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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Grilled Tuna Au Poivre
1 tuna steak, about 8 oz; 1/2″ thick
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns, crushed
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Sea Salt to taste
Basil Parmesan Cream Sauce, recipe below
Heat an indoor grill pan over high heat. Brush the pan with the melted butter. Thoroughly pat the tuna steaks dry with paper towels.
Season the tuna steak lightly with salt and press in the crushed peppercorns on both sides of the tuna.
Grill the tuna steak for 2 minutes per each side. Give the tuna steak a quarter turn and grill two minutes. Turn the tuna steak over. Grill two minutes more. (For a total of 6 minutes.).
Place the tuna steak on a serving dish, cut in half and pour a little basil cream sauce over the tuna. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.
Basil Parmesan Cream Sauce
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light (half & half) cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a food blender, combine basil, garlic, salt and olive oil. Process for about 40 seconds, or until mixture begins to emulsify. Pour the light cream into the blender and pulse for 20 seconds to incorporate. Pour into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, be careful to not let the mixture boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and grated parmesan cheese. Set aside while you cook the tuna.
Sautéed Yellow Squash Noodles
Feel free to use cooked spaghetti in place of squash noodles.
2 yellow squash
1 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
Use the thin julienne setting on a mandoline. a spiralizer or a sharp knife to slice the yellow squash into thin strips similar to spaghetti. Next, the “noodles” need to dry out or the texture will be mushy when you saute them. Ideally, leave them on your counter on double thickness of paper towels for at least 3 hours.
If you want to prep the dish in the morning for dinner, wrap the noodles in paper towels and place them in a plastic ziplock bag. After the noodles set and lose some of their moisture, warm the olive oil and garlic in a skillet and saute the noodles just a few minutes to heat and coat with oil. Season with salt * pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve with the grilled tuna and cream sauce.
1 1 /2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
14 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large ripe beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2″ slices
1 tablespoon rinsed capers
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh herbs to taste
Combine shallots, vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil to blend.
Set vinaigrette aside.
Arrange tomatoes on a large platter. Sprinkle capers over; season with salt and pepper. Scatter herbs on top. Whisk vinaigrette again and drizzle over the tomatoes before serving.
I am sharing with you some of my most favorite and popular party foods. They will quickly disappear. Try some of them for your next get-together.
Mixed Olives, Sliced Cheese and Breadsticks
Serve with your favorite cheese, cut into slices, and breadsticks.
1 cup mixed Italian olives
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped mixed fresh herbs, (flat-leaf parsley, basil, oregano)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
To prepare the olives:
Combine the ingredients in a bowl and let sit for 1 hour. Serve at room temperature. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Deviled Eggs and Smoked Salmon
6 large eggs
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup olive oil mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
6 oz smoked salmon slices
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Place the eggs in a saucepan just large enough to hold the six eggs. Cover with cold water and place the pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and cover the saucepan.
Let the eggs rest in the hot water for 12 minutes. Drain the water from the pot and add some ice cubes and cold water to cover the cooked eggs.
Let them cool until you can handle the eggs without burning your fingers.
Gently tap the eggs in several places and remove the shells. Place the peeled eggs on paper towels to dry.
Cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks and place in a mixing bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork. Add the onion, celery, mayonnaise, mustard and salt and pepper. Mix well.
With a spoon fill each egg where the yolk had been with some of the mixture.
Place the eggs on a platter and chill.
Arrange the eggs and salmon on a serving platter. Sprinkle chives over both and serve.
To make this ahead: cook the meatballs and prepare the sauce separately. Refrigerate separately until serving time. Then reheat the sauce, add the meatballs and cook until the meatballs are hot. Pour into a serving bowl.
For the Meatballs
1 lb organic ground pork
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup almond flour
For the Sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
6 tablespoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon regular soy sauce
4 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
1 tablespoon Gochujang (red chili paste)
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
To make the meatballs:
Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
Using a cookie scoop form into 21-22 one inch balls and saute in peanut oil over medium heat until cooked through and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
To make the sauce:
Combine the sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauces, chili paste, water, sugar and arrowroot in a small saucepan. Reserve the scallions.
