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Archive for the ‘Fish’ Category


Baccala alla Vicentina - Meatballs&Milkshakes

This year’s Feast of the Seven Fishes is probably going to be reduced by a couple courses to maybe 5 or even just 3. The important part of the Feast is that it’s an odd number of courses. The most traditional of my courses is the baccala alla vicentina, which is one of my favorites. After a long soak in water, the rock-hard dried cod is magically transformed back into fish and then gets cooked with potatoes and blended into an amazing spread. It’s not pretty while it’s cooking and the whole process is pretty smelly, but it turns into an amazing dish.

Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Next up, bay scallop crudo with tangerine and sea salt and a bowl of shrimp bisque. The sweet bay scallops are slurped down with a tangerine juice reduction and some fruity extra virgin olive oil with a sprinkle of sea salt over the top. The bisque gets it’s flavor from sherry or marsala and if possible, homemade shrimp or seafood stock.

Spicy Crab Pasta - Meatballs&Milkshakes

I will most likely round out my Feast of the Seven (or Five) Fishes with some baked clams and a spicy crab pasta that has become a favorite. I’m hoping to get some really delicious dungeness or some other special crab to really take this one over the top for the holidays. Maybe I’ll even experiment with some lobster. Happy holidays!

For more Feast of the Seven Fishes ideas, check out last year’s menu.

And just to let you know, I’ve started a new Facebook page for Meatballs&Milkshakes, so you can follow the blog there! “Like” Meatballs&Milkshakes to keep up to date with recipes in your feed!

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Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine - Meatballs&Milkshakes

These tiny, sweet bay scallops are perfect as a quick bite to start a special meal. I paired them with a small glass of my shrimp bisque in this duo of seafood appetizers, and they were both among my favorites. The scallops have a tangerine juice reduction drizzled over the top, along with some wonderful extra virgin olive oil and some flakes of sea salt to create a rich, sweet and citrusy bite that still tastes of the sea (in a good way).

When you eat raw shellfish, I recommend only getting it from the most reputable source and checking to make sure they don’t smell overly fishy. They should have a firm texture to the touch, as well.

Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine

1/2 pound bay scallops, rinsed (this is roughly enough for 4 people, depending on how many you will serve)

1 cup tangerine juice

3 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

pinch of chili flakes (optional)

Reduce the tangerine juice to about half by simmering in a saucepan. It should become slightly thick and viscous. Once it has cooled, pour over the scallops along with the olive oil. Toss gently to coat and serve with a sprinkle of the flaked sea salt (and chili flakes, if using) over the top. I recommend tasting one to make sure you like the balance, as well.

Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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Sometimes I realize the fridge is empty but the store is so far away….those are the times I look to the pantry to figure out what I can piece together. I usually have a can of Italian tuna, which is a great way to get some protein into what would normally just be starch-based. Add some Sicilian staples like pine nuts and currants along with some onion and garlic from fridge scraps, and a meal takes shape. This off-the-cuff meal ended up being a favorite for the week!

Sicilian Pantry Pasta

1/2 box linguine or other long pasta

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 onion, chopped

2 anchovies

1/4 cup currants soaked in a couple tablespoons of sherry or wine

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino

1 can Italian tuna, drained

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon parsley, chopped

Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water a minute short of package instructions.

Meanwhile,  saute the onion, red pepper flakes, and anchovies in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, until the onion softens. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the tuna, pine nuts, and currants. Add the pasta and a little of the pasta cooking water.

In another pan, toast the breadcrumbs in a tablespoon of olive oil until they start to turn a little brown. Add most of the grated cheese and toss to combine. Pour the toasted breadcrumbs over the pasta and combine. Serve immediately with the rest of the grated cheese and parsley sprinkled on top. Optional, drizzle a little extra olive oil over the top to finish it.

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This is a perfect quick spring dish– I came home from work late and made it in 15 minutes. (That’s also why there are no “after” pictures– in those few minutes it got dark out.) You can do this with any kind of fish or any toppings you want (although it works better with less watery toppings).

I combine blanched fresh favas with farmstand grape tomatoes and some herbes de provence on a nice flounder fillet and fold the parchment into a pouch. It goes in the oven for a few minutes, and voila! You could be in the south of France. Or in my kitchen.

