Archive for the ‘Fish’ Category


Coconut Shrimp

August 27, 2010

It was time to make something that the hub and I could enjoy together.  Dan told me when I started this blog not to worry about him for dinners. Sure, he loves when I cook something that he would like, but he’s just not the adventurous type. I love veggies and trying new things. He loves cereal, corn dogs and pizza.

I stumbled upon a recipe in my Taste of Home Summer Appetizer magazine for Coconut Shrimp and I knew he would like it. I attempted to make it on several occasions but never brought the actual recipe to the grocery store – I was always missing 1-2 items. I finally copied the recipe into my phone and yesterday I picked up the last two ingredients on my lunch hour.

The Ingredients:

1 Can (14 ounces) Light Coconut Milk
1 Jalapeño Pepper – seeded and chopped
1/4 Cup Minced Fresh Cilantro
1- 1/4 Pounds Raw Medium Shrimp – I used 1 lb. of large peeled/deveined with tails on.
3/4 Cup all-purpose Flour
4 Egg Whites
3/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
3/4 Cup Flaked Coconut, lightly toasted – whoops, forgot that step!
1/3 Cup Apricot Preserves
1 Teaspoon Spicy Brown Mustard


Place 2 tablespoons coconut milk in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate. (This will be used in the dipping sauce later)

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the jalapeño, cilantro and remaining coconut milk.

I got my jalapeño and cilantro chopped up for the marinade…

…and  my shrimp washed and then it was time to add everything to the Ziploc bag.

I placed the shrimp into the bag and gently turned it to make sure all of the shrimp were coated well with the marinade. I then set the bag in the fridge for an hour while I hit the treadmill.

The next step… Place flour in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, lightly beat the 4 egg whites. In a third bowl, combine the bread crumbs and the lightly toasted coconut. I did not toast mine – due to forgetting that step all together. It stuck really well without being toasted. The shrimp would probably turn out more golden if I had done the toasting step. Maybe next time.

Drain and discard the marinade.

Dip shrimp in flour and then egg whites. Then roll them into the panko/coconut mixture. This took a while, but was worth the effort.

Place the coated shrimp on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 7-9 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. I turned mine over at 9 minutes and the second side only took about 6 minutes.

I prepared the dipping sauce while the shrimp was in the oven.

I grabbed the 2 tablespoons of coconut milk out of the fridge and added a heaping teaspoon of Sierra Nevada Porter and Spicy Brown Mustard to 1/3 cup apricot preserves and used a fork to really mix it well.

My photos are super orange due to the lack of natural sunlight. No worries – I’m shopping for a new camera 😉 – otherwise the fall/winter months could be really difficult for my food photos after 6:00 p.m.

Back to the shrimp… The kitchen smelled amazing, the timer went off and it was time for plating, final blog photos and eating.

Kind of hard to see their shapes with them piled on the plate.

I just kept wanting to pull the toasted coating off the shrimp pieces.

More photos…

More grainy photos…

These were iPhone photos with very little light…

I made a side of coleslaw and we both dove in. We pretty much ate the entire cookie sheet full of shrimp between the two of us. It was awesome! The perfect amount of crunch combined with plump and juicy shrimp. The sauce was addicting – I wanted to lick the bowl.

While it was a more time-consuming meal to prepare, I managed. I worked a full 8 hr. day, got in a 70 minute treadmill workout and still had time to prepare and sit down for a nice dinner with Dan. Couldn’t ask for anything more perfect than that.

Have a great weekend!


Grilled Salmon w/Cherry Tomato Compote

August 18, 2010

The Grilled Salmon w/ Cherry Tomato Compote recipe was by far my favorite of the evening and deserves the first tomato recipe slot.

I can’t even explain in words how incredible this dish was.

Salmon Ingredients and Prep:
Four 6 ounce salmon fillets
Zest of 2 lemons
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Pepper

Coat the salmon well with olive oil, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Chef Terese explained that it’s o.k. to leave the skin on the salmon before grilling. She starts grilling with the skin side down. By the time you are done (10 minutes per inch thickness of fish) the skin will be crisp and just fall or peel right off.

Crappy photo due to the lack of light outside by the grill, but you get the idea.

Chef Terese’s assistant coated the grill with high heat cooking spray and then grilled the salmon over medium-high heat for 9 minutes per side. She thought the fish was just shy of an inch.

Chef Terese then grabbed the bowl of Purple Cherokee, Sun Gold and Green Grape heirloom cherry tomatoes to start the Cherry Tomato Compote.

Cherry Tomato Compote Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons good olive oil – she used Organic Apollo Extra Virgin Olive Oil – about $20/bottle.
2 Teaspoons minced garlic – about 2 cloves
2 Pints whole heirloom cherry tomatoes
2 Tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 Teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
Pinch of dried chili flakes
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives – If you don’t like kalamata olives,  you can use any type of olive.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the tomatoes in a single layer. Add the garlic to the oil and cook over medium heat for 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes, herbs, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5-7 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to lose their firm round shape. Chef Terese actually used the back of a big wooden spoon to smash some of the tomatoes in the saute pan.

