Fish Stew with Curried Coconut Broth

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for the past month.  Lately I’m loving the following things: (1) one-pot meals with tons of veggies; (2) frozen fish fillets from Costco; (3) dinners that come together quickly.  This dinner fills all three categories.  It pulls together without a lot of work (just a little chopping, but I like a little chopping at the end of the day – it helps me wind down from work and get into the evening frame of mind), and it’s a great way to use a few fish fillets without roasting or sauteeing them – my go-tos, but it’s good to mix things up.  We’ve been eating a lot of stew lately – lentil-vegetable; chicken and herb; or fish.  It’s nice healthy comfort food that I can whip up quickly so that the adults in the house can all eat a home-cooked meal before we begin the bedtime dance with Peanut.


1 tbsp cocnut oil
1 onion, large dice
1 sweet potato, large dice
kosher salt
1 bunch broccoli, large dice
1 can coconut milk
1 can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
dash crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 tilapia filets, large dice


  • In a Dutch oven or heavy saucepan, heat coconut oil over medium-high burner until oil has liquified.
  • Add diced onion and sweet potato to oil, season generously with kosher salt and saute until vegetables are beginning to brown, then add coconut milk and diced tomatoes.
  • Add spices and season again with another pinch of kosher salt.  Stir to combine well.  Replace lid and turn heat down to medium.  Allow to simmer for approximately 10 minutes, until sweet potatoes are half cooked.
  • Add corn, broccoli and tilapia, replace lid and simmer for another 10 minutes until fish is cooked through and all vegetables are done.  Serve immediately or turn heat to low and simmer for another 10 minutes (not necessary, but will help the flavors to marry).

Yield: Serves 4.

Source: Covered In Flour

(Nota Baker: You don’t have to precisely follow this recipe.  Use the veggies and the protein you happen to have lying around.  If you have chicken instead of tilapia, or zucchini instead of broccoli, that’s totally cool.  This is more of a formula than a recipe that you must follow to the letter.  And if you’re not interested in the coconut-curry flavor, use olive oil and broth, and herbs instead of the curry and spices.  It’s all about what sounds good to you in the moment.  Low-maintenance cooking win!)

Baked Halibut and Mushrooms

This is one of the easiest weeknight dinners I have ever made, and one of the tastiest.  I try to put seafood on the table about once or twice a week, because hubby and I love it and it’s generally very good for you.  But it can be hard to think of creative ways to cook fish without breading it, and it’s tricky to get it to cook through without drying out.  One thing that I love to do is to bake fish with veggies on top of it.  The veggies keep the fish moist and impart a little of their flavor, and for all the health and flavor benefits they bring, these recipes couldn’t be easier.

Baked Halibut and Mushrooms

2 halibut fillets (or any firm white fish)
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper (or truffle pepper, optional)
1 package mushrooms, sliced (cremini are nice, but button will work too)
fresh thyme leaves (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a small baking dish, drizzle olive oil over the fish and season with salt and pepper (or truffle pepper – mmmmm).  Cover with mushrooms and drizzle a bit more olive oil over the mushrooms.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes, until fish is firm and mushrooms are done.
  • Serve with mushrooms still atop fillets.  If desired, sprinkle fresh thyme over cooked fillets.

Yield: Serves 2.

Source: Covered In Flour.

Tilapia with Citrus Bagna Cauda

I realized just how behind I am on posting – this move threw me all off, but I’m back now, I swear – when I saw that this dish, hubby’s and my Valentine’s Day entree, was still in draft form.  And that’s a shame.  I hate to think I’ve waited so long to share this with you all, because it’s wonderful.  Tilapia is one of my favorite – perhaps my all-time favorite – kinds of fish.  Although I do love tuna.  And halibut, and sole, and really good salmon.  Anywho.  This tilapia is wonderful, gently sauteed and coated with a bright, fresh-tasting sauce of citrus and herbs.  It was easy to make, too – bonus!  I’m definitely not going to wait for next Valentine’s Day to make this again.

Tilapia with Citrus Bagna Cauda

For the Bagna Cauda Sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 anchovy fillet, minced (yum!)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon chiffonaded fresh basil (or chives)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon orange zest

For the Fish
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tilapia fillets
salt and pepper

  • To make the bagna cauda sauce, combine the oil, butter, and anchovy fillets in a nonstick saute or fry pan and warm until the anchovy melts.  Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds, until fragrant.  Remove from heat and add the juice, herbs and zest.  Season to taste with salt and set aside.
  • Wipe out the fry pan with a paper towel and add additional olive oil.  Season the fish with salt and pepper and saute until just opaque and still tender – approximately 3 minutes per side.
  • Plate fish and dress with the bagna cauda sauce.
  • Optional – garnish with chives.

