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.

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.

Whitefish with Banana Salsa

Inspiration: I was browsing through Natalie’s blog when I ran across this recipe. Bananas are one of my favorite treats, but the thought had never once crossed my mind to try cooking with them. Is it just me, or is that idea incredibly different/odd/intriguing? I didn’t even have the patience to wait for a sunny summer day to throw this on the grill and eat outside with a nice cocktail, as I had originally planned. Next time.

What We Loved: The salsa in this meal is truly fantastic. It’s very mild, light, and fresh, with a creamy and sweet banana flavor. The jalapeños add a lovely kick of spice, and I always enjoy the fresh, clean herbal flavor of cilantro. All in all, the ingredients combine beautifully for a gorgeous, well-rounded topping for this fish. We served this with a hearts of palm salad (recipe to be posted soon) for a great meal that was just chock-full of tropical flavors. I can see this salsa being good in so many applications, including on its own as a salad or side dish.

Helpful Hints: The original recipe calls for the fish to be seasoned with chili powder, salt, and pepper. I chose to mix these seasonings in with coconut flour. It seemed like a good idea – doesn’t coconut sound great with the rest of these flavors? – but I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way. I had a terrible time getting the crust to crisp up (read – it didn’t at all), and the coconut flour didn’t do much in the way of actually sticking to the fish. So I would recommend either following the original recipe (saute the fish with the seasonings in a pan) or throwing the fish on the grill for a nice crispy, grilled crust. Also, Brandon loved this meal but remarked that he thought that the delicate flavors of the fish were just a touch overpowered by the salsa. If you’re worried about that, maybe use a little less salsa than I did. Or, I think that a thicker chicken breast would be also be a good match for this recipe.

Whitefish with Banana Salsa
Source: Adapted (slightly) from The Sweets Life, originally from Clean Eating Magazine

2 whitefish filets
Chili powder
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 banana, chopped
Handful fresh cilantro, minced
1 slice Vidalia onion, finely diced
1/2 jalapeño, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper

1. Mix together the black beans, banana, cilantro, onion, and jalapeño. Season to taste with Kosher salt and black pepper.

2. Sprinkle the fish with chili powder and Kosher salt, and cook as desired (next time, I think we’ll grill it until it has a nice, slightly blackened crust. The original recipe calls for cooking in a saute pan for 3-4 minutes per side).

3. Serve the fish topped with the salsa.

Salmon with Strawberry Salsa

Inspiration: Hurray for spring produce! The last time I was at the grocery store, I noticed the shift in produce variety that always comes with spring. Buh-bye butternut squash, hello strawberries! I have been saving this recipe since the end of last summer, and I just couldn’t wait to make it once I saw the huge batch of fresh, spring strawberries at the grocery store. What a lovely time of year.

What we Loved: As I hoped and expected, this dish really did taste just like spring. I truly felt the need to take my plate outside somewhere to enjoy the fresh sunshine and crack open a bottle of chardonnay, which I think would be the perfect pairing for this recipe. The strawberry salsa was so fresh and light, and we enjoyed the sweet and citrusy mixture of flavors. Atop a tender, buttery salmon filet fresh from the seafood counter and alongside some buttered snap peas, this really was such a unique and refreshing spring meal. And aren’t the colors gorgeous?

Helpful Hints: If I made this again, the only thing that I would change would be to use a sparing amount of sweet Vidalia onions or chives in place of the scallions. As it was, I thought they were just a touch overpowering, but I think Vidalias or chives would be just the right amount of that onion flavor.

Salmon with Strawberry Salsa
Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats, originally from Good Things Catered

For the Salsa
1 cup strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and finely diced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, finely diced
2 scallions, white and light green portions, sliced thin
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Fish
2 salmon filets
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Butter and oil

1. Combine all of the salsa ingredients in a bowl, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the salmon, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a good pat of butter and a drizzle of olive oil in a saute pan. Add the salmon, and cook until it flakes easily with a fork, about four minutes per side.

3. Serve the salmon topped with the salsa.

Crab-Stuffed Salmon

Inspiration: How can this not sound good? For a couple of seafood lovers like us, this is really the perfect recipe. It’s one of our favorite kinds of fish stuffed with another of our favorite sea foods. Count us in!

What we Loved: This recipe really has a wonderful combination of flavors. The salmon is rich and tender, and the crab filling is wonderfully seasoned with dill and salt. There is also a really nice and slightly tart lemon flavor running throughout the filling. We really liked how the filling ended up so golden and just a bit crispy on top (which was probably the result of adding a couple of pats of butter before cooking) and almost creamy on the inside. What a wonderful seafood supper that is light and refreshing yet rich and indulgent at the same time.

Helpful Hints: I am so ecstatic about this way of making stuffed fish or chicken. Though I have always loved stuffed fish/chicken, cutting horizontal slits in the side of fish to make a pocket or flattening/rolling chicken breasts never quite worked out as neatly or as perfectly as I wanted. And to be frank, sometimes it was disasterous. This way is so simple, with gorgeous results! I don’t know why I never thought of it before, but I’d definitely suggest using it in place of the other ways to prepare stuffed fish or chicken – as long as you keep in mind that you will get a bit of a different texture on the top of the stuffing since it’s not completely enclosed.

Crab-Stuffed Salmon
Source: Adapted from The Food Lover’s Primal Palate

2 wild-caught salmon filets
4 oz crab meat
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 sprigs fresh dill, minced
1/4 lemon
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons butter

1. Combine the crab, garlic, dill, juice from 1/4 lemon, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

2. Slice the salmon filets lengthwise down the center to create a space for stuffing.

3. Stuff the salmon filets with the crab. Top each with a few pats of butter, about a tablespoon a piece.

4. Bake for 18 minutes at 400 degrees.