Oswald Rivera

Author, Warrior, and Teacher

Category: fish (page 1 of 6)

GRILLED SALMON WITH CAJUN SPICE MIX

I am a fan of Cajun cooking. Have been since the first time in my youth when I first heard Hank William’s ode to Cajun eats, the song  ‘Jambalaya.’ A little history first: ‘Cajun’ cuisine originated with the Acadians, French settlers who immigrated to Canada in the early 17th century and lived in what is known today as the Maritime Provinces, primarily Nova Scotia. Their cuisine, at the time, was inspired by rural French cooking. Then, in 1755, after refusing to swear allegiance to the British crown, most of them were deported to Louisiana, where they set up roots again and incorporated into their cooking most of the ingredients found in the South, which included crab, oysters, crawfish, bell peppers, and spices such as black pepper and cayenne. Add to that, influences from Spanish, Native American and African-American cooking, and you have the mix of Cajun cuisine today.

Cajun cuisine can be very spicy or mild, depending upon the ingredients and how much you use. For instance, in the recipe given, I prefer a hot, spicy rub. My wife prefers it mild. So, again, let your palette be your guide. I make enough spice mix to last me for a while, and leftovers can be stored as you would any spice or salad dressing.

Also, the recipe calls for a dry rub. I tweak it by adding olive oil to the salmon. I find it enhances the flavor.

GRILLED SALMON WITH CAJU N SPICE MIX

Ingredients:

4 salmon fillets, about 8-9 ounces each or 4 salmon steaks, about 1-inch thick
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon celery seed
5 bay leaves
3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon died oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Wash fillets or steaks under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2.  In a mortar, crush peppercorns, cumin seeds, mustard seeds. Crumble the bay leaves with your fingers and add to mortar. Crush it until it mixes all together. If you have a large mortar, add paprika, cayenne oregano and thyme. If not, then mix everything in a small bowl.
  3. Season the salmon with the spice mix, and then brush with olive oil  Heat grill to medium , about 370 degrees to 400 degrees F. Grill salmon on each side until seared and golden. If using fillets, cook skin side first for 4 minutes. Turn and cook 4 minutes more. Note that both  sides should show grill marks. If using salmon steaks, grill 4-5 minutes per side. Grill the salmon over direct heat with the grill closed. Remove  from heat and serve with lemon wedges, if desired.
    Yield: 4 servings.

SALMÓN EMPANADO (Broiled Salmon)

This recipe is one of the easiest ways to prepare salmon, be it salmon fillets or salmon steaks. It was immensely popular with our family when  I was growing up back on the block in Spanish Harlem. It is also very versatile in that if you want to cut corners even more, you can skip the bread crumbs given in the recipe and broil the salmon as is with the condiments. But I like the crunchiness the crumbs bring to the dish.

It should be noted that I broil my salmon fairly close to the heat source, about 2-3 inches. Thus the initial broiling time is cut down to no more than 6-7 minutes. It should also be noted that this is one of the recipes included  in my first cookbook Puerto Rican Cuisine in America (Running Press).

Ingredients:

4 salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each
(Note: if using salmon steaks, they should be about ½-inch thick)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 tablespoons Puerto Rican rum, light or dark (your choice)
½ cup light bread crumbs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2.  Rinse salmon fillets and pat dry with paper towels.
  3.  Brush both sides of fillets with olive oil. Place in a slightly greased broiler pan (we prefer cast-iron).
  4.  In a small bowl, combine  butter, salt, pepper, garlic, rum and bread crumbs.
  5.  Put half of bread crumb mixture on top of salmon (skin side), and broil  2-3 inches from hear source for 3 minutes.
  6.  Carefully turn over salmon with a spatula. Put on the remaining crumb mixture. Broil 4 minutes longer.
    Yield: 4 servings.

SKILLET SALMON

This is one of the easiest ways we know of cooking salmon: simple roasting in a skillet. In this case, a cast-iron skillet. You can try it in a non-stick pan or other, but it won’t be as good. Something about cast-iron develops the flavor.

This recipe renders  salmon fillets that are rich, crisp and juicy with a minimum of effort; and the cooking time is minimal.

SKILLET SALMON

4 salmon fillets, about 6-8 oz. each or one 2-pound large fillet, cut into 4 portions
Salt and black ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon wedges for garnish

  1. Heat oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. Rinse fillets under cold running water and pat  dry with paper towels.
  3.  Generously season fillets with salt and pepper. Set a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until it starts to smoke. Add oil to skillet and immediately lay in salmon, skin-side down. Cook 30 seconds.  Remove skillet from heat and place it in oven. Cook until medium-rare, 5-6 minutes, or 1-2 minutes longer for medium-cooked. Do not flip salmon or move it in skillet until cooking is complete.
  4.  Remove skillet from oven and use a large spatula to transfer salmon to a serving platter, skin-side up. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

LEMON-ONION SALMON

LEMON-ONION SALMON

This is one of my innovations. I had some salmon steaks on hand plus some good fresh red onions (also known as Spanish onions). I decided to combine the two; and the result is given below. I find that red onions have a sharper flavor than common yellow onions. That’s what makes them great for this dish.

