Category Archives: Seafood Recipes

Smoked Salmon, Parmesan Filo Wafers

Photo by Joanna Sellick

Photo by Joanna Sellick

Not many words to say here really!

In Adelaide, summer is in full flight and eating gets a little harder!

No one wants “difficult” especially when it’s hot out, people just want “easy” and this recipe is simple, tasty and appetising on a hot Australian summer day.

The use of the filo here is add texture and flavour of parmesan wafers, slightly cramelised and crispy with a slight salty flavour.  The honey counter balances the salt nicely and the cucumber cleans the palate so you can experience the next mouthful cleanly.

This filo wafer can also be used on cheese boards, just add an extra layer or two.  If you change the filo to puff pastry, cut it in long strips and twist it for bread sticks and eat it it with Parma ham and rock melon for a nice summer snack.

Smoked Salmon, Parmesan Filo, Cucumber & Cress Salad, Yoghurt Dressing

Serves 6

720gr Smoked Salmon

15 Sheets of Filo Pastry

150gr Melted Butter

150gr Parmesan Cheese

1tspn Aniseed – toasted on dry pan, slightly ground

1tsp Fennel Seeds – toasted on dry pan, slightly ground

1tsp Cumin Seed – toasted on dry pan, slightly ground

250ml Greek Yoghurt

100ml Creme Fraiche

1tbsp Honey

250gr Watercress – washed, long stems picked off

1 Cucumber

EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Method

For the filo wafers

  1. Turn the oven on at 180 degrees Celsius
  2. On a clean bench, spread out the one layer of filo pastry
  3. Brush the pastry completely with melted butter using a pastry brush
  4. Micro plane the parmesan cheese until a thin layer completely covers the surface of the filo
  5. Place another layer of filo on top of this, comepltely covering the first layer
  6. Repeat this process on the new layer of filo
  7. On the top of the third layer, brush with melted butter until completely covered, then sprinkle a little of each of the aniseed, fennel seed and cumin seed, evenly
  8. Place on a buttered roasting pan and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.  It should come out in sheets, break it into smaller wafers ready for service

For the Dressing

  1. Place the yogurt, creme fraiche and honey in a bowl and mix well with a rubber spatula
  2. Taste for balance and see if needs extra honey.  Should be honey sweet, no sweeter!

For the Cucumber

  1. Cut the ends off the cucumber the cut it in half so you end up with two even lengths
  2. Using a mandolin, slice the cucumber lengthways until you hit the seeds, then stop slicing (do not slice into the seeds, it juices out to much and does not hold it’s shape)
  3. Stack the cucumber neatly, one on top of each other as they come out of the mandolin
  4. Finely slice the cucumber across the length, ending up with match stick like batons of cucumber

Plate up

  1. You are going to layer the ingredients starting with a layer of filo wafer on the bottom
  2. Followed by a layer of slightly folded salmon (for height)
  3. Then some water cress
  4. Then a dollop of dressing
  5. Then another layer of filo wafer
  6. Another layer of salmon
  7. Then dressing and finally, the cucumber match sticks for garnish
  8. EVOO around the plate
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Kingfish Ceviche Salad

Photo by Jun Pang

I think that most people think cooking is too hard.  Well here is a recipe to prove that theory wrong.

Most people think that cooking needs heat.  Well, that’s not necessarily true either.

Ceviche is a dish made popular in the Americas, specifically in the South America.  Traditionally, it uses the juices of citrus fruits to “cook” the proteins.  Much like the science experiments you once performed in your high school science classes, when you poured acid on raw egg white and it turned opaque white and hardened.  In this case, the the citric acid from the citrus fruits is slightly acidic enough to cure or cook the proteins of the fish.

