Fish Tacos

There are so many versions of fish tacos out there and believe me I’ve tried more than my fair share. There’s nothing better than a deep fried crispy fish taco with a tangy coleslaw on top. Especially if it’s paired with a margarita and lots of sunshine. But, reality check, it’s February and it’s the time of year when we really need to shed those winter thermals (otherwise known as fat on the gut) and trim down our waste lines. This recipe will transport you to warmer times and deliver on flavor without all the guilt.

Ingredients

For the Fish: (this will make 4 good sized tacos, so 2 each)

  • 1lb of cod (it’s a nice white fish and much less expensive than Sea Bass or my favorite, Halibut)
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil drizzle
  • Yellow corn taco shells

Avocado Crema

  • 1/2 of an avocado
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Jalapeño (seeds and veins removed)
  • 1-2 spoonfuls of light sour cream
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt & Pepper

Coleslaw

  • 1/2 red cabbage sliced thin
  • 1/2 of white cabbage sliced thin
  • Cilantro
  • Juice of one lime
  • Little olive oil
  • Splash of apple cider or red wine vinegar
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper

You can buy a bag of pre-cut coleslaw to make it easier. I’ve used Whole Foods cabbage, carrot and beet slaw which is also great.  With the recipe above, you will have leftovers of the coleslaw which is great on its own as a salad or even better leftover the next day.

Directions:

Season your fish with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper (just a little cayenne if you don’t like spicy), lime zest, lime juice and olive oil. Let marinate in the fridge for 10-15 minutes while you prep your other ingredients.

Place your cabbage in a bowl with cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix to combine.

Using a small food processor, place all ingredients in for the crema- avocado, a bunch of cilantro, a jalapeno, lime juice, sour cream and salt/pepper. If for some reason it comes out too bitter, add a dash of agave syrup (or white balsamic) to sweeten it. I find sometimes if your avocado isn’t ripe enough, it needs it. Puree to combine.

Put your pan on medium/high heat and put fish in. Cook for a few minutes and flip. It won’t take long but it depends on how thick it is. When it’s solid white you are good to go!

While your fish is finishing, place your taco shell on the burner and brown. If you don’t have a gas burner, just heat it up anyway you like (in a pan, microwave, etc. I like the flavor of the char). 

Put your crema down first, then your fish and top with the tangy fresh cole slaw.

Eat and enjoy all the flavor and none of the guilt!

Here’s a snap chat video from the last time I made them.

 

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Cod Fish & White Bean Cakes

I want to say up front that the thought of a “fish cake” is really unappealing to me. But don’t let the name of this recipe prevent you from trying it.

We bought some fresh cod at Whole Foods and wanted to make something different than your typical pan-seared fish with lemon and capers. While fried fish and chips or fried fish cakes are delicious, they really aren’t something we should eat on a regular basis. I searched Pinterest for cod fish recipes and countless photos of golden brown, deep-fried fish appeared. The photos of these cod cakes, despite the fact that their name irks me, caught my attention. By substituting white beans for the potatoes and a pan sear instead of a deep fry, we cut a lot of fat and carbs from this dish–but we didn’t lose out on flavor. This recipe is a perfect compliment to a summer night and a glass of wine!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh Cod
  • 1/2 can white cannelini beans
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2-3 stalks of celery
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 jar sweet pimiento peppers
  • 2 TBSP whole wheat panko bread crumbs
  • 2 TBSP Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 dashes hot sauce (I used Franks)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Oil to spray on pan (I use a mixture of 75% canola and 25% olive oil)

Instructions:

Put your fish in a pan with about 1/2 inch of water. Put the lid on and cook at a low boil for roughly 5 minutes so the fish turns white. You don’t want to over cook it, just steam it so you don’t have to sear your cakes until the fish cooks through.

 

Chop your ingredients.

Cod

Saute in a pan for 2-3 minutes. (Don’t forget to salt them!)

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Set them aside to cool.

Place your beans and parsley in a food processor to give them a rough chop. You want them to have somewhat of a pasty texture so it holds the mixture together (remember we are substituting for potato).

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Place all of your cooled ingredients in a mixing bowl (fish, beans and vegetables) with the breadcrumbs.

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In a separate bowl, mix the egg with the hot sauce and add to your fish mixture. It’s okay if you leave a little egg in the bottom of the bowl. (I used that later to brush on the cakes before cooking.) Mix gently so not to break the fish up too much. You want to see healthy-sized chunks of fish in there! (Or at least I do).

Form the mixture into patties and place in the refrigerator to let them rest. I suppose you could cook them right away but they may fall apart on you.

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I opted to brush the cakes with leftover egg and hot sauce mixture and sprinkled some extra bread crumbs just to form a nice crust on the outside.

Sear on both sides until you get a nice brown crust. Mine did fall apart a little, I think due to the fact that I didn’t purée the bean mixture well enough.

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Last minute I realized I wanted a dipping sauce of some kind. I took some reduced fat sour cream and threw in some franks red hot sauce and added some cut up chives. It ended up pairing great but whatever sauce you want to use is fine! A tartar sauce would work great, too. Enjoy.

