Hawaiian Poke

Tuna & Avocado Poke

So has anyone else noticed that it got pretty hot out? Like really quickly too? Whatever happened to Spring? It seems that here in Toronto we get, usually, a pretty wicked Winter, a week of Spring, and then watch out, ’cause here comes Summer! And with that, comes the heat and the dreaded humidity. Some days it feels more like you’re swimming outside rather than walking. So, having said all of that, how about some recipes that you don’t have to “cook”? No heat required? That’s right, we’re doing a raw week!

Today’s recipe is for Poke, a traditional Hawaiian dish that combines the freshest of fish, usually either tuna or octopus, with some asian flavours such as soy, sesame and onion. The trick to this dish is not to make it too much in advance. You want to combine the flavours just before eating, only about 15-30 minutes before everyone comes to the table. This way you don’t loose the fresh, delicate taste of the fish. My suggestion? Try serving this as a starter one Shabbos instead of gefilte fish! It will be a hit!

Ingredients:

½ pound sushi-grade salmon
½ pound sushi-grade ahi tuna
1 large avocado, cubed
4 green onions/scallion, thinly sliced*
½ jalapeno chili, thinly sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 ½ teaspoons lime juice
½ tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste
cooked white rice, to serve

* Click here to learn how to clean green onions/scallions.

Directions:

Check over your fish for any small bones or pieces of skin left on. Using a very sharp knife, slice the fish into ½” cubes. Set your fish aside for now. To toast your sesame seeds, heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds, and cook until toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Make sure to stir often to prevent burning.

In a medium bowl, mix together the green onions/scallions, jalapeno, toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, lime juice and ginger. Save a little onion and sesame seeds to top your finished poke. Add the fish and avocado to the bowl with the marinade, and toss to coat.

Fill a large bowl with ice, and then place the bowl with the poke in it into the larger ice filled bowl to keep the poke nice and fresh until you are ready to serve it. Taste the poke, and adjust the seasoning as needed, with salt and pepper to your own taste.

Serve the poke on top of some cooked white rice with thinly sliced green onions and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Creamy Pasta with Salmon and Dill

Salmon Dill Pasta

Hi everyone! I realize that it’s been a long time since I last posted, but I need to get back on that horse! Here is a quick recipe that I’ve been making lately. It’s a dairy pasta dish, so it’s rich and comforting, but the fresh dill and lemon zest keep it from being too heavy. You can also switch up the fresh salmon for canned or for a twist, use smoked salmon instead! This recipe will serve 6. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

12 ounces uncooked linguine pasta (or any other pasta of choice)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thin
2 shallots, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ¼ pounds of fresh or frozen (defrosted) salmon, cubed
¾ cup cream cheese
¾ cup fresh dill, chopped finely*
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest**
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

* Click here to learn how to properly check fresh dill.
** Click here for my tips on zesting.

Directions:

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Once the pasta is done, drain it, saving the water to add to the sauce.

In a large sauté pan, add the olive oil and heat on medium-high temperature. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, shallots and garlic. Toss to coat in the oil and season with salt and fresh pepper. Allow to cook, softening and getting some colour, but not turning completely brown, about 5-7 minutes.

Once the onions are mostly done, add the salmon to the pan, and again, toss to coat. Let the fish and onions sit for a minute or two, to allow the salmon to begin to cook. Add the cream cheese to the pan, and move it around the pan, so that the heat begins to melt the cheese. At this point, add some of the pasta water to the pan to mix with the melting cream cheese and make a sauce. Add as much water as you feel necessary to get the consistency that you like. Once the cheese has completely been thinned out, add the dill and mix to combine.

In a large mixing or serving bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and then sprinkle with the lemon zest and additional dill, salt and pepper, to taste.

