I made this delightful grilled salmon “chop” a couple of days ago. It was really very simple.
First I took a salmon steak (you know, the U-shaped cut with a bone down the center that’s essentially a cross-section of the fish) and with a very sharp chef knife cut that right down the middle, severing it into two “chops”. I seasoned the salmon with Konriko Greek Seasoning and a bunch of cracked peppercorn and then I rubbed it with a generous amount of olive oil.
It was a cool evening so I used a stove-top grill-pan for my grilling. I pre-heated the oven to 350°F and heated the grill-pan over high until it was smoking-hot. I placed the salmon down in the pan and grilled the first side for about five minutes (or until nicely charred) and then flipped it. I grilled the other side for about three minutes and then popped the whole pan into the oven for six minutes.
I removed the pan from the oven and allowed it to sit on the stove-top for a few more minutes, just to cool down a tiny bit.
I served the fish with a scoop of steamed Japanese rice and a veggie saute of fresh corn, petite peas, and diced zucchini. Instead of a lemon wedge I added a slice of ripe tangerine.
It was a perfect dinner! The salmon was lush, buttery, custardy, and oh-so tasty. The skin was crisp and chewy and unctuous. The fish was rich and delish. You could almost feel the Omega-6 fatty acids coursing through your veins. So good!
1/3 pound cooked fresh Dungeness crab meat (or any other crab meat)
1/3 pound poached shrimp, coarsely chopped
1/4 – 1/3 cup chopped avocado
1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
1/4 cup minced scallions
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 large jalapeño, minced (seeded if you don’t want it too hot)
1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 generous tablespoon (plus more if you want) extra virgin olive oil
juice of half a lime
tortilla chips & cerveza
Now do this:
I use halibut for this recipe because it’s widely available and neutral in flavor, but you can use pretty much any fish you want — red snapper, grouper, sea bass, even salmon if you like. I prefer white-fleshed fish with a low oil content for ceviche; I wouldn’t use tuna or other fatty fish as the flavor can be quite assertive (and not in a good way).
Put the diced halibut in a non-reactive bowl (not aluminum, basically) and cover with lime juice. Pop it in the fridge for 3 hours. Take it out and mix with all other ingredients, except chips and beer, duh!
Allow the ceviche to rest, refrigerated, for one hour. Or eat it immediately; it’s up to you!
I knocked out this simple shrimp dish on a cool night about three months ago, but I wasn’t really in love with the pics so I neglected this blog post, left it half-written for many weeks. After a little distance I realized the photo wasn’t nearly as a crappy as I’d thought it was. The pic may not be great, but luckily the dish was. Tender, sweet shrimp drowned in butter with loads of garlic topped with crisp, golden-brown breadcrumbs? Yes, please! Easy to make? I’m there!
I had about a pound and a half of medium shrimp (U-21 to 25) which I peeled. I also had about a third of a loaf of stale brioche, which I ground up in the food processor into ragged, chunky crumbs.
I melted two tablespoons of butter together with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil in a hot skillet and sautéed about a two-thirds of a cup of the breadcrumbs, moving them frequently with a silicon spatula until they just started to brown. I turned off the heat but kept the breadcrumbs in the pan, which allowed them to dry out a bit more. I cracked a little black pepper over the top and tossed about a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt over it.
Next, in a saute pan I melted about a half-stick of butter over medium-high heat. I coarsely chopped two cloves of garlic and cooked them in the butter for about 45 seconds. I tossed in the shrimp, seasoned them with a little S&P, and then cooked them for about three minutes, tossing and stirring to cook them evenly. When they were almost all pink (but a little translucent in some spots) I poured in a half-glass of this lovely NZ sauv blanc I happened to have on hand. I added one tablespoon of minced fresh basil and cooked them one more minute.
I transfered the shrimp to a plate and poured the shrimpy melted butter all over them. I scattered the toasted breadcrumbs on top. Ate it up with some boiled jasmine rice and a little fresh and crisp salad. Drank some more of that sauvignon blanc. A good meal, simple and satisfying.
My step-cousin Carrie owns a condo in Jaco and she was kind enough to let Regina and me stay there while we were vacationing in Costa Rica. Jaco is a bit touristy, populated partly by a boisterous population of American expats and frequently flooded with tourists from all over Central, South, and North America. It’s pretty noisy at night down the main drag with all manner of cars and people and stray dogs and cars pumping music — much like any other tourist-centric beach town in any corner of the world. Regina and I were happy that the condo lay on the northern end of town, away from the clamor and drunken revelers. It was quiet where we were, conducive to relaxation and a restful type of vacationing.
When we travel Regina and I try to hunt down the local grub; it’s generally more honest, more affordable, and more representative of the locale and the people who live there. You’ll see I posted a few other recommendations for restaurants in Jaco, if you find yourself in Costa Rica some day. Those are places Regina and I ferreted out on our own.
This little "langostica" was fresh, cheap, and delish.
In our ongoing quest for local cheap eats, Regina and I keep our eyes peeled for places with a line out the door. Walking the streets of Jaco, Costa Rica last week we stopped at innumerable restaurants on the main drag to check out menus; it was a mixed bag, for sure. Mostly tourist traps with surprisingly high prices or bizarre mish-mashed menus featuring a combination of Costa Rican fare with, let’s say, Greek salad or anchovy pizza. And yeah, sure, I like Greek salad and anchovy pizza, but paying $40 for it while we’re in a foreign land seems a little strange. Also, given that most of the touristy places seemed near-empty on a Friday evening wasn’t heartening. Strolling half a block off the main drag we found the very-packed and lively Isaga, which had at least fifteen people waiting in line out front. They were all locals, by the look of the them. Suddenly our spirits lifted!
Creamy seafood "chowder" is packed full of mariscos!
Delicious cold-weather noodle soup with a Thai-style broth.
Maybe it’s because I’m half-Vietnamese and was raised eating them all the time, but I just love noodle soups. Of course pho (the national dish of Vietnam) is my favorite, but I also crave all sorts of ramen and Chinese mein and laksa and soba and udon. Nothing is more soothing and restorative than a hot, savory broth with slippery, tender noodles topped with bits of veggies and meats and seafood. I absolutely love the way you can personalize the dish to suit your tastes in the moment, by choosing your own toppings and herbs and by tweaking the dish with dashes of hot sauce or soy sauce or fish sauce or vinegar.
Man, I love salmon! Salmon is flavorful and rich and super-versatile. You really can cook it hundreds of different ways, and it has the added benefit of containing a wealth of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which, unless you’ve been hiding in a cave in Tora Bora, you know are extremely good for you. Whenever I cook fish, which is frequently, I have to make an assessment based on nutritional value, cost, environmental impact, and, of course, taste and quality. So it’s kind of a pain in the ass to balance all this information just to make something tasty and healthy for me and my family. But in this day and age of uncertain food sources and diminishing fish stocks we have to take all these facts into account and make our own educated decisions.