Tag Archives: Fish

Inspiration – Fish Market

Fresh ingredients inspire me.  For example, a trip to the fish market…

Bouillabaisse? Cioppino? Paella?


In response to Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Inspiration

An Herb-Filled Day

From breakfast to dinner, make the most of your herb garden this Saturday or Sunday…

Breakfast: Add herbs to your scrambled eggs.  In a bowl, crack two eggs per person and whisk.  Stir in a generous splash of milk or cream and add as many roughly chopped herbs as you would enjoy.  Consider different varieties of basil, Christmas basil (with purple flowers) and sweet basil, for example, chives and hot and spicy oregano.  In a nonstick pan, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and scramble the egg mixture.

Eggs and Herbs

Lunch: Slice some colorful heirloom tomatoes and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar glaze.  Season with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.  Then sprinkle with a chiffonade of basil and oregano.  Savor with some crusty bread.


Dinner: Stuff a whole fish, such as sea bream, branzino or steelhead salmon, with a generous bunch of fresh herbs.  Lemon thyme, lemon verbena and rosemary are all good choices.  Grill the fish in a pocket of aluminum foil after drizzling with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon or lime.

Steelhead salmon

Sardines – The Tastiest of Small Fish

Sardines are underrated.  Not only are these tiny fish packed full of nutrients, including Vitamin D and protein, but they are also tasty and meaty.  Whenever I see them in a fish market, I buy them.  Although I have scaled and gutted them myself, my preference is to have the fishmonger do it for me.

My favorite preparation is an easy one.  Simply rinse the sardines under cold water and drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.  Grill them whole – this should only take a few minutes per side, depending on their size.  To serve, top with freshly squeezed lemon juice and season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.  For a light appetizer, garnish with fresh herbs or serve over shaved fennel.


Whole Fish for Dinner

One of my favorite dinners to prepare as the weather gets warmer is whole fish on the grill.  Most recently, I purchased two different fish – a branzino (the fish featured on most Italian restaurant menus these days) and a daurade (I prefer to use the French name for what those in the U.S. call sea bream).  I ask the fishmonger to scale and gut the fish but to leave the head and tail.  My husband and I prefer leaving the head and tail on as they help to make a nice fish stock later.

To prepare the fish, make a pocket using aluminum foil and season the fish with sea salt and fresh ground pepper along with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Also add freshly squeezed lemon juice and place several slices of lemon and herbs in the cavity.  After seasoning the fish, close the pocket of foil tightly to prevent any steam from escaping and drying out the fish.  Fish the size of the branzino and daurade should take about 12 – 15 minutes to cook on medium heat on a gas grill.


For a sweet starch to accompany the fish, I sliced and sautéed a ripe plantain in extra virgin olive oil until the slices turned golden brown on each side.  And, for a peppery green on the plate, I added fresh watercress tossed with a hot pepper oil and sea salt.


The next time you see a whole fish at the fish market – whether a branzino, red snapper or Spanish mackerel – consider this simple but tasty preparation.

Cooked Fish

Feast of the Seven Fishes – More Baccala?

If you are Italian and you prepared the Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes, then you probably have some leftovers.  Italian cooks never make just enough…we always make more.

That’s the case with the centerpiece of my husband and my traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes – our baccala (salted cod) salad.  Some families prepare a cod stew or a brandade, but we make a baccala salad of celery, green and black olives, banana peppers, olive oil and lemon juice.  You can find the recipe in my December 2012 “Feast of the Seven Fishes” article under the “Culinary Chronicles” page.

The salad is a treat on its own, but it also makes a tasty fritter.  Making these fritters could not be simpler.  Just add an egg and some breadcrumbs and form the mixture into “cakes”.  Sauté the cod cakes in butter and olive oil, flipping once, so that each side turns a golden brown.   Don’t be concerned if the cakes break apart a bit…all the better to show off the colorful olives and peppers.  Serve with a roasted pepper, a hot pepper and a lemon wedge.

Anyone who doesn’t eat leftovers is missing out!

Baccala salad fritter

Baccala salad fritter

Spanish Mackerel – Not Your Typical Mackerel

One of my favorite whole fish is Spanish mackerel.  Typically, I can only find these fish at Whole Foods; however, today I saw several staring back at me from the case in Feby’s Fish Market.  Wild Spanish mackerel are an attractive silvery color with yellowish spots.  They have a white, flaky flesh and a milder, more appealing taste than Atlantic mackerel.

whole mackerel

The fishmonger gutted and scaled the fish, leaving the head and tail intact.  I used the very simple preparation below, steaming the mackerel on the grill in an aluminum foil pouch.

Place the fish on a sheet of aluminum foil and top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Place additional slices of lemon on top of the mackerel along with fresh herbs.  Cook on medium heat on a gas grill for 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the size.  Test its doneness by sticking a fork through the flesh.  If the fork goes straight through, the fish should be cooked.

To serve, remove the head and tail with a sharp knife and slide a flat spatula down the spine to remove the top fillet.  Remove the spine from the bottom fillet and then lift it with the spatula.  Serve with your favorite rice.  (Tonight I prepared a basmati rice cooked in coconut water to add a sweet, nutty flavor.)