Tag Archives: fish

Sauteed Sea Bass w/ Lemony Pea Cream

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Here’s a dish that just screams summer. With fresh peas readily available in the markets, or your garden if you are lucky enough to have one, this dish makes for an easy and flavorful dinner. The recipe comes from Saveur Magazine and I’ve made a few adaptations to fit the needs of my pantry and my family’s taste buds. The recipe originally used cod filets as the protein. I substituted sea bass filets but you could use any firm white fleshed fish.  In a pinch you can use frozen peas but if fresh are available, do use those since they are just so good. Serve the fish alongside a starch of your choice –I used steamed jasmine rice– and dinner is ready.


4 boneless, sea bass filets cut into 2 inch pieces

1 tablespoon mustard seeds, lightly crushed

2 cups fresh peas

Zest of 1 lemon, finely minced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt & pepper to taste

2/3 cup half and half or light cream

2 tablespoons olive oil

Dill to garnish, optional

  • Sprinkle the sea bass filets with the crushed mustard seeds and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Add lemon juice to the fish and allow to sit for an additional 1/2 hour.
  • Place the peas in a small sauce pan and add 1/2 cup of water. Steam until tender and drain. Reserve 1/2 cup of peas.
  • Using a stick blender, puree 1 1/2 cups of peas and the lemon zest with the half and half. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer the mixture into a small saucepan and place over low heat to keep warm.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
  • Sprinkle the fish on both sides with salt and pepper then add the sea bass to the hot oil. Cook, turning once, until the fish is lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes in total.
  • Divide the pea puree between 4 plates and top with the fish.
  • Sprinkle the reserved peas over the top of the fish and garnish with dill if desired.

Serves 4

Coconut Red Curried Cod

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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.

If you like curry this dish is for you. First, it cooks up fast. Start a pot of rice before you begin chopping your scallions and garlic and in less than half an hour you’ll have dinner on the table. I used cod since its mild firm white flesh cooks up fast and holds together well but you could easily substitute another white fish or even shrimp. Add some crusty bread to sop up the tasty coconut milk sauce and a crisp white wine and your Friday night dinner is complete. Enjoy!


1 tablespoon canola oil

8 scallions, whites and greens separated, chopped

2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste

4 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch of salt

1 lb cod or other firm white fish, cut into bite sized pieces

1 8-ounce can coconut milk

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

  • In a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering.
  • Add the scallion whites and red curry paste then sauté one minute.
  • Add the garlic and salt and cook about 2-3 minutes.
  • Gently stir in the cod and stir to coat.
  • Add the coconut milk and fish sauce and mix well.
  • Simmer about 4-5 minutes, until the cod is cooked through.
  • Remove from heat, stir in the lime juice, cilantro, and scallion greens.
  • Serve over rice.

Serves 4

Fish Tacos w/ Tropical Salsa


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.


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 eggs

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.

Serves 4

Maple – Soy Glazed Salmon


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.

Fresh salmon makes for a fast dinner since it cooks quickly under the broiler.  I like to marinade the salmon for a few minutes while the broiler pre-heats so that the flavor penetrates the fish.  Do not let the fish soak for too long otherwise the flavors will be too strong and the texture will become mealy.  I served this alongside leftover cucumber salad and a cherry and pecan quinoa pilaf that I started before I made the marinade for the salmon.  By the time the fish was done so was the quinoa.


2 salmon steaks

1/4 cup real maple syrup

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Combine the maple syrup, soy sauce, and minced garlic in a shallow non-reactive dish.
  • Remove any pin bones from the salmon steaks.
  • Place the steaks in the marinade and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the broiler.  Coat a broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Place the salmon on the prepared broiler pan.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Place the pan in the oven and broil for 3 minutes; baste with marinade and broil for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the oven, turn the salmon over and baste with the marinade.
  • Broil for an additional 3-4 minutes or until the salmon flakes with a fork and is cooked through.

Serves 2

Maple-Soy Marinated Salmon over Orange & Olive Oil Tagliatelle


I love fresh salmon but due to its being a cold water fish, can rarely find it in the fish markets here in Albania.  It is sometimes available in frozen form but I find that its flavor and texture just doesn’t compare with the fresh version. I had all but given up the hope of finding any so imagine my surprise in seeing some while perusing the fish counter at the supermarket this weekend.  Without a particular recipe in mind I quickly bought two fillets since “easy come, easy go” seems to be the motto here.  I’ve learned the hard way that just because something is for sale this week doesn’t guarantee that it will be available next week.

