Lemon Pesto Swordfish

Mmmm. This was the best fish that I’ve made in quite some time. And it was so easy! I had a busy shopping night last night, so it was nice to have something that I could whip together so quickly. The swordfish is sauteed, topped with pesto mixed with fresh lemon juice, and then sprinkled with toasted pine nuts. The light and fresh flavor of the lemon goes so well with both the fish and the pesto, and I love the really hearty flavor and texture of the swordfish in this meal. If you haven’t had swordfish before, it has a surprising heartiness, more like a steak than a fish. This was really a delicious main course – Giada’s recipes never disappoint :)

Lemon Pesto Swordfish
Source: Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

I had some prepared pesto in the freezer, so rather than making Giada’s citrus pesto as listed in the recipe, I simply thawed 3 tablespoons of my pesto and added some lemon juice. Here’s the recipe as I made it.

2 swordfish steaks
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons pesto
Juice from 1/2 small lemon
1/8 cup pine nuts

1.  Heat a good drizzle of olive oil in a saute pan, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the swordfish steaks with salt and pepper, and saute the fish for 4-5 minutes on each side.

2. While the fish is cooking, pour the pine nuts in a small sauce pan, and heat them over medium heat. Cook until the pine nuts are lightly toasted and browned, approximately 5 minutes.

3. Mix the lemon juice into the pesto.

5. Plate the swordfish. Top each steak with some of the lemon pesto, and sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts.

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Seasoned Salmon with Dill

This is a very simple way to cook salmon, and it’s one of my favorite ways to eat it. Just throw it in the oven with some seasoning, some dill, and a pat of butter, and that’s all there is to it. I much prefer this meal when B grills it nice and charred in the summertime, but during the winter, throwing it in the oven to bake is really good, too. I’m normally not the biggest fan of dill, so I don’t use it often, but there are a few foods that I think it pairs really well with, and salmon is one of them. The flavor of the fish just goes so well with the freshness of the dill. I served this fish with some sauteed broccoli and some couscous mixed with toasted pine nuts, garlic, and feta cheese. A very simple and healthy meal, which is sometimes the best kind.

Seasoned Salmon with Dill
Source: B’s mom

2 salmon filets
Black pepper
Onion powder
4-6 sprigs of dill, stems removed
1 tablespoon butter

1. Season both sides of the salmon with black pepper and onion powder.

2. Place the salmon in a greased baking dish and sprinkle each filet with dill.

3. Top the filets with a couple pats of butter (I used about one tablespoon in total) and cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish flakes with a fork.

Cilantro Tilapia with Avocado

This is one of our favorite ways to eat tilapia, and probably the way that I cook it most frequently. We like to eat the tilapia on its own, or we also like to top it with different kinds of salsa or pico de gallo. Tonight, I tried it out with avocado slices, and I think that it was my favorite combination so far. We also love to cook the tilapia this way and then shred it for tilapia tacos, served with shredded cheddar and pico de gallo. A few years ago, I never thought I’d ever eat a fish taco, but I have to say that they really are seriously, seriously delicious. I’m sure I’ll post them at some point :)

Cilantro Tilapia with Avocado
Source: Marinade adapted from Jason Cooks

2 tilapia fillets
1 handful of cilantro, about a cup, plus a few leaves for garnish
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped
1 lime
Extra virgin olive oil
1 small avocado, sliced

1. Combine the cilantro, onion, garlic cloves, jalapeno pepper, and juice from the lime in a food processor and process until combined into the consistency of a marinade.

2. Marinate the tilapia fillets in the cilantro mixture for at least 30 minutes.

3. Heat a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a pan. When hot, add the tilapia fillets (with as little or as much of the marinade packed on as you’d like) and saute until brown and cooked through, approximately ten minutes.

4. Serve the tilapia fillets garnished with avocado slices and cilantro.

Salmon with Puff Pastry, Pesto, Tomatoes, and Almonds

*Photo updated August 2011*

This is one of Brandon’s favorite dinners, and it’s a great summer meal. All of the ingredients work so well together and really provide  so many levels of flavor. The puff pastry is light and buttery, the pesto is rich and garlicy, and the tomatoes are fresh and juicy. When combined with a beautiful, buttery salmon filet and the crunch of some toasted almonds, the resulting flavor profile is just perfect.

Salmon with Puff Pastry, Pesto, Tomatoes, and Almonds
Source: Everyday Italian with Giada De Laurentiis

Here’s the recipe adjusted to how we made it:

2 pieces of puff pastry, each cut to be slightly larger than the pieces of salmon
2 (6-ounce) portions of salmon
2 tablespoons pesto (recipe follows)
8 thin slices of tomato

A handful of chopped almonds
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Place the two pieces of puff pastry on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been brushed with extra virgin olive oil. Place the salmon portions beside the puff pastry on the same sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with oil. Top each filet with half of the chopped almonds. Bake for ten minutes.

3. Place each piece of puff pastry on a plate. Top each puff pastry with one tablespoon of pesto, and top the pesto with four slices of tomato. Top the tomatoes with the salmon and serve.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Italian Recipes
*Makes about 3/4 cup
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
Salt and pepper

1. In a food processor or a blender, combine all of the ingredients. Cover and process or blend until nearly smooth, stopping and scraping the sides as necessary. If necessary, add additional olive oil to thin the pesto.

*I freeze the extra pesto in tablespoon portions in an ice cube tray. When the pesto is frozen, I transfer it to plastic baggies, leaving me with 1 tablespoon portions to use when I need them.