Grilled Salmon with Corn, Tomato, & Avocado Salsa

There are so many great things available in our co-op lately – that I really can’t seem to make a decision as to what I want each week.  This week, I got a ton of stuff, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, corn on the cob, cucumbers, avocados and more… I don’t want any of it to go bad, so I’m trying to combine as many ingredients as possible in each meal.  I bought some beautiful fish this week, too – so I decided to make Grilled Salmon with Corn, Tomato, & Avocado Salsa.  Here’s what we did:

  • 4 pieces of salmon
  • 6 ears of corn, cleaned
  • 5 super ripe tomatoes
  • 3 avocados
  • 1 lime
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Put up a big pot of water and when it starts to boil, put the corn in the water and turn it off.  The corn will be done in just a few minutes, but because it’s not boiling away, the time is more forgiving and it can sit a while if you get caught up in something else.  Remove from water and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, take the salmon out of the fridge, unwrap and pat down with a paper towel – you want the fish to be as dry as possible – I like to pat down the skin and flesh sides as that will help to crisp up the skin.  Allow the fish to sit out a little bit, just until it comes almost to room temperature.

Delicious Salmon

When the corn is cool enough to handle, take a sharp knife and remove the kernels.

Sweet, Local Corn

Chop the tomatoes, pretty small..

Juicy, Ripe Tomatoes

Add them to the corn, chop the avocado and squeeze the juice of the lime over everything.

Salsa

Cover and set aside.

Heat a grill pan on med/high heat and brush some olive oil on the fish (skin side) – season with salt and pepper.  Put the fish on the grill skin side down and cook until the skin gets crispy (if the fish was too wet, the skin won’t get crispy, but that’s ok – turn when the color changes almost half way up the fish).

Grilling the Salmon

Flip and cook on the flesh side (just a couple of minutes).

Plate the fish, spoon some salsa – and we served it with a tossed salad.  Drizzle a little oil over the whole plate – salt and pepper to taste and voila!  Healthy, delicious, easy dinner!

Salmon Dinner



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Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranates

There are so many reasons to love Fall – two of them are Brussels sprouts and pomegranates. The combination of these two foods is remarkable.  Bitter earthy sprouts, with sweet, tart pomegranates are just made for each other and they’re so pretty.  The bright green against the ruby red – I just love this. And easy?  So easy.

  • a whole mess of Brussels sprouts (I think I had two pounds)
  • 2 pomegranates
  • a big glub of olive oil
  • Sea salt (kosher salt would be ok – but I love the Mediterranean sea salt)

Clean the sprouts well – they can be pretty dirty. Cut the sprouts in half and trim the hard stem part from the end. put on a sheet pan and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

For the pomegranates… well there are lots of ways that people tell you to prepare them.  This is my favorite.  When he mentions that you should score the pomegranate, take him at his word. If you cut too deep, rather than just scoring – you’ll make a mess.

Pick through to make sure you don’t have a lot of membrane and pour the seeds onto the sheet pan with the sprouts.  Pour a big glub of olive oil and a couple of big pinches of salt over everything and using your hands, toss well to make sure everything is coated.

Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranates

Cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the sprouts are tender enough to bite. We served them with roasted chicken breast that we browned in a pan on both sides for about 4 minutes per side and the roasted in the oven for the length of time that it took to get the veggies cooked – about 20-25 minutes.

The balance of flavors and the beautiful colors make this a very appetizing dish – I would say you could make this, not only for a weeknight dinner, but it would make a beautiful addition to a winter holiday meal.

Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranates with Roasted Chicken Breast



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Roasted Eggplant and Okra

This week the local co-op had eggplant and okra available and I knew I had to do something fabulous with them, so I made a roasted eggplant and okra with peppers and onions along side a grilled, local, grass fed, chemical and hormone free skirt steak and a tossed salad.  Simple, fast, healthy and delicious!

  • 2 lbs. eggplant (I had the long, slender, ichiban) halved and cut into 1/2 in. pieces
  • 2 lbs. okra cut into 1/2 in. pieces
  • a handful of small, sweet peppers, chopped into 1/2 in. pieces (or 2 bell peppers)
  • 2 med onions peeled and sliced into wedges
  • 5 cloves garlic peeled and diced
  • salt
  • olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400. Try to cut the eggplant, okra and onions into similarly sized pieces so that they cook evenly.  Put all the vegetables on a sheet pan, pour olive oil over all and salt.  Using your hands, toss to make sure that all the vegetables are coated.

