Herbed Salmon Cakes

Our first CSA delivery of the season arrived last week! It’s a little sad that I get so giddy about our CSA starting. I love how the box of fresh produce injects some much needed energy into my cooking. I love that moment of panic upon clicking open the email with the packing list for the week, fearing I’ll never know what to do, and then love even more when that moment of epiphany arrives, especially when it’s at the very last minute.

This first delivery brought us much in the way of what I’d say are ingredients, but not much that would make for a stellar entrée or side dish. I’m talking tons of herbs– fresh mint, chives, cilantro, and garlic scapes. (Garlic scapes! I actually yelled, “Woot! Can I get a wha wha?” to myself, all alone in my office, when I saw that on the packing list.) So that moment of panic lingered as the options for using herbs seemed infinite rather than inspiring.

Luckily, the realm of possibilities got a little smaller when I spied wild kind salmon on sale. So far, the baby loves salmon– make that LOVES salmon. Making salmon cakes seemed like a fun way to keep getting her to enjoy eating it. I wanted to make a truly fantastic salmon cake– one where you can see the chunks of firm, pink fish, not bite into a mushy pile of cat food like, fishy puree. I envisioned a salmon cake that was bright in flavor– tons of flecks of green and fresh in flavor from some of the bright herbs, yet rich at the same time, thanks to toasted brioche crumbs to help hold the mix together. (What can I say? The baby loves brioche too. Raising a foodie baby is going to be expensive.)

Once the cakes were formed and pan-fried, then plating was easy. I played up on the bright pink and green colors by sitting my salmon cakes up on a pile of lightly dressed greens, including arugula from the CSA and some sliced pink beauty radishes. The acid from the dressing and the peppery bite of the radishes added contrast and crunch. CSA? You gave me a challenge by giving me lots of ingredients but little “meat” to work with, so to speak, and to that, I answered, “Challenge accepted!” Can’t wait to see what else this season brings!

  • 2 thick slices of brioche bread
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon each fresh mint and dill, finely chopped
  • 16 oz wild king salmon fillet, deboned, skinned, and finely chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • mixed baby greens and arugula
  • 3-4 medium pink beauty radishes, halved then sliced at an angle into wedges
  • your favorite, vinaigrette salad dressing

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add brioche slices that you have roughly torn into smaller pieces. Pulse until you have course crumbs. Spread out crumbs on a baking sheet and lightly toast at 250 degrees F (or in your toaster oven on the medium light setting) for about 10 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, add the chives, mint, dill, salmon, cooled brioche crumbs, salt, pepper, and egg. Mix together until combined. Using your hands, cup together about 1/2 cup size portions into a patty, lightly pressing until they are about 4 inches wide. Place on a plate then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Place a large pan over medium high heat. Add butter and olive oil. Add salmon cakes and lightly fry until golden brown and cooked through (salmon will be opaque)– about 5-6 minutes per side. While cakes cook, add salad greens and most of your radish wedges to a medium bowl and toss with a light coat of dressing. Plate mixed greens then add a salmon cake on top, scattering a few pieces of radish on top. Serve immediately.

Makes about 5 salmon cakes.

CSA Count: 4

Chives, mint, arugula, pink beauty radish

Advertisements

Muffin Tin Frittatas

I think that so far, I’ve been lucky that having a baby around the house hasn’t affected my finding time to cook too much. Sure some things have changed: we don’t eat dinner until 8:30 at night so I can still make food from scratch but start after she goes to bed; I certainly don’t blog about my efforts as often; and dinner plans with friends have now become brunches, squeezed in between her morning and mid-day naps.

I also fully anticipate that this will likely change once she’s more mobile and I can’t just plop her down in a Bumbo chair or exersaucer and entertain her by explaining what I’m doing as I cook. I’ll have to find fast but tasty ways to still cook from scratch if I can. These mini frittatas should fit the bill. Quick assembly, hands off co0king in the oven, lovely colors, easily portable to friends’ houses, and delicious warm or at room temperature. Plus it has a frou frou sounding name to keep the foodie in me happy if I have to eat on the run, chasing down the little tornado of destruction that my backwards crawling daughter is on the verge of becoming.