Linguine with White Clam Sauce (Linguine alle Vongole)

For mother’s day I wanted to cook my mom a delicious dinner with the fam. We had trouble deciding what to make but once we did we were both very much looking forward to this meal after a long and unsuccessful day of shopping in New York. On our drive back to Connecticut we called every single fish market and grocery store we could think of and none of them had the baby manila clams. Another disappointment! Our last ditch effort was to stop by the SoNo Marketplace because I remembered they had two fish stores. With fingers crossed we waited in line for what seemed like an hour (5 minutes) at Bloom Brothers and discovered they did not have manila clams either. At this point we just had to laugh and we happily took the available cherrystone clams because they were fresh. And really, all that matters when making a dish like linguine alle vongole is that the seafood is fresh! I’m sorry I don’t have more photos to share with the instructions!

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Mom and I

bloom brothers

SoNo Marketplace

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
  • 6-7 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 2-3 shallots, chopped fine
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 dozens clams (manila are preferred)
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

clams

Instructions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until al dente.

Heat the olive oil over medium flame in a deep saute pan with a lid. Add the garlic, shallots and red pepper flakes. Saute for about 2 minutes. Add the clams, wine, butter, most of the parsley and lemon juice. Cover with the lid and shake the pan periodically until all the clams open, about 7-8 minutes. Discard any clams that have not opened.

This is an optional step I like in order to add more texture to the sauce (and prevent you from having to work so hard for your food!). Remove about 12 clams, chop them up fine and put them back in the pan.

Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add linguine to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Add more butter if necessary. Toss the pasta with the clams to its nicely coated. To serve place in large bowl and top with the rest of the fresh parsley. Mangia!

PS- a note for the cheese lovers out there: Italians do not put cheese on top of any pasta dishes with seafood. It’s simply frowned upon because they believe it overcomes the subtle flavor of the seafood. Your choice but I left it off this dish!

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Spinach Stuffed Filet of Sole

This is a very straightforward dish inspired by Italian flavors and made for the fish lover. It’s very easy to make and you can adapt the stuffing ingredients to whatever your heart desires! It’s also very healthy and satisfying.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 4 pieces filet of sole
  • Fresh spinach
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp of whole wheat bread crumbs (optional)
  • olive oil for sauteing
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper
  • Tomato sauce (2 or so cups of your favorite!)
  • Fresh basil

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Heat up a pan with olive oil and add red pepper flakes to infuse the oil. Add onions and then garlic until translucent (3-5 minutes).
  • Saute the spinach and add the onion mixture and breadcrumbs. Cook for about 3 minutes and then set aside to cool.

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  • Lay your fish flat and season with salt and pepper. Divide your spinach stuffing into 4 parts (for the 4 pieces of fish) and spoon the mixture on the end of your fish.

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  • Gently roll the fish and place in the baking dish.

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Add your tomato sauce (enough to just cover the fish) and sprinkle with fresh basil.

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  • Cover your pan with tin foil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.

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Cioppino

Cioppino is pretty much a fish stew. Contrary to popular belief, cioppino did not originate in Italy. It’s an Italian-American dish. It’s traditionally made from the catch of the day, so you should use fish you can get fresh and is hopefully local when possible. The seafood is combined with tomatoes in a wine sauce, and served with toasted bread. The various combinations of ingredients are up to you.

With seafood reminiscent of summer and hot flavorful broth that welcomes fall it is a perfect September meal. It is extremely flavorful, light, fresh and filling- you can’t beat that! Pair with a salad and a side of garlic bread and you have yourself a perfect meal.

Ingredients

Cioppino-
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 large shallots, chopped
  • 2-3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • Tomato paste (1 tbsp plus)
  • Anchovy paste (1 squirt)
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • 5 cups fish stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound clams, scrubbed
  • 1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  • 1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound scallops
  • 1 1/2 pounds assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets, we used cod, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh chopped parsley

Garlic Bread-
  • Fresh Italian bread, cut in half
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • 4-5 cloves chopped garlic
  • Fresh chopped parsley
  • Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes

Some ingredients I didn’t use that might be good additions: fennel (sautéed with the onions), capers, halibut (instead of cod though pricier), fresh tomatoes instead of canned, and some marscapone cheese in the sauce for a creamier flavor. Celery is optional.

Directions

Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, shallots, and salt and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato and anchovy paste.

Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.

If your fish is thick like ours was, you should put it in first. Keep in mind none of the fish will take long to cook.

After 2 minutes or so, add the clams and mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes.

Add the shrimp and scallops. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any clams and mussels that do not open).

Optional: Add a tbsp of butter for a nice finish.

Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle fresh parsley on top.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Garlic Bread:

Simply place the butter, garlic, oil and parsley in a small pot and heat on medium. Don’t bring to a boil or simmer. You just want the garlic flavor to flavor the butter and oil.

Spread on the garlic bread, add salt and pepper, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. An optional treat: add some fresh mozzarella!

