Chilean Sea Bass Mediterranean Style

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finished fish

We recently came up with a new fish recipe that we tested on those husbands and sons who are fish adverse. And the happy response from this fish-phobic crew was a hearty thumbs up. One of the secrets of this dish is the memorably assertive sauce, a sauce that incorporates the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet. And the fish we’ve chosen– Chilean sea bass– comes with adjectives such as mild, rich, moist, and buttery, the very adjectives you’d want to describe your fish.

The sauce can be made a day ahead and the fish takes only minutes to prepare, so this impressive looking dish is perfect to serve when friends drop by for dinner.

fish sauce cropThis lively sauce has all the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet.

fish cookingWe first sear the fillets quickly, then pop them into the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, and lastly run them under the broiler for a crispy top.

Chilean Sea Bass Mediterranean Style
4 servings

For the Sauce
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped fennel
One 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, juice reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
3/4 cup basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Fish
Four 4-to 6-ounce skinless Chilean sea bass fillets, or other sustainable firm white fish fillets
Organic olive oil cooking spray
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Set racks in the middle and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425° F.

For the Sauce
In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. When shimmering add the onions, the garlic, and the red pepper flakes, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fennel, and cook until the vegetables are soft and translucent, an additional 10 minutes.

Lower the heat to medium  and add the tomatoes with 1 cup of their reserved juice. Using the back of a wooden spoon, smash the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the white wine, capers, olives, basil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, while you cook the fish.

For the Fish
Pat the fillets dry with paper towels.   Coat them with the olive oil spray and season with salt and pepper.

Place a heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil, and when it shimmers add the fillets, rounded side down, and cook for 2 minutes. Carefully flip the fillets with a metal spatula and place the skillet in the oven. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the fish is no longer translucent.

Turn the oven to broil and place the skillet on the upper rack.   Broil for 2 to 4 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

Arrange the fillets on individual plates, spoon on the sauce, and serve.

fish finished 2 with drop copy





Grilled Clams and Oysters

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 _Grilled-Clams-and-OystersPhoto Glenn Koetzner

We adore spending an early morning or late afternoon clamming, and we love eating clams–and oysters–too. Yet no matter how many tricks or techniques we try, opening them is always a hassle. Finally, we had an ever so clever brainstorm– we let the grill do the shucking for us. Voila! Summer’s easiest hors d’oeuvre.

Grilled clam

Grilled Clams and Oysters
4 to 6 servings as an appetizer

Kosher salt
10 to 16 Little Neck clams, rinsed
8 to 10 large oysters, scrubbed
2 lemons, quartered
Your favorite hot sauce

Line a platter with kosher salt.

Heat a charcoal grill to hot or set a gas grill to high. Place the clams in a single layer on the grate, and lay the oysters in a single layer with the cupped side down, to retain the juices.

Close the grill and cook just until the clams and oysters open, about 5 to 7 minutes, taking a peek after 3 minutes. Using tongs remove the clams from the grill, and remove each oyster the minute the top shell opens (even if it only opens slightly). Set the bivalves on the salt-lined platter, add a spritz of lemon or a dash of hot sauce, and serve.

_Grilled-Clams-and-Oysters copy


Savory Tuna Burgers with a Zesty Sauce

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Tuna burger huff crop

Given all our good intentions of eating fish more frequently –and how hard we try to incorporate it into our weekly menu– more often than not we fail. But now that summer is here we have an easy solution, tuna burgers. We’ve experimented with a number of tuna recipes only to have the burgers fall apart before we can place them in their buns. But these burgers hold their shape and are a snap to make, either on the grill or on a grill pan on the stove. We like to spice them up by adding mustard, cilantro, and cayenne pepper to the tuna, and we serve them with an assertive sauce.

There’s no need to use a meat grinder for the fish. We’ve discovered that after placing the tuna in the freezer for 10 to 12 minutes, a large sharp knife quickly and easily does the job of chopping the tuna into the texture of hamburger meat.

chopped tuna

tuna patties

Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (a.k.a. “ Rooster Sauce”) is totally addictive– spicy, tangy, with just a hint of sweet. It’s made from red chili peppers, garlic, distilled vinegar, salt, and sugar. It’s so popular you can find it just about everywhere–supermarkets, grocery stores, and mom and pop operations. Though it’s terrific straight from the bottle, we love it mixed with mayonnaise for a speedy– and delicious– creamy topping for burgers.