In coastal places in Mexico where the seafood is abundant, this type of cooking method is much used and is often sold in plastic cups with ice as street food.  Flavoured mainly by lime juice, it is also spiced with a myriad of chillies, tomato juice, coriander and sliced red onion.  I tasted this genious of a dish a few years ago, not in Mexico unfortunately but in Sydney at a food and cooking expo.  This version had heaps of different seafood like oysters, clams, fish and mussels to name a few and they were all cooked ceviche style using limes and many types of exotic chillies.  Never have I tasted such wonderful, refreshing and interesting flavours.  The Peruvians are experts at this type of food preparation too and so are the Ecuadorians but as mentioned before, the South Americans are generally pros at this type of cooking.

In saying that, I picked up this recipe from a house keeper at work.  She is from Fiji and missed her home country tremendously and wanted me to desperately learn her food so I can cook it for my knowledge and as a trade off, for her to eat.  She told me that in Fiji, she also adds a little coconut milk at the end.  When I tried this, I found it quite nice but I left this recipe quite plain to get punters to get used to this unusual type of cooking.  But what this has done is show me that many countries adopt this type of cooking.  The Japanese use ponzu as the agent to cook protiens in some dishes, Filipinos use a lot of vinegars, tropical countries use limes, lemons and other citrus juices.  This isn’t a new cooking phase, it’s been around for centuries it seems.

So try it out, it’s super healthy with great, robust flavours that explode in your mouth.  As summer hopefully gets nearer, you will realize that it is the perfect dish for summer.  It requires little time, cost effective and it does not require you to use any pans to cook with or clean.

So, for those of you who don’t like to make their kitchens to smell like fish, try this one out.  Try it with other fish, like salmon, experiment as you get used to the flavours and perhaps you will also save on your gas bill!!

Photo by Jun Pang

King Fish Ceviche Salad with Toasted Garlic Bread

Serves 4

For the Ceviche Salad

750gr Fresh Kingfish

1 Cucumber – Quartered lengthways and deseed and thinly sliced

1 Punnet Cherry Tomatoes – halved

½ Red Onion – sliced paper thin

200gr Baby Rocket

2 Bunches Water Cress

1 Bunch Basil

6 Fresh Limes

For the Garlic Bread

2 Freshly Baked Baguette

100gr Brie – leave at room temperature until really soft

100gr Butter – leave at room temperature until really soft

5 Cloves garlic – finely pureed

1 Bunch Parsley – finely chopped

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Black Pepper

Method

For the Salad

  1. If it hasn’t been done by the fish monger, cut out the blood line that runs along the length of the fish, where the spine usually is.  If you do not remove this, the dish will become bitter.
  2. Take the fish and place it flat on the board.  Using a sharp knife, run the knife along the length of skin until you totally remove the skin.  Make sure the knife is “tight” or flush on the board so as not to get too much flesh.
  3. Finely slice the fish into thin slices across the fillet, no more than 1mm thick and place it into a bowl.
  4. Squeeze the lime juice all over the fish, season with sea salt and pepper and mix through with extra virgin olive oil and allow it so sit for about 8-10 minutes in the fridge or until it starts to turn colour turning the surface slightly white
  5. Place the cherry tomatoes, red onion, baby rocket, watercress and basil in the bowl and mix through until evenly mixed

For the Garlic Bread

  1. Place the brie in a mixer and mix in the bowl with a paddle until it’s a smooth paste
  2. Add the butter on low until the brie is well mixed through then take the butter out of the mixer
  3. Using a rubber spatula, mix the garlic and parsley through until thoroughly mixed through
  4. Cut the baguettes in half lengthways, spread the butter through on both sides, well lathered
  5. Toast under the griller until well toasted

