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.

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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.

Lemon Pepper Perch with Lima Beans

Lemon Pepper Perch with Lima Beans

*Photo Updated July 2012*

Inspiration: I have the good fortune to have a set of in-laws who have grown and supplied us with fresh lima beans the last few summers. They gave us this summer’s batch last weekend, and so I sat in front of the TV watching Jerry Maguire and shelling these babies for what I hoped to be some fabulous suppers. Somewhere along the way, lima beans became one of my very favorite foods, so I’m almost embarassed to admit how excited I was :)

What we Loved: We both adored this meal. I really loved everything about it, from the salty and creamy lima beans to the lemony fresh, nicely browned perch (such a fantastic, light fish!) to the nutty Parmesan. All of the flavors went so well together and resulted in a light summery meal that I really just can’t wait to make again. It’s perfect for a weeknight because it’s so easy, and I just love any type of dinner that is served all together in a bowl. I don’t know what it is, but those kinds of meals always tend to be my favorites.

Helpful Hints: Make sure to have a very hot pan when sauteeing the fish. Perch filets are small, and they cook really quickly. If the pan and butter aren’t hot enough, you won’t get any browning on the fish before it’s done. And the browning adds some great flavor.

Lemon Pepper Perch with Lima Beans
Source: Original Recipe
Serves: 2

8 small perch filets, room temperature
Lemon pepper
Kosher salt
2 cups lima beans, shelled
2-3 tablespoons butter
Juice from 1/2 small lemon
Parmesan cheese, shredded

1. Place the lima beans in a sauce pan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook the beans for 30-40 minutes until tender. If using frozen, cook according to package instructions.

2. Drain the beans, then return them to low heat. Mix in a pat of butter and the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.

3. Season the fish with salt and lemon pepper. Heat a pat of butter in a saute pan until very hot. Add the filets, skin side up, and cook for 1-2 minutes until a nice brown crust starts to form. Flip, and cook for 1-2 minutes  more.

4. Serve the fish atop the lima beans, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Avocado Salsa

Inspiration: This is one of those recipes from my list of old blog posts that really needed a re-do! I first made this recipe a couple of years ago when I had just started blogging, and it’s still one of my very favorite fish recipes. Now that we’re into July  (I can’t believe it!), we’re right in the heart of grilling season, and we love this recipe because it’s so fresh, light, and easy for a summer weeknight supper.

What we Loved: The avocado salsa in this dish is out of this world. I absolutely love it. It’s rather simple to make, but something about the mix of ingredients is just perfect. You’ve got spicy peppers, creamy avocado, fresh cilantro, tart lime juice, a little bite from the red onions, and just a touch of salt. With all of those great ingredients atop a perfectly crispy, slightly blackened and spicy grilled fish, this really is the perfect dinner that just screams summer to me. I’d definitely list this as one of the top two or three fish dishes that we’ve ever made.

Helpful Hints: I’d really recommend using a hungarian hot pepper or anaheim pepper rather than substituting a different kind. The fresh, mild flavor of the pepper is one of my favorite parts of the salsa. The salsa recipe actually makes a lot more than you need for two fish filets, but I’d still recommend making the full batch because it’s really fantastic. We just pile the extras on our plate and eat up :)

Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Avocado Salsa
Source: Adapted from Laylita’s Recipes 

For the Fish
2 mahi-mahi fillets 
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
sprinkle of salt 

For the Salsa
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
3-4 slices of red onion, sliced thin
1 hungarian hot pepper (or anaheim pepper), seeded and finely chopped
Juice from 1 lime
A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt to taste 

1. Mix the coriander, cumin, paprika, onion powder, black pepper, and salt together. Rub the mahi-mahi fillets with a good drizzle of olive oil and the seasoning mix, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

2. Combine the avocado, red onion, hot pepper, lime juice, cilantro, and salt in a bowl and mix well, chilling until ready to use. 

3. Grill the mahi-mahi until cooked through and crispy on the outside. Serve the fish topped with the salsa.

Fish Filets Amandine

Fish Filets Amandine

*Photo Updated June 2012*

Inspiration: We can never have too many fish recipes, especially in the spring and summer months. Something about the nice weather just screams seafood and white wine.