Served with a grain like rice, quinoa or couscous, the dish is a winner. It’s also great by itself with good crusty bread, potatoes or a side vegetable.

Ingredients:

4 salmon steaks (about 8 ounces each)
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced thinly
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Rinse salmon steaks under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels
  3. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Place in a baking pan or dish (we prefer cast-iron). Drizzle with lemon juice and top with onion slices.
  4. Place in oven and bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
    Yield: 4 servings.

BROILED FISH FILLETS WITH CUCUMBER SAUCE

What to do with cucumbers? A time honored question. Cukes are more than just for salads or burgers on a Sunday outing. They also make a great sauce, as envisioned in the recipe given: a very simple medley of cucumbers, herbs, lemon juice and sour cream. Just pour the sauce over white fish fillets such as cod, turbot, tilefish, halibut, flounder, grouper, etc. You get the idea. Just coat the fish with the sauce and broil. And, it goes without saying, the sauce is also great over chicken.

This dish is good with potatoes, a vegetable or any grain. This time around we served it with couscous.

BROILED FISH FILLETS WITH CUCUMBER SAUCE

Ingredients:

4 fish fillets (about 1/2 pound each)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoon finely minced chives
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 large shallot, peeled and minced
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/3 cup sour cream

Instructions:

  1. Rinse fillets under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. In a bowl, combine oil, vinegar, chives, lemon rind, salt and pepper. Place fish in a baking dish. Spread seasoning mixture over both sides of fish. Let stand at least 45 minutes.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Sauté the shallot over medium heat until golden. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  4. Broil fish fillets, about 4 minutes per side.
  5. Meanwhile, add cucumber and thyme to shallots. Cook 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and sour cream. Cook for 5 minutes over low heat. Do not allow to boil. Spoon over fish and serve.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

SALMON CON LIMON Y PIMIENTO (Lemon-Pepper Salmon)

This dish is a family favorite. We like it because it’s one of the easiest ways to cook salmon.  Just mix lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and that’s it. Initially we would bake the salmon fillets at 375 degrees F. for 15-20 minutes. Later on I discovered that the salmon could also be broiled, an even quicker method of preparation—and that’s how we’re serving it today. Back on the block, we would serve the fillets over white steamed rice, or yellow rice. This time around we’re pairing it with farro, that ancient whole-grain popular in Italy. But, whatever side dish you prefer, you won’t be disappointed with the piquant delicious nature of these fish fillets.

Note that, in our family, we always referred to pepper, ground or otherwise as pimiento. If you check a Spanish dictionary, it is noted as pimienta. In other words. a feminine pronoun. For linguistic purists, my apologies, but I’ll stick with the family designation. To us, pepper was pimiento, and what can I say? Just enjoy the dish.

SALMÓN CON LIMÓN Y PIMIENTO
(Lemon-Pepper Salmon)

Ingredients:

4 salmon fillets with skin (about 6-8 ounces each)
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
fresh chopped rosemary or tarragon for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Rinse fillets under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  3.  Mix oil, lemon juice, pepper and salt in a bowl with a fork until blended.
  4.  Place salmon fillets in a greased broiler pan (we prefer cast-iron), 6 inches from heat source, skin side down. Drizzle half of the juice mixture over the salmon and place in the broiler for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from broiler and drizzle remaining oil mixture over the fish and top with slices of red onion.
  6.  Place salmon back in broiler. Turn off the broiler and let salmon stand for 5 minutes or until the edges of the fish turn golden brown and flake with a fork. Garnish with rosemary or tarragon and serve.
    Yield: 4 servings.

BREADED FISH FILLETS WITH YOGURT

One if my favorite recipes is breaded fish fillets. It’s an easy dish to make, and delicious. Another go-to recipe is fish fillets baked in yogurt (or a combination of yogurt and parmesan cheese). So I considered, why not combine breaded fish with yogurt? In this case, the yogurt is mixed with turmeric. This renders a nice sauce in which to cook the fillets. You’ll be amazed at the result. It is really good. This is a multi-dimensional dish that can be served by itself with some crusty bread, or with rice  or pasta.  Add a light red wine or good white wine, or even beer, and you have a winner.

For this dish you can use any good firm fleshed fillet, be it cod, turbot, halibut,  flounder, monkfish, etc. I would not recommend dover sole. It is just too mild and fragile for this recipe.

BREADED FISH FILLETS WITH YOGURT

Ingredients:

4 fish fillets, 6 ounces each
1 egg, lightly beaten
¾ to 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 cup yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Rinse fish fillets under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  3.  Place beaten egg in one dish, and breadcrumbs in another.
  4.  Mix turmeric with the yogurt. The turmeric will give the yogurt a pinkish color. Set aside.
  5.  First, dip fillets in egg, and then in breadcrumbs to coat thoroughly. Place fillets in a greased baking dish. Cover with turmeric-yogurt mix,  and bake until tender, about 25 minutes.
    Yield: 4 servings.

