Tag Archives: fish

Dolphin with Vegetables in Parchment Paper

Need a new go-to meal, low in calories and long in flavor?  Here’s your quick and easy dinner after a long day’s work.  Dolphin in parchment paper with bright and gorgeous vegetables takes about 10-15 minutes to assemble then 30  minutes in the oven.  This dish will fill your kitchen with a mouth-watering fragrance and is supremely satisfying.  Being low in calories is especially welcome during the holidays.  And I find if I have a healthful, filling meal I tend to lean towards grapes or a few apple slices for dessert.  This recipe is fabulously forgiving in that pretty much all the vegetables may be substituted to please your guests or family.  The potato slices may be left out entirely.  Don’t like zucchini?  Fat, crunchy asparagus spears work just as well in their place.  Don’t have any fresh tomatoes on hand? Chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil work beautifully.  Fresh basil can easily be replaced with fresh thyme, tarragon or rosemary.  And if you’ve cut up all your lemons for the bar, feel free to zest a lime over the fish.  Some folks don’t care for tapenade or olive spread.  If you’re one of these people, how about pesto in its place?  The broth from the vegetables and fish mixed with the juices of the olive spread is of the gods.  And, last, let’s talk about the fish.  If you don’t have mahi-mahi, another name for dolphin, use salmon, snapper, cod, tuna or grouper.  This is one easy, forgiving meal, people.  My parchment paper measures about 12X16″.  I lightly cover the paper with non-stick spray and quickly stack the vegetables ending with the fish fillets and lemon zest.  After a drizzle of olive oil, a shake of salt and freshly cracked pepper, the parchment paper is creased in half with the fish and vegetables sitting in the middle of the bottom half of paper.

To finish the open sides are folded, doubled-up and pinched closed towards the fish.  Placed on a baking sheet and slid into the oven, you’ll now have a fabulous dinner ready to be enjoyed in 30 minutes.  Snaps to you.

Dolphin and Vegetables in Parchment Paper

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2  4-5 ounce dolphin fillets, fresh or thawed
  • 4 large potato slices, 1/8″ thick, you only need 1 potato
  • 1 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into 4 equal slices
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 small tomatoes, both sliced into 4 equal slices
  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves
  • 8-10 teaspoons olive spread
  • the zest of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a little olive oil to drizzle over the fish
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°.
  2. Fold 2 12X16″ pieces of parchment paper in half lengthwise, place on a baking sheet and open both pieces of paper.
  3. Spray the parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray and lay 2 potato slices, alongside the middle crease of the paper.
  4. On each packet place 2 slices of zucchini lengthwise over the potato slices.
  5. Over the zucchini continue stacking the onion, tomato and basil in equal amounts between the two bundles.
  6. Drop 4-5 teaspoons of olive spread lengthwise on the basil then top each stack with the fish fillets.
  7. Scatter equal amounts of fresh lemon zest along with the salt and pepper over each fillet.
  8. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the fillets.
  9. Fold over the other half of the parchment paper and begin to crimp and fold in the open sides beginning either on the top or bottom.
  10. Place the baking sheet with the fish packets into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Carefully tear open the top of the packets and slide the entire contents into a shallow soup or pasta bowl including any broth.
  12. Serve immediately.



Fresh and Spicy Salmon Burgers


Here in Boston it seems that spring has sprung.  Everybody’s out walking, with dogs or pushing baby strollers.  Young girls are out sporting tank tops, sandals and legs so lily-white that I have to remind myself that staring is impolite.  I find myself quickening my pace as I walk to see if the girl in front of me is wearing white hose.  I catch myself thinking, “Can there possibly be any blood in those limbs?”.  And go back to my original thought, “That’s not very nice, Alicia.” to which the other side of my brain responds, “Well, I’M not very nice”.  Flowers have bloomed everywhere; the Public Garden and the Common are a riot of color with purple globes of allium, banks of roses and borders of pansies.


Toddlers run every which way on soft beds of grass as the sunlight bounces brilliantly off the emerald-green leaves of massive elm trees.  This is the weather that begs for clean food, light food, tasty, healthful food.


