For an adaptation of the Korean stir-fry of squid with a garlicky, umami-loaded, savory-sweet, gochujang-based sauce, the squid here is replaced with plump, briny shrimp. This version includes carrots, scallions and zucchini (or yellow summer squash) for layers of texture and color, as well as to round out the meal.
Look for gochujang, the vivid-red fermented chili paste and workhorse in the Korean kitchen, in the international aisle of the supermarket or in Asian grocery stores. Before cooking, marinate the shrimp for about 10 minutes in a mixture of gochujang, sugar, sesame oil and soy. To be efficient, prep the other ingredients for the stir-fry while the shrimp marinate. Serve with steamed short-grain rice.
NOTE: The seedy section at the core turns soft and slightly squishy when cooked, so remove the seeds in the zucchini or summer squash. To do so, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then use a spoon to scrape out the core.
Buying “easy-peel” shrimp is a great option because they are already deveined, all you have to do is easily peel away the shells. Since we make our own shellfish stock, we appreciate having the shells which we then freeze until it’s time to make another batch of stock.
Spicy Korean-Style Shrimp with Zucchini and Scallions
1 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash (about 8 oz.), halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted
In a medium bowl, stir together the gochujang, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat; let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the neutral oil until shimmering. Add the carrot and cook, stirring often, until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Push the mixture to one side of the skillet and add the shrimp with its marinade, distributing it in an even layer. Cook without stirring until the shrimp are pink on the bottom, about 2 minutes.
Add the scallions and zucchini, then stir to combine with the shrimp and carrot. Cook, stirring often, until the shrimp are opaque throughout and the scallions and zucchini have softened, about 3 minutes. Off heat, taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the sesame seeds.
Are you a shrimp fan? Then you’ll love this quick and easy shrimp recipe, prepared Mediterranean-style—so it is also healthy. Garlic shrimp cooked in a light white wine and olive oil sauce with red onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, and some tasty spices. What’s not to like?
The original recipe used only a half each of the red onion and yellow and green bell peppers, plus only a cup of the canned diced tomato. We used the full amount of each one which enlarged the serving size and pumped up the healthy nutrients. All changes are noted in the ingredients list below.
Another change we made was using our homemade shellfish stock in place of the chicken broth. Again, more flavor, plus it keeps the dish meatless. Serve over rice as we did, or select a pasta or another favorite favorite grain.
1 ¼ lb. large shrimp or prawns, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 to 2 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
½ tsp. each salt and pepper
½ tsp. ground coriander
¼ tsp. cayenne
¼ tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. butter (ghee clarified butter is preferable)
3 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 green bell pepper and 1 yellow bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomato
⅓ cup shrimp or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. dry white wine
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
⅓ cup chopped parsley leaves
Pat the shrimp dry and place it in a large bowl. Add the flour, smoked paprika, salt and pepper, coriander, cayenne, and sugar. Toss until the shrimp is well-coated.
In a large cast iron skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the red onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, until fragrant (be sure not to burn the garlic.)
Add the bell peppers and cook another 4 minutes or so, tossing occasionally.
Now add the shrimp. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the diced tomatoes, broth, white wine and lemon juice. Cook for a couple more minutes or until the shrimp turns bright orange.
Finally, stir in the chopped fresh parsley and serve.
Did you know that Puttanesca sauce originated in Naples Italy? The name derives from the Italian word puttana which translates roughly to “lady of the night,” or “in the style of the whore.” Puttana in turn arises from the Latin word putida which means stinking. It’s a wonder how this tasty dish became associated with such sordid content, but I’ll leave you to research that aspect… There is a lot of disagreement about the origins, and the authorities on Italian food seem to be wary of making a definitive statement about it.
OK, so let’s get to the delicious recipe. Puttanesca is made from tomatoes, black olives, capers, anchovies, onions, garlic, and herbs, usually oregano and parsley but sometimes also basil; we used cilantro for a change of pace. This particular version leaves out the anchovies, but you could easily add some in if desired.
It is an easy sauce, briefly cooked, and is very fragrant and spicy. We paired it here with a Lemon-Garlic Rice, but fell free to use a simple steamed rice.
We recently had these gems as part of our New Year’s Eve dinner. Any festive occasion such as anniversary, graduation, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or you just feel a little decadent one day, they are an easy, healthy and festive main or first course for any special celebration.
