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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Fish

Crab Cakes

Makes 10 medium cakes. You can make them larger if you wish but I find medium works best. Since I don’t add bread crumbs to the filling (just a little on the outside) the medium cakes are easier to turn. Plus I think two medium cakes are enough for a portion.

Ingredients

1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat picked over for shells
1/4 cup red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup onion finely chopped
1/4 cup celery finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay seafood seasoning
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
4 tablespoons butter

Directions

In a medium bowl, carefully pick over the crab and remove any shells. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and seafood seasoning. Toss gently.
In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, pepper, and parsley.
Add the mayonnaise mixture to the crab mixture and carefully fold in the mayonnaise being careful not to break up the crab meat too much.
Use a muffin scoop form the crab mixture into 10 patties. Lightly press the crab cakes into the panko crumbs and transfer to a platter. Chill for 30 minutes or more.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the crab cakes and cook over medium heat until golden, approximately 3-4 minutes. Turn the crab cakes over gently with a wide spatula. Cook until golden brown, crispy and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter.

Fettuccine With Lemon Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
8-10 oz fettuccine
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Bring a pot of salted water to boil.
Heat the butter in a skillet and add the lemon zest.
Drop the fettuccine into the boiling water. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain.
Add cream to the butter and lemon zest mixture. Add the pasta and lemon juice and stir until just heated through. Add the Parmesan and toss. Serve with the crab cakes.

Sauteed Spinach

Ingredients

2-10 oz packages frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium and let the spinach cook slowly until tender and silky., about 15 minutes.

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Panzanella

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small country bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small clove garlic, grated
11/2 lbs ripe, meaty tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3-1/2 cups)
Half an English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed

For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon grated garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

For the bread preparation:
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread cubes and a sprinkle of salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

For the vinaigrette:
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

For the salad:
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, mint, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Italian Style Grilled Tuna

For 2-3 servings

Ingredients

12 oz fresh tuna fillets (albacore and yellowfin, 1/2-inch thick, cut into serving pieces
1/2 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 tablespoon each of coarse salt and coarse black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for coating the tuna

Directions

Combine the lemon zest, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Drizzle olive oil over the tuna fillet and rub the herb and garlic mixture into the fish, coating evenly on all sides. Let stand 10 minutes.

Heat an outdoor grill or a stovetop grill pan.
Grill tuna steaks 4-5 minutes on each side over medium-high heat. Serve with the salad.


On these hot summer days, grilling your dinner outside instead of heating up your kitchen is a much better plan. To make a successful meal on the grill, I have a few tips that I have learned over the years that I can share with you. I can not speak about charcoal grilling – only gas grilling- because that is what I use. Be sure to purchase a grill with several different burners – mine has three. That way you can create direct and indirect cooking which will prevent overcooking or burning your food. Have a good meat thermometer handy, also. Another tool I have recently started using is a grill mat that can withstand very high temperatures and prevents your food from burning. What is amazing is that you still get grill marks. Use this mat to cook delicate foods, such as seafood or small vegetables that might fall through the grate. Just wipe clean with a wet paper towel and you are set for the next grilling session. It is called the Kona Mat and use this link to find out more.

Using the direct and indirect grilling technique is important in producing good tasting food. To cook indirectly: On a gas grill, leave one burner off and place the meat on the grate directly over the cool burner. For a charcoal grill: pile all the coals along the sides of the grill and place the food in the center, away from the hot coals. Place a metal drip pan beneath the grate where the food will sit, to collect juices as it cooks.

  Direct Heat Indirect Heat
Food placement Above flames or coals Adjacent to flames or coals
Temperature 500°F or higher 350°F to 400°F
Cooking Times 25 minutes or less More than 25 minutes
What to grill? Kabobs, tempeh, tofu, veggies, sausages, steaks, burgers and most seafood Whole chicken or turkey, ribs, roasts or leg of lamb
Bonus! Wood chips can be added to a charcoal grill for an extra smoky flavor

Often a combination of both methods is used. For example, a 1-1/2-inch-thick steak, or bone-in chicken parts can be seared or browned over direct heat for a short period of time and moved to the indirect heat area to continue cooking internally without excess browning.

For a majority of cooks, grilling means cooking a hamburger or steak. But did you know that seafood and vegetables are transformed on the grill into special meals?

Coriander-Rubbed Red Snapper with Grilled Fennel And Plums

In this recipe, I used the Kona Mat to cook delicate seafood and fruit.

For 2 servings

Ingredients
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
12-13 oz red snapper fillet, skin removed
Vegetable oil
1 fennel bulb
2 medium plums

Dressing
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 scallion, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fennel fronds

Directions

Preheat grill to medium-high with the BBQ mat on the grill.
Combine the spices in a small bowl and stir in the oil, honey, salt, and pepper.
Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Quarter the plums and slice half the fennel bulb into ½ inch slices, leaving the core on the bulb.
Drizzle the fennel slices and plum quarters with vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Coat one side of the fish with half the coriander mixture and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Place the fish with the spice mixture side down and the fennel on the BBQ mat and grill for 5 minutes. Coat the fish with the spice mixture and turn it over. Turn the fennel over and place the plums on the mat. Grill for 5 minutes more. Place the grilled fennel and plums on a serving dish and drizzle the dressing over them. Serve the grilled salad on individual plates, cut the grilled fillet in half and place on top of the grilled fennel/plum mixture.


Avocado & Shrimp Chopped Salad

Garlic bread is a nice addition to go with this salad. Recipe below.