I also like how versatile these are– you can load them up with whatever ingredients you want. When I made these for a potluck brunch with friends, I made one batch with cheddar, bacon, and chives and another batch with smoked salmon, cream cheese, fresh dill, and diced red onion. These cooked beautifully. They puffed up, got crispy on the outside and yet were tender on the inside. Perfect for brunch with or without little kiddos running around, and although lately our brunches have been with little babies and toddlers, that doesn’t stop us from pairing these with mimosas and dousing them with Sriracha. Parenthood doesn’t have to change everything, you know.

  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • cooking spray
  • filling ingredients of your choice. Examples: 4 ounces cooked, crumbled bacon, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and 2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives. Also pictured here, 4 ounces crumbled smoked salmon, 3 ounces cream cheese, 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill, and 1/4 cup finely diced red onion.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Take a muffin tin and lightly coat with cooking spray. Beat together eggs, milk, salt and pepper until well combined. Add filling ingredients* then pour into muffin tin, filling about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the eggs have just set and are a little quivery when you gently shake the muffin tin. Remove from oven and let cook for about 5 minutes. Using an offset spatula, gently loosen the frittatas from the muffin tins and set on a serving platter. Sprinkle with any additional chives or other fresh herbs, depending on what ingredients you used (cilantro for a southwestern theme would be good, parsley for an Italian theme, you get it.) Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 9 frittatas.

*If doing bacon, cheddar and chives, add 3/4 cup of cheese to the eggs and reserve the last 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top of the frittatas in the last few minutes of baking so that there’s a gooey cheese layer on top.

Fish Chowder

As I was unpacking my purchases from a local produce stand yesterday, I realized that if there’s one thing I tend to overstock in our house, it’s potatoes. Our kitchen table, home to bowls of neatly organized fruit, citrus, and onions (as well as the mail and appliances I’m too lazy to put away) was also littered with several bags each containing 2-3 greening potatoes. Oops.

I admit it’s because each week I buy more potatoes than I need to compensate for the ones leftover from the previous week that I see are turning that unfortunately shade of green instead of creamy yellow. So I suppose I should either get better at estimating how many potatoes I actually will need or start making more things that use more potatoes.

More things that use potatoes… well, chowder certainly comes to mind. I made this one with chunks of beautiful wild salmon and Pacific halibut– firm fleshed fish that could retain texture after poaching in a broth that combined clam juice and chicken stock and had thickened from the starches of boiled potatoes. Also adding flavor to the soup was a base of celery, onion, and garlic cooked in some rendered bacon fat and butter. Using half and half and the bright flavors of fresh dill helped to lighten this chowder a bit rather than making it a pot of thick and heavy wallpaper paste. Finally, a garnish of crispy bacon pieces added salt and subtle smoke as well as pleasant crunch to all that softness. Have a pantry full of potatoes? Then add them to a soup pot and warm up with a bowl of fish chowder.

Note: Use any firm fleshed fish that looks good in the store that day, but being a good, Seattleite, I of course say that with the caveat of it being sustainably harvested. If you have some available, feel free to substitute fish stock for the combination of chicken stock and clam broth.

  • 4 ounces thick cut bacon, diced
  • olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced (about 1.5 cups)
  • 3 medium celery stalks, diced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or savory or a mix of both
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf or 2 small dried ones
  • 4 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into about 1/2 inch dice
  • 14 oz clam broth
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 pounds mix of wild salmon and Pacific halibut, bones removed and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 to 1.5 cups half and half
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

Add diced bacon and about 1 teaspoon olive oil to the bottom of a Dutch oven or large soup pot. Cook over medium heat until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat in the pot. Add the butter and melt over medium heat. When foam subsides, add the onions, celery, and garlic and cook until vegetables have softened but not browned, about 8-10 minutes.

Add the thyme and/or savory, bay leaf, and the potatoes. Pour in clam broth and chicken stock then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle boil and let cook for 7-10 minutes or until potatoes are soft but retain their shapes. Smash some of the potatoes until soup base achieves the level of thickness you desire. Reduce heat so that soup simmers then add the fish. Poach until fish is cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in half and half and add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped dill. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls, garnished with reserved bacon and additional dill.