Try to pick four equally-sized large portobello mushrooms. Check the gills to see if they’re fresh by looking for a paper-thin layer of white cap. The perfect mushrooms will be damp and springy but not overly moist, mushy, or dried out.
Break the stems off of the portobello mushrooms and scrape the gills out of them with a spoon. Wipe the caps with a damp paper towel, and then lay them gilled side up in the dish before setting them aside.
Once prepped and filled, bake the mushrooms until they are soft, the filling is heated through, and the topping is browned, which should take around 30 to 32 minutes. Let the mushrooms cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then top them with additional scallions before serving (if desired).
Unbelievably delicious, we paired ours with Baked Scallops with Couscous and Leeks for a romantic New Year’s Eve dinner at home. We will be making them again as an hors d’oeuvre for an upcoming dinner party, but will use smaller cremini mushrooms. However, be prepared for sticker-shock over the price of lump crab meat… but special occasions call for treating yourself, right?
A few weeks later we made the appetizer size for the house party. Using the same amount of ingredients for the stuffing, it filled about 30 button mushrooms and took approximately 25 minutes to cook.
4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened
1 1/2 tsp. seafood seasoning blend such as Old Bay
¼ tsp. salt, optional
Freshly ground pepper to taste
5 to 10 dashes of Tabasco hot sauce
1 egg white
2 scallions, finely sliced, plus more for garnish
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs, plus 3 Tbsp., divided (gluten-free if desired)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1 Tbsp., divided
2 Tbsp. finely chopped jarred and drained roasted red pepper or pimento
8 oz. lump or jumbo crab meat
1 Tbsp. melted salted butter
1/8 tsp. paprika
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Break stems off portobello mushrooms. Scrape gills out of them with a spoon. Wipe caps with a damp paper towel. Lay gilled side up in the dish. Set aside.
Beat cream cheese, Old Bay, salt and Tabasco with an electric mixer on medium-low until creamy and the seasonings are fully incorporated into the cream cheese. Add egg white and beat again to combine.
Add scallions, ½ cup breadcrumbs, ½ Parmesan and red pepper and mix on low until combined.
Stir crab, gently by hand into the cream cheese mixture until just incorporated.
Scoop the filling into the mushrooms, dividing evenly.
Stir the remaining 3 tablespoons panko with butter and paprika until the breadcrumbs are evenly moistened and reddish orange. Sprinkle over the mushrooms. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan.
Bake the mushrooms until they are soft, the filling is heated through and the topping is browned, 30 to 32 minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes. Top with additional scallions before serving, if desired.
The fabulous entrée tastes surprisingly complex for the short amount of time it takes to prepare. The scallops and leeks really do release flavor into the couscous, and the vinaigrette definitely completes the dish. It is a great “special occasion” meal that anyone who loves scallops is sure to remember.
Cooking the scallops on a bed of Israeli couscous, leeks, and white wine is easy and allows the pearls of pasta to absorb the scallops’ briny liquid. To ensure the scallops finish cooking at the same time as the rest of the dish, jump-start the leeks and couscous in the microwave, adding garlic and a pinch of saffron* to subtly perfume the dish.
Stir in wine and boiling water (with the blooming saffron, if using), which starts the dish off hot and shortens the cooking time. Using a very hot oven and sealing the pan with foil promises perfectly, and efficiently, cooked scallops that steam atop the couscous. A quick tarragon-orange vinaigrette to drizzle over the finished dish provides an appealing accent that complements the scallops and leeks without overpowering them.
It is recommend that you buy “dry” scallops, which don’t have chemical additives and taste better than “wet.” Dry scallops will look ivory or pinkish; wet scallops are bright white.
TIPS: For an accurate measurement of boiling water, bring a full kettle of water to a boil and then measure out the desired amount. *If using saffron threads, pulverize them in a mortar with pestle and then put them in the hot water to bloom.
