Archive for ‘Seafood’

May 16, 2012

Crispy honey lime tilapia

How Sweet It Is

Serves: 4

  • 4 fresh (or thawed) tilapia filets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup flour [I used whole wheat pastry]
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for frying
  • additional honey + lime zest mixed for drizzling

60 minutes before cooking,season tilapia filets with salt and pepper then lay in a baking dish or into a large ziplock bag. In a bowl, combine olive oil, honey, lime juice and zest, and crushed garlic and whisk until combined. Pour over tilapia and let marinate for an hour. Add flour [+ a bit more salt, pepper, and lime zest] to a bowl and set aside.

Heat a cast iron skillet (or a non-stick skillet) over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Dredge each piece of tilapia through the flour until you have a very light coating. Making sure the pan is hot, add tilapia to the oil and cook until flaky and crispy on each side – about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove tilapia from pan and let drain on a paper towel for a few minutes. Serve with an additional drizzle of lime + honey, then cover in blueberry lime salsa.

*Chef’s note: This had a lovely flavor, even through all my broken, burnt crust, so that says a lot. I am almost ashamed to post this icky photo when hers turned out so beautiful and golden and crisp. It is tricky to crisp something (high temps) with sugars involved without burning, but I think a better (and bigger) pan would have helped a lot in my case. And unfortunately, more oil. And a better fish turner. And smaller fillets. I didn’t make the blueberry lime salsa, but it sounds awesome.

May 15, 2012

Shrimp phad Thai

Food Network

Serves: 4-6

  • 4 ounces medium-thick flat rice noodles
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 2 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
  • 12 ounces peeled and de-veined medium shrimp
  • 3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cubed firm tofu ( about 6 ounces)
  • 5 scallions (white and green parts), 3 cut into 1/2-inch pieces, 2 chopped
  • 1  1/4 cups mung bean sprouts
  • 1/3 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped, plus additional for garnish
  • Lime wedges
  • Sriracha sauce

Place noodles in a medium bowl, add enough hot water to cover, and soak until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Whisk sugar with fish sauce and vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat until hot and add 1 Tbsp. of peanut oil. Pour eggs evenly into skillet; cook until set, about 45 seconds. Remove and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. more peanut oil in skillet over high heat. Add shrimp and season with 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Stir-fry shrimp until pink and cooked through, about 1  1/2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. peanut oil over high heat. Add garlic, shallots, and remaining 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes and stir-fry until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add tofu; cook about 2 minutes more. Add noodles, toss to coat, and cook 1 minute. Add fish sauce mixture and large scallion pieces and heat through. Stir in cooked egg and shrimp, 1 cup of sprouts and peanuts; toss until hot. Divide phad Thai among plates and top with remaining 1/4 cup sprouts, additional peanuts and chopped scallions. Serve immediately with lime wedges and sriracha.

*Chef’s note: Very very tasty! I doubled the noodles, skipped the tofu, sriracha and sprouts, subbed soy sauce for the fish sauce and added the juice of the lime in the sauce. I also used veggie oil because I discovered my peanut oil had just expired, but USE THE PEANUT OIL. It would take this dish up a notch. I also wouldn’t have minded the addition of the sprouts. Mmm!

April 2, 2012

Bacon-wrapped pineapple shrimp

Rachael Ray

Makes: 4 appetizer servings

  • 12 jumbo shrimp, deveined
  • 1/4 fresh pineapple cut into bite sized chunks or 1 (14-ounce) can pineapple chunks in natural juice, drained
  • 6 slices center-cut bacon, cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • 12 wooden toothpicks

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Holding a shrimp, nest a chunk of pineapple in the natural curve of the shrimp then wrap bacon around the shrimp and pineapple and secure with a wooden toothpick. Wrap and secure all 12 shrimp then add to the hot pan and cook 3 minutes on each side or until bacon is crisp and shrimp are opaque and firm.