Garden Count: 3

Thyme, savory, bay leaf

Salmon BLT

It’s been a rough year on our tomato crop. After spending most of last winter dreaming about tasting the perfect, summer ripe tomato (like in this breakfast dish) we ended up with plants that were heavily laden with green tomatoes. I relished the few ripe tomatoes we got from our garden this year and was for once grateful for the supplementary tomatoes we got from the CSA this year.

With such a small crop of ripe tomatoes, I wanted to enjoy them raw. My thoughts turned to eating them in a simple BLT, but I also had a lovely wild Coho salmon fillet on hand as well as plenty of fresh dill from the CSA. A salmon BLT it would have to be.

The only problem is that this salmon BLT has tough competition in my taste bud memory. When we lived in Cleveland, John and I would frequently fight over who got to order an ahi tuna BLT at a favorite diner: thick cut, toasty multigrain bread, a slather of citrusy aioli, a thick cut of seared tuna steak, and crispy, salty bacon.

With the ingredients I had available, I cooked my salmon in a cast iron skillet in a combination of butter, olive oil and fresh thyme until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. My aioli consisted of mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, fresh dill, and capers for an added briny, pickle taste. All that was needed to dress this sandwich was thick cut bacon, baby spinach, and those ripe CSA tomatoes, lightly salted to maximize their juicy sweetness.

This sandwich was messy but oh so juicy and delicious. I think if they could be, those tomatoes were proud to be used in such a simple but perfect way to celebrate their being one of the few Northwest tomatoes to attain perfection this year.

  • 4 strips, thick cut bacon, cut in half and cooked
  • 16 oz wild Coho salmon fillet
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 large tomato, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds, sprinkled with 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 potato buns

Remove skin from salmon fillet, if necessary. Pat the fillet dry with paper towels. Season both sides of the fillet with a total of 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cut the fillet in half, crosswise. Add the butter, olive oil, and thyme sprigs to a large cast iron skillet and heat over medium high heat. When the butter has melted and the fats in the pan are shimmering, add the salmon fillets. Cook for about 2-3 minutes without moving the fillets, then flip them over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Flip again and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, basting the fillets with the butter and olive oil in the pan then flip and cook on the other side until the fish reaches your desired degree of doneness.

While salmon cooks, combine mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, dill, capers and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toast the potato buns.

To assemble sandwiches, spread a layer of the aioli on each side of the buns. Place a handful of spinach on the bottom halves of the buns and place the salmon fillet on the spinach. On the top halves, place the slices of tomato and a few pieces of bacon. Makes 2 sandwiches.

CSA Count: 2

Tomatoes, dill

Garden Count: 1

Hoisin Salmon Onigiri

Last Christmas, my brother and his family stayed with us for a week. During their stay, they introduced us to onigiri– little bundles of rice stuffed with a filling and wrapped in nori to facilitate eating them by hand. What made it particularly fun was how Ted and Michelle put together the rice and the filling ingredients then set it out on the table with the onigiri molds so that we could each make our own. We had a beautiful fillet of salmon, some fried tofu (for my niece), avocado, wasabi, soy sauce and the nori paper. Everybody dug in, mixing and matching filling ingredients and placed them on a plate so that we ended up exchanging onigiri with one another. Pretty fun, well, unless you picked up one of my father’s creations which were heavy-handed on the wasabi. (Sorry, Michelle!)

So when the blog My Kitchen, My World announced that the world cuisine for October is Japanese, I jumped on the opportunity to finally buy some onigiri molds of my own so I could write my post to submit for the monthly round-up. Although the options for filling onigiri are endless (well, okay, perhaps the upper limit are those items which are toxic or inedible), usually along the lines of salted salmon, pickled plums, benito flakes, etc., I decided to roll with salmon and avocado since I love both so much. For my salmon, I wanted to pack it full of flavor, so I oven roasted a fillet of wild, Coho salmon, glazed with a mix of hoisin, brown sugar, garlic, and Tamari soy sauce.

