February – White Fish with Magic Green Sauce

February – White Fish with Magic Green Sauce

Have you heard of basa? It is a freshwater fish, a type of catfish and its Latin name is Pangasius bocurti. It was on sale at my local fishmonger recently and although they admitted it was farmed, they said it was raised with best practices according to their supplier. The fish is native to Southeast Asia and farmed in large numbers in pens around the Mekong River system in Vietnam, as well as China and Cambodia. There is some controversy between various seafood watch organizations as to the sustainability and environmental impact of farming it. The Seafood Importers Association of Australasia is a strong advocate, the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Program does not recommend it, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch’s montereybayaquarium.org website rates it as a “good alternative” to catfish but with some caveats.

Basa is described as having large, white fillets with no bones, and flesh that is moist with a light, firm texture and a mild fish flavor. This makes basa a versatile species that can be used in a multitude of recipes and cooking styles.

I had great aspirations and was inspired to cook it according to the recipe posted for Goan Fish Curry by Caroline’s Cooking. But then it was 6 pm and I couldn’t find the coriander seeds and didn’t have a fresh tomato (it being the dead of winter and pouring rain outside). I quickly lost my ambition. The curry will have to wait, maybe this weekend. But, plain pan fried fish sounded very boring. What to do? Searching for inspiration I stumbled upon one of my old blog posts for Magic Green Sauce, written almost a year ago. Magic Green Sauce elevates almost any “plain” food straight up to heavenly. Try it on grilled chicken breasts or tofu, you will not be disappointed.

I made a few alterations to the basic recipe, using what items were on hand. Here is the recipe so you don’t need to look it up:

Magic Green Sauce (makes about 2 cups)

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup packed mixed parsley and cilantro, I added a few sprigs of mint (basil or Thai basil would have been lovely but I did not have any on hand)
  • I small piece (about an inch) of lemon grass (strictly optional but found in the back of the crisper drawer and love its aroma)
  • 1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • Juice of 1-2 limes (I like 2)
  • 1/2 cup water (I used coconut water)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup shelled cashews (original recipe uses pistachios)
  1. Pulse all the ingredients except the nuts in the bowl of your food processor until smooth and well incorporated.
  2. Add the pistachios or other nuts and blend until mostly smooth.
  3. Serve as a dip, a spread, or sauce. You may thin with additional water or oil if needed. I like mine the consistency of a thick mayonnaise.

This will keep for a week and is better if allowed to mellow for a few hours before using, if you have the time.

Magic Green Sauce

Magic Green Sauce

Magic Green Sauce

Magic Green Sauce

I prepared the fish simply, processing a couple of handfuls of cashews till the size of panko crumbs, lightly coating the fish in the nuts to have a crunchy outside. Then quickly sautéing the filets in coconut oil on medium high heat. It took only a few minutes. You could also use a coating of flour or panko break crumbs instead of the nuts. I wanted this to be gluten free.

Sauteed Basa with Magic Green Sauce

Sauteed Basa with Magic Green Sauce

The original recipe for Magic Green Sauce came from the blog A Pinch of Yum, one of my favorites.

Try this sauce with a tray of roasted vegetables as well.

Roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes

Roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes

Magic Green Sauce

Magic Green Sauce

I am taking this dish to Fiesta Friday #161 hosted by Angie. Her cohost this week is Laura @ Feast Wisely. Click on the link to join the fun and read the recipes brought to the virtual party by other bloggers.

September in the Kitchen – Salmon and Sweet Potato Burgers

September in the Kitchen – Salmon and Sweet Potato Burgers

Leftovers, don’t you just love them? They really spur my creative thoughts. In this case, it was about 2 cups of leftover grilled fresh salmon from the night before. What to do with it? I wanted something warm (cold salmon salad didn’t do it for me on a crisp autumn night). I have had delicious fish croquettes made with leftover white fish and mashed potatoes. What about salmon and sweet potatoes? If I used yams they would have a lovely pink color. What do you think? It was worth a try. Success! I added some finely chopped Serrano chili to counter the sweetness and add a touch of heat.

