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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Fish

The idea for this tomato-based seafood stew comes from the fisherman from Genoa who immigrated to the US and settled in the Bay area of California. Cioppino was developed in San Francisco by these Italian immigrants who prepared a fish stew with what they had on their fishing boats from their daily catch.

Legend has it that requests were made as the boats came in for the day asking for any seafood to “CHIP IN ” to the pot; add Italian seasoning and hence the name: Cioppino (chip-EEN-o). Most food historians and cookbook authors don’t even try to fix the recipe in time, although all point to San Francisco as the place of origin. Cioppino wasn’t well-known beyond the Bay area (or at least outside of California) until after World War II. John Thorne…describes in the September/October 1996 issue of his newsletter, Simple Cooking, how he came upon a vintage (1921) cookbook that discusses cioppino in detail. That book, Fish Cookery, by Evelyn Spencer of the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries and John N. Cobb, director of the College of Fisheries at the University of Washington, offers a recipe for cioppino that had appeared three years earlier by H.B. Nidever in California Fish and Game. Thorne believes that it may be one of the first, if not the first, ever published.

In 1925 Nunzio Alioto, an Italian immigrant, set up a stall at #8 Fisherman’s Wharf to sell lunchtime provisions to the Italian laborers. His business grew and by 1932 he had constructed the first building at the corner of Taylor and Jefferson, by combining the fish stand with a seafood bar. After Nunzio passed away unexpectedly, his widow Nonna Rose and her three children took over the stall. In 1938 she installed a kitchen in the original structure and officially opened Alioto’s Restaurant. Their specialty was Cioppino.

Here is my version that I have developed over the years and one that suits my family’s taste.

Italian American Seafood Stew (Cioppino)

Serve with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread for dipping in the delicious sauce.

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups fish stock
2 cups chopped Italian tomatoes in juice, crushed
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
2 pounds firm, skinless fish fillets (such as red snapper, grouper, swordfish, tuna, mahi-mahi or halibut), cut into bite-size pieces
1 lb shrimp, deveined
1 lb sea scallops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup white wine
2 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed and soaked to remove the sand

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch Oven over medium-high. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Sauté 10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, bay leaf, Italian seasoning, fish stock, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer the sauce for about 30 minutes.

Add the wine to a large deep skillet and bring to a boil. Add the clams, turn the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Remove the clams as they open to a covered bowl. Discard any clams that do not open. Strain the juices in the skillet through a fine mesh colander. Set aside the clams and the strained cooking liquid.

Next add the fish pieces and shrimp to the tomato sauce, pushing them down into the liquid a little. Cover the pot and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the scallops and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the opened clams and strained wine and heat for a minute or two.

Immediately scoop the stew into large bowls, garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with Italian bread.

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Serve with a green vegetable or a mixed green salad.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 (6-oz) salmon fillets, skin removed and patted dry with paper towels
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes (seeds removed)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon prepared basil pesto
Thin Spaghetti, cooked

Directions

In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Season salmon all over with salt and pepper.

When the oil begins to shimmer, add the salmon skin-side up and cook until deeply golden, about 6 minutes.

Turn over and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to low and add the butter. When the butter melts, stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the shallot and cook until tender.

Add the chopped tomato and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes soften.

Stir in the heavy cream, parmesan, and pesto and bring mixture to a simmer.

Reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

Return the salmon back to the skillet and spoon the sauce over the fish. Simmer until the salmon is cooked through, about 2-3 minutes more.

Place some cooked spaghetti on each serving plate and place the salmon on top. Pour the sauce in the skillet over the fish and spaghetti.


Italian Style Crab Cakes

I use Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset Blend which is a combination of basil, oregano, red bell pepper, garlic, thyme, fennel, black pepper, and anise. You can also use dried Italian seasoning.

Ingredients

1 lb fresh lump crabmeat, cleaned and shells removed
2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
1 shallot, minced
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Tuscan blend seasoning or salt-free dried Italian seasoning
⅓ cup olive oil mayonnaise
2 tablespoons homemade or store-bought basil pesto
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
8 thin tomato slices

Lemon Butter Aioli

2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove small garlic minced or grated
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Make the aioli
Whisk the melted butter with the ½ cup mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, pinch of cayenne, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl until smooth and combined, cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Make the crab cakes
In a large bowl, mix together all crab the cake ingredients except the oil and the tomatoes. Using 1/3 cup mixture for each, shape into eight 3-inch patties.

In 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat until hot. Add patties; cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Drain on paper towels.