In addition to the avocado, we had some leftover radish greens and some purple carrots so I chopped those up and put them out on plates for onigiri assembly as a way to boost up my CSA count. Really, between letting the rice cooker cook my sushi rice (a mix of brown and white rice for added color, subtle variety in flavor, and nutritious value), having my oven cook the salmon, and making assembly do-it-yourself, this was an easy meal to throw together. As a testament to how easy it is to make onigiri, John and I made our little rice balls with little attention to how we were filling the rice molds as we were watching the television coverage of the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners with rapt and semi-anxious attention (hence, apologies for the quality of pictures, half of which were taken on a plate sitting on my lap.) It didn’t matter– we still had adorable little triangles of rice sandwiching tender, moist salmon, peppery greens, crunchy sweet carrots, and creamy avocado. Try making onigiri with your family– playing with your food has never been so tasty and so fun.

Note: Onigiri molds can easily be bought online for cheap and come in a variety of shapes, ranging from the traditional triangle and barrel shapes to stars, hearts and even animals. You can also fill them with any ingredient that you want, including canned tuna, tempura, or fried chicken. For the really talented and detail oriented, cut the nori paper to make decorations for your onigiri, like these. The amount of rice that the following recipe generates is enough to make ten 3-inch wide triangular onigiri. Leftover salmon can be used on salads or in a sandwich.

  • 1 cup short grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup short grain brown rice
  • 3 cups water plus more for rinsing the rice
  • 1.5 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1.5 teaspoons granulated or castor sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 16 oz fillet Coho salmon
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • pinch of Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped plus 2 medium garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 medium purple carrots, chopped
  • 1 bunch of radish greens chopped
  • 1 large avocado, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 sheets of nori (seaweed) paper, cut lengthwise into 1-2 inch wide strips
  • soy sauce and wasabi paste

Start by making the sushi rice: combine white and brown rice in a rice cooker and rinse three times with water. Add the three cups of water and put in the rice cooker set on cook rice setting. When cooker switches to warm setting, let rice sit for five minutes while you mix together the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt until sugar and salt dissolves. Drizzle mixture over rice and mix until each grain is coated. Spread rice out on a baking sheet and let cool to room temperature.

While rice cools, cook the salmon. Pat the salmon dry and season with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place 1 tablespoon of canola oil with the smashed garlic cloves in a 11 x 7 baking pan. Place pan in the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix together the hoisin sauce, Tamari soy sauce, brown sugar, chopped garlic and Chinese five spice powder. When oven is heated, take out the pan and carefully lay the salmon fillet down in the hot oil, skin side down. Spread the glaze mixture on top of the flesh side of the fish then bake for 15 minutes or until flesh is opaque and flakey.

Scoop the cooled rice into a serving bowl and set the table with the plated salmon, your other filling ingredients, the nori paper, and soy sauce and wasabi. To assemble, fill the bottom part of your onigiri mold about 1/2 way with an even layer of rice (it helps to wet your hands to keep the rice from sticking to your fingers too much.) Put a little dab of wasabi and brush with some soy sauce if you wish. Add about 1 tablespoon of flaked fish, a pinch of the radish greens, and a carrot and avocado piece or two. Fill the rest of the mold with rice then top with the other half of the mold to squish everything together. Flip the mold over and press on the button to loosen the rice ball from the mold. Wrap the sides with the nori or fold the nori up and over a straight edge of the triangle to form a single rectangle. Dip in a mixture of soy sauce and more wasabi as you eat.

CSA Count: 2

Radish greens, purple carrots

 

 

Lettuce Wrapped Fish Tacos

Is it just me or was this past summer (sniff… past tense) the summer of the quick pickle for foodies? It seemed like all the cooking shows and blogs out there were talking about the variety of fruits and vegetables that you can set in a brine then have delicious pickles a few hours later. All the acidic, salty goodness of pickled food without the fuss of canning.