 

Cedar-Planked Salmon with Maple-Mustard Glaze (British Columbia)

Cedar SalmonSo British Columbia for those of you that don’t know is our most western province, and has it’s coast on the Pacific Ocean. For those of you still not sure, it’s right above Washington State and below Alaska. It is a gorgeous province, sharing the Rocky Mountains with it’s neighbouring province Alberta, and has beautiful valleys, and AMAZING skiing. In fact, the Winter Olympics were held there, centred around Vancouver, in 2010. One of the food items that BC is known for though is their salmon! It is delicious, fresh and readily available. This recipe also calls for the use of maple syrup and mustard, two more Canadian staples. This recipe cooks up right on the barbecue, and will go great with some grilled asparagus and new potatoes. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 ½ pounds salmon fillet
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Soak one 12 x 7 inch (30 x 18 cm) untreated cedar plank in water for 30 minutes or for up to 24 hours; place salmon on top.

In small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper; brush half over salmon.

Place plank on grill over medium-high heat, and close the lid. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, brushing once halfway through the cooking time with the remaining maple mixture. The fish will be done when it flakes easily when cut into. Halve the salmon lengthwise, and then cut crosswise into 6 slices. Transfer to serving platter.

If you can’t do this outside, bake the planks in a 425 degree oven for about 12 minutes.

Note about planks – Make sure the wooden plank you are using is food grade compatible, and has not been treated with any chemicals. You can purchase these at grocery stores. Be wary of buying planks at hardware stores, as they may have been treated (for use in construction, not food).

Cioppino

CioppinoSo aside from the Golden Gate Bridge and the Cable Cars, San Francisco is known for quite a few food items. Top on my list (’cause it has it’s own jingle) is Rice-a-Roni a.k.a. the San Francisco Treat! Well, I can’t give you a recipe for something that comes in a box can I? Well, I mean I could, but it’s just so much easier to get a box of the stuff (or the kosher equivalent). So what else is SF famous for food wise? Cioppino and Sourdough Bread!

For the Sourdough, you need a starter or “mother” to start the dough from. You can make one yourself (though this takes some time and care) or buy some from a bakery store or online. Again, yeah, not much of a recipe for this blog. But Cioppino? Now we’re talking! Cioppino is a fish stew that originated in San Francisco in the 1800’s. It was developed by Italian immigrant fishermen, who after taking their catch to market, would put together a stew of whatever was left over that wound up to be this wonderful dish. Normally, Cioppino is chock full of shellfish, but this being a kosher recipe, there won’t be any in this dish. This recipe will make a huge pot of the soup/stew, as it is definitely a one-dish meal. I suggest buying some crusty sourdough to serve with it!

Ingredients

⅓ cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic
4 ribs celery, peeled
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 large onion, quartered
2 (2 oz.) can anchovies, drained and rinsed
1 fennel bulb, quartered, centres removed, sliced thin*
3 leeks, white/pale green parts only, sliced thin*
1 (796ml) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups dry white wine
6 cups water
4-6 bay leaves
2 good pinches saffron
2 tablespoons paprika
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon anise/fennel seeds
Good pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
4 sprigs fresh thyme*
½ pound halibut, skinned and boned, cut into 1 ½ in pieces
½ pound salmon, skinned and boned, cut into 1 ½ in pieces
½ pound snapper, skinned and boned, cut into 1 ½ in pieces
½ pound sea bass or cod, skinned and boned, cut into 1 ½ in pieces
½ pound flaked mock crab
1 large bunch flat parsley, minced*
Salt and pepper to taste

* Click here to learn how to clean these vegetables and herbs.

Directions:

In a food processor, pulse together the garlic, celery, red pepper, green pepper and onion so that it makes a coarse purée.

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil on a medium high heat. Once hot, add the rinsed anchovies and sauté so that they start to break up. Add the pureed vegetable mix to the hot oil, along with the sliced leeks and fennel. Sauté until the leeks and fennel become translucent.

