Fish for dinner? Baked Fish with Fennel, Leek & Tomatoes

The husband felt like fish for dinner the other night so true to form he can not just bring home some fillets of fish liked asked he had to bring home a tasting assortment of the entire seafood shop..

Anyone who knows him well would know how big of a seafood lover he is. Fishing/crabbing is in his blood, it is his passion, hobby, his way of unwinding. It is his ultimate, he thrives on it. Same goes for the love of seafood. If I asked him what is something he couldn’t live without or what would his last meal would consist of it would most definitely, 100% be Seafood. So when I agreed for him to buy some fresh fish fillets for dinner as he hasn’t been out to fish in a while, naturally he comes home with 1kg green prawns, 2 dozen fresh oysters, 4 squid hoods and the fillets of fish that he went in for. Just can’t seem to help himself like most men at Bunnings hareware store. For now it has turned into a mid-week seafood extravaganza!

To start off with I hadn’t prepared anything so I got him working. “Right you’re on the calamari for the kids start crumbing, then onto the garlic prawns for the wok. Make an avocado salsa and top the oysters with lemon and ponzu and let me get this fish in the oven.” I said in an assertive tone. We were in full gear. “kids fix the table and then get out of the kitchen!”

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imageFor the fish I love a simple pairing of sweet fennel and leek, the sourness of lemon, the hit of chilli and juiciness of blistered tomatoes to compliment the delicate flavour of the fish without over powering it. The aromas that emerged from the oven were ones of sweet sensations, adding the fish for the last 7-8 mins delivers the most perfectly cooked soft flesh that just break apart and melts in your mouth. Combining all the flavours of leek, fennel with the lemon, garlic and thyme marinade you have a simple, healthy meal that is fit for a king or to impress any posh seafood connoisseur.

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We could not indulge in such extravagance without going all out and popping a bottle of Moet champagne to top the night off.

So there we sat on a Thursday night sipping on Moet, eating our entrée’ of Oysters with avocado salsa with ponzu, wok fired garlic and chilli prawns. Main of Baked Flame Tail Snapper with Leek, Fennel & Tomatoes whilst the kids enjoyed their home cooked crumbed calamari and garlic prawns.

The pressure was on but with a little team effort we pulled it off!

Needless to say I turned to hubby and said I’ll be getting the fish from now on.

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Baked Fish with Leek, Fennel and Cherry Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients

4 pieces boneless white fish fillets ( I used local flame tail snapper)

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

fresh thyme sprigs or parsley

1/2 red chilli sliced (optional)

1/2 leek top removed and sliced

1 fennel top removed and sliced

1 punnet cherry tomatoes

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200’C
  2. Cut fish in half to make 8 smaller pieces
  3. In a medium size bowl combine, olive oil, garlic, lemon zest only, salt and pepper and thyme. Mix well
  4. Place the fish pieces in the marinade and coat the fish. Set a side
  5. In a lightly oiled baking dish place fennel and leek evenly over the base of the dish
  6. Drizzle with half the lemon juice toss through. Top with the cherry tomatoes, season with salt and pepper.
  7. Cook in the oven for 30 mins
  8. Add the fish pieces to the baking dish pouring over any remaining marinade and cook for a further 7-8 mins until fish is just firm and cooked through
  9. Remove from the oven pour over remaining lemon juice and serve with baked leek and fennel

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Pan Seared Sumac Salmon With Freekeh & Broccoli Tabbouleh

After having been dealing with a family tragedy recently I have had some down time, soul-searching so to speak. After such deep loss and sadness we tend to question our purpose and way of life. It is important to find the positives even when faced with such difficult times. There is always something to be grateful for even if it is just the air that we breathe and the roof over our heads.

Someone very dear to me said remember to stop and enjoy life because it can all be taken away from you in an instance. We can all get caught up in working and providing for ourselves and our families and wanting to buy the latest and the best, it human nature. But it is when you are faced with such tragedies do we stop and think why? and for what? At the end of it all we only leave behind the memories so make them count and plentiful.

I know this has nothing to do with Salmon.. well yes it does actually indirectly because looking after ourselves and nourishing our bodies with healthy nutritious food can help in the prevention of illness and diseases more than you realise. Provide your body with good food  and can only hope that we are never faced with the pain and suffering of the sick.