Once home I dug into the pantry and put together a simple marinade based on the ingredients I had on hand.  The marinade is easy and because you don’t want to let the fish sit in the marinade for too long, the entire meal can be put on the table in less than twenty minutes.  If you don’t have an orange, a lemon can just as easily be substituted.  The same goes for the maple syrup; if you are using it be sure to use the real stuff.  If you don’t have maple syrup you can substitute honey or even brown sugar.


1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 Teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 clove minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

2- 4 ounce salmon filets, pin bones removed

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Juice from one orange

250 grams fresh tagliatelle

  • Combine soy sauce, maple syrup, orange zest, and minced garlic in a shallow, non-reactive dish.
  • Sprinkle the salmon filets with salt and pepper.  Add to the marinade and turn to coat.
  • Let sit for 15 minutes turning two or three times to evenly distribute the marinade.
  • Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.
  • Grill the salmon for 4-5 minutes per side until the fish is firm.  Baste regularly with the marinade.
  • While the salmon is grilling cook the tagliatelle for 4-5 minutes in a pot of boiling water.
  • Combine the orange juice and olive oil in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Drain the tagliatelle then pour the orange juice mixture over the pasta.
  • Divide the pasta evenly between two shallow pasta bowls.  Top with the salmon.

Lemon & Dill Tilapia Filets


One of the great things about living in this part of the world is our easy access to quality, fresh fish. From shellfish to lake trout and everything in between it is all available in Albania and it is always fresh and surprisingly affordable.  Along the coast many restaurant menus only include fish and seafood and it is common practice for a waiter to present your table with a platter of still wiggling fish plucked from the Adriatic Sea and allow each diner to select the one they want to eat.  Meals filled with fish and seafood also tend to be the most common dinner presentations at formal dinners and as such, I’ve found myself trying new types of fish on a regular basis.  My favorite meal by far has been a dinner hosted by our Turkish friends where every item on the table came from the sea.  (Who knew there were so many ways to cook octopus?).

I’ve always loved fish so I thoroughly enjoy these meals. Prior to arriving in Albania, however, Glenn would avoid anything marine related at all costs.  Much to his horror his first few formal dinners in Albania revolved around fish and seafood and he would come home with stories of how he actually ate a bite or two of the meals and survived.  While he won’t order it from a menu in a restaurant, Glenn has gotten better about eating fish and no longer cringes when it appears in front of him.  Of course, those closest to us know of his lack of enthusiasm for fish and avoid serving it but when it is presented to him, he does eat it.  And, on more than one occasion, he has even proclaimed that he liked what he ate.

We’re trying to eat healthier in the Brown household and to that end, and at Glenn’s request, we are now incorporating fish into our weekly menus.  Cooking fish at home isn’t always an easy proposition.  Most fish is sold whole and even after my taking a class on how to de-bone a fish, I struggle with getting it right.  I’ve also learned that in order for Glenn to enjoy fish it can’t taste “fishy” and he likes it to be served with a sauce which in many cases, negates the healthy aspects of the fish.

Cooking fish is also a relatively new experience for me and I find myself slightly outside of my comfort zone.  So I’m starting with the basics and working my way up. I have a vision of being able to cook a whole octopus before we leave Albania (which when cooked correctly, is absolutely delicious).  In the meantime I’m starting with a mild tasting and boneless tilapia.  Very simple but when cooked correctly, very tasty.  The olive oil adds a bit of healthy fat and when combined with the lemon juice makes for a flavorful sauce.  The best part?  When I placed dinner on the table even Sidney proclaimed that “Sidney likes fish”.


2-4 ounce tilapia filets (or one filet per person)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons finely minced dill

1 whole lemon, seeded and thinly sliced

1/4 Teaspoon paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Place a large piece of foil on a rimmed baking sheet.  Arrange the tilapia filets in the center of the pan.  
  • Drizzle the olive oil on top of the fish.  Sprinkle the filets with the dill and arrange the lemon slices on top.
  • Season with the salt, pepper, and paprika.
  • Wrap the foil into packets being sure to seal the edges so none of the oil escapes.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the fish is flaky but not dry.
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