Fish and Chips

There are few foods that bring me right back to St. Patrick’s day and Irish pubs quite like Fish and Chips. The crispy and golden fried fish dipped in delicious tartar sauce. The fries soaked with malt vinegar. Mmm…. A little piece of Irish heaven.

I couldn’t let this year pass with satisfying my craving for this delicious meal. Of course the only way to make it even better is to make it homemade!

I have to admit that deep frying foods at home has always made me really nervous. The huge pot of basically boiling oil was super intimidating to me. But it was time to conquer my fear. Once I got all of my ingredients prepped, I was surprised at how simple it was. To make sure I was able to fully devote my attention to frying the fish, I decided to oven bake the fries. It was nice because I was able to have both things going at once and didn’t have to worry about keeping the fries warm, though I’m sure deep fried fries would be amazing. If you would like to fry your fries, check out Laura’s blog, Tide and Thyme, for those instructions.

Got Fish?
Foil Packet Soy-Lime Salmon with Green Beans
Foil Baked Fish with Black Beans and Corn
Homemade Fish Sticks
Pepper Jack and Cilantro Stuffed Swordfish

Foil Baked Fish with Black Beans and Corn

I’ve been so inconsistent about posting food lately that I’m almost lost about how to even write this post! I really need to get myself back into the swing of things…

In the weeks leading up to “the big move” I pretty much gave up on trying to make and photograph food at dinner time. I was usually too tired after work to put the proper amount of effort into it, the lighting was terrible, and I just couldn’t get into it. It’s also kind of hard to get motivated to make a whole meal when it’s just you you’re cooking for.

On my own, I could happily eat noddles with a little olive oil, garlic, squeeze of lemon and boat load of cheese almost every night for dinner. But during the day (I had a break while the girls were in school) I had much more energy and of course was always looking for an excuse to do anything other than pack my apartment. So I found myself making a lot of my big meals for lunch.

This fish was one of those mid-day meals. I’ve got to tell you, it was one of the best lunches I’ve had in ages. It’s been over a month since I made it and I can still taste it when I think about it.

The chipotle adds a deep smokey flavor that balances out perfectly with the lightness from the citrus in the orange juice. Then there is the punch of cilantro and the little bit of butter makes everything melt together. It’s also great because it’s basically a one dish meal with easy preparation and clean up. Definitely something you should try. I used Tilapia because it was on sale at the grocery store, but pretty much any mild white fish will work. If you’re worried about it being too fishy, try using a fish like mahi mahi since it’s flavor is even milder.

Also, I found this recipe on Pink Parlsey and this week Josie shared a spin-off recipe using chick peas instead of black beans. Sounds interesting!

Foil Baked Fish with Black Beans and Corn
Ingredients
4 skinless white fish fillets (6 to 8 oz each), 1-inch thick
salt and pepper
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce or 1 tsp dry Chipotle chili powder
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups corn kernels, I used half frozen sweet corn and half frozen roasted corn (from Trader Joes)
1/2 red onion, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and adjust rack to lower middle position.

Pat the fish fillets dry and season lightly with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, use a fork to combine the softened butter, 1/2 of the chipotle pepper (or chili powder), orange zest, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and half of the garlic. Spread the butter mixture over the fish.

In a medium bowl, combine the black beans, corn, red onion, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, orange juice, remaining chipotle pepper (or chili powder), remaining garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.

Lay out 4 squares of aluminum foil and divide the bean mixture evenly between them. Place one fish fillet on top of the bean mixture on each sheet of foil. Fold the foil in half over the fish and then seal all of the open edges by folding the foil edges up and in.

Carefully move the foil packets to a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through. Carefully open the packets, sprinkle with remaining cilantro and serve.

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, The Best Simple Recipes as seen on Pink Parsley

Pepper Jack and Cilantro Stuffed Swordfish

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First and foremost, a big huge thank you to everyone who pinned and shared Friday’s post. I figured people would dig the pumpkin and cinnamon (and of course, the rum) but the response well exceeded my expectations. I shared on Facebook that I am blown away by the positive response and that is still true. I blog because I love it and because I believe the way to the heart is through the stomach, so seeing such a positive response to a post I already love gives me the warm fuzzies. Thanks everyone! And hello to new readers!

Today’s post comes from a picture I stumbled on this weekend. It some how fell through the cracks after I uploaded the photos and it’s a real shame because it was one of my favorite grilled meals this summer. If you’re one of those people that thinks cilantro tastes like soap (how?? it’s so yummy!) then it’s probably not for you. If not, then hurry outside and make this before grilling season is over!

This recipe is perfect for people that are new to fish because swordfish is such a sturdy fish that it acts a lot like chicken. Plus the flavorful punch from the stuffing makes the fish taste even more subtle. Some may prefer a simpler preparation, and I can appreciate that, but I also have a hard time saying no to Pepper Jack cheese and cilantro!


Pepper Jack and Cilantro Stuffed Swordfish
(Adapted from We Are Not Martha)

Ingredients
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 oz. Pepper Jack cheese, grated
3 swordfish steaks, each about 1-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Oil for preparing the grill grates
Lemon halves, optional

Directions
To the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic cloves and pulse for 10 seconds. Add the parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt and pulse again until herbs are finely chopped. With the motor running, stream the olive oil and process until emulsified. Remove a 1/4 cup of mixture and set aside for later use. To the bowl add the grated Pepper Jack cheese and process for 15 seconds (it will look kind of crumbly, and that’s ok).

Prepare a grill by lightly brushing the grates with oil and turning the flame to medium.

Prepare the swordfish steaks but slicing a horizontal pocket into the side of the fish. Sprinkle the outside with salt and pepper, then stuff each pocket with the Pepper Jack-Cilantro mixture. You can secure the pocket with a toothpick if you feel it is necessary.

Grill the swordfish for 4-5 minutes then, using a metal spatula, carefully flip to the other side. Brush each swordfish steak with the reserved cilantro mixture and grill for 4-5 minutes, or until the fish begins to easily flake. If you opt to use lemon halves, you can grill those for the final 4-5 minutes.

Serve immediately with any additional cilantro sauce. Goes well with Spanish rice.

Homemade Fish Sticks


Every once in a while I like what I call a “kid meal”. For lunch, that will mean a peanut butter and jelly with carrot sticks, a juice box, and fruit snacks. (Are people supposed to outgrow PB&J? Because I sure haven’t yet.) For dinner, it’s something like this meal. Fish sticks, macaroni and cheese, and green beans. But this isn’t your blue box and yellow wearing fisherman kind of “kid meal”. What’s really awesome though, is that it doesn’t take that much more time.

Here’s the break down of how I put this meal together:

  • Prep green beans, set them aside to marinate
  • Get water boiling and pasta going
  • Prep fish sticks
  • Get the fish sticks and green beans in the oven
  • Drain pasta and prepare mac and cheese
  • Fish sticks and green beans out of the oven
  • Meal served

You can’t tell me that takes much longer than the boxed meal. And of course, making it all yourself means knowing exactly what (and how much) is going into your food. I also think that these fish sticks are well worth any extra effort. The panko really adds a nice crunch and there is no freezer burn after taste.

Homemade Fish Sticks
((slightly)Adapted from Elly Says Opa)

2 white fish fillets (such as tilapia or cod) ~1 pound
1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 cups panko
heaping 1/4 tsp onion powder
heaping 1/4 tsp garlic powder
heaping 1/4 tsp paprika
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 450. Prepare a baking sheet by placing a wire (cooling) rack over the tray and lightly spraying with non-stick spray.

Cut the fish into strips.

In a shallow bowl, mix together the panko, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper, and canola oil. Place the egg in separate bowl.

Coat the fish sticks by dipping the strips into the egg first, then the panko mixture. Place the coated strips on the wire rack and bake for about 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily, rotating pan halfway through.

Have you ever tried Wasabi Mayonnaise? I bought some at Trader Joes and it was AWESOME with the fish sticks!