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America is a melting pot that was formed by the hard-working people who migrated here from lands as far east as China and Japan, as far north as Russia and Europe. They utilized American supplies and prepared them in ways that they had prepared them in their homeland. True American food is a collection of these culinary traditions passed down from generation to generation”.Each culture brought its cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America.

Gullah cuisine originated in the Gullah-Geechee community. These West African Slave Descendants farmed the rice plantations of the Lowcountry back in the 1700s. The Southern region now embraces its traditional food customs. Gullah Recipes are based on rice, simmered vegetables, and fresh seafood. Specifically, oysters, shrimp, grits, and okra are commonly incorporated. These beloved, cultural dishes boast a rich history and even richer flavors.

Crab cakes are popular in the Lowcountry, as blue crabs are abundant off the Carolina coast. While there’s nothing highly unusual about the way crab cakes are done here—the name is really to distinguish them from Maryland crab cakes, which are (presumably) sourced from the Chesapeake Bay and tend to use Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard in their preparation—the typical way of doing these in Charleston is with lots and lots of fresh lump crab meat (and very little filler), some mayo, herbs like parsley, dill, or tarragon, and often a dash of hot sauce or cayenne for a little kick; then they’re almost always pan-fried/seared.

Shrimp, crab, peas, rice, okra, and greens – these are some of the nuts and bolts of Gullah dishes. Descendants of enslaved West Africans, the Gullah people have been preparing their recipes for centuries, with many of the dishes, rooted in a culture that is thousands of years old.

The cuisine of the Gullah, who still maintains a presence in South Carolina’s Lowcountry and sea islands, relies upon the gifts of land and sea. The ingredients are locally sourced in season in keeping with the ways of old. Okra soup, purloins (seasoned dishes of rice and meat), seafood soups, red rice, garlic crabs, and “Reezy Peezy,” a simple mainstay made from stewed field peas, are some of the delicious dishes that can be enjoyed today, thanks to the culinary traditions kept alive by this remarkable culture.

Though most Gullah cooking happens in the privacy of family kitchens, there is a small treasure trove of establishments where you can sample these special foods. Restaurants with dedicated Gullah menus are rare, so it’s likely you’ll find Gullah dishes mingled in with Southern or soul food fare. Click here to learn about these distinctions. Most Gullah-owned restaurants are modest and no-frills, but that’s part of the experience. Fancy is fine, but if you want a true taste of South Carolina’s culinary heritage, seek out these restaurants and eat the Gullah way.

Version One

I made this version because it is different from my usual recipe. It is delicious.

Charleston Grill 

Ingredients

Crab Cakes

1 pound crab meat

1 egg white

1/2 lemon, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2  cup fresh breadcrumbs or panko

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

Butter or olive oil, to cook

Sauce

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

6 shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut into thin strips

10 red pear tomatoes

10 yellow pear tomatoes

2 limes, juiced

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh dill.

Directions

Crab Cakes

Mix together the mayo, salt, pepper, egg white, zest, juice, chives, and thyme. Fold in the crab meat. Add pano crums. Add just enough for the mixture to hold together.

Form mixture into patties and refrigerate for several hours, if possible.

Saute in butter or oil until crisp and golden on both sides.

Sauce

I made half the amount of sauce because it seemed to be too much for us.

1. Heat shallots in oil, then add shrimp and cook.

2. Add remaining ingredients and heat through.

3. Serve warm over crab cakes.

Version Two

Charleston Crab Cakes

Ingredients

1/2 cup minced red onions

1/3 cup minced red bell pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1lb lump or jumbo lump crabmeat (picked over for shells and drained of any liquid)

3/4 cup panko crumbs

2 teaspoons salt or to taste

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Place onions, bell pepper, tarragon, and mayonnaise in a mixing bowl and combine. Gently fold in the crabmeat. Add the panko and season with salt, white pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes. The panko will absorb some of the moisture and the mixture will stay together.

Layout a large piece of plastic wrap on a clean counter surface. Place half of the crab mixture on it and use a spatula or a spoon to form it into a tube about 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Bring the wrap-up over the crab and roll the crab mixture up. Twist the ends to close. Pierce any air pockets with a toothpick or skewer. Twist the ends even tighter to compress the crab mixture. Tuck under the ends of the wrap and place the tube on a plate. Repeat with the second half of the crab cake mixture. Place the tubes in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.

When ready to cook, Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Cut the tubes of crabmeat into 1 1/4-inch-thick cake.s. Gently remove the plastic wrap, leaving the cakes in nice cylinders.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan (non-stick works well here) over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking. Gently place 4 of the crab cakes in the pan and sear for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Gently turn the cakes over and sear the other side until golden brown. Place them on a baking sheet and into the oven to keep warm. Wipe the pan, add the remaining olive oil and repeat this process for the other 4 crab cakes. (If you have a big enough pan, you can cook 6 or 8 of them at the same time and skip the warming oven, but the cakes need room to sear properly and be turned so be careful not to crowd the pan).