One-Pan Baked Scallops with Couscous, Braised Leeks and Tarragon-Orange Vinaigrette
1 lb. leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly
1 cup Israeli couscous
5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
4 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
Pinch saffron threads (optional, *see above tip)
¾ cup boiling water
¼ cup dry white wine
1½ lbs. large sea scallops, tendons removed
2 Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. grated orange zest plus 1 Tbsp. juice
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine leeks, couscous, 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and saffron (if using), in a bowl. Cover, and microwave, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in boiling water and wine, then transfer mixture to 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
Pat scallops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Nestle scallops into couscous mixture and cover dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until couscous is tender, sides of scallops are firm, and centers are opaque, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk remaining 3 tablespoons oil, tarragon, vinegar, mustard, orange zest and juice, and ⅛ teaspoon salt together in bowl.
Remove dish from oven. Drizzle vinaigrette over scallops and serve, passing extra oil separately.
OK, I’ll go out on a limb here and claim this cod recipe is probably one of the best fish dishes I’ve ever eaten! The skillet braise is a simplified version of daegu jorim, or Korean braised cod. Here, Milk Street builds an umami-rich braising liquid by combining sake, mirin, soy sauce and gochujang (Korean fermented chili paste), plus garlic, ginger and chilies.
In the Korean kitchen, steaks of fatty fish, such as black cod or mackerel, are commonly used in daegu jorim, but this recipe opts for easy to source Atlantic cod fillets. Instead of buying individual fillets, we bought a 1 1⁄2-pound piece and cut it down to our preferences.
Earthy, subtly sweet daikon radish is a standard ingredient in the braise but Yukon Gold potatoes are said to be a good alternative. Baby bok choy is also added for color and to round out the braise. Let ‘s just say, this packs quite a punch—which we loved—but to tone it down a notch or three, use only one Fresno chili and discard the seeds and veins.
If you like, sprinkle on sliced scallions or toasted sesame seeds as a garnish, and/or drizzle on some sesame oil. Be sure to serve steamed short-grain rice alongside. Kimchi would be a great accompaniment, too. It was even very good as leftovers. — Just YUM!
Don’t cover the skillet tightly after adding the cod and bok choy. Leaving the lid ajar allows some steam to escape, so the broth reduces slightly, for more concentrated flavor and consistency.
1 – 2 Fresno or jalapeño chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds
12 oz. daikon radish, peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces or 12 oz. medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
4 6-oz. skinless cod fillets, each about 1 inch thick
8 oz. baby bok choy, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
In a 12-inch skillet, stir together the sake, mirin, soy sauce, gochujang, garlic, ginger and chilies; bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring occasionally. Add the daikon (or potato), then cover, reduce to medium, and cook, flipping and stirring the radish every 5 minutes or so, until a skewer inserted into the pieces meets no resistance, 10 to 15 minutes.
Slide the cod fillets into the skillet and scatter the bok choy over the top. Cover partially and cook over medium, turning the fish and stirring the vegetables just once or twice, until the cod flakes easily and the sauce is slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Ladle into shallow bowls and garnish with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.
Here, preserved lemon is paired with seared shrimp in this easy weeknight pasta recipe. It also features garlic, chile flakes, plenty of Parmesan, and a touch of fresh lemon juice, bringing the full spectrum of lemon flavor to the table. Let me just put it out there, the dish was luxuriously fantastic!
It’s amazing that this silky sauce contains no cream. One of the main ingredients, preserved lemon, adds a wonderful base note and should not be omitted. Then, instead of using an entire pound of pasta, we scaled it back to half that amount for a better balance with the shrimp. Just keep in mind, it may not provide 4 entrée-sized portions (depending on hungry your diners are!).
Back to those preserved lemons. They are a versatile pantry staple with the power to level up the flavor of any dish it touches. Unlike the aggressively pungent and assertive flavor of fresh lemon rind, preserved lemons have softer, richer, and deeper flavors, mellowed by the salty bath that pickles them. While they lose some of their bracing acidity, citrusy aromas and gentle tanginess remain.
We keep a jar of preserved lemons in our auxiliary refrigerator at most times. Which BTW, take at least 3 weeks “hibernating” in a cool room, then a spin in the fridge before they are ready to use. The jar of preserved lemons, at left, was just made with kosher salt, lemons, black peppercorns and bay leaves.
TIP: If you don’t have, or can’t find preserved lemons, you can microwave four 2-inch strips lemon zest, minced, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon water, ¼ teaspoon sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt at 50 percent power until the liquid evaporates, about 1½ minutes, stirring and mashing the lemon with the back of a spoon every 30 seconds.
