Seafood

Halibut Meunière

The first time I ate halibut was about five years ago in Las Vegas when my two girlfriends and I agreed to go to dinner with some guys from New York we knew who were in Vegas the same week. The restaurant of choice was a fancy high-end steakhouse in Mandalay Bay with a wall of wine and an expensive menu. As I sat down at our beautiful table, I nearly went into a panic when I looked at the menu. Not because of the prices but because of the choices. At the time, I’d recently begun eating chicken but the only chicken dish on the menu was a bone-in half-chicken, which wasn’t an option for me. I didn’t eat lobster or lamb or fois gras or bone marrow so I didn’t have many options. I was just about to settle on a sad dinner of two sides – green beans and mashed potatoes – when my friends encouraged me to try the halibut. “It’s not a fishy fish”, they said. Reluctantly, I tried it. It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Since then, I haven’t had halibut much because it isn’t the cheapest fish in the ocean. So when I saw halibut was on sale at my grocery store, I was excited to make Halibut Meunière.

Fresh halibut is sprinkled with a little salt, pepper and flour and cooked in butter until opaque and flakey. A fragrant sauce of browned butter and lemon juice is drizzled over the top along with a dusting of fresh parsley which allows the fish to be perfectly and simply complimented. Considering one of my favorite dishes as a kid was frozen breaded fish sticks smothered in melted butter, bottled lemon juice and dried parsley, this dish is a significant upgrade. Since I’m pretty sure that the dish I ate in Vegas was 3 or 4 times what it costs to make this dish, I don’t feel guilty splurging a little bit once in a while to enjoy it. Sorry, chicken, but I’ll choose halibut over you anyday.

The ingredients:

Pat fish dry, and sprinkle both sides with black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle with flour.

Melt 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add fish to pan, and cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Carefully turn fish over; cook 4 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Remove fish from pan; set aside, and keep warm.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter to pan, and cook 1 minute or until lightly browned, swirling pan to melt butter evenly and prevent burning. Remove pan from heat; stir in juice.

Drizzle juice mixture over fish. Sprinkle fish with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Crab Cakes with Spicy Mustard Sauce

I’ve never been a shell-fish person but once I started eating meat again after being a vegetarian, I kept trying crab cakes thinking I would learn to like them.  But I always found them too fishy.  Then three summers ago, I attended War By The Shore, an annual boiled-crab-versus-steamed-crab battle held by two friends (one from Mississippi, one from Maryland – see more details about the battle here) where a side crab cake battle took place.  Plates of crab cakes ended up on every table at every corner and I tried cake after cake.  After that fun-filled day three Junes ago, I officially became a crab cake person and now it’s something that I order often when I’m at a restaurant.  I’ve been tucking away different crab cake recipe and tossed away any fear I had of making my own in order to make these Crab Cakes with Spicy Mustard Sauce.

Crab meat is tossed with panko, red pepper, scallions, a little mayonnaise and eggs and shaped into patties before being dredged in a light layer of additional panko.  They are then fried in a pan with the teeniest bit of oil until golden brown and warmed through.  The sauce is both light and spicy and provides a nice creamy element to these crab cakes.  I used whole-wheat panko which worked out fine but I think regular would have turned out better.  I also think using two whole eggs instead of one egg and one egg white might have made the crab meat stay together better.  The pan gets really hot so I suggest keeping the heat closer to medium than medium-high.  Only about 2 or 3 of my finished crab cakes looked presentable because the rest either fell apart or I nearly burned them.  And I was so concerned about making sure my smoke alarm didn’t go off from all of the smoke from the pan that I didn’t get a picture of the cakes cooking.  Oh well, you get the gist.  Regardless, I ate every single one of these cakes for lunch and dinner over a couple of days.  I loved them.  They are light on the filler, just the way you want crab cakes to be.  I’m so glad I’m a crab cake fan now…but I’ve got a long way to go before I start handling crab legs!!

The ingredients:

Combine red pepper, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, scallions and eggs in a large bowl.

Add 1/3 cup panko and crab; toss gently.

Divide crab mixture into 8 equal portions; shape each into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. Place remaining panko in a shallow dish. Gently dredge patties in panko.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half of the oil to the pan and add 4 crab cakes to pan.  Cook 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and crab cakes.

Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, Dijon, white wine vinegar and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.

Serve sauce with crab cakes.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Whole-wheat panko
  • Light mayonnaise

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa

I know, I know, you can’t believe it.  I actually made an entree that isn’t chicken!  It took me a loooooooong time to start eating fish again despite the fact that I used to go fishing with my dad.  We ate fresh fish quite often, not to mention that mashed up fish sticks smothered in lemon-butter was one of my favorite meals.  Like, ever!  And although I’m sure I could probably scarf down a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish if I really wanted to, generally I can’t stand fishy-fish.  I’ve had a couple of mahi recipes tucked away that I haven’t had the nerve to make but after eating mahi mahi two (maybe three?) times in Florida over the weekend, I figured it was time to step up and get over my fear of cooking fish. 

This Grilled Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa seemed simple enough and luckily, I had all of the ingredients for the salsa already.  The fish is briefly soaked in a mixture of coconut milk and lime juice before being cooked in a grill pan (although I used a regular pan).  The salsa is filled with flavors of mango, cucumber, red pepper, ginger and jalapeño (the recipe calls for serrano) which taste super-yummy with the mahi mahi.  I’m no longer afraid to make fish at home anymore so this was a big step for me! 

The ingredients:

Combine coconut milk and lime juice in a shallow dish and add the fish.  Turn a few times to coat and let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Meanwhile, chop the mango, red pepper, cucumber, cilantro, ginger, cilantro and jalapeño (and onion, if using) and place in bowl with remaining coconut milk and lime juice.

Remove fish from the marinade and season with salt and pepper.  Place in a grill pan heated over medium-high heat.  Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until fully cooked (mine took an extra 2 or 3 minutes).

Serve with mango salsa.

Additions:  None

Omissions: 

  • Red onion

Substitutions:

  • Jalapeno pepper

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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