Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Fish

Most people know Rick Bayless from Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, his Public Television series, Mexico–One Plate at a Time and his many cookbooks. He is also the owner of multiple restaurants, including the outstanding Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, where my family ate numerous times when we lived in Chicago. I recently discovered that he developed a line of Mexican cooking sauces that are sold in most supermarkets. While the sauces have been available for a while, I just recently discovered them and find them to be delicious, authentic and so very convenient. I especially like these sauces because they are made from fresh ingredients with no preservatives, are gluten-free, and low in carbohydrates. They also come in convenient, easy to use pouches.
These sauces are so convenient when you are busy and want a good tasting dinner fast. I used one of the taco sauces for my recipe below. There are quite a few made by his company, Frontera Foods, and you can check out the rest with this link.

Key Lime Shrimp Tacos

Serves 4. Since I only wanted two servings, I made half the recipe. I also used half of the sauce and froze the unused portion for another occasion. I also changed the directions from the one listed on the package in making this dish.

Serve this entree with a salad and ranch dressing.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon avocado or vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
1 Poblano pepper, diced
1 pound peeled, deveined medium shrimp;
1 pouch Frontera Key Lime Shrimp Taco Skillet Sauce
8 tortillas (crispy or soft), warmed
Toppings: cheese, jalapenos, shredded cabbage or lettuce, tomato, avocado, etc

Directions

Heat the oil in a nonstick 10 or 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add the onion and poblano pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender, about 4 minutes. Add the sauce and let it sizzle for a minute or two and then add the shrimp. Cook and stir over medium heat until the shrimp turn pink and are just cooked through about 4 minutes.


Serve in warm tortillas with your choice of toppings.
Variations: Substitute 1 pound sea scallops or cubed firm fish for the shrimp.


Baked Halibut

4 servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, very soft
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash hot pepper sauce
2 pounds skinless halibut fillets

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking dish.
In a bowl, mix the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise, lemon juice, green onions, salt, and hot pepper sauce.
Arrange the halibut fillets in the prepared baking dish. Spread with the sauce.
Bake the halibut fillets 15-20 minutes or until easily flaked with a fork.
For a brown topping broil for 2-3 minutes. Place the fillets on individual plates and pour any sauce left in the pan over the fish. Serve immediately.

Simple Roasted Carrots

The carrots and the fish can be baked at the same temperature.

4 servings

Ingredients

6 carrots, cut into 2-inch diagonal lengths
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 375ºF.
On a baking sheet lined with foil, toss carrots with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
Roast until tender and lightly caramelized, 45 minutes. Serve with the fish.

Onions and Swiss Chard

4 servings

Ingredients

2 large bunches green Swiss chard
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large sweet onion, diced (about 2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper, divided

Directions

Wash the chard in several changes of water. Cut the stems and center ribs from the chard leaves and reserve them for soup. Stack the chard leaves and roll them lengthwise into cylinders. Cut the cylinders crosswise to make 1-inch-wide strips.
Heat oil and butter in a large heavy skillet with a cover over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook onions and garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, covered, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add chard leaves in batches, stirring until wilted before adding the next batch, and add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.


Shrimp Wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma (Saltimbocca)

2 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
12 fresh sage leaves
12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
6 pieces Prosciutto di Parma, sliced very thin
Coarsely ground fresh black pepper

Directions

Cut each piece of prosciutto in half, lengthwise. Place a sage leaf on each shrimp. Wrap one Proscuitto half around each shrimp. Refrigerate for a few hours if you have time.

Heat a stovetop grill. Coat the pan with olive oil. Place the wrapped shrimp on the grill and cook for about 4 minutes on each side. The prosciutto will get crispy. Sprinkle with the black pepper and remove to a serving plate.

Spinach and Pear Salad

4 servings

Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 medium red pears, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 celery stalk, diced
1 (6-8ounce) package pre-washed baby spinach
1/4 of red onion, sliced
Dressing
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/8 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

Directions

Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl; toss to combine.
Combine the salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Serve immediately.

Homemade Biscuits

6 servings

Use your favorite store-bought mix or my quick biscuit recipe.
I use a cast iron biscuit pan.

Ingredients

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
10 tablespoons cold butter
5 tablespoons heavy cream
2 eggs

Directions

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender. Combine the cream and eggs. Mix into the flour mixture just until combined.

Coat a 6 cup biscuit baking pan with butter-flavored cooking spray. Divide the biscuit mixture evenly among the six wells. Refrigerate the pan until ready to bake.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the biscuits in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.


