Turkish-Spiced Halibut Skewers With Yogurt Sauce

Many people grill year-round, but our grill hibernates during the winter. šŸ˜¦ Thankfully, it is unseasonably warm here this week (Yay!), so I am going to shareĀ a couple of belated grilling recipes.

This first recipe is an adaptation of a Turkish dish typically made with local swordfish and fresh bay leaves. This version, from David Tanis of The New York Times, uses firm-fleshed halibut with thinly sliced lemons and onions. The fish is only marinated for an hour, grilled, and servedĀ with a wonderful and fresh cucumber-yogurt sauce.

We ateĀ the skewersĀ with hummus, warm naan, Israeli couscous, and steamed spinach on the side.Ā If grilling season is over for you, this dish can easily be replicated using a broiler. Great!

  • 1 Ā½ pounds boneless halibut or other firm-fleshed fish
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Ā½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
  • Ā½ teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
  • Ā½ teaspoon paprika
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 garlic clove, grated or smashed to a paste
  • 8 bay leaves
  • Ā½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 small cucumber, about 2 ounces, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

  1. Cut halibut into large chunks of equal size and thread onto skewers. You should have 4 kebabs weighing about 6 ounces each.
  2. Lay them in a shallow dish. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. In a mixing bowl, put cumin, coriander, paprika, red pepper flakes, onion, lemon, minced garlic and bay leaves. Add olive oil and stir together.
  4. Spoon mixture over fish skewers and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour.
  5. Put yogurt in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then add garlic paste, cayenne and cucumber.
  6. Mix mint, dill and parsley together, add half to yogurt mixture, and reserve the rest. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  7. Heat a grill or broiler. When it is hot, cook skewers for about 2 minutes per side, until just opaque. (Leave some lemon, onion and bay leaf clinging to fish, so they char a bit.)
  8. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with remaining herb mixture, if desired. Serve with yogurt sauce on the side.

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Grilled Glazed Salmon & Bacon Sandwiches

More… Salmon! Easy and delicious. Grilled too. šŸ™‚

This post is really belated. We ate these yummy sandwiches on Memorial Day… Thank goodness it’s still fabulous grilling weather! They were such a great alternative to standard holiday grilling menu items.

I servedĀ these sandwiches with German Potato Salad with Dill and Pasta Salad with Peas and Summer BeansĀ on the side. For dessert, we enjoyed aĀ Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie (a family favorite!), Milk Bar Sugar Cookie-Cake Squares, and ice cream, of course! I almost forgot to mentionĀ our New YorkĀ Soft Pretzel appetizer- yikes! It really was an All-American feast.

This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff-favorite” recipe, contributed by Marcia Kiesel. I served the sandwiches on brioche rolls but would opt for potato rolls next time. Too much bread for me! šŸ˜‰

Yield: Serves 4

For the Glaze & Salmon:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup prepared horseradish, drained
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • four 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
  • canolaĀ oil, for rubbing
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Light a grill.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the mustard, horseradish and honey.
  3. Rub the salmon with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill the salmon over moderate heat, skinned side down, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  5. Turn and grill for 3 minutes longer, until the salmon is almost cooked through.
  6. Turn the salmon again and spread each fillet with 1 tablespoon of the horseradish glaze.
  7. Turn and grill until glazed, about 30 seconds.
  8. Serve the remaining glaze on the sandwiches, below.

Note: As with any sweet glaze, brush the honey-horseradish-mustard sauce on the salmon in the last minutes of grilling, or else the sugars in it might burn.

For the Sandwiches:

  • 4 kaiser, brioche, challah, or potato rollsā€”split, toasted and buttered
  • 4 red lettuce leaves
  • 8 thick bacon slices, cooked until crisp, as below
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, cut into 12 thin slices
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Place the bacon in a single layer, divided between 2- 9×13-inch pyrex dishes.
  3. Bake for 30 or 35 minutes, until crisp. Remove from pans and place on a paper towel-lined, rimmed baking sheet to drain.
  4. Spread the remaining horseradish glaze from the Grilled Glazed Salmon on the rolls.
  5. Place a lettuce leaf, 2 crispy bacon strips and 3 slices of Granny Smith apple on each buttered roll and set a salmon fillet on top.
  6. Close the sandwiches and serve.

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Salmon with Salsa Fresca

Similar to my summer vegetable gratin post, this dish also incorporates aĀ complete “CSA box” – plus salmon. It was a light and fresh meal. The salsa was absolutely delicious. I was inspired to make it when I received all of these beautiful tomatoes in my box.

We ate it with roasted beets and red potatoes, also from my CSA box, of course. šŸ™‚

This dish was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Mark Bittman. I used on half of a small red onion instead of a white onion, my mixed tomatoes from my CSA share, a home-grown jalapeƱo, and the juice of 1 lime in the salsa. Bittman notes that grilled, broiled, roasted, or even steamed salmon (or other types of fish such as halibut or swordfish) would work equally well.

