Salt Cod Fish Cakes: A Delicious Twist on a Traditional Favourite

Salt Cod Fish Cakes: A Delicious Twist on a Traditional Favourite

Salt cod fish cakes are a versatile and delicious dish that can be enjoyed for both light lunches and filling brunches. This recipe is my personal best, and I am excited to share it with you. The flaky salt cod is paired with a perfect blend of lemon, thyme, parsley, and pepper, which provides a complementing flavour without overpowering the taste of the fish. Whether you’re an experienced home cook or a beginner, this recipe is easy to follow and guarantees great results. In this blog post, you’ll find detailed instructions and helpful tips to guide you through making the best salt cod fish cakes ever. So, let’s jump right in and get started on this delicious and satisfying dish.



What is Salt Cod?

Salt cod, also known as bacalao or bacalhau, is a traditional form of preserved fish used for centuries. The preservation process involves covering the fish in salt, which draws out the moisture and dries it, allowing it to be stored indefinitely. This method of preservation was commonly used during the days of long sea voyages before the advent of refrigeration or canning. Salt cod has a rich history and is a staple ingredient in many traditional cuisines, mainly Portuguese, Spanish, and Eastern Canadian cuisine.

Salt cod is available in various forms, including bits, fillets, or whole fish. For today’s recipe, we suggest using bits, which are readily available in most grocery stores. Additionally, salt cod is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many dishes, such as fish cakes, stews, soups, and more. It’s a great source of protein and packed with essential vitamins and minerals, which is why it has been a staple in the Mediterranean diet for centuries.

Preparing The Salt Cod

Soak The Cod

Salt cod, by definition, is salty, which is a result of the preservation process. However, to make it edible and to bring out its full flavour, it is important to remove some of the salt and rehydrate the fish. This process is known as soaking, and it is a crucial step when preparing salt cod.

To properly soak salt cod, start by rinsing the fish under cold running water to remove any excess salt on the exterior. Then, place the fish in a container and cover it with cold water. It is important to use cold water as it helps to keep the fish firm and preserve its texture. Next, place the container in the refrigerator and let it soak overnight. For best results, it is recommended to change the water at least once while the fish is soaking. This will help to remove any remaining salt and ensure that the fish is properly rehydrated.

Soaking salt cod not only helps to remove the excess salt but also helps to enhance the fish’s natural flavours and makes it more tender and moist. It’s also a critical step to follow when preparing any dish that calls for salt cod, whether it’s fish cakes, stews, soups, or any other traditional dishes.

Cooking Salt Cod

After the fish has been soaked, it’s time to cook it. Boiling the cod is an effective method to remove any remaining salt and also to infuse it with extra flavour. To begin, drain the soaking water from the cod and rinse it once again.

Place the cod in a pot, cover it with cold water and add a couple of bay leaves and a big sprig of thyme. The bay leaves and thyme impart a subtle and delicious flavour to the cod and help remove any remaining salt. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Once the cod is cooked, strain it and remove the thyme and bay leaves. The fish is now ready to be used for the fish cakes.


Making Salt Cod Fish Cakes

Onions

While the cod is cooking, prepare the onion. You’ll need about a cup of diced onion in total. Start by finely dicing one medium-sized onion. Also, chop up some thyme, about two teaspoons in total. This will add a subtle and delicious flavour to the fish cakes.

Put a small pot or pan on the stove on medium heat. Add a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the butter starts to foam, add the onions and thyme. Cook the onions for about three to four minutes or until they soften, turn translucent and start to slightly brown. Slightly browning the onions brings out the natural sweetness and enhances their flavour.

As you cook the onions, occasionally stir them to prevent burning. Slightly browned onions are a key ingredient in many dishes, and adding them to fish cakes will give your dish a unique and delicious flavour.

Assembling Salt Cod Fish Cakes

To make the fish cakes, start by putting the cooked cod and cooked onions in a medium mixing bowl. Add two cups of leftover mashed potatoes, two tablespoons of chopped parsley, a quarter teaspoon of black pepper, and the zest of one lemon. Parsley adds a fresh and herby note, the lemon zest provides a bright and tangy flavour, and the black pepper gives a nice kick of heat. These ingredients help to balance out the flavours of the fish and onions and provide a well-rounded taste.

With your hands or a wooden spoon, mix everything until it just comes together. The goal is to just combine the ingredients. It’s important not to over-mix the ingredients as it will cause the fish cakes to lose their delicate, flaky texture. Over-mixing causes the fish to release its moisture and bind together with the other ingredients, creating a gummy paste instead of a light and flaky fish cake. Additionally, over-mixing may lead to the fish cakes falling apart when they are cooked, so it’s important to handle the ingredients gently and mix them until they’re just combined.