1 lb. medium tube-shaped pasta (such as rigatoni or penne)
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped preserved lemon rinds
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 oz. Parmesan, finely grated (about 1 cup), plus more for serving
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
⅓ cup finely chopped parsley, plus more for serving
Cook 1 lb. medium tube-shaped pasta (such as rigatoni or penne) in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, pat 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled, deveined, dry with paper towels; season lightly with kosher salt. Heat ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Add 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped, ¼ cup finely chopped preserved lemon, and ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until preserved lemon is softened, about 2 minutes.
Add shrimp and cook, stirring often, until just opaque, about 2 minutes.
Add pasta, 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces, and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid and cook, tossing vigorously, until butter is melted and sauce is thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup finely grated Parmesan; toss until melted.
Add ½ cup pasta cooking liquid, 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces, and ½ cup finely grated Parmesan and cook, stirring vigorously and adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until sauce is thickened and coats pasta, about 1 minute. Mix in 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice and ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley.
Divide pasta among shallow bowls. Top with more finely grated Parmesan and finely chopped parsley.
As a Milk Street article informed us, barigoule is a Provençal braise of fresh artichokes in white wine, with aromatics such as garlic and thyme. The name “barigoule” comes from a type of mushroom once said to be a part of the dish; the moniker stuck even though the fungi no longer are added to modern versions.
Here, cremini mushrooms are added for their earthy depth and meaty texture that balance the acidity of the wine and complement the mildness of the artichokes. To make this doable on a weeknight, use canned artichokes rather than fresh, but to keep their flavor as bright as possible, cook them in the broth only for as long as it takes to heat them through.
Our changes? Instead of four, 6-ounce filets, we bought a 1 1⁄2-pound single filet and cut it into 3 strips, which gave each of us an 8-ounce portion. Similarly, 4 ounces of mushrooms just didn’t float our boat, so we doubled that amount to 8 ounces.
Another alteration was cutting the artichoke hearts in half instead of quartered, because they were on the small side to begin with. Finally, because our salmon filets were a bit larger, and the fact that prefer ours less translucent, we simmered them until they reached an internal temperature of 130°. All changes are noted below.
Don’t forget to turn down the heat after adding the salmon to the skillet. Gentle poaching ensures the fillets cook evenly and stay moist. Don’t cover the skillet while cooking the salmon; too much heat will be trapped inside, resulting in overcooked fillets.
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 medium shallots, chopped
1 sprig tarragon, plus 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained, cut into halves or quarters if whole
2 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 4 pieces
Season the salmon all over with salt. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the moisture released by the mushrooms has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, 4 to 6 minutes.
Add the garlic, shallots, tarragon sprig and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, until the garlic is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Place the salmon boned side down in the pan, reduce to low and cook at a very gentle simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Flip the fillets and cook until the thickest parts reach 130°F or are slightly translucent when cut into, about 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the salmon to wide, shallow serving bowls.
Bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high, then add the artichokes and butter; cook, stirring, until the artichokes are heated through and the butter is emulsified into the sauce, about 1 minute.
Off heat, taste and season with salt. Remove and discard the tarragon sprig, then spoon the mixture over and around the salmon and sprinkle with the chopped tarragon.
Local tomatoes are king this time of year so we try to use them in a variety of ways almost everyday during the season. Here’s a simple summer tomato salad recipe that makes the most of—and uses up—some of the tomato bounty from your garden or local farm market.
America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) discovered that salting the tomatoes before mixing them into the salad brings out their juices, which make a great base for the dressing. Another discovery was there’s no need to peel homegrown tomatoes for a tomato salad recipe, because their skins are usually thin and unobtrusive.
The amounts of the ingredients are subjective to your own preferences. If you prefer tuna packed in oil, go ahead and use it; in fact, save the drained oil from the tuna and use it instead of, or with, the remaining olive oil. No blanching or cooking needed here!
The olives, red onions and capers are boldly flavored Mediterranean standbys, typically a healthy diet to follow. It’s a great option to bring on a picnic or to enjoy lunch at your community pool.
While we are on the subject of great tomato recipes, I have to give a shout out to the Heirloom Tomato Tart(shown above) that I blogged about 4 years ago. If you are also interested in that recipe just click on the link. The tomato salad recipe is below.