Which is why when the CSA box had a small sweet onion, two different colored carrots and the most beautiful radish of them all– the watermelon radish– my mind went into rote foodie mode and thought “pickle!” Even if you don’t love radishes, how can you not love the watermelon radish on pure beauty alone? It comes to you, looking like  some cartoon character but when you cut it in half, and then into slices, you get these adorable miniature watermelon slices, all vibrant pink with a thin border of lime green.

But I digress… anyway, I sliced that onion, those carrots, and those beautiful radishes and tossed them in a mixture of red wine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. These pickles served double duty, food-wise: in a salad (with crumbled blue cheese, dill and plenty more lettuce from the CSA) and as a topper for these fish tacos.

When it comes to fish tacos, I always crave the crunch of the Baja style tacos, you know, pieces of battered and fried fish made even better with pickled vegetables and a creamy chipotle sauce. But since I was using lettuce to wrap these tacos, I thought I should continue with a healthier eating theme in how I prepped the fish. Having had recent success with panko breaded and pan-fried yumminess as an alternative to deep-frying, I decided to do that here, this time with a fillet of rock fish. Seasoned fingers of rock fish got the double dip treatment in flour and egg before getting rolled in panko crumbs then cooked in a hot skillet until crunchy and golden brown.

When it came time to assemble these tacos, I didn’t want to detract from the bright colors and acidic flavors of the pickled vegetables, so the only things I added were some slices of avocado and cilantro, the lime green color of the avocado enhancing the vivid, Technicolor vision of the pickles. Taken all together, you have crisp, refreshing lettuce, matched with crunchy yet firm fish, bright acid and tang from the pickled vegetables paired with creamy, buttery avocado. What more could you ask for?

Note: Any firm, white fleshed fish will do, so feel free to swap the rock fish for whatever is available and fresh near you. I’ve separated out the ingredients for the pickled vegetables as you can use them on a salad or on top of a burger or served alongside some BBQ, whatever you want.

Quick Pickled Vegetables

  • 2 watermelon radishes, split in half and sliced into 1/8 inch thick half moons
  • 1 small sweet onion, sliced into 1/8 inch half moons
  • 1 medium orange carrot and 1 medium yellow carrot, sliced on a bias, 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • Hot sauce, dill, cilantro, mustard seeds (optional)

Lettuce Wrapped Fish Tacos

  • 16 oz fillet of rock fish
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1.5 cups panko crumbs
  • canola oil
  • 1 medium, ripe avocado, sliced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 small head butter leaf lettuce
  • pickled vegetables

To make the pickled vegetables, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and any other optional flavorings you like, in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until sugar and salt dissolves. Set in refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.

To make the fish tacos, heat 3 tablespoons of canola oil in the bottom of a large skillet over medium heat. In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and oregano. Sprinkle the spice mix evenly over both sides of the fish fillet and rub the spice mix into the fish. Cut the fish into pieces, one to two inches wide. Set up your breading station as follows: put the flour on a plate, followed by the beaten eggs in a large bowl, followed by a plate with the panko crumbs. Dredge the fish pieces in the flour, tapping off any extra before dipping the pieces in the egg. Roll the fish pieces in the panko crumbs until coated entirely. Cook the fish, in batches if necessary, in the skillet until browned on the outside and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side.

To assemble tacos, place one or two pieces in lettuce leaf and top with pickled vegetables, avocado slice, squirt of lime juice, and a sprinkle of cilantro.

CSA Count: 6

Watermelon radish, sweet onion, yellow carrot, orange carrot, butter leaf lettuce, cilantro

Nicoise Wrap

Everybody has their outliers, right? You know, whether it’s a type of person you’re attracted to, music, food, something that doesn’t fit into your type, may even contain things that normally turn you off, but for some unknown reason, you like it. Love it even.

For me, foodwise that is, it’s tuna salad. While growing up, I hated canned tuna. It skeeved (still skeeves, really) me out to the point that I mildly gagged when even just looking at a can of the stuff. I blame my mother for this– when I was little, she’d sometimes take my brother and me to work with her when she had to work downtown on a weekend. On these trips, the snack would be tuna from a can, spread on crackers and hot chocolate from the vending machine. Yeah– gross, huh? I hated tuna, I hated mayo, I hated relish, and I hated eggs, but for some unknown reason, the combination of all that, plus some chunks of celery for crunch, was delicious. It’s not like I would intentionally seek out a tuna salad sandwich, precisely because the thought of all those things that grossed me out made me shy away from it, but when handed one, I devoured it readily.

