Seafood


This tasty appetizer was modified from Cooking Light’s version.  The cakes?  Crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, delicious throughout.  The salsa?  Sweet and crunchy and salty and spicy and delectable.  One of my favorite foods ever, this salsa-cake combo would work well with lump crab meat or chicken, too, and if they fall apart too easily in a skillet, just bake or broil them.  They may not yield a super-crispy crust, but they’ll still taste fantastic.

Shrimp Cakes with Corn and Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

Cakes:

  • 1 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, reduced-fat
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (at least)
  • 2-4 teaspoons hot sauce (Cholula is great)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups panko, divided
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Salsa:

  • 1 cup corn, grilled and cut off the cob (or frozen and thawed, if necessary)
  • 2 avocados, only slightly ripe and peeled and diced (if too ripe, they won’t hold their pretty cube shape)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 jalapenos, finely chopped (depending on heat preference)
  • 1 Roma tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preparation

  1. To prepare cakes, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Sauté bell pepper about 3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and sauté for about a minute.
  4. Place mixture in a large bowl and set aside.
  5. Place shrimp in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped.
  6. Add shrimp to the pepper mixture.
  7. Add green onions through egg to the shrimp.  Stir well.
  8. Stir in cilantro and 1/4 cup panko.
  9. Divide shrimp mixture into about 10 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.
  10. Dredge both sides of patties in remaining panko.
  11. Cover and freeze for at least an hour (they’ll fall apart too easily if this time is reduced, and they can be frozen for a month or two).
  12. To prepare salsa, combine corn and remaining ingredients; stir gently and set aside.
  13. Heat pan over medium-high heat and coat with canola oil.
  14. Add half of the cakes to pan; cook about 4 minutes on each side or until nicely browned.
  15. Remove cakes from pan; cover and keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining cakes.
  16. Serve salsa with shrimp cakes.

Yields 10 cakes

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Corn, Green Onion, & Jalapeno Prep

Corn, Green Onion, & Jalapeno* Prep

Scallops with Corn Relish

Scallops with Corn Relish

We first made this in late August with farmers market corn.  The relish, which could be used with tacos, chicken, even pork, is best with fresh corn, but it’s doable with high quality frozen extra sweet niblets (or, if you can find some, out-of-season corn on the cob).  Simply char the thawed corn in a skillet over medium-high heat, or use Trader Joe’s Fire-Roasted Corn, a tasty alternative.  We’re addicted to scallops, so we’ll eat them with with any kind of corn–especially when we’re longing for summer on chilly days like today…

Ingredients

  • 2 green onions, trimmed
  • 3 ears of corn, in husks (but with some of the outer layers removed)
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced lengthwise
  • 1  tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound large sea scallops
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Roast onions, corn, and jalapeño for 15 minutes, or until onions and jalapeño are slightly (or even mostly, if desired) charred, turning/rotating at least once, on a baking sheet.
  3. Let corn rest on the sheet for about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Husk the corn and prepare a grill (a grill pan on medium high heat works just fine).
  5. Grill the corn just until it’s charred in some spots–about 3-5 minutes, turning often.
  6. Cut the corn off the cob.  Using a knife and large bowl is my preferred method, but electric knives or corn strippers do the trick, too.  Put corn in a medium bowl.
  7. Finely chop the green onions and jalapeños.  Add to the corn.
  8. Carefully toss corn mixture with tomato through pepper.  Add additional salt and pepper as necessary.  Set aside.
  9. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  10. Pat scallops with paper towels to be sure they are as dry as possible.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  11. Sear until nicely browned (about 2 minutes per side, turning ONLY once).
  12. Serve scallops atop the corn relish.

Yields about 4 entrée servings; about double if served as a first course

*While using all of these jalapeños would have been wonderful, one, with pith and seeds, was enough–even for our spicy palates.

We had takeout from Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak, & Stone Crab a few weeks ago in Chicago.  Only my third experience with these mighty, sweet, delicious claws, stone crabs are my new best friend.  We also dined on them a few months ago in Clearwater Beach’s Ward’s Seafood Market.  Nearly all markets cook the claws for you, and since they’re best cold, all we needed to do was pound them with a hammer and devour the meat.

Joe's Stone Crab Take Out

Joe's Stone Crab Take Out

At $43 for just five large claws (about one pound) at Joe’s, these suckers are a pricey treat.  One pound typically serves just one person–for lunch (but only if you add other food, like salad, and bread, and some veggies, and dessert).  Expect to pay about $75 on yourself to munch on these crabs and get full at Joe’s.  And expect it to be completely worth it.

Just in case you’re interested in how these claws are acquired, watch this fisherman snap off a claw and throw the crab back in the water.  Unlike other shellfish, you can enjoy them without having to kill them.

Fish paper is so tasty.

Bundle veggies and fish tightly in parchment paper, make them look pretty, and call the dish en papillote–just to sound fancy, French.  We often just refer to this as fish paper.

This is seriously one of the best dishes we’ve made in quite some time.  I can’t remember the last time I had fish so tender and moist (and we even used frozen, bagged, mediocre-at-best looking cheap fish).  I’m sure we’ll try this with chicken, too.

