Tag Archives: fish

Baked Salmon w/ Watermelon-Pineapple Salsa

29 Aug

“What do we have in the fridge?”
“Half a watermelon.”
“OK, what else?”
“Some pineapple…and…yeah, no, that’s about it.”

Right. One of those fridge days. So what to make with this fruit combo? How about adding in some black beans, jalapeno and red pepper to make a filling, healthy salsa and using it to top a piece of baked salmon? Done and done! This would also work really well with tilapia if you’re not up for salmon.

This was a simple and hearty meal that left me very satisfied. Definitely a keeper!

Serves 2.

Ingredients

2 salmon filets
2 c (roughly) watermelon, cubed
2 c (roughly) pineapple, cubed
1 can (14 oz) black beans, drained & rinsed
1 avocado, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 sweet pepper, diced
1 lime, juiced
salt & pepper
handful of cilantro, chopped (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the salmon on the foil, coat with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
2. Place the fish in the oven and bake for 13 – 15 minutes.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the watermelon, pineapple, jalepeno, avocado, sweet pepper, black beans, cilantro and lime juice. Stir and add salt & pepper to taste. (*Depending on how spicy you like your food, you might want to add a little hot sauce to the salsa in addition to the jalapeno.)
4. Remove the fish from the oven. Plate and top with the salsa.

Belize 2012 – Day Five: Never Going to Leave

18 Mar

Have you ever found yourself somewhere so wonderful, so beautiful, so unique that you felt completely immersed in the culture with zero effort? When we took the water taxi back to Belize City from San Pedro last year, I got very emotional. I did not want to leave. There was so much more to see, to experience, to soak up with every fibre of my being that I felt almost cheated. What a tease to only have been there for a short 30 hours! This time around, we were determined to see and eat more.

We arrived at Ambergris Caye (San Pedro is the town making up most of the caye) around 12:15. As I got off the water taxi, I inhaled deeply and smiled ear to ear at the scene in front of me: kids playing, little restaurants lining the beach, people moving at about half the speed of Toronto. We sauntered down the beach to our lovely B&B at which we stayed last year, Changes in Latitudes. We were a little early for check-in, but co-owner Renita said it would be no problem to leave our stuff with her and to grab some lunch. Done. Back down the beach we went to our fave beach-lunch spot in San Pedro: Wild Mango’s. Right on the beach, this is a very popular spot and for good reason: the portions are huge, the food comes quickly but you never feel rushed and, of course, it’s damn delicious. Each table comes with three condiments: two spicy fruit salsas and an onion and carrot mix that adds great crunch to your meal:

Everybody salsa!

We already knew we’d be ordering the Baja fish wrap as we’d had it last year and it was probably the single best thing we ate on the trip. What other yummy dish could we order? We settled on the chicken and avocado wrap and, when they arrived, we knew we’d chosen well:

Chicken wrap

Baja fish wrap

Paired with a couple of Belikins, sitting on a great little patio, this meal is tough to beat. The crispy coating on the fish and the lettuce give the wrap a nice crunch and there is enough filling in there to keep you full for hours. The salsas add a nice heat, too, and our little bowls were nearly empty by the time we had finished.

Having happily killed a couple of hours at lunch, we returned to the B&B and discovered that our sleeping quarters had been unexpectedly upgraded! And what an upgrade! We were to stay in the Toucan’s Nest, a beautiful suite upstairs with its own kitchen, living room, second bedroom and porch, bar & hammock included! The porch quickly became known as the Hammock District.

The Hammock District.

After a quick dip at the neighbouring yacht club’s pool, we parked ourselves in the District and debated where to go for dinner. “Let’s just walk til we find somewhere that looks good.” Wise words. We’d done a little bit of reading up before we left Toronto, but we knew from experience that there was a plethora of places from which to choose. So between prior experience and instinct, we felt we would do just fine. We found ourselves at the Blue Water Grill on that very windy evening, a popular spot in the middle of the waterfront strip. It’s a restaurant that features not only local cuisine, but shows local artists’ work on the walls and contributes much back to the community. J decided he wanted the breaded pan-seared snapper  topped with red onion and papaya salsa, accompanied by sweet potato cakes and grilled veggies. The sweet potatoes used were of a local variety and were white, not the orange we expected. The fish, as expected, was excellent and the cakes were crunchy on the outside while light and fluffy on the inside. Yum:

I opted for the grilled snapper in sesame butter sauce, served with wok-cooked vegetables and steamed rice. The fish was tender, flaky and juicy while the veggies were nice and crispy, not at all overcooked. And the sesame butter sauce? To die for. I could put that sauce on everything: chicken, fish, toast…whatever.

