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


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

Panko Crusted Halibut on Beet Greens

As a regular viewer of Top Chef, there’s something I don’t understand (other than how they get the cojones to call Eric Ripert their new judge when he’s been on less than half of this season’s episodes. Hello Bravo? The only reason why I’m back to watch this season is because of Ripert!) It seems like one of the biggest throw down insults that the chefs say about one another is something along the lines of “He has no game plan. It’s like he throws darts at the wall and hopes that something sticks.”

Not being a professional chef whose cooking will be picked apart on the minutest detail by judges and critics, I suppose there’s something to be said for having a vision before setting out in your cooking process, but it’s not as if cooking is a precise science like baking. It can be totally improvisational as long as you have the knowledge and skill to figure out what goes well together and how to adjust your flavors to compensate for any mistakes, somethings which hopefully if you’re competing in a nationally televised cooking competition, you’ve got. Frankly for a home cook, some of my biggest highs from cooking result from enjoying a great meal that was thrown together on the fly, ingredients and techniques decided and implemented as I go.

Take this halibut for example. I bought halibut because it was on sale, figuring that the veggies from the CSA would somehow work out into delicious sides. The CSA share arrived, and with one look at the produce, I had a vision for using almost all of them in a single dish. Really, the only things that weren’t going to be used were the green tops of some beets and herbs. No worries– I still had some baby red potatoes that I’d purchased the week before but never got around to using. So should the greens get sautéed as a side? Maybe boil them with the potatoes and make a salad? And what about that halibut? How could I make it interesting, try something other than my usual pan roasting?

Having read some cooking magazines/watched some cooking shows that all seemed to be pushing crunchy fried goodness, I was craving something crispy but frying the halibut didn’t seem quite right either. I decided to bake the fish with a layer of panko crumbs on top so the fish would be moist and tender but have a satisfying crunch on top. I dutifully heated up the oven and set some butter in there to melt and brown while the oven preheated then saw lemons out of the corner of my eye. Why not add lemon juice to the butter and toss the lemon in there so it would roast and flavor the butter as well?

With the halibut cooking, I set about boiling the potatoes. Since my fish was going to have some crunch, I wanted that texture to be mirrored in something else on the plate too. That  crunch would not come from a potato salad, but it could come from my new favorite way of prepping potatoes– boiled potatoes that are lightly smashed then cooked on medium high heat in a cast iron skillet so they crisp up. I still wanted to use the greens though so I sautéed them in oil and garlic. While they cooked, I finally knew what I would do with them– a soft pile of garlicky greens would sit under my pieces of fish giving height and color to my plates. And there you have it: a meal on the fly but so delicious and summery. The fish was tender and flaky with a nutty flavor from the butter and a light citrus aroma. The greens provided a welcome contrast to the crunchy topped fish, so soft and lightly garlicky yet bitter and deep with verdant flavor. It’s times like these that make cooking without a game plan so satisfying.

  • 16 oz fillet of halibut
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 bunch of beets, greens and stems removed, beets reserved for other use
  • 1 medium clove garlic, smashed

Place 2 tablespoons of butter in a 11 x 9 inch baking dish. Squeeze the lemon juice into the baking dish then cut the lemon half in half and place the pieces in the baking dish as well. Set the baking dish on a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While oven heats, use paper towels to dab off any excess moisture from the fish. Remove the skin and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together the panko crumbs with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When oven is heated, dip both sides of the fish into the melted butter then set the fish down in the baking dish. Cover the top of the fish with the panko crumbs. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crumbs are browned and the fish is opaque and flaky. Sprinkle with chopped dill.

While fish bakes, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and garlic clove in medium skillet over medium heat. Wash the beet greens carefully as they can have large chunks of dirt (and in my case since they’re organic– lady bugs!!! Ack!!!) Chop roughly. Toast the garlic until golden on both sides then remove and discard. Add the greens and saute until wilted, about 4-5 minutes. Divide the greens between two plates in a small pile. Carefully cut the fish fillet in half and set each half on top of the greens.

