Here is a fast and fresh dinner idea adapted from The Daily Meal. I am a huge fan of fruit salsas and love to serve them over grilled meats and fish. And with fresh cherries beginning to appear in the Belgian markets, now is the time to start making cherry based dishes. (And it is a great excuse to use my cherry pitter). The combination of cherries and mangos, with a surprise touch of mint and chile peppers, makes this salsa flavorful and the perfect complement to the salmon. And since the salsa doesn’t need to sit you can make it while the salmon is grilling. (The salsa would also be good served alongside grilled chicken or pork).
So fire up the grill and enjoy some of the best flavors of the season.
CARAMELIZED SALMON w/ CHERRY-MANGO SALSA
1 1/2 pounds skin-on salmon filets (fresh is preferable)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.
Sometimes a salad is all you need for dinner. A bed of greens provides the perfect palate for building an interesting meal. The sky is the limit as I like to use whatever vegetables or fruits I have on hand. And I do like to use both fruits and vegetables since the combination of sweet and savory adds a satisfying contrast. Add a bit of protein and some bread and you have a complete and satisfying meal.
SPICY SHRIMP CHOP SALAD
For the dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 limes
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
- Combine the vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice in a small bowl.
- Add the garlic, salt and pepper and stir with a whisk. Set aside.
For the salad:
2 cups green leafy lettuce, chopped
2 cups arugula, chopped
1 small red bell pepper
1 small green pepper
1 small cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup fresh pineapple
1/2 cup fresh corn
- Divide the lettuce and arugula between to shallow bowls.
- Dice the tomato, peppers, cucumber, avocado, and pineapple into uniform bite sized pieces. Place in a large bowl. Add the corn and toss to combine.
- Drizzle the dressing over the mixture and stir gently.
- Evenly divide the vegetable mixture over the top of the lettuce and arugula.
For the shrimp:
1 cup raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
- Place the cornstarch in a large plastic bag and add the shrimp. Toss to coat.
- In a shallow pie pan, combine the garlic powder, paprika, salt, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat.
- Add the shrimp to the hot oil and stirring occasionally cook until browned and crispy, 2-3 minutes.
- Divide the shrimp over the top of the prepared salads.
For the toasts:
4 slices crusty bread
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon butter
Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the garlic powder and stir to combine.
Add the bread and cook for 2-3 minutes per side until brown and toasted.
Much to my surprise, during a recent trip to Greece my son gobbled up fresh fish during lunch proclaiming that “he loves fish”. Wanting to take advantage of this newfound adoration I came home searching for new ways to appease his ever-changing appetite. I’m always on a quest to find new ways to serve fish to my family. This isn’t always easy since they shy away from anything that has too strong of a fish flavor. Part of the attraction of the fish in Greece was it’s fresh and mild taste. I’ve learned that the best way to get them to eat fish at home is to make sure that there are plenty of other flavors accompanying the main dish and these tacos do the trick.
I used Cod filets for my tacos but any firm white fish will do. Breading the fish in panko crumbs before frying it created a crispy crust on the exterior of the each piece that added additional texture to the taco. The tropical salsa was made with the fruits I had available. Make sure they are ripe since under ripe fruit will not yield the same flavorful results. Fresh peaches would also work in this salsa. You can use them in place of one of the other fruits or add them into the mix for more variety.
FISH TACOS W/ TROPICAL SALSA
8 Greek-style pitas
For the salsa:
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup mango, diced
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, diced
1 chili pepper, minced
1 small red onion, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Salt & pepper to taste
For the filling:
1 small head radicchio, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
For the fish:
1 pound firm fish filets, cut into strips
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons water
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt & pepper
- Wrap the pitas in aluminum foil and place in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.
- To make the salsa, combine the avocado, mango, pineapple, red onion, chili pepper, and lime juice in a medium-sized bowl. For a spicier salsa use the seeds of the chili pepper, for a milder salsa, remove them before mincing. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- To make the filling, combine the radicchio, cider vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to serve.
- For the fish: Place the eggs and water in a shallow dish and whisk to combine. Place the flour, salt, and pepper in a separate shallow dish and whisk to combine. Place the panko crumbs in a third shallow dish.
- Dip the pieces of fish in the egg mixture and coat them on both sides. Dredge each piece in the flour then in the panko crumbs. Set aside.
- Heat one-third of the olive oil in a large skillet placed over medium-high heat until it is shimmering.
- Working in batches and adding more oil as needed, fry the fish for 3-4 minutes on the first side then an additional 2-3 minutes on the second side until each piece is browned and crispy.
- Remove from the pan and set aside on a paper towel lined plate while the remainder of the fish is cooking.
- To assemble, place two pitas on each of four plates. Divide the radicchio mixture over the top of each pita then place 2-3 pieces of fish on top of the radicchio. Top with the salsa and serve immediately.