Evenly chopped for even cooking times

Cook for 30-40 minutes or until the eggplant is soft.

Roasted eggplant and okra

Somewhere between summer and fall, this is a great option for all the vegetables in season right now.



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Grilled Fish with Black Bean Salsa

Have you ever craved cilantro?  I crave it a lot and I’m always looking for different ways to use it. This was fast, easy and delicious! I was afraid that adding the beans would make it to heavy, but the fish is so light and fresh that it was perfect.  I hope you enjoy this dish of grilled fish with black bean salsa.

  • 4 filets of trigger fish (any fish that you love, would be perfect)
  • 2 cucumbers peeled and diced
  • 5 tomatoes diced
  • 6 small sweet peppers (or one red, yellow or orange bell) seeded and diced
  • 2 small serrano peppers (or any of your favorite pepper with a little bit of heat) seeded and diced
  • 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 small bunch cilantro leaves chopped
  • big pinch of salt
  • juice of one lime
  • romain lettuce hearts (I used three)

Combine all ingredients from the cucumber to the lime. Cover and set aside.

The beginning of the salsa

Preheat the grill pan (or outdoor grill), score the skin of the filets to keep them from curling up and grill flesh side down for about 3 minutes or until you have nice grill marks, flip and grill on the other side until the fish is flaky

Serve the filet on a bed of chopped romaine, and top with salsa.  Tasty, healthy, easier than you can imagine.  You could substitute lots of different proteins, different vegetables, this is really versatile and really delicious.

Trigger Fish with Black Bean Salsa



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Sautéed Chicken Breast with a Fresh Tomato and Artichoke Heart Sauce

I picked up 3 lbs. of farm fresh tomatoes today and when I got home, I realized that i still had four of them left from last week.  I knew I needed to use them so I decided to make a fresh tomato sauce. I happened to have 2 boxes of frozen artichoke hearts, so they got added as well. Add a side salad and you have a very satisfying and delicious healthy, lower carb meal. The measurement aren’t very important and you could upsize or downsize this as you see fit.

  • 1 medium shallot chopped
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 pkg. frozen artichoke hearts, prepared via stove top or microwave cooking directions and set aside
  • 4 large tomatoes chopped
  • Sea (or Kosher) salt

Preheat the oven for 400.  Heat a saute pan to med/high heat – add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil and when it ribbons, place the breasts, good side down into the pan.  You get the best brown on the first side, so I always like to cook the presenatation side first.

After about 4-5 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts, flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a foil lined sheet and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

About 5 minutes before the chicken is done, heat the same saute pan to med/high heat.  Add about a tablespoon more of the vegetable oil and then the shallot, and cook for a couple of minutes until it softens.

Add the tomatoes and a very big pinch of salt and cook the tomatoes down – they’ll start to release all their juice and soften. Don’t forget to scrape the chicken bits off the bottom of the pan at this point, they’ll come right up and add tons of flavor.

Add the artichoke hearts and saute until everything is hot.

Plate a chicken breast and spoon the sauce over the top.  Grind a little black pepper over everything.

Fresh and delicious – do not try to skip the salting step, it makes all the difference.  This was so easy and good and I could think of a million variations.  Maybe some parsley and lemon, or basil and garlic, or black olives and capers.  Tossed into some pasta would be wonderful…You could really eat this over fish too – Endless possibilities.



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Mustard Roasted Snapper and Oven Roasted Broccoli Greens

So, I went to get my fish for the weekend and my eggs and my co-op share and I wanted to make something like this recipe for mustard roasted fish from Ina Garten, but I also had broccoli greens and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with them.  I searched for some ideas and found and this recipe for roasting broccoli greens.

Of course, I wanted them to tie together somehow, so this is what I did:

  • 2 large red snapper filets
  • Broccoli greens (or any kind of greens, I think I had 1.5 lbs.)
  • about 3 tablespoons of dijon mustard
  • about 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • about 3 tablespoons of sour cream – I had no creme fraiche and didn’t feel like going out.
  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 large shallot, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic chopped

Preheat the oven to 425.  Wash your greens thouroghly.  These can be really dirty, so I soak, then rinse each leaf seperately to make sure they’re clean. Lay them out in a roasting dish – I needed two.

Sprinkle the garlic over the greens, then drizzle them with sesame oil and then a healthy glub of olive oil and soy sauce.  I didn’t really toss them, but I did move some of the leaves around so that the oil and garlic could drip down.