Squid Salad

Squid Salad, Tomato and Sweet Chilli

Makes 4

4 Sieds of baby Barramundi – halved and scored

1 kg Squid – cleaned, scored on the inside, tentacles cut into strips

1 litre White Vinegar

400gr Castor Sugar

2 tbspn Dried Red chilli

1 tspn Coriander seeds

2 Cinnamon Sticks

5 Star Anise

1 Punnet Baby Herbs

4 Large Tomatoes – deseeded and sliced

1 Bunch Baby Spinach – washed, stems cut out

Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Cracked Black Pepper

Method

  1. Place the vinegar, dried chilli, coriander seeds, cinnamon sticks and star anise in a pot and reduce to a third or until the consistency of warm honey.  Set aside and allow to cool in a large bowl
  2. Put water to boil then blanch the squid for 30 seconds, drain quickly in a colander then place it straight into the sweet chilli reduction, allowing it cool and marinade at the same time for at least 2 hours, over night is best
  3. Heat up a heavy based frying pan on medium high heat for one minute
  4. Add oil to the pan, season the fish skin side up and place it into the pan
  5. Cok the fish on the skin side for about two minutes or until the flesh starts to turn white then flip it over
  6. Turn the heat off and cook on residual heat
  7. Mix the marinated squid, spinach, tomatoes and herbs in a bowl
  8. Put the fish on the plate, followed by the squid salad

Nicoise Salad – nothing cheffy here, just healthy stuff!

Photo by Jun Pang

Nicoise salad is a salad that is traditionally served with tuna.  Usually, it is a salad of beans, tomatoes, nicoise olives and boiled eggs then served with a vinaigrette.  There’s a lot of speculation as to where it originated and even the great Julia Childs gets a guernsey.

This is easy stuff.  Sometimes you just don’t know what you’re hungry for; you’re hungry but don’t know what to eat.  This is the perfect dish for that moment.  It is easy and you don’t really have to get the kitchen dirty.  It’s fresh and a good healthy alternative.

Tinned tuna is not bad.  Not all things from tins are bad, they just get a bad wrap.  In Spain, the fish come straight from the dock and canned right there on the spot, perfect, can’t get any better or fresher.  Get used to the best brand and yeah, there are good brands out there.  If you are a traditionalist and there are good, decent grade tuna at the fish mongers then use fresh tuna and pan sear it only to medium rare to keep it moist and tender.


Tuna Nicoise Salad

Serve 4

1 Large Tin of Tuna

1 Cucumber – Cut into quarters length ways, sliced

1 Punnet Cherry Tomatoes – Halved

½ Red Onions – Finely Sliced

3 Cups Green Beans – Blanched and refreshed in cold water

6 Eggs – Boiled, peeled and quartered

1/2 Cup Kalamatta Olives

3/4 Cup Olive Oil

1/4  Cup Aged Red Wine Vinegar

3 Tblspn Seeded Mustard

Sea Salt

Black Pepper

Method

  1. Drain the tuna well.  You may choose to use fresh tuna if you wish, seasoned and pan fried medium rare.
  2. Place the cucumber, cherry tomatoes, onions, olives and green beans in bowl.
  3. Make a dressing of olive oil, mustard and vinegar and whisk until emulsified and season to taste.
  4. Pour dressing on the salad and season to taste
  5. Arrange on a plate and garnish with boiled eggs

Photo by Jun Pang


Chili Prawns

Photo by Jun Pang

I love dried chilies.  Whether I use them whole to flavour a dish or made into a sambal, dried chilies are so under used.

Large dried chilies have that really earthy, chocolaty flavour to them and when tempered in oil, those flavours just intensifies.  Unlike chili flakes which are little more intense in “chili” heat, large whole red chilies are a little more subtle.  When you make this type of sambal, you get a really sweet sambal, smooth in flavour with no real, back of the throat chili heat, in fact for those who don’t really eat a lot of chilies, this the best sambal to start on.

Make a heap of it and freeze it, it keeps well in the freezer.  You can use it pretty well in every thing.  The best way to use it is to oil eggplants then grill them on a really hot grill, cut deep slits into the eggplant then spread this sambal lavishly on top and in the slits and roast at high temp oven until soft, you will love this little creation, especially if your a vego!

If you don’t like seafood replace it with grilled eggplant and zucchini, it is just as bloody good, in fact, I think at times, it’s really hard to decide between the both and I love seafood.  Serve both versions with steamed Jasmine rice.