Mahi Mahi

Ingredients

3 ¼-inch slices of red onion from a large onion, cut in half

8 (6ounces) mini sweet bell peppers, seeded and quartered

1 clove garlic, grated

1 teaspoon fajita seasoning or taco seasoning

2 Mahi Mahi fillets about 5 ounces each

¼ cup salsa

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Avocado oil

1 lime

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

Heat one tablespoon of avocado oil in a medium skillet. Add the sliced onions and peppers.

Drizzle a teaspoon of oil in the bottom of a small baking dish.

place the mahi-mahi pieces on top and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon and drizzle with butter, top with sliced lemon, and sprinkle with the parsley and cilantro, cover and bake at 350 for about 30 mins or slightly firm to touch.

Black Bean And Corn Saute

Ingredients

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/21 a small onion, finely chopped

1 cup cooked with cooking liquid or canned black beans

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 cup canned green chiles, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 cup fresh corn kernels

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and very soft, about 10 minutes.

Drain the black beans, and reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid. Add the beans, the reserved bean liquid, and the remaining ingredients to the saucepan; cover, raise heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a serving dish. Serve immediately.


This is a refreshing dinner on a hot summer day. Make the extra salmon even if you only need two servings for dinner. Leftover Salmon has many uses..Salmon

Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh dill
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 lemon
4 fresh salmon fillets, about 6 oz each
½ teaspoons salt

Directions

Mix the extra virgin olive together with the black pepper, the chopped fresh dill, and fresh oregano together in a non-metallic bowl. Stir well then add in the zest and juice of the lemon.
Place the salmon fillets into the marinade and turn them to coat. Set them aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
Once the salmon has marinated, place a heavy paced frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat and allow it to get hot.
Season the salmon fillets with the salt and then place the salmon presentation side down into the pan.
Cook undisturbed for 3 minutes. Carefully flip the salmon and cook for a further 3 minutes.

Greek Salad
Serve with warmed pita bread

Dressing

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon sugar or sugar substitute
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice

Salad

4 cups torn romaine lettuce
1 small bell pepper, diced
1/4 of red onion, sliced
Half English cucumber, sliced
1 medium tomato, diced
12 kalamata olives,
4 pepperoncini peppers
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions

Pour all the dressing ingredients into a large jar and shake well.
Place the jar in the refrigerator for a few hours to blend the flavors.
Combine the Greek salad ingredients in a large serving bowl. Pour half of the dressing over the salad and toss. Add more dressing if desired.


Baked Stuffed Shrimp with Crab

Serves 2

Crab Filling
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 scallion, chopped
F garlic clove minced
1 teaspoon grated zest and 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon seafood seasoning (Old Bay)
8 ounces crabmeat, picked over for shells

Shrimp
12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied
Panko crumbs

Pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Coarse ground black pepper
Teo -2o z egg fettuccine pasta nests

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine the crab filling ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
Place the butterflied shrimp in a baking dish just large enough to hold the shrimp.
Top each shrimp with the filling [about 1 tablespoon for each. Sprinkle panko crumbs over each shrimp.

Can be prepared ahead and refrigerated until the time you cook. This is a great dish for entertaining because it can be made in advance, plan on 6 shrimp per person.

Bake until shrimp are pink, 20 to 25 minutes.

For the pasta
In the drained pasta pot, melt the butter and add the cheese and pepper. Add the drained pasta and toss.
Place a pasta nest on each serving plate and top with the shrimp.

Serve with Garlic Sauteed Spinach

 


Italian Style Sea Bass

Ingredients

12 oz Chilean sea bass, cut into 2 portions
1 fresh lemon squeezed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 minced garlic clove
2 pats butter
Salt, pepper to taste
1 tablespoon each fresh parsley, basil, minced
1/4 cup or more of Italian flavored bread crumbs

Directions

Oil a baking pan large enough to hold the fish.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
Lay the Sea Bass skin side down in the pan.
Whisk the lemon juice with the dill, salt, pepper, parsley, basil, and garlic together.
Drizzle over each piece of fish, reserving some for the top.
Top each fillet with Italian bread crumbs and a pat of butter…
Bake in a preheated oven for around 20 minutes.

Baked Tomato Slices

Ingredients

1 large beefsteak tomato
2 ¼ inch thick slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
Several fresh basil leaves
Olive oil

Directions

Cut the tomato in half horizontally. Place them I cut the dude up in a small baking dish.
Top with mozzarella and basil. Drizzle with oil.
Place in the oven for the last 5 minutes of the fish’s baking time.

Italian Style Rice And Peas

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 green onion minced
1 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup long-grain rice
1 cup chicken stock
1 /2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Sauté green onion on a medium saucepan with 1 tablespoon of oil until soft. Add garlic and rice. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the broth and bring the mixture to a boil.
Lower the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook 15 minutes. Add the peas and parsley. Cover the pan and cook 5 minutes more. Stir in the cheese snd serves with the fish.


Scallop and Prosciutto Kebabs

The shellfish and squash kebabs can be grilled on a sheet of heavy-duty foil to prevent sticking.