Put them in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes.

On a foil lined sheet pan, layout the fish.

Liberally salt and pepper the filets.

Combine the mustards, sour cream. about a tablespoon of soy sauce, and the shallot, stir to combine and then spoon over the fish making sure to cover it really well.

Check on the greens and if they’re starting to look cooked and even crunchy, put the fish in and cook for about 10-12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily in the thickest part of the filet.

Plate a pile of the greens and lay a half of each filet on top.

The fish was so good that by the time I took this picture, my children had almost finished theirs!  They were so excited about how tasty it was.  Each bite was perfect… the tangy mustards, the sour cream and the little bite of shallot was so satisfying and delicious!

We’re still working on the love for greens in my house.  These were interesting.  Some were almost like chips, and others tasted like collards. I think I would chop them instead of leaving the leaves whole next time.  Really quite tasty, but definitely a bitter green – I was expecting more of a spring green. We’re going to work on the greens a bit, but I know we’re going to eat this mustard roasted fish quite often!

Serves 4.



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Portabella Pizza with Roasted Eggplant, Garlic and Asparagus

 

Still cutting down on our carb intake, we decided that we wanted portabella pizza.  I haven’t made this in years, but I also had eggplant and asparagus that needed to be used, so I decided to combine the whole thing.

  • 4 large portabella mushroom caps
  • 1/2 an eggplant (I roasted the whole thing – and I’ll use the other half in hummus)
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 2 bunches of asparagus (this is the time to use the really thick stalks)
  • Tomato sauce (I used half a box of the Pomi chopped tomatoes)
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • olive oil
  • olive oil flavored non-stick spray
  • kosher or sea salt

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Slit the eggplant in half, cut the bottom off the garlic, oil them up and wrap garlic in foil. (Full instructions here if you need them).  Put in the oven and cook for 40 minutes.

Prep your asparagus, but snapping the tough parts off, if they’re really thick you might want to peel them a bit, I didn’t.  Cut into 2 or 3 pieces per stalk and toss with olive oil and salt on a lined, lipped baking sheet. 15 minutes into your eggplant/garlic cooking time, put the asparagus into the oven as well.  The asparagus is going to cook about 25 minutes – if yours are not as thick, adjust your cooking times.

Pull them both out of the oven when they look like this and set aside.  (in my photograph, I’ve already unwrapped the garlic, so they’ve been sitting a while)

 

Turn the oven down to 350.

Prep your mushroom caps by wiping the tops with a damp towel to remove any dirt.

Pop the stems out – just grab what you can of the stem and bend to the side, it will pop right out.

I like to take the gills out, I just don’t like the texture, but some people love it.  Do what you prefer.  I just take a spoon and gently scrape them out.  Get a fresh piece of foil and use the same tray that you did for the veggies.

Cook for 5-10 minutes, remove from oven and spray on both sides with non-stick spray.

Scrape the eggplant from it’s skin and squeeze the garlic out of its paper.  Put a bit of each on each mushroom cap.  Roasted garlic is very mellow, so don’t be afraid of using too much. It’s sweet and delicious.

Spoon some chopped tomatoes on top of that.

 

Pat down with your spoon so that the tomato sauce covers the surface

Put some asparagus on top of the tomato

and sprinkle some cheese over that

Put back into the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted.  You could put this back in under the broiler if you like your cheese a little brown, but my whole family was standing in the kitchen at this point and it smelled so good that they were not about to wait another minute.  I plated each with some of the left over asparagus.

Then, I had the brilliant idea to rip some fresh basil leaves over the top.

Yeah. Like that.

I thought these were going to be light, so I served it with a tossed salad, but they were surprisingly satisfying!  Delicious.



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Grilled Mahi with Pineapple Watermelon Salsa

Bear with me here.  There are a lot of steps to this meal, but they are ridiculously easy – in the end, I promise the meal is worth the effort.  Invite some friends over to help with chopping.  Drink a lot of wine to help this process go quickly… That’s what I did.

7 really ripe plum tomatoes
1 ripe pineapple
1 ripe seedless watermelon (the little round ones)
1 red onion diced
3 big cloves of garlic
1 big bunch of cilantro, divided
1 bunch of greens – I used mixed spring greens and the textures were really nice.
white balsamic vinegar
really good extra virgin olive oil (I used O Meyer Lemon – a little pricey, but worth it)
juice of one lemon
4 mahi mahi steaks
Sea salt

Chop the tomatoes, onion, garlic and half the cilantro into a bowl, squeeze the lemon juice and splash a little olive oil and a nice pinch of sea salt.  Mix, cover and set aside.