12 large black olives, such as Kalamata or other brine-cured variety, pitted and chopped
¼ cup red onion, chopped fine
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
Ground black pepper
1 6-oz. can solid white tuna in water, or oil-packed if preferred
Core and halve tomatoes, then cut each half into 1/2″ thick wedges. Toss wedges with salt in large bowl; let rest until small pool of liquid accumulates, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk oil, lemon juice, capers, olives, onion, parsley, and pepper to taste in small bowl. Pour mixture over tomatoes and accumulated liquid; toss to coat. Set aside to blend flavors, about 5 minutes.
Crumble tuna over tomatoes; toss to combine. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.
This light, delicate weeknight curry comes together in less than 30 minutes and is defined by its deep miso flavor. Miso is typically whisked into soups toward the end of the recipe, but sweating it directly in the pot with ginger, garlic and a little oil early on helps the paste caramelize, intensifying its earthy sweetness.
Unfortunately, I misread the instructions and didn’t add the miso until after the coconut milk had been boiling for several minutes, missing out on the nice caramelization—mea culpa. While the overall flavor is on the mild side, adding a tablespoon of red Thai curry paste at the same time as introducing the miso to the pot, will provide a more pronounced touch of heat and deepen the overall color.
Adding coconut milk creates a rich broth that works with a wide range of seafood. Salmon is used here, but flaky white fish, shrimp or scallops would all benefit from this quick poaching method. A squeeze of lime and a flurry of fresh herbs keep this curry bright and citrusy. For a hit of heat, garnish with sliced fresh jalapeño or serrano chile peppers.
Based on a classic Mexican fish dish pescado en salsa poblano, or fish in poblano sauce, this recipe is a shrimp version. To make the creamy, vibrantly hued sauce that cloaks plump, gently cooked shrimp, poblano chilies, with their earthy flavor and moderate heat, are puréed with cilantro, alliums and Mexican crema, a rich cultured cream similar to, but milder than sour cream.
If crema isn’t available—and it wasn’t for us—sour cream works in its place. To make a more substantial meal, serve with warmed tortillas and rice and beans; over steamed rice; or as in our case, polenta cooked in shrimp stock.
Don’t be afraid to use the cilantro stems. Unlike parsley, cilantro has stems that are tender and will readily break down in the blender.
2 medium poblano chilies, stemmed, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced, plus more to serve
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs. extra-large (21/25 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tTbsp. lime juice, plus lime wedges to serve
3 cups lightly packed fresh cilantro, plus more to serve
1/3 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add the chilies and cook, stirring occasionally, until charred in spots, 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce to medium and add the garlic, onion, ¼ cup water and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the shrimp with the lime juice, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; set aside.
Transfer the vegetable mixture to a blender; reserve the skillet. To the blender, add the cilantro, crema and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Blend on high until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
Pour the puree into the skillet and bring to a simmer over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring often, until opaque throughout, about 3 minutes.
Off heat, taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with additional cilantro and sliced onion; serve with lime wedges.
This pescatarian-friendly twist on chicken piccata is an easy, go-to meal for anyone looking to save on time without sacrificing flavor. It’s such a quick and easy dinner to throw together, but the ingredients bring on BIG flavor.
Serve this with some simple pasta, risotto, polenta, or even just roasted vegetables. It goes with virtually anything and you can whip it up in under 30 minutes. We enjoyed it with steamed broccolini (which also benefited from the caper-lemon sauce), and a side salad.
With only two of us for dinner, we halved a one-pound piece of salmon providing each of us an eight ounce serving. It was sooo good, we cleaned our plates in no time!
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
2 Tbsp. capers, drained
1 tsp. lemon zest, about 1 large lemon
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Dry the salmon fillets well with paper towel and season evenly with 1 teaspoon salt.
Add the oil to the pan and heat an additional 30 seconds. Add the fillets to the pan, flesh-side down, and cook undisturbed until deep golden brown, about 4 minutes. The fish should look cooked up the sides of the fillets.
Carefully flip the fish and cook an additional minute or until a thin metal skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out warm when touched to your bottom lip. Using a slotted spatula, remove the fish to a plate to rest.
Return the pan to medium heat and add the shallot and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, adding more oil if needed. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant and soft, about 1 minute.
