Monday, April 11, 2011
Ask the Foodie: Getting Beyond Broiled Salmon
My friend loves to cook and eat fish, but needed some new ideas beyond broiled salmon. She and her family are very health conscious and they make an effort to eat with a conscience. To complicate matters, she is training for a half marathon and is not eating carbs, although her family is. Immediately crab cakes, cream sauces and panko were eliminated.
I told her any fish can be prepped with Fresh herbs, Lemon, Oil, Pepper & Salt (let's call it FLOPS). For best results, the herbs should be fresh (the refrigerated pre-packaged type is good if you don't grow them in your garden), the lemon real so you can use juice, pulp and zest, the Oil should be olive & extra virgin if cooking with Mediterranean flavors or canola if cooking with Asian spices, the Pepper fresh ground and Salt kosher or from the sea. Then grill, broil, bake or saute until opaque. She seemed dubious.
What came to mind were some fish recipes that my family enjoys. My dad did not eat red meat when I was growing up so my mom cooked fish quite often. She used to make scallops with pasta and peas. She would steam the peas by putting them in a colander and pouring the pasta and its hot water over them. I learned at Classic Thyme that the key to searing scallops fully pat them dry after rinsing, then season and lightly dust with Wondra. My brother likes to bake fish en papillote, which is to say wrapped in parchment. The fish, piled high with lots of FLOPS, steams inside the parchment envelope and becomes infused with all those delicious flavors. If you prefer stovetop cooking, I discovered that Paul Prudohomme's Blackened Redfish Magic spice rub and huge cracked peppercorns are perfect on a thick tuna steak. Add FLOPS to garnish.
To get her started, I found 5 fish entrees that hopefully won't be flops for her, including the parchment recipe above. Clearly, these reinforce my FLOPS theory. Loaded with herbs, veggies, and lemons, here the fantastic fish recipes I selected for her.
Whole Fish With Mint
Seared Scallops with Lemon and Dill
Grilled Salmon with Lemon, Garlic & Basil
Monkfish Piccata with Capers & Lemon
Where to buy fish in Westfield? The best is if you can fish and catch it yourself. Or make friends with someone who can. Alan's Orchard partners with Shore Catch to sell fresh caught fish from Long Beach Island at their Westfield store. The local scallops are sushi grade and the monkfish and clams are delicious. The next step is Westfield Seafood, which is high quality if not a little pricey. I like the seafood at Stop & Shop. I particularly like the boneless salmon steaks for grilling. I also usually get shrimp frozen raw. I just can't tell the difference to justify paying twice as much. I've tried the wild frozen scallops from Archer Farms sold at Target - they were as good as any frozen scallop. The best bet is to load up on the flash frozen fish at Trader Joe's, so you are fully stocked and can thaw as you go.
How do you cook your fish?
photo credit: Whole Living Magazine, from online recipe for Whole Fish with Mint