Flounder with Pineapple Avocado Salsa

Flounder with Pineapple Avocado Salsa

Inspiration: So we’ve been making all of Ben’s food since he started eating solids about four months ago, and I usually puree or finely dice up some sort of fruit as part of his breakfast. I just grab whatever’s on sale/in season at the grocery store, but toward the end of winter, there really just wasn’t much to choose from. So I grabbed some random bags of frozen fruit, among them a nice bag of pineapple. We’ve found that it’s a little to early for the highly acidic/citrusy fruits for him, though (not gonna risk anymore just yet after a rash on his face from kiwi), so that frozen bag of pineapple was just calling our names.

What We Loved: This is a very light and summery meal. I always love the pairing of seafood and fruit, and this meal was no exception. The flounder is so light and flaky, and the creamy avocado and sweet pineapple complement that fresh seafood flavor so well. Plus there’s a nice kick of heat, some fresh cilantro, and some sweet and juicy lime juice to tie everything together. Refreshing and delicious. We paired this with Brandon’s favorite coconut ginger rice for a lovely meal.

Tips: Flounder (or any very thin, flaky white fish) cooks up very quickly, so keep a close eye on it. Ours really only needed about two minutes per side. If you want a heartier fish, something like cod would also work well. With the flounder, I certainly did not end up with any whole filets after cooking. They flake apart so easily while cooking/flipping! I’ll say to be careful while flipping, but if the filets break apart, no matter. They’ll still taste great.

Flounder with Pineapple Avocado Salsa
Source: Adapted from Pink Parsley, originally from Everyday Food

About 3/4 lb flounder filets
Kosher salt and black pepper
Olive oil
1/2 avocado, diced small
3/4 cup pineapple, diced small (I used frozen)
1 serrano pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1/8 cup fresh cilantro, minced
Juice 1/2 lime

1. Combine the avocado, pineapple, serrano, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside.

2. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper. Heat a good drizzle of olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the fish, and saute until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, just a few minutes per side.

3. Top the fish with the salsa.

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Cod with Salsa Verde

Cod with Salsa Verde

Inspiration: This was one of the first recipes that we had on the blog way back in 2008. I figured it was time for an update, right? And besides, with little Ben around, dinners like this that are easy peasy are getting thrown onto our menu left and right.

What We Loved: This recipe is dead simple to make and it’s plenty flavorful, which is always a great combination. Cod is really light and fresh, and the Mexican seasonings in this recipe really add a nice spicy punch. I just love the tangy, almost sweet flavor of salsa verde in any application, and here it adds a particularly nice contrast to the spicy seasonings.  This meal is a great way to get some Mexican flavors on your table if you’re looking for something a little bit lighter.

Tips: I really like taking some help every once in a while from something like a jarred salsa. We love Rick Bayless’ Frontera brand salsa because it’s full of whole ingredients, plus we like to support one of our favorite chefs. But you could certainly make your own salsa verde for this recipe if you’re not looking for a fast recipe or concerned about time constraints.

Cod with Salsa Verde
Source: Original Recipe
Serves: 2

12-16 oz cod filets
Chili powder
Ground cumin
Kosher salt and black pepper
Butter
Salsa verde, either homemade or your favorite jarred variety (I used Frontera brand)
Cilantro, chopped

1. Season the cod filets well with chili powder, cumin, Kosher salt, and black pepper.

2. Add a good couple of pats of butter to a saute pan over medium heat. Add the cod, and saute until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.

3. Serve the cod topped with salsa verde and chopped cilantro.

Pecan Parmesan Salmon

Pecan Parmesan Salmon

Inspiration: I didn’t really have any cravings while I was pregnant. Aversions – oh, yes – but no cravings. Since we had Ben and I have been nursing, though, I’ve been getting some weird, out of left field cravings. One of those cravings has been pecans. I thought of them the other day, and I just had to have a meal with pecans in it. And I am just dreaming about a nice salted can of them right now. Mmm.

What We Loved: Salmon is a rich fish that really paired particularly well with the rich flavors in the topping – delicious nutty Parmesan and the lovely maple/caramel flavors that are inherent to pecans. Aside from that awesome maple flavor, my favorite thing about the topping was how nice and crispy it got. I was worried that the  nuts might soften in the oven, but they got super crispy and crunchy and delicious. This recipe is very simple but also elegant in a way – always a nice combination.

Tips: As you may be able to tell from the photo, I overcooked our salmon. Don’t do this – it is a sad thing indeed. I cooked ours at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, which would probably have been okay if my filets were thicker, as they normally are. I had thin filets this time, though, so I definitely should have cooked them a shorter amount of time. Keep an eye on your filets – they might need anywhere from about 12 to 20 minutes, depending on thickness.

