Category Archives: Seafood

The Ultimate Salmon Burger

Where’s the Beef?

Who needs it, when you can use salmon as a protein for your backyard cookouts.

This ultimate salmon burger is easy to make, and we are still perfecting the recipe, to adjust for using fresh salmon or canned salmon.
salmon burger-otm@tk

But in the meantime, just look at the creation of the salmon burger we built…. a thick, juicy salmon patty sits on a bun toasted with garlic butter and topped with crispy bacon, fresh arugula, tomato, avocado and a tasty, creamy dill tarter sauce.

No, it does not get any better than this!

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Sopa seca de Fideo y Camarones

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Fideos (vermicelli) are much loved in Mexico, where they form the basis of thick, delicious soups. Usually the soups are served as a first course, but our hearty shrimp version is a meal in a bowl.

The name “sopa seca de fideo” translates to “dry soup with noodles”. It’s not soup, it’s called a “dry soup” because the noodles absorb all of the wonderful rich stock, making the noodles taste more delicious than you can possibly imagine.

Although it can be made with straight noodles, I have found if easier to make fideo with the twirled angel hair nests. It’s pretty, and easier to serve that way, one nest per individual  serving.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 dried ancho or pasilla chiles*
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lb. dried angel hair nests or vemicelli
1/4 cup olive  oil
One medium yellow onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1/2 cup crushed canned tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 quart chicken broth
1 pound (30 to 35 per lb.) peeled, deveined shrimp, tails left intact
Kosher salt, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

For Serving:
1/2 cup sour cream
Queso Fresco
Diced avocado

Directions:
Break stems off chiles and shake out seeds. In a small bowl, cover chiles with hot water and let stand until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop.

Brown the angle hair nests: Choose a frying pan with a lid in which the angel hair nests will all tightly fit in a single layer (about 9 or 10-inches wide, depending on the brand of angel hair nests you use). In the pan, heat the oil until shimmering hot. Working in batches, fry the vermicelli angel hair nests on both sides in the hot oil until golden brown in color. Remove from pan.

Sauté onions and garlic, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in chiles. Add tomatoes, cumin seeds and chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook angel hair nests in the broth. When broth is simmering, place the browned angel hair nests or vermicelli in a single layer in the pan, nestled into the broth. The nests should cover the whole pan. Turn them over in the broth so that they get moistened on all sides. Cover and cook until the vermicelli has soaked up the liquid, about 5 minutes.

If after 5 minutes the top of the vermicelli is dry, flip over the individual angel hair nests and cook a minute longer. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

To serve, spoon soup into wide, shallow bowls. Top each serving with a spoonful of sour cream and some avocado, if you like, and sprinkle with cilantro.

Cook’s Notes:
Vermicelli usually comes in 1 pound packages, so about 1/2 a package can be used for this recipe. If you cannot find angel hair nests at the market, you can make fideo with straight vermicelli pasta. Just break up the pasta in 3 to 4 inch long segments and cook the same way as you would the nests, browning them first in hot oil.

*Good dried chiles are soft, flexible, and smell a bit like prunes. Avoid hard, brittle specimens—they’re old and less flavorful.

How Hot Is Your Chile? To assess a chile’s heat, slice off its top through the ribs and seeds, where the heat-producing compound capsaicin is concentrated. Touch the slice to your tongue. If you want your food to be milder, split the chile and scrape out all or some of the ribs and seeds. If your skin is sensitive, wear kitchen gloves or hold the chiles with a fork—and don’t touch your eyes.

The trick to a great sopa seca de fideo is the chicken broth. If you do not have the time to make your own homemade chicken stock, you can easily use bouillon, boxed broth, and canned chicken stock. While bouillon and the boxes work in a pinch, nothing beats homemade stock for this recipe. It brings a richness that can’t be had any other way. So if you try it, I strongly urge you to use homemade stock!

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Salmon Ravigote

 

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Poach delicious salmon steaks or fillets in only 15 minutes!