Peel and chop the watermelon and pineapple, add the rest of the cilantro, splash some white balsamic vinegar over the fruit and add a pinch of sea salt.  Mix, cover and set aside.

Toss the greens with a couple of splashes of the olive oil, set aside

I always want to believe that my non stick grill pan doesn’t need a shot of Pam, but we did three without Pam and then one with and the one with turned out nicer.   Heat your pan to medium high, spray with non-stick and cook your steaks. As the fish starts to turn opaque, wait till the color change travels about a third of the way up, flip the steaks and cook the other side.

Pile greens, salsa and fruit onto the plate, top with a piece of fish and serve.

Delicious.

Jim was a little late, so when he got home he cooked his mahi steak.  Our friend Chris decided that he was going to play a little and came up with the perfect topper; he took a bit of the fruit mixture and a bit of the salsa and chopped it up really fine, mixed it together with a couple of dashes of Crystal hot sauce and Original Tabasco.  He spooned that on top of the fish and it really brought the whole thing together. Yum.  Looked really pretty, too.  While Jim enjoyed his dinner, we may have eaten the rest of the topping with a fork.  Maybe.



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Blackened Snapper with Avocado Salsa

Here’s what I used, you could really use anything.

5 avocados, peeled pitted and chunked (you know how to do that, right?  If not look here)
2 cucumbers, peeled seeded and chopped
5 med. tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed very small dice
1/3 of a red onion very small dice
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredient and toss gently.  Cover and refrigerate – don’t make this too far in advance, the avocados oxidize pretty quickly even though you have lemon juice on them (some parsley or cilantro would have made this even better).

4 snapper filets -I used frozen that I thawed in some lukewarm water.
Caribbean jerk seasoning

Heat your grill pan, that’s been sprayed with non stick spray, till it’s very, very hot.

Liberally sprinkle the jerk seasoning on one side and when the grill is smoking hot, put the filets on the pan, spiced side down.

Sprinkle the jerk seasoning on the other side and allow too cook till the proteins release from the pan.  (The time will depend on how thick your filets are.  Ask your fish monger for a recommendation, or look on the package if you bought frozen.  Mine took about 7 minutes for the first side and then just a couple on the second side, once it’s flaky, it’s done.)

I put a bit of tossed salad on the plate, the fish filet on top and then the avocado mixture on top of that.   Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top and add a pinch of salt and pepper if necessary.

Getting fresh fish is a little difficult around here.  Most of it has been previously frozen.  I bought frozen snapper because it was on sale, thawed it and grilled it.  I was really pleasantly surprised at how yummy the fish was.  Fresh is always best, but if you can’t get it… this ain’t half bad.



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Roasted Asparagus and Pomegranate

Every year, right around this time, I get very excited when I find pomegranates in the grocery store.  These little beauties are so delightful and one of my favorite fruits! Their beautiful, ruby color gives any dish a visual pop and their sweet tart taste is something I really love. I usually just use them in salads, but today I wanted to try a little something different.  I couldn’t find a recipe that roasted the pomegranate seeds, so I thought I’d try it.  Quite honestly, I was a little curious.. would they pop?  Would they make a mess of my freshly scrubbed oven?  I went ahead and took the chance…

2 bunches of asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
the seeds of 2 pomegranates
olive oil
salt
4 mahi mahi filets
1 bunch of baby spinach, washed and dried

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  On a sheet pan toss the pomegranate seeds with the asparagus, drizzle oil and a big pinch of salt and toss with your hands to combine.

Preheat the grill pan and let it get screaming hot.  Here’s the trick: put the fish on the grill pan and let them cook until the protein releases almost all the way from the pan.  If it’s really sticking, it’s not done on that side.  Once the protein starts to release, flip and cook the other side.

Pu the asparagus and pomegranate seeds in the oven and start checking them at about 8 minutes.  Mine took about 13 till they were just the way I like them.

On a plate, put a handful of the baby spinach, and then top with the fish and vegetables.  Drizzle a little olive oil over all the food and eat. The pomegranate seeds were still slightly crunchy, but warm and even sweeter, while still maintaining their tart flavor. Delicious, healthy, yummy, easy.  What more could we ask for?



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