This dish is so colorful it might just be dinner party worthy too. Ready in 30 minutes makes it extra-fabulous.

Yield: 3-4 servings

  • 2 large fresh ripe tomatoes, or 3 or 4 ripe plum tomatoes, or a pint of mixed cherry tomatoes, diced (and cored if large)
  • Ā½ large white or red onion, peeled and minced
  • Ā¼ habanero or 1/2 jalapeƱo chili, stemmed, seeded and minced, or to taste
  • Ā½ cup roughly chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • juice of 1 or 2 limes, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper and coarse salt to taste
  • 1 salmon fillet, about 1 1/2 pounds, preferably with skin on (can substituteĀ halibut or swordfish)
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, like corn or canola
  1. Start a charcoal or gas grill; fire should be moderately hot and grill rack about 4 inches from heat source. Or, heat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Chop tomatoes and combine them in a bowl with onion, chili, cilantro, lime juice and some salt. Set aside. (Salsa can be made up to one hour ahead of time.)
  3. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. If grilling, rub fish with a little oil as well; put it on grill, skin side down, and let it sit for 4 to 5 minutes, then turn once (don’t worry if part of skin sticks to grill). Cook for about 3 minutes more, until medium-rare.
    If roasting, heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat for a minute. Add oil and, a few seconds later, salmon, skin side up. Sear for a minute, then transfer to oven and roast until medium-rare, about 10 minutes.
  4. Allow to rest for a minute or so, then remove skin, if desired. Turn over and serve, topped with salsa or passing salsa at the table.

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Seared Scallops with Bacon-Braised Chard

More CSA chard! Just when my husband thought that he couldn’t eat any more greens, I cooked them with bacon and topped them with scallops. šŸ™‚ I served this dish with corn muffins on the side too- just to be absolutely sure that he would be happy.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Top Chef Stephanie Izard. The scallops are first pan-seared and then basted with butter halfway through the cooking process over lower heat. Rich and delicious!

Yield: Serves 3 to 4

  • 2 thick slices of bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 3/4 pounds rainbow chardā€”stems sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick, leaves cut into 1-inch strips
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 large sea scallops (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  1. In a large, deep skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, 4 minutes. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
  2. Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and stir until tender but not browned, 2 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato and cook until it begins to break down, 2 minutes.
  5. Add the chard stems and cook until crisp-tender, 4 minutes.
  6. Add the chard leaves and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until wilted, 5 minutes; drain off any liquid.
  7. Add the soy sauce and cook until the leaves are tender, 2 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
  8. Dry the scallops and season with salt and pepper.
  9. In another large skillet, heat the oil until just smoking. Add the scallops and cook over high heat for 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook until golden on the bottom, about 3 minutes.
  10. Turn the scallops and add the butter. Cook, spooning the butter on the scallops, until just white throughout, about 3 minutes.
  11. Spoon the chard onto plates, top with the scallops and serve.

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Shrimp a La Mexicana Tacos

Let me tell you something… (This information may actually be quite obvious to some of you…) Cooking the shrimp in bacon drippings made this dishĀ ultra-delicious. ULTRA. šŸ™‚

I usually cook bacon in the microwave. (gasp!) I know that this may not be the best cooking method, but, as a complete neat freak, this method does eliminate a major cleanup. Fortunately, I pan-cooked a serious amount of bacon at some point in time and reservedĀ the drippings. Yay! Perfect for these wonderful summertime tacos.

We ate these as a belated Father’s Day celebratory meal with skillet creamed corn, brown rice, and refried beans. The skillet corn consisted of fresh corn kernels which were also sautĆ©ed in bacon drippings. The mixture was then combined with a little bit of sour cream and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste. SO good.

My husband is a great dad and deserved a super tasty celebration. He always selects his menu and really wantedĀ tacos on his special day for two reasons. Not only does he absolutely love tacos, but, after a thorough search, he gave me fabulous taco racks as part of my birthday gift- he really wanted me to use them ASAP. šŸ˜‰

He found a local company that makes functional and pretty stainless steel taco racks: www.TacoRack.com. The racks make assembling and serving tacos soĀ much easier. I have always needed such an item in my kitchen! A great birthday gift for me turned into a yummy Father’s Day meal for him. šŸ˜‰

This recipe was adapted from Rick Bayless.com. Great.

I’m sharing with Angie’s Fiesta Friday #129Ā co-hosted by Jhuls @The Not so Creative Cook and Colleen @Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 4 generously

  • 3 TĀ lard, vegetable oil, bacon drippings, fat rendered from chorizo, or even butter
  • 3 serrano OR one large jalapeƱo, stemmed
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 ripe medium-large tomato, cored and diced
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed, and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (I used large/21-25 per pound shrimp)
  • a few sprigs cilantro, finely chopped
  • a big squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • 10-12 corn or corn & wheat tortillas, for serving
  1. Melt the lard or other fat in a medium-size skillet set over medium heat.
  2. Seed the chiles then chop them finely and add to the skillet, along with the onion and tomato. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened but is not brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  3. Add the shrimp to the skillet, letting the shrimp cook until they’re almost done through, about three minutes.
  4. In the meantime, warm the tortillas in a tortilla warmer or on a plate covered by a moist paper towel and plastic wrap. (I place a damp paper towel over the tortillas in my tortilla warmer, cover, and microwave for 1 minute.)
  5. Add a big handful of chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, then scoop into a warm tortilla.

