Maple Dijon Salmon

This is the recipe that converted Tuck’s dad from straight up refusing to eat salmon to requesting it on the menu once a week. If you are looking to bring some of your picky eaters out of the dark and into the light when it comes to fish, this is your recipe. We love this Maple Dijon Salmon because it tastes out of this world and is made from just a few, simple ingredients. Less is always more in the kitchen, and that is especially true when you use high quality products. We prefer to use whole grain Dijon mustard if you can find it, but any nice Dijon will work just fine. The same goes for the maple syrup: a finer quality means that you only need a few tablespoons for the sweet and piney taste that is the signature to this dish. 

Maple Dijon Salmon

  • Servings: 4
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Our tried and true salmon dish that will convert the pickiest eaters in your family!

Ingredients

  • 4, 6 oz filets of salmon
  • 3 tbs whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 385 degrees.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper and place the pieces of salmon skin side down on the sheet. Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over the pieces and season each with the paprika, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, maple syrup, olive oil, and minced garlic. We suggest starting with 2 tbs maple syrup and tasting the sauce before adding the third. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  4. Use a spoon to generously top the salmon pieces with the maple dijon sauce.
  5. Bake the salmon for 12-13 minutes for medium, 15-16 minutes for well done. Use a knife to peel the salmon away from the skin and serve.


Grilled Calamari Steaks With Lemon Caper Sauce

When Tate’s family was living in Chicago, they became obsessed with eating the grilled calamari from Saranellos in the northern suburbs. The dish was perfectly created to feel light yet flavorful and filling. We were recently on a weekly grocery trip and discovered calamari steaks at the fish stand. Calamari can be a little tricky to cook. The secret to success on this dish is cooking the steaks at very high heat for only 2 minutes per side. We have paired the steaks with arugula and a lemon caper sauce. This is a great weekday lunch or dinner or can be paired with some hearty side dishes for a weekend with friends. 

Grilled Calamari Steaks with Lemon Caper Sauce
Makes: 4 lunch servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes    Total Time: 25 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 4 calamari steaks 
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 1 lemon, juiced 
  • 1 cup chicken stock 
  • 1 container capers (approx 2.25 oz), drained 
  • 1 bag (approx 6 cups) arugula
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly  
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

  1. Pat the calamari steaks dry with a paper towel. Season them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Over a high heated grill (at least 500 degrees), grill the steaks for 2 minutes per side and set aside. 
  2. Make the lemon caper sauce. In a pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour until you get a thick paste. Keep whisking and add the lemon juice and chicken stock. The sauce should thicken. When it is as your desired texture, add the capers and turn the heat off and set aside. 
  3. Assemble the dish by placing the arugula on the bottom of your serving dishes. Top with the red onion and the calamari steaks. Drizzle over a few spoonfuls of the lemon caper sauce. 

Summer Crab Leg Boil

Every June Tate’s mom celebrates her birthday with a crab boil. It is a special treat that we have started looking forward to every summer. Over the years we have started perfecting the art of the crab boil and now just mix and match fun accompaniments to the meal to change it up every year. King crab legs are usually purchased pre-cooked and all you need to do is reheat them to serve. We choose to reheat them by steaming them in our giant turkey fryer pot, and boil any other side dishes underneath in a traditional seafood boil. We buy our crab legs at Costco; we have found they have the most reasonable prices and they can usually be found in the freezer section if they are not having their holiday seafood sale.

Tips For Measuring the Correct Amount of Water For the Seafood Boil: 

  • To determine how much water you’ll need for steaming crab legs, you’ll want to visually measure out enough water to cover your side dish ingredients, including sausage, potatoes, and corn. Shrimp, clams, and mussels can be steamed on top of the other ingredients with the crab legs so they don’t factor into the water measurement. 
  • If you are paranoid about not having enough water you can put the raw potatoes, corn, and sausage into the pot, add the beer, and add enough water to cover the ingredients. Remove the ingredients back out before seasoning the water and cooking. 
  • If your pot isn’t quite tall enough you can use foil over the top to tent the crab legs as a lid to keep the steam in. 

Summer Crab Leg Boil 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients For The Water: 

  • 4 cups (+/-) water
  • 1 summer beer (shandy or pilsner are good choices) 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 2 lemons, cut in half 
  • 3 tbs Old Bay seasoning 
  • 4 smashed garlic cloves 

Ingredients For the Seafood Boil: 

  • 4-6 king crab legs (thawed if purchased frozen)
  • 2 lbs kielbasa
  • 2 lbs other seafood (shrimp, clams, or mussels) 
  • 4 ears of corn, husked
  • 2 lbs baby potatoes
  • 1 stick salted butter for dipping, melted 

Directions: 