Yield: Serves 2.  I reduced the recipe, which originally served 6.  For the original proportions see…

Source: Adapted from Giada’s Family Dinners, by Giada de Laurentiis

Roasted Halibut with Salsa

If you’re looking for ways to eat light-n-healthy in 2010, here’s a great tip: roast fish slathered in salsa.  I saw this trick on “Get Fresh with Sara Snow,” or “that hippie show,” as hubby likes to call it.  Fish is tricky to cook – you certainly don’t want it underdone, unless you’re serving sushi!  But in the effort to make sure that fish is cooked through, I (and probably many others) often end up with fish that’s so dry as to be virtually inedible.

Salsa is a great way to solve that conundrum and add some wonderful flavor and nutrients without many calories.  The salsa keeps the fish moist and flavors the fish throughout, while the fish still cooks through.  Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I made this dish with halibut steaks.  If you choose to use fillets, as I may very well do in the future – hubby isn’t a fan of bones in fish – you will want to adjust the cooking time downward, as the fillets will cook (and dry out) more quickly than most steaks.  I’d check fillets after 10 minutes, unlike these steaks, which I checked at 20 minutes and found they weren’t quite done.  This is a versatile recipe – not only can you substitute fillets for steaks, but you could substitute other types of fish as well.  I think this would be delicious with salmon or tilapia and would be a wonderful way to dress up cod as well.  That’s the best part about this recipe, in my book – for someone who loves salmon, like hubby does, or for someone who generally prefers white fish, like me (I like salmon too, but I’ve had so much of it since meeting the hubs that I’m starting to burn out)… it’s equally good.  No matter what kind of fish you choose to make, moist and flavorful are good characteristics.

Roasted Halibut with Salsa

2 halibut steaks (or fillets)
2 tablespoons store-bought salsa
kosher salt and black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Season halibut steaks with salt and pepper.  Spread salsa over steaks in an even layer.

  • Roast for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through (you can tell if the fish seems sturdy when you poke at it).

Source: Adapted from Sara Snow.

Hubby’s Grilled Tuna Salad


When you cook a lot, you learn to work around the ever-present possibility of some sort of fiasco – or at least, I have.  Cuts, burns, ruined rice or a repeat of the Great Pesto-Tastrophe of 2005 (we had pesto on the ceiling – I kid you not) are always a specter looming over my kitchen.  I’m never entirely surprised by misfortune in the kitchen and I’m not really fazed by it at this point.  My husband, however, still comes running whenever I say “ouch” and worries over the possibility of injuries that really just make me feel like a true chef.  Last week I got bitten by my bread knife (again – can’t stand that thing) and the one good thing that came of it is that hubby wouldn’t let me do anything except for sit on the couch and drink the tea that he would make for me.  All in all, it was a pretty relaxing injury!  But that evening I had planned a grilled tuna salad and we had already bought fresh tuna for it; obviously, we had to eat the tuna and we had to eat it right away.  So we did what any seafood-loving couple would do when the cooking half is grievously injured – the hubs cooked dinner while I drank wine and shouted instructions from the living room.  It turned out delicious – rich tuna, creamy avocado and a tart dressing.  What more can you ask for?  Except, of course, for the ability to do the cooking yourself.


Grilled Tuna Salad

2 fresh tuna steaks
extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and fresh black pepper
grated zest of 2 lemons
6 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
10 dashes hot sauce
2 firm but ripe avocados, cubed
1/4 cup minced scallions
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

  • Grill the tuna steaks briefly, until just seared on the outside but still raw inside.  Remove from grill and allow to cool slightly before cutting tuna into large bite-sized cubes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, soy sauce, hot sauce, kosher salt and pepper to taste.  Toss the avocados in the dressing, then arrange on individual plates.  Top with tuna cubes and sprinkle with scallions and black sesame seeds.

Source: Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home, by Ina Garten

Wine Pairing: This is a very summery dish to me, with a lovely richness that is counterbalanced by the tart dressing – so you could choose a wine to complement either characteristic.  A nice Viognier from Virginia would stand up well.  Or you might choose to echo the tart notes from the dressing with a Vinho Verde – that would be my choice.  And, of course, you could always go with a Spanish rose – just be sure to be eating this dinner outside with candles and flowers if you go that route!