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Weeknight Red Curry

My husband has been saying that we really should incorporate more fish into our diet. I know that he’s probably right. :/ So, I was very proud to serve not only one, but TWO fish dinners in one week. The first was a super quick and fresh pan-roasted fish dish. (I’ll share that in a separate post.) The second was this quick red curry. I thought it was just me, but we all decided that the fish overpowered an otherwiseĀ delicious dish. (I am open to another opinion though!) I made it again with my go-to protein, boneless, skinless chicken thighs, and it was a winner in my house. Maybe fish once a week is enough for us. šŸ˜‰

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I used two broccoli crowns, one red bell pepper, two carrots, and one large shallot in the mixed vegetables. We ate it over fresh rice noodles; I think it would also be wonderful with rice. It was absolutely delicious and faster than takeout.

I’m bringing this to share at Fiesta Friday #123 this week co-hosted by Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Linda @ La Petite Paniere. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 large shallot
  • 6 large garlic cloves
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1Ā½ cups whole peeled tomatoes, plus juices from one 15-ounce can or half of one 28-ounce can (I cheated and used diced tomatoes.)
  • 1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • coarseĀ salt
  • approximately 1 pound mixed fresh vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, red bell peppers, carrots, and/or shallots), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound firm white fish (such as halibut or cod), skin removed or 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 12 to 24 oz fresh rice noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • minced and whole cilantro leaves, for serving
  • lime wedges, for serving
  1. Pulse shallot, garlic, and ginger in a food processor to finely chop.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add shallot mixture and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add curry paste and turmeric; cook, stirring, until paste is darkened in color and mixture starts to stick to pan, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, breaking up with your hands, then juices. Cook, stirring often and scraping up browned bits, until tomatoes start to break down and stick to pot, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in coconut milk and season with salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until mixture is slightly thickened and flavors meld, 8ā€“10 minutes.
  6. Add vegetables and pour in enough water to cover (limit to 1/2 to 1 cup to prevent the sauce from becoming too thin). Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 8ā€“10 minutes.
  7. Season fish or chicken all over with salt and nestle into curry (add a little more water if itā€™s very thick). Return to a simmer and cook just until meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  8. Spoon curry over rice noodles and top with cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

Do Ahead: Curry base (without vegetables or fish) can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Reheat over medium-low, adding water to thin as needed.

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Classic Shrimp & Grits

This is a simple, classic, and perfect version of this fabulous southern dish. As a tradition in our house, we eat Shrimp and Grits over Easter weekend. It is absolutely delicious and can be served for any meal of the day. Great.

This recipe was adapted from Crook’s Corner of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, via Saveur. I used large shrimp and increased the amount of garlic and mushrooms. I also omitted the oilĀ and used Sriracha instead of Tabasco. The shrimp tasted incredible after beingĀ sautĆ©ed in the bacon fat. Mmmmm. šŸ™‚

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 cup white or yellow stone-ground grits
  • 3ā„4 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar
  • 1ā„4 cup parmesan
  • 2 T unsalted butter, divided
  • coarseĀ salt
  • 2 T olive or canola oil
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb. medium or large shrimp, peeled with tails intact
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1ā„2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges or slices
  • 1ā„2 tsp. hot sauce,Ā such as Sriracha orĀ Tabasco
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  1. In a 2-qt. saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil over high heat. (I incorporated 1 cup of chicken stock.)
  2. Reduce heat to low and whisk in grits. Cook, whisking frequently, until grits are tender and creamy, 30ā€“40 minutes. (Whisk in more water for thinner grits.)
  3. Whisk in cheddar, parmesan, and 1 tablespoon of butter and season with salt; cover and set aside.
  4. Heat a 12″ skillet over medium heat.
  5. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towelā€“lined plate; set aside. Reserve cooking fat in skillet.
  6. Season shrimp with salt and pepper.
  7. Over medium-high heat, add shrimp to skillet and cook, turning once, until bright pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate with a slotted spoon.
  8. Lower heat to medium; add mushrooms to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 minutes.
  9. Add garlic and cook until golden, 1 minute.
  10. Raise heat to high, add chicken broth, and scrape bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon. Cook until broth reduces by half, 2 to 3 minutes.
  11. Return shrimp to skillet along with the lemon juice, remaining butter, and hot sauce and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens, about 1 minute.
  12. Divide grits between 4 bowls; top each with shrimp and its sauce.
  13. Garnish each bowl with bacon, scallions, and lemon wedges. Serve immediately.

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