What we Loved: Brandon and I both immediately categorized this recipe as one of our top 2-3 everyday fish recipes. The flavors were just fantastic. I used roasted and salted almonds in the sauce, which made it nice and salty, and that’s always a plus in my book. The sauce also had a great citrusy fresh flavor from the lemon/cilantro and a nice richness from the butter. When I make a recipe twice in one week, we know that it’s a good one. And this is a great weeknight meal because it’s very easy to make and pairs wonderfully with some simply sauteed vegetables and white wine.

Helpful Hints: The nice thing about this recipe is that I think it will work well with almost any kind of fish that you prefer. I’ve made this recipe with mahi-mahi, flounder, swordfish, and whitefish, and we really enjoyed each version. I think that it would work really well with something like salmon, too, or even chicken if you’re not keen on fish.

Fish Filets Amandine
Source: Adapted from Williams Sonoma

2 fish filets (mahi-mahi, swordfish, tilapia, whitefish, salmon…)
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
2-3 tablespoons butter
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/8 cup fresh cilantro, minced

1. Season the fish filets with salt and pepper. Add a couple of pats of butter to a saute pan over medium high heat. When melted and hot, add the fish filets, and saute until cooked through, approximately 4 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to your individual serving plates.

2. Add another nice pat of butter, the lemon juice, the cilantro, and the almonds to the pan. Mix to incorporate, and heat through. Spoon the sauce over the fish.

Seared Tuna with Sesame Seeds

Inspiration: B and I had this sesame tuna when we were out for restaurant week in our city earlier this year. Appetizer, dinner, and dessert for $25 at a ton of restaurants in town. This meal was way out of my comfort zone at the time, but it was on the special restaurant week menu at a seafood and martini bar that we went to, so I had to give it a try. And you know what? It was one of the best meals that I’ve ever had in a restaurant. I loved it. Ever since, I’ve been thinking of trying to make it at home, but I’ve been a little hesitant since I’ve never cooked with tuna before. I finally gave it a try last night, and I’m so glad that I did! This is one of the easiest and fastest fancy main dishes that you can make, and my homemade version tasted just like the restaurant version. I’d go so far as to say that this is one of my favorite main courses of all time.

What we Loved: Well, it’s obvious already that I really love this dish. Tuna is such a fabulous and delicious fish, and this recipe is all about highlighting that fresh seafood flavor. The fish is served nearly raw, with just a nice sear on all sides, and the sesame seed coating offers a fantastic salty compliment to the fish. I just love that salty crunch! The fresh fish flavor and the salty crust work so amazingly well together that you really don’t need anything else.

Helpful Hints: I would caution not to overcook the tuna. It really needs to be very rare and only needs about two minutes total in the pan. It’s hard not to think that you need to cook the steaks longer, but I definitely wouldn’t make this recipe (and spend the money on the expensive fish) unless you’re comfortable with the steaks being nearly raw. Also, I had some difficulty finding black sesame seeds in the grocery store. I wandered over to the international aisle, and they had black and white sesame seeds in the Asian section with some other sushi ingredients (including wasabi powder, which I bought to make a wasabi viniagrette to serve over some arugula and avocado as a side dish). If you have trouble finding everything that you need in the spice aisle, I’d give the international aisle a shot. And if you like wasabi, it pairs really well with this dish, as do avocados.

Seared Tuna with Sesame Seeds
Source: Inspired from a local restaurant, with the how-to and side dish ideas taken from Use Real Butter

2 6-8 oz fresh tuna steaks
Black sesame seeds
White sesame seeds
Kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil

1. Mix an equal portion of black sesame seeds and white sesame seeds in a shallow bowl with a generous bit of salt. Coat the tuna steaks in the mixture, adding more sesame seeds and salt to the bowl if necessary.

2. Heat some oil in saute pan, enough to generously coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the tuna steaks using kitchen tongs.

3. Sear for 45 seconds on each side. Using kitchen tongs, sear all of the shorter sides/ends of the steaks for 5-10 seconds each.

4. Slice and serve.