Tuna Steak

2 servings

Rub
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon rosemary sea salt

Tuna
16-ounce tuna steak (1 inch thick)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt

Directions

To prepare the spice blend, grind all spices in a mini-food processor or spice grinder until they are powdery. Spread the spice mixture evenly on a large plate. I used half the rub for one tuna steak. save the remainder for another time.

Rinse the tuna fillets and pat dry. Place one side of the tuna on the spice mixture.
In a 10 inch non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Carefully place the tuna steak, spiced side down, into the skillet. A spice crust should form within 1 minute. Cook 3 minutes more. Using kitchen tongs, turn the tuna over, lower the heat to medium, and cook for 4 minutes or to your desired doneness.


To plate
Cu the tuna steak into two equal portions and place on individual serving plates. Place a handful of arugula on each plate and top with bean salad. Serve the Tzatziki sauce on the side.

Cannellini Bean Salad

Ingredients

1 (15.5 ounces) can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed ( or 2 cups cooked dried beans; directions below)
1 cup frozen and cooked or jarred in water artichoke hearts
1 cup sliced fresh grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 cups arugula

Dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions

In a serving bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients. Add the cooked or canned beans, sliced artichokes, sliced tomatoes, and red onion. Stir into the dressing. Refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving and let stand at room temperature until serving time.

How to cook dried beans

1 Pound Dried White Beans (Cannellini)
Pinch Baking Soda
Carrot, Cut In Half
1 Celery Stick, Cut In Half
1/2 Onion, Peeled And Quartered
1 Sprig Rosemary

Directions

The night before serving, rinse the beans picking out any bad ones and place in a large bowl. Cover with water, add a pinch of baking soda and let soak at least 12 hours.

The next day, drain well. Place the beans in a heavy stockpot with the vegetables and rosemary and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender about 45 minutes. Drain, remove the vegetables and rosemary sprig.

Tzatziki with Feta

Ingredients

Half of an English cucumber, unpeeled
1 1/2 cups plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup crumbled Greek feta cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon Greek seasoning

Directions

Seed and finely chop the cucumber. In a medium bowl, stir together the cucumber and yogurt. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.


Mini Crab Puffs with Remoulade Sauce

The crab puffs can be baked ahead, refrigerated and reheated just before game time.

Ingredients

1/2 pound fresh crab meat
2 tablespoons minced bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced celery
1 scallion, minced
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon crab seasoning (recommended Old Bay)
2 tablespoons almond flour or all-purpose flour

Directions

Combine all the ingredients except the crab in a mixing bowl. Mix well and then fold in the crab meat.

Cover the bowl and chill the mixture until ready to bake.

Coat a mini muffin pan with cooking spray and, using a cookie scoop, fill 15 openings to the top of the muffin cup with the crab mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 -20 minutes until cooked through and lightly golden brown.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and remove to a serving platter.

Serve with

Remoulade Sauce

1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon pickle relish
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a serving dish. Whisk until completely mixed. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

This recipe can be made ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature and bake before serving.

Ingredients

15 large mushrooms cleaned and stems removed

Spinach filling

1 scallion, minced
1 small garlic, grated
1 pkg frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
3 ounces feta cheese
1/4 teaspoon Greek seasoning or dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Olive oil

Directions

Hollow out the mushrooms and reserve the mushroom stems for another use.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place 2 tablespoons of butter in a glass baking dish and put the dish in the oven while the oven preheats.

Combine all the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stuff the caps with the filling and place in the hot prepared pan.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.Place on a serving platter.

If the Mushrooms have been in the refrigerator, bring them to room temperature for an hour before cooking.

They may need to be baked a little longer.

Mini Pepper Nachos

Ingredients

15 mini peppers
1 lb lean ground beef
2 tablespoons taco seasoning, see recipe below
½ cup of water
1 cup of salsa
Half an onion, diced
Sliced pickled jalapenos to taste
15 Mini peppers

Cheese Sauce

1 cup Velveeta light cheese, cubed
½ cup shredded Mexican blend or Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup milk

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Oil a13x9 inch baking dish.
Cut the mini peppers in half and remove the seeds. Place the halves in the baking dish.

Brown the meat in a medium skill. Add the taco seasoning and water. Simmer until the liquid evaporates. Spoon the beef into each pepper half. Place a spoonful of salsa on each pepper. Sprinkle the diced onion on top. Add slices of jalapeno to taste. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Make the cheese sauce: Place the cheeses and milk in a microwave-safe dish or measuring cup. Hear for two minutes. Stir. Return the mixture to the microwave for 30 seconds if the cheese is not melted or set aside for a few minutes and the cheese will finish melting. Stir well.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and pour the cheese sauce over the peppers and place the dish under the broiler. Broil for a few minutes, just until the top begins to brown. Watch carefully.