You may also consider adding some additional ingredients like garlic, diced red pepper, or chopped olives to give the fish cakes more depth of flavour and make them more unique. Also, you can experiment with other herbs like dill or cilantro to give the fish cakes a different twist.


Forming The Fish Cakes

When forming the fish cakes, you can make them in different sizes depending on your preference. I prefer smaller fish cakes, so I measured mine with a quarter cup measure. However, if you prefer larger ones, you can use a half-cup measure or, for even bigger fish cakes, a full-cup measure. Ice cream scoops work well for this.

Simply measure out the mixture and form it into patties. You can cook the fish cakes right away or store them for later. They will last in the refrigerator for up to three days, and they can also be frozen for up to three months. Before cooking, chill the fish cakes in the fridge for 30 minutes to give them time to firm, making cooking easier. This is optional but highly recommended.


Cooking and Serving The Salt Cod Fish Cakes

To cook the fish cakes, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the butter starts to foam, add the desired number of salt cod fish cakes to the pan. Cook the fish cakes for about three to four minutes per side or until golden brown and warm in the middle. Serve the fish cakes with a bit of salad and some tartar sauce or poached eggs.


The Wrap-Up

Cooking the fish cakes is a simple process that results in a delicious and crispy golden brown exterior and a warm and flaky interior. To cook the fish cakes, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil. The combination of butter and oil creates a flavorful and rich base for the fish cakes to cook in and helps prevent sticking.

Once the butter starts to foam, add the desired number of salt cod fish cakes to the pan. Cook the fish cakes for about three to four minutes per side or until golden brown and warm in the middle. The fish cakes should be cooked through, and the internal temperature should reach at least 74°C (165°F) to ensure they are safe to eat.

When the fish cakes are ready, remove them from the pan and let them rest for a couple of minutes before serving. This will allow them to firm up and retain their shape.

Serve the fish cakes with a bit of salad and some tartar sauce or poached eggs. The salad provides a fresh and crunchy contrast to the fish cakes, while the tartar sauce or poached eggs adds a rich and creamy element to the dish. You can also serve the fish cakes with a side of roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes or even with a side of pasta or rice.

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Best Ever Salt Cod Fish Cakes

Indulge in the ultimate fishcake experience with our "Best ever salt cod fishcakes" recipe. Made with succulent salt cod and infused with lemon, thyme, parsley and pepper, these fishcakes are a deliciously satisfying twist on a traditional favorite. Soak, cook, mix, shape and fry to perfection, these fishcakes are perfect for a light lunch or a filling brunch. Get the recipe now and taste the difference!
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
soaking: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 50 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Lunch
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: fish cakes, Fish Recipes, fishcake
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

Cod

  • 1 lb Salt Cod
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig thyme

Onions

  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced thyme

Other Ingredients

  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

Instructions

Salt Cod

  • Rinse the excess salt off the cod under cold running water.
  • Put the fish in a container, cover it with cold water, and put it in the fridge for at least 12 hours or up to 24. For best results, change the water at least once.
  • Drain the water off the fish and rinse it once again.
  • Put the fish in a pot, cover it with cold water, and add 2 bay leaves and a big sprig of thyme.
  • Bring the pot to a boil on high heat. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Drain the fish, and remove the bay leaves and thyme.

Onions

  • Put the butter and olive oil in a small pot or pan on medium heat.
  • Once the butter melts and starts to foam, add the onions and thyme.
  • Cook the onions, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes or until the onions soften, turn translucent and just start to brown.

Fish Cakes

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked cod, cooked onions, mashed potatoes, lemon zest, parsley, and pepper. Mix just enough to bring everything together. You don't want to break the fish up too much.
  • Measure the mixture into 1/4 cup portions for small cakes or 1/2 cup portions for larger ones. Form into fish cakes.
  • Store the fishcakes in the fridge for up to three days or freeze them for up to three months.
  • To cook the fishcakes, heat a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Once the butter starts to foam, add 3 to 4 fishcakes to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown and warm in the middle. Serve.
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The I Can’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free Fish and Chips Recipe

The I Can’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free Fish and Chips Recipe

Eating gluten-free can be very frustrating. I crave lots of foods but rarely do the gluten-free versions live up to their gluten-containing cousins. I find this to be especially true in restaurants. All too often, restaurants treat gluten-free food like health food. There is a place for that, no doubt. But, just because I have to eat gluten-free doesn’t mean I don’t also want junk food. Luckily, I’m a chef, and I can make whatever I want. What’s more, is that I can then share that with you. And boy, am I excited to share this gluten-free fish and chips recipe with you!

