Any Kitchen Will Do

Give me a kitchen and I will cook.

Archive for the category “fish”

Baked Tilapia

bakedparmesantilapiaIf you scroll through my recipes you will notice there are not many including fish. Not because I dislike fish, for I really like it, especially salmon and tuna. I think it is because I consider it more delicate and not as filling as other proteins, like beef, pork and chicken. When I think about stocking the refrigerator with a few days worth of leftovers I don’t lean towards fish.

That said, this recipe for tilapia was absolutely delicious! The creamy sauce with egg and cheese protected the fish, allowing it to get cooked sufficiently without drying out. It was flavorful but not so strongly seasoned that it overpowered the fish. Surrounded by mashed cauliflower and sautéed baby spinach, it made for a lovely dinner. And the leftovers were good too!

Baked Parmesan Tilapia

1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon dill leaves
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup lemon juice 
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs, beaten
8 tilapia fillets, deboned
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium skillet over medium heat melt the butter. When it begins to bubble add the garlic and chives. 
Sauté until garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat. 

Add lemon juice and stir. Add cream and stir until incorporated. By this time the sauce should be cool 
enough to not cook the eggs. Add the  salt and eggs, whisking until combined.

In a 9x13 inch baking dish pour a thin layer of sauce in the bottom, no more that a fourth of the sauce.

Arrange the fish in the dish. If the fillets need to overlap, do so with the thin ends. Pour the rest of the sauce 
on top, gently lifting pieces of fillet that overlap, letting sauce spread.

Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Bake fish for 15 minutes until fish is flaking. 

Remove from oven and serve immediately.


Tuna Avocado Cups


We will be moving (again) soon. Not far and not dramatically, just to a different town. As always, there is a process prior to our moves that involve a cleansing. Cleansing of stuff of all kinds, including the contents of the pantry, freezer and fridge. This cleansing project has resulted in eating leftovers and staples with which I have not been very creative. The process is neither bad nor good, but the lack of creativity resulted in a lack of posts lately.

In my attempt to reconcile the posting situation I realized I was hungry for lunch and had two hankerings – tuna and avocado. I stocked up on some avocados a few days ago and they were finally, wonderfully ripe. Here is what I did with my hankerings and had a filling, satisfying lunch that did not take long at all to make.

Of course you can use any of many cold salads to fill avocado halves, like my Mustard Chicken Salad, Don’t Have To Choose Salad, Walnut Chicken Salad, Dilly Egg Salad, or even the exotic and vegetarian Japanese Eggplant Tomato Salad.  I used my old, reliable tuna salad this time, which I just realized I never posted about. Well, then, I am multitasking and did not know it!

Tuna Avocado Cups

2 ripe avocados
10-12 ounces wild caught tuna in water
1 medium dill pickle, finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion or 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1 clove garlic, finely minced or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried dill leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Dash ground black pepper

In a medium bowl whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Add tuna and stir with a fork until tuna is broken up and coated with mayonnaise mixture.

Slice avocados in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Lightly sprinkle halves with salt. Spoon tuna salad into halves, molding it into a pretty mound. Serve immediately with some cheese and raw vegetables.

Simple Salmon Frittata

salmon frittata

I have shared a frittata recipe with you before, but the ingredients this time combined so nicely, and made such a great weekend breakfast that I decided to share another. Living in Southeast Alaska there is a year round craving for seafood, but it gets magnified as the spring days get longer, and the call to play outside with fewer layers on gets stronger. Our smoker has been busy flavoring meats, vegetables and cheeses for us all winter, but now we ask it to prepare our salmon. A local fish shop – and I mean a fish shop that sells catches from local fisherpeople – Pinkies, had some beautiful, fresh King Salmon. The smoker used alder wonderfully to compliment it, so we feasted on some wonderful marine life. The King Salmon is a big fish, so the leftovers were waiting on us the next morning. I get very used to tossing onion and garlic into many morning egg dishes, but I also leave them out sometimes, depending on the ingredients. This time I chose to let the salmon sing, and it did! I used smoked salmon, but any leftover cooked salmon would work.

Salmon Frittata

8 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Dash dried red chili flakes
4 ounces smoked salmon, roughly chopped
3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cup Colby jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crack eggs into a medium bowl and whisk until slightly frothy. Whisk in cream salt, pepper, chili flakes and 1 tsp of dill. Grease a 9×9 baking or pie dish. Pour in egg mixture. Sprinkle salmon and bacon evenly into the egg mixture. It should sink down into the egg. Follow the fish and bacon with the Colby Jack cheese and then mozzarella cheese. Spread the last of the dill weed and a bit more salt on top. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until edges are browning, middle egg is set and middle cheese is slightly bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for about ten minutes. Slice and serve.

