Fish & Seafood

Lemon Dill Salmon

Lemon Dill Salmon  |  Lemon & Mocha

Just as a quick note before we get started here I would like to point out that all the photos in this post are of the uncooked salmon. I was serving this salmon at lunch quite a while back and didn’t get to photograph the finished product, but I didn’t want you to think this is what the salmon should look like when it is done. Not that you would think that, but you never know.

Lemon Dill Salmon  |  Lemon & Mocha

As much as I love grilled salmon there is no grilling salmon in my house. We live in an apartment and do not have the luxury of an outdoor grill so all our grilling is relegated to our single grill pan. No one enjoys the lingering smell of cooked fish in the kitchen and even an odor absorbing splatter screen can’t protect the kitchen from grill pan salmon. So oven-cooked salmon it is in my house. Which is fine by me when you have great simple oven-cooked fish recipes like this lemon dill salmon. Dinner can be on the table in twenty minutes with this quick, fresh and healthy salmon dish. I’ve tried other flavor combinations, but this is my favorite that I always keep making. It may seem weird, but don’t be afraid to eat the whole lemon slice on top of the salmon. You slice it so thin that it just adds the right amount of acidity to the fish. Enjoy!

Lemon Dill Salmon
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 4-ounce salmon filets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 4 very thin slices lemon
Directions
  1. Place the salmon filets in a small baking dish. Drizzle both sides of the salmon filets with the olive oil then season both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the dill evenly on top of the salmon filets then lay the slices of lemon on top. Cover the baking dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes for until the salmon flakes easily.

Pacific Halibut Foil Packets with Shiitakes & Snap Peas

Today is Earth Day! While I was brainstorming how Lemon & Mocha would celebrate Earth Day I determined that as delicious as cookies made to look like our green and blue planet might be they wouldn’t really capture the spirit of this environmental holiday. So, as cheesy as it sounds, I decided to make and share something that will have a minor impact on our environment. Certainly a very teeny minor impact, but an impact nonetheless.

It is rare that I cook fish in our house, mostly due to cost and Matt’s unfortunate high school homecoming incident with a salmon-scented outfit, but that’s a story for another day. Since I do not purchase much seafood I had never given the information about trying to purchase sustainable seafood much thought. When Matt and I were in Seattle last year we went on a food tour during which one segment the famous “fish guys” at Pike Place Market talked to the group about the importance of sustainable seafood.

Not all seafood is created equal. There are some seafood that are sourced from oceans or farms in a way that is negatively impacting the ecosystem and is not a viable long-term method for obtaining that seafood. By contrast, seafood that has been deemed sustainable is coming from sources that are not harming the seafood’s environment and they have the ability to maintain or even increase production of the seafood.

Would I want to live in a world where I couldn’t have a fresh rainbow roll, grilled salmon or shrimp scampi? No thank you! Not to mention the disastrous effect it could have on the surrounding ecosystems if more seafood were to become extinct. Now I’m not suggesting we all write letters to unsustainable fish farms and boycott restaurants that aren’t serving sustainable seafood. But if, as consumers, we all made some easy swaps during our weekly grocery trips from an overfished seafood to a good sustainable option then our individual very teeny minor impacts would grow into much stronger impacts.

You can discover what are the best sustainable seafood options for your region using these handy printable sustainable guides published by Seafood Watch.

Pacific Halibut Foil Packets with Shiitakes & Snap Peas
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 4-ounce skinless pacific halibut fillets, or whatever light fish is sustainable for your region
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 6 thin lemon slices
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 ounces sugar snap peas, strings removed and sliced on the diagonal about three or four times each.
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Tear off two large pieces of tin foil that will easily encase each fillet of fish. If you aren’t using non-stick foil, lightly spray the foil with cooking spray before laying down the piece of fish. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Spread 1 tablespoon of butter onto each fillet then top each fillet with three slices of lemon. Turn in the sides of the foil then close the top before tightly sealing it into a little foil packet. Place the foil packets on a baking dish and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.
  3. Meanwhile heat the remaining two tablespoons of butter over medium heat, swirling frequently, until it turns golden brown in color, about 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add the sliced peas, as well as 1 tablespoon of water, and cook for about 4 minutes. The peas should be bright green.
  5. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, then add the toasted sesame seeds.
  6. To serve, lay the halibut fillets on a serving dish or individual plates, top with some of the liquid from the foil packet, then top with the shiitake and pea stir-fry.

Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking.

Kale and Walnut Pesto Pasta with Lemon Shrimp

 

I’m a little late to the kale trend, but I have recently started experimenting with it in the kitchen. Kale is a superfood and no that does not mean it has sonic vision or invisibility powers. A superfood is one that is light in calories, rich in nutrients and has additional health benefits. Kale’s extra health goodies include all kinds of fancy science words like phytochemicals and beta-carotene. But all you need to know is that it’s good for you.

Don’t run away just yet! I promise I wouldn’t share something that wasn’t also sneak-back-for-seconds delicious. Through my adventures with kale I have discovered that it can also often be very bitter. Turning the kale into a pesto with walnuts, Parmesan, lemon and olive oil ensures that the kale is vibrant, savory and definitely not bitter. It might just be my new favorite pesto.

I love loading my meals with seasonal vegetables, which is why I added the leeks and red peppers. The kale may shine, but the lemon shrimp isn’t far behind. I love anything with a fresh lemon flavor and the shrimp in this recipe do not disappoint. They were so tasty I would certainly not promote skipping the shrimp in this dish, but if you needed it to be vegetarian you could omit the shrimp and add the lemon juice and zest to the vegetables instead.

Kale and Walnut Pesto Pasta with Lemon Shrimp
 
Yield: 6 servings, plus 1 extra cup pesto
Ingredients
for the pesto
  • ¾ cup shelled walnuts
  • 12 ounces kale
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
for the pasta
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1 bunch leeks
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
for the pesto
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Evenly spread the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the walnuts are roasted, about 6 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cool chop ¼ cup of the walnuts, leaving the rest whole, and set aside for garnish.
  2. Remove the hard stems from the kale then roughly chop. Steam for 4 minutes, or until tender.
  3. In a food processor or with an immersion blender pulse together the steamed kale, garlic, ½ cup of the roasted walnuts, Parmesan and 2 tablespoons lemon juice until a paste forms. While pulsing pour in ⅔ cup olive oil then season with salt and pepper.
for the pasta
  1. Cook the linguine until al dente then drain.
  2. Prepare the leeks. Trim off the dark green parts and discard. Trim off the root ends and discard. Cut the entire leek lengthwise then slice crosswise into pieces.
  3. Leeks harbor a lot of dirt so special care needs to be taken to remove all the grit. First rinse the sliced leeks thoroughly in a colander. Then fill a large bowl with cold water and add the rinsed leeks. Swirl and rub the leeks with your hands to dislodge any dirt. The dirt will sink to the bottom of the bowl so remove the leek pieces with a slotted spoon and set back in the rinsed colander to dry.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan. Add the sliced red peppers and prepared leeks. Cook for 5 minutes, or until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Once cooked remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in the same sauté pan. Toss the shrimp with the flour then sauté in the pan for 5 minutes, or until firm and pink making sure to turn while cooking. Stir in the zest and 3 tablespoons lemon juice then season with salt and pepper. Add the sautéed leeks and red peppers then remove from the heat.
  6. Toss the pasta with 1 cup pesto, shrimp and vegetables. Garnish with the chopped walnuts and extra grated Parmesan, if desired.

Recipe adapted from November/December 2013 issue of Cuisine at Home.