PAPPARDELLE WITH SALMON

This is one of those spur of the moment recipes that garners accolades. You know what I mean. You check the cupboard and refrigerator, find out what ‘s available and create something magnificent. In this case it was pappardelle pasta and, yes, canned salmon. I know, here we go again, canned salmon. That’s right, the one that comes in tins. My wife, Holly and I, are partisans of wild caught Alaskan salmon. We usually get it fresh but, if we can find it in the canned variety, we scarf it up and buy as many as we possible. It comes in handy for a rainy day.

Now, the pasta we had this time was pappardelle, the ribbon-shaped pasta common in Italy’s Tuscany region. I like pappardelle because, as I term it, it’s a “manly-man” pasta. It’s thick, like fettuccini, or bucatini. Not a girly-man small pasta like angel hair or thin spaghetti. Holly disagrees. She prefers the fine pastas and pigs like me prefer the other stuff.  I answer that I am not a pig. I’m a piglet. Be it as it may, the salmon recipe can go with any pasta you have on hand, not just pappardelle; or any grain, be it rice or other. This dish is quick, has minimal ingredients, and it hits the spot. With some good Chianti and a crusty loaf, you have a feast.

PAPPARDELLE WITH SALMON

Ingredients:

1 package pappardelle (it could be 12 or 16 oz. pack depending on where you get it)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and slice into thin rings
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 (14¾ oz.) can pink salmon, preferably wild caught
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon melted butter

Instructions:

  1. Cook pappardelle as per package instructions.
  2.  While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add salmon and garlic, cook 2 minutes. Stir in mustard and cook about 3 minutes more.
  3.  By this time, pasta should be cooked to your preference. Drain and remove to a serving dish. Top with salmon. Drizzle with melted butter and serve.
    Yield: 4 or more servings.

SABLEFISH

Today’s recipe is a meal for a special occasion. It’s sablefish, that species of deep-sea fish common to the North Pacific Ocean. The fish is also known as black cod. Now, let me say it up front, sable is not cheap. It’s one of the kings of fishes in terms of price. Why? Well, another nickname for sable is “butterfish.” That’s because it’s fattier than Pacific cod or halibut, which gives a luxurious mouthful, but milder than salmon or tuna. It  has a creamy white flesh balanced by a black skin that gives the fish a rich buttery flavor and a smooth silky texture. Every bite is heavenly.

Given its pedigree, sablefish it’s best prepared by simple pan-frying. No fancy sauces, preparation or crusting for this sucker. Simple cooking lets you savor the depth of flavor in sablefish. The easiest way to cook is with a simple mix of garlic powder, salt, black pepper and oregano. For the recipe given, I still had some fresh herbs leftover from my summer plantings. They were tarragon, thyme and sweet marjoram, and that’s what I used. If you don’t have fresh, you can substitute dried. And it can be herbs of your choice. You can use sage, dill, rosemary, chives, whatever is available. Cooked in butter, or a butter/olive oil combo, and you have an easy but fabulous dinner.

SABLEFISH

Ingredients:

4 6-ounce sablefish fillets
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh sweet marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons dry white wine

Instructions:

  1. Rinse fillets under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2.  Brush with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season well on both sides of fillets with the tarragon, thyme and sweet marjoram. Sprinkle with garlic powder.
  3.  In a large skillet or frying pan, heat the butter and reaming 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sablefish fillets and cook about 3 minutes per side. In the end the fish should be golden brown on the outside but opaque white on the inside. Add white wine and cook over high heat, one minute more. Serve immediately.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

 

 

GRILLED FISH IN CHURRASCO MARINADE

In Portuguese and Spanish culture, churrasco is the name for grilled beef. Eventually the name came to refer to any cut of meat that was grilled, inclusive of chicken and, yes, fish. And that is the recipe given today: Grilled Fish in Churrasco Marinade. In this recipe, the best fish used for grilling, are fish steaks, They are meaty and can benefit from the marinade. You can try fish fillets. But my experience is that fillets are just too delicate for the marinating and grilling process involved.

The recipe is basic and simple. It just requires that the fish be marinated overnight in the churrasco mix. In terms of the fish steaks, any good fish steak will do, be it haddock, kingfish, tuna, halibut,  bluefish, salmon, even shark meat. When grilling, be aware that fish steaks cook best over a medium-hot fire.

This time around we served the fish steaks with Israeli couscous, also known as “pearl” couscous. Of course, you can serve it with any side dish desired, or even a salad.

GIRLLED FISH IN CHURRASCO MARINADE

Ingredients:

4 fish steaks, about 8 ounces each, 1 to 1½-inches thick
½ cup beer or ale
¼ cup white wine (any kind)
1 lemon, sliced into rings
1 packet sazon
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon dill
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Rinse fish steaks under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2.  For churrasco marinade: In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients.
  3.  Place fish in a zip lock bag, add marinade and refrigerate overnight.
  4.  Next day, grill 1 to 2 minutes per side for rare, 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare, or 1-2 minutes longer for well-done.
    Yield: 4 servings.
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