CSA Count: 2

Beet greens, dill

Salmon with Thai Curry Lentils

I am a total carbohydrate addict. When I think about what’s the simplest thing to which I could reduce my entire dietary intake and just sustain myself on that forever and ever, it’d probably be bread and butter. Which is why when it comes to side dishes, I can often be hard pressed to think of serving anything else other than some starch, whether it be potatoes or some kind of pasta.

But the foodie side of me feels guilty for not pushing my boundaries and so every now and then I get inspired to experiment with something totally new to me. In this case, I kept seeing restaurants and cooking shows that paired a soft pile of warm, stewed lentils to go along side a tasty piece of fish. The goal was to help lentils achieve that state where they retain their firm structure on the outside but become creamy in the center, thereby deceiving my carb craving mind into thinking these were mashed potatoes but being more exotic in flavor and packed with more nutritional value.

I lightly sautéed a bunch of colorful vegetables (carrots, celery, zucchini, and crimini mushrooms) until their colors brightened but they were still slightly undercooked. These were then simmered in a mix of chicken stock and coconut milk. When the lentils were tender, I mixed in yellow curry and a pinch of coriander before folding in some chopped fresh cilantro and mint for a hit of bright flavors. These lentils did not disappoint in spicy flavors or in texture. Each spoonful was like eating sunshine.

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 small cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 tsp)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 large stalk of celery, diced
  • 4 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon yellow curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon each fresh cilantro and mint, chopped
  • 1 lb fillet salmon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and shiny, about 6-7 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the carrots, celery, zucchini, and mushrooms and saute until colors deepen but vegetables are still crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the lentils and pour in the chicken stock and coconut milk. Bring this to a boil then reduce heat to medium low so that it gently simmers. Simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Mix in the curry powder and ground coriander then adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

While the lentils simmer, pat the salmon fillet dry with paper towels then season both sides with about 1/2 teaspoon of course salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. In a medium skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium high heat until the fats in the pan shimmer. Add the salmon, skin side down and cook, undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the fillet over, flesh side down and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Flip fillet again and baste the fish with the fats, for another minute or two then flip one last time, basting with the fats and cooking until fish flesh is opaque and flakey or until it reaches your desired degree of cooking.

Stir into the lentils about half of the chopped herbs reserving the rest for garnish. Plate the lentils and nestle a piece of the salmon on top, sprinkling each plate with remaining herbs.

Tuna, Avocado, Radishes

I was feeling kind of awkward about being 2 months behind on my blog, but I’m starting to like remembering and writing about meals that invoke late summer/early fall for me as we continue to slosh through rain and strong winds here in the Northwest. Besides, this may come in handy as I’ll still have plenty of material to blog about through the winter when I don’t have my CSA share to inspire me.

It’s no secret how much I love avocado. I love how the light, jade green color instantly makes any dish pretty; I love its smooth, creamy texture; and as is the case with most food fats, I love its light, buttery flavor. The idea for this dish came from noticing how avocado plays a prominent role in both sushi and in Latin dishes and so I wanted to try making my own fusion dish, using avocado as the bridge.

I took ahi tuna steaks and seasoned them with a mix of chili powder and Asian five spice powder and seared them in a hot cast iron skillet. The idea was to sandwich slices of avocado between slices of tuna so you get a bit of both with every bite. I added radishes for a contrast in color and to add a crisp texture, but also because I thought that this could be an additional nod to Latin cuisines since radishes are frequently available at any good taco truck/bar. Finally, to add some acid and to keep that avocado green, I drizzled the tuna and avocado with a mix of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, lime juice and sesame oil. I liked the mix of chili and spice flavors, but I think this would have been better if I hadn’t overcooked the fish. I like a good, raw center, particularly when it comes to ahi tuna. So I’ve attempted to adjust the time for cooking in my notes below.