Whisk until combined and bring to a boil.
Simmer for five minutes until thickened.
Add the cooked meatballs and scallions to the thickened sauce and stir to coat. Heat for a few minutes. Pour into a shallow serving dish.
Serve with fresh celery and carrot sticks and thinly cut radish rounds.
Makes 8 servings.
8-ounces canned tuna
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup chopped red onion
3/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon capers, washed and drained
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, onion, parsley, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
Place the tuna in a food processor and pulse to break it up.
Turn the speed to low-speed and add the olive oil mixture, a little at a time, until the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the mixture is smooth.
Pour into a small serving bowl and chill. Serve with fresh-cut vegetables and crackers on the side.
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for the bread
1 clove minced garlic
2 large tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped oil cured Italian olives
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 baguette, cut diagonally into 1/4 inch-thick slices
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl; except the bread slices. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Lightly grill the bread slices and then brush them with olive oil. Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of the tomato mixture onto each bread slice and arrange on a serving plate.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon cold leftover brewed coffee
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Position rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F.
Use an 8 by 8 silicone baking pan or line a similar sized metal or glass baking dish with foil or parchment paper so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch. Spray the prepared pan completely with cooking spray.
Put the butter, oil and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat at 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. (Alternatively put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, not touching, the water, and stir occasionally until melted and smooth.)
Stir the brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and coffee and beat vigorously by hand until fully incorporated and the batter is thick and glossy. Add the cocoa, flour and baking soda and stir just until it disappears.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with a few crumbs, about 30 minutes (40 minutes if not using a silicone pan).
Cool the brownies in the pan on the counter. Lift brownies out of the pan by the foil, if needed. Peel off the foil and cut into 16-2-inch squares.
Store extra brownies in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Not only are there seasons for fruits and vegetables but fish and shellfish have seasons also. It is good to know that you can buy locally caught seafood that is in season near where you live or close to it. My local market is located right on the Gulf and the boats come in every day with fresh, seasonal fish. It is a pleasure to shop in such a fine market.
Here is a chart to help you buy in season fish locally.
In my area, the Gulf waters warm up in April. Along with the warm water, a host of fish appear with the temperature increase, such as Cobia, King Mackerel, Spanish Mackerel, Redfish, Scallops, Flounder, Speckled Trout, Tuna, Mahi-Mahi, Wahoo, Amberjack and Hard-Shell Crabs. Here are a few of our favorite fish dinners.
Spinach Pesto is delicious with this fish.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 fresh redfish fillets (or any white fish fillets), ounces each
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Combine the flour, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a large shallow plate.
Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towels.
Heat the butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium heat until melted.
Dredge the fish fillets in the seasoned flour on both sides and place them in the hot butter.
Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes.
Turn carefully with a metal spatula and cook for 2 minutes on the other side.
While the second side cooks, sprinkle the fish with the lemon juice and chopped parsley.
Carefully put the fish fillets on warm plates.
Serve the fish topped with Spinach Pesto, recipe below.
2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Combine the spinach, pine nuts, lemon juice and lemon peel in a processor. Lightly pulse.
With the machine running, gradually add the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy.
Stir in the Parmesan. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste. This sauce freezes well.
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces fresh baby spinach
6 large sea scallops
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning
1/4 cup heavy cream or half & half
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or thyme leaves
In medium skillet, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat.
Season the scallops with the Italian seasoning.
Sauté the scallops 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and keep warm by covering with a piece of foil.
Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in the skillet and add the garlic
When the garlic has softened, add the spinach.
Sauté the spinach until wilted.
Add the grated Parmesan, cream, salt and pepper, mix and heat until the cheese and cream are hot.
Divide the spinach mixture between two serving dishes and top each plate with 3 scallops.
Garnish the scallops with the chopped herbs.
I like to serve the kabobs over linguine dressed with olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and chopped basil.
4 metal, bamboo or wooden skewers
1 lb fresh tuna fillet (1 inch thick)—cut into 16 even-sized cubes
1 small zucchini—cut into diagonal slices
Onion slices—cut into 16 even-sized squares
2 bell peppers—cut into 16 even-sized squares
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice (plus lemon wedges for serving)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 cloves garlic—grated
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Place the tuna cubes, zucchini, onion and bell pepper in a glass baking dish.