Smoked Salmon Spread Crudite

sss crudite celery smallsss crudite tomato smallsss crudite cheese small

With the holiday season upon us, I find there are three versions of being a guest. The first is the kind where you just show up with a host(ess) gift and enjoy the evening, offering to help, but getting the expected, “oh no, I got it, you just relax”. Sometimes I just relax, and other times I relax by helping. The second is when you are expected to arrive with a side dish or appetizer. There is always the wondering about who can and cannot eat the ingredients you use, much less whether or not it will come out right. You cannot even taste the results of say, a pie, because the pretty presentation would be ruined! Yes, you might have made two, but what if you didn’t? How dare you even think of cutting into the puffy, browned top of sweet potato casserole or lattice topped cherry pie! I have been pretty lucky in the past, but I have also been known to accidentally mix up salt and sugar – yowza! The third version is the grand American tradition of potluck. If it is laid back and you can bring anything, go crazy! Make what you want, cut it into portions and taste a bit to make sure it is perfect; bring it hot, bring it cold, whatever! I like all three versions because they all involve two things I love – cooking and enjoying the company of people I care about. This year has been busy with our family being in limbo, then moving, then having complications with moving, then a new job. Through it all we had a wonderful little girl who hung in there with us through all the changes. For all these reasons we are keeping our holidays simple this year, focusing on enjoying the company of our little family and of our new friends. We are planning cooking marathons, as usual, for the holidays, but they will be a little smaller, including simple appetizers. This simple recipe for crudité can be adjusted to accommodate all types of diets and give variety to a meal, either before or during – even make them a meal on their own. They can fit any version of being a guest, or as a host(ess). Change up the vegetables and cheeses – pretty much anything you can cut in half and fill or top (carrots, cucumbers, olives, pickles). Of course, crisped bread or crackers would work too! I hope you enjoy the holidays and spend more time with your loved ones than you do in the stores, because when it is all said and done, the people are what give you purpose.

Smoked Salmon Spread Crudité

1 cup cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup sour cream
4 ounces smoked salmon, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp fresh dill, chopped (and a bit more for optional garnish)
2 celery stalks
5 large cherry tomatoes
5 – 10 slices sharp white cheddar cheese

Whisk together cream cheese and sour cream. Add salmon and garlic, folding it into the cheese mixture until well combined. Chill for about an hour. While it chills prepare the serving bases. Clean celery stalks, peel off tough strings and cut into 1 – 2 inch sticks. Clean tomatoes and slice in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and meat and pat dry. Slice cheese into 1 – 2 inch squares, making them thick enough to pick up and take a few bites out of, but thin enough not to over cheese the bites – a bit thicker than sandwich slices. Spread the spread (heh) on all the bases, taking time to form it to compliment the shape of the base – round like a tomato, within the crevice of the celery, and a bit random to soften the edges of the cheese slices. Top with dill if you please. Serve immediately or chill until time to serve/leave for the party.

Poached Salmon

poached salmon

As we head towards our new home in Alaska I ponder the loveliness of the salmon we can get up there. The salmon season is coming to an end as I type, but the bounty will be enjoyed all year. I get a serious craving about once a week for salmon. I have been trying to appreciate Atlantic salmon, but the taste is a bit too mild for me, compared to Alaskan and Pacific versions. Depending on my craving, I vary the preparation – do I want tart, or sweet and spicy, or maybe traditional dill with citrus? I should have called this post ‘variations on a salmon’ because each time I make it the ingredients vary. I am going to discipline myself for the time being and make sure you have a good base recipe, then list some variations that give the salmon a subtly different flavor. I am all kinds of in the mood for salmon lately, because thoughts of Alaska remind me of it so! We are excited to return to the most awesome state ever, and the home of the bestest salmon ever. Even if you can’t find the freshest or never frozen salmon, this recipe still works on any piece, as long as it is completely thawed. As you see, we like our salmon warm but still pink in the middle – to each his/her own…

Poached Salmon

1 – 2 pound fresh salmon fillet
1 lemon
4 Tbsp vinegar (champagne, red wine or white wine)
2 Tbsp butter or extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Additional ingredients from the variations below

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a shallow baking sheet place a piece of aluminum foil – twice the length plus about four inches – with the center of the foil in the center of the pan. Place the salmon fillet skin side down in the middle of the foil and bend up the foil edges, so the liquid does not leak out. Drizzle juice from half the lemon over the fish, followed by drizzling vinegar. Sprinkle salt over fillet lightly. Add any additional ingredients from the variations below. For variations with liquid ingredients I recommend mixing them all together before adding to the fish. Fold over the edges of the foil and seal into a pouch so no fish is exposed. Bake for 15 – 25 minutes until desired doneness. It is better to under cook than over cook, then let it set outside the oven covered up – it will still cook and reduce the risk of it overcooking and getting dry.