Add the vegetable/chicken broth, lemon juice, capers and lemon zest. Simmer for 2 minutes to reduce slightly. Whisk in the butter and mustard until smooth and combined.
Stir in the parsley and spoon the sauce over the salmon.
This one-pan dinner is ready in no time, and you’ll love the bold Greek vibes in this dish. A perfect weeknight meal, this easy, “fancy” salmon recipe with vegetables and feta is brimming with healthy ingredients and enlivened Mediterranean flavors.
A couple of suggestions so that your salmon won’t dry out. Bring the fish closer to room temperature before baking. About 15 minutes before you start cooking, set the salmon on the counter to get it as close to room temperature as possible. Allowing the salmon fillets to return to room temperature helps them cook more evenly.
And, cover with foil to bake. Covering the pan with foil will trap the moisture and help cook the fish so that it is perfectly tender, moist, and flaky. Here, you’ll also par-cook the vegetables briefly before adding the salmon in.
The original recipe indicated to first cook the vegetables for 5-10 minutes before adding the salmon. We did not feel they were ready at that point and cooked them an additional 5 minutes, totaling 15 altogether. Since our fish was one slab, we let it sit out for 30 minutes to come to room temperature. Plus, due to the size and thickness, it took double the time at 20 minutes to cook to medium, 130°F after adding it atop the vegetables, covered with foil.
So we had to bide our time a little longer, but it was sooo worth the wait!
1 bell pepper, any color, cored and sliced into thin sticks
5 oz. cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved
4 to 5 large garlic cloves, peeled
5 to 6 oz. feta cheese block, cut into large chunks
6 to 7 sprigs of fresh thyme
Kosher salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
4 6-oz. portions salmon fillet
1 to 2 large lemons, halved, for serving
Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
In a small bowl, combine the oregano, sumac, and cumin.
In a baking dish or sheet-pan, arrange the tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, and 4 to 5 whole garlic cloves. Nestle the chunks of feta in between. Sprinkle with 1 ½ teaspoons of the spice mixture and a good pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil.
Place the sheet pan in the heated oven on the center rack. Bake for 15 minutes until the veggies start to soften.
Meanwhile, pat the fish dry and season on both sides with kosher salt and black pepper and the remainder of the spice mixture.
Carefully remove the sheet pan/baking dish from the oven and add the fish in with the veggies and feta.
Cover the sheet pan/baking dish with foil and return to the center rack of the heated oven. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily. (As one thick slab, ours took 20 minutes to reach the preferred 130°F.)
Remove from the oven and immediately squeeze lemon juice onto the fish.
Does a Mediterranean diet appeal to you? Then these two recipes might be worth a try. The first from Cook’s Country, Orzo with Shrimp, Feta and Lemon dish will grab your attention. Cooking the orzo pilaf-style gives it extra flavor and allows you to control the slightly creamy consistency.
To keep this meatless, use seafood/shellfish stock as opposed to chicken broth. Also, if the broth you use is on the bland side, use 4 cups of the stock and omit the water. If, like our homemade shellfish stock, it is intense, dilute it with two cups of water.
Adjust the amounts of olives and feta to suit your own preferences. One version of the recipe indicated only a half cup of Kalamatas and only 2 ounces of feta, while the list below indicates double of each.
Because we cooked our meal in a 10-inch-wide nonstick pan, the shrimp took an extra two minutes to become opaque. Keep that in mind if using less than a 12-inch skillet.
The second recipe, Baked Shrimp and Orzo with Feta and Tomatoes, is another Mediterranean-inspired shrimp dish similar to the Orzo with Shrimp, Feta and Lemon above, however this version gets started on the cooktop and then baked in the oven. It only calls for 1 pound of shrimp but we had 1 1⁄2 pounds and decided to use it all. The 12-inch skillet was brimming full. Our other change was incorporating homemade shellfish stock for the chicken broth.
To build in plenty of Mediterranean flavor, start by sautéing chopped onion and red bell pepper, to soften them before adding in minced garlic and oregano. To guarantee perfectly cooked shrimp and pasta, sauté the orzo in the aromatics to unlock its toasty notes. The crumbled saffron threads, though not traditional, introduce a sunny hue and warm, complex flavor.
