Tag Archives: parsley

Lemon Pepper Mahi-Mahi

I’ll share a little secret with you.  Sometimes when I am feeling less imaginative and am in need of a good recipe, I’ll rely on a recipe on a package.  While it does seem as if I am cheating in the creativity department, here’s my theory:  No business would put a recipe on the packaging for one of its products if the recipe weren’t tried and true, guaranteed to come out the way it should.  So for example, at one point or another, I’ve followed all of the cookie recipes on chocolate-chip packages and the cake recipes on the cocoa and cake-flour boxes.  And all of those recipes turn out good.

In light of the above confession, here is the meal I prepared the other night:  For dinner for my husband and me, I defrosted some mahi-mahi fish fillets from Trader Joe’s.  This type of fish is not a regular on my repertoire so I was in need of some ideas.  Luckily, the package had a couple of great recipes: Lemon Pepper Butter, and Easy Aioli.  I’ve made aioli many times in the past, so I decided to test out the Lemon Pepper Butter, especially since I had most of the ingredients on hand anyway.

First, I took out a half a stick of butter and let it soften while I prepared the other ingredients.  Next, I zested one lemon and chopped up about a quarter cup of fresh, flat-leaf Italian parsley.

Once the butter had softened, I combined the lemon zest and parsley with the butter using a fork.

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The recipe called for Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper, which I didn’t happen to have, so I substituted Maine sea salt and freshly ground pepper (it just so happens that my father makes his own sea salt).

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imageNow this handy-dandy recipe also included advice on various ways to cook the fish, depending on whether it had been defrosted or was still frozen.  As my mahi-mahi was defrosted, I had these options: on the grill, pan seared, or oven roasted.  I decided to sear the fish in a pan since I like crispy fish, and it’s too cold and snow around here to do any outside grilling.

I heated a heavy cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until it was sizzling hot, added a little olive oil, and seared the filets about three minutes on each side until cooked through.

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I topped the cooked fillets with the Lemon Pepper Butter and served it with quinoa (more on that another day) and a tossed salad.  The mahi-mahi came out crisp on the outside and flaky on the inside.  The Lemon Pepper Butter melted over the fish and created a delicious topping and added flavor to the quinoa.

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Delicious!

Lemon Pepper Butter Mahi-Mahi

2 mahi-mahi fillets

1/2 stick of unsalted butter, softened

zest of one lemon

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Using a fork, mash together the butter, lemon zest, and parsley until mixed completely.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Heat a heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with olive oil.  Sear fish fillets on each side about 3 minutes until cooked through.  Serve with lemon butter on top.

Serves 2

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Skirt Steak with Parsley Sauce

When I was a girl back home in Maine, steak was was considered a luxury.  We rarely had it; maybe once a month at the most.

Now when I say steak, I don’t mean sirloin.  Rather, the steak of choice in our house was what is known as shoulder steak in most of the country.  In New England – and a few other parts of the country – it is called London broil.  It is a very economical cut of beef for feeding a family when you have a limited budget and hankering for red meat.  It can be a little tough, but when it is marinated and sliced very thin it is quite delicious.

When I moved to the Midwest, I discovered all sorts of cuts of beef that I never saw when I lived in Maine.  I started trying them out to see which were best.  After I purchased a skirt steak, I realized I could stop looking.  Skirt steak is a very long, thin piece of meat that is big on flavor and gentle on the pocketbook.  It makes a great family meal.

When I prepared skirt steak for my family the other night, I cut it in thirds so it would fit in a 12-inch pan.  Then I drizzled it with a little olive oil and seasoned it with ground pepper and salt.

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When I cook skirt steak, I either fire up the grill or cook it on top of the stove in a cast-iron pan.  Grilling is easier, because searing meat can splatter and be a bit messy in the kitchen. However, when the weather is bad or it is winter, the only option is to cook inside.

First, I heated my cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until it was smoking hot.  I put a little olive oil in the pan, and seared the meat on each side for about 2-3 minutes, turning it with tongs.  I seared each piece of steak separately, setting aside the cooked portions and covering them with foil to keep warm.

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Keep in mind that it doesn’t take long to cook skirt steak, as it is very thin.  Essentially, you want to create a crunchy outer crust on the meat while maintaining a juicy interior.  Personally, I like steak that is medium-rare (pink inside), but if you prefer it medium or well done, then just sear it a couple more minutes on each side.