Asian-Inspired Scallops with Bok Choy and Soba Noodles

Tonight I was inspired by a dish Kyle ordered while we were on vacation in Newport, RI. I don’t love scallops but Fluke restaurant served the best scallops I ever had. They were simply amazing. So I decided to give them another shot with a very simple preparation. Since they are so simple I wanted to come up with some flavorful and exciting side dishes.

This was my first time making soba noodles and I have no idea why I never made them before. The recipe is surprisingly easy to make even though I used a lot of ingredients. Its sweet and a tad spicy but very refreshing on a hot summer night. It also turns out these noodles have less calories than regular white flour pasta! The baby bok choy is prepared in a basic sauté and is a nice crunchy vegetable on the side. Overall, it was a great dinner with a nice balance of flavors. We both gave it two thumbs up. My favorite was the noodles and Kyle voted for the scallops.

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SEARED SCALLOPS:
-Salt & Pepper
-Butter (1-2 tbsp depending on the size of your pan)
-Olive oil
-Sake, rice wine or white wine

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Wash and pat dry the scallops. Add fresh cracked salt and pepper.
Heat your pan on high with butter and oil. Place scallops in pan making sure they don’t touch each other. Add wine.
Sear scallops for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side.

I had too much oil in my pan and that’s why I didn’t get a nice seared crust so learn from my mistake. Kyle says they were amazing nonetheless.

SWEET & SPICY GINGER AND SCALLION SOBA NOODLES:
-2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
-1 clove grated garlic
-1 bunch of scallions, finely chopped
-2-3 tbsp soy sauce
-2-3 tbsp rice vinegar
-cilantro
-fresh cracked pepper
-1-2 tbsp sesame oil
-1 tbsp hoisin sauce
-1 tbsp honey
-sriracha sauce (depends on how spicy you want it. I used about 1 tbsp but could have done more)
-sesame seeds
-julienned cucumbers (optional) I don’t have a julienne so I just spent a few minutes with a sharp knife and got the same effect.

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(fresh grated ginger)
Add all ingredients to a bowl except for the sesame seeds and cukes. Mix well and let sit for 15 minutes to let favors meld.

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Cook soba noodles as directed and rinse with cold water.
Mix everything together and add sesame seeds and cukes.

BOK CHOY:
-1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
-2 cloves grated garlic
-olive oil
-salt and pepper
-few dashes soy sauce

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Heat garlic and ginger in oil for a minute.
Add bok choy and season with s&p. Add a few dashes of soy sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Don’t forget to pair this dish with a delicious pear sake on the rocks!

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Mediterranean Tuna Fish

Do you get tired of the same old tuna fish?  All the mayo isn’t good for you anyways.  Try this Italian style version to dress up a lunch time favorite.

Ingredients

  • Can of tuna fish
  • Capers
  • Artichokes
  • Red Onion
  • White Beans
  • Juice from a lemon
  • S&P
  • Garlic Powder
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Fresh Parsley (if you have it)

Instructions

  1. Cut up red onion into fine pieces.
  2. Cut up artichokes into small pieces.
  3. Add tuna fish, red onion, capers, beans, artichoke, and freshly chopped parsley to a mixing bowl.
  4. Add juice from a lemon, s&p, garlic powder and dash of red wine vinegar.
  5. Mix together.
  6. Serve in a warm pita pocket with arugula and enjoy!

Shabbat Zuppa di Pesce

Tonight we went to my parents for a family dinner and the Jewtalians enjoyed a delicious Italian meal; zuppa di pesce, of sorts.

Mom bought all sorts of fish and you can feel free to select your favorites.

Ingredients

  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Can San Marzano tomatoes (chopped or whole)
  • Imported Italian Linguine
  • Mussels
  • 1 Lobster Tail
  • Shrimp
  • Clams
  • Scallops
  • Sole

Instructions

  1. Saute garlic, shallots, parsley and red pepper flakes in olive oil.
  2. Add in chopped tomatoes, season with S&P.
  3. Begin adding fish in order of cook time. We especially don’t want to over cook the lobster or shrimp or it will get chewy.
  4. When you put the mussels and clams in, put a lid on the pan to steam them for a few minutes. If any shells do not open, throw them out.
  5. Top with parmesan cheese and serve!

Shrimp, tomato and arugula pasta

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Kyle loves this easy to make shrimp pasta! Feel free to substitute arugula with spinach if you prefer.

Makes 3-4 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • Pasta of your choice (I usually use whole wheat penne)
  • Tomatoes (2-3)
  • Arugula
  • Garlic (2-3 cloves)
  • 2 Shallots
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes (as much as you want!)
  • Chicken Broth (1/2 a cup or so) and/or white wine
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Shrimp (optional)

Instructions

  1. Put pot of boiling water on for pasta.
  2. Add olive oil to saute pan and add shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes. Pour in chicken broth.
  3. Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper. place tomatoes in pan and cook for another minute. (Using the chicken broth rather than more olive oil will keep this meal figure friendly!) Then add al dente pasta to the pan and incorporate.
  4. Add a few bunches of arugula and mix together with low heat for a minute or two. After everything has combined serve with parmesan cheese on top!