To serve place each crab cake on a tomato slice and top each cake with a tablespoon of Lemon Butter Aioli.


Filet Mignon

Two 4-ounce filet mignon, (1-inch thick)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper

Asparagus

½ lb asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Creamy Garlic Shrimp

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 large shrimp deveined, tails removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dry white wine or low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
1 tablespoon freshly shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

For the asparagus:

Oil a baking dish that will fit the asparagus. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. Place the dish in the oven about 10 minutes before you are ready to cook the steak.

For the steaks:

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator at least 20-30 minutes before cooking. Season the steaks liberally with salt and pepper. Place a small heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the oil and swirl the pan to coat the surface. When the oil shimmers, add the steaks and don’t move them for 3 minutes. Gently work a spatula under the steaks and turn them over. Cook for another 3 minutes and place the skillet in the oven with the asparagus. Cook for 5 minutes and remove the steaks to a serving dish to rest. Let the asparagus cook for another 5 minutes.

Turn the oven to broil and move the oven rack closer to the broiler.

For the shrimp:

In a second small skillet, heat the butter; add the garlic, sauté one minute.
Pour in the white wine (or broth), and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the cream and continue simmering, while stirring. Add in the parmesan cheese; allow to melt in the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
Add the shrimp and cook until just pink on one side, about 1 minute; turn the shrimp over and cook until pink; about 1 minute. Place the shrimp and sauce on top of the steaks and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve the asparagus on the side.

Broiled Tomatoes

2 servings

Ingredients

1 large beefsteak tomato, halved
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat broiler. Arrange tomato halves, cut side up, in an oiled baking dish.
Mix garlic, parsley, and olive oil; pour over tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese.
Broil 5 inches from the heat for 3 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Serve.


Depending on where you live you’ll find everything from the first apples of the season to fresh broccoli, pumpkin and other squashes, grapes, cauliflower, root vegetables, melons, and sweet potatoes to just name a few. Incorporate these foods throughout your menu: try apples in your pancakes, stuff, and roast an acorn squash, add grapes to your chicken salad, make broccoli or cauliflower soup or add roasted root vegetables to your homemade pizza. There are endless possibilities.

Salmon Saltimbocca

2 servings

Ingredients

Olive oil
2 salmon fillets about 6 oz each, skin removed
Salt & pepper to taste
2 slices prosciutto
4 sage leaves

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Pat the fish dry with paper towels and place in an oiled baking dish. Sprinkle the salmon with salt & pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Lay two sage leaves on the non-skin side of the fillets and place a slice of prosciutto on top of each fillet.

Tuck the edges of the prosciutto underneath the sides of the salmon. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake the salmon for 10 -12 minutes.

Roasted Broccoli With Creamy Italian Dressing

Ingredients

1 large head of broccoli (4 stalks)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Dressing

1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Pinch of sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

To make the dressing:

Whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, dried seasoning, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in the parsley and cheese. (The dressing will keep, refrigerated, up to 1 week.)

For the roasted broccoli:

Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalk and slice into 2-inch pieces.
Place the broccoli florets on an oiled baking sheet large enough to hold them all in a single layer. Sprinkle with the salt and red pepper flakes. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.
Remove the broccoli from the oven and.serve with the dressing.

Garlic Butter Sautéed Rutabaga or Potatoes

Rutabaga is a great fall root vegetable to serve. If you don’t care for this vegetable substitute Yukon gold potatoes in the recipe below,

2 servings

Ingredients

1 ¼ lb rutabaga or Yukon gold potatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
Chopped parsley for garnish

Directions

Peel the rutabaga. Trim the ends, and then cut into 1-inch cubes. Put the rutabaga in a large pot and cover with cold water.

Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat and cook until just tender, but not soft or mushy, about 20 minutes.
Drain the rutabaga in a colander and then place on paper towels for a few minutes to dry.


.Heat the butter in a medium skillet and add the garlic. Cook for a minute. Add the dried rutabaga cubes, salt, and pepper to taste. Saute the cubes until brown and crispy, turning them over several times, about 15 minutes.


Meunière refers to both a sauce and a method of preparing fish. The word itself means “miller’s wife”. To cook something à la meunière is to first dredge the fish in flour and then saute in butter, chopped parsley, and lemon.

The first time Julia Child ate sole meunière was in 1948 at La Couronne in Rouen, France. Rumor has it this is the dish that transformed her into a French cook.

