Tag Archives: fish

15-Minute-Meals: Alaskan Cod with Citrus Wine Sauce, Roasted Asparagus, and Quinoa

Alaskan Cod with Citrus Wine Sauce, Roasted Asparagus, and Quinoa

Alaskan Cod with Citrus Wine Sauce, Roasted Asparagus, and Quinoa

I’ve recently decided I’m going to run the Seattle Rock and Roll Half Marathon. Why? I’m honestly not sure. Perhaps it’s because I’m a glutton for punishment, or rather it’s the peer pressure of a number of my friends and family doing it. Or it could be the ever unattainable goal to be perfectly in-shape, toned, and fit like the women I see on the covers of the magazine while buying my triple-whipped brie or multiple bottles of Malbec. Whatever the reason…I’m doing it. Which means I’ve got 13 weeks to get in shape to run 13 miles. Seems reasonable.

As such, I’m going to be on the hunt for delicious and healthy meals that can be made in 15 minutes or less. This one fits that bill perfectly. Each item literally takes 10 – 15 minutes and since the asparagus and quinoa are self-sufficient it’s an easy dinner to pull together after a run. If you’re able, buy the fish and asparagus that day from your local farmers market or fish monger. This is the perfect time of year for thin, crisp, earthy asparagus so splurge and buy the best looking organic ones you can find.

Alaskan Cod with Citrus Wine Sauce, Roasted Asparagus, and Quinoa

Pair with a light Pinot Grigio.

Serves 4

Roasted Asparagus: Pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees. Place trimmed asparagus in a 9×12 glass baking dish and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Toss until all the asparagus are lightly covered and glistening. Roast for 10 minutes, giving the pan a shake at the five-minute mark to ensure nothing burns.

Quinoa: Place two cups chicken stock and one cup quinoa in a small pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 10-15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and lightly fluff with a fork.

Alaskan Cod with Citrus Wine Sauce: I used cod, but pick whatever looks best and is preferably on sale. Rinse the fish, dry, and then lightly salt and pepper. In a large non-stick skillet pour 1-cup white wine and 1-cup orange juice. Add the fish and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and gently poach for about 5 minutes per side (pending on the thickness of the fish) until cooked through and just beginning to flake. Remove from pan and tent with foil to keep warm. Bring the pan to a boil and reduce the cooking liquid by about 1/2. The citrus wine sauce will be a bright yellow and should be the consistency of warmed honey. Serve the sauce over the fish.

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Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Health Conscious, Seafood

“Lord have mercy…you lost??” : Seafood Stew

Seafood Stew

Seafood Stew

My mother was recently out to visit and decided she would walk back from the local library to our house. If you’ve read, Good, Cheap, and Fast, you know that our neighborhood has its wonderful parts and its decidedly not so wonderful parts. Tall, beautiful, unfailingly elegant, and refined, to put it simply, my mother is not the kind of person you typically see walking around the ‘hood.

As she was hoofing it back from the library (she is known to walk everywhere quickly and with purpose), she ran into two older  women decked out in their Sunday finest making their very slow trek up the sidewalk. My mother smiled at them, charged on by, and then heard one of them shout out in a Southern accent, “Lord have mercy…you lost?!?”. My mother burst out laughing, thanked them for their concern, assured them she was just fine, and completed her march home.

Having popped open a bottle of wine and subsided in our chuckling about my wayward mother we decided to make Seafood Stew (a meal representing a part of the country she’s definitely not lost in; the East Coast).

Making your own seafood stock makes this a particularly labor intensive project so I’d skip that. The fennel and saffron however must not be passed over. Feel free to substitute the shellfish/fish for whatever you fancy. You want about 4 lbs of seafood total.

Seafood Stew

This makes quite a large batch, serving 8-10. Serve with a dry white wine, crusty bread or popovers, and chilled butter.

3 TB Olive Oil

2 small yellow onions diced

2 cups large-diced white potatoes

2 cups chopped fennel (about 1 large bulb…save the leaves for garnish)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 cups good white wine

28 ounces canned plum tomatoes, chopped

1 quart Seafood Stock

3 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp saffron threads

1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined (it’s often easier to do this after you lightly steam them)

2 lbs hearty white fish (such as halibut or bass) de-boned and cut into large chunks

24 mussels, cleaned

1. Heat the oil in a stock pot, add the onions, potatoes, fennel, salt, and pepper, and saute over medium-low heat for 15 minutes until the onions begin to brown.

Onions, potatoes, fennel

Onions, potatoes, fennel

2. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes with their juices, stock, garlic, and saffron to the pot, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

3. Add the shrimp, fish, and mussels, bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pot to sit covered for another 5 minutes. The fish and shrimp should be cooked and the mussels opened. Discard any mussels that don’t open.

Shrimp (not yet shelled or deveined)

Shrimp (not yet shelled or deveined)

4. Serve in high-sided bowls with the fennel garnish.

Seafood Stew

The finished product

Adapted from Barefoot in Paris

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Shockingly good: Baja fish tacos with white sauce, mozzarella, and cilantro

(3/17/2012 Update: If you like these…see here for some great pix and more fish taco fun.)