Grilled Tuna Steaks


The hubs has a talent for logic.  He’s a lawyer, so I guess it comes naturally.  But so am I, and not everything that comes out of my mouth is as sensible and reasonable as everything that comes out of his.  Take the other day, for instance.  I was planning my weekly menu and the hubs – who doesn’t usually make suggestions – said “I have a question.  I love tuna.  You love tuna.  So why don’t we cook tuna at home?”  It was a good question.  I was a bit concerned because tuna really should be left extremely rare.  But the Wegmans fish counter is perfectly reputable, so I agreed to give it a try.  Clearly, my concern was misplaced, since I’m writing this post, which means I am definitely still alive – and the tuna, which was seasoned very simply and grilled to perfection, was unbelievably delicious; it was probably the best fish I have ever cooked at home.  Still, make sure that your fish is very fresh and that you trust your fishmonger before attempting this recipe.


Grilled Tuna Steaks

This almost doesn’t qualify as a recipe, it’s so simple.  It’s also insanely quick to put together – season the fish, slap it on the grill (or grill pan, if you live in a condo like me) and then bang! done!  But, for what it’s worth, here’s what I did…

2 tuna steaks (one small for you, one medium for your gentleman)
extra-virgin olive oil
good sea salt (I prefer Maldon)
freshly ground black pepper

  • Prepare your grill or preheat your grill pan over medium heat.  There is no need to oil your grill pan.
  • Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the fish, and brush to spread.  Season with salt and pepper, to the point that looks good to you.  Repeat on the other side.
  • Slap the tuna steaks on the grill and cook very briefly – only a couple of minutes per side.  When the fish slides if you poke it with your tongs, you know it’s done and you can flip it.  It should still be rare – basically raw, really, in the middle when you serve it.
  • Take it off the grill the moment it looks like both sides have been cooked, and before the center is cooked.  You might even err on the side of caution and take it off before you think it’s done.  Trust me, it’s done.  It was pretty much done when you put it on the grill in the first place.  Serve it with a green salad.

Note: Tuna is intentionally undercooked.  If you are pregnant, please don’t eat this or any raw or undercooked fish.  Please check for the appropriate varieties to buy.  I used a sustainable yellowfin tuna, for instance, not bluefin – and I urge you to make sustainable choices when cooking, especially when it comes to seafood; we all need to be vigilant against overfishing.

Wine Pairing: The hubs and I paired this dish with a medium-bodied red wine, Ruby from Hillsborough Vineyards in Purcellville, VA.  Ruby is a blend of Tannat, Petit Verdot and Touriga Nacional.  It’s delicious, and I would say that even if I didn’t love supporting the wonderful wine-producing community of Northern Virginia.  But if you don’t have access to NoVA wines, any medium- or light-bodied red would be nice with this dish, as would a French or Spanish rose, or a full-bodied white.  The tuna is rich, so you do want a wine with a bit of personality to stand up to your dinner.  Of course, you don’t want a wine that’s going to kick your dinner in the pants, either, so steer clear of really heavy reds.  The next time I make this grilled tuna, and I’ll be making it again and again, I’m going to try to use a little foresight and have a bottle of my favorite Hillsborough wine, Serafina, chilling in the fridge.

Source: Covered In Flour

Spinach Salad with Smoked Salmon, Avocado and Pepitas


My husband and I met at a conference.  We sat together at dinner and both ordered the same thing – salmon Caesar salad – and discussed our mutual love of salmon.  The night he proposed, we went back to that same restaurant and he insisted on our sharing the salmon Caesar salad.  An auspicious start for a foodie romance, wouldn’t you say?  It has been eight years since our first conversation about salmon, and it’s still a popular topic of conversation and a frequent choice for dinner.  We love it all different ways – broiled, roasted, poached, pan-sauteed, grilled, smoked, raw in sushi… you name it.  So when I saw this dish on the Food Network, I knew it would be well received.  I was right – more than right, in fact, since this has become Our All-Time Favorite Salad.  Smoked salmon, avocado, pepitas, crisp greens, lime dressing… what more could you ask for?


Spinach Salad with Smoked Salmon, Avocado, and Pepitas

1/2 package washed baby spinach leaves (or other salad greens – which is what I had on hand)
2 Hass avocados
4 tablespoons raw pepitas (approx.)
juice of 1/2 lime
extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 package wild-caught smoked salmon

  • Toss spinach leaves with lime juice, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt (like Maldon) and pepper until nicely coated.  Add half the pepitas and scoop out the flesh of one avocado.  Toss together.
  • Drape smoked salmon slices over the side of a large serving bowl.  Pour salad into serving bowl.
  • Top salad with remaining pepitas, and scoop the flesh from the other avocado to scatter over the top.


Source: Adapted from Nigella Lawson