Culinary smoke is one of those umami flavors difficult to explain until you’ve experienced it. I have several childhood food memories having liked various smoked meats, cheeses, and fish so when I got older and began cooking for myself, I inherently started adding those ingredients to my food.
I buy my smoked trout from one of my favorite restaurants called Annie Gunn’s. They have an amazing smokehouse deli attached to the restaurant and sell many of the ingredients they serve on their menu. For this recipe, I paired their trout with a light creamy cheese sauce, so you’ll taste just a kiss of smoke followed by the delicate flavor of the fish. Then when you swirl it onto a fork blended with chewy fettuccini, briny capers, and fresh dill, it’s a food memory you’ll never forget.
Have you ever eaten a bacon wrapped scallop? If your experience was anything like mine, either the scallop was sweet and tender, and the bacon was raw and chewy, or the scallop was annihilated and the bacon perfectly crispy. It’s pretty obvious the dish is virtually impossible to master.
As an alternative, this recipe still gives you the flavor pairing of the scallop and the bacon, except the bacon is crispy as it should be and the scallop is still tender and sweet. The tangy vinaigrette also adds a nice level of acid to even out some of the fat from the bacon. I served the scallops with prepared couscous as an entrée. However, this would work well as an appetizer too.
This week’s tantalizing dish is using the honey and smoked chipotle butter recipe I posted last week, which has become my family’s favorite flavor. Even my daughter, who is picky about eating shrimp, absolutely loved these grilled, glazed beauties. They were tender, sweet, smoky, and had just the right level of spicy.
Cinco de Mayo is coming up on Friday so what better way to celebrate than this healthy, spicy dish? I don’t know if it’s the simplicity of ingredients with big, bold flavors, or the fact that they’re so easy to prepare, however, I have absolutely fallen in love with the whole concept of street tacos. You can fill them with just about anything and top them with an unlimited number of garnishes and they taste amazing.
The grilled tilapia in this recipe is light, flaky, and picks up the flavors of the cilantro lime marinade beautifully. And there are two schools of thought when it comes to salsa verde. You can either roast the veggies first then puree them for a smokier flavor, or you can prepare them raw and fresh like I did here. The clean, boldness of the tomatillos, peppers, and cilantro marry so well together, they’re absolutely addictive. In fact, several spoonfuls of this salsa verde were eaten all by themselves without the tacos!
I recently saw a herb baked salmon entrée on a restaurant menu and was curious about ordering it but opted for another item instead. Even though I loved what I ordered, I still found myself thinking about the salmon. So I decided to curb my curiosity and make it at home.
I usually prefer grilled salmon as my go-to method of preparation, however, after having made this dish I now have a close second favorite. The salmon was tender and flaky, and the mayonnaise and fresh herbs ended up tasting like a creamy, fresh, brighter version of a tartar sauce. Paired with the crisp acidity of the pickled asparagus was like eating a fresh crunchy salad and vegetable all in one.
I had a craving for some Cajun spiced shrimp last weekend, which quickly evolved into this tasty seafood dish. The sweet, tender shrimp, buttery scallops, and mild, flaky cod picked up all the delicious spices of the smoky Cajun seasonings, and the crisp sweetness of the corn along with the unique flavor and texture of the okra added a bright, crunchy finish.
I loved this meal so much, I was thankful there were leftovers for lunch the next day!
Swordfish has a firm ‘meaty’ texture that gravitates in the direction more like a steak to me, than seafood. The rule of thumb for baking fish is to allow 10 minutes of cooking time for every inch of thickness. That rule is an especially easy guide with steaks of swordfish or tuna because they’re typically cut to a thickness of 1 inch and therefore require only 10 minutes of cooking.
When it came to what I wanted to pair with the swordfish, I decided crispy bacon, roasted garlic, and nutty lentils would be perfect companions. This meal was a nice healthy, hearty winter weekend dinner packed with lots of great flavors.
Swai was a new type of fish for me. I hesitated at first when I read it was in the catfish family, farmed in Vietnam because I’ve never been a big fan of catfish. But then my local grocery store advertised a really good price on it, so I decided to give it a try. Thank goodness for that grocery ad because it was delicious!
Swai (pronounced ‘s-why’) is a very mild white-flesh fish, typically sold frozen in boneless, skinless fillets so it’s extremely versatile like cod or whitefish, and it will compliment any flavor profile you pair with it. I decided to try a miso glaze for my first time out with some fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, and fresh ginger and it was wonderful! An empty platter at the end of a meal is a success in my book!
A rich, creamy sherry sauce folded into sweet, tender crawfish and earthy mushroom infused pasta is by far one of my favorite, decadent bites. When you order the dish in a restaurant, though, it’s often weighed down by unnecessary fat and calories, causing you to feel uncomfortable by the time you’re finished eating it.
Not wanting to give up on this delectable dish, I came up with this lightened version, replacing the heavy cream with reduced fat half and half and using light butter and heart-healthy olive oil. The sauce still has the rich, flavorful taste you look forward to, but you walk away from the table without any of the guilt!
It’s time to get serious. Swimsuit weather is almost here! (I know….inward groan…).
This salad is my new ‘go-to salad’. Not only does it have great flavor and texture it’s also jam-packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fats, vitamin D, selenium, folate and vitamin E. All good things to give your body natural energy and help work off some of that winter ‘fluff’.
This recipe is another great way to serve the cedar plank grilled salmon I featured in my blog on February 28, 2015. If you’re short on time, that’s okay. Another option would be purchasing packaged smoked salmon from your local grocery store.