Salmon fillets are poached briefly, then served with a ravigote sauce. Ravigote means “to invigorate” in French, and this sauce, containing tomatoes, scallions, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil, awakens the taste buds and complements the salmon. Pickled capers lend wonderful piquancy to the sauce.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
For the Sauce:
2 plum tomatoes  halved, seeded, and diced
1 tablespoon drained capers
2–3 scallions, trimmed  and sliced
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the Salmon:
Four 5 ounce skinless salmon fillets, about 1 1/2 inches thick
3 cups of water
Kosher salt, to taste

Directions:
To make the sauce, mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.

To poach the salmons, bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil in a large stainless steel saucepan. Add the salmon to the pan and bring the water back to a boil over high heat for 2 minutes. Immediately turn off the heat, or slide the pan off the heat and let the salmon steep in the hot liquid for 5 minutes. Note that your fillets will be slightly underdone in the center at this point and you may have to adjust the cooking time to accommodate thicker or thinner fillets, depending on your personal taste preference.

Remove the fillets from the poaching liquid with a large spatula, drain them well, and place on four warm plates. Absorb any liquid that collects around the fillets with paper towels, then spoon the sauce over and around the steaks and serve.

Cook’s Notes:
Alternatively,  for the poaching liquid, you can substitute 1½ cup dry white wine, like a good Sauvignon Blanc added to  1½ cups of water, for a different flavor profile.

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Catfish in a Basil Lemon Sauce

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Summer is here, more or less, with the flavors of basil and lemon. This catfish recipe is a twist on a classic Southern fish dish and is one of the easiest, quickest dinners you can prepare in a flash for family and friends.

Enjoy!

Serves 2

Ingredients
2 catfish fillets
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup cream
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
Lemon wedges, for serving
Capers, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Pat the fish dry: Use a paper towel to pat the fish dry on both sides.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a shallow bowl, mix together cornmeal flour, salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Dredge  the fish in cornmeal mixture, pressing the cornmeal lightly into the fish to make is adhere.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large, cast iron skillet over high heat just until the oil is shimmering. Lay the fillets in the skillet carefully, using long-handled tongs. Fry for about three minutes on each side, then remove from the skillet to two plates.

Turn the heat to medium and whisk the lemon juice into the remaining fat. Whisk in the cream and basil and let boil for about a minute or until just reduced. Drizzle over the fish and serve immediately.

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Coquilles de Fruits de Mer

DSC00802-2-otm@tk Coquilles de fruits de mer.jpg

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Shrimp Pomodoro

DSC00720-2 otm@tk-Shrimp Parmadoro.jpg

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Chongqing Style Roasted Fish

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Chongqing Style Roasted Fish

(重庆烤鱼, chong qing kao yu)

This famous dish is from Chongqing, a city in the southwest of China. The city is also famous for  it’s  super hyper hot and spicy Szechuan cuisine.

For this dish, the fish is roasted until moist and tender, with a crispy surface. The accompanying vegetables are cooked in a Szechuan hot sauce and savory black bean paste, with pickled peppers, to impart a pungent and spicy flavor. A feast for the eyes and the taste buds comes together in a single dish.

Traditionally, in Chinese cooking, this dish is often prepared using carp, catfish or snakehead. For a better texture and fewer bones, using a catfish, sea bass, flounder, or tilapia is suggested.

However, based on the availability in my local market this week, I chose  the Yellow Croaker.

Yellowfish or Yellow Croaker has the scientific name of Larimichthys polyactis alt Pseudosciaena manchurica.

Native to the northwestern Pacific, particularly the Yellow and East China seas, this fish is highly prized among Asians chefs and in particularly in Korean cuisine. In Korean markets they are sold frozen, dried, salted cooked and sometimes fresh, usually in lengths less than 12 inches. They are often called “Corvina” which is Spanish for croaker, or “Yellow Corvina” to avoid confusion with the other species of fish called Yellow Croaker.

This is the only fish allowed the name “Yellow Croaker” on Fishbase. They are easy to tell apart. This one has a round face, the other has a pointy face.