1 Tbsp fresh dill
1 clove garlic, finely minced


2 tsp ginger, freshly grated
2 Tbsp soy sauce (gluten free if you are sensitive, because regular soy sauce has wheat in it)


3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin


1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tsp ginger, freshly grated


1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp garlic powder
1tsp onion powder

Salmon Patties

salmon patties
I got nostalgic on this one, in many respects. I was craving salmon and began remembering the patties my mom used to make with the canned stuff when I was little. I liked them, but always got a little shiver when I came across one of the soft, yet still crunchy pieces of bone from the canned salmon. I still recall not being able to decide whether the shiver was fun or not. The soft bone was easily chewable but always a surprise in the otherwise non-chewy dish. Another nostalgia point was from my time living in Juneau, Alaska. In late summer and early fall the salmon pile up on each other in an effort to swim upstream and practically jump out of the water into your arms. You have to make sure they are not aiming for bear arms, but after the all clear on the bear front, you can just grab the slippery suckers. Needless to say, even if you don’t fish there is a bounty of salmon, from ‘dogs’, also known as chum salmon, to the sweet, naturally bright red meat of the sockeye salmon. Living in Juneau you are surrounded by fisherpeople who get their maximum catch as often as they can and they share share share. It can be smoked, steamed, grilled, marinated, chopped, dried, jarred, canned….which brings me to this recipe. For this recipe I used canned pink salmon, which in this case is wild caught from Alaska. Not ideal, compared to the taste of the stuff that was swimming in the creek this morning, but effective in my effort to combine the nostalgie, and the fact that the only fresh salmon found in Maryland is Atlantic. Sigh. And as Big D said, these were the first salmon patties he ever had that were not dry and Little B enjoyed them, too. Score!

Salmon Cakes

1 can pink salmon, drained with spine and other bones removed
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 eggs
1 lemon, juiced with meat included
½ – 2/3 cup golden flaxseed meal
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp dried parsley leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ cup coconut oil

In medium bowl add salmon and break it up into small flakes. Make a pool in the middle of the salmon and drop in yogurt, eggs, salt, thyme, parsley, garlic and dill. Whisk together egg, lemon juice and yogurt mixture with a fork until eggs are broken up. Toss egg mixture with salmon until combined. Add ½ cup of the meal and stir. Let sit for a minute or two. While you wait add the coconut oil to a medium skillet and heat to medium high. If the salmon mixture is not thick enough to drop into the oil and hold shape as patties (thicker than pancake batter, thinner than, say, tuna salad) add some more meal and stir it in until thicker. Drop a large spoonful of mixture into the skillet and gently flatten so it is of even thickness and about two inches in diameter. Cook until the patties set and begin to brown on the edges, about 2 minutes. Gently flip the patties and cook for another minute or two. Repeat process until all the patties are cooked. Serve with zucchini wedges or other veggies.

Don’t Have To Choose Salad


My food hankering today was conflicting. Do I want egg salad, tuna salad or guacamole? To take full advantage of my indecisiveness I decided to combine them all. I have never combined the three dishes before, so why not now? I wanted the flavor of all three to be present and also work together. I think I did a pretty good job, and it was a great way to use up the last avocado sitting on the counter – not enough for guacamole, or for topping a batch of chicken, but such a delicious thing shouldn’t go to waste. Tuna is a great way to add protein to a dish, even if there is already protein eking out of the avocado and egg. This salad was delicious sitting atop toasted Julian’s paleo bread. Reminded me of egg salad sandwiches on Lenten Fridays when I was a kid. We would have macaroni and cheese, salmon patties, tuna or egg salad. I understand the symbolism of no meat on Fridays, but feeling less lust or anger in the absence of meat on my part was not actually achieved. Feeling an excess of either was not an issue when I was a child, but one day a week is not what I consider an actual test. To get away from the nostalgic and dogmatic reasons for making the salad, it met my hankering and indecisive needs.

Don’t Have To Choose Salad

1 large ripe avocado
8 – 10 hard boiled eggs
1 5-ounce can tuna packed in water, drained
½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp stone ground mustard
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp chili powder
Sprinkle of ground black pepper

In a large bowl mix yogurt, juice, mustard, salt, cumin, chili powder and pepper. Roughly chop eggs and avocado into pieces about the same size. Gently mix the tuna, avocado and eggs with the dressing, trying not to smash much of it. Chill for about an hour before serving.