Photo by Jun Pang

Chili Prawns and Calamari

Serves 4

 

1Kg King Prawns – Cooked – peeled, leave heads on

500gr Squid – cleaned, cut into 1cm strips

½ Cup Wole Dried Medium Red Chilies

½ Brown Onion – finely sliced

1 Fresh Red Chili – finely sliced

½ Bunch Spring Onion – white finely sliced

4 cloves Garlice – finely sliced

1 Thumb of Ginger – peeled and finely grated on microplane

4 Tblspn Chili Sambal – follow recipe

¼ Cup Vegetarian Oyster Sauce

1.4 Cup Water

For the Chili Sambal

1 liter Vegetable Oil

5 Brown Onions – peeled, cut into 2cm cubes roughly

500gr Garlic –  peeled

5 Cups Dried Red Chili

11/2 Cups Palm Sugar Powder

¾ Cup Vegetarian Oyster Sauce

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For the Spring onion Curls

½ Bunch Spring Onion Greens – finely sliced lengthways, in ice water

Method

For the Sambal

  1. Using a small wok, add the oil, onion and garlic and turn the wok on medium high heat from cold
  2. Cook the onions and garlic until slightly brown and soft, about 10 minutes, continually stirring
  3. Scoop the onion and garlic out of the oil with a slotted spoon and place in deep, narrow container like a milk shake cup (metal because it is hot)
  4. Add the dried chili in the hot oil and cook until it changes to a dark, chocolaty colour
  5. Drain with a slotted spoon and add to the garlic and onion.
  6. Blitz until puree with a hand blender of blender, adding a little of the oil you cooked with in the container for moisture until it’s a smooth puree
  7. Add oyster sauce and palm sugar and blitz to mix through.  Set aside

For the Chili Prawns and Calamari

  1. Clean the wok and heat on high heat
  2. Add about 2 table spoons of the oil you used for the Sambal and add the calamari.  Cook until sealed and slightly browned and set aside.  Heat up the wok again and a little more of the Sambal oil
  3. Add the dried chili and cook until chocolate colour
  4. Add the onions and sauté until soft
  5. Add the chili and spring onions and sauté for one minute
  6. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for a further two minutes
  7. Add the sambal and toss through
  8. Add the oyster sauce and stir through followed by the water and allow to simmer for about 30 seconds
  9. Add the prawns and sealed calamari and toss through until well coated and cook for 2-3 minutes
  10. Serve and garnish with spring onion curls

Photo by Jun Pang

Sambal – there are many versions of sambal, depending on which country you are in but generally it is a side dish or condiment made from pureed chilies.  Very popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and especially India

Vegetarian Oyster Sauce – used in Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese cooking oyster sauce is made from intense, cooked oysters, water and sugar thickened with corn starch and some with a caramel added to it.  Vegetarian oyster sauce is made with mushroom extract usually shitake mushrooms replacing oysters.  Very similar in flavour and perfect substitute for oyster sauce.


Salsa Verde

It is such an amazingly versatile sauce.  One of the first sauce I learned in a kitchen were salsas.  Not much skill needed here but the skill you learn here is how to balance flavours. In this case acidity.  You don’t want this to be over powering in acidity, just enough sharpness to get the palate “excited”.  You should be able to taste all the ingredients in the salad of what ever it is you are using the salsa verde for.

Salsa verde comes in many versions.  This version is some what close to the Italian version but there other “green sauces” like chimichurri in Argentina and sauce verte in France.

I have used this sauce in a salad but you can easily use in a pasta dish.  For example, cook your pasta, strain and toss through the salsa in a bowl, off the heat to retain it’s freshness and vibrant clean colour.  It’s also great with grilled fish.  Simply grill the fish then drizzle this salsa verde on top.  It does give the fish a certain freshness and it doesn’t take over the dish.

I have used a blender here but try chopping all your ingredients then mixing it all together in a bowl if you have time to do so, I mean, this how people used to do it before blenders right? – plus it keeps longer if you use this method.