In the photo below the Yellow  Croaker was 3-1/4 inches long and weighed 1 pound 2-1/2 ounces. This fish is caught wild and not considered threatened.

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This is a very good eating fish with a light, pleasant flavor. It’s one drawback is the tenderness of its flesh and skin which makes handling in cooking and serving more difficult than for many other fish. For this reason many prefer small fish so each serving can be a whole fish. When eating whole or pan dressed fish, be prepared to deal with a few fine rib bones, and supply a bone bowl for the discards.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:
For Grilling the Fish:
2 whole sea bass,14 ounces each (See Cook’s Notes)
Vegetable cooking spray
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 thumb ginger, half sliced, half minced
1 medium white onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt

For the Sauce:
2 tablespoons spicy fermented bean paste (dou ban jiang)
1 tablespoon fermented black bean sauce (dou chi jiang)
10 Sichuan pickled pepper (pao jiao) (or Cajun pickled pepper), optional

For the Stir-fry:
2 tablespoons  vegetable oil
2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorn
5 cloves garlic, halved
10 – 20 dried chili pepper
1 cup lotus root, sliced
1 cup bamboo shoots, sliced
2 cups shiitake mushroom, sliced
10 – 20 dried chili peppers
4 tablespoons chicken broth
1 teaspoon  brown sugar

Cilantro sprigs,  for garnish
Steamed white rice, for serving

Directions:
Wash all the vegetables and chop the onion and ginger.

Preheat oven to 430° F . Line a baking tray with a sheet of parchment and spray a thin layer vegetable cooking spray on top.

Mix crushed red pepper flakes and cumin powder in a small bowl.

Spread half of the onion slices on the baking tray. Dry the fish thoroughly with a paper towel. Place the fish on top of the onion. Dust with salt and sprinkle half the chili and cumin mixture evenly over the fish. Spray a thin layer of vegetable cooking  oil on top. Flip the fish and season the other side in the same manner, spray with oil. Stuff the cavity of the fish with ginger slices and a few slices of onion in

Bake on the middle rack until fish is cooked through, about 20 minutes (or longer time if you use a larger fish). You should be able to easily separate the flesh from the bone with a fork, and the internal temperature of the fish should be 145° F.

While the fish is baking, chop the rest of the vegetables. Place lotus root, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms on a plate. Mix chili bean paste, black chili paste and Sichuan pickled peppers in a small bowl. Add dried chili pepper and chicken broth separately in two small bowls. Place the veggies, mixed sauce, peppercorns, dried chili pepper, chicken broth, salt and sugar on the kitchen counter, near the wok or a large cast iron skillet.

Heat the wok over medium high heat and add oil. When the oil is warm, add peppercorns. Stir until fragrant and the peppercorns turn dark brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Turn to lowest heat. Use a ladle to scoop out the peppercorns and discard them.

Turn to medium high heat. Add the remainder of the minced ginger and garlic and stir a few times until fragrant. Add the rest of the onion. Stir until the onion turns translucent, about 1 minute.

Add the mixed sauce and stir immediately to coat onion with sauce evenly, 30 seconds.
Add chili pepper, stir a few times to mix.

Add lotus root, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms. Stir continuously for 1 to 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and brown sugar. Continue to stir until the seasonings are mixed evenly and the veggies are cooked through. Turn to lowest heat and taste the vegetable mix. Adjust the seasoning with salt, if needed.

Transfer the baked fish to a large serving platter. Pour the vegetables and sauce over the top of the fish. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with steamed rice.

COOK’S NOTES:
Authentic Chinese cooking often uses carp, catfish or snakehead. For a better texture and fewer bones,  catfish, sea bass, flounder, or tilapia is suggested.

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Baby Octopi and Fried Potatoes

DSC09320 (2)-otm@tk Baby Octopus and Fried Potatoes.jpg

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Cedar Plank-Fired Salmon topped with a crab lemon butter sauce with roasted asparagus mushrooms and red bell peppers.

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