What’s great about this gluten-free fish and chips recipe is that whether you eat gluten or not, I am willing to bet that this will be one of the best fish and chips you’ve ever had. I know. That’s a bold statement. But I stand behind it. If you do eat gluten, substitute the gluten-free flour for regular all-purpose flour. Are you ready for this? I know I am. Let’s get to it!

You can always find the recipes directly below but keep reading for more information and a more detailed walkthrough.


Gluten-Free Fish and Chips Recipe

Gluten-Free Fish and Chips

Whether you eat gluten-free or not, this will probably be one of the best fish and chips you've ever eaten. I know that's a bold statement, but I stand behind it. The Fries are extra crispy but fluffy inside. The fish is tender with a light and crispy, flavourful batter. Oh, and did I mention that it's gluten-free?
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British, Canadian
Keyword: Fish and Chips, Fish and Seafood, Fries, Gluten Free, Potatoes
Servings: 3 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

Fish

  • 2 large cod fillets cut into two to three pieces each
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose baking flour, separated I used Bob's Redmill
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup soda water
  • oil for frying

Fries (chips)

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • oil for frying
  • salt

Instructions

Fish

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, dill, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Mix well.
  • Add the egg and soda water. Mix until fully incorporated.
  • Put the batter in the fridge for 20 minutes before using it.
  • Dredge the cut fish in the remaining flour, shake off any excess.
  • Dip the fish in the batter, and fry two to three pieces at a time in a deep fryer or high-sided pot at 365°f. Fry for about 7 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Serve right away.

Fries (chips)

  • Wash the potatoes with a brush under cold running water.
  • Cut the potatoes into rectangles about 2 cm (3/4 of an inch) wide and the length of the potato.
  • Put the cut potatoes in a pot, and rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. Fill the pot with water, add a big pinch of salt, and bring to a boil on high heat.
  • Cook the potatoes until they just start to break when poked with a fork.
  • Drain the potatoes and spread them out onto a cooling rack. Let the potatoes sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Fry the potatoes in batches on 325°f until they just start to turn golden brown. This will take between 5 to 7 minutes. Shake the excess oil off the fries and return them to the cooling rack. Allow the potatoes to cool to room temperature before frying again.
  • Turn the heat up on the oil until it reaches 165°f.
  • Fry the fries again for about 5 minutes or until a deep golden brown. Drain, and toss in a medium mixing bowl with a big pinch of kosher salt. Serve immediately.
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How To Make Gluten-Free Fish and Chips

What makes good fish and chips?

So, what makes good fish and chips? Well, let’s start with the fish. The fish should be tender and flaky and not overcooked. The batter should be cooked all the way through, crisp, golden brown, and flavourful. It shouldn’t be greasy or soggy at all. The fries should crunch when you bite into them, but the inside should be soft and fluffy. Sound good? Well, that’s exactly what we are going to make.


The Fries (Chips)

Let’s start with the fries. Now, these are no ordinary fries. These are thick hand-cut fries that are the crispiest on the outside, fluffiest on the inside fries you will probably ever have. There is a secret technique that I first learned from Heston Blumenthal that we would look at. Let’s take a look.

Hand Cutting Fries

Often when you see “Hand-cut fries” on a menu, they mean that the fries are cut in-house using a fry cutter. Here, when I say “hand-cut,” I mean hand-cut. I really wanted to make these fries extra crispy and do that properly the fries need some body. That’s why I went with thick-cut fries. The fact that they are much easier to cut never even crossed my mind.

First, wash the potatoes with a brush or cloth under cold running water. Pat them dry and cut the potato, lengthwise, into thumb-width sticks. Put the fries in a pot and rinse them with few changes of cold water. Do this until the water runs clear.

Boiling The Fries

Put the fries on the stove on high heat and bring them to a boil. Cook the potatoes until they are soft enough to break when poked with a fork, but not so much they are complete mush. This should take about 10 minutes of boiling, maybe a little longer. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain off the water and put the fries on a cooling rack. As the potatoes sit on the rack, all the excess moisture in the potato will evaporate, and the potatoes will dry. They will also change from a yellow-ish colour to white. Let the potatoes sit for at least 20 minutes.

Why boil the potatoes?

