PAN SEARED BLACKENED ROCKFISH (RED SNAPPER) with LEMON THYME SAUCE

Hubby wanted swordfish last week, but finding it proved to more difficult and truly impossible in this area so we settled for a Rockfish. I wasn’t even sure what Rockfish was but after an in depth online search I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it is related to my all time favorite, Red Snapper.

There used to be a mom and pop seafood house near where we lived. They made an amazing Blackened, Cajun like Red Snapper before Cajun or Blackened was even a popular thing, at least on the west coast.

I also wanted a sauce so made one based on Julia Child’s French butter sauce.

PAN SEARED BLACKENED ROCKFISH (RED SNAPPER) with LEMON THYME SAUCE

FISH
2 Rockfish or Red Snapper fillets
2 tablespoons Pampered Chef Chile Lime seasoning
2 tablespoons lemon garlic seasoning
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter

  • Rinse fish and pat dry.
  • Whisk together the seasonings.
  • Gently rub fish fillets with the seasoning rub.
  • Heat avocado oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Sear fillets 3-4 minutes on each side until fish begins to flake.
  • Plate fish and keep warm while you prepare the sauce.

SAUCE
Pan drippings
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped thyme leaves
1 green onion, minced
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
4 tablespoons COLD butter, diced into small pieces

  • Over medium high heat heat pan drippings and 1 tablespoon of the butter until melted.
  • Add onions and saute 1 minute.
  • Whisk in flour until combined.
  • Whisk in lemon juice and thyme leaves until smooth.
  • Whisk in butter, one piece at a time until all melted and smooth consistency.
  • Serve immediately over fish fillets.

SHRIMP PAD THAI

This recipe is the PERFECT downsized recipe for 2! This flavor combination offers a complex salty AND sweet yet spicy AND pungent flavor with just enough acidity from the lime for balance in the sauce. Add in the sauteed shrimp, the scrambled egg, salty peanuts and crunchy bean sprouts and scallions that balance out the texture and flavors for a complete meal.

SHRIMP PAD THAI
SAUCE
2 LARGE limes, juiced, about 3 +/- tablespoons
3 tablespoons water
2 1/2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil (or other neutral oil)
3 teaspoons rice vinegar (I often use seasoned – flavor of choice)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Whisk all together and set aside.

NOODLES & SHRIMP
4 ounces WIDE rice noodles
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 shallot, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 LARGE egg, lightly beaten
1 cup bean sprouts
2 tablespoons crushed dry roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped cilantro (for garnish – optional)

  • Bring 4 quarts of water to boil.Remove from heat, add rice noodles and let stand 10 minutes until noodles are tender. Drain noodles and set aside.
  • Pat shrimp dry.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add shrimp and a pinch of salt, sauteing 2-3 minutes until shrimp are opaque.
  • Transfer to a plate.
  • Add remaining oil to skillet.
  • When oil is shimmering add shallots and garlic, sauteing until light golden brown.
  • Add in egg and cook 20-30 seconds until scrambled.
  • Add noodles, tossing to mix.
  • Add sauce, tossing continually to coat for 1-2 minutes until well blended and coated in sauce.
  • Add bean sprouts, peanuts, scallions and shrimp, tossing to coat.
  • Serve immediately.

NOTE: As a quick cheat I use pre-prepared yakisoba noodles from my butcher to replace the rice noodles.

SALMON TERIYAKI and SALT & VINEGAR CUCUMBERS

SALMON TERIYAKI adapted from JET TILA

SAUCE
2 ounces sake
3 ounces mirin
4 ounces Bragg’s liquid aminos
3 tablespoons (45 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch combined with 1 tablespoon water

  • Mix all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat; whisking 1 to 2 minutes until the sugar dissolves and the sauce bubbles and thickens slightly.
  • Set it aside to use on the salmon and store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

SALMON
2 pounds salmon filets, deboned and scaled
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons avocado oil
3 scallions, sliced on the bias, for garnish
Steamed white rice, for serving

  • Pat the fish dry with a paper towel, cut into four 3-inch pieces, and season it with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Once you start to see white smoke, lay the fish flesh-side down in the skillet. Move the fish around constantly while cooking to keep it from sticking. When the fish is medium, 4 to 6 minutes, turn with a spatula only once.
  • Cook the other side for another minute.
  • Add the teriyaki sauce to the pan and reduce the heat to low. The sauce will begin to simmer and reduce.
  • Tilt the pan around a few times and turn the fish until it’s well coated with the sauce.
  • Serve with rice on the side. 