Unlike a lot of classic French cuisine, sole meunière requires almost no advance preparation and very little time at the stove. It is one of the quickest dinner preparations and you probably have flour, salt, pepper, butter, and lemon on hand. All you need is the fish. That fish does not have to be Dover sole, especially given that in recent years, its sustainability has become an issue (not to mention the fact that it is very expensive). Other flat, white, flaky fish will taste delicious when pan-fried and smothered in butter.

West Coast Dover Sole is a great alternative. Unlike the European Dover Sole, West Coast Dover Sole is a member of the flounder family. It is rated as a Best Choice by Seafood Watch and comes from Astoria, Oregon, a small fishing town located at the mouth of the Columbia River just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean.

Sole Meunière

I use West Coast Dover Sole in this recipe. Unlike the European Dover Sole, West Coast Dover Sole is a member of the flounder family. It is rated as a Best Choice by Seafood Watch and comes from Astoria, Oregon, a small fishing town located at the mouth of the Columbia River just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. It is available for online purchase from Sea To Table.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

4 small sole or flounder fillets, about 12 ounces total
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup flour (or cornstarch for gluten-free)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 lemon, cut into slices
Chopped parsley

Directions

Gently rinse and pat dry the fillets with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish in flour on both sides, shaking off excess flour. Place on a plate and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium/high heat until shimmering, about 2 minutes, then add the butter and stir together. When the butter stops foaming (about 40 seconds), add the fish and pan-fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Carefully turn the fish over with a wide spatula and cook until done, another 2-3 minute, adding the lemon slices during the last 20 seconds of cooking. Remove the fish to a serving plate and pour the browned butter and lemon sauce over the fillets. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Italian Baked Tomatoes

2 servings

Ingredients

1 large beefsteak tomato, halved horizontally
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Place tomatoes cut-side up in a baking pan. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with oil. Bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Zucchini Fritters

Ingredients

2 medium zucchini
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/3 cup flour (or gluten-free or low carb flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup crumbled Greek feta
4 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
Olive oil, for cooking

Directions

Place shredded zucchini in a colander and sprinkle the salt over it, tossing well to evenly distribute the salt. Allow the zucchini to drain for at least 30 minutes, and longer if possible. After it has drained, place zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out all excess water. Place the zucchini in a mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients, except the oil. Mix well.

Heat a stovetop griddle or a large skillet. Brush with olive oil. Dip a 1/4 cup measuring cup or scoop into the batter, level off. Drop the batter into the pan and gently push it into a flat pancake shape with the back of a metal spatula. Cook for 5 minutes adjusting the heat up or down as needed, then turn the fritters over and cook for another 5 minutes until crispy. Add more oil to the pan as needed to prevent sticking.
Drain the zucchini fritters on a paper towel before serving.


Scallops & Shrimp In Lemon Butter Sauce

Serve over rice and add a green vegetable.

Ingredients

1 pound large sea scallops
1 lb large (16-20) shrimp, shells and tails removed and deveined
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 large finely diced shallot
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Wash and pat the seafood dry with paper towels.
Heat the butter and olive oil together in a large deep skillet. When the butter has melted, add the shallot, lemon juice, and chives. Simmer for a minute. Add the shellfish in a single layer. Cook about 1-2 minutes or as soon as the bottom of the shrimp turn pink, Turn the shellfish over with tongs and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Grind fresh black pepper over the fish and serve the shellfish and sauce over rice.

Italian Sausage & Pepper Frittata

Serve with a tomato a salad and your favorite rolls.

Ingredients

1 lb sweet Italian pork sausage, cut into one-inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove
8 whole eggs whisked
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh basil for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet
Add the sausage slices and brown evenly. Add the crushed red pepper spice, onion, and garlic. Saute. Add the peppers and cook until softened. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the beaten eggs over the sausage mixture slowly to cover.
Top the egg/sausage mixture with shredded cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the eggs are set and edges begin to turn golden brown.

Garnish with fresh chopped basil once the frittata has baked.
Let it sit to cool a bit, and then cut into serving pieces.

Chicken Divan

Serve with rice or buttered noodles and sautéed carrots.

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head broccoli, stems removed and florets cut in half
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour or cornstarch or arrowroot
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool slightly.

Place the broccoli into a large pot, cover with salted water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until barely tender, 2–3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Rub the inside of a deep 2-quart casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter; set aside.
Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually pour in stock and cream while whisking constantly. Cook until very thick, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper and 1/2 cup of the cheese; stir until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Remove cheese sauce from the heat and let cool slightly.
Arrange the broccoli in the prepared dish in a single layer and place the chicken evenly over the top. Pour the white sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes.



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