I started craving fresh salmon burgers for dinner a few days ago and set about to fulfill that desire.  Here in Boston at the beginning of summer finds me without a fully equipped kitchen.  At home I would pulse fresh salmon through the food processor a few times and not give it a second thought.  Luckily for me salmon is soft and delicate and with the aid of two dinner forks I easily scraped the fish off of the skin leaving a lovely coral mound with the same texture as that of ground beef.  In fact, I much preferred the fish I flaked by hand as it’s just too easy to over-process it in the food processor.  I added panko crumbs to lighten the dish; I didn’t want a heavy, dense burger plus I knew that addition would help the burgers keep their shape.  I mixed the bread crumbs with all the herbs and seasonings so I could taste it and check for seasoning adjustments before adding the salmon.  That done I shaped four large patties, covered them with plastic wrap and set them in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours.  That, too, would help them retain their shape while cooking.


After a workout on Commonwealth Mall and catching up with all my SoFlo peeps it was time to prepare dinner.  I put together a quick Asian style slaw to serve with the open face burgers so we wouldn’t miss the buns.  Totally fooled my stomach!  And they came out great.  I’ve since discovered uncooked salmon burgers freeze extremely well so keep that in mind when salmon goes on sale.  Make some for dinner and throw a few in the freezer for the nights you come home too tired to cook.  Life is good.

Fresh and Spicy Salmon Burgers

  • Servings: four large burgers
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 1/4 pounds salmon filet, SKIN ON!
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3-4 thinly sliced scallions, all of the white and 3/4 of the green
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger root
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil


  1. Combine all ingredients except salmon in a medium-sized bowl and mix well to combine all flavors.  Taste for adjustments and set aside.
  2. Place salmon filet skin side down on a non-skid surface such as a wooden cutting board.
  3. Use a dinner fork in one hand to hold fish in place and holding a dinner fork in your other hand gently scrape fish off skin working from one end to the other.
  4. Without overworking fish, combine salmon with panko mixture until all ingredients are evenly combined.
  5. Gently form into four patties, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill for at least one hour.
  6. Heat a non-stick pan over medium high heat.  Cook salmon burgers for three to four minutes per side for medium rare.
  7. Serve immediately open face or on toasted buns.  If you go with the buns, drop a little heat or sesame oil into some mayonnaise and slather that on one side of the bun.