Tuna burger sauce


Savory Tuna Burgers with a Zesty Sauce
4 servings

For the Zesty Sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha Hot Chile Sauce, or to taste
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon organic low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

For the Tuna Burgers
1 1/2 pounds sushi-grade tuna
1 1/2 tablespoons of grated onion
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon finely grated ginger
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, or more for brushing the patties
Organic olive oil cooking spray
4 hamburger buns (preferably whole-grain)
Your favorite burger toppings for serving

For the Zesty Sauce
Place all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly to combine.

For the Tuna Burgers
Place the tuna in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes until firm.
Using a large sharp knife chop the tuna into the size of hamburger meat.

In a mixing bowl combine the onion, garlic, ginger, cilantro, mustard, cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper. Add the tuna and mix thoroughly to combine. Divide the mixture into 4 even-sized patties and lightly brush each side of the patties with olive oil.

Spray the grill pan with the olive oil spray, heat the pan to medium-high, and add the burgers. Cook for 2 minutes on each side for rare, 3 to 4 for medium rare.

Place the burgers on buns, spread them lightly with the Zesty Sauce, and serve with your favorite burger toppings.

Tuna burger closed

Shrimp and Kale Hot Pot

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Hot Pot

We must admit that we’ve fallen in love with hot pots. These one-pot dishes encourage all sorts of variations to fit a range of tastes and diets, and they make getting dinner on the table so easy since protein, vegetables, and a starch are all right there in one dish. We’ve chosen shrimp for our hotpot because these little crustaceans have always been our family’s favorite seafood. We love how sweet and succulent they are, how super quickly they cook, and how deliciously they absorb a multitude of flavors. Since a fragrant broth is key to a successful hot pot, we lightly sauté the shrimp and the vegetables for an added depth of flavor. Then we toss an abundance of baby kale, our newest obsession, into our broth. These tiny leaves are nutrient dense, packed full of vitamins and minerals. To finish the soup we garnish it with crunchy Persian cucumbers and a spritz of lime to brighten the flavors.

Those who are not fond of shrimp can easily substitute cubes of tofu, or strips of beef or chicken to the dish, and if kale is not to your liking you can use broccoli florets, asparagus, bok choy, or Napa cabbage.

The vermicelli noodles are gluten free, so this is a lovely soup for those on a gluten-free diet. And this heady, Asian- inspired soup is comforting on a chilly summer evening, yet light and airy for a hot and humid August day.

We’re aware that shrimp once had a bad rap for being high in cholesterol, but the thinking on that has changed. Recent studies have shown that the bad cholesterol in shrimp is balanced by good cholesterol, so now shrimp are prized for zero saturated fat, high protein content, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and an abundance of vitamins and minerals.

mise en placeHere’s our mise en place, with everything washed, cut, and measured.

shrimpQuickly and lightly sautéed shrimp.

Shrimp and Kale Hot Pot
4 servings

4 ounces rice stick vermicelli noodles
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 pound large shrimp (15 to 20 per pound), peeled and deveined
2 cups shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3/4 cup carrot, coarsely grated
4 cups organic low-sodium vegetable broth
3 tablespoons organic low-sodium soy sauce
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups baby kale, tightly packed
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 small red hot chili pepper (or to taste), sliced
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1 Persian cucumber, diced
1 lime, cut into wedges

Place the noodles in a large mixing bowl and completely cover them with boiling water. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes, until soft but still firm. Drain, and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.   When shimmering, add half the shrimp in a single layer and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until just pink, being careful not to overcook. Remove with tongs to a paper- towel lined plate. Repeat with the remaining shrimp.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the pan, and when shimmering add the mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat until the mushrooms are golden, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and carrots, and cook, stirring, an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth, 2 1/ 2 cups of water, the soy sauce, 1 /2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/ 8 teaspoon of pepper, and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to simmer, stir in the baby kale, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili pepper, and noodles and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and scallions and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Ladle the soup into individual bowls, garnish with the cucumbers, and serve with the lime wedges.

finished soup