Category Archives: Fish

Smoked Salmon Pizza with Red Peppers, Green Onions, and Feta

Sometimes making a great pizza requires the preparation of many sub-recipes: a sauce, cooked vegetables, a drizzle of reduced vinegar.  This one, though, is fresh and light, a springtime pizza.  And it can be in the oven in minutes.  Start preheating now.

We had some whole wheat pizza dough left over from making this Roasted Broccoli pizza last week.  J and I took a little break from canning jam (more about that tomorrow, but here’s the takeaway: jam-making always takes longer than we think it will, and once we start the kitchen is going to be a hot mess all day, so we might as well add to the chaos by making a good lunch in the middle of it).  It was a teamwork day, so I piled ingredients on the counter and rolled out dough; J curated and composed this lovely pizza.  Voila, lunch. Continue reading Smoked Salmon Pizza with Red Peppers, Green Onions, and Feta (click for recipe)

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Green Salad with Smoked Salmon, Tomatoes, and Crème Fraiche-Dill Dressing

J and I meet up with a lovely group of friends every few months for dinner and an evening of playing cards.  I wish I could say that we play an intellectual game, like bridge.  Or a hip game, like poker.  But we don’t.  It’s euchre.  It’s so much fun.

Last night, I lost spectacularly.  But it was still a gold-medal evening, thanks in large part to the excellent company and thanks in small part to the fact that it brought a great new salad into my life.

Our hosts made a delicious potato soup for dinner in observance of St. Patrick’s day, and I came up with this salad to go along it.  It turned out very well, if I do say so myself.  I hardly ever make a creamy salad dressing, but it was a winning combination with the smoked salmon and potato soup.  A little lemon, a little dill, a lot of tiny sweet tomatoes.  Crunch, zing, sweet, salt, smoke.  Are those the food groups or what? Continue reading Green Salad with Smoked Salmon, Tomatoes, and Crème Fraiche-Dill Dressing (click for recipe)

Purple Potato Frittata, with or without Cod

Are you a sweet or savory breakfast person?  I like both.  (Sometimes at the same time.)  But in spite of having a huge sweet tooth, the savory breakfast usually trumps for me.

Either way, you’re covered this weekend.  If you’re a sweet person, you have that French toast to make.  And if savory is your thing, here’s the plan.

Pick some potatoes.  I know I’m being a little preachy here, but let me just gently suggest that if you have never bought a potato from your winter farmers’ market, you should give it a try.  I buy plenty of supermarket produce in addition to supporting my local farmers when I can, but there are a few things that are just so much more flavorful when I buy them from the farmers’ market that they seem like different vegetables.  Potatoes are one of those things.  But I should also say that I am no potato snob.  Potatoes are one of my favorite foods and I always have a 5 lb. bag of grocery store potatoes lurking in the basement just in case.  (Is that weird?)  And I love them.  Just like I love the even more flavorful fancy ones.

I had a bag of purple potatoes.  You can use whatever potatoes you have or choose to acquire.

This is a riff on the Smoky Cauliflower Frittata to the extent that I used the smoked paprika and smoked cheese combo again.  I was using up leftover baked cod, but I think this recipe would also be great if you used a smoked fish instead and left out the paprika.  Or you can leave the fish out altogether, of course.  We roll with a lot of vegetarians, so we made one frittata with the fish and one without.Purple Potato Frittata, with or without Cod: Dice a few potatoes into small cubes and saute in olive oil over medium high heat with a large diced onion until the potato is edibly tender.  Meanwhile, whisk 6 eggs with 1/4 c. Greek yogurt, 2 tsp. smoked paprika and salt and pepper.  Mix two handfuls of smoked cheese and one of sharp cheddar into the eggs, along with the cooked potato and onion mixture.  Flake some cooked or smoked fish into the bowl if you’re using it.  Mix gently to combine everything.  Heat a little more oil in the same pan you used to cook the potatoes, then pour in the egg mixture and cook about 5 minutes over medium heat until the edges are set.  Scatter one last handful of cheese on top of the eggs.  Transfer to the oven and bake at 375 for another 10-12 minutes, until nearly set, then turn on the broiler for a carefully attended minute or two to brown the top.  Serve with toast and fruit for breakfast, or with a salad for any other meal.

Smoked Salmon Frittata with Spinach and Herbed Cream Cheese

Here in Seattle, when we say “smoked salmon” we aren’t talking about cold-smoked lox-style salmon. Instead it’s hot-smoked, flaky, a bit drier, and by far my preferred style of smoked salmon. Here’s a nice way to feature it for breakfast.

We smoke our own salmon in the backyard in summertime, but it’s available in the store year round. Try to find a piece if you haven’t tried it, because it’s great. But if it’s not readily available and you do have lox, make it easy on yourself, use that. The frittata will be different but still great.

And let’s be honest: the fish adds smoke and salt, but the real star here is the oniony, herbaceous, melting cream cheese. Even if you don’t make this frittata, you might want to keep a little jar of it in the fridge for smearing on your toast. And—this is a lot of talk about NOT making this frittata for a post dedicated to encouraging you to make this frittata, isn’t it?—you can make an even faster dish by simply stirring flaked or chopped smoked salmon and the herbed cream cheese into a pan of nearly-set scrambled eggs.

Smoked Salmon Frittata with Spinach and Herbed Cream Cheese: First make a bowl of herbed cream cheese by mashing some cream cheese with a pinch of salt and a ton of chopped herbs (I used green onions, chives, parsley, dill, oregano, and thyme, probably about 1 c. loosely packed chopped herbs for 4 oz. cream cheese). Set aside. Sauté an onion until translucent and then stir in a few big handfuls of just-washed chopped or baby spinach until the spinach wilts and any moisture evaporates. Meanwhile, beat 6 eggs with salt, pepper, and ¼ c. crème fraiche or plain yogurt. Flake a piece of smoked salmon into the eggs, then add the onion and spinach and mix well. Wipe out the pan you used for the onions, add a little olive oil, and heat the pan over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture and cook for about 5 minutes, until the edges are set. Dollop herbed cream cheese (as much as you want) on top of the eggs. Move to the oven and bake at 375 for about 10 more minutes, until the eggs are set.

Baked Fish with Coconut Curry Rub

Sometimes you need a recipe.  Like that bread we all made yesterday, that recipe was good.  Sometimes cooking requires precision.  But often it just requires inspiration.

I have had some comments recently about my recipe-writing style on this blog.  I often call for a pinch, a dab, a scoop, a handful.  Meaning: use the amount that seems right to you, you know your tastebuds best.  So far, all the comments I’ve received about this approach have been positive.  It seems that many of you, like me, enjoy reading recipes because they spark a good idea about technique, or flavor combinations, or because they remind you to use up that cauliflower that’s languishing in the back of the fridge.

It is in that spirit that I bring you the “recipe” below.  It’s just an idea, and not even my own original idea (how many recipes are really original?).  I saw this idea somewhere recently, I can’t remember where, and it stuck with me and came to mind when I needed it.  And it was absolutely delicious.  To me, that’s a good recipe.

Scoop some coconut oil and Thai curry paste into a bowl.  (I used yellow curry paste, but red or green would also be great.)  Warm briefly in the microwave to melt the coconut oil–and because, wow, doesn’t that smell GREAT?  Spoon thickly over fish and bake at 450 until the fish flakes when you cut into it.  Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish.

Roasted Potato Salad with Blue Cheese and Arugula

Roasted Potato Salad with Arugula and Blue Cheese, with or without Smoked Trout

While I have nothing but admiration for those of you who grill outdoors in the snow all winter long, that’s just not me.  First of all, it rarely snows in Seattle.  Second, grilling in a drizzle just isn’t as dramatic or satisfying as braving the snow to cook outdoors.  (I mean, I imagine that it’s not.  I’ve never actually grilled in the snow.  See above.)  Anyway, it’s not summer now, which is grilling season in my book, which is how I ended up making a winter version of one of my favorite summer salads using roasted instead of grilled potatoes.