Photo by Jun Pang

Grilled Prawns with Salsa Verde, Rocket and Cherry Tomatoes

Makes 1 litre

For the salsa 

1 Bunch Parsley

1 Bunch Mint

1 Bunch Coriander

1 Small Red Onion                             peeled, quartered

2 Cloves Garlic                                   peeled

¼ Cup Capers

5 fillets of Anchovies

1 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the salad

1 kg Prawns

2 Cups Rocket

1 Punnet Cherry Tomatoes

2 Lemons

Sea Salt

Cracked Black Pepper

Method

For the salsa

  1. Place the parsley, mint, coriander, red onion, garlic, capers, anchovies, red wine vinegar and olive oil in a blender and blend to paste.  Season with sea salt and black pepper
For the salad
  1. Place the prawns in a mixing bowl and add about1/4 cup of the salsa verde in the bowl.  Mix well until the prawns are well covered
  2. Grill the prawns on a BBQ or sauté them in a really hot pan until cooked through
  3. Halve the tomatoes, place them in a bowl, along with the rocket and the grilled prawns.  Dress with salsa verde and toss until well mixed together.
  4. Serve in a bowl and drizzle with a little more salsa verde
  5. Squeeze lemons over the salad for a little freshness

Photo by Jun Pang


Spaghetti Alle Vongole

I love easy and tasty recipes.  People always ask me “so, do you cook at home?”.  I do, I love cooking at home, in fact I get a lot of joy cooking for myself.  I don’t have difficult customers or ungrateful people to deal with.  I can be free in my kitchen and with that freedom comes clarity.  I know exactly what I want, I can see how I can cook it and I prepare the dish with great ease because I get to play, I get to cook what ever “I” want.

I also get enjoyment cooking for my close friends, huge satisfaction actually. They’re honest with me, they tell me if it is “really good” or “it might need some work” but generally, good food and wine and even better company are the best ingredients to work with.

Photo by Jun Pang

I love this type of pasta where all you need is boiling water and a frying pan (I cook with a small wok, typical Asian, cook every thing in a wok!).  Very little chopping and very little finesse with knife work is needed.  I can cook this in 20 minutes flat and if you guys at home can’t complete this in 45 minutes, there is something seriously wrong!  Add vegetables like broccolini, perfect combination with this recipe.  Add prawns if you’d like.  Enjoy this with good parmesan cheese and sprinkling of dried chili flakes.  Have crusty bread near by to sop up all the wonderful juicy bits!

Photo by Jun Pang

Spaghetti Alle Vongole

Serves 2

500gr packet of Spaghetti

Olive Oil

5 cloves Garlic – finely chopped

4 Large Red Chilli – de-seeded and finely sliced

1kg Vongole

1 Cup White Wine

1 Bunch Parsley – finely chopped

Sea Salt

White Pepper

Method

  1. Place about 5 liters of water on the boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt into the water
  2. Add the pasta to the water and cook until aldente, with a little resistance when you bite into the pasta but with no crunch
  3. Whilst the pasta is cooking, heat up a large frying pan with deep sides on high heat for about 2 minutes
  4. Add the a splash of olive oil
  5. Add the garlic and chilli and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute on high heat
  6. Add the white wine, then place a lid on top of the pan and cook for about 2 minutes or until the vongole opens up
  7. Take the lid off, make sure the vongole has had enough time to open up, then strain the pasta and add it into the frying pan
  8. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste and toss the pasta though thoroughly.  Toss chopped parsley
  9. Divide into 2 bowls and serve with chopped parsley

Photo by Jun Pang

Vongole – Italians call it “vongole”, Aussies call it “sand cockles” and the rest of the world call it a “clam”.  It is a bivalve mollusk, harvested on tidal flats.  They range in colour from light yellow through to light brown.  Unique flavour, light and sweet seafood flavours, like a sweeter, lighter flavour of mussels.

The vongole being steamed open

Toss the pasta through

Plate up