What’s for Dinner? Roasted Salmon and Brussels Sprouts

26 February 2012 § 5 Comments

Here’s a perfect weekday dinner I just posted on Barista Kids What’s for Dinner? column.

It meets some important weekday dinner criteria: « Read the rest of this entry »

Fish Pie

19 September 2011 § 11 Comments

I write a column on Barista Kids every two weeks called What’s for Dinner? This week’s dinner is fish pie.

The crisp autumnal air calls for some warm comfort, and this fish pie nourishes and satisfies – creamy, herby mushroom and fish sauce covered with buttery mash and a crispy topping of melted cheese. This dish is loved by young and old.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Once I caught a fish alive – grilled whole sea bass with thyme

17 August 2011 § 4 Comments

…I did go mackerel fishing a very long time ago in the wild waters of West Wales, but this is no fishing tale. It is a story about this sea bass I bought from Shore Catch at the Montclair Farmers’ Market. A perfect Sunday night dinner. We had ours with boiled blue potatoes, fresh corn and tomato salad. And yes The Ladies™ loved it too, they were fascinated with the fish eyes and I think they would have eaten them if I had not been so squeamish and put my foot down.

Some people are afraid of cooking fish – some they worry about the smell – but with really fresh fish there is not much of a smell. Other people just get intimated at the thought of cooking fish – do not fear fish, we are bigger and smarter than them.

A few weeks ago a good friend of mine sent me this panicked text:

“Help, just bought whole red snapper. How would u cook? Need to use 2nite”

It was one of the rare times when I was out for the night at a local bar. So with my Campari in hand I was able to text her instructions, and through the wonders of smartphone technology and the photos she sent me I was able to tell her when it was done. I felt a bit like an air traffic controller guiding in a plane – or maybe that was the alcohol talking? I was then able to get back to my drinks and conversation.

Here is a version of that quick fish dish, cooked on a grill though instead of in an oven, so no fish smells just in case you are concerned. And it is so easy you could cook it from text messages.


  • 1 fresh whole sea bass, have it cleaned (buy one with shiny eyes and scales)
  • A few slices of lemon, plus more for serving
  • A handful of fresh herbs – I like thyme and oregano
  • Pepper
  • Coarse sea salt
  • A few spoonfuls of olive oil

Wash the fish and dry with paper towels. Put the lemon and herbs inside the fish, where it has been gutted. Then rub some olive oil on both sides and sprinkle the skin generously with sea salt and pepper.

Make sure the grill is hot, then lower to a medium temperature, put a little olive oil on the grill, then place the fish on. Cook for about 5-7 minutes when that side looks like it is done, turn over. Do not overcook. Turn only once so fish does not fall apart.

Serve with a glass of cold white wine – the wine is for grown-ups only.

Ginger Honey Marinade

28 June 2011 § 2 Comments

There was nothing fishy about this quick marinade we used for the fresh shark we bought from Shore Catch at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday.

If you feel like fish, this quick marinade would go well with any robust, meaty fish, don’t use with a delicate fish like sole or flounder as the flavor of the marinade will over power it.

Ginger, Honey Marinade

  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • A handful of chopped cilantro
  • Sea salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, pour onto fish and refrigerate for about 20 minutes covered. We grilled our shark and it was perfect. We grilled for on a medium heat for about 5 minutes each side, when we turned it over we basted with some more of the marinade. There are no photos of the finished fish as it was too dark to get a decent photo. Will definitely be cooking again so photos to follow.

Quick Fish Supper – Sockeye Salmon with Orange, Olives and Almonds

22 June 2011 § 2 Comments

I was so close to calling for take-out tonight but the fish stopped me. I had a large piece of sockeye salmon that was begging to be used. It is the first week of school vacation and The Ladies™ are wearing me out, so we needed something fast and easy, served with just a green salad – perfect fast food.

I found this recipe on food52 an incredibly useful online food resource. The recipe called for white wine and I did not have any in the house (I know it is hard to believe) but the recipe worked well without it. Adding wine would have made the sauce go a bit further. The orange with the sockeye really sweetened it and took away some of the oiliness. The combination of orange and olives took me back to sunny Spain, so far away from torrential New Jersey.


  • 1lb sockeye salmon
  • 1 large orange, use one half to cut into small pieces, then juice the other half and grate the zest
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • A handful of olives, sliced in half
  • Handful chopped fresh herbs – I used flat leaf parsley and basil
  • 1/4 cup  slivered almonds, toasted
  • Salt and pepper

Pat salmon fillet dry and remove any pin bones. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the orange juice and zest. Once bubbling, reduce heat to simmer and add the salmon, skin-side down, orange segments and olives.

Cook for about 10 minutes, turning over once the skin has some color. Add the herbs a few minutes before serving. Put salmon on plate, skin-side down and sprinkle almonds over. Pour over any juice from pan.

This would go well with a dry crisp white. but you did not need me to tell you that.

Thai fish cake recipe

12 June 2011 § 5 Comments

I made Thai fishcakes this week. The recipe appears on Barista Kids.

I had a hankering for something spicy so made two batches of the same fishcake version – one bland for The Ladies™ and one hot for King Marv and I.

Need another Cinco de Mayo recipe? Black Bean Quesadilla

2 May 2011 § 1 Comment

Still not sure what to cook for Cinco de Mayo. Here is my article in the What’s For Dinner? column on Barista Kids, I will be contributing to this every two weeks on a Sunday to help people plan one home-cooked meal for the week. You can find out how to cook these fish tacos there.

If you’re after a quick, veggie option, try this Black Bean Quesadilla recipe, from my recipe bible, the Ruth Reichl book, Gourmet Today. This is a winner with The Ladies™.Black Bean Quesadilla Recipe


  • 1 can black beans – rinsed
  • 2 cups coarsely grated pepper Jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • ½ cup chunky salsa (or see my pico de gallo recipe)

Put a rack in middle of oven, put a large heatproof plate on rack, and preheat to 200°F.

Stir together cheese, beans, cilantro, and cumin in a bowl.

Heat a glug of oil in a non-stick skillet over moderate heat until not but not smoking. Add 1 tortilla and top half nearest you with 2-3 tablespoons of cheesy bean mixture more evenly with 1 tablespoon salsa. Using a spatula, fold uncovered tortilla over and cook until underside is golden about 1 minute. Carefully turn over using spatula another 1 -2 minutes.  Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Make 7 more quesadillas in same manner, stacking them on plate in oven.

Otherwise just enjoy one of these, did I mention this is a surefire winner with King Marv.

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