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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More Fish

So I've written about the health benefits of seafood.  And I've given you some tips about choosing the best seafood.  So now I'll finish up this seafood theme with some easy and delicious recipes that you can make.  Seafood is not hard to cook--and it's incredibly quick to make.  You only have to be a bit attentive so you don't overcook.

Mark Bittman's Broiled Fish Recipes
courtesty of The New York Times
First, I go back to Mark Bittman, food guru and New York Times food writer.  You may remember a post that I wrote using his universal vegetable soup recipes.  In the same way, Bittman has simplified the cooking of white fish (cod, catfish, halibut, flounder, etc, etc).  He groups his recipes in 4 categories: broiled, sauteed, roasted and poached.  He creates the recipes so the ingredients--including the type of fish and the seasonings--are interchangeable.  Click here for the article.

Since Bittman tackled white fish, I'll give you 2 recipes for some other kinds of seafood.

PAN-SEARED SCALLOPS (serves 4) from America's Test Kitchen
Sea scallops can vary dramatically in size.  A dinner portion, therefore, can range from 4-6 scallops per person.  To ensure that the scallops cook at the same rate, be sure to buy scallops of similar size.  Note that scallops have a small, rough-textured, crescent-shaped muscle that toughens once cooked.  It's easy to remove--simply peel it from the side of each scallop before cooking.

Photo courtesty of America's Test Kitchen
1 1/2 pound large sea scallops (16-24), tendons removed (see note above)
Table salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
  1. Place the scallops on a dish towel-lined plate or baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Lay a single layer of paper towels over the scallops; set aside.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to a 12" skillet and heat over high heat until just smoking.  Meanwhile, press the paper towel flush to the scallops to dry.  Add half of the scallops to the skillet, dry side facing down, and cook until evenly golden, 1-2 minutes.  Using tongs, transfer the scallops, browned side facing up, to a large plate; set aside.  Wipe out the skillet using a wad of paper towels.  Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the remaining scallops.  Once the first side is golden, turn the heat to medium, turn the scallops over with tongs, and return the first batch of scallops to the pan, golden side facing up.  Cook until the sides of all the scallops have firmed up and all but the middle third of each scallop is opaque, 30-60 seconds longer.  Serve with your choice of sauce of vinaigrette.

PAN-SEARED SESAME-CRUSTED TUNA STEAKS (serves 4) from America's Test Kitchen
Prepare the sauce before cooking the fish (recipe follows).  Cooking times in this recipe are for tuna steaks cooked to rare and medium-rare.  If you prefer medium, observe the timing for medium-rare, then tent the tuna loosely with foil for 5 minutes before slicing.  If you prefer tuna cooked so rare that it is still cold in the center, try to purchase steaks that are 1 1/2" thick and cook them according to the timing for rare.  Bear in mind that the cooking times are estimates; check for doneness by nicking the fish with a paring knife.  to cook only 2 steaks, use half as many sesame seeds, reduce the amount of oil to 2 teaspoons both on the fish and in the pan, use a 10" nonstick skillet and follow the same cooking times.

3/4 cup sesame seeds
4 (8 ounce) tuna steak, about 1" thick (see note above)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 recipe Ginger-Soy Sauce with Scallions (see recipe below)
  1. Spread the seeds in a shallow baking dish or pie plate.  Pat the tuna steaks dry with a paper towel; use 1 tablespoon of the oil to rub both sides of the steaks, then sprinkle them with salt and pepper.  Press both sides of each steak in the sesame seeds to coat.
  2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke and swirl to coat the pan.  Add the steaks and cook 30 seconds without moving them.  Reduce the heat to medium-high and continue to cook until the seeds are golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Using tongs, flip the tuna carefully and cook, without moving them, until golden brown on the second side and the centers register 110 degrees for rare (about 1 1/2 minutes) or 120 degrees for medium-rare (about 3 minutes).  Serve with sauce.


1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 medium scallion, sliced thin
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons minced or grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve sugar.

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