I have been cooking a little more these days, and spring is making it easier: new food, fresher produce, etc. Last weekend I picked up a bag of salmon backs, which are my favorite cut of salmon for their economy, flavor and ease of preparation. And then I found some Mexcian limes, which to my mind make any meal worth eating. And I came up with these tacos. Citrus marinated salmon, topped with chopped green onion, cilantro, and cumin cream sauce. We ran out of tortillas, so my husband and I ate them with middle eastern flat bread, which might have been better. They’re totally delicious and were a huge hit with the kids, who added guacamole. They’ll add guacamole to anything. & really, why not?
These are easy enough to get on the table tonight, just in time for Cinco de Mayo!
Salmon “ceviche” tacos
- 3/4 lb salmon (1 1/2 lb if you use backs, since there is a lot of bone)
- juice of 1 orange, 2 limes, 1 lemon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 stalk chopped fresh green garlic, including greens (or 1 clove garlic or 1 stalk green onion)
- soft taco shells
- chopped cilantro for garnish
- Mexican lime for garnish (if none are available, use regular limes)
- cumin cream sauce, see below
Cumin cream sauce
Mix equal parts plain, greek style yogurt with mayonnaise, the juice of one lime, and 1 tsp cumin, a pinch of salt.
- Marinate salmon in ziplock bag in refrigerator with citrus, salt, and chopped garlic. for at least 1/2 hour or longer.
- Grill or broil until cooked through.
- Shred salmon into flakes.
- Serve on tacos with cilantro, cream sauce, and limes for garnish.
This should really go under the heading of really fast and easy, or things you can make with vertigo–which hit me yesterday for the 2nd time, and which I’m pretty sure is migraine-related. But this dish is so fast and easy, that you can make it if you can stand up for 15 minutes, which was about all I could manage last night. It is, however, a pretty regular dish around here, and the kids love it. Also, we can get albacore often from our fisherman, so we know it’s sustainable.
First: set the rice cooker on the timer at lunch so rice is done at dinner time.
Second: sautee 1 bunch roughly chopped Swiss Chard with 1 minced garlic clove in 1 tsp. sesame oil, a little olive oil, and few tablespoons chicken broth.
Third: pan-sear (or cook to your liking) fresh albacore tuna steaks. Remove from pan and set aside.
Fourth: in the same pan, in 1 tsp. sesame oil, sautee 3 cloves minced garlic for one minute. Add a mixture of 3 T soy sauce, 1/2 cup chicken broth, 1 tsp sugar, dash red chili flakes, a couple of finely chopped scallions, green and white bits included. Simmer until reduced by half. Serve alongside tuna as a dipping sauce.
The other thing you can make with vertigo:
This was another night that got sort of busy, so I forgot to take a picture of dinner, or prep, but the dish was so good I’m going to share anyway and next time I make these, I’ll make sure to document.
We had a birthday to celebrate, and we went the taco bar route with fish tacos and shrimp tacos. The fish tacos are a staple here, but the shrimp were new. I was inspired by the ones we eat at our favorite local joint, and they were incredibly simple and fast and delicious: tender shrimp marinated in citrus and cumin, then sauteed with onion and green pepper, loaded into a flour tortilla with your choice of salsa, baja cream, and shredded cabbage. It’s going to be a new staple around here.
If you make fish or shrimp tacos, we’d love to hear your variations!
- 1 lb shrimp, peeled, tails removed, deveined
- 1 cup fresh orange juice (or from a carton)
- juice from 1 lime
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 green pepper, chopped into 1-inch squares
- 1 medium onion, sliced in half, then sliced thinly cross-wise
- Marinate shrimp at least 30 minutes in orange and lime juices, salt, and cumin
- Sautee onion and green pepper until tender crisp
- Add shrimp and cook until pink.
