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Breaded Haddock with Sweet Potatoes and Snow Peas

12 Mar

The Somerville Winter Farmer’s Market is where I’ve been spending my Saturday mornings. From 9:30am until 2pm, you can find all the freshest vegetables while also supporting local farmers. Plus, there’s milk from Shaw Farm, cheese, bread, meats, cider, and fish. Along with my usual haul of vegetables, last week I decided to get some local fresh haddock from Globe Fish.

I’m not really that good at cooking fish at home, so I googled a few recipes and came up with something simple, but promising. I decided on baking the haddock and serving it with baked sweet potatoes and some steamed snow peas.

Start by poking holes in the sweet potatoes, wrapping them in aluminum foil, and popping them into a 350 degree oven for an hour. Sit back and read a book or watch an episode of House Hunters because the rest is so easy that you don’t have to start it until the potatoes are nearly done.

Parmesan Crusted Baked Haddock

Ingredients:

  • 2 haddock filets
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • butter

In a small bowl, combine the milk and salt. In another bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and thyme. Make an assembly line where you dip the haddock fillets in the milk/salt mixture, then drop into the crumb mixture and coat evenly, then put the filets in a baking dish. I wanted to make sure they were good and breaded, so I took any breadcrumbs that hadn’t landed on the fish and poured them on top of the filets. (This could be directly related to later setting off the smoke alarm).  Top the fish with pats of butter. Bake in a 500 degree oven. I know, I know. It’s crazy. I never turn up the oven that high. But it works, so I did it. Bake for 15 minutes.

By now the sweet potatoes should be done, so take them out of the oven when you put the fish in, but leave them in the foil so they stay warm. On the stove top, steam a cup or so of snow peas until crisp-tender. In a frying pan, melt 1 Tbsp of butter and add juice from 1/2 lemon, and a bit of pepper and thyme. When the snow peas are done, toss them in the butter mixture to coat. Remove from heat.

Enjoy!

Week 37: Tuna Tartare

19 Sep

I’ve wanted to try tuna tartare since seeing my first episode of Top Chef. If you haven’t seen it, Top Chef is a pretty entertaining reality show. A bunch of chefs compete every week, making crazy tasty dishes, and then at the end one is named “Top Chef” and gets $100,000 to start his/her own restaurant. It’s got the usual reality TV bitchiness and insanity, but not at Real World levels. And because I DVR, I just skip over those parts anyway.

Ok, back on track, tuna tartare. They are always making tartare on Top Chef. I had no clue what it was, but somebody was making it nearly every week. One of the things I always think of while watching Top Chef is that I could never be a judge (because obviously that was a realistic option) because the dishes are most always  meat. For some reason this actually bugs me, so I was happy that I would be able to eat tuna tartare (because I am pescetarian, not vegetarian).

Jeez, ok, back on track, tuna tartare. According to wikipedia, tartare is a “preparation of finely chopped raw meat or fish optionally with seasonings and sauces. Commonly a tartare is served as a spread for toast. A popular legend is that the dish is named after the nomadic Tatar people of the Central Asian steppes.”

A group of co-workers and I went to Bambara for lunch the other day and tuna tartare was on the appetizer menu. At Bambara, the tartare is prepared with an avocado puree and gaufrette potatoes. I didn’t order it (I wanted the lobster bisque) but my friend Kayla let me taste hers:


It was ok. Tasted a little fishy (obviously) and the potato underneath made it a little crunchy. It was just ok – not something I’d order on my own, but something I’d have if the table ordered it or it was a passed appetizer at an event.

And if you’re interested in making tuna tartare at home, I found this recipe from one of the past Top Chef chefs. Let me know how you like it!

Week 32: Steamers

15 Aug

I grew up in Rhode Island where clam cakes and chowder, fish and chips, and quahogs are popular dishes. My family didn’t eat a lot of fish, though, so aside from fish and chips, chowder, and frozen fish fillets, I didn’t try a lot of local seafood. When I got older I tried lots of different seafood dishes, and although I’ve had clams, I’d never had steamers.

Steamers are soft-shell clams and are also called softshells or longnecks. According to wikipedia, soft-shell clams “live buried in the mud on tidal mudflats. They are well-known as a food item on the coast of New England in the Western Atlantic Ocean, however the range extends much farther north to Canada and south to the Southern states.” Wikipedia describes steamers as “steamed soft-shell clams” and says they are an “integral part of the New England clam bake, where they are served steamed whole in the shell, then pulled from the shell at the table and dipped, first in the clam broth in which they were cooked, to rinse away sand, and then in melted butter.” And that is exactly how I tried them.