Taco Seasoning

Ingredients

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon of sea salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

Stir all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container.
Add 2 tablespoons taco seasoning and 1/2 cup water per pound of browned meat.


Sole Almondine

4 servings

Ingredients

For the Fish:
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 lb sole fillets

For the Sauce:
1 large or 2 small shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 lemon zested and juiced (save lemon zest for the potato recipe
1/4 chopped flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place a nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Add the almonds and toast until golden brown, about 5 and set aside.

Return the pan to medium heat and add olive oil and butter to the pan.
Put the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper, to taste. In another shallow dish, whisk together the egg and cream and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Dredge the fillets in the seasoned flour, then dip them into the egg mixture. Allow some of the excess egg to drain off, then add them to the hot pan. Fry for 2 minutes, then carefully turn the fish over to cook the other side. With a spoon, baste the fillets with the butter sauce. Repeat basting to ensure the fish remains moist. Once the other side is cooked (about 30 seconds) carefully remove the fillets from the pan to a serving platter.

Repeat with the remaining fillets if all the pieces don’t fit in the pan. Once the fillets have been removed the pan, add the chopped shallots and gently saute over low heat until translucent, about 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and finish with the lemon juice. Sprinkle the fish with the almonds and spoon the sauce over the top of the fillets. Top with the chopped parsley and serve with the potatoes and your favorite green vegetable. Mine is spinach.

CreamyLemon Potatoes

This easy recipe saves several steps in creating a creamy potato recipe.

Ingredients

1 lb gold potatoes, peeled
½ cup half & half or 1/4 cup whole milk and ¼ cup heavy cream
Kosher salt
1 lemon, zested
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Cut the potatoes into ½ inch diced pieces.


Put the potatoes in a saucepan with the cream and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are very tender and most of the liquid is absorbed about 20 minutes. Add the lemon zest and season with pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.


Though cod is not a fish found in the Mediterranean, Italians consume large quantities of it dried (called stoccafisso), and salted (called baccalà). In Venice, baccalà, creamed and spread on bread, is one of the most common and popular appetizers.
Codfish cakes are traditionally made with salt cod, which needs a day or more of soaking to soften and desalinate the fish. For the most part, though, salt cod has gone out of style, at least in North America. It’s too bad since there are so many wonderful Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and French dishes that feature it.

A simple solution is to use a light cure which gives the fish the seasoning it needs. It also helps keep the flesh firm when cooked and gives the cakes a moist texture. See the instructions below.

Sicilian Codfish Cakes

Ingredients

1 lb of cod fillets
1 teaspoon salt
1 lb potatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
Olive oil, for frying

Directions

Curing the fish

Season cod fillet all over with the salt and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
Boil and mash the potatoes and set them aside.
Rinse the codfish briefly with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Cooking the cod

Fill a saucepan with water. Add a thyme sprig and a bay leaf and bring to a boil. Carefully slip fish into the water and turn off the heat. Wait 3 minutes and test with a fork; the fish should be just done. Drain fish and let cool, then transfer to a mixing bowl and flake.

Mix the flaked fish, the potatoes, parsley, cheese, garlic, onion, pepper andeggs together well by hand. Form into 4-6 patties and place them on a sheet of waxed paper.

Dredge the patties in panko crumbs, pressing them into the fish cakes. Refrigerate for several hours.

 

Heat enough oil in a large skillet to cover the bottom of the pan. Fry the fish cakes until brown on the bottom,2-3 minutes and turn the cakes over and fry 2-3 minutes more.

Roasted Butternut Squash Noodles

Ingredients

12 oz pkg. frozen butternut squash spirals, defrosted
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400*.F

Let the noodles drain in a colander and then place them on a kitchen towel. Gently squeeze out some of the water. Toss the noodles with the avocado or olive oil and spread out on a sheet pan in a single layer.

Transfer to the oven, and roast the squash until tender and al dente, about 10 minutes, stirring the noodles halfway through.
Remove the butternut squash noodles from the over and season with salt and pepper.and serve immediately.

Cucumbers in Dilled Sour Cream

2 servings

Ingredients

Half of an English cucumber, sliced into thin rounds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 whole scallions, chopped
2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Directions

Place cucumber slices in a colander; sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine sour cream, scallions, vinegar, sugar, and dill in a mixing bowl. Add cucumber slices and toss to coat. Let salad stand for at least 5 minutes before serving, or chill for up to one day.



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