This quick and easy salad is essentially just a big ol’ bowl of quick-pickled cucumbers, which is exactly why it’s so tasty. It makes a fresh, crunchy and acidic side to any main dish. Assemble it the night before and it will be even more perfect.

SALT & VINEGAR CUCUMBERS

1/4 cup rice wine or white vinegar
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons flaky sea salt, plus more as needed
FRESH ground black pepper
4 medium cucumbers
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill 


  • Place the vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl and whisk to combine. 
Slice the cucumbers into 1/8-inch-thick rounds.
  • Place them in the bowl, add the dill, and toss to combine.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Taste and season to taste with more salt and pepper as needed before serving.

SWORDFISH with LEMON PEPPER BASTING SAUCE

GRILLED SWORDFISH with LEMON BASTING SAUCE
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons FRESH chopped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed peppercorns, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon (packed) grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon avocado oil
4 1-inch-thick swordfish fillets (about 6 ounces each)

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Mash butter, parsley, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon ground mixed peppercorns, and lemon peel in small bowl. Season to taste with salt.
  • Heat butter in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sprinkle swordfish with salt and ground mixed peppercorns.
  • Add swordfish to skillet, cooking until browned, about 3 minutes.
  • Turn swordfish over and transfer to oven.
  • Roast until just cooked through, about 10 minutes longer.
  • Transfer swordfish to plates.
  • Top with Lemon Sauce

LEMON SAUCE
1/3 cup butter
2 green onions, finely minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup FRESH squeezed lemon juice
Zest of one LARGE lemon
1/4 cup hot water
a couple drops Tabasco

  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter.
  • Add green onions and sauce a few minutes.
  • Whisk in the paprika, sugar, salt, pepper and cayenne.
  • When well blended add lemon juice, hot water and Tabasco.
  • Add lemon zest just before serving.

BROILED LOBSTER TAILS

We were gifted with a fantastic OMAHA STEAKS box of Sirloins and Lobster tails for Christmas. We ate 2 of the steaks for Christmas Eve and saved the other 2 and Lobster tails for New Year’s eve and day.  What a great way to finish a horrific year and start the new one.  Thank you so much Brent and Dawn 😀 we really enjoyed our gift!

This is a simple recipe, but as my FIL always said, sometimes simple is the best way to bring out the even better flavors!

BROILED LOBSTER TAILS

2 Lobster tails
4 tablespoons butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 LARGE lemon, cut into wedges

  • Preheat broiler, position top rack 3-4 inches from heat source or preheat grill to medium.
  • Butterfly tails by cutting down through middle of hard shell with a sharp knife. Cut through flesh but not underside membrane.
  • Hold tail in both hands and open flat.
  • Brush lightly with melted butter.
  • Season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Place lobster tails on sheet pan wrapped in foil shell side down.
  • Broil for 6-7 minutes.

NOTE: For grilling, place flesh side down on grill and cook for 7-9 minutes, flipping when necessary if flare up occurs.

BLOODY MARY SHRIMP COCKTAIL

BLOODY MARY SHRIMP COCKTAIL adapted from Ree @ Pioneer Woman
1 cup jalapeno ketchup
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish 
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
1/2 teaspoon Bragg’s liquid aminos 
1/2 tablespoon vodka 
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced 
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper 
16 peeled, de-veined and cooked extra-large shrimp (about 1 pound), tails on
1/2 celery stalk, finely diced, plus 16 small celery stalks with leaves, for garnish (optional)

  • Mix together the ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, liquid aminos, vodka lemon zest and lemon juice.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer the sauce to 16 shot glasses, then top each with a shrimp and a sprinkle of diced celery.
  • Place a celery stalk with leaves into each glass.

TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE (NOT YOUR GRANDMA’S)

TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE (NOT YOUR GRANDMA’S)
1 stick butter, divided 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons + 4 tablespoons
1 tablespoon avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3 cups DRY wide egg noodles
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch green onions, whites only sliced thin
4 cups SMALL broccoli florets (about 3 crowns, stalks discarded or used elsewhere)
14 ounces marinated artichokes, drained WELL
1/4 cup WONDRA flour
4 cups WHOLE milk
1/4 cup cream sherry
4 ounces cream cheese, sliced into 8-10 pieces
2 LARGE cans white albacore tuna in water, drained WELL
1 cup shredded Gruyere
1/4 cup FRESH chopped Parsley
Several sprigs FRESH thyme
1/2 cup PANKO crumbs

  • Prepare noodles al dente per package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Melt avocado oil and 2 tablespoons butter in large saute pan.
  • Add green onions and garlic, sauteing 2 minutes until garlic is golden and fragrant.
  • Increase heat to medium-high and add broccoli florets, sauteing 7-8 minutes until broccoli is tender and vibrant green.
  • GENEROUSLY season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Add artichokes and Parsley, cooking several minutes more until all liquid is absorbed.
  • Pour broccoli and artichokes into colander and drain off any remaining oil.
  • Return pan to stove and melt 4 tablespoons butter.
  • Whisk in WONDRA flour until smooth and golden.
  • Gradually add milk and cream sherry stirring well after each addition. Cook until slightly thickened.
  • Add cream cheese pieces, whisking until smooth.
  • Add Gruyere, whisking until smooth.
  • Adjust seasoning.
  • Fold in tuna until well blended.
  • Fold in broccoli and artichokes until well blended.
  • Fold in noodles.
  • GENEROUSLY season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Transfer to 3 quart 9×13 baking dish.
  • Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
  • With a fork blend melted butter and Panko crumbs.
  • Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over casserole.
  • Bake 30-45 minutes until crumbs are golden and casserole is bubbly.
  • Garnish with green onion tops if desired.

BALSAMIC HONEY GLAZED SALMON

BALSAMIC HONEY GLAZED SALMON
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoon creamy horseradish
2 tablespoons QUALITY honey
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon avocado oil
8 (6) ounce salmon fillets
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon FRESH minced oregano
3 green onions, minced

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Whisk together the vinegar, white wine, chicken broth, horseradish, honey, garlic and avocado oil in a sauce pan.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil, cooking and stirring 5 minutes until thickened.
  • Place salmon skin side down on a greased baking sheet.
  • Season generously with FRESH ground pepper and salt, to taste.
  • Spoon glaze over salmon fillets and top with oregano.
  • Bake uncovered 12-15 minutes until salmon flakes easily with a fork.
  • Garnish with minced green onions.

NOTE: A weeknight short cut is to use a bottle of Bertolli Balsamic glaze instead of the individual components.  Just heat it up and pour it over 😀

SNAPPER WRAPPER CASSEROLE

Snapper wrappers are a recipe I made several years back (2014) and vowed to turn into a casserole.  Well, I’ve finally done it 😀

SNAPPER WRAPPER CASSEROLE Serves 4-6
1 pound lump crab meat, drained or KRAB from the meat department works great too
4 skinned red snapper fillets or any white fish of your choice

3-4 FINELY chopped green onions

FRESH
ground sea salt and black pepper

1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
2 LARGE lemons, 1 juiced, 1 sliced into wedges for serving
1 tablespoon white wine
1/4 cup butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 400˚.
  • Pick crab meat, removing any bits of shell or FINELY chop the KRAB.
  • Whisk together the melted butter, lemon juice, wine, garlic and red pepper in shallow dish.
  • Generously season the fish fillets with the FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Combine the Crab with the green onions.
  • Dredge the fish fillets in the butter mixture
  • Arrange one-third of the fish fillets in the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish.
  • Top with about 1/3 cup crab meat.
  • Repeat layers.
  • Drizzle remaining dredge liquid over top layer.
  • Bake uncovered for 16-18 minutes or fish flakes when tested with a fork.
  • Spoon any pan drippings over top before serving.
  • Serve with lemon wedges.