There are certain foods that I constantly order at restaurants because:

a) I love them.
b) I’ve always imagined they would be hard to make.
c) I’m afraid if I did make them, they wouldn’t be as good as the restaurant variety.

Fish tacos are one of these such items. Stupidly simple and shockingly good, I fell in love with them when we traveled to Sayulita, Mexico for the first time. The combination of the earthy corn tortilla, buttery battered and fried fish, tangy white sauce, and crisp cabbage was so exquisite I quickly found myself eating nothing but fish tacos for every meal. Since returning to Seattle I’ve been on the hunt for a great fish taco. Luckily, I found it at our new local mexican eatery, Huarachitas Mexican Taqueria.  A darling restaurant, with fabulous food, it is absolutely worth checking out.

That said, after going there multiple times in one month (I refuse to disclose just how many), Matt put his foot down that we needed to go to other restaurants. And so…determined to keep up my fish taco quota, I decided to try and make them.

The results were, dare I say, even better than Huarachitas. These are particularly fun to make for a dinner party where you can allow people to assemble exactly the combination that they like. I served these with champagne, and a nachos appetizer, (because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love champagne and nachos). It was, admittedly, slightly overkill so you could likely serve these without the nacho beginnings and simply cold mugs of beer.

Baja Fish Tacos

Serves 4 (hungry people)

Step 1: Tortillas

True diehards make their own tortillas. This has always felt to me like a poor use of time so you can just buy them at the grocery store. Even better is if there is a little Mexican grocer  or restaurant around you who will let you buy them directly from them. I prefer corn but flour is fine too. When it’s time to eat you can either heat the tortillas up via a hot, dry pan or by microwaving the stack of tortillas between damp paper towels for 30 seconds.

Step 2: The White Sauce & Toppings

This is where the real magic takes place. The white sauce, or crema, is sinfully delicious.

White Sauce:

  • Fresh lime juice to taste (I like about 2 TB)
  • ½ cup yogurt or sour cream
  • ½ mayonnaise
  • 1 TB Sriracha hot sauce (or something similar)
  • ½ teaspoon – crushed oregano
  • ½ teaspoon – ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon – dried, crushed dill
  • ½ teaspoon – ground cayenne chile
  • ground white pepper to taste

Combine the first three ingredients, aiming for a slightly runny consistency.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.

Toppings:

1/2 bundle cilantro

2 cups red cabbage

1 cup mozzarella

1 lime

Coarsely chop cilantro and set aside in small bowl for toppings. Dice mozzarella or queso fresco and set aside in separate bowl. Cut up the cabbage.  Slice as thinly as possible so the strands still stay together. Set aside in bowl. Quarter the limes and serve one wedge with each plate.

Step 3: The Fish

Cod works well, although you can use whatever white fish you prefer. Since it’s going to be battered and fried this is a great opportunity to take advantage of whatever is on sale.

2 LB White Fish washed, patted dry, and cut into 1 inch strips

Batter:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 can beer, not dark

Combine flour and salt, then add beer.  It should be relatively thick, which was nice since the batter actually stayed on the fish when we fried it.

Fill large saucepan with vegetable oil or lard. You want enough that the fish can be submerged in it. Get it nice and hot and cook the fish in batches, being certain not to crowd the pan as you want the oil to stay hot.

Turn the fish after about a minute.  Look for the color to decide when to remove.  As soon as it’s golden, you’re good to go.  Remove and place on a plate with a paper towel to drain.

Serve immediately with tortillas, white sauce, and toppings.  Enjoy.

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The art of elegance

The art of making soup, like living life, is an imperfect science.

Despite following all the instructions and trying to do everything right, you are never quite sure what the outcome will be. Perhaps the lesson here is to allow life’s mysteries and adventures to appear and explore each one. Whether that is in the kitchen or in each day-to-day, there is both madness and magic to letting go and seeing what happens.

On this gray, Sunday I am enjoying a quiet day at home with the dogs, a glass of wine, and my thoughts. In the spirit of ‘come what may’ I decided to whip up my Mom’s famous ‘Elegant Fish Chowder’.

Elegant Fish Chowder

I particularly like making this ahead of time,  letting it sit a day or two for the flavors “to mingle”, (mingling being a good soup principle and all) then serving it with a crusty loaf of French Bread , and a big, beautiful Caesar Salad.

2-3 lbs Fish fillets
1 1/2 cups cold water
Bay leaf
3 cups diced potatoes
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. butter
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
1 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp. flour
3 cups scalded milk
1 cup cream
1 cup sour cream
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

In 2 Gal pot, heat fish and bay leaf in water, uncovered, to simmering.

Simmer 5 mins (till fish flakes).  Remove fish, discard any skin.

Add potatoes and salt to simmering water. Cook till tender.

Meanwhile (don’t you love the “meanwhiles” ?)…………….

Saute onions and celery in butter till tender.

Stir in flour. Saute 1-2 mins more.

Combine vegs w/ stock and potatoes.

Saute 8 mins till thickening starts. Remove bay leaf.

Combine scalded milk and creams.  Add slowly to stock pot. DO NOT BOIL.

Add fish, S/P  to taste, and parsley.

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