*Chef’s note: Tasty, tasty, tasty. I used a whole 1.5 pounds of medium shrimp, 7 or so pieces of low sodium bacon and fresh pineapple chopped in small pieces. It was a bit tough to assemble these with smaller shrimp and short bacon, but I decided the bacon didn’t need to go all the way around; as long as everything was in one bite, who cares?! I also marinated the shrimp for about 20 minutes in Trader Joe’s “Soyaki” sauce first, which I definitely recommend, as I think it completed the dish. After reading negative reviews, I decided to precook the bacon a bit first in a skillet (until cooked a bit but still pliable), and then I finished the whole thing in the oven at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes. Easy peasy, no flipping involved! When I ran out of bacon I just used the marinated shrimp and pineapple, then just the marinated shrimp. All tasty stuff. [Another lovely plate by Ms. Kay, by the way.]
April 2, 2012

Salmon cakes with Old Bay aioli

Family Circle

Serves: 4


  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced small
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 1 rib celery, finely diced
  • 2 cans (7.5 ounces each) canned pink salmon
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1  1/4 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice


  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. grated garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery; cook 5 minutes until slightly softened. Remove to a large bowl.

Drain salmon; remove bones, if desired. Add to bowl with cooked vegetables along with bread crumbs, Old Bay, mustard, cayenne, mayonnaise, parsley and lemon juice. Combine well and form into 12 cakes, about 1/3 cup each.

In same skillet, add another 1 Tbsp. of the oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add half the cakes to the pan and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side or until browned. Repeat with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil and remaining cakes.

OLD BAY AIOLI: In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, garlic and Old Bay. Mix and serve alongside cakes.

*Chef’s note: OK, I know what you’re thinking. “These looks kinda gross.” And, to me, they kinda were. I don’t think it’s the recipe. I think I just don’t like salmon in cake form. I think I have learned that I don’t like eating things that start with me picking a plethora of fish vertebrae out of smelly cans. They say you can leave the bones in, but these things were huge! Gross. Don’t leave them in. And if you do make them, I would add lemon juice to the aioli, and don’t skimp on the mayo or the cakes will crumble a bit. My family really enjoyed these, but I didn’t even want to go through the effort of typing this out (the recipe wasn’t online, darn.), ugh. Brat moment. But, hey, I promised I would share all my culinary attempts. I think if you already like or don’t mind salmon cakes that these will take it up a notch for you. But if you’re like me and dislike salmon cakes but hoped these would turn you into a salmon-cake lover (or “tolerator”) , I’d say just stop right here. Ha ha.

March 24, 2012

Oven-“fried” fish

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 1  1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • A couple Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • A couple Tbsp. finely chopped chives
  • 1 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning or Szeged fish rub (about a palmful)
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder (about a palmful)
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder (about a palmful)
  • 1 lemon or lime, zested
  • 1  1/2-2 pounds cod from the thickest part of the fillet-cut into 8 rectangles, rinsed and dried

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Position a rack on a baking sheet. In a shallow dish, toss the panko with the melted butter. Season with the thyme, chives, Old Bay, onion powder, garlic powder and citrus zest.

Season the fish with salt. Place the egg whites in another shallow dish and beat until frothy. Coat the fish in the egg whites, the gently press into the panko mixture to coat evenly. Place on the rack-lined baking sheet. Bake the fish until the breading is a deep golden-brown, about 20 minutes.

*Chef’s note: This was pretty good. I expected a little more of a punch from so many yummy ingredients, but still a good classic breading. I was forced to use tilapia once again (between budget, family taste preferences and availability that day at the fish counter….), but I would have liked to try a sturdier fish.

March 24, 2012

Broiled tilapia with mustard-chive sauce

Giada De Laurentiis

Serves: 4


  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 4 (5 to 6-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1/4 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the fish: Preheat a broiler. Spray a small baking sheet or glass baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

Drizzle the tilapia fillets on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the fillets in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and broil until cooked through and the flesh flakes easily with a fork, about 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

For the sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, agave nectar, and mustard until smooth. Whisk in the lemon juice and chives. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Transfer the tilapia to a serving platter and drizzle with the sauce.

*Chef’s note: Meh. There was something about a cold sauce on a soft, warm fish that ended up weirding me out  a bit. And a little sauce goes a long way. But the flavors were good, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a simpler dish.

February 20, 2012

Southern-style crab cakes with cool lime sauce


Serves: 4

  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1 cup light mayonnaise, divided
  • 2 tablespoons country-style Dijon mustard, divided
  • juice of 1 lime, divided
  • 1/4 cup green onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (.7-oz) packet zesty Italian dressing mix
  • 26 round buttery crackers, divided
  • 2 (8-oz) cups lump crab meat
  • cooking spray

Prepare sauce by combining sour cream, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon mustard, and juice of one-half lime. Chill until ready to serve.