Flounder in Cartoccio

1 flounder fillet

a handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

a handful of favas, blanched with the skins removed

1 teaspoon herbes de provence

1 tablespoon white wine

1 round of parchment or foil

Place the flounder on one half of the parchment so that you will be able to fold it over into a semi-circle with a couple inches extra around. Sprinkle the tomatoes and favas over the top. Season with some salt, pepper and the herbes de provence. Start folding from one edge of the semi-circle, repeating all the way around to seal the pouch. Just before the final fold, pour the wine in and seal the edge. Make sure the liquid is distributed. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes until the fish is fragrant and cooked through.

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I think this may be my favorite salmon recipe. It’s certainly one of the most memorable ones, and I’m already craving it again. The ginger and sweet glaze is such a perfect complement to the salmon, and it’s surprisingly easy. Roasting it at a low temperature keeps the fat from rendering out of the fish, so the fish stays moist and succulent.

The one thing I will stress though, is get the best fish you can find. That goes for all fish. You will notice the difference if you go out of your way to find a fishmonger. I will always choose a cheaper variety of fish from a reputable fish store over a more luxurious fish from a grocery store. In a recipe like this, where I recommend cooking the fish to medium rare, it makes a big difference.

Ginger Glazed Salmon

1 pound salmon (preferably wild, but whatever looks freshest)

4″ piece of ginger, grated

1 garlic clove, grated

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup red wine

1/4 cup mirin

2 tablespoons brown sugar

juice of 1/2 lime

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 scallion, sliced for garnish

Combine the soy sauce, red wine, mirin, brown sugar, garlic and 3/4 of the ginger in a sauce pan. Cook for 10 minutes, until it reduces by half. Remove from heat and add the remaining ginger and the lime juice. Let cool.

Rub the bottom of a baking dish with the olive oil and place the salmon in it, skin side down. Spoon a tablespoon of the glaze over the fish and wait 5 minutes. Spoon another tablespoon of the glaze over the fish.

Bake for 10 minutes at 250 degrees. Spoon another tablespoon of glaze over the fish and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Continue to do this until the fish is cooked to medium rare (gives a little more resistance when you push it). Garnish with the scallion and serve.

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Bluefish is a very oily, delicious fish but it sometimes is challenging to cook because it is so strongly flavored. My favorite is smoked bluefish, but until we have a smoker (and a backyard to put it in), I have to find other ways to make it. These crostini are excellent and the pickled salad on top really cuts through the richness.

Olive Oil Poached Bluefish Crostini

1 8-ounce fillet of bluefish, skinned and cut into 1″ pieces

6-8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (or enough to cover the fish)

4 cloves garlic

1 sprig rosemary

3 tablespoons chopped gherkins, pickled onions, and/or pickles (homemade or store-bought)

1/2 cup baby greens of your choice

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

red pepper flakes (optional)

lemon wedges

6 baguette slices, toasted (or as much as needed for your fish)

Choose a baking dish that just holds the fish in a single layer. Add the garlic and rosemary to the dish and cover everything with olive oil. (As long as you use a small dish, it shouldn’t take too much olive oil. Leftover oil is great just drizzled on crusty bread).

Bake the fish at 350 degrees for 15 minutes covered with foil. Meanwhile, combine the pickles, greens, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a bowl and stir to combine. It will come together while the fish cooks.

Place some fish on each baguette slice and drizzle with some of the olive oil. Top with some of the pickled salad and squirt with a lemon wedge.

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Spring is definitively here, and maybe we’re already into summer with temperatures hitting close to 90 degrees today. It’s time for some no-cook or quick cooking recipes so that I don’t overheat the apartment with the stove. One of my favorites from the cleanse earlier this year was this salmon with pepita pesto. The pesto is really quick and just requires a food processor, and the salmon cooks in less than 10 minutes. It’s delicious and very healthy…perfect for a day like today!

This wonderful fava bean and pecorino salad with mint would pair nicely with the salmon, and it’s a light and refreshing salad for warm days.

A quick and simple pasta is also a good bet when I want dinner in 10 minutes. This spaghetti with cherry tomatoes tastes like spring, with the first good tomatoes of the season. Cherry tomatoes usually have more flavor early in the season than other tomatoes, and when you can get delicious ones, the simplest recipes will show them off the best.

A spring menu would not be complete without a fruit dessert, and this berry pie is so quick and easy.  No need to have the oven on as long as you would for a crisp or regular fruit pie, this flavorful pie is one of my summer night favorites!

And if you absolutely need some chocolate, these broiler s’mores are done in 2-3 minutes and you’ll wish you made more!

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