Add in the olives and chili flakes and season with sea salt and pepper.

Top the grilled salmon with several spoonfuls of the cherry tomato compote and garnish with fresh basil.

The dish was so good, it deserved two photos – different angles – hah! The medley of cherry tomatoes combined with the saltiness of the kalamata olives was out of this world amazing. People at our table that weren’t big salmon fans, raved on and on about the dish. The only bummer was that there weren’t pieces of bread on the table to soak up the sauce – yes, it was that delicious. This would be the perfect meal to cook for a small dinner party. You could also easily substitute chicken for the salmon if you aren’t a big fish/seafood eater.

Do you guys like when I post recipes from the cooking classes I take? I know they don’t have the same level of prep detail shots that my other posts have. In the 4 classes I’ve taken, only 1 other person has had a camera.  The chefs don’t mind at all, but it feels a little awkward to get photos of the prep stuff.  Once the table I’m sitting at finds out why I’m doing it, they encourage me to go up to the front, they make sure I get a good sample for the photograph and they kind of giggle that everyone else is done with their samples while I’m still trying to perfect the perfect angle for the blog photo. I also get photo tips from people, it’s pretty funny.


Beer Batter Fried Fish Tacos

July 22, 2010

My absolute favorite item at the Sierra Nevada/Food pairing class was the Sierra Nevada Summerfest and Beer Batter Fried Fish Tacos with Chipotle Crema. The battered fish was epic!

When I was a kid, the only fish (and I use that term lightly) I used to eat was fish sticks. Rectangular, frozen from the box. Occasionally I’d have a Van de Kamp’s frozen triangle fillet – fancy girl – you know you’re jealous. I never in a million years predicted that I’d be a huge fan of sushi or that I’d venture out to try fish dishes at restaurants. Now I just need to get over my fear of actually buying and cooking fish.

We had a wonderful fish market where I used to live in San Jose, CA – Race Street Fish & Poultry – you could walk up to the counter and get yourself fresh fish on a daily basis. I now have the Nugget, Whole Foods, and the Farmer’s Market, but would love a walk up counter/market feel.

My biggest fish fear is getting “not so fresh” fish – that’s why I go to a reputable sushi restaurant. Enough of that, let’s get to the recipe and beer.

The Sierra Nevada Summerfest is a refreshing, pilsner-style lager. Its incredible smoothness comes from an extra-long lagering period. Molly explained that it quenches your thirst with big aroma and a tangy hop bite.  She also shared that the delicate/lighter beer had a definite bite in the end – a peppery finish. I would have to agree. It was so perfect paired with the fish, it was my favorite of the 4 we tried.

Now for the tacos…

Beer Battered Fish Taco – makes 18 tacos

1 Pound white fish fillets, skin and bones removed. – Chef Dio used Halibut, but also said he has used cod and sea bass as well.
1 12 ounce bottle of Sierra Nevada Summerfest Beer – any pilsner-style lager would do, shhhh… don’t tell Molly I said that.
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon each – sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, chili powder and garlic powder
4-6 Cups safflower oil for frying

In a dutch oven or deep wok or pot – heat oil to 375 degrees.  – You want about 3 inches of oil.

Cut fish into 1/2 inch wide strips (2-3 inches long). Count on 2 pieces of fish per taco.

Sift 1 1/2 cups flour plus the baking powder into a large bowl. Add in seasonings. Pour in just enough beer whisking gently to a light pancake batter consistency. Drink the rest, hah! Pat fish dry and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Dredge the pieces of fish in 1/2 cup remaining flour. Coat the fish in the beer batter and gently slide into oil. Fry fish, turning over once until deep golden and cooked through. 3-4 minutes until fish is golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in a 225 degree oven. Fry the remaining fish in batches. If you find that the fish is getting dark too fast, you might need to change out the oil.

Taco Fillings
18 fresh tortillas –
Chef Dio used a tortilla that was a corn/flour mixture.
3 cups of green cabbage – sliced very thin
Chipotle crema

Chipotle Crema
1 Cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – very important to get them really fine.
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon smoked paprika

Combine the sour cream mixture with the peppers in adobo sauce, smoked paprika and salt. Chill for 15 minutes before serving.

Warm tortillas on a griddle or in the microwave. Portion the cabbage and the fried fish between the tortillas. Top with the chipotle crema and serve immediately.

Chef Dio’s tidbit was to pre-fry the fish before guests arrived. Ours sat in the oven for a good 35-45 minutes before it was served, and the crunch and texture were spot on. Not quite sure why I don’t order battered fish more often… oh wait, maybe because it’s not the healthiest thing on the menu – oh well, indulgence is a good thing in moderation.