  1. Measure out the correct amount of water so that the combination of the water and beer will be enough to submerge any of your chosen side dish ingredients (sausage, potatoes, and corn). Add the beer, bay leaves, Old Bay Seasoning, and garlic to the pot. Squeeze each of the lemon halves and add them as well. You can taste the water if you want at this point- it won’t taste particularly good but it should taste very flavorful. If it doesn’t, add another tablespoon or two of Old Bay seasoning. 
  2. If you are using potatoes or sausage, put them into the water in the pot. Heat the pot over high heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat just a touch so that the water is at a steady simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for 20 minutes. 
  3. While the pot is heating and doing the first cook, make sure any seafood you are using is clean. Peel and devein the shrimp (the tails can be left on) and soak any clams or mussels in ice water. They will release a bit of sand that you don’t want going into the boiling water. 
  4. After 20 minutes remove the lid and add the corn to the pot. Strain any seafood from the soaking water and add the seafood on top of the corn in an even layer.  Add the crab legs thick side down, bending the crab legs as necessary to get them in the pot. Cover the pot and cook the seafood another 15-20 minutes. You will know the boil is done when the shrimp are cooked through, potatoes are fork tender, the crab legs are hot, and any clams and mussels have opened. 
  5. Carefully remove the ingredients from the water with a strainer, getting rid of as much water as possible before placing onto a platter. Serve the seafood boil immediately with lots of melted butter for dipping! 

Cioppino

Summer means it is time for seafood and there is no better way to get a seafood fix than making cioppino. Cioppino is a seafood stew that originates in San Francisco- it has an Italian flavored tomato broth and can be made with just about any seafood you like. We like to go to the grocery store and see what is fresh and looks the best and plan our meal from there. For this version we used shrimp, cod, mussels and clams. You can use any type of fish (halibut, sea bass, even salmon) and other seafood ingredients like scallops, crab, or langoustines. It’s a light and filling summer dinner best served with a thick slice of sour dough bread.

Cioppino
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 12 clams
  • 12 mussels
  • 12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb white fish – halibut, sea bass, or cod- cut into large, bite sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh basil, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Scrub the clams and mussels with a food brush to clean off any excess dirt or sea particles. Remove the beards from any mussels. Soak the clams and mussels in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes.
  2. While the seafood is soaking, heat a large Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter, swirling until melted. Add the garlic, white onion, and chili flakes to the pot. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions become translucent.
  3. Add the white wine to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high and let the wine reduce by half. This should take about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and vegetable stock to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Slice the lemon in half and add it to the sauce. Cover the pot and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. After the 30 minutes has passed, remove the lemon from the sauce, carefully squeezing out any extra lemon juice, and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Add the clams to the pot, increase to medium-high heat, and cover to cook for 5-7 minutes. If you are using larger clams like little necks, go the full 7 minutes.
  5. While the clams are cooking, season the shrimp and fish with salt and pepper. After the 7 minutes has passed, add the mussels, fish, and shrimp to the pot. Do not stir, just layer everything in that order, and cover to cook for another 5-6 minutes. The dish is done when most of the clams and mussels are open and the fish is opaque and cooked through. When the fish is cooked through, give everything a gentle stir so that the shrimp and fish absorb some of the sauce.
  6. Serve each serving of cioppino with a few pieces of each type of fish and seafood and a generous helping of the sauce. Garnish with some fresh basil and serve with a slice of crusty sour dough toast.

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Lemon Herb Sauce

We have been trying to incorporate more fish into our dinner menus lately. If you have people that aren’t into fish, the key to making it a winning dish is to up your sauce game. Mahi mahi is a white fish that is very mild in flavor; it will take on nearly any flavor profile you throw at it. To keep things fresh and vibrant for spring and summer we use this lemon herb sauce. This sauce is a great accompaniment to the fish but also is great for chicken kabobs, shrimp, or grilled veggies. We like to make extra and keep it in the fridge to use throughout the week (eat with a spoon). We served this mahi mahi with white rice and grilled asparagus for the perfect healthy spring dinner.

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Lemon Herb Sauce

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 fillets mahi mahi
  • 2 lemons- zest and juice
  • 1 1/2 cups packed fresh herbs and stems- we used cilantro and parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil + 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat your grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Prepare the mahi mahi by seasoning it with the 2 tbs olive oil and salt and pepper. We prefer to grill our fish on top of foil on the grill to prevent sticking- if you prefer to cook directly on the grill make sure the grill is very clean! Grill the fish for 5 minutes per side, 10 minutes total, or until the mahi is opaque all the way through.
  3. While the fish is cooking make the lemon herb sauce. Combine the lemon zest and juice, fresh herbs, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until completely blended, adding as much as 2 tbs water if necessary. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve the fish over rice with lots of lemon herb sauce.

Crispy Fish Tacos

We (Tuck’s family) have been living in Florida for about two weeks now and are totally spoiled when it comes to fish options compared to when we live in Colorado. We order fish tacos all the time when we go out for meals and figured it was time to make them at home. Our rental house does not have a grill, so we opted for crispy fish tacos. This makes the tacos a little more decadent, but no one in our house was complaining. 