We contemplated dessert, but decided instead to go grab some mix for the rum we had back at the B&B and have a couple of nightcaps instead. Fresh pineapple juice & rum in hand, we wrapped up the night hanging out on our porch, staring up at the star-strewn sky and listening to water lap against the beach. Paradise.

Belize 2012: Day Three – Adventurin’!

8 Mar

Finally! It’s climbin’ ruins day! Time to clamber over history…in a good way. We got up at a reasonable hour so we could have some breakfast. After a rather large breakfast the day before, I thought I’d go for something a little lighter. I had a look at the menu and decided on the continental breakfast: a fruit plate with toast, butter & jam. Seeing as I don’t generally eat all that much in the morning, especially earlier in the morning, this sounded about right. The waiter explained that each breakfast came with a fruit bowl – even the continental option. Did I still want the continental, he asked. Sure, I responded. No one else at the table was going to have as much fruit as I would, so I figured we could just share.

Our small fruit plates arrived, with pineapple, orange segments and bananas. Lovely way to start. As we sipped our coffee, the larger plates arrived one after the other: eggs with refried beans, pancakes and then mine. This was, without hyperbole, the largest plate of fruit for one in existence. Ever. None will be larger. It was filled with papaya, bananas, pineapple, kiwi, starfruit, oranges, apple slices, grapes…it was endless. I wish I had thought to bring my camera to breakfast so I could take a picture of the absurdly portioned plate; alas, my brain does not engage until I’ve had some coffee. By the time everyone was finished their breakfast, I was only halfway through. Don’t get me wrong: the fruit was fresh and delicious. No human could eat it all, though. Maybe a little less fruit, a little more toast. Live and learn.

My in-laws dropped us off at the hand-cranked ferry that takes you the short distance across the river and we began our long, steep, hot climb that would take us to Xunantunich. We were under the impression (okay..I was. J was totally right on this one) that you had to walk up the hill to get there – an impression that was shattered as several cars whizzed past us in all their air conditioned glory.

Just the beginning.

Fortunately for us, we have young legs and a lot of determination. We paused briefly to pay the inexpensive entrance fee and were mildly horrified to find out there was more hill to climb before reaching our final destination. The man in the booth looked amused at our horror and clarified that we only had a few more minutes of walking to do and sent us on our way. As unexpectedly tough as that initial walk was, it was completely worth it when we came around a corner and saw this:

Temple at Xunantunich.

Folks, it is a long way up there. Once you reach the summit, however, the view is absolutely breathtaking. It feels like you can see the entire country. It’s nothing but rolling green hills dotted with the occasional house. Spectacular.

The view from on high.

We hung out at the top of the temple for quite some time, soaking in the view and imagining what it would have been like to have lived as the Mayans had (what if you were a Mayan ruler afraid of heights?), we decided to make the trip back down. My friends, the descent was far more frightening than the ascent, I must tell you. Deciding that my life was more important than my dignity, I took a few of the steps on my butt. I think J found this a little ridiculous considering I’d been swinging my legs over the ledge at the top a few moments earlier…

We spent the rest of the day scrounging up some lunch of tamales stuffed with chicken, swimming at the infinity pool…and eating dinner. It’s a tough life on vacation. J and I both opted to have the black lentil soup with sausage and fry jack and the shrimp & fish combo served with a jalapeno cream sauce. To. Die. For:

After a long day of climbin’ and eatin’ we headed off to bed to dream of ancient civilizations and their fish. My dreams are a little weird.

foodNURD is Officially on Vacation!

18 Feb

Hey, all! I’m off on vacation for a couple of weeks, so foodNURD won’t have any updates for a while. J and I are off to Belize for the second time in two years. Spectacular country with amazing people and, importantly, delectable fresh food. Looking forward to getting my fill of fresh seafood: conch and shrimp ceviche, grouper, red snapper…it goes on. Not to mention excellent, homemade Latin American faves like panades, salbutes and garnachas! And let’s not forget the $2.50 Belikin beers…

I’ve posted a few pics below for you to feast your eyes on. Many more to come upon my return!

Broiled Sea Bass w/ Coconut Curry Sauce

23 Jan

To all my fabulous readers: if you do nothing else, make friends with a fishmonger. They will always steer you right. There happens to be a fabulous fish store not too far from where I live (Avenue Seafood) and we’ve been getting great stuff from them for years. I walked in yesterday intending to buy some halibut fillets. The matriarch of the store shook her head – almost violently: “No, you don’t want the halibut. Look at these fillets: they’re not good enough for you. What else can I offer you? I have some great cod, or maybe some sea bass? How about some sea bass? I have some beautiful fish in the back!” I have learned from experience, just go with what she says. Since I was in the mood to try something new anyway, the sea bass was just fine with me.

