Rockfish with Orange, Fennel and Cannellini Beans

Get ready for the perfect light summer dinner that tastes great and will make you feel amazing! Fish in general is a perfect choice for a light and flavorful dinner. There are so many different ways to cook rockfish, but broiling your fish is an almost effortless and easy way to get the job done...yet still be full of flavor.  

Rockfish has a mild flavor with a flaky medium-firm texture. Not only is the fish on the sweeter side, but the fillets are packed with iron and vitamin B-12. Rockfish also provides a decent amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which our bodies cannot produce on their own. Did you know that omega-3s are thought to contribute to brain function and may reduce the levels of harmful inflammation in your body? That’s why the American Heart Association recommends eating two 3.5 oz servings of fatty fish each week!

Rockfish and oranges compliment each other quite nicely as the the fish already adds its own subtle sweetness. Cara Cara oranges and their unique red-tint bring a vibrant color pop to this dish. They also add an extra Vitamin C and A boost. Absorbing all of the flavor, the sliced fennel brings the ingredients together and the thyme intensifies these flavors even more.  

While you may have not tried Rockfish before, it is delicious! Give it a whirl and prepare to be dazzled.  

Rockfish with Oranges, Fennel, and Cannellini Beans

Time: 45 Minutes
Serves 4
Extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped + additional thyme leaves to garnish
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup mirin

2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¾ cup chicken broth
1 medium cara cara orange: ½ thinly sliced, juice and zest of ½ orange
1 cup fennel bulb, thinly sliced, divided
4 (6 oz) rockfish fillets
1 medium navel orange, thinly sliced
1 large fennel frond (optional)

Set an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat broiler.
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add red onion and stir until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in 1 tbsp thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add mirin and continue stirring until reduced, about 3-4 minutes. Add the cannellini beans, garlic, and chicken stock and stir until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add the cara cara orange zest, half the sliced fennel, and cook over medium-high heat until the fennel is soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly coat fish on all sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl, add half of the fennel and 2 tsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix to combine. Top the fish with the remaining sliced fennel, cara cara and navel orange slices, and a large fennel frond. Squeeze cara cara orange juice over the fish and vegetables.
Broil the fish for about 10-12 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145F. Remove from heat.
Serve the beans on plates and top with the rock fish and orange slices. Garnish with thyme leaves if desired.



Salmon with Beurre Blanc and Sautéed Greens

Is this salmon with beurre blanc and sautéed greens a sexy dish, or what?

I recently learned how to make lemon confit, which I now know is an easy and exciting way to add flavor to your meals! I made a whole batch of it by slowly simmering finely sliced lemon rinds in olive oil and sugar. Then I let the flavors meld overnight and added the contents to a mason jar. When I woke up in the morning to try it, I was astounded. Lemon confit makes for such a tasty and simple way to add flavor to your dishes. If you don’t feel like making lemon confit (not sure why you wouldn’t), it’s easily purchased online or at your local gourmet grocer.

The salmon dish as a whole is incredible. There are a few steps, but they’re all very easy. In 45 minutes, you’ll have plated some amazing French-inspired cuisine, impressed your friend or spouse, and will have saved a few dollars cooking at home instead of dining out at a fancy French restaurant!

Salmon with Beurre Blanc and Sautéed Greens

Time: 45 Minutes
Serves 4

3 cloves garlic, peeled
Kosher salt
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1 bunch kale, stems removed, torn into 3-inch pieces
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, torn into 3-inch pieces
2 tbsp lemon confit, finely sliced, or lemon zest
Freshly ground black pepper
4 (6 oz) center-cut salmon fillets, skin on
7 tbsp butter, divided
1 shallot, minced
1/3 cup vermouth
4 lemon wedges, to serve

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Finely mince garlic, running the knife blade over the garlic a few times to mince further. Add 1/2 tsp salt to the mince and continue to alternate between mincing and running the knife over the garlic until you have formed a fine paste. 

Heat 1 tsbp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic paste and chili flakes and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the kale, chard, 3 tbsp water, and cook, stirring until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in lemon confit, season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat. Keep warm.

Season salmon with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven over high heat. Add salmon fillets and briefly press down with a spatula to ensure even searing. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes, without moving the fish. Add 3 tbsp butter to the pan and allow to melt. Spoon butter over salmon for 30 seconds, then transfer skillet to oven, basting the fish with a spoon every 3 minutes, until the thickest part of the salmon is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 145F. Remove from heat and keep warm.

In a small skillet, bring shallots and vermouth to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the sauce has thickened, leaving a bit of vermouth in the pan. Remove from heat.

To the same pan, stir in 1 tbsp of butter at a time until each cube is fully melted. Stir in 1/4 tsp salt and remove from heat. Strain the beurre blanc into a bowl over a fine-mesh strainer to remove shallots. 

Serve salmon on plates and ladle a tablespoon of beurre blanc over each fillet. Serve with sautéed greens and lemon wedges.



Salmon in Galangal-Tomato Compote

Salmon with a tangy tomato sauce anyone? Yum! This recipe will certainly change up your salmon routine for the better. 

I’m a tomato-lover, but Adrian and I somehow still have a lot of frozen whole tomatoes from our summer garden. Because they’re frozen, they’ve lost most of their texture, which means they’re perfect for sauces! I saw this recipe by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and knew it would be a perfect match to bring back some summery deliciousness to my winter plate.

I altered the original recipe to include canned crushed tomatoes, since that’s what mine looked like after defrosting), and to make the recipe a little easier. I also substituted ground mace for mace blades because I haven’t yet seen them at the store (although I will look for them from now on). If you don't have mace, consider nutmeg, and if you don't have galangal, minced ginger should also work well.

Even if you follow the original recipe to a T, it is soooo worth the little bit of extra effort. This is seriously some mouthwatering tasty goodness. 

Salmon in Galangal-Tomato Compote

Time: 1 Hour  
Serves 4

1/3 cup coriander seeds
1 tsp cardamom seeds
1 star anise pod
1 whole clove
1 tsp ground mace
Cayenne pepper
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp minced peeled galangal
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 large mango, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
10 large basil leaves, plus shredded basil, for garnish
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Four 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets

In a medium skillet, combine the coriander seeds, cardamom seeds, star anise and whole clove and toast over moderately high heat, shaking the skillet frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer the spices to a plate to cool. Finely grind the spices with 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne and 1 tsp mace.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small skillet. Add the garlic and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.

Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, 2 tablespoons of the ground spices and the galangal, lemon zest and brown sugar and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the rice vinegar and cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, water, mango and whole basil leaves and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and cayenne; keep warm.

Season the salmon with salt and cayenne. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the salmon and cook over moderately high heat until browned on the bottom, 3 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on the second side, 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour the tomato compote into a strainer set over a bowl. Mound the compote in warmed soup plates, top with the salmon fillets and spoon the strained tomato broth around. Garnish with the shredded basil and serve.

Surf & Turf Spaghetti (Spaghetti alla Mare e Terra)

How do you make your favorite pancetta or bacon pasta healthier? By adding seafood and plenty of vegetables to it, of course! 

For flavor (and to hit the spot!), this Surf and Turf Spaghetti has just a touch of pancetta, but delivers a nutritional punch with an amazing amount of garlic, plenty of fennel and cherry tomatoes, and for an omega-3 boost, shrimp and octopus. Just check out my nutritional analysis below the recipe. 

Each serving comes with a reasonable 550 calories and almost half of your vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Not bad, right? Pasta doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure after all! 

Adrian decided that we’d call this one Spaghetti alla Mare e Terra because he’s cute like that. Somehow he still remembers Italian from studying abroad in Florence over a decade ago. I wish I had that memory, but at least I can rely on his when we're overseas!

Surf & Turf Spaghetti (Spaghetti alla Mare e Terra)

Time: 40 Minutes
Serves 6

¾ lb spaghetti
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 oz pancetta, diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
10-12 dried birdseye chili peppers, briefly toasted, roughly chopped
2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
3 medium fennel bulbs, cored, cut into thin wedges
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups (16 oz) chicken broth
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 tbsp parsley, finely chopped, divided
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
2 (4 oz) cans octopus in olive oil
1 ¼ cups Parmesan Reggiano, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Garlic-infused olive oil, to finish (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and return to pot. 

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until lightly browned. Transfer pancetta to paper towels and set aside. 

To the same skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, chilies, and fennel seeds, scraping up any browned pancetta bits, and stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add fennel wedges and sauté until soft, 6 minutes. Add cherry tomatoes, and cook gently for 4 more minutes. Then stir in broth, shrimp, 2 tbsp parsley, and juice of 1 lemon, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until liquid has reduced by half. 

Add reserved spaghetti to the fennel mixture and stir in octopus and its oil, cooking until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Gently stir in the pancetta, half the parmesan, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on plates or in shallow bowls garnished with remaining parsley, parmesan, lemon zest, and drizzled lemon juice and garlic-infused olive oil. 

Nutrition Analysis Per Serving: 550 Calories, 17g fat (5g saturated), 60g carbs, 7g fiber, 55g protein, 45% vitamin A, 50% vitamin C, 40% calcium, 40% iron