Tag Archives: fish

halibut en papillote

8 May

20130508-224013.jpgWhen J and I moved into our new place, we bought this big awesome dining table that seats 10 people. Rather ridiculous considering it takes up nearly half of our living room space, but we were determined to entertain!

It’s now been 6 months and we’ve had one dinner party…

It was a glorious meal, sans the fruit flies that decided to hatch in my mushroom growing box and terrorize us by dive-bombing our wine glasses. Though I must say, that’s a great way to go. Drowning in a juicy zin.

We started with this incredibly easy roasted feta with thyme honey, Castelvetrano olives, and a nutty, oily manchego smuggled in from M’s Spain trip. Heaven.

For our salad course, we did a super easy romaine with April Bloomfield’s lemon caper dressing featuring whole segments of lemons, capers, shallots, and mustard. I loved the idea of the dressing, but in practice it was just too darn mustardy to the point where it reminded me of the stanky smell of a Burger King whopper where the yellow mustard had been warmed by meat. Okay, I’m being a little extreme. Everyone really liked this salad except me.

For our main course, I decided on halibut en papillote. I prepared 8 individual packets ahead of time and popped them into the oven, while we enjoyed our cheese. It couldn’t have been easier and I could tell everyone was pleased to have a toasted parchment gift to tear open at their place setting. The halibut itself was perfectly cooked and delicate in flavor, since J and I trekked over to Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley for the best of the best.

halibut en papillote
an aquatic surprise

6-8 oz individual portions of halibut
handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
thin slices of fennel bulb
thin slices of lemon
splash of dry white wine
1/2 T butter, cut into pieces
parchment paper

Place a thin layer of fennel slices in the center of a foot-long piece of parchment paper. Lay one piece of halibut on your fennel pile. Season with salt and pepper. Top with a layer of cherry tomatoes cut-size down. Top with 2-3 slices of lemon. Place pieces of butter on top of the lemon and finish with a splash of white wine.

Begin sealing your packet by folding your parchment paper in half, from left to right, over your fish like a book cover. Start at the fold on at the bottom left and folder the corner over to form a small triangle. Continue folding over 1-inch sections of the paper at a slight angle, like the folds of a fan. As you work your way around the rectangle, you’ll notice you’ll begin to form a half-moon shape. When you come to the end, twist it like a butterscotch candy wrapper until your package is sealed airtight. Bake at 425 F for around 12 minutes depending on the thickness of your halibut.

Serve your parchment packages unopened and let guests tear open their own portions. Bon appetit!

salt roasted branzini

13 Mar

I’d love it if someone would describe me as “salt of the earth.” In an alternate universe where I am a farmer or a coffee plantation owner with a shacky chic house and rattan furniture, it would be so.

The reality is that I am writing this post in the midst of a packed bus, wrapping my thumbs aggressively on my iPhone. There’s a large man to my left flubbing several inches over the seat demarcation and an old Asian lady to my right yelling on her phone so loudly that I can hear it through my earbuds (I’m blasting the hipster cool soundtrack from Drive).

Back to my salt of the earth fantasies… I’m slicing open my beautiful silver-skinned, clear-eyed branzini. I’m stuffing her belly full of thinly sliced leeks and lemons. I’m cracking an egg open daintily with one hand and stirring my whites into a bowl of powdery salt. In a few minutes I’ll delicately mound salt around my branzini like the sand sculptures made when I was a kid.

And when I crack into the hardened salt dome after baking, the scent of the sweet sea and citrus steams from within. In that instant, I can think of nothing more perfect.

salt roasted branzini
savoring the salt of the earth

* 1 tablespoons coriander seeds
* 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
* 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
* 1 1.5-pound cleaned scaled branzini
* 1/2 cup thinly sliced leek (white and pale green parts only)
* 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
* 1 large egg whites
* 3 tablespoons water
* 3 cups coarse sea salt
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* Lemon wedges

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 450°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil, leaving generous overhang. Combine first 3 ingredients in small skillet. Toast spices over medium heat until beginning to pop, stirring frequently, about 9 minutes. Cool spices. Coarsely crush in mortar with pestle or in heavy resealable plastic bag with mallet.

Rinse fish inside and out; pat dry. Sprinkle all of spice mixture in fish cavity. Stuff with leek and lemon slices.

Whisk egg white and water in large bowl to blend. Add salt. Stir until salt is evenly moistened. Spread 2 cups salt mixture in 3-inch-wide, 10-inch-long strip (or use more to equal length of fish) on prepared sheet. Place fish on salt. Cover fish completely with remaining salt mixture, pressing to seal.

Bake fish 15 minutes. Let stand in crust 10 minutes.