Chicken (or shellfish) broth and the drained juice from a can of diced tomatoes are then stirred in; as the orzo cooks to al dente, its releases starch (similar to a risotto) creating a sauce with a subtly creamy texture. To prevent the shrimp from overcooking, stir them right into the orzo, along with the reserved tomatoes and frozen peas, and transfer the skillet to the oven to cook through gently. A sprinkling of feta before baking reinforces the dish’s Greek flavors and promises an appealing browned, cheesy crust.
Make sure that the orzo is al dente, or slightly firm to the bite; otherwise it may overcook in the oven. If using smaller or larger shrimp, the cooking times may vary accordingly. You can leave the shrimp tails on, if desired. The small amount of saffron makes a big difference to the flavor and look of the dish, so be sure to include it. You will need a 12-inch oven-safe nonstick skillet for this recipe.
1 lb. extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. minced fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
2 cups (12 oz.) orzo
Pinch saffron threads, crumbled
3 cups chicken or shellfish broth
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained with juice reserved
½ cup frozen peas
3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (¾ cup)
2 scallions, sliced thin
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper; cover and refrigerate until needed.
Heat oil in 12-inch oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in orzo and saffron and cook, stirring often, until orzo is lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
Stir in broth and reserved tomato juice, bring to simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until orzo is al dente, 10 to 12 minutes.
Stir in shrimp, tomatoes, and peas, then sprinkle feta evenly over top. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until shrimp are cooked through and feta is lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
Remove skillet from oven (skillet handle will be hot). Sprinkle scallions over top and serve with lemon wedges.
For this Spaghetti al Tonno pasta dish, it uses two jars of olive oil–packed tuna and a small amount of canned whole tomatoes, crushed by hand to produce small, supple pieces. Lots of garlic, some cooked in olive oil and the rest simply warmed through, contribute potent flavor to the tomato sauce, along with red pepper flakes for heat and anchovies for a briny backbone.
To ensure that the tuna stays moist and silky, stir it into slightly underdone spaghetti along with the tomato mixture off the heat and simply let it warm through. This not only gently warms the fish through so that it holds its moisture, but also hedges against mushy spaghetti.
Spaghetti or linguine are preferred for this dish (we used whole wheat pasta), but short or tubular shapes such as penne, fusilli, farfalle, ziti, or rigatoni also work. Likewise, oil-packed tuna is recommended, but if you happen to have water-packed tuna instead, don’t let that stop you. For a spicier dish, use the full ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
The tuna brand we buy is Tonnino. With rich flavor and silky, thick‑cut yellowfin fillets, it is a step above most brands. Yes, it costs a few extra dollars, but it yields pasta al tonno that’s posh enough for company, and can bring a luxurious touch to any weeknight meal. And aren’t you worth at least a few extra bucks?
*Now here’s the thing. If you are using the more expensive jarred tuna, why would you discard the oil it is packed in? Use that oil and add some EVOO if needed to make the 1/2 cup called for in the recipe.
2 5- to 7-oz. jars/cans olive oil-packed tuna, drained* (see head note)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. table salt, divided, plus salt for cooking pasta
½ tsp. pepper, divided
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil*, divided, plus extra for drizzling
1½ Tbsp. minced garlic, divided
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
¼–½ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 14.5-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained with juice reserved, crushed by hand to small pieces
12 oz. spaghetti
6 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, divided
Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. While water comes to boil, gently stir tuna, lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper together in small bowl.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon garlic, anchovies, and pepper flakes in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until oil sizzles gently and anchovies break down, 1½ to 2 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes and their juice and ½ teaspoon salt. Increase heat to high and bring to strong simmer. Adjust heat to maintain gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 6 to 7 minutes. Cover and keep warm over low heat.
Add spaghetti and 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water. Cook, stirring often, until barely al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking water. Drain pasta and return it to pot.
Off heat, add tomato mixture, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper, and remaining 1½ teaspoons garlic and toss until pasta is well coated. Add tuna mixture and toss gently. Cover and set aside for 3 minutes so flavors can meld and pasta can finish cooking.
Adjust consistency of sauce with reserved cooking water as needed.
Add ¼ cup parsley and remaining 2 tablespoons oil and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Distribute among pasta bowls. Drizzle each portion with extra oil, if using. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and serve.