Fish Fest – And I’m Not Talking About A Big Christian Rock Concert

Something new has been a brewin’ here in my kitchen and I confess that it’s kind of a mind blower.  I have been diving into “clean eating”, and I must say, I am loving it!

I have always been about healthy and real, but the “clean” thing I just didn’t get.  Not being one to follow the crowd, I resisted the whole fad.  I downright dismissed it as something that didn’t / wouldn’t fit with my food philosophy.  I know, right, who in their right mind has a food philosophy?!  For me, it’s really more of a gut take on food and strongly held beliefs about its place in my life from the pure pleasure of taste to the abstract notion of socializing around a good table.  I am also an adamant resister of deprivation; and I perceived the whole “clean eating” trend as all about legalistic deprivation.

So here is where I do the HUGE shout out to Francesca Gadaleta Giessmann and The Nourishing Seed.  I met the lovely Francesca because our small people play water polo together.  She invited me to her Spring Detox and it was at that moment that “clean eating” took on a whole new meaning to me.  I GOT it.  And the greatest thing is that she makes “clean” fun, delicious, and without deprivation.  Let me just repeat that last tidbit – there is no deprivation.

As I have been exploring the great recipes found in Francesca’s Spring Detox Guide, I have also been having a ball assessing some of my own new recipes and determining their “cleanliness”.  Ha – I love that expression; just makes me think like Lysol and Clorox and not kale and halibut.

Rather than my one recipe show that you usually get with each post, I give you a trio of fish recipes that are sure to please any clean eater.  On the docket we have African Adobo Rubbed Tuna Steaks, Slow Baked Salmon with Lemon & Thyme, and Moroccan Halibut.

The African Adobo Rubbed Tuna Steaks have three main elements:  the adobo rubbed tuna, a bed of English hothouse cucumbers, and a topping of avocado salsa.  I started the adobo (a fancy name for spice rub) by mixing together a slew of spices.


I put the rub aside and set to work on the salsa.  I diced 2 avocado, chopped some scallions and minced some garlic.


I then chopped up a couple of roasted red peppers and added them to the avocado mixture.


I whisked together some fresh OJ, fresh lime juices, and some olive oil and seasoned that with salt and pepper.  I poured that over the avocado mixture and set aside in the fridge.

For the cucumbers, I whisked together some champagne vinegar and a tad of sugar (yikes, I know, but it was only a tad).  Then I thinly sliced the cukes and tossed them in the vinaigrette.  I let them stand for at least 15 minutes allowing the flavors to blend.

Back to the tuna, I rubbed the steaks with the adobo very generously.


I heated a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet until it was smoking and then added the tuna steaks – cooking only about a minute per side for a nice medium rare steak.

I plated it all up by first putting down a bed of cucumbers, the sliced tuna steak to the side and then the avocado salsa to top it all off.


On to our number two contender in the FishFest lineup – Slow Baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme.  This recipe is so easy it’s ridiculous, but you would never guess that from how tasty it is.

I started by lining a cooking sheet with foil and preheating my oven to 275 degrees. I brushed the foil with a little olive oil and placed the salmon filets on top.  Then I mixed a little more olive oil, some chopped fresh thyme, and some freshly grated lemon zest.  I spread the thyme – lemon mixture over the salmon fillets and then seasoned with salt and pepper.


I let that stand for about 10 minutes for the flavors to permeate the salmon and then baked about 17 minutes.

I served this up with some polenta topped with steamed spinach and goat cheese and some roasted carrots.


Last up on our roster is the Moroccan Halibut.  This one, like the salmon, is so easy and yet so flavorful.

I started by just sprinkling both sides of the halibut with salt and pepper.  Then I generously sprinkled the fish with cayenne pepper and cinnamon.


I then heated a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large skillet, added the halibut, and sauteed until golden and opaque in center; about 4 – 5 minutes per side.


I served this one up with swiss chard (a great recipe from The Nourishing Seed) and roasted carrots (yes, we love our roasted carrots ’round here).


