Archive for the 'fish and shellfish' Category


Macadamia Encrusted Mahimahi with Mango Salsa

Daniel got married in Maui a few weeks ago and sent us these amazing macadamia nuts. Now that it’s nearly impossible to spend more than 2 hours on an airplane (due to our squirmy little G), we’ve been invited this year to weddings in San Diego, Malaysia, Peru and Maui. I was musing about this on Facebook recently when Daniel chimed in, trying to entice me even more with macadamia nuts. As if an ocean and the beach weren’t enough, along with some amazing Kona coffee, frozen grapes and an oceanside maitai.

Since we’re stuck here for a while, Daniel sent us macadamias and some Kona coffee. It was a lovely thing to do, especially considering how crazy things are the week of a wedding. I’d forgotten how much I love super fresh macadamias. They reminded Jeff and me of our honeymoon six years ago, when were zipping around the Big Island in a convertible, sun burnt,  munching on macadamias and Hawaiian bread. How I wish we could have been at Daniel and Marianne’s wedding.

Instead, Jeff and I made this encrusted mahimahi with mango salsa. The flavors were very Hawaii and very delicious, but  nevertheless  a distant second to a wedding in Maui.

Yet this was so good that I made it twice last month.

The recipe is fairly simple. Marinate the fish in lime juice, but be sure not to let the fish soak for more than one to two hours. Coat the fish in butter, dip in a mixture of panko, chopped macadamias and cilantro, and then bake until crispy. YUM! The mango salsa is incredible with it.

Macadamia Encrusted Mahimahi with Mango Salsa
Bon Appetit, June 1991

1 10-ounce mahimahi fillet (1 inch thick), skinned, halved crosswise
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Place mahimahi in shallow dish. Pour lime juice over. Marinate 1 hour, and no more than two hours, turning fish over occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine panko and next 3 ingredients in small bowl. Mix in 2 tablespoons butter. Season generously with pepper. Pour remaining 2 tablespoons butter into shallow baking dish. Remove mahimahi from marinade and place in baking dish, turning to coat with butter. Spoon panko mixture atop fish, dividing evenly. Press topping gently to adhere. Bake until fish is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve.

Serves 2.

Mango Salsa
Bon Appetit, September 1998

2 cups chopped pitted peeled mango (if you’ve never diced a mango, consult this online tutorial)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 teaspoons olive oil

Mix everything in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)


Quinoa with Spice-Roasted Shrimp and Pistou

This will sound like blasphemy to some of you, but I generally find quinoa boring. I’ve eaten it half a dozen times in very ho-hum salads and pilafs at newsroom potluck lunches. And I may have had it once at book club. Eating it is like patting yourself on the back. It’s SO nutritious. It’s not horrible, it’s just boring like a multi-vitamin.

That is, until this recipe came along:

In the current issue of Food & Wine there’s a recipe that will change how you feel about quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah). If you’re lackluster about it, you’ll suddenly love it. If you love it already, you’ll realize you didn’t truly love it until now.

The nutty flavor of the quinoa is complemented by the herbal complexity of the pistou (that’s French for pesto). I’d never thought to put rosemary and basil together, and they go wonderfully mixed here with parsley, thyme and garlic.  The shrimp are marinated with a combination of garlic powder, fennel seeds, oregano, paprika, dried thyme and onion powder. Then they’re roasted. They’re so good I’m thinking about pairing them soon with pasta or couscous.

This makes for a delicious meal or a salad. Serve it warm or cold. Take it to work and eat it for lunch.

The only thing I’d change about this is the amount of pistou. It’s so delicious, I wanted (needed!) more.

Continue reading ‘Quinoa with Spice-Roasted Shrimp and Pistou’


Thai Shrimp and Spinach Curry

This meal illustrates why I love to cook. It was a new recipe. I hoped it would satisfy a craving. And it did.

On top of that, it was quick to make and required little effort. It filled the house with the smell of coconut milk and the warmth of red curry. The spinach, carrots and red pepper made it a beautiful meal. As far as taste? Delicious.

About 10 years ago, I began exploring ingredients and cooking techniques while living in Little Rock, Ark. The city has a fantastic farmers’ market, one of the best I’ve seen anywhere. But it sorely lacks when it comes to ethnic restaurants. When I wanted Indian food, many times I ended up cooking it myself. The same went for Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. If only I’d found this recipe then.

The quality of the curry paste you use could determine the degree of awesome-ness. I used red because I love it so. Red and green curry paste can be found in the international or Asian aisle of most supermarkets. If you live near an Asian or international market, see if they carry Mae Ploy. I highly recommend it.

Thai Shrimp and Spinach Curry
Gourmet Today

1 (13- to 14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk, chilled (do not stir or shake)
1 1/2 to 2  teaspoons Thai green or red curry paste
1 pound medium shrimp (31-35 per pound), peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
3/4 pound spinach (1 large bunch), tough stems discarded
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Accompaniment: jasmine or basmati rice

Spoon about 1/3 cup of thick coconut cream from top of coconut milk (set remaining coconut milk aside) into a large heavy skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add curry paste and cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the begin to turn pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining coconut milk and fish sauce, bring to a summer, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are just cooked through, about 1 minute. Transfer shrimp with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add carrots and bell pepper to sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Add spinach tin batches, stirring until each batch is wilted. Return shrimp to skillet and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.

Sprinkle cilantro on the curry and serve with rice.


Linguini with Shrimp, Asparagus and Basil

When books and magazines start taking over our coffee table, Jeff always looks at me. I know the look. Half of the clutter is my cook books and food magazines. The funny thing about that is I don’t even subscribe to any food magazines. I just hold onto my old ones and rediscover them every now and then.

I started leafing through one of my old Bon Appetits the other day. In May 2007, a photographer snapped a pic of this dish in front of the Sydney Opera House and made it the cover photo. I’ve made it for family and friends about a half dozen times since the issue came out. I made it again last night. We already had some asparagus, lemon and several pots of basil growing outside on the deck. Basil is what makes this dish.  The only wild card is the hot pepper. Red jalapenos, I’ve found, can vary in their degrees of heat. Maybe it has to do with shelf life, who knows. This time I used fresno chiles instead, with good results. If you can’t find a red chile, settle for green. The taste will be the same. The visual is all that will be lacking.

Continue reading ‘Linguini with Shrimp, Asparagus and Basil’


Pecan-Crusted Salmon with Sorrel Sauce

Sorrel is one of those greens that is easy to grow but leaves the question of what to do with it. It tastes like lemon and looks like spinach. It’s too strong to use as a salad green, but not quite an herb, either.

I came across this recipe last week while scouring Epicurious for ideas — ideas that go beyond French soups. I’ve made this twice. It’s savory but subtle. The basil and tarragon brighten up the crust. If you’re making this for a dinner party, save some of the herbs for garnish. The pecan crust and sorrel sauce are a bit drab looking and need some green to brighten it up.

Continue reading ‘Pecan-Crusted Salmon with Sorrel Sauce’


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