Pecan Parmesan Salmon
Source: Original Recipe
Serves: 2

1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 tablespooms olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 6 oz salmon filets

1. Combine the pecans, Parmesan, thyme, and olive oil in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Place the salmon filets in a baking dish. Top each one with half of the pecan mixture.

3. Bake in a 400 degree oven until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 12-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

Salmon and Crab Cakes with Avocado

Inspiration: I have this thing with favorites. Brandon always teases me because any time that there’s an opportunity, I’m always asking him to pick his favorite. If we have a wine tasting and taste several wines, I have to know which one he likes best. If we try out a bunch of different appetizers at a restaurant, I’ll always ask which he liked above all of the others. I don’t even think about it until after I’ve asked, and then we both laugh at how ridiculous I always am. The funny thing is that I’m always mentally forcing myself to choose favorites, too, and a lot of times I just can’t decide and get stressed out about not being able to pick a favorite. Ha! Anyway, if I had to pick a favorite seafood dish, I think that really good crab cakes might be it.

What We Loved: We really liked these because they had a really fresh seafood flavor. While there are quite a few supplementary ingredients, none of them are too overpowering or take away from what is so good about a crab cake – that predominant seafood flavor. And with these, that flavor was perhaps a little more prominent than just an ordinary crab cake, because the added flavor of the salmon was so buttery fresh and delicious. Another great plus is that the salted avocado on top added a nice creamy, cooling contrast to the cakes. We enjoyed these alongside a couple of bowls of gazpacho for a lovely summer meal.

Tips: I meant to add a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise or Greek yogurt to the mixture, but I completely forgot. I might suggest throwing it in to make the salmon and crab cakes creamier (these were good as they were, but I think that the extra moisture would make them even better). Plus, the mayo or yogurt would act as a further binder to hold the cakes together.

Salmon and Crab Cakes with Avocado
Source: Original Recipe
Serves: 2

4 oz lump crab meat
10 oz fresh salmon, chopped into small pieces
Good glug of extra virgin olive oil
Handful fresh cilantro, minced
1 thin slice onion, minced
Juice from 1/2 lime
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Seafood seasoning, to taste
1/8 cup coconut flour
1 egg
Butter
1 small avocado, thinly sliced

1. Add the crab meat, salmon, cilantro, onion, and lime juice to a bowl. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and seafood seasoning. Add the coconut flour and egg, and gently stir until everything is incorporated.

2. Form the mixture into four cakes. Chill for about 1/2 hour.

3.  Heat a good pat of butter in a saute pan. Add the salmon crab cakes, and saute until they are cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.

4. Serve topped with sliced avocado and an additional sprinkle of Kosher salt.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp Skewers

Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp Skewers with Rosemary

Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp Skewers

Inspiration: As a lot of people will agree, I think, there’s something about a 90 degree weekend that just calls for grilling out. I threw these on the menu for a hot Sunday night just before Brandon and I were heading out of town for a week in Washington, D.C. Because let’s face it – something about an awesome week of eating out also calls for some light and proper eating in beforehand.

What We Loved: I just love the slightly smoky flavor that grilling lends to shrimp. It’s just another layer of awesome on top of the already sweet, succulent flavor that is characteristic of great shrimp. These shrimp were also defined by the earthy, piney flavor of rosemary, and I loved the salty richness that the prosciutto added to the shrimp. Wrapping each shrimp in the prosciutto makes for a nice little parcel of delicious flavor. What’s also great about these skewers is that they’re easy, light, and perfect for a hot summer day.

Tips: It only takes a few short minutes to grill shrimp – probably about two minutes per side – so keep a close eye on these. Overcooked, rubbery shrimp sure are a tragedy. I also wouldn’t worry too much about carefully wrapping the prosciutto around the shrimp. Any old way will work.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp Skewers
Source: Original Recipe

1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp, tails left on
Olive oil
Juice from 1/2 small lemon
Handful rosemary, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 slices prosciutto, cut into small strips

1. Place the shrimp in a bowl and drizzle generously with olive oil. Add the lemon juice, rosemary, and garlic. Let marinate for about half an hour. Meanwhile, if you are using wooden skewers, prepare them by soaking them in water for at least half an hour.

2. Wrap each shrimp in a strip of prosciutto, and thread the shrimp onto the skewers.

3. Pour any marinade that accumulated in your bowl back over the shrimp skewers. Drizzle with some more olive oil.

4. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side, until the shrimp are just barely cooked through.

Baked Fish with Pesto and Prosciutto

Inspiration: Ahhh, pesto and prosciutto. It’s one of those food pairings that’s just perfect, isn’t it? Peanut butter and jelly fancified. I never tire of the combination, and we just love it in this baked fish recipe, which I first made years ago and sort of forgot about. It’s always nice to rediscover old favorites.