They were very similar to mussels, I thought, and just really tasted like the butter they’d been dipped in. The consistency was very much like mussels, a little squishy and chewy.  They were pretty good, but I they aren’t the best seafood dish I’ve ever had. In fact, I think I’d rather have mussels. But, anyway, I was glad to try them even if they didn’t rock my seafood world.

Photo courtesy of ExperienceLA

 

Week 15: Yellowfin Tuna

13 Apr

Let’s not be crazy – I’ve had tuna. But just tuna in a can, which is of course not the same thing at all as fresh tuna. I’ve ordered tuna just once in a restaurant (I’m not sure what kind) and it was served  rare, and I just didn’t like it very much.

This weekend I was in Portland, ME and had dinner at the lovely Street and Company. The place is adorable – on an old-fashioned cobblestone road in the Old Port, it has an open kitchen and a fireplace in the main dining room and is known for their excellent seafood.

We ordered two glasses of wine and Andrew ordered mussels marinara with linguine. I decided to try one of the specials that night, which was a yellowfin tuna bolognese. When I was a meat eater, bolognese was one of my favorite dishes. Since I haven’t eaten meat in nearly four years, I was so excited that they offered a seafood version, since I’d never considered that you could make bolognese with fish. The waitress assured me there was no stray meat in the dish but told me it did taste just like traditional bolognese.

I like to make sure the seafood I eat or purchase seafood is fished or farmed in ways that don’t harm the environment. I use Seafood Watch to make sure I’m making a good choice (they even have an app!). Seafood Watch notes that yellowfin is usually a good choice and has a healthy population, but asks that you choose yellowfin caught with troll or pole-and-line, which have very low levels of bycatch (unwanted fish and other animals caught accidentally in fishing gear and discarded overboard). They recommend that US Atlantic troll or pole-caught yellowfin tuna is the “Best Choice.”

Yellowfin tuna is found in tropical and subtropical oceans across the world. It’s often used in raw dishes, including sashimi, or is served seared rare. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a 200-pound yellowfin tuna can swim at 23 miles per hour. Also, tuna may use a mineral called magnetite, which is found in their snout, to help them detect the earth’s magnetic field for better navigation. Interesting, huh?

Anyway…I ordered the yellowfin tuna bolognese:

And it was amazing. The pasta was homemade and perfectly al dente, the sauce amazing, and the tuna was delicious. Of course it was covered in tomato sauce, basil, cheese, and tons of other goodness, but I tried to taste it alone to get just the taste of the tuna. I loved it.

The yellowfin bolognese tasted just like the traditional bolognese I remembered. I cannot wait to attempt to make this at home!

Week 7: Cambodian

15 Feb

Andrew and I had both heard great things about Elephant Walk and since we’d never had Cambodian before, Valentine’s Day was the perfect opportunity to try it out. Because Andrew is super on top of his game, he made reservations at the beginning of the month. Last night was warm in Boston, so we walked the mile or so to Elephant Walk in Porter Square for a 7:30pm reservation.

They had a special three course price fix menu, so we were able to try a lot of different things. For my first course, I got vegan Rouleaux, which are Cambodian spring rolls filled with tofu, peanut, noodles, carrot and onion. They are served with greens, sprouts and herbs and tuk trey dipping sauce. Tuk trey sauce is usually flavored with garlic, shallot, fish sauce, and lime juice. These spring rolls were absolutely delicious and I was so glad that the server told us how to eat them – wrap them up in the greens and sprouts and dip them in the tuk trey sauce. For his first course, Andrew got mussels, which were really tasty. A little spicy, because there were jalapenos in the sauce, but really delicious.

For my second course I got Trey Tuk Peng Pah, which was listed as one of the “traditional Cambodian” dishes. It is a crispy Asian grouper filet served in a bowl with a broth of fresh tomatoes, garlic, rice vinegar, fish sauce, fried shallots and cilantro. It was served with white rice that I dipped in the broth. Holy moly this was delicious. The broth was kind of sweet with a bit of spiciness. The menu said “tangy,” which I guess is a pretty good word for it. The crispy fish was covered in the broth, which just added a fantastic flavor to the fish. It was one of the best meals I’ve had in a while – I just straight up loved it.

For dessert we both ordered the “Le Péché au Chocolat” which was a dense, rich chocolate truffle cake with raspberry sauce and whipped cream. A decadent treat, it was the perfect ending to a fantastic meal. And to a perfect Valentine’s Day 🙂

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