Tuna Salad Sautee

To me summer means eating cool salads. Whether they are cobb, chef, walnut, chicken or tuna, the cool salad always makes me feel happy as the temperatures rise. The word sautee to me sounds like a hot dish, but after the sautee portion of this salad cools off and is chilled, you won’t think of sautee the same again. The sweet of the onion and garlic works really well with the tuna and egg. The bite added by the mustard makes you want to alternate salad bites with those of some chocolate zebra heirloom tomatoes you picked up at the farmers’ market. Oh, that is me. But if you come across some, grab them! They are dark red and purple and green and smell marvelous. The market in Silver Spring was exploding with vegetables, and we could not pass up these tomatoes, which actually taste like a soft red wine to me…kind of a pinot noir or shiraz. They were delish, and went well with my tuna salad sautee creation. Happy summer!!!

Tuna Salad Sautee

4 small cans tuna in water
4 boiled eggs
1 tsp olive oil
½ small sweet onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp horseradish mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil in small pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sautee until browned and beginning to caramelize. Set aside to cool while the rest of the salad is prepared. Drain water from tuna into small bowl. Place tuna in mixing bowl and serve tuna liquid to eager cats. Roughly chop eggs and add them to the tuna. Add mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper to tuna. Stir ingredients until mixed. Add onion and garlic and stir some more until all the dark pieces are pretty evenly distributed. Chill for at least an hour before serving.


Tilapia Tacos

One of my favorite past times is kayaking. Big D and I have sit-on-top kayaks we use in warmer climates, while our sit-inside kayaks and spray skirts are reserved for colder places. Besides allowing us to paddle to shallow nooks and crannies boats often cannot go, the kayaks keep me on top of the water. I never really like that vulnerable feeling when I have my feet dangling down where they cannot touch the bottom, wondering if my wiggling toes are calling large sea mammals to come feast. It is irrational and I do not get to the point where I freeze with fear, but my imagination sure runs wild. Yes, I may be able to blame images from Jaws or Deep Blue Sea for giving me trepidations, and (mom, don’t read this) I have in fact landed in the ocean with feet dangling over the abyss, hanging on the edge of my kayak while waves roll me around. Good thing I can swim and can heave ho myself back into my kayak. I can stand here today and say with confidence that I have not yet been eaten by any sea creatures, though I am pretty sure a few have come close and considered a snack. All of this kayak talk is leading me to my solution for using up some beautifully ripe tomatoes and avocados.

I appreciate the taste of fresh fish on fresh corn tortillas, topped with things like the previously mentioned beautifully ripe tomatoes and avocados. Such concoctions are called fish tacos in my world. When I am done kayaking for the day, and famished, I am rarely interested in cooking. I want food. Immediately. Made by someone else. Since it is a must to be near water when kayaking, it is pretty much guaranteed there is someone cooking up seafood at nearby restaurants. I will trudge over to the nearest joint, regardless of my sandy and salty and bedraggled state, drink a ton of water and chow down. When I am not eating shrimp or oysters at said restaurants I like fish tacos – a mix of fresh vegetables and fresh fish all swaddled in corn tortillas. After watching fish swim by and under me all day I can’t help but think about eating them. I have discovered in my travels the preparation of fish tacos varies in the U.S. from coast to coast to coast (yes, there are at least three in the contiguous U.S.). Here is the way I like them.

Tilapia Tacos

2 tilapia fillets
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
1 lime, juiced with meat included
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp salt
¼ head green or red cabbage
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp sour cream
1 tsp Crystal® hot sauce
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
1 avocado, diced
¼ cup cilantro leaves
6 corn tortillas

Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice, chili powder and salt in a bag that can be sealed. Add fillets and toss gently until the fish is covered by the marinade. Push air out of the bag and seal, marinating for at least an hour, flipping it over about half way through. For the coleslaw chop the cabbage thinly and then across, making short, bite-size pieces. Combine vinegar, sour cream, hot sauce, salt, pepper and cumin. Toss with cabbage. Refrigerate until tacos are served. Preheat oven to 300F. Brush the remaining olive oil on both sides of the corn tortillas, placing them on a large cookie sheet. While cooking the fish pop the tortillas in the oven. They should be ready about the same time as the fish – they just need to be heated up, not browned or crisped. Heat a pan on the stove top to medium high. Cut each fillet into three or four pieces, depending on the size of the fillets. Add the fish to the dry heated pan and cook about three minutes on each side, until cooked through. There should be enough oil on the fish to cook them without adding more oil, but if not, you may need to add a splash more while cooking. Remember: dry fish is gross fish! Before serving break up the fish into even smaller pieces, allowing them to better mix with the other ingredients when added to the tacos. Fill tortillas with fish, coleslaw, tomato, avocado and cilantro. Eat up! I tend to put the slaw on top so the dressing can drip down onto the rest of the taco contents. After a few bites sprinkle on some hot sauce if the tacos are not spicy enough.

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