Salmon and Sweet Potato Burgers

Salmon and Sweet Potato Burgers

Salmon and Sweet Potato Burgers

  • About 2 cups of leftover salmon, flaked (canned would probably work as well)
  • 1 large cooked sweet potato or yam (or 2 smaller ones), removed from the skin and mashed
  • 1 Serrano chili, seeded and shopped finely
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
  • 4 finely chopped green onions
  • Soy sauce, I used about 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Panko for coating (I used gluten free Panko)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • For serving, sliced avocado and more chopped cilantro
Salmon and Sweet Potato Burgers

Salmon and Sweet Potato Burgers

  1. Combine the flaked salmon, mashed sweet potato, chili, cilantro, scallions, soy sauce and mayonnaise in a large bowl. Taste for seasoning before adding the beaten egg. You may need to add a bit more soy sauce or salt. Once to your liking, add the beaten egg.
  2. Spread the panko (or bread crumbs) on a plate.
  3. Form the salmon mixture into burger like portions with your hands, coat with the panko and place in a single layer on a plate. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil, sauté the burgers for about 3-4 minutes a side, or until cooked through.
  5. Serve with avocado and more chopped cilantro.
Salmon Burgers

Salmon Burgers

 

July in the Kitchen – Grilled Sweet Potatoes

July in the Kitchen – Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables, and they are super good for you as well. They lend themselves to many cooking methods but I’ve been on a search to find one that suits the grill and can be (mostly) made ahead. This recipe fits the bill. You can do the pre-baking earlier in the day (when it is cooler), and then pop them on the grill to brown at the last-minute. This would be a perfect side dish for your BBQ on the 4th.

IMG_3328

Here is a bit of background on the healthiness of sweet potatoes. They are ranked as one of the top nutritional vegetables by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Amazingly the sweet potato has been found to contain between 100-1,600 micrograms of vitamin A in every 3.5 ounces. It could be possible to meet over 90% of your daily vitamin A needs from this single food.

Eat the skin and you get more fiber than a single serving of oatmeal.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Miso-Sesame Sauce

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Miso-Sesame Sauce

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Miso-Sesame Sauce

  • ¼ cup of mild white or yellow miso
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of organic peanut oil
  • 1 sweet potato per person, scrubbed well and sliced ½ inch thick
  • Chopped cilantro and a couple of tablespoons of seedy mix for garnish
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the miso, soy sauce, sesame oil, and peanut oil. IMG_3329
  3. Place the sliced sweet potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Brush the exposed side with the sauce. IMG_3330
  4. Roast 20 minutes.
  5. Turn, brush with the sauce and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and leave at room temperature until ready to roast.
  7. Grill until toasty brown on each side, this should only take a couple of minutes on each side. IMG_3331

Garnish with cilantro and some seedy mix or roast pumpkin seeds.

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The same sauce was delicious brushed over some fresh salmon steaks prior to grilling.

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Yum!

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Do you think they will like this at Fiesta Friday? It will be a wonderful side dish for BBQ ribs or chicken. And easy since you can make it ahead.

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

Please join us for the party, Fiesta Friday #75. Click on the link to see what’s up at Angie’s, the food and company is wonderful.

May in the Kitchen – Slow Roast Salmon with Herbed Lemon Verbena Pesto

May in the Kitchen – Slow Roast Salmon with Herbed Lemon Verbena Pesto

It is hard to beat salmon on the grill, crusty skin and tender center still slightly pink. On the downside it does require careful watching and can overcook with even an additional 30 seconds on a hot BBQ or grill pan. This recipe for slow roast salmon is very forgiving, and you can walk away. You will have time to serve the bruschetta and have a glass of wine with your guests.

The recipe is adapted from the SF Chronicle archives. I used a mix of herbs, heavy on the lemon verbena but with the addition of lemon thyme, chives, and an Italian calamint (member of the mint family which has flavors of oregano, mint and basil).

Herbs for lemon verbena pesto

Herbs for lemon verbena pesto

Slow Roast Salmon with Lemon Verbena Herb Pesto

  • 1 cup of washed and packed mixed fresh herbs such as lemon verbena leaves, sorrel, chives, mint, chervil and thyme.
  • 2 shallots, peeled
  • 4-6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 fillets (4-6 oz) or 1 larger (about 1.5 lbs)  fillet of salmon, skin on
Lemon Verbena Pesto

Lemon Verbena Pesto

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Combine the shallots and herbs in a food processor. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Process to a paste.
  3. Rub the paste over the cut surfaces of the salmon.
  4. Place the salmon, skin side down, on a non-stick or parchment lined roasting dish.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes for smaller fillets, up to 45 minutes for a single larger one. The fish should be translucent in the center but opaque.
Salmon with lemon verbena pesto

Salmon with lemon verbena pesto

I’m taking this to share with the gang at Fiesta Friday #70. I didn’t get to party last week and am looking forward to seeing what everyone has been up to. Please come join us at Angie’s.