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 on the edge of each strip. Top the loaf 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.


Salmon

2 servings
Ingredients

2 salmon filets (6-7 oz. each), skin om
2 thin pats of butter
2 teaspoons honey

Topping
1/2cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Sp Coat an 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray
Place the pats of butter in the baking dish and place the salmon fillets on top skin side down. Brush each fillet with a teaspoon of honey.


Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Divide the mixture in half and press onto the salmon fillets.
Bake the salmon for 15-19 minutes.

Boils Potatoes With Herb Butter

Ingredients

2 lbs new potatoes
1 teaspoon salts
Sauce
¼ cup butter
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Wash the potatoes well. Cut each in half. Cover with cold water, add the salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
Drain the potatoes in a colander. In the same cooking pot add the sauce ingredients and simmer over low heat until the butter melts, Add the potatoes, stir well and let heat for a minute or two.

Dilled Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

2 large cucumbers, peeled
2 large green onions, diced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh dill, finely chopped
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar

Directions
Halve cucumbers lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out and discard seeds. Slice crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick pieces. Place in a colander set over a bowl, and toss with 2 teaspoons of salt; let stand for 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, dill, vinegar, green onions, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Remove cucumbers from the colander, and pat dry with paper towels. Add to bowl with t dressing; toss to combine.


Seafood Salad Stuffed Shells

Yield: 28 Shells

Ingredients

1 box jumbo pasta shells
1/2 lb. cooked shrimp
1/2 lb. lump crabmeat
10 oz cooked lobster
1/2 cup finely diced celery
½ cup finely diced red bell pepper
½ cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh minced dill
Chopped parsley for garnish

Directions

Cook pasta shells per manufacturer’s instructions in liberally salted water.
Drain the shells and spread them out on kitchen towels to cool.


Combine the remaining ingredients to make a seafood salad. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of seafood salad into each jumbo pasta shell. Place the filled shells on a platter. Sprinkle the shells with chopped parsley.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makeup to 24 hours in advance.

Focaccia

Ingredients

1 lb pizza dough-my recipe
Olive oil
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
Coarse sea salt
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves or rosemary
Coarse black pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Oil a 4-quart baking dish or pam.
Spread the pizza dough out in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap.
Let rise until the dough rises almost to the top of the pan.
Top the dough with cherry tomatoes evenly spaced over the dough. Sprinkle with the remaining ingredients and drizzle lightly with olive oil
Bake 400 degrees F for 15 -20 minutes until golden brown.
Cool and cut into squares to serve.

 


Tacos

I served these tacos with corn and tomato saute.

For 2 servings

Ingredients

4-6 inch flour tortillas
8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon olive oil
⅓ cup jarred salsa
1 tablespoon canned diced green chilies
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup prepared coleslaw {My Recipe}
Jarred jalapeño pepper slices

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. You will need a taco holder.
Place the four tortillas in the holder. Set aside while you prepare the shrimp.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil and then add the shrimp. Cook until just beginning to turn pink. Tuen the shrimp over. Add the salsa and green chilies. Mix well and tune the heat to low. Let the shrimp simmer until completely pink.

Place the tortillas in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the holder and fill the tacos.
In each shell place 2 shrimp, several tablespoons of cheese, coleslaw, and jalapeno slices. Serve in the holder.

Note
I like using a taco holder because it makes it so much easier to bring the food to the table and each person can take their taco without it all falling out.


Sesame Ginger Tuna Fillets And Green Beans

Sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cloves garlic pressed
1 tablespoon ginger freshly grated

Tuna
1 teaspoon store-bought Asian Spice rub mixture, see below
2 Yellowfin Tuna fillets, wild-caught, (about 6 oz each)
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 cup cooked green beans

Directions

In a bowl mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, minced garlic, and ginger. Set to the side.

Rinse and pat dry the tuna steaks. Season with the rub mixture and let rest for 15 minutes.

Heat a skillet to high heat with the oil.

Place tuna in the skillet and cook, uncovered, 4 to 6 minutes per ½-inch thickness (6 to 9 minutes for the ¾-inch-thick steaks) or until fish begins to flake when tested with a fork but is still pink in the center, turning once during cooking. Adjust the heat as needed if the skillet gets too hot.

Arrange the cooked green beans on two plates and top each with a tuna fillet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the sauce over each serving of fish..
Serve the remaining sauce as a dipping sauce

Note: The Asian spice rub I use contains equal amounts of
salt, brown sugar, red chili flakes, sesame seeds, ginger, and garlic.

Cucumber And Radish Salad

Ingredients

2 cucumbers
Half a white onion, sliced
6 large radishes
Kosher salt

Dressing
½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon dried dill

Directions

Peel the cucumbers and slice into rounds. Place them in a colander. Add the sliced onion and 1 teaspoon of salt. Let it drain for 30 minutes.
In a serving dish combine the ingredients for the dressing. Slice the radishes thin and add to the dressing along with the cucumber slices and onion. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.



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