Deglaze the pot with the white wine, and then add the crushed tomatoes, water, bay leaves, saffron, paprika, tomato paste, anise/fennel seeds, red pepper flakes and thyme. Reduce to heat to medium, and allow the soup to cook covered for about 30 minutes.

Once the soup has come together, add the fish and about half of the parsley. Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes, until the fish has cooked through and become opaque. Taste for salt and pepper, and then ladle the soup into bowls, topping with the remaining parsley and served with some fresh crusty sourdough bread.

Citrus Dill Gravlax

GravlaxSo how can you be a kosher cooking blog having a week highlighting fish, and not touch on Lox? It’s a Jewish staple! Confession time… up until a few months ago I could not stand Lox of any kind. Even the smell or thought of it turned me off completely. Now I seem obsessed with it! I don’t like it… I LOVE it! Better late than never I guess!

Now I realize that Gravlax is not Lox. Lox is cured through smoking while Gravlax is cured in a salt/acid mixture. The tastes and textures though are quite similar. That, and you can make Gravlax easily at home… Lox, not so much (I’m not counting those that have their own personal smokers at home). This dish takes a while to cure, but in truth, very little effort to make. Trust me this will be a HUGE hit at your next party and your guests will be incredibly impressed.

Ingredients:

Gravlax:
1 (1-pound) salmon fillet, skin on
1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 teaspoons sugar
zest of 1 orange**
zest of ½ lime**
zest of ½ lemon**
1 ½ tablespoons tequila/vodka/gin (plus more if needed)
1 cup chopped fresh dill, divided*

Sauce:
2 tablespoons honey mustard
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill*
¼ teaspoon salt
pepper, to taste

To serve:
Melba toasts or toast points
capers
sliced onion
dill sprigs

* Click here to learn about cleaning dill.
** Click here for my tips on zesting citrus.

Directions:

For Gravlax: Heat the peppercorns in a small skillet over medium-high heat until spices are fragrant and seeds jump slightly, shaking skillet frequently, about 2 minutes. Crush spices in mortar with pestle or transfer to work surface, cover with kitchen towel (not terry cloth), and crush with mallet or bottom of heavy pan. Transfer spices to small bowl. Mix in salt, sugar, and the zests of the orange, lemon and lime.

Trim the fillet so that it is uniform in size. Using small sharp knife, poke 12 small holes through skin of both pieces of salmon. Rub ⅓ of spice mixture over skin. Sprinkle ⅓ cup chopped dill in bottom of 7x7x2-inch or 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Place the salmon, skin side down, on top of the dill. Pour the alcohol over the fish. Rub the remaining spice mixture onto the top of the salmon. Then press the remaining chopped dill into salmon. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto fish. Place a small plate or smaller dish on top of the plastic, so that it makes direct contact with the wrapped fish. Place some heavy cans on plate so that the fish is weighted down. Refrigerate 2 to 3 days, checking on it once or twice a day, and basting the fish with the juices produced by the curing process. On the second day of curing, slice off a small piece and taste it. If it doesn’t taste like it’s getting there, add a little more salt and/or alcohol on the fish.

For Sauce: Whisk mustard and vinegar in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Stir in chopped dill and salt. Season with ground black pepper. (Sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

To Serve: Scrape spices and dill off both sides of salmon (some spice mixture will remain). Using knife with long thin blade, thinly slice salmon diagonally at 45-degree angle from top of fillet toward skin. Cut with a back and forth sawing motion toward the narrow end to remove a thin slice of fish. Start each succeeding slice a bit farther in from the narrow end; always cut at a flat angle to keep the slices as long and thin as possible. Serve with Melba toasts, toast points, capers, dill, onions and the mustard sauce.

Grilled Three-Fish Kebobs with Parsley and Garlic Butter

Lemon Fish KabobsSo even though it’s not yet officially summer (not until the 21st people!), it’s still pretty hot out there, so why not go outside and grill up this fish dish? These kebobs cook up fast on a grill, but can be made on a grill pan or in the oven if you are barbecue-less. The flavoured butter in this recipe is served up along side the dish after it has finished grilling, but can also be used to baste the fish while it grills. This butter is also AMAZING on steamed asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower. Truth be told, it’s good on anything! This dish will serve around six people, and is great served up with rice, couscous or pasta.