HONEY MISO FISH FILLETS & CAMP CARROTS

HONEY MISO FISH FILLETS & CAMP CARROTS
HONEY MISO FISH FILLETS

4 tablespoons QUALITY honey
3 tablespoons white miso paste
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
2 tablespoons sake or dry white wine
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 5-6 ounce fish of choice fillets* (SEE NOTE)

  • In a small saucepan mix the honey, miso and water, whisking until smooth. Bring to a SLOW boil, simmering until dark golden.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in soy sauce, white wine, liquid aminos, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil.
  • Divide mixture in half.
  • Add half to ziploc bag along with fish fillets and marinade overnight.
  • Reserve other half for next day.

NEXT DAY

  • Preheat oven to 475°.
  • Add reserved marinade to cast iron skillet and heat over medium-high heat until it begins to bubble.
  • Add fillets skin side up and brush with marinade.
  • Transfer cast ion to oven for 5-10 minutes until golden in color and fish is flaky.
  • Flip fillets and plate.
  • Spoon remaining sauce over fillets and serve immediately.

NOTE: COD, SALMON, HALIBUT OR SWORDFISH WORK BEST.

CAMP CARROTS
3 cups sliced carrots or baby carrots
1/4 pound crisp crumbled bacon
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon QUALITY honey
FRESH ground sea salt and tri-color pepper

  • In a 2 quart saucepan add carrots and enough water to cover.
  • Bring to a FULL boil, reduce to medium and cook 10 minutes until carrots are crisp tender.
  • Drain well.
  • Add butter, brown sugar and honey to pan, mixing well.
  • Add carrots and season to taste with FRESH ground sea salt and tri-color pepper.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.
  • Add bacon pieces and serve immediately.

ORANGE GLAZED SALMON

ORANGE GLAZED SALMON
2 salmon fillets, about the same size and thickness
2 tablespoons Cajun spice
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
PINCH sea salt
FRESH ground black pepper
1 tablespoon avocado oil
2 tablespoons orange marmalade (see note)
Juice from small lime
Lime wedges, garnish

  • Combine Cajun spice, sugar, salt and pepper in small bowl.
  • Rub spice mixture all over salmon fillets.
  • Heat avocado oil in non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  • Sear skin side of fillets for 3-4 minutes until crispy.
  • Flip and saute’ another 2-3 minutes until salmon is cooked through.
  • Whisk marmalade and lime juice together.
  • Swirl into skillet, turning fillets to coat well with glaze.
  • Serve immediately.

    NOTE:  You can change the flavor up by using any flavor jam!  I’ve made this with pineapple, apricot pineapple, peach and even raspberry!  YUM!

OVEN ROASTED SALMON & FRESH TOMATO RELISH

OVEN ROASTED SALMON
2 pounds skin on salmon fillet, 1 1/2 inches thick
2 teaspoons avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt and tri-color pepper, to taste
Tomato Relish (see recipe below)

  • Preheat oven to 500° and set rack at lowest position and add baking tray to heat.
  • Cut fillet into equal pieces.
  • Make several SHALLOW slices into the skin side ONLY, DO NOT cut into flesh.
  • Pat salmon slices dry and rub with oil and generously season with salt and pepper.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 275°.
  • Place salmon skin side down on hot baking tray.
  • Return to oven and roast 10-12 minutes until centers are still translucent and edges have reached 125°.
  • Transfer to platter and top with tomato relish.
  • Serve immediately.

FRESH TOMATO RELISH
1 1/2 cups ripe tomato pieces
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 teaspoon apple cider or champagne vinegar* (see note)
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped basil
FRESH ground sea salt and tri-color pepper, to taste

  • Combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl.
  • Season to taste.

NOTE: Original recipe called for olive oil and red wine vinegar. Personally, I’m not an olive oil fan so I substitute avocado oil AND red wine vinegar just didn’t have enough of a “bite” for us so I substitute a QUALITY apple cider vinegar or champagne vinegar.

  • This is another recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Cook’s Science cook book.