  • 2 4oz tuna steaks
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Asian five spice powder
  • 1 tsp Montreal steak seasoning
  • 1 avocado, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp Tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • juice of half a lime
  • 3-4 radishes, sliced into thin rounds
  • chives, chopped

Bring your tuna steaks up to room temperature, making sure to wrap them in paper towels to dry them off. Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium high heat. Mix the steak seasoning, chili powder and five spice powder together then sprinkle liberally over both sides of the tuna steaks. Add a little oil to the pan, enough to lightly coat the bottom. Cook the tuna steaks for 2 minutes on each side to just sear them and leave a good pink center. If you’re not so into the raw fish, you can cook them longer for about 3-4 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the cut.

Let the tuna steaks rest off heat for a few minutes then slice into 1/2 inch thick slices. Sandwich slices of avocado between the tuna pieces. Mix together the soy sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, and sesame oil then drizzle over the tuna and avocado. Top with radish slices and a sprinkle of chives. I bet this would actually be even better on a bed of salad greens, using the sauce as a dressing!

CSA Count: 2 (although the number goes up for the whole meal as I served this with the pattypans)

Radishes, chives

Blackened Cod Tacos

tomatilloWe resume our journey through tomatillo hell with another use for tomatillo salsa: fish tacos. As many of the cooking programs I’ve seen lately have obligingly pointed out, the tomatillo is not the same as a green tomato and is actually a relative of the gooseberry. Like gooseberries, tomatillos come in a thin, papery husk which must be removed but leaves a sticky (and I think sometimes smelly) residue which should be washed before use.

Anyway, psuedo-education bit over with for this post, let’s talk about fish tacos. I don’t think I really had a Baja style fish taco until I moved to Utah. Those tacos, with soft fillets of firm, white fish, fried in a crunchy batter, sitting on a bed of cabbage and a drizzle of chipotle mayo, were oddly readily available all over Utah. In fact, I dearly miss one local fast food chain as it was almost entirely devoted to those yummy tacos.

blackenedcodAs much as I love the Baja style tacos, I can’t get up the courage to make them at home. I may love deep fried foods, but can’t stand the idea of making them in my own home. Just the sheer thought of having that much hot oil combined with my accident-prone tendencies keeps me from expanding into the Fryolater food group. (Yes, even though we took a friend’s deep fryer off of their hands.)

So instead of frying, these fish tacos were made quickly by coating a piece of Alaskan True Cod with a mixture of Cajun spices then seared in a cast iron skillet. You still get the tender but firm fish meat plus the added bonus of the heat from the seasoning and not just from the salsa. The tacos had a slight sweetness from the corn tortillas, heat from the fish seasoning and salsa, all balanced by the acidity of the lime in the salsa and finished off with peppery, crisp radish slices. This is a great, fast cooking meal which adds a bit of sun, very important as we move into these blustery, rainy fall days.

  • blackenedfishtaco1 lb piece Alaskan True Cod (line caught for extra earth friendliness)
  • 2 tbsp Tony Checherie’s Cajun spice mix
  • 1/2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 jalapeno, halved
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • juice of 1 lime
  • splash of vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper

Make the salsa by boiling the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapeno in a pot of water with a splash of vinegar for 10-12 minutes. Drain then pour contents into a food processor or blender. Add the honey and lime juice and puree. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.

Layout the radish slices on a plate and lightly salt.

Place the fillet of fish between paper towels to dry it off. Mix together the Cajun spice mix, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle over both sides of the fish to evenly coat with spices. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and lightly coat with oil. The pan should be really hot after about 5 minutes of heating. Cook the fish, being careful not to move it too early, about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Heat the tortillas in a dry skillet or over a gas stove flame for 15 seconds per side. Flake the fish meat, about 2-3 tbsp of meat per tortilla. Spoon some of the salsa on top and finish with radish slices. Garnish with lime wedges and fresh cilantro if you wish. You’ll also have plenty of salsa leftover, which can be used either for chips and salsa on the side or can be frozen for use in other dishes (as I ended up doing.)

CSA Count: 3

Tomatillos, jalapeno, radishes