Ingredients:

Kebobs:
1 ¼ pounds centre-cut, skinless salmon steak, cut into ½ inch cubes (about 30 pieces)
1 ¼ pounds centre-cut, skinless halibut steak, cut into ½ inch cubes (about 30 pieces)
1 ¼ pounds skinless tuna steak, cut into ½ inch cubes (about 30 pieces)
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley*
4 ½ tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves*
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
2 lemons, thinly sliced (about 30 slices)

Butter:
1 ½ stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley*
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Special equipment: 15-30 (8 or 10-inch) skewers**

* Click here to learn about cleaning herbs.
**If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes prior to grilling to prevent them from burning. If you want extra stability while grilling your kebobs, then use two per kebob. This will stop the fish from spinning around the skewer as you grill it.

Directions:

Kebobs: Put the salmon, halibut and tuna in a resealable plastic bag. In a medium bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Pour the oil mixture over the fish and seal the bag. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Thread each skewer with 2 pieces of salmon, 2 pieces of halibut and 2 pieces of tuna, alternating the fish on the skewers with slices of lemon.

Butter: In a small bowl, mix together the butter, garlic and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the butter to the centre of a 6 inch square piece of plastic wrap. Fold the plastic over the butter and form it into a log, about 4 inches long and 1 ½ inches in diameter. Refrigerate until firm, about for 1 hour. Slice the butter into ¼ to ½ inch thick slices and transfer them to a plate.

Put a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Season the fish with salt and pepper, to taste, and grill the skewers until opaque, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Arrange the skewers on a platter and serve the butter alongside.

Salmon & Brown Rice Potstickers

Salmon & Rice PotstickersRice is nice! And this recipe makes a great appetizer, or if you’re like me, and get addicted, can easily wind up making a meal out of them! In this recipe I’ve called for Salmon, but you can easily substitute with a different fish, or different protein all together. They would be equally as good with chicken or tofu. This recipe will make about 24 potstickers.

Ingredients:

¾ cup of long grain brown rice, fully cooked
1 package wonton wrappers
¾ pound salmon (or other protein)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce**
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, loosely packed*
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons of ginger, finely chopped
½ tsp black pepper or chili flakes (optional)
½ cup grated carrots
½ cup minced water chestnuts
2 tablespoons vegetable oil for cooking
water, for steaming the potstickers
garnish: toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions*

* Click here to learn how to properly clean fresh parsley and green onions.
** If using meat instead of fish or tofu, please click here to learn about the use of Worcestershire Sauce with meat products.

Directions:

Add salmon, oil, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, garlic, ginger and pepper or chili flakes into food processor and pulse to make a chunky paste. In a bowl, mix together the salmon paste, carrots, water chestnuts and cooked rice. Fill the wonton wrappers as directed on package sealing the edge with a dab of water on your finger.

If you’re not making the potstickers right away, refrigerate or freeze them on a baking sheet lined with parchment until ready to use.

Heat a small amount of oil in a sauté pan, and lightly brown filled potstickers on one side. Flip, and add water to cover bottom of pan. Cover and steam about 4-5 minutes. Top with sesame seeds and green onion and serve with your favourite dipping sauce.

Fish Soup

Fish SoupThis is a nice alternative to chicken soup, and combines the fish course and soup course into one! All the flavour, half the work! This recipe will serve about 12 people.