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While skirt steak is delicious, I think it requires some kind of accompaniment.  Served alone, it can taste a little greasy and be boring.  So, I like to either serve it as a fajita dish (more on that at another time) or, as here, with a parsley and garlic sauce.

I found the following parsley recipe on Martha Stewart’s website.  It’s basically a riff on chimichurri sauce, which is traditionally served with steak in Argentina.

First, I rinsed a bunch of flat-leaf Italian parsley in cold water and chopped off all the stems.  I peeled two cloves of garlic and chopped them up in a food processor, then added the parsley (about 3 cups total), a quarter cup of Extra Virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt, 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, and a light sprinkling of red chili flakes to the food processor.  The recipe calls for fresh oregano leaves, which I never seem to have.  If you do have some, then add 3 tablespoons; if you don’t, the recipe tastes delicious without.

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I processed the mixture until it was pureed.  When done, the resulting sauce looked a lot like pesto.

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Typically when most people think of parsley it is as a garnish to a meal; as such it is not particularly flavorful.

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In this recipe, you can actually taste the parsley – it has a really fresh flavor.  This, in combination with the garlic and vinegar, makes a sauce that is a wonderful complement to skirt steak.

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Enjoy!

Skirt Steak

1 1/2 pounds of skirt steak
coarse salt and pepper
olive oil

Cut the steak into thirds.  Heat a cast-iron or other heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat until it is smoking.  Drizzle the steak with olive oil and sear it on each side about 2-3 minutes.  Sear each piece separately, covering the cooked pieces with foil.  Slice thinly to serve.  Serves 4

Parsley-Garlic Sauce

3 cups fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes
coarse salt

Wash the parsley and remove stems.  Peel garlic and chop in a food processor.  Add parsley, vinegar, olive oil, chili flakes, and a sprinkling of salt.  Process until fully pureed.  Serve with skirt steak.

Panko Salmon

One of the best things about being the cook in the family is that we eat what I feel like eating on any given night.  As I pour myself a cup of coffee in the morning, I think about what we will be having for dinner that night.  If I am feeling ambitious, we’ll have an elaborate meal with many ingredients; if not, I might pull leftovers from the freezer.

Yesterday morning I felt the need for a really healthy meal that night.  The night before I had been to a cocktail party, where I had “passed food” for dinner.  It was to time for some real nourishment, so I pulled some flash-frozen wild Pacific Coast salmon from the freezer.

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I decided to prepare this meal based on a pretty standard formula:  herbs, lemon zest, and panko crumbs.  Variations of this recipe have appeared in a number of cookbooks.  I chopped up some fresh dill and parsley, and added them to about a half cup of Panko crumbs. If you are unfamiliar with Panko, these are Japanese style dry bread crumbs that can be found in almost any grocery store.  I always keep them in my pantry because they tend to add a little more crunch than typical bread crumbs.  Next I added some lemon zest and olive oil for flavor.

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I seasoned the salmon with salt and pepper.  I spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on top of each piece of salmon and then pressed the crumb mixture on top of that.

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Now here’s the best part:  I heated a cast-iron pan on medium high, added some olive oil, and then pan fried the bottom of the salmon for about 3 to 4 minutes.  This sears the skin of the salmon and makes it nice and crispy.

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Then I popped the pan into the oven at 400º for about 10 minutes.  I was careful not to overcook the salmon; if I did, it would be dry instead of nice and flaky.

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I served the salmon with artichokes that I cooked for about 30 minutes in a large pot of boiling water with whole garlic and some lemon juice.  I had trimmed the stems and the tops off the artichokes with a heavy knife.

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Artichokes are one of those rare vegetables that are better overcooked than undercooked.

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The meal was truly delicious.  The salmon was so good, I still have a fond memory of it as I write this today.  The combination of the lemon zest, fresh herbs, and crispy crust qualifies this recipe for a go-to meal.

Panko Crusted Salmon

 3 to 4 four pieces of salmon

1/2 cup panko crumbs

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

zest of one lemon

olive oil

 Preheat oven to 400º.  Mix chopped herbs and lemon zest with panko crumbs and drizzle a little olive oil.  Season salmon with salt and pepper, then spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on each piece.  Press the crumb mixture on the salmon.  Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add a little olive oil, sear the salmon for about 3 to 4 minutes, then put the pan in the oven.  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through.  Serves 4.