Mix together the remaining ingredients in a small measuring cup until well combined.
Pour over the tuna and vegetables in the baking dish.
Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 1 hour, turning the mixture halfway through marinating.
Divide the mixture evenly among 4 skewers and reserve the marinade.
Cook the skewers on a hot grill for about 10 minutes until cooked through, turning and brushing regularly with the marinade.
Serve the skewers with lemon wedges.
A new month as turned the corner and you will start to find less of the warm weather foods and more of the items that grow well in cooler weather at your market. The produce that seemed most abundant to me at the market this week were carrots, sweet potatoes, pears, leeks and broccoli. Here are a few ideas on how to serve them.
Purchase sweet potatoes that are a uniform in size so that they cook evenly.
Scrub them under water and dry them with a paper towel.
Spray or rub them with oil.
Use a metal fork to poke a few holes in each potato. (This keeps them from exploding when they cook. Don’t do this too far ahead of baking or the fork holes will oxidize and turn dark.)
Put them on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F for 50-60 minutes, until soft.
Cheese: shredded cheddar/jack, crumbled feta, grated Parmesan, ricotta.
Fresh herbs and seasonings: chopped fresh basil, cilantro, oregano, chives or dill.
Meats: chili, taco meat, fajita chicken or beef, pulled pork, bacon, chopped ham, salami, mini meatballs.
Vegetables: chopped scallions or red onions; steamed broccoli, green beans, snow peas or asparagus; grilled corn; chili beans; chopped fresh tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes; sauteed spinach, mushrooms or onions; roasted red peppers; jalapenos; thawed frozen peas; chopped avocado or guacamole; coleslaw
Sauces & dressings: salsa; barbecue sauce; gravy; nacho sauce; ranch salad dressing; peanut sauce, marinara sauce; pesto.
Sweets: brown sugar, honey, maple syrup
Toasted Nuts: sunflower seeds, pepitas, pecans, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, peanuts.
Tuna, Pear and Gorgonzola Salad
- 1 small head Romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
- 3 pears – cored and diced
- 6 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 12 ounces tuna, packed in water, drained
- ½ cup peeled, grated carrots
- 1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
For the dressing: blend the oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper.
In a large serving bowl, layer lettuce, pears, blue cheese, tuna, carrots and onions. Pour dressing over the salad and toss, Sprinkle with pecans and serve the salad with a slice of the carrot bread (recipe below).
Creamy Shrimp and Vegetable Pasta
I prefer to saute the vegetables separately, so that they do not overcook before adding them to the sauce.
- 8 oz short pasta, like rotini or penne
- 12 large shrimp (16-21 size)
- 1 large leek, white and light green parts, sliced thin
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 4 teaspoons butter, divided
- 1 cup cream
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.
In a medium skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of butter, add the leeks and garlic and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the leeks and garlic to a bowl and set aside.
Add another teaspoon of butter to the skillet, add the diced zucchini and cook until tender, about 3-4
minutes. Remove the zucchini from the skillet and add it to the bowl with the leeks.
Add another teaspoon of butter to the skillet, add the tomatoes and cook about 2 minutes.
Remove the tomatoes from the skillet and add them to the bowl with the leeks and zucchini.
Add the remaining teaspoon of butter to the skillet, add the shrimp and saute them just until they turn pink, turning them over once, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and Italian seasoning.
Bring to a simmer. Add the cooked vegetables and heat gently.
When the water boils, cook the pasta al dente. Drain and add it to the skillet with the shrimp mixture.
Add the grated cheese and stir gently. Serve immediately
Carrot and Spice Quick Bread
Makes 1 loaf
- 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/3 cup butter softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup milk or almond milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
- 1/2 finely chopped walnuts
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar, beating well. Beat in the milk, egg, vanilla and orange extracts.
Stir in the carrots and walnuts.
Add the reserved dry ingredients. Mix well.
Spoon the batter into 2 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.