What We Loved: There are a lot of things to appreciate about this meal. First and foremost, the flavor combination is just lovely. The light and flaky fish, rich and garlicky pesto, and salty prosciutto all meld together perfectly in each bite. Secondly, this meal is a snap to throw together, especially if you already have some homemade pesto on hand (I like to make a batch and freeze it in ice cube trays, giving me tablespoon-sized cubes of pesto whenever I need them). I also think that this dish really presents just beautifully, making it perfect for company or for a fancy weeknight supper after a long day.

Tips: I used sole filets when making the recipe this time (two 2-3 ounce filets for each of us), but you can really use any kind of fish that you prefer (I usually choose whatever looks good/is in season and/or is on sale at the grocery store). My favorite kind of fish to use with this recipe is mahi-mahi, though, because I really like the hearty, meaty texture of that fish paired with the bold flavors of the pesto and prosciutto.

Baked Fish with Pesto and Prosciutto
Source: Original Recipe

Fish filets (sole, flounder, tilapia, mahi-mahi – whatever you’d like)
Black pepper
Basil pesto
Prosciutto slices
Basil leaves

1. Season the fish filets with black pepper (no salt is necessary, as prosciutto is very salty).

2. Spread a good dollop of pesto across the top of each filet.

3. Wrap each filet in a slice of prosciutto.

4. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

5. Serve topped with basil leaves for garnish.

Smoked Salmon Mousse

Smoked Salmon Mousse

Inspiration: I made this dish with Brandon in mind. He still talks about a smoked salmon spread that we had a few years ago as an appetizer one time at a fancy restaurant, so I thought I’d try to recreate something similar at home. It sure took me long enough, but I guess that’s what happens when I have more recipes on my to-try list than I’ll ever have the time to make. There is just too much good food in the world, isn’t there?

What We Loved: I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest fan of salmon spreads (something about pureed fish just doesn’t do it for me), so I wasn’t entirely looking forward to this recipe. I knew that I’d think it was all right, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really enjoyed this spread a lot. It’s creamy and cheesy, yet it has a nice, fresh salmon flavor that’s certainly the main component of the recipe (though not overpowering in the slightest). I rarely use dill because I don’t enjoy the flavor very much, but I do always find that it pairs so excellently with salmon. The fresh herbal bite really adds a nice pop of flavor in this recipe. We enjoyed this spread with cucumber slices alongside some fantastic steamed crab legs (another of Brandon’s favorite foods) for a lovely and light seafood supper.

Tips: Make sure to bring your cream cheese to room temperature before trying to puree everything in your food processor. Cold cream cheese really doesn’t allow for pureeing.

Smoked Salmon Mousse
Source: The Way the Cookie Crumbles

4 oz smoked salmon
4 oz cream cheese, brought to room temperature
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth.

2. Serve with cucumber slices.

Parmesan Almond Tilapia with Lemon

Inspiration: This recipe has been on our table in one form or another for years, and over the last few months, I’ve finally perfected a lower-carb version that we really, really love. This is typically something that we’d eat a lot of in the summer time, but every once in a while in the winter time, a light and bright fish supper is just what we need.

What We Loved: This is one of those dishes that is just so delicious in its simplicity. The recipe is nothing but a nice filet of tender, flaky fish with a crispy crust and juicy lemon, but those simple ingredients really make for an excellent flavor combination and a truly enjoyable meal. We particularly loved the bright, fresh lemon juice, which added even more moistness to the already tender fish. Plus, every once in a while, there’s just nothing like a great crispy crust on a piece of fish or chicken, right? This really is a great light option for a satisfying supper.

Tips: I think that the crust on this fish would work very well for chicken Parmesan. I’ll be trying that out soon! Also, don’t skip the lemon with this one – that fresh lemon juice is one of the best parts of the dish.

Parmesan Almond Tilapia with Lemon
Source: Original Recipe

2 tilapia filets
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 egg
About 1/4 – 1/3 cup almond meal
About 1/4 – 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated and then blended to a powder in a food processor
Butter
Italian seasoning
Lemon wedges

1. Place the coconut flour onto a plate, beat the egg in a shallow bowl, and mix the almond meal and Parmesan cheese together on another plate.

2. Season the filets with salt and pepper. Dredge the filets in the coconut flour to coat.

3. Dip the filets in the egg, and then dip them into the Parmesan/almond mixture. Use your hands to pat the mixture firmly onto the filets.

4. Heat some butter in a saute pan over medium heat, enough to generously coat the bottom of the pan. Add the filets, and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side, flipping only once. Cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

5. Plate the fish, and season with Italian seasoning. Serve with lemon wedges.

Shrimp and Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms

Shrimp and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

Shrimp and Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms

Inspiration: This is one of those recipes that I’ve been making for years (I think we’ve made it as part of Brandon’s family’s Christmas Eve supper for the past three years now), yet it’s somehow never made it onto the blog. I’ve made a lot of stuffed mushrooms ever since I fell in love with mushrooms several years back, and in our opinion, nothing can hold a candle to these. They’re by far our favorite stuffed mushrooms (and I think that my brother-in-law, Brian, just might agree). With football playoffs in full swing, I thought that now would be a great time to finally post this recipe. We always love to do a fun appetizer spread for Superbowl Sunday in particular, and after looking at these pictures, I have a feeling that these will be making an appearance on our table that day for sure.

