potatoes.

I topped these with salsa, sour cream, and sriracha and served over a bed of mixed baby greens. Yum!

Thai-style tilapia and pak choi

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I love Thai food, and recently came across a recipe for Thai-style steamed fish. So of course I took it and made it my own based on what I had in the house. I had just brought home some fresh pak choi (an Asian vegetable like cabbage) from the farm I’m working on. I also had one more tilapia fillet in my freezer, and a lemon in my fridge. So…
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Ingredients:
  • 1 tilapia fillet
  • 4 small bunches pak choi, rinsed and roots cut off
  • 1/2 lemon + juice
  • Garlic powder
  • Sea salt
  • Thai red chili spices
  • Olive oil
  • Aluminum foil
Step 1: Cut a square of aluminum foil, roll up the sides a bit so the oil doesn’t run out. Pour about 2 tbsp oil in, add a bit of spices. Put the tilapia on top, and another sprinkle of spice. Then squeeze half the lemon juice, and add a slice or 2 for good measure.
Step 2: Arrange the pak choi around the fish, sprinkle garlic and sea salt over it all.

Step 3: Roll up the sides and seal the top, leaving space for steam to circulate. Put in the top part of a steamer.

Step 4: Boil water underneath the steam basket. Let this cook for about 20 minutes, or until the greens are wilted and the fish is white and flakes with a fork.

The greens have a tangy bitterness from the lemon juice, and the fish’s natural flavors complement the bite of the red Thai chili spices. It smells lovely, and tastes fantastic! Plus it is only 400 calories!

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 1
  • Calories: 403.4
  • Total Fat: 30.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 55.0 mg
  • Sodium: 2,553.3 mg
  • Total Carbs: 13.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 6.6 g
  • Protein: 26.4 g

Tilapia & stir fry

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So I am still in a spending hiatus where I do not spend anything. Therefore for dinner I had to take stock of my pantry, fridge and freezer, and come up with something healthy, easy and quick. In my apartment I had:
Tilapia: 5.99 for 6 fillets = $1/fillet
Wild rice: 1.29 for 1 microwave serving
Frozen stir fry veggies: $1 for 16 oz bag
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Other miscellaneous ingredients:
Red Thai curry spice = $3.50 for a bag full
Lemon juice: $1 for 12 oz. bottle
Vegetable oil: $9 for a gallon
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Step 1: In a medium frying pan, put 2 tilapia fillets straight from the freezer, with 2 tbsp. olive oil and about 4 tbsp lemon juice. Simmer on lowest heat covered for about ten minutes or until fish turns white and bottom browns.
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Step 2: Flip once, sprinkle a pinch of spice onto the bottom. Add more oil or lemon juice if needed. Simmer another 5 minutes or so to brown the top. Always keep covered and don’t burn it. Remove to a plate and keep warm.
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Step 3: Steam the rice in the microwave for 2 minutes. In the same pan, add 1 more tbsp oil and a cup of frozen veggies. Cover and steam for about 5 minutes or until veggies thaw and soften. Add in the rice, mix well. Serve 1 fillet over half the stir fried rice.
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Total: $2 (2 fish fillets) + 1.29 (rice) + 0.20 (1 cup of veggies) + ~0.10 (spices and liquids) = $3.59 for 2 servings. Not bad!