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

April in the Kitchen – Teriyaki Salmon with Spring Vegetables

April in the Kitchen – Teriyaki Salmon with Spring Vegetables

Did you ever think there could be a “healthy” teriyaki sauce? Certainly one without MSG is making progress. But, what about one without granulated sugar? Impossible! Well, I’m going to give you an alternative…dates, yes dates. This sauce consists of medjool dates as the sweetener. What a brilliant idea, don’t you think? Simply soak them in warm water for a few minutes, then dump them with some garlic, ginger, soy sauce and rice vinegar into the jar of your blender. Puree all of them together with some of the soaking water from the dates until smooth. That’s all there is to it. It goes together very quickly.

I’m sorry to say I didn’t invent the sauce. I saw it in a post on the blog “A Pinch of Yum” for 30-Minute Sesame Mango Chicken. It was too good to pass up. If you are not familiar with that blog, it’s worth a visit as she posts some great recipes, many of them healthy and vegetarian.

This is a thicker sauce than my own “old” favorite using maple syrup. You’ll find that recipe here from an earlier post in February of this year.

I marinated some wild caught salmon steaks (the first of the season) in the sauce, then sautéed them quickly. They were still slightly pink in the middle, just the way we like them. Served with a quick stir fry of asparagus and snap peas with a spoonful of roast garlic lemon butter it was a quick and delicious mid-week dinner. You’ll find the recipe for the roast garlic and lemon butter here.

Salmon Steaks in Teriyaki Sauce

Salmon Steaks in Teriyaki Sauce

 Teriyaki Sauce

  • 15 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in 1/2 cup of very warm water for 30 minutes
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce, regular or low sodium
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • Optional – pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Optional – 1/4 cup sesame oil 
Dates

Medjool Dates

  1.  Soak the pitted dates in the hot water
  2. Dump the dates and rest of the ingredients (including the soaking water) into your blender and blend until very smooth.
  3. Pour into a container until ready to use.
Teriyaki Sauce with Dates

Teriyaki Sauce with Dates

This will keep in the fridge for at least a week, we found it got “hotter” and spicier the longer it sat.

Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce

Grilled or Sautéed Salmon with Teriyaki Sauce

I sautéed the salmon steaks but they would be equally wonderful on the BBQ.

  1. Marinate salmon steaks or fillets in the sauce for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour in the fridge.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of peanut or other vegetable oil in your skillet on medium high heat.
  3. Add the salmon, skin side down.
  4. Saute on medium high heat for about approximately 10 minutes total for every inch of thickness. We like our salmon on the rare side and they weren’t quite so thick, so I started the steaks skin side down and turned them after 4 minutes.
Wild Caught Salmon

Wild Caught Salmon

Asparagus and Snap Peas with Roast Garlic and Lemon Butter

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, ends snapped and cut into pieces about the length of the snap peas. I used a spiral diagonal cut, turning the stalk a half way round after each diagonal slice. That exposed more of the inner part of the stalk to the heat, cooking is a bit faster.

    Asparagus

    Asparagus

  • About 3-4 cups of snap peas, stringed if necessary and cut in half lengthwise

    Snap peas

    Snap peas

  • 4 scallions, cleaned and cut in half lengthwise, then into pieces the same size as the asparagus and peas.

    Snap Peas and Scallions

    Snap peas and scallions

  • 2 tablespoons of roast garlic and lemon butter, (or 2 garlic cloves, finally minced, plus the zest and juice of one lemon, and 1 tablespoon of butter)

    Roast garlic and lemon butter

    Roast Garlic and Lemon Butter

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium low heat.
  2. If not using the roast garlic butter, add the minced garlic to the pan and saute until softened but not brown.
  3. Add the asparagus to the pan and turn up the heat to medium high. Saute for about 4 to 5 minutes until bright green and beginning to soften.
  4. Add the snap peas to the pan and saute for an additional 3 to 4 minutes until everything is bright spring green and slightly softened but still crisp.

    Asparagus with Snap Peas

    Asparagus with Snap Peas

  5. Finish with the roast garlic butter or add the lemon zest and juice plus the tablespoon of butter. Continue to heat until everything is coated with sauce.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Asparagus and Snap Peas

Asparagus with Snap Peas and Roast Garlic/Lemon Butter

Salmon, asparagus, and fresh peas…this meal is the essence of spring. What are you serving to celebrate the season?

I’m taking this to share on Fiesta Friday #66 hosted by Angie. If you would like to see what is on the menu, come pay a visit to the party.

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday