Category: seafood

“Holy moley!” Shrimp and Parmesan Grits

The only way to enjoy grits is to add butter and cheese. Then add more butter and cheese.  This was the first time I made this dish, and while it’s delish, it’s also decidedly not heart healthy. Which makes this recipe perfect for sharing!

For our first Friends-giving this week, B and I each made a memorable dish. His German Potato Salad is practically legendary now, but my shrimp and grits held their own in the taste test. I’d make this again. In fact, the hubby declared, “Holy moley! These are good!” Thanks for the recipe, Aunt Judy – and Southern Living.

1 tsp salt
2 cups uncooked quick-cooking grits
14 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (not the powdery stuff)
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 TBS butter
SHRIMP SAUCEshrimp n grits
At least 2 pounds unpeeled, medium-size, raw shrimp
pepper and salt
vegetable cooking spray
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS all-purpose flour
1 tsp corn starch mixed with 1 TBS water til smooth
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped green onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp hot sauce
2 cups fresh baby spinach
parsley and lemon slices for topping

1. Prepare Parmesan Grits: Bring 1 tsp. salt and 8 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in grits. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in cheese and pepper and butter until smooth. Taste and keep warm. TIP: Use a whisk – it helps the fluffiness factor.2. Prepare Creamy Shrimp Sauce: Peel shrimp; devein and/or detail, if desired. Sprinkle shrimp with pepper and 1/8 tsp. salt – I tossed them with salt and pepper in a colander. Cook in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes on each side or just until shrimp turn pink. Remove shrimp from skillet with slotted spoon.
3. Keep the skillet on the stove. Reduce heat to medium. Add oil; heat 30 seconds. Whisk in flour; cook 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in broth, green onions, grlic, lemon juice, half of the lemon rind and all the hot sauce. Bring to a boil and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened. TIP: If the roux never thickens add the corn starch mixture and boil one minute. Stir in shrimp until heated through. Taste broth and add salt, pepper and/or more hot sauce as desired.
4. Pour grits into serving dish. Add spinach leaves. Top spinach with shrimp and sauce. Sprinkle with parsley, lemon slices and lemon rind. Serve immediately or keep warm. TIP: Nobody likes congealed grits.
This made a LOT of grits — more than one 9×13 pan could handle. Next time I’ll serve in two pans, but in the meantime, who is excited about leftovers? This girl!

Salmon with Roasted Peppers

Easy summer supers, Take 1. A girl can only eat so much lettuce and call it satisfying, but there’s no way I’m leaving the oven on for longer than necessary. Enter fast salmon with roasted red peppers. Thank you, Turkish and Mediterranean recipes!

4 salmon fillets
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 bell peppers, sliced (red and orange look best)
4 slices of lemon
2 TBS olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 c plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp dried dill
Juice of 1 lemon

Serves 2-4 | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. In a heavy pan, heat the olive oil. Stir in the onions and red peppers and cook until soft (for about 5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and leave to cool.

3. Spread the foil (that is large enough to enclose all the fish) on a baking tray and place dethawed salmon fillets on it. Spread the sautéed onions and red peppers on the fillets evenly. Place a slice or two of lemon on each fillet, season with salt and ground black pepper. Wrap the foil to make into a packet by pulling up the sides and pinching the edges tightly, leaving a little room for the steam to escape. Place the tray in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes.

4. While salmon cooks, whisk yogurt, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.

5. Once cooked, open up the packet, and serve the salmon hot with the onion, red pepper and lemon garnish. It really looks like the picture! Top with a generous dollop of Greek yogurt sauce. We served it with steamed broccoli and jasmine rice.

Coconut Curry Salmon

After rocking out a bear-sized portion of epic BBQ at the famous Salt Lick BBQ, I wanted some fish this week as a counterbalance. Who would have guessed that Kraft would have a great recipe for coconut curry salmon? Of course, my revisions excluded the one Kraft ingredient, but I give them kudos for inspiration. This took maybe 25 minutes to prepare, resulting in full flavors that belied the quickness of the dish. We gave it 2 thumbs up and decided it’s a keeper recipe!

1 can (13.5 oz.) regular or lite coconut milk
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 tsp curry powder, divided – I used yellow but red or green would work too
4 salmon fillets (1 lb.), with skins
Juice from 2 limes
2 tsp oil
1 bell pepper, cut into strips
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped OR 1 can diced tomatoes
1 onion, cut lengthwise in half, then sliced crosswise
2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste
Extra lime for garnish

1. Heat oven to 375ºF. If you’re making rice, start that now. TIP: For extra oomph, add a touch of coconut milk,  salt and some sugar to the rice before it cooks. 

2. Blend the coconut milk, cumin, red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tsp curry powder with immersion blender until smooth. Set aside.

3. Place the fish, skin-sides down, on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Mix lime juice and 1 tsp curry powder; brush onto fish. BAKE 8 to 10 min. or until fish flakes easily with fork.

4. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add the bell peppers, tomatoes and onions; cook 5 minutes. Stir in coconut milk mixture, then taste and season per preferences. We added more heat and curry powder and lime juice at this stage. Cook 5 minutes or until heated through, stirring frequently. Stir in cilantro.

Serve the salmon with sauce and jasmine rice. Sprinkle with cilantro and an additional squeeze of lime juice. TIP:

Bangladeshi Pumpkin and Shrimp

As I’ve mentioned before, my book club pairs food themes with our reading materials. For October, we read Max Brooks’  World War Z in honor of Halloween, and since it’s an international tale, our gracious hostess made a plethora of Bangladeshi food. This pumpkin and shrimp dish was everyone’s favorite and we begged for the recipe.
TIP from the hostess and chef: “I am not good at measuring or using recipes. I always just call my mom when I am in doubt.”


1/2 Pumpkin, cut into slices or large cubes (find it in H-mart or any Asian store), seeded
1-2 lbs uncooked Shrimp
3 TBS Vegetable oil

1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Red chili powder
1 tsp Cumin seed paste
1 tsp Ginger paste
1 tsp Garlic paste
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp Sugar

1. Saute the shrimps in oil in the same pan, then add onion, garlic, ginger and cumin. Stir thoroughly. Then add turmeric powder, chili powder and salt and sugar stir continuously.
2. Pour in 1 cup of water and bring it to a boil. Add sliced pumpkin and cook on high heat for 20 minutes.
3. Stir everything and put a lid on the pot. Keep cooking for another 5-10 minutes on low heat. Test with a fork to see if pumpkin is soft if it is then it is done. There shouldn’t be much water left.
4. Garnish with fresh cilantro and green chillies. Serve over steaming saffron rice.

Salmon with Honey-Mustard Pan Sauce

Trader Joe’s, you make my heart sing with your easy dinners and bright flavors. Your convenience is worth a few extra dollars and your frozen Indian food is heralded across the skies.
Ahem, right. This is a straight-up copy of the recipe on the package of TJ’s Silver Brite Salmon. We’ve eaten in twice in two weeks. Do it and be happy.
1.5 pounds thawed salmon, cut into equal pieces
4 TBS+  butter, divided (I prefer salted butter)
2 TBS  whole grain dijon mustard
4+ TBS honey, divided
1/4 cup water
1 TBS olive oil
black pepper and salt to taste
1. Add olive oil and 2 TBS butter to a nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat to melt butter.  Add mustard and stir to combine.  Cook for 1 – 2 minutes to toast mustard seeds. Add 2 TBS honey to pan until just melted.
2. Drop in salmon pieces skin side down, then salt and pepper the flesh liberally. Cover with a lid to complete the cooking, about 6 minutes.  Fish should be opaque, but do not overcook.  Remove fish and set aside, keeping it warm.
3. Add water to deglaze pan, then add the remaining 2 TBS of butter and 2 TBS of honey. Heat over high heat until the sauce thickens and reduces by about half.
4. Return fish to pan for a minute, spooning sauce over the pieces. Serve!
We’ve enjoyed the salmon over field greens, with quinoa, alongside roasted broccoli and brussel sprouts. Something green makes the dish prettier. TIP: you’ll want to pour any remaining sauce over pretty much anything on your plate.

January is Eat-at-Home Month

As usual, I was a bit overzealous in my holiday gift buying, leaving my budget a bit depleted. It’s hard not to buy things that make me think of people! And by extension, not to treat myself along the way. The thought process goes something like this:” Well, they asked for fun socks and it’s a better deal to buy this large pack, so then I can keep several pairs too because I also need socks.”

Fortunately, there are solutions. Like a diet, little decisions to change add up to bigger results. Bar hop after work? Nah. Pick up a $3 hazelnut coffee? I can have free coffee in the office. Running late and tempted to say f– it? I can always pack peanut butter. And despite what Target thinks, I really don’t NEED another pumpkin spice candle, even if it’s on clearance. So this month is eat-in month.

The Plan: At my house we’re alternating being in charge of dinners – flipping chef or sous chef titles – by each selecting 2-3 recipes for the week and purchasing the necessary ingredients.  We also have some flexibility to eat out one lunch a week, and a dinner out with limited beverages. DC martinis cost something ridiculous like $12 each. So far, eat at home month has turned out a couple new standby’s. A few recipes so far:

  • Easy Tomato-Vegetable soup with rosemary crackers and hummus
  • Crock Pot Beef Stew – held the peas and wine, added tomato juice
  • Fun-shaped Pasta with Vodka Sauce and Lemon-rosemary White Bean Dip
  • Pad See-Ew (literally “soy sauce stir-fry“) with Chicken — An eating out splurge, though I do dream of having Thai noodle cooking skills
  • Chicken and Vegetable Potstickers with soy sauce and sesame oil — The  frozen potstickers were so-so, but I am a huge fan of mixing 2 parts soy sauce: 1 part sesame oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or garlic and it’s a party in your mouth.
  • Chicken Gumbo with Sausage soup — canned, with oddly crunchy white rice

On the menu this week:

It’s great being an omnivore, isn’t it? Updates to come! Other simple but tasty dine-in dinner suggestions welcome.

Shrimp Scampi – I Can Make This Better

Fall started this week with cool nights, crisp mornings and me rummaging around in my sock drawer. (I might have worn pink  socks with embroidered  cats to work).  Par for the course of sunset at 4pm, I started craving carbs, quilts and curling up in bed.  What can I say? I’m secretly a bear who wants to hibernate until April.

But until Rip Van Winkle becomes reality, I’ll just cook. Shrimp Scampi is a classic comfort food with its oodles of butter, sautéed garlic, tangy lemon notes and salty noodles — all topped with a soft pile of Parmesan cheese. Thanks to the powers of Google, a search for “the best shrimp scampi recipe” led me to Barefood Contessa’s version. Google lied. It was fine, but kinda dry. Here’s what I recommend to make your scampi better:


  • At least 1/2 cup good olive oil, divided
  • 2 TBS kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 pound pasta
  • 3 TBS butter – not margarine!
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled and deveined – tails on or off
  • 1/4 tsp+ freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Juice of 3 lemons, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 TBS of salt and the linguine, and cook according to the directions on the package.

2. Meanwhile, in another large, heavy-bottomed pan, melt 2 TBS butter and 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute or until lightly golden.  Add the shrimp, 1 tsp salt, and the pepper. Saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Careful not to overcook shrimp — they should be springy but not chewy.

3. Turn down the heat to low, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, white wine, and red pepper flakes. Stir briefly to combine. It will smell amazing. Remove from heat.

4. When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Add more olive oil to keep noodles from sticking together. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and taste. Adjust salt, pepper and lemon based on preferences. Ladle into low bowls and top with fresh Parmesan, additional red pepper flakes, a pinch of parsley and a lemon wedge.

Serve with remaining wine — or open another bottle since you obviously drank most of the first bottle while cooking. A bit for the dish, a bit for me… A bit for the dish, a bit for me…

TWO TIPS: You can’t have too many shrimp, but you CAN have too few. Don’t skimp on shrimp!

Also, use fresh butter. Not as in fresh from the cow — though that would be delightful — but fresh from the package. Nothing is worse than butter that’s been sitting open in the fridge for a month and tastes like stale celery and sour milk.

Curry Salmon Salad Sandwich

unsexy freezer burn

There’s really a dirth of recipes for single folks who like to cook. I can’t eat a whole pan of lasagna by myself. Even soup makes 6 servings, and let’s be honest, I get tired of it after 3  meals. I know, I know, “Freeze the leftovers!” they say. So I do, and then 6 months later I throw away the frozen tupperware of mysterious, icicle-covered contents.

Which brings me to my latest recipe that churned out 2 delightful servings: curry salmon salad.

1 package (or can) of salmon, drained
1 snack-sized box of raisins
1 green apple, chopped, skin on

Viola! Curried salmon salad sandwich

Juice of 1 lemon
1 TBS olive oil
2 TBS yellow curry powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 TBS chopped almonds
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Mix it all up in a bowl and let sit in fridge for at least an hour for best flavor. Leaving it overnight is even better. Serve on a sandwich, with crackers, over a green salad, or eat it straight up with a fork.  Flavor for one!