Ingredients

  • 2 rectangular pieces of parchment paper (about 8×11)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tilapia fillets (or any mild, flaky fish)
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup onion, julienned
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup summer squash, julienned
  • 1/4 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1/4 cup tomato, diced
  • 4 jumbo shrimp, thawed, peeled, deveined, and with tails removed
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth, low sodium/fat, divided
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
Tilapia, Pre-Oven

Tilapia, Pre-Oven

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 4oo°.
  2. Season the fish and shrimp with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Fold each of the two pieces of parchment paper in half lengthwise, then spread it out on the counter.
  4. Cover each center with cooking spray.
  5. Divide all veggies in half.
  6. Place the peppers and onions in the center of each rectangle.
  7. Top each with a fillet of fish.
  8. Top the fish with garlic and then the lemon, squash, carrots, and tomatoes.
  9. Add two shrimp to each bundle.
  10. Pour half the broth and olive oil over each.
  11. Throw a slab of butter on each.
  12. Add more salt/pepper to the ensemble, to taste.
  13. Tightly seal the bundle by folding, twisting, or even adding another piece of parchment to the top.  Be sure it’s well sealed.
  14. Place the two bundles in a baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily and the shrimp are cooked.
Tilapia, Cooked

Tilapia, Cooked

We also steamed broccoli with salt, pepper, lemon, and crushed red pepper as a side and beforehand ate a salad with baby greens, garbanzo beans, hot pepper rings (the hotter, the better), tomatoes, balsamic, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and garlic.

Baby Greens, Garbanzo Beans, and Pepper Rings Salad

Baby Greens, Garbanzo Beans, and Pepper Rings Salad

Yields 2 servings

Pre-Oven Shrimp Pizza

Pre-Oven Peppered Shrimp, Garlic, & Feta Pizza

We made pizza last night.  With a little leftover feta, a mound of basil, frozen shrimp, and a few veggies, we bought some crusts and went at it.  The sure-it’s-gonna-be-awesome-veggie turned out mediocre at best while the weird shrimp amalgamation and the “Where’s the sauce, honey?” tomato basil creation were the clear winners.  We’ll be making the following two again and again, I’m sure.

Peppered Shrimp, Garlic, & Feta Pizza

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 lb large shrimp (or about 16), peeled and deveined (it’s nice to have 2-4 shrimp per slice; we didn’t make enough and regretted it)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste (I used about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 pizza crust (Mama Mary’s isn’t too bad)
  • 1/4 cup (or about 1/2 a jarred) roasted red peppers, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. (or so) feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup Italian cheese blend, shredded
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Heat a grill pan/large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat.
  3. Coat shrimp with salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning.
  4. Grill for about 2 minutes on each side, or until just cooked.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.
  6. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute.
  7. Add wine, bring to a boil, reduce immediately to a simmer, and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  8. Brush garlic oil over the crust.
  9. Top with peppers, cheeses, shrimp, cilantro, and more freshly ground black pepper.
  10. Reduce the oven to 425°, and immediately bake on rack (or on a baking sheet for a softer crust) for about 8-10 minutes.

Yields 2-4 servings (depending on hunger levels)

Pre-Oven Pizza Margherita

Pre-Oven Pizza Margherita

Pizza Margherita

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1/2 container) cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pizza crust (again, Mama Mary’s isn’t too bad)
  • Fresh mozzarella, sliced (about 1/4 inch think)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute.
  4. Add tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add oregano, salt, and pepper.  Cook for another 2 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  7. Brush remaining teaspoon of oil over the crust.
  8. Top with tomatoes, cheese, basil, and more salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  9. Reduce the oven to 425°, and immediately bake on rack (or on a baking sheet for a softer crust) for about 8-10 minutes.

Yields 2-4 servings (again, depending on hunger levels)

Delicious Salmon*

Delicious Salmon*

These burgers, slightly modified from Cooking Light’s version, were delicious, and I can’t wait to try them with tuna.  We broiled salmon over the weekend, and after putting a BBQ rub on what was clearly way too much fish, I decided to make half into burgers.  All of the fish already had a mixture of cumin, garlic powder, chile powder, smoked paprika, brown sugar, and onion powder on it.  I used the rubbed fish to make burgers, froze them at my mom’s, and am waiting to see if they wind up delicious or very interesting (and not necessarily in a good way).  The recipe below, however, I’ve prepared and really like, even as leftovers the next day.

Ingredients

Fruity Spread:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mango, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh pineapple, finely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon lime rind, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon green onions, chopped

Burgers:

  • 1/4 cup green onions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo (to taste), finely minced (I’ve also used jalapenos)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (or whatever kind is in the cupboard)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 3/4 lb fresh wild Alaskan salmon, skin removed, cubed
  • Cooking spray
  • 2-3 pieces of Romaine or green leaf lettuce
  • Whole wheat English Muffins

Preparation

  1. Combine all fruity spread ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until smooth.  Cover and chill.
  2. Combine onions, cilantro, juice, and peppers in food processor.  Pulse until well combined.
  3. Add panko, egg, and salmon.  Process just until well blended.
  4. Form into four patties.  Cover and freeze for at least 45 minutes.
  5. Prepare grill or heat grill pan/skillet over medium heat.
  6. Remove patties from freezer and spray both sides with cooking spray.  Grill/cook for about 5 minutes per side until nicely browned and/or cooked to taste.
  7. Toast or broil the English muffins.
  8. Serve salmon with fruity mayo, lettuce, and muffins.

Yields 4 servings/burgers

*All for you, Jame.  All for you.

In the past few weeks, we’ve finally fallen in love with salmon.  While I love too many types of fish that are just awful for the environment, salmon–provided it’s wild–isn’t so bad.  I’m still working on disliking Chilean sea bass

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Combine first 7 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl.
  2. Press rub into both sides of salmon.  Cover and let stand in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  3. Combine Dijon, syrup, and soy sauce in a small bowl.
  4. Prepare grill (or broiler).
  5. Remove salmon from refrigerator.  Spray both sides with cooking spray.
  6. Grill salmon for about 5 minutes on each side or until the fish flakes easily; baste with glaze.

Yields 4 servings