So there you have it – – – a trio of super tasty, super easy, and super healthy fish recipes.  Just think, you can serve up some fish for the next three weeks without having to scour through oodles and oodles of recipes.  Oh, and you can casually tell your friends, “Yep, I’m eating clean.” (WINK)

Here are the complete recipes:

Adobo Rubbed Tuna Steaks

Slow Baked Salmon with Lemon & Thyme

Moroccan Halibut

~ all recipes adapted from Epicurious





Breaking Up with Costco – Veggie Dipping Chip & Basil Crusted Halibut

My tendency, since trying to eat “real food”, has been to simply avoid anything that’s not produce, whole grain, or dairy.  As Pollan says in one of his many rules, if you are eating “real”  you can pretty much shop the perimeter of the supermarket and avoid the entire middle.  In other words, the middle of the market is where the junk lurks.

Sticking to the perimeter hasn’t been a tough transition for me, because I’m not a traditional market shopper anyway.  My regular haunt is a little Persian produce place;  I occasionally hit Sprouts, and Trader Joe’s sometimes sneaks into my repertoire (usually when I’m there to buy wine and Ritter Sport).  But, I just can’t seem to fully break it off with Costco.  It’s kind of like trying to break up with a bad boyfriend who just keeps sucking you back in with the promise that things will change.  I mean after all, I do have SIX hungry mouths to feed around here and Costco’s copious sizes are just so attractive to me.  I have definitely noticed a change in the standard Costco fare recently – a lot more food stuff trying to LOOK like it is good for you, or only contains good stuff, or is organic or … or … or.  But overall, I think I’m just better off buying my TP there and then getting out of Dodge.  Kind of like Costco and I can “just be friends” but not really date anymore.

So all of this intro to get to my real confession which is that I dislike reading labels.  I just don’t have the patience to sit there and figure out if what I’m looking at is truly good for me or just more stuff that’s bad for me wearing a thinly veiled disguise.  Another Pollan-ism that I love, mainly because it affirms my dislike of label reading, is that if something contains more than 5 ingredients OR ingredients that a 3rd grader can’t pronounce, then it’s probably a skipper.

However, in my ongoing quest to break up with Costco, I did find a keeper recently.  These little veggie dipping chips.

halibut chips

There are three flavors mixed in the bag: Spinach & Garlic, Beet & Onion, and Carrot & Tomato.  They are REALLY tasty and the whole brood here has been enjoying them with edamame hummus.  Being the non-label reader that I am, I bought them on a whim and then read the label after the fact.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that my 3rd grader (good thing I’ve got one on hand for just this purpose) could pronounce every single ingredient.

As I set out to make dinner the other night, I decided on a little halibut number.  I was working from a recipe for Roasted Halibut with Walnut Crust.  Unfortunately, I had no walnuts, no panko, no italian parsley, and no chives.  Good thing I had the halibut!  In fact, I had no bread products whatsoever in the house, but really wanted to do the fish with a little crust of some sort.  While rummaging through the cupboard in total disbelief that I had no panko, I happened upon the Veggie Dipping Chips and decided to give it a whirl.  Medium Little One’s garden has been producing more basil than I can keep up with so I decided that it would be a Veggie Dipping Chip & Basil Crusted Halibut.  This is basically how it all went down.

Chopped up that lovely basil first.

halibut basil

Crushed up the dipping chips with some slivered almonds in my mini-food processor and then mixed them with the chopped basil.

halibut rub

Placed my halibut on a baking sheet covered with cooking spray.  I brushed each fillet with a little melted butter and then sprinkled with a little salt and pepper.


I then pressed the veggie chip, basil and almond mixture onto the top of each fillet and drizzled with a tiny bit more butter.


I baked the whole shabang at 450 degrees for about 8 minutes until the fish was opaque in the center.

I served things up with a little rice and some brussels sprouts with caramelized shallots.

halibut final

Even though this was a complete improv move, I would totally make it this way again.  Oh, and me and Costco have decided to give things one more chance. . .

Want the whole recipe?  Click here.