What We Loved: These mushrooms are rich, cheesy, and decadent. They’re defined by a wonderful bacon flavor that melds with the light, succulent flavor of fresh shrimp; the  rich, browned flavor of sauteed onions; and a combination of velvety cream cheese and nutty, crispy Parmesan. The result is really just a perfect, intensely rich and flavorful combination. I feel like stuffed mushrooms are one of those dishes that just call for decadence, and these mushrooms definitely deliver.

Tips: I’ve made these using several different kinds of mushrooms (white stuffing mushrooms, baby cremini mushrooms, and large portabella mushrooms), and every kind that we’ve tried so far works wonderfully. I’ve found that smaller, appetizer-sized mushrooms are our favorite, but large, dinner-sized portabellas work just fine, too. Basically, this recipe will work as whatever you’re looking for, depending on which mushrooms you use – an appetizer, a side dish, or even a main course.

Shrimp and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms
Source: Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

About 24 ounces mushrooms (whichever kind you prefer – we like to use smaller white stuffing mushrooms or baby bellas – about 18 mushrooms total)
4 slices bacon, diced
½ Vidalia onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper
About 10 large shrimp, finely diced
6 ounces cream cheese
¾ cups fresh Parmesan cheese, finely grated

1. Rinse and clean the mushrooms, and cut out all of the stems. Finely chop the stems and set aside.

2. Cook the bacon in a saute pan until it renders some fat and is about halfway crisped.

3. Add the onion and the mushroom stem pieces to the pan. Season well with salt and pepper, and continue to cook until the water released from the mushrooms evaporates and the vegetables are softened and beginning to get nice and browned.

4. Add the garlic to the pan, and stir to combine. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the shrimp.

5. Mix in the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese.

6. Spoon the mixture into the mushrooms, and place them into a baking dish.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the filling cooks through and the mushrooms have released their moisture. If desired, turn the broiler on for a minute or two before the end of cooking to brown the top of the mushrooms.

8. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Chipotle Shrimp

Inspiration: My parents have this favorite cozy little Mexican restaurant called El Salto that they often take us to that has the most amazing Mexican food. We’ve been there countless times, and we all always say that there’s nothing on the menu that’s not good. Isn’t that just the best kind of restaurant? (especially considering that it’s Mexican food…..our favorite). Anyway, one of us will sometimes get their spicy shrimp dish (I think that they call it camarones al diablo), and it’s a fabulously spicy, spicy dish. It’s the kind of dish where you have to make sure that you have a full glass of water (or margarita) in front of you while you’re eating. I was browsing through one of Rick Bayless’ books recently when I saw something that looked pretty similar – his chipotle shrimp dish – and I knew that I had to give it a try. There’s just something so fun about trying to recreate restaurant meals at home, isn’t there? Plus, we always say the same thing about Rick Bayless as we do about the restaurant – there’s nothing in his cookbooks that’s not gold.

What We Loved: This dish ended up tasting quite a bit different than our restaurant favorite, but it sure was tasty just the same. The sauce has just the perfect amount of spice and heat (with a nice, smoky kick from the adobo sauce), and the shrimp are so tender and succulent, as shrimp should always be. We loved the fresh cilantro garnish and the lovely tart zip that came from squeezing fresh lime juice atop the meal as we ate. If you like spicy food, then this recipe is definitely a winner. We served it alongside some fresh homemade guacamole for a great Saturday night Mexican supper.

Tips: For the amount of shrimp that we cooked (one pound between two people), there was a lot of extra sauce in the pan. I’d recommend cooking anywhere between 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of shrimp to serve three or four with the amount of sauce called for in the recipe below. Or, I’d use less chicken stock so that the sauce is thicker and you have less leftover in the pan.

Chipotle Shrimp
Source: Slightly adapted from Rick Bayless, from Mexican Everyday

1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
2 canned chipotles in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
Butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 lb fresh, large shrimp
Cilantro, chopped
Lime wedges

1. Pour the drained tomatoes into a food processor. Add the chipotles and the adobo sauce, and process until smooth.

2. Heat a couple pats of butter in a saute pan. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

3. Pour in the tomato sauce, stir to combine, and cook for about five minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

4. Add the chicken stock and about a teaspoon of salt (more or less to taste). Allow to simmer and reduce until the sauce is thickened.

5. Add the shrimp, and continue to cook until the shrimp are cooked through, about 4-5 minutes.

6. Serve the shrimp garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.