Chop onions; place in large bowl. Squeeze juice of remaining one-half lime over green onions. Stir in dressing mix and remaining each 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon mustard. Crush thirteen crackers while adding to mayonnaise mixture. Add crab meat and mix well. Shape into eight 3/4-inch thick patties (wash hands). Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Crush remaining thirteen crackers onto plate. Remove pan from heat and coat with cooking spray.

Lightly coat patties with crackers, then place in pan; cook 12–15 minutes, turning once, or until golden and thoroughly heated. Serve crab cakes with sauce.

*Chef’s note: These were very good! I don’t think the Italian dressing mix was necessary; there already was enough flavor, and I like to stay away from artificial things like that if I can. A few more Ritz wouldn’t hurt, though ;)

January 8, 2012

Baked tilapia with herb butter

Food Network

Pottery: Jim Rice

Serves: 4

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or basil
  • 8 ounces sliced mixed mushrooms (about 4 cups)
  • 4 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 6-ounce tilapia fillets

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the butter and tarragon until combined; set aside.

Lay out 4 large pieces of foil. Layer the vegetables in the center of each piece of foil, starting with the mushrooms, then the celery and scallions. Dot the vegetables with some of the herb butter (use about half) and season each portion with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Lay the tilapia fillets over the vegetables; dot with the remaining herb butter. Sprinkle each fillet with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste.

Bring the foil ends together, fold over and crimp closed on all sides to make sealed packets. Place the packets on a baking sheet and bake until the fish is cooked through but still moist, 18 to 22 minutes. Remove the packets from the oven and let sit 2 minutes before opening. Transfer the fish and vegetables to plates and drizzle with the cooking juices.

*Chef’s note: First, please note my beautiful dishware by Naples, Fla., potter Jim Rice. We also use this platter every time we serve appetizers or hors d’oeuvre (often for crab dip-yum!), and the sauce dish is great for so many things. All his pottery is super versatile, a lot for in the kitchen. Stay tuned for mugs and more from the Naples Clay Place! But really, check out his website for some awesome, durable Florida flair (and visit his studio/shop for many more choices).

The tilapia: Good. Not great, but fine. I used basil in place of tarragon (you’ll probably never see me use tarragon again). It was an easy meal that I felt good about eating, but it needed a little pizzazz. Maybe some fresh lemon juice squeezed over at the end would do the trick. As usual, do not skimp on the seasoning or you’ll have a pretty bland dish.  An advantage to this method of cooking fish is that it stays very moist even if you were to overdo it on the cooking time; you know you’ll get a cooked-through piece but not a dry one.

January 1, 2012

Smoked salmon-bagel nachos

Food Network

Serves: 4

  • 8 cups bagel chips
  • 1 container whipped cream cheese
  • Chopped scallions
  • Smoked salmon
  • Tomato
  • Red onion
  • Dill
  • Capers

Preheat oven to 475. Spread bagel chips on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Top with cream cheese and scallions. Bake for about 7 minutes or until cheese has melted and browned slightly. Top with salmon, tomato, red onion, dill and capers.

*Chef’s note: This was on the right track but a bit dry. My family wondered if it would be better to used sliced fresh bagels instead of double toasting the already-toasted bagel chips. I used more of a candied salmon out of personal preference and left off the dill and tomatoes but would add the latter next time for some more added moisture. I used a mixture of plain and “everything” bagel chips (a bit less than 8 cups).

January 1, 2012

Pan-fried cod with mustard-caper sauce

Real Simple
Serves: 4
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 6-ounce pieces skinless cod, halibut or striped bass fillet
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 large head Bibb lettuce, torn (about 6 cups)
  • 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, capers, tarragon (if using), 2 tablespoons of the oil, and 2 tablespoons water. (If necessary, adjust the consistency with more water until the sauce is spoonable.)
Heat 1 teaspoon of the remaining oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season the cod with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until opaque throughout, 4 to 7 minutes per side.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the lettuce, cucumber, and onion with the lemon juice, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Drizzle the cod with the mustard-caper sauce and serve with the salad.
*Chef’s note: The fish/sauce were OK (I didn’t make the salad). It tastes pretty much liked you’d expect it to. I used cod and left out the tarragon (blegh!), adding the equivalent of parsley. But I do love me some capers!