Ingredients:

⅓ cup olive oil
2 medium onions, quartered
2 large leeks, white part and most of the green part, sliced*
4 stalks celery
1 bulb fennel, quartered (save the fronds for garnish)*
6 cloves garlic
1 large bunch parsley*
2 red peppers, seeded and cut in chunks
Head and tail of a large salmon, tile fish, or any other big fish, quartered, loosely but securely wrapped in cheesecloth
2 (540ml) cans crushed tomatoes
8 cups water
2 large potatoes, cut in small cubes
1 cup dry white wine
½ teaspoon cayenne, or a little more to taste
Good pinch ground cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon paprika
2 good pinches saffron
8 cups fish, cubed, about 1” size (salmon, tile or snapper)

* Click here to learn how to properly clean these vegetables and herbs.

Directions:

In a food processor, coarsely grind the onions, leeks, celery, fennel, garlic, parsley and peppers. You can do this in batches if you have a smaller processor or you find the vegetables are becoming over processed.

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil, and then add the vegetable mixture. Sauté the mixture until the onions and leeks become translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Mix often so that nothing sticks and burns.

Next, add the head and tail of the fish (in the cloth), along with the tomatoes, water, potatoes, wine, cloves, bay leaves and paprika. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and let cook for 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecloth with the fish parts in it, and then add the chopped up fish meat and saffron to the pot. Allow the soup to cook another few minutes until the chopped fish has cooked through. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and then serve hot, garnished with a few fronds from the fennel.

Salmon Teriyaki on Asian Salad

Salmon & Salad

Ingredients:

Salmon:
8 salmon fillets (2-3 oz. each)
1 bottle teriyaki or honey-garlic sauce (your favourite brand)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Salad:
2 packages of chicken flavoured Ramen noodles
1 head of cabbage, shredded (easiest to buy the pre-shredded Bodek cabbage)*
4 green onions, sliced (white and green parts)*
1 purple onion, sliced very thinly
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons vinegar
½ cup oil
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Salmon:
Check over your fillets to make sure that no bones have been missed. Remove any if found. If you salmon fillet still has the skin, you can remove it or leave it on, it is just a personal preference. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put your fillets in a baking dish, and pour about ¾ of the bottle of sauce over them. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (about 10 minutes per inch of thickness of the fillet). Remove the fillets once cooked through, and allow to come to room temperature. They can be served at this point as is or chilled. When serving, sprinkle with some of the sesame seeds over the top of each fillet.

Salad:
In a large bowl, break up by hand the packages of Ramen noodles so that they are not one large clump. Sprinkle over the top the seasoning packets that came with the soups. I find it easiest to use a pre-shredded, pre-cleaned and inspected bag of Bodek cabbage for this recipe, but you can shred the cabbage yourself if you prefer. Add the remaining ingredients and let marinate in the fridge overnight if possible. This salad, if there is any left, always tastes better the second day. Plate a portion of salad on individual plates, and top with a piece of the salmon teriyaki.

* Click here to learn how to properly check cabbage and green onions.

Grilled Salmon Fillets with a Lemon, Dill and Garlic Sauce

Grilled Salmon with Garlic, Lemon Dill SauceThis recipe calls for using a grill. If you do not have one, or wish to not grill the fish altogether, you can prepare it either in the oven under the broiler for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillet, or you can pan sear it instead. This recipe makes 6 servings.

Ingredients:

6 (4 ounce) salmon fillets
salt and ground black pepper to taste
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¾ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon and 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice ᶲ
1 tablespoon and 1 ½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest ᶲ
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill *
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

Prepare the grill for high heat by lightly oiling the grill grate, either with some of the olive oil or with a non-stick cooking spray. Note: if you are using a spray, DO NOT spray over a lit grill. This is a good way to lose your eyebrows. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cook the salmon on the grill until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, while the salmon is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, remaining olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest, dill, salt and pepper. Set the sauce aside until the salmon has finished cooking. When the salmon is done, place it on a serving plate and top with the prepared sauce. This dish can be served hot, cold or room temperature.

* To learn how to properly clean fresh dill, click here.
ᶲ For tips on zesting and juicing a lemon, click here.