I planned to serve this salad alongside a couple of pan-fried trout, but in the end the trout stayed safely on ice and we opened a can of smoked trout to flake into the salad to make it meal by itself.  The contrasts here are quite nice: the peppery greens, creamy blue cheese, crisp hot potatoes, and the added salt and smoke from the trout if you go that route.  Roasted Potato Salad with Arugula and Blue Cheese, with or without Smoked Trout: Slice potatoes 1/2″ thick (I used halved fingerlings), toss with olive oil and salt, and roast at 450 until crisp, turning occasionally.  Meanwhile, make a vinaigrette by mixing 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar with 3 Tbsp. olive oil, a dab of dijon mustard, and salt and pepper.  Shake well.  When potatoes are done, lightly dress a bowl of arugula and toss well.  Add roasted potatoes and blue cheese and toss again.  Divide into bowls and top with flaked smoked trout, if using.  Dinner is served.

Pasta with Garlic, Anchovies, Chili and Breadcrumbs

Pasta with Garlic, Anchovies, Chili and Breadcrumbs

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan.  I am going to have to update my tagline: “daily recipes…except when I have two sick kids.”  I am also revising my Valentines Day plans for the same reason.  Out with the heart-shaped foods and chocolate desserts.  In with a dinner that takes 25 minutes to make but still says “I love you.”

This recipe is one of J’s favorites.  It comes from one of our favorite Seattle restaurants, Anchovies and Olives, where it is “Bigoli with Garlic, Chili, and Anchovy.”  If you want to make bigoli, more power to you.  If you want a similar-shaped dry pasta, you can use bucatini.  If you want the texture of a fresh pasta, which I do like with the crispy breadcrumbs, you could use any long noodle.  If you just have a box of spaghetti in your cabinet, get it out, it will be great.

Pasta with Garlic, Anchovies, Chili and Breadcrumbs: Put a big pot of water on high heat, and add salt and 1 lb. pasta when it boils.  In a separate small pan, make garlic-infused breadcrumbs by gently heating a couple Tbsp. olive oil with a few smashed cloves of garlic.  Meanwhile, pulse and then grind a few slices of bread to crumbs in your food processor.  Remove the golden cloves of garlic from the oil and enjoy them on chunk of bread while you continue cooking (you have a glass of wine, too, maybe?)–or share them with your Valentine.  Toss the fresh breadcrumbs into the garlic oil and stir occasionally over low heat until they are golden and crisp.  Season with salt and set aside.  Once the breadcrumbs get started in the garlic oil, get another pan (this one big enough to hold the finished dish) on the stove.  Heat 1/4 c. olive oil over medium-low heat with three sliced cloves of garlic, 1 tsp. chili flakes and 12 drained and chopped oil-packed anchovies.  Stir occasionally until the garlic softens and the anchovies melt into the oil.  When your pasta is nearly cooked to your liking, drain and add it to the anchovy sauce pan with 1/4 c. chopped parsley. Toss and continue cooking until pasta is perfectly cooked, tasting and adjusting with more oil or chili flakes if you like.  Serve each bowl topped with a generous spoonful of breadcrumbs.

If you want to gild the lily, you can serve this dish (or your reheated leftovers) topped with a fried egg.

Quick Thai Green Curry

I understand that there are cooks who plan out menus and then peacefully prep their ingredients in advance.  Come dinnertime, these lucky souls simply slip a dish into the oven and then casually toss a salad with one hand while sipping an aperitif with the other during the few moments it takes the meal to finish cooking to perfection.

I don’t cook like that.

(Come to think of it, I don’t live like that.  Perhaps the two are related.)

Instead, as dinnertime approaches at my house, my first order of business is to plonk the baby in her high chair so she can’t eat all the crayons while my back is turned.  Then I have a few great ideas in rapid succession and discover that I’m out of one key ingredient for each.  Then I draw some half-hearts on folded paper for the big girls to cut into Valentines and opine as to whether now is a good time to start a watercolor painting project on the dining room table, which is already almost buried in tiny scraps of paper, glitter, and stickers.  Then I wonder what to make for dinner. (Remember how I said I was going to plan more?  Still working on that.  But I have been cooking more lately, as you’ve seen!)

Finally, I consider how much more time I have before I want dinner on the table.  If I have an hour, maybe I’ll start a pizza crust and start roasting some potatoes.  If I have two, I might start a soup with long-cooking legumes.  But if I want dinner on the table in 20 minutes, I might make this quick curry.

If YOU want to have dinner on the table in 20 minutes, go put on a pot of jasmine rice and then check back with me.  Ready?  Ok.  It’s a Thai green curry, and I made mine with a thin filet of cod that went straight from the freezer into a bowl of hot water to defrost in minutes (don’t worry, Harold McGee says it’s ok).  You could go the fish route too, or you could use shrimp or chicken or tofu.

Sauté a thinly-sliced onion until it starts to soften, then add 2-4 tsp. green curry paste and sauté for a moment to release the fragrance.  Pour in a can of coconut milk and add 1 Tbsp. each of fish sauce, brown sugar, and lime juice.  Bring to a simmer, then add a pound of white fish in 1” chunks (I used cod; you could also use shrimp, chicken, or tofu) and sliced veggies (I used a green pepper, a stalk of celery and a small zucchini).  Simmer, stirring occasionally, about five minutes or until the fish is cooked.  Toss in a big handful of cilantro and chopped tomatoes for the final minute, then give it another squeeze of lime and adjust the flavors to taste with more lime, brown sugar and fish sauce.  Serve over hot jasmine rice.

p.s. This Noodle Curry with Tofu, Sweet Potatoes and Chard is pretty quick too, and also delicious.

Remembering Summer: Fish Taco Spread for a Snowy Day

It’s charming to be cooped up by a rare Seattle snowfall.  For about three hours.  Snowball fight, check.  Snowman, check.  Snowy tromp through the neighborhood, check.  Hot chocolate.  Um, is the snow starting to melt yet?

Apparently not.  Apparently there is more coming.  It’s gorgeous, of course, and I’m sure we’ll have more fun family adventures in the snow tomorrow–but for tonight we channeled summer, drank beer with friends, and ate fish tacos.

This Fish Taco Spread isn’t the kind of authentic that will transport you to a San Diego beach, but it hits the spot in mid-winter in Seattle.

First, start your quick-pickled onions and hot peppers: combine a small, thinly-sliced red onion with strips of jalapeno in a non-reactive pot and add 1 c. seasoned rice vinegar, the juice of half a lime, and a tsp. of salt.  Bring to a bare simmer and stir for a minute, then remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Make a lime crema by combining equal parts sour cream and mayonnaise with a big pinch of salt; zest in a lime and then thin the mixture with lime juice to taste.

Prepare your fish (we used a couple of cod fillets) by making a rub of 1 tsp. oregano, 2 tsp. cumin, 1 Tbsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and a Tbsp. or more of brown sugar.  Rub the fish with oil and then pat the spice mixture all over it.  Bake at 400 until the fish flakes (this will depend on the thickness of your fish); turn on the broiler for a minute or two at the end to caramelize the spice mix if it isn’t already bubbling.

Heat plenty of corn tortillas (you can toss them in the oven with the fish for a few minutes) and serve them wrapped in a towel with the fish, pickled onions, crema, grated cheese, shredded cabbage, cilantro, and a good salsa or two.  Everyone grabs a couple tortillas, breaks off chunks of fish, and adorns their own plate of fish tacos.