The Hot Springs of Lesvos

Lesvos, Greece.  Poolside.  No makeup, hair could really stand a wash, and I couldn’t care less! Past the majestic date palms which line the length of the pool I look down upon fields dotted with ancient olive trees, hundreds of years old, their trunks gnarled and twisted, their leaves gently swaying in the afternoon breeze coyly showing off the silvery underside as a girl might let her secret love catch a quick glimpse of her petticoats.  Beyond is the Aegean.  These waters are cold, I mean, REALLY cold. Lesvos is known for many things.  Their ouzo is world-renowned.  Their olive oil is some of the best on this planet.  Greeks consider Lesvos one of the most gorgeous islands not only because of her beaches but the island is also home to thousands of birds which stop here during their migration to and from Africa.  This is not an arid island.  Not only are there olive groves and pine trees but meadows filled with wild flowers and butterflies. Horses, goats and sheep graze peacefully in fields filled with pine and elm trees.  Cool breezes wrap themselves around you and, yes, the sun is warm, but not like a hot flame licking the bottoms of your feet.  No, the sun is warm and golden.  Down the road from our hotel is a natural hot spring. The building housing the spring dates back to Roman times.  The entrance is a small, cement doorway which opens to a large, domed structure.  The rounded ceiling opens to a 15 small, square holes which send down a brilliant rays of sunlight that dance and shine smack dab in the middle of the rectangular hot spring.  The floor of the spring is covered with smooth, round rocks and a several well-worn boulders have been strategically placed for seating.  It’s so pretty and relaxing.  Until you open one eye and catch the fat man from some unnamed Slavic country who was just sitting across from you attempting to get out of the steaming waters and shooting you a HIGHLY unattractive backside view of his private parts as seen through his speedo.  Eeeeeeew.  Pretty nasty, but I know you can get past it. Other than that, it’s a pretty spectacular place.  When you first try out the hot springs a gentlewomen explains the correct procedure of immersing yourself.  Cold water is the first step and you have your choice of an outside shower or the Aegean Sea.  The waters of the Aegean are dark, cobalt blues to shimmering, pale aquamarine and colder than you can imagine.  It’s painful just sticking your big toe in.  I’ve even seen Russians scream upon contact.  It takes quite a bit of self-discipline to stay in such frigid waters but after five or six minutes you can drag yourself out and tackle the next step.  The springs are a toasty 109 F to a blistering 115 F.  She advised us to slowly ease ourselves into the waters and advised us the feet are some of the most sensitive parts of the body.  The first time we went I remember thinking, “Oh, no. Not me. I could probably do a cannonball into the water and be just fine.  I’m a mermaid.”  Boy, was I wrong. The tops of your feet truly ARE highly sensitive creatures so we heeded her words and took our time.  Little by little, inch by inch we lowered ourselves until the water came up to our necks.  The hot spring pool is relatively shallow so we were almost horizontal by that point holding onto the edge of the pool for leverage. The recommended time in the pool is no more than 20 minutes so we were happy to get out.  It.Was.Hot.  You could feel yourself perspire, submerged, while watching your skin turn pink.  Time to get back into the cold.  Funny thing tho, when we felt the cold of the Aegean again on our bodies, and believe me, we were dreading it, if didn’t hurt!  Matter of fact, it felt nice. Cool against the heat of our skin.  And it was the same when we went back into the springs.  Felt like bath water!  Back and forth we went, sometimes chatting with each other or other bathers until we surrendered to the luxurious point of limp relaxation.  After a quick towel rub down, a towel can be purchased for a mere 1e, one can take in a little sun and enjoy the drowsy aftermath and post-springs conversation.  “I’m hungry.  You hungry?”  “Yeah.  I could choke down a little something.  Sure.”  “You wanna go to “Our Favorite Restaurant?”  “Oh, yeah!!”, and off we go with our liquid limbs and at a leisurely pace still relishing the warm sun on our skin.  As we approach the Efftalou Restaurant we take in the Aegean and Turkey to our right and, yes, more olive trees to our left.  A quick scan of the restaurant and we take our seats outside.  Usually under the shade of a fig or lemon tree.  This restaurant is known for its fresh fish and never disappoints.  With a cold Mythos beer for Jimmy and an equally cold, crisp glass of house white for me, our order is taken and is usually the same. Grilled whole fish or grilled octopus and loads of vegetables! The fish is from local waters and never more than an hour or two has passed since being caught.  The typical grilling method is to rub the fish with olive oil, give it a light sprinkling of salt, slip it into a flat grilling basket and onto the fire.  It’s served with lots of freshly cut lemon and good Greek olive oil.  And it’s always out of this world!!  A side of boiled, wild greens with more lemons and olive oil, zucchini blossoms stuffed with feta, maybe a Greek salad and, baby, lunch is served!

Dessert!!! Always on the house!!

