Archive for category Fish

T’is the Season… for Meyer Lemons.

It’s that time of year again when Meyer Lemons start appearing in grocery stores in New York.  What are Meyer Lemons, you ask?  My understanding is that Meyer Lemons are native to China and are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin.  They were introduced into the U.S. early in the last century by Frank Meyer (thus, the name “Meyer Lemons”) and are now most prolific in the U.S. in California.  If you haven’t ever tried them, stop what you’re doing and go get some immediately as they are truly wonderful.  The flavor is still lemon-like, but sweeter and less tart.  If I were more poetic, I would attempt to describe its perfume, but since I’m not at all poetic, let’s just say it smells lovely.  The skin is thinner and smoother than a regular lemon, and as you can see from the picture, they are a beautiful sun gold color.   Anywhere that you would use a regular lemon, you can sub in Meyer Lemons for a more complex taste.

I didn’t create this salsa recipe, but I use it and modify it regularly (one of my favorite modifications being the use of Meyer Lemons rather than regular lemons).  I know roasted lemons sound weird, but the roasting mellows out the acidity of the lemons.  The salsa is great as a topping for grilled fish or chicken, or as a dip for shrimp. While the salsa is easy to prepare, it does require some resting time so, like most condiments, its best to make it ahead and store it.

I mostly use it on top of a broiled fillet of white fish such as trout.   Just rub the fish with salt and pepper and a little oil then broil for 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the fillet.  Finally, top with a spoonful or two of the salsa.  Round out the meal with some steamed or roasted vegetables and some rice, if you’re craving a starch.The original recipe can be found in John Ash’s cookbook “Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher.”

Meyer Lemon Salsa

(makes about 2 cups)

Qty Item
1/2 Lb Meyer Lemons, skins scrubbed to remove any dirt or wax
2/3 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Scallions, finely chopped, white part only
1 Tbl Sugar
2 Tsp Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper (or dry chili pepper flakes)
1/4 cup Fresh Meyer Lemon juice (about 2 lemons worth)

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.Cut the lemons in half and pick out as many seeds as possible without destroying the lemon. Lightly coat the lemons with a tablespoon of the oil. Place the lemons cut side down in a baking dish (lined with aluminum foil for easier clean-up) and roast uncovered for 25 minutes. Remove, cool and cut the lemons (including the skins) into 1/4-inch dice.

3.In a bowl, combine the lemons, the remaining olive oil, scallions, sugar and salt and stir gently. Cover and set aside for at least 3 hours so the flavors can marry and mellow. The flavor of the lemons will change over the course the rest period.

4.Adjust the seasonings with additional salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

5.Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze in an airtight container.

Note: you can adjust the sugar and salt to suit your taste and the ripeness of the lemons.
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Quick Flavor Boosters to Keep on Hand

With these basic herbs, spices and oils on hand, I have found that when both time and creativity are lacking, I can still come up with something flavorful to eat.  These are all easy to find in any grocery or liquor store and are inexpensive. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fish: the ultimate quick fix

Let me say this:  I LOVE fish!  Trout, Salmon, Catfish, Flounder, Cod, you name it, I’m probably a fan (with the exception of Sardines which are just gross and Tilapia which are boring).  So, how can you incorporate fish into a busy work week?

Fish stays fresh 2 to 3 days max in the refrigerator and doesn’t easily lend itself to big casserole type dishes so it can be a little difficult to integrate fish into your week without some planning.  That said, fish is one of the easiest healthy main courses that you can prepare after a long day.  I am very fortunate in that I have easy access to a large supermarket and a farmer’s market so I often have fish 2-3 times a week.  If getting to the grocery store is not as convenient for you, try to get in the habit of buying fish on Sunday so that you know that you have options for the next two days.

Go from raw fish to delicious dinner in about 20 minutes with these two basic recipes.

Variation 1: (super easy)

Serves 1 (or two very light eaters)

Ingredients:

Qty. Item
1/4 to 1/2 Lb Fillet of fresh fish (salmon or catfish work particularly well for this)
1 dash Infused olive oil (citrus infusions work beautifully here)
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 very small pat of butter (optional)

Instructions:

  1.  Pre-heat oven to Broil.
  2. Rinse fish with cold water and pat dry.
  3. Place on a broil safe tray. Pour oil over the fish.  Then season the fish with salt and pepper. Place butter on top, if using.  Note:  The fish should be well covered with the oil, but not so much so that the oil pools on the tray.  If there is a lot of excess oil on the tray, it will splatter and make a smoky mess of your oven and kitchen.
  4. Broil for 6-8 minutes depending on thickness of the fillet and your preferences for doneness.

Variation 2: (A little more complex)

Serves 1 (or 2 very light eaters)

Ingredients:

Qty Item
1/4 to 1/2 Lb Fillet of fresh fish (salmon or catfish work well)
1 dash Dry Vermouth (approximately a cap full)
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
3 small knobs butter (optional)
2 sprigs Fresh Rosemary
4 sprigs Fresh Thyme

Instructions:

  1.  Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Rinse fish with cold water and pat dry.
  3. Place fish on a sheet of aluminum foil that is big enough to wrap around the fish to create a little pocket wrap.
  4. Pour the Vermouth over the fish.  Sprinkle the fish with the salt and pepper. Dab on the butter, if using.  Then place the Rosemary and Thyme on top of the fish.
  5. Wrap the fish up and roast on the middle rack in the oven for about 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet and your preferences for doneness.
  6. Spoon a little of the cooking liquid over the fish and serve.

* Note on the skin: There’s two ways to remove the skin for this dish. You can remove the skin from the fish after Step 2, or you can lift the flesh off the skin once the fish is cooked.  The second approach is a bit easier since the skin usually sticks a bit to the foil.

Round out the meal with a fresh salad and/or a seasonal vegetable such as green beans (that can be steamed while the fish is roasting or broiling.)

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