Using large knife, rap crust sharply to crack. Brush salt from fish. Cut into portions and serve, passing extra-virgin olive oil and lemon wedges alongside. Serves 2.

let’s go fishing: 3 fish recipes

13 Sep

The older I get, the more nostalgic I tend to be about days gone by. Especially when it comes to TV.

I’m finding myself a little misty-eyed as I watch this old episode of Fishing Tales with Mike Sakamoto, a super local Hawaiian fishing show and favorite of my grandpa’s in the ’80s. Grandpa would whistle happily along to the “Let’s Go Fishing” theme song as he was in the kitchen cooking dinner–at times preparing fish that he had caught himself fishing that day.

I don’t pretend to be as talented of a fish cook as my grandpa, but I do like to experiment with a “fresh catch” from the Berkeley Bowl now and then. Here are three of my latest endeavors: 1) Classic Misoyaki Butterfish, 2) Baked Sockeye Salmon with Capers, 3) Lazy Ono (wahoo) with Scorched Tomatoes.

1. Misoyaki Butterfish is a no-brainer. You’ll see this served at many restaurants these days as Miso Black Cod. I can’t say I really care which fish it is, I just love any fatty oily white fish marinated overnight in miso, sake and sugar, broiled until lusciously caramelized. Your chopsticks will slide elegantly between each flaky layer of fish, right into your mouth. The secret is to wipe off all of the marinate before you cook it, otherwise caramelization will not occur!

2. I found this recipe for Baked Sockeye Salmon with Capers on Epicurious–it was all an elaborate excuse to utilize my new iPad in the kitchen. I had purchased two lovely vibrant pink filets of wild sockeye salmon from Berkeley Bowl and dug through my pantry to cobble together a recipe. While not the most gourmet recipe, you can’t really mess up impeccably fresh salmon with a bit of garlic, evoo, and capers.

3. I was tired and hungry after work one evening, when I happened upon Trader Joe’s frozen Hawaiian Ono (wahoo) steaks. I improvised a quick pan sear, then scorched some grape tomatoes in the crusty pan. I buttered up the pan juices and poured the lot of buttery brine over my pasta. Happiness!

1. misoyaki butterfish
japanese comfort food at its best

* 1-2 lbs filets of butterfish (makes enough marinade for 2 lbs, but I made just 1 lb for 2 people and really slathered it on)
* 3/4 cup white shiro miso
* 2 T red miso (optional or use more white)
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup sake
* 1/4 cup mirin
* 1 tsp soy sauce

Combine miring, sake, and sugar in a small pot. Bring to a simmer stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, until all the alcohol burns off. Remove from heat, and add soy sauce to stop boiling. Slowly add the miso and mix until sauce is creamy. Do not ever boil miso. Once the sauce is cool, coat all sides of your fish and place into a glass baking dish or ziploc bag. Marinate for at least 24 hours for thin filets, or 2-3 days for thicker black cod steaks.

Preheat oven to 450-degrees. Wipe the marinate completely off of the fish (this is important to achieve caramelization, and bake 5-8 minutes. When fish seems almost cooked, broil for an additional 2-3 minutes until well caramelized. Serves 2-4.

2. baked sockeye salmon with capers
salty, briny, garlicy
* 2 lbs wild sockeye salmon filets
* 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
* 2 tablespoons capers
* 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
* salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375°.

Wash the fish in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Coat a baking dish with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Lay the salmon down in the pan, skin side facing down. Distribute the capers and garlic slices between the filets. Sprinkle with a liberal quantity of salt and black pepper. Pour the remaining olive oil over the fish. Put the dish in the preheated oven and cook for 16 minutes. Let it stand for a few minutes before serving. Serves 4.

3. lazy ono with scorched tomatoes
simple evening din din from trader joes into your belly

* 1 or 2 ono (wahoo) steaks about 1/2 inch thick
* large handful of grape tomatoes
* olive oil
* knob of butter
* salt and pepper
* cooked pasta

Drizzle olive oil all over the ono steak, then sprinkle on salt and fresh cracked pepper on both sides.

Preheat a pan on med-high and cook the steaks 4 to 5 minutes each side. Ono is a quick cooking fish, so be sure not to over cook it! Once the ono is cooked, remove and plate it with the cooked pasta.

Add grape tomatoes to the pan you cooked the fish in, and roll the tomatoes around until they’re scorched on all sides. I like to squish a few of them to create a juice that deglazes the fish crusties in the pan–rub the brown fond with a spatula until mixed with the tomato juices. When the tomatoes are soft, add a knob of butter. Once melted, pour everything over your fish and pasta. Serves 1.