(A note about sea bass: try to avoid buying Chilean as they are terribly over-fished.)

I surfed around the internet for a bit for inspiration and finally hit on some Indian-flavoured dishes that served as a jumping off point. Here’s what I ended up with. You’ll need about an hour total for this as the sauce needs to reduce and thicken. It’s an incredibly simple recipe, though, that requires almost no prep work at all. Just make sure to keep an eye on your sauce so it doesn’t bubble over.

Serves 2.

Ingredients

1 tb vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 ts curry powder
1 13oz can coconut milk
1/2 c chicken stock (low sodium if store-bought)
2 ts salt, plus more for seasoning the fish
1 ts pepper, plus more for seasoning the fish
1 ts fish sauce
1 dash chili powder, optional
1 tb lemon juice
2 sea bass fillets

Directions

1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and curry powder. Sauté until onions are translucent, approximately 4 minutes.
2. Add in the coconut milk and chicken stock. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.
3. Add in the salt, pepper, fish sauce and chili powder. Lower heat and let the sauce simmer for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste every once in a while and adjust seasoning as necessary.
4.  Add in the lemon juice at the end and stir.
5. Meanwhile, heat the broiler and place the oven rack roughly 2″ from the top.
6. Line a sheet with foil and place the fish on top. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 8 minutes, until the fish is opaque.
7. Plate the fish and generously spoon the sauce over the top.  Best served with over rice to absorb the extra sauce.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Crispy Cod Sandwich

20 Jan

I’m a big cod fan (as evidenced by the many portions of cod I had in Vancouver) but I don’t always think to buy it. We’re trying to eat more fish at home and while we love salmon & tilapia, we were due for a change. So to the  fabulous Bite Me cookbook we turned and tried this recipe out. The cod came out buttery with a great crispy cornmeal coating and the homemade tartar sauce that accompanied it? More, please. J substituted hamburger buns for onion buns and I think it came out better that way.

Serves 6.

Ingredients

1/2 c yellow cornmeal
1/2 ts salt
1/4 ts pepper
1/4 c milk
6 cod fillets
1 c mayo
1/4 c chopped pickles
1 tb lemon juice
2 ts Dijon mustard
pinch of cayenne (or more if you want it to be spicy!)
6 buns
shredded lettuce

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with foil and use some cooking spray to ensure the fish won’t stick.
2. Combine the cornmeal, salt & pepper in a bowl. In a separate bowl, pour the milk.
3. Dip the fish in the milk first, then dredge it into the cornmeal mixture.
4. Bake for 7 minutes. Then flip over the fishy and bake another 6 minutes.
5. For the tartar sauce,  whisk together the mayo, pickles, lemon juice, Dijon and cayenne.
6. Toast the buns and then smear the insides with the tartar sauce. Place the fish in the buns, top with lettuce and voila!

Sunday Dinners: Spice-Rubbed Tilapia with “Papango” Salsa

6 Sep

The first question I expect you’re asking is, “What the hell is papango salsa?” Good question. Glad you asked!
I found a recipe for tilapia with mango salsa and while it sounded delicious, I thought it could be even better with a little more sweetness from a papaya. Thus, papango salsa was born.

On with the recipe…

Serves 2.

Ingredients

2 tilapia filets
3 ts chili powder
3 ts cumin
2 ts oregano
1 ts kosher salt
1 ts pepper
2 ts olive oil
1 small mango, diced
1/2 papaya, diced
1/2 orange or red pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1/2 lime (juice)
dash salt & pepper

Directions

Salsa

1. Combine the mango, papaya, pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice salt & pepper and set aside for the flavors to mix. *Note: if you make the salsa more than an hour ahead of dinner, do not add the salt. It will pull out a lot of the moisture in the fruit and the salsa will be watery. Instead, add it before you start cooking the fish.

Tilapia

1. In a bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt & pepper. Taste and adjust to taste, if desired.
2. Coat the fish in the seasoning evenly. (A fork works really well for sprinkling the seasoning evenly if you don’t want to use your fingers.)
3.Heat up olive oil in a large pan to medium high.
4. Add the fish to the pan and cook for 3 minutes per side.
5. When the fish is cooked through, plate and top with salsa.
 

%d bloggers like this: