Many recipes tell you to test fish for doneness with a fork: If it flakes easily, it’s ready. But sometimes that’s too late. Instead, watch the fish carefully and pull it from the heat just when it changes from translucent to opaque, or even a moment before, as we did for Food Network Magazine‘s Thai Fish Curry. The fish will continue cooking after you take it off the heat.
Every winter I order up a large box of Meyer lemons from California. I make marmalade, lemonade concentrate and a big jar of salt-preserved lemons. I spread the marmalade on toast, drizzle the lemonade concentrate into glasses of sparkling water and stare at the preserved lemons, wondering what the heck to do with them.
And so I search out recipes that feature these lemons. I make a few tagines (a traditional use for these salty preserved lemons). I whiz a few slivers into hummus. And I blend up a creamy salad dressing to eat with tomatoes and avocado. Still, there are more preserved lemons to eat.
Because I always have a jar of these lemons in my fridge just begging to be used, any time I spot a recipe that includes them, I sit up and take notice. The recipe that most recently caught my eye was Ina Garten’s Striped Bass and Preserved Lemon Dressing With Grilled Carrots. It’s a gorgeously simple preparation. The fish is pan-roasted, then settled on top of a sunny pool of dressing that’s made from preserved lemons, mayonnaise and vinegar. It’s fresh tasting and the perfect thing for these summer Weekenders.
Known for its trademark light-orange hue and heart-healthy proteins, salmon is a naturally flavorful fish, one that even kids and picky seafood challengers enjoy. Salmon can stand up to high heat and pairs well with the taste of charcoal, which is why many recipes prefer to grill the light, flaky fillets. In the winter months, however, instead of standing over a barbecue in the bone-chilling snow, prepare salmon in the warmth of your kitchen using easy cooking techniques like poaching, baking and sauteing. We’ve rounded up Food Network’s top-five salmon dishes, each with stress-free recipes that can be made easily indoors. Check out the classic and creative takes on this family-friendly fish below, then browse our entire collection of salmon recipes.
5. Crispy Salmon Croquettes With Remoulade Sauce — Similar to crab cakes, Sandra’s golden-brown bites are made with prepared salmon and a filling of egg, a splash of hot sauce and fish-fry coating mix for added flavor, then pan-fried until warm and served with a cool mayonnaise-garlic sauce.
4. Salmon and Dill Chowder With Pastry Crust — Rachael remakes the everyday chicken pot pie into a hearty seafood bowl, complete with a creamy combination of poached salmon, celery and potatoes, finished with a pre-baked flaky crust.
During the summer I try and minimize how much I use my oven. The air conditioning in my apartment is adequate for dealing with Philadelphia’s steamy weather, but it begins to falter when I add all that radiant oven heat to the mix. So when cooler temperatures roll around, I’m more than ready to reconnect with the world of baking, broiling and roasting.
This last weekend, I was making a little dish to take with me to a birthday potluck. It was simple enough, just a bowl of lemony white bean spread and some crunchy baguette rounds. I’d cut the bread thin, so it would become akin to little crackers as it toasted and be a good partner for the smooth dip (this is a great way to give new life to day- or two-day-old bread).
As I stood by my oven and watched the bread to prevent it from burning, I saw a spark and then a small flame shoot out of the element (it’s electric). I quickly switched off the broiler, pulled my sheet of toasts off the rack and attempted to blow out the flame (for future reference, this is not a particularly good way to extinguish a kitchen fire). Thankfully, the flame died back almost immediately and I was able to investigate the damage. A chunk of the element was burnt away.
With summer drawing to a close (and boy, did it go fast this year), I’m trying to mark as many warm weather cooking projects off my culinary bucket list as possible. This season, that list has included homemade frozen yogurt, tomato cobbler, blueberry buckle and whole grilled fish. I managed to get the first three checked off in delicious fashion weeks ago, but the grilled whole fish has been haunting me since June.
Last week I decided it was time to be brave and tackle Bobby Flay’s Grilled Sardines With Garlic Walnut Sauce before Labor Day arrived. I figured that sardines would be easy, since they’re small fish (my assumption being that tiny fish would be more manageable than giant ones). Of course, when I paid a visit to my local fish market, I was told that sardines are hard to come by this time of year and that I shouldn’t expect to see them in the Philadelphia area until November.
Instead of letting my hopes be dashed entirely, I decided to pick a different small fish that could stand in for the sardines. I landed on tiny trout, and though the flesh isn’t as dense and oily, I had a sense that they would still go nicely with the sauce.
Hot Tips From Food Network Kitchens’ Katherine Alford:
Here’s an easy way to expose pesky bones in fish: Lay the fillet over an upside-down small bowl, then run your fingers over it to feel for bones. Pull them out with small pliers or fish tweezers, pressing down around the bone with your other hand so the fish doesn’t tear. Give it a try with this Cornmeal-Crusted Trout from Food Network Magazine.
If ever a food needed a brand overhaul, it’s salt cod.
Because nothing about that name inspires cravings. It actually sounds like something you spread on an icy walkway to keep people from slipping.
But salt cod actually has a rich history, especially in Portuguese and Spanish cuisine, which treat this simple ingredient with near reverence. Read more
I have a dear friend who loves to perfect recipes. While I’m content to try something once and then move on to the next cooking project, Cindy will make a dish over and over again until she’s absolutely nailed it. Her pursuit of excellent food has benefited me many times over in the years I’ve known her, because I’ve often been one of her food testers.
There was a spaghetti Bolognese year, a winter of beef stew and a six-month stint during which she served a lot of cioppino. My very favorite was the summer when she was trying to make the perfect fish taco.
My sister and I were at her house the night she declared the winning fish taco. Served in warm corn tortillas, the fish was lightly breaded and fried and topped with a quick coleslaw and a spicy, creamy sauce. There were slivers of avocados for garnish and limes for a hint of acid. Whenever I eat fish tacos, I remember that warm night in her back garden.
Though I love fish tacos, I rarely end up making them at home, because of the frying step. My kitchen has no range hood, just a feeble exhaust fan that helps spread greasy splatter all over my cabinets. Recently, someone pointed me to Bobby Flay’s recipe for Fish Tacos, which has you grill the fish instead of frying it. I had to try it.
Kitchen Stadium is a surprising place.
When the Iron Chefs face off against their challengers, you are never quite sure what they are going to come up with. In fact, I’m positive, neither are they.
The biggest surprise of all, of course, is the Chairman’s secret ingredient. Some of the foods revealed are very familiar, but many are unusual (some of the judges may say cruel and unusual), and I have heard many a battle-hardened chef whimper when the altar rises to reveal an exotic ingredient that has never graced their chopping boards before.
But that’s what being an Iron Chef is all about, and one thing is for certain: The Chairman’s challenges are not going to get any easier. He is continually searching far and wide for ingredients that will really test the mettle of the Iron Chefs and those who dare to challenge them.
For the upcoming season of Iron Chef America, I am delighted to announce that the good folks at Food Network have asked me if I would put together a series of guides showcasing the delights the Chairman has in store for the contestants.