For 2 servings

Dressing
5 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Big pinch cayenne pepper

Salad
8 oz raw shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
Juice of half a lime
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
1 ear of corn, husked and cooked
4 cups chopped green leaf lettuce
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 celery stalk, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 slices crispy cooked bacon, diced

Directions

To prepare the dressing:
Place the apple cider vinegar, cilantro, dill, shallot, garlic, dry mustard, salt, and cayenne in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk and set aside for 15 minutes. Whisk in the oil and then the sour cream. Cover the dish and refrigerate until serving time.

To prepare shrimp:
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add one teaspoon of oil and swirl it in the pan. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink. Remove to a plate.
Cut the shrimp into thirds and place in a mixing bowl. Add the diced avocado, 2 teaspoons oil, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Toss gently. Cover and chill until serving time.

To prepare the salad:
Boil or microwave corn on the cob until tender, about 3 minutes. Cut the kernels off the cob and place in a salad bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
Add the bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes, celery, and bacon. Toss Add the shrimp and avocado, lettuce and dressing; gently toss to coat. Serve in individual salad bowls.

Cheesy Garlic Bread

Ingredients

6 thick slices sourdough or Italian bread
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 cup shredded Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese

directions
Place the bread on a baking sheet. Preheat the broiler or toaster oven. Or heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the butter with garlic; mix well. Spread the butter mixture on each piece of bread and sprinkle with cheese.

Toast in a toaster oven or broil under the broiler until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown. Or bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Serve with the shrimp salad.


For every two servings:

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tablespoon fennel seed
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
4 cups thinly sliced bell peppers, all colors
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
12 oz sustainable, harpoon-caught swordfish or mahi-mahi, 2 inches thick
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add garlic, fennel seed, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and the garlic starts to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in oregano, thyme, and paprika. Add bell peppers, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 20 minutes. Add capers and vinegar and cook for 2 minutes more.

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Brush fish with the remaining tablespoon oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill the fish, turning once halfway until the flesh is opaque, 12 minutes total, depending on thickness. Transfer the fish to a clean cutting board and cut into 2 portions.

Arrange the fish over the Peperonata and top with basil.

Spaghetti Squash Cacio e Pepe

Ingredients

1 small spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Kosher salt, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400° F. Oil an 8-inch square baking dish.

Halve the squash lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard seeds from the middle of each half.
Arrange squash in the prepared baking dish, cut sides down. Bake until just tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Rake a fork back and forth across the squash to remove its flesh in strands that will look like spaghetti.
Heat the oil and butter. Add the pepper. Pour over the squash and toss. Add the cheeses and toss again.


Scallop and Prosciutto Kebabs

4 servings

You can also make a combination of shrimp and scallops if you prefer.

Ingredients

16 large sea scallops (about 1½ pounds)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
16 large basil leaves

Directions

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium. Or use a stovetop grill pan.

If the scallops still have the tough muscle that attaches them to the shell, trim it off. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels.

Whisk together the lemon juice and a hefty pinch of salt in a medium bowl until the salt has dissolved; whisk in the olive oil. Add the scallops and toss until they are well coated.

Cut the prosciutto slices in half lengthwise. Arrange the strips on a work surface and place a basil leaf in the edge of each strip. Top the leaf with a scallop and wrap the prosciutto around the scallop to enclose it. Thread 4 prosciutto-wrapped scallops onto each of 4 metal skewers. (If using wooden skewers, soak them for 20 minutes in water before threading the scallops.)

Place the skewers on the grill and cook the scallops for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until almost firm to the touch, transfer to plates and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Grilled Summer Squash

This recipe can be broiled also.

8 servings

Ingredients
4 medium zucchini, about 6 inches long and 6-7 ounces each
4 medium yellow squash, about 6 inches long and 6-7 ounces each

Marinade
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped scallions, white portion only
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

Directions

Trim the ends of the zucchini and the squash, cut them into 2-inch rounds.
Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag and add the squash rounds. Roll the bag to evenly coat in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.


Preheat a well-oiled charcoal or gas grill to medium. Or use a stovetop grill pan.
Remove the zucchini and squash from the bag and thread on skewers.
Place the skewers on the grate, close the lid, and grill until well marked, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the skewers over, close the lid, and grill on the second side until well marked, 5 to 7 minutes.

Grilled Corn On the Cob

Ingredients

4 ears fresh corn, husked
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

To Grill
Preheat an outdoor grill to high.
Combine butter, lime zest, lime juice, ground chipotle and salt in a small bowl
Place each ear on a sheet of foil large enough to enclose the corn. Spread some of the butter spread over each ear. Enclose the foil and seal the ends. Place on the grill and cook, turning frequently, for 10 minutes. Remove from the grill and let stand in the foil for 5 minutes
Carefully unwrap the corn.

To Bake
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Prepare the corn as above and place the wrapped corn on a baking sheet.
Roast the corn, turning once, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.


I can buy freshly shucked clams at my fish market, which I prefer for this type of pasta dish. Clams in the shell are fine for seafood stews but I don’t like trying to remove the shell from the clam and eat it with spaghetti. I know not everyone would agree, but this is the answer if you don’t like dealing with the shells in your pasta.

Spaghetti With White Clam Sauce

Ingredients

1 pint wild caught shucked clams with liquid (16 oz fresh, canned or frozen)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup white wine
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 oz thin spaghetti

Directions

If the clams are large, I like to chop them into smaller pieces.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the thin spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain.

Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add shallot; cook 3 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook one minute. Add wine and cook for a minute. Stir in chopped clams with their juice. Add salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat just until hot.

Add the cooked spaghetti to the clam sauce and toss in the skillet letting the pasta cook in the sauce for a few minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve in pasta bowls.

Add a green salad and some crusty Italian bread to round out the meal.



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