Growing up has changed my relationship with all those tuna salad components for the better… well, maybe not canned tuna. There’s only so much that can be done to make things better when faced with such traumatic childhood memories. But my brain still takes a little convincing that something with all those ingredients will be something that I will enjoy. So in this case, looking at a pile of green beans and fingerling potatoes from the CSA combined with a couple of pieces of tuna bought from our grocery delivery service, I knew that some sort of salad Nicoise had to be made. I just wasn’t particularly eager to go ahead and make the dish.

But eventually, these were the last ingredients left in the house before another flood of produce came from the CSA. So I blanched some green beans, parcooked the potatoes, and tossed those along with some slivers of yellow carrot in some melted butter and lots of dill. I seared the tuna steaks and stacked slices of the tuna with my mix of vegetables on a light layer of mayo, mixed with Dijon mustard, capers (since I didn’t have olives in the fridge like I thought) and some more dill. Wrapped in a spinach tortilla, I thought that this would be a cute twist on a Nicoise salad.

I ended up with something so much more– like a grown up tuna salad sandwich, this was so delicious and pretty to look at. The mayonnaise tastes almost buttery when combined with the starchy potatoes. The crisp green beans and the bright floral flavors of the dill softened the flavors of the tuna which was firm to the bite and lightly citrusy from the lemon juice I used in the marinade. Lastly, the carrots gave an underlying sweet but spring-like vegetal flavor that tied everything together. Served with some oven baked fries that were showered in Parmesan cheese and more herbs, this was a meal that satisfied without weighing you down. It’s an outlier meal for me that I think I’ll return to again… as long as no one makes me eat it with a cup of vending machine hot chocolate.

Note: I got a bit overly ambitious in the amount of filling I put in these wraps. Although I only made two wraps with the ingredients as listed below, really, one half was enough to make a serving. So really, this recipe serves 4, either by serving each person a half of a wrap or dividing the ingredients among 4 spinach tortillas to make 4 smaller sandwiches.

  • Two 6 oz albacore or ahi tuna steaks
  • 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, divided
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 medium cloves of garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 3-4 fingerling potatoes
  • 1 small yellow carrot, cut into sticks about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • spinach tortillas
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons capers, including their brining liquid

Lightly brush a cast iron skillet with a little bit of olive oil and heat over medium high heat. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 minced garlic clove (about 1 teaspoon), and 1 teaspoon of honey. Season both sides of the tuna steaks with salt and pepper then spread the mustard mixture on both sides of the tuna before setting the steaks down in the skillet. Cook to your preferred degree of doneness, but in my case, to retain that slight bit of pink in the center, I cooked these for about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside while you prep the vegetables and dressing. When tuna is cool to touch, cut into 1/2 inch thick sticks.

In another small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, remaining tablespoon of lemon juice, remaining 2 teaspoons of mustard, remaining clove of minced garlic (about 1 teaspoon), capers and their brining liquid. Add about 1 tablespoon of dill, and then mix until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator to give the dressing time to marry its flavors.

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to boil then add the green beans. Cook for 5 minutes or until bright green yet still crisp. Remove the green beans using a slotted spoon and cool completely in ice water. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook until potatoes are just fork tender but do not fall apart, about 5-7 minutes. Add these to the ice water and green beans.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Drain the green beans and potatoes. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise then cut each half lengthwise. Add the green beans, yellow carrot sticks, and potatoes to the melted butter. Toss in remaining dill and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until all the vegetables are coated then remove from heat.

To assemble sandwich wraps, take one spinach tortilla at a time and spread a tablespoon or so of the mayonnaise and caper dressing on it. Layer pieces of tuna, a few green beans, a couple of carrot sticks, and a few slices of potato then fold in the sides of the tortilla and roll from the bottom up. Cut in half on a bias then serve.