Fried Fish

The first dish I can remember wanting to prepare came about when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old.  I don’t recall what spurred on this desire to cook, but I do remember taking some of my meager savings out of my piggy bank and asking Mama if she would please take me to the grocery store.  Mama had one cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, and, while perusing it, I had found a recipe which caught my fancy.  We went to our grocery store, Food Fair, it was called.  It sat on the property next to where Stranahan House is today, on Las Olas Boulevard.  It was bright and open and oh, so cool with conditioned air.  I went to the seafood counter, Mama just seemed to melt away, while I pondered my wisest purchase.  I didn’t know seafood was so expensive.  I didn’t even LIKE seafood!  I stood in front of that case waiting for something to jump out and say “Take ME home.  Everyone loves ME.  Cook me and you’ll be Mama and Daddy’s favorite!”.  It didn’t happen.  Plus, I barely had any money.  Why, I don’t know, but I finally decided on oysters.  OYSTERS!  I had never eaten them but they were cheap and it looked as though you got quite a bit for your money.  (Hint: they’re AAAALLL shell.)  The fish monger must have known what a novice I was because he shucked them for me without my asking, I didn’t even know the word “shuck” nor did I know of the process.  I paid, thanked the man, grabbed my bag and ran off giddy with the excitement of knowing I was going to absolutely dazzle, astonish, wow my parents.  I think I may have felt rather unremarkable at that stage of my life.  Back in our kitchen, I pulled out Mama’s electric frying pan.  The same pan she used to make spaghetti.  Here’s her recipe, boil 1 pound of spaghetti noodles and put the drained noodles into the electric skillet.  Add one small can of the leading brand canned spaghetti, mix well, cover and simmer for and hour or so.  Spaghetti.  We LOVED it because it had salt in it and salt = flavor, of which we had none.  Well, that afternoon I unknowingly retaliated on a culinary level at my poor mother.  I must have bought some kind of oil at the store because that’s just NOT the kind of thing we would have had in our house.  The recipe in the Joy of Cooking called for an oyster bath of 1 part egg, 2 parts water.  I dismissed that as unnecessary and one more step keeping me from the glories of culinary fame.  The recipe also called for fine breadcrumbs, and, again, I dismissed that, flour would be just fine.  I filled the electric skillet with oil and turned the setting to high.  Into a bowl of all-purpose flour I dumped the oysters, all together, not drained.  Then I mixed them around with, probably, dirty hands.  I was something of a tom-boy at that age, I LOVED drippy, dangley jewelry but I wouldn’t walk away from a good neighborhood fight, either.  No need to wash hands, it was just another time waster and they looked fine.  I poured the bottle of oil into the skillet, and one by one, dumped the oysters into the barely warmed oil.  The oil eventually heated up and the oysters were fried to a dark, golden color, but I remember being unsure as to how they were supposed to look and ended up cooking them for at least half an hour.  Can you imagine?  On to a plate they went and straight I flew to my mother.  Unbeknownst to me, the week or so prior my paternal grandfather had just grossed my mother totally out by inviting her to sample raw, chopped clams suspended in lemon jello, a new recipe he had made up.  And Grandpa was one strong willed man who never accepted “No” for an answer.  So she wasn’t feeling too much love for bi-valves.  I remember literally holding my breath waiting for her to swoon in ecstasy over these morsels from the sea.  I watched her with the eyes of a chicken hawk anticipating her slightest reaction.  And just like every dream mother, she passed with flying colors.  She looked at me with such love and wonderment and told me she had NEVER had ANYTHING like that before in her entire life!  She told me with such kindness that those oysters were unlike anything in her imagination.  I was thrilled.  Looking back, they HAD to have been nuggets of greasy, hard rubber.  I don’t know how she did it… but she did.  As Pamela and I were talking about the other day, there is no one, NO ONE on this planet who will ever, EVER be of the opinion that you are splendid and special, better than all the other children in the world, than your mother.  She is the one who truly believes in you.  SHE is the one who looks at you and sees only perfection.  And I say, I’m wit’ cha, Mama!!

Today I have for you my recipe for fried fish, which most people really like even if they don’t particularly care for fish.  James and Jimmy love it, I always have plenty left over to take to Dad’s house and for breakfast, lunches or snacks the following day.  I absolutely adore fried fish for breakfast especially if it’s on my plate sitting next to soft, scrambled eggs. Typically I serve it with collards and biscuit or collards and cornbread and there is always, ALWAYS a big ol’ bottle of Crystal Lousiana Hot Sauce.  It is most definitely an “everybody’s home for dinner” dinner!


  • 2-3 pounds filleted fish, dolphin, snapper, catfish, pompano or any mild white fish
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, to be divided
  • 2 tablespoons your favorite house seasoning, I use Goya brand Adobo
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 egg or egg white equivalent plus 2 tablespoons water beaten in
  • canola or vegetable oil
  • Hot sauce, optional
  1. Cut fish into desired serving size pieces.  If using dolphin, also known as mahi,  cut out the bloodline running down the middle.
  2. Set three bowls on your counter, 2 medium one large.  To the first medium bowl add 1 cup all-purpose flour.  The second medium bowl is to hold the egg mixture.  And to the large bowl mix the remaining flour, cornmeal, seasoning and pepper.
  3. Cover a large cookie sheet with tin foil and place cooling racks on the cookie sheet.  Yes, the same cooling racks you would use for a hot dish or to cool baked goods.  That way air will circulate around your fish and keep the cornmeal from getting wet and soggy.
  4. Lightly dredge a piece of fish in the flour, dip into the egg mixture then roll in cornmeal mixture.  Place on cooling rack over foil lined cookie sheet to keep dry.  Continue to the next piece until all fish has been coated in cornmeal flour mixture.
  5. Into your largest skillet add 2 inches of oil and heat oil to 350°.  When temperature has been reached, and ONLY then, add 4 or 5 fish fillets to the pan but don’t overcrowd!!  Make sure there’s space between each fillet so they don’t steam.
  6. When bottom of fish is golden turn each fillet over.  The whole process takes only a few minutes.
  7. Drain on paper bags or paper towels.
  8. Serve with hot sauce on the side.