- Serve warm on flour tortillas, with shredded cabbage and cream sauce (1/2 mayo, 1/2 sour cream or plain yogurt, lime juice, and cumin or cayenne if desired)
It’s the season of getting things on the table quickly. It’s also the season of oranges. It’s also time to mix things up a little. This recipe, another from La Cucina Italiana, is another stealth meal: it comes together in minutes from ingredients you can count on one hand. My kids loved it. It’s going into regular rotation here & if you’re feeling really pressed for time, you can use pre-cooked frozen shrimp. I actually have a hard time eating these, but my kids love them, so I sometimes keep them on hand. I generally feel sort of guilty using them, since we can get really delicious shrimp from Pietro, but I don’t always have time to clean and prep them. So.
Shrimp with Chard and Orange Vinaigrette
adapted from La Cucina Italiana
- 1 bunch swiss chard, leafy greens rough chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 lb shrimp, cleaned (or equal amount frozen, pre-cooked shrimp)
- 1-2 oranges
- 1/3 cup orange juice (from fresh oranges &/or juice)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- Cut skin off orange, being careful not to leave any white pith behind. Carefully section each orange so the fruit is removed from the membrane. Set aside. Squeeze any excess juice from the membrane and peel into a measuring cup. Add enough fresh or pre-squeezed juice to make 1/3 cup. Add one garlic clove, let rest for few minutes, then add 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and mix. You will have extra dressing. (Remove garlic clove before storing leftovers in the refrigerator.)
- Sautee chard in olive oil with a pinch of salt.
- When chard is softened, remove it from the heat and quickly sautee shrimp in the same pan in a little olive oil with the second clove of garlic until pink or warmed through.(Alternately, if you have really good fresh shrimp, steam it, leaving out the garlic clove.)
- Separate chard onto four dishes. Top with orange sections, then shrimp. Drizzle vinaigrette over the top of everything.
I am not so humble about my scallops, which I can cook to perfection in no time, in half a dozen different ways, depending on season and ingredient. But truly, they’re so easy to cook, anyone can do this.
They are, however, one food my kids really don’t like–it’s a texture thing. They like the flavor well enough, but confronting a pillowy, tender sea scallop on their plate is just too much for them. Plus, scallops are expensive, so they make appearances in our house as appetizers, or for special occasions, and once in a while the kids will get just one as a side dish.
My basic technique–like so many scallop recipes–involves a quick pan sear, removing the scallops from the pan, deglazing the pan with a seasonal alcohol that will compliment the scallops (think wine in summer, cider in fall….), and serving them over a starch (potatoes are classic, but I’ve used pumpkin and all sorts of squashes, which can be really beautiful).
This version I made earlier in the summer involves fresh corn, handfuls of herbs, and quickly cooked scallops. If you can get your whole family to partake, they really are a good weeknight dinner because they cook so very quickly.
Seared Scallops with Herbed Corn and Prosecco
- 3 ears fresh corn
- a handful of leafy mixed herbs (basil, cilantro, tarragon, parsley–whatever you love, but keep it fragrant)
- scallops, figure on 3-4 per person
- Prosecco or white wine
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, turn off the heat, let cook corn for five minutes. Remove corn from pot. When corn is cool enough to handle, removed kernals the cob. This can be done several hours ahead of time.
- In a large pan, melt about 3 tablespoons of butter, add corn and herbs and quickly toss to coat corn.
- Set corn aside on a large family style serving platter, or in a separate bowl. Wipe out pan.
- Melt another 2T of butter in pan over medium high heat. When sizzling has stopped, add scallops. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, but be careful not to over cook. The scallops should be nicely browned, but not overcooked. If you poke one with your finger, they should feel tender-firm. Too firm and they’re over done.
- Remove scallops from pan and set aside on a small plate.
- Deglaze the pan with about 1/4 cup of the Prosecco, scraping up any brown bits.
- Add a scant tablespoon or so of butter to the pan. When it’s melted and sauce is coming together, taste for seasoning.
- Return the scallops and any accumulated juices very briefly to the pan, just to heat through.
- Serve scallops on top of corn, with a spoonful of the wine/butter sauce.