Live Well. Eat Well. Love Well

Caz  ♥

Pan Seared Sumac Salmon with Freekeh & Broccoli Tabbouleh

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

4  fresh salmon fillets skin off

1/2 cup uncooked freekeh rinsed

1 broccoli head cut into florets

1/2 bunch fresh asparagus finely chopped

1/2 small red capsicum diced

3 green onions finely sliced

400g tin chickpeas drained

200g grape tomatoes sliced

1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped

1 sliced chilli optional

1/2 cup pistachio nuts roughly chopped

Lemon Sumac Dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove crushed

2 tsp sumac

1 tsp salt

cracked pepper

Directions

  1. Place all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake. Set aside
  2. Place salmon in a dish and Add 4 tablespoons of the sumac lemon dressing to the salmon. Place in the fridge to marinade till needed.
  3. Bring 2 cups of water to the boil in a small saucepan
  4. Once boiling add freekeh and cook with lid on for 25 mins. Drain and cool
  5. Place broccoli, asparagus, capsicum, onion, tomatoes, chickpeas, parsley, chilli and pistachios in a large bowl with the freekeh. Mix to combine
  6. Add the rest of the dressing and mix well
  7. Heat a medium pan or grill pan to high heat. Place salmon fillets in pan and cooked for 3-4 mins and each side.
  8. Serve with Freekeh & Broccoli Tabbouleh and extra lemon if desired.

Notes- you can easily substitute salmon or white fish

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From Sea to Plate.. Crab & Pea Risotto with Tomato, Parsley & White Wine

It’s that time of year again.. everyone knows Christmas is just a few weeks away but I’m talking  ‘Crabbing Season’. One good thing about living in the southern hemisphere and having Christmas in Summer means that we can enjoy beautiful fresh seafood at this time of year. Fortunate for us Aussies we can source it from our very own backyard literally!
Living on the Gold Coast waterways definitely has its perks, as a guide we like to follow the rule of any month ending in “R” is best months for crabbing, though when December rolls around its serious business catching them in time for Christmas Day celebrations. My husband has become well-known for his crab catching so when the holidays start he is out on the canals everyday after work with my boys checking the pots for the daily catch. The boys love it and can’t wait for Dad to get home to throw on their life jackets and help with the retrieval even the two-year old now gets in on the action. It’s an exciting bonding time they share together that will stay with remember and pass down to their children one day.

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Mudcrabs are the main catch here in Queensland while southern states catch more of the Blue Swimmer varieties. Similar in taste, though the Blue swimmer is a little smaller with less meat and have a blueish colouring. We like to save them up, invite family and friends over and do a big cook up. The bibs come out, and we get down and dirty licking every last bit of flavour off our fingertips now that is finger licking good!

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Over the years we have experimented with different recipes which now my husband seems to think he has perfected the famous Singapore Chilli Mudcrab after our recent trip to Singapore earlier this year and yet to have anyone disagree.With seafood restaurants charging their own ‘market price’ you can easily pay over $100 for a meal like that, so learning the crabbing techniques and secrets over the years has certainly paid off in abundance.

My husband absolutely loves Seafood and will indulge in its glory at any opportunity he gets. When we first met I didn’t eat any  Seafood at all to his amazement, well they do say opposites attract and that certainly was the case for us. Over the years I have  experimented and had to broaden my horizons. I have made dishes for him that I have started to enjoy also and  I have to say I have slowly learnt to like it too. I am still not as big of a seafood lover as hubby is which he doesn’t seem to mind, more for him he is quick to respond.

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Apart from devouring a feast of Chilli Crabs as a meal on its own,  it’s also nice to boil and de-shell and use the meat in other dishes such as pastas and risotto. The sweet seafood works so well with simple flavours also making sure not to use anything that’s too overpowering, you don’t want to spoil the beautiful flavour of the sea that these unique crustacean obtain. Garlic, white wine, onion and chilli are usually great accompaniments to add. Along with simple herbs such as parsley and vegetables like peas, asparagus and tomato. I used these ingredients to make this exquisite  Crab Risotto which had my husband jaw dropped and drooling, you know what they say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and after 13 years of marriage I certainly know what makes his tummy content. With Crab season well underway looks like there will be more crab recipes this summer to come stay tuned.

Crab and Pea Risotto with Tomato, Parsley and White Wine

A beautiful delicate Seafood dish to impress the most fussy of  foodie friends or A romantic dinner for two to spoil the other half

[recipe- ingredients]

1 tb butter

1 small onion finely diced

1 stalk of celery finely diced

1 tsp salt

pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

1 garlic clove crushed

1 ts thyme leaves

zest of a lemon

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 can diced tomato

2 tb flat leaf parsley finely chopped

4 cups stock (vegetable or chicken is fine if you don’t have crab stock)

1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas

1 cup cooked crab

freshly ground salt and pepper

juice of 1/2 lemon

[/recipe-ingredients]

Directions

  1. Heat stock in a small saucepan on low heat
  2. In a medium/large saucepan on high heat melt butter then add onion and saute for 3 mins until softened.
  3. Add celery, garlic, cayenne, thyme, lemon zest and pinch of salt saute for a further 3 mins
  4. Add the rice and stir through, followed by the white wine lower heat and allow to simmer until the wine has reduced by half
  5. Stirring constantly start adding ladles of the stock one ladle at a time, making sure to add another ladle once the stock is absorbed. You need to constantly watch and stir the pot.
  6. Once the rice is tender (al dente) but  still a little firm  add the peas, diced tomato, parsley and cooked  crab meat, stirring and adding some more stock mix through and finish off by adding the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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