When it comes to making any sort of tacos at home, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the toppings. Our favorite fish taco toppings are usually some sort of spicy aioli and a creamy, limey coleslaw. We have combined those two in this recipe to save some time in the kitchen and love the outcome. The spicy coleslaw is helps balance out the richness of the fried fish. We like to finish our tacos with fresh avocado, a few slices of red onion, a healthy squeeze of lime and a slice of jalapeno for punch, but add or subtract any ingredients to achieve your taco making dreams! 

Crispy Fish Tacos
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 30 minutes   Total Time: 45 minutes 

Ingredients For Crispy Fish: 

  • 1 1/2 lbs flakey white fish- we used red snapper but tilapia, cod, and halibut work well
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 tbs water 
  • up to 1 cup vegetable oil 

Ingredients For Chipotle Lime Coleslaw: 

  • 3 cups shredded cabbage or cabbage salad mix 
  • 2 chipotles in adobo, finely minced 
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt 
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tbs honey 
  • 2 tsp cumin 
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Ingredients for Additional Tacos and Toppings: 

  • 12 taco sized tortillas 
  • one lime, cut into wedges 
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1 avocado, sliced 
  • 1 jalapeno (optional) 
  • additional cilantro leaves 

Directions: 

  1. Prepare the fish. Cut the fish into slices about two fingers thick so that they are in bite-sized pieces. We bought true “taco tortillas” that are about 4 inches in diameter. Judge the size of the fish based on the size of your tortilla. 
  2. Whisk the eggs and 1 tbs water in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Put the bread crumbs in a second bowl and also season with salt and pepper. Create an assembly line to bread the fish pieces, dunking each piece in egg wash and then in the bread crumbs. Place the breaded fish onto a cookie sheet for easy access while cooking. 
  3. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add enough vegetable oil to the pan so that the bottom is coated. When the oil is hot, add the fish pieces to the pan. The fish should be in one layer and not over crowded. It will likely take you 3+ rounds in the pan to get all the fish cooked. Cook the fish for 3 minutes per side, or until the fish is completely cooked through. Remove from the pan and onto paper towel to drain the excess oil. Season with a bit of salt. Repeat this step as necessary, including refilling the oil if needed, until all the fish is cooked. 
  4. Make the coleslaw. Combine the wet ingredients of the slaw (chipotles in adobo-cilantro) in a large mixing bowl. Whisk well to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Depending on how spicy you want the slaw you might add additional mayo or honey. Add the cabbage to the slaw dressing and mix to combine.
  5. Heat the tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds. Assemble the tacos by layering the coleslaw on the bottom and fish on top. Top with any additional desired ingredients from the list above. Enjoy immediately. 

Mediterranean Salmon Bowls

At Tuck’s house, we know the struggle of trying to mix up the weeknight dinner routine so that we aren’t eating the same rotation of recipes week after week, all year long. “Bowl” recipes have become a frequent entree in our house for this reason. Once we have a concept in mind, we can mix and match the ingredients based on what we have in the refrigerator and what is in season. Tuck’s dad loves salmon so we try and eat it once a week but alter the flavors so the dinner menu doesn’t feel stale. This week, we did a Mediterranean Salmon Bowl since we are having gorgeous weather and raw vegetables still are appetizing. It’s quick and easy, can be made in 30 minutes. The leftovers make a great lunch on the go the next day, if you have any! 

Mediterranean Salmon Bowls 

Makes: 4 servings 

Cook Time: 15 minutes    Total Time: 20 minutes 

Ingredients For the Dressing: 

  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar 
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley 
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Ingredients For The Bowls:

  • 4 cups kale, stems removed and finely chopped like confetti 
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa 
  • 4- 6 oz salmon fillets
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 2 tsp each, salt and pepper 
  • 1 small cucumber, diced 
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half 
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 385 degrees. 
  2. To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl with the exception of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Whisk well to combine. Continue to whisk the mixture while drizzling in the olive oil until it is fully absorbed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.  
  3. To make the salmon, place the salmon on a cookie sheet that is covered with foil. Brush with 1 tbs olive oil. Season the salmon fillets with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bake in the oven for 13 minutes for a medium cook. 
  4. While the salmon is cooking, prepare the bowls. Mix the quinoa and kale together in a large bowl. Toss with 1/3 to 1/2 of the dressing and mix well to combine. Place in four serving bowls. Top with the cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, and kalamata olives. 
  5. Once the salmon has finished cooking, remove it from the oven and let it sit for a minute on the pan. Use a knife to gently remove the fillet from the skin, and serve one piece on each kale and quinoa bowl. If you are planning to use any of the recipe for lunch the next day, let the salmon cool completely before adding to the bowls. Use the remaining dressing to drizzle over the salmon and bowl toppings.