Tag Archives: seafood

Pasta with Salsa Amaya – Herring, Sundried Tomato, Capers, Olives, Mushrooms and Garlic

One of the things I request from friends or relatives visiting from Manila is Connie’s Kitchen Salsa Amaya. It is a bottled blend of herring, olives, mushrooms and herbs soaked in olive oil.

I saute some garlic to bring out some flavors and stir in the bottle’s contents to come up with a flavorful sauce.

I toss some cooked pasta in and serve it promptly, the aroma unmistakably Filipino but with an Italian twist.

This definitely cannot be found in any New York Restaurant menu. Somebody patent it, quick!

And if you are a friend who would like to be on my good side, please ship me some Connie’s Kitchen goodies. Other favorites include Kippers in Capers, Herring in Oil, Daing na Bangus, and Tinapate.


Baked Bronzino, Bronzini, Branzino

Why is a fish dish often met with a “Wow!”? Is it because they are so delicate to make, or so hard to procure? When I moved to NY ten years ago I was amazed at how much fish dishes cost on restaurant menus, as well as their tendency to underwhelm a person who grew up in a tropical country heavy with coastlines, where fish was the poor man’s food and cooking them second nature.

Most of our fish purchases in New York were made in Chinatown, where one should only buy fish they intend to consume that day. Enter our discovery of Fresh Direct‘s Seafood Section, where the freshness and prices are unparalleled in these parts. It was a love that began with a whole baked bronzino introduced by our friend Ching-i, a dish whose simplicity I’ll share with you now.

Baked Bronzino


1 whole bronzino, head-on
lemon slices
ginger slices
olive oil
rock salt

Pre-heat oven to 400C. Arrange fish in a glass baking dish along with the other ingredients and bake for 20-25 minutes until meat is no longer translucent. Remove promptly and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Serve with vegetables and rice.

Is that easy or what?

Ginger Flounder and Steamed Choy Sum

Want a healthy, delicious meal in under thirty minutes? This puts the entree and the side in one oven for a great meal 20 minutes later.

We first encountered this fish dish when a friend named Fanny made it for us, but using a whole snapper. We’ve always enjoyed the flounder at Hop Kee so we decided to order a whole flounder from Fresh Direct (can’t say any more good things about their fish and seafood section). I like this dish because of its simple yet distinct flavors and relatively simple preparation. Along with choy sum (chinese brocolli), it’s a perfect combination of light protein and greens.

 Pre-heat the oven to 400C. Begin by cutting through the meat of the flounder twice with a knife. Don’t go all the way through! Salt the flounder on both sides and drizzling some olive oil on top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
While the flounder is baking, cut and arrange choy sum (Chinese broccoli) in a baking dish
and drizzle with some olive oil.

Cover securely with aluminum foil. This will create the steam that will cook your choy sum.

Put the choy sum alongside the flounder and retrieve both when the flounder is done.

While both are baking, cut some ginger into very this strips.

Saute ginger in olive oil and drizzle with a little soy sauce and sesame oil. 
Ginger should turn into a crisp brown.

The flounder is done in 20 minutes or when the meat is opaque but still moist and slightly gelatinous.
Pour the ginger mixture on top of the flounder.

 Take the choy sum out.
Voila! If you think this looks pretty, wait till you smell it.

Serve with the choy sum for a fragrant, sumptuous and healthy meal!

Served here with a dollop of  bukkake okazu rayu or chili garlic oil for the choy sum. One may substitute oyster sauce or soy sauce for dipping, or simply eat the choy sum on its own.
The flounder goes really well with the sweetness of the choy sum when it’s steamed in its own juice.
 I love chili garlic oil, especially this one that our friends graciously shared with us from Tokyo.
It’s different from the Chinese version (I favor Lee Kum Kee’s chili oil) in that it is much more flavorful and has bits of fried garlic that miraculously stay crispy in the oil. A must-have if it’s available to you. Left to my own devices, I could drink this bottle straight up!

Parchment-Baked Bluefish with Roasted Cauliflower

Here is a simple way to bake any fish in parchment or en papillote. The parchment paper pouch creates its own steam that cooks the fish in its own broth, resulting in very soft and moist meat and concentrated flavors.

Baked bluefish with capers, olives, onions and sage. Side of roasted cauliflower.

We begin with a bluefish fillet on top of a parchment sheet.

Some rock salt and capers.
Crush and pit some olives and chop coarsely.
Slice some lemon rounds and onions.
Arrange these ingredients on top of the fish.

Sprinkle some capers on top.
Add a lemon slice.

Drizzle some olive oil.

Doesn’t this look good enough to eat already?
How To Wrap Fish in Parchment Paper
Fold the parchment over the fish.
Fold the other side over.
Fold the corners into an angle towards the center.
Twist the ends and tuck them underneath the fish, creating a sealed pouch. 
Set in a glass baking dish.
Bake in a preheated oven at 400C for 25 minutes.
In a separate dish, roast some chopped cauliflower pieces and onion slices drizzled with olive oil.
Each pouch makes one convenient serving.
Cooked to perfection.
This fish will have its flavors intact, and you won’t have a messy baking dish to wash!

Crispy Salmon Fish Tacos

Dinner under thirty minutes? Try something that pretty much just needs a few minutes’ cooking and some assembly. 
This fish taco contains crispy pan fried salmon fillet, tomatoes, caramelized onions, red cabbage, cilantro, and cheese.
Boneless salmon fillets. Have I told you about the little known fish and seafood section of Fresh Direct? I’ll elaborate soon in another post.

In a small pan, saute one medium yellow onion in olive oil until soft.
Beat one egg in a bowl and set aside. Pour some panko onto a plate.
Dip the fish in egg, making sure to soak all sides.
Dip the fish in panko until completely covered. 
Pan fry in olive oil on medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side.
Sear skin on high for one minute to make it crispy.
Here we have two crispy salmon fillets, whole wheat tortillas and 
Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese.
I also chopped up some red cabbage and cilantro.
Sauteed onions, chopped tomatoes and lime.
Fillings and wraps, Greek yogurt.
We were going to try this Conchy Joe’s Hot Pepper Sauce from the Bahamas 
but sadly lost the battle. I used Frank Red Hot Chili Lime instead.
Smear some yogurt on a tortilla.
Put a piece of salmon, making sure to get some crispy skin!
Break it up into pieces with a fork.
Add your desired fillings.
Squeeze some lime juice and dash some hot sauce.
And you’re done! Light, healthy and a perfect combination of flavor and crunch.
Need I say it’s pretty too?  Delicioso! 
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