Boiling the potatoes obviously softens them, but it also adds texture to the potato’s surface. This texture is vital to getting that really crispy outer shell on the finished fries.

Blanching The Fries

The next step to making these ridiculously crispy fries is to blanch them in oil. If you’ve ever made fries before you are probably familiar with this step. Usually, this first cook in oil is done at a lower temperature than the final fry. The purpose is to cook the potato all the way through. But, our potatoes are already cooked, so why bother to do this? That’s a good question. This first fry is going to do two things. First of all, it is going to help remove any residual moisture hiding out within the fries. Secondly, it is going to start building up that crispy outer layer. Generally, this first fry would be done at 300°f. But, for our purposes, we will fry the potatoes at 345°f for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the potatoes start to turn golden brown.

Cooling the fries

Once the fries have been blanched in the oil, they will need to cool to room temperature before being fried again. It’s actually best if you cool them in the fridge, but it isn’t strictly necessary. Cooling the potatoes will help them get really crispy. Cool the fries on a cooling rack rather than on a flat surface. This will help prevent the fries from becoming greasy. Also, keep in mind not to overload your fryer. Fry the potatoes in two to three batches, giving the fryer time to come back to temperature after each fry.

Frying The Fries

Okay, you’ve washed, hand-cut, boiled, dried, fried, and cooled your potatoes. All that’s left is to fry them once more, add a pinch of salt and enjoy. For this final fry, turn your fryer up to 365°f. Put the fries in. You can do more per batch than when blanching. Fry for 5 to 7 minutes or until the fries are deep golden brown and very crisp. Take the fries out of the oil, drain, and then toss in a mixing bowl with a large pinch of kosher salt. Serve immediately.

Do you need a deep-fryer to make this?

You don’t absolutely need a deep-fryer to make this, but it is the safest option. Your other choice is to fry the fish and potatoes in a pot or wok full of oil. If you go this route, make sure to leave at least 2 to 3 inches of headroom in the pot, so the oil doesn’t overflow. Also, put the pot or wok on the back burner, so it is less likely to be bumped or knocked. If using a pot or wok, you will also need a candy or a deep-frying thermometer to know the temperature of the oil. If you do this, please be careful. Hot oil is hazardous, and you do not want to spill it on yourself or someone else. Also, if the oil overheats, it can catch on fire. If that happens, cover the pot with a lid and call 911. DO NOT PUT WATER ON A GREASE FIRE!!

What type of oil should you use?

Typically, canola oil is used for frying. It is fairly cheap and has a high smoke point. However, for a cleaner flavour and to possibly be a little healthier, use peanut oil. It is more expensive, but I prefer it for frying. And, you can strain it, put it in a sealed jar and keep it in the fridge for months. Just pull it out anytime you want to fry something.


Gluten-Free Battered Fish

How-To Make Gluten-Free Fish Batter

Okay, we’ve made the fries now. Let’s move on to the fish. The fish batter is actually the same as the gluten-free sweet and sour chicken ball recipe I made a while back. The only difference is that I add dill, lemon zest, and black pepper for the fish batter. This battered is made gluten-free not by adding a bunch of crazy ingredients but rather by using gluten-free all-purpose or baking flour. To make it not gluten-free, use normal all-purpose flour. The other ingredients in the batter are baking powder, salt, an egg, soda water, and, as I said, dill, lemon zest, and black pepper. Mix the batter and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill. The colder the batter, the crisper it will be.


Prepping The Fish

You can use any flakey white fish for this recipe. Haddock and catfish are good options, but I was lucky enough to get some cod, so that’s what I went with. I had two huge cod fillets so I cut each into three pieces. Pat, the fish, dry, then toss it in half a cup of gluten-free flour (or regular all-purpose).

Batter and Fry The Fish

Shake the excess flour off the fish and dip it in the batter. Lift the fish out of the batter, letting any excess drip off and place it in the fryer. When you do this, have the fryer basket down. If you put the fish on the basket then put it in the oil, the fish will cook onto the basket. Use a fork and make sure the piece of fish the fork is through isn’t going to break off. Dip the fish in the hot oil about halfway, then gently swirl it around for a few seconds before letting it gently slip off the fork and into the oil. This will help start the crust formation, which will help prevent the fish from sticking—Fry the fish at 365°f for about 6 to 7 minutes. If you want to serve it right away, fry it for 10 to 12 minutes. Either way, flip it halfway through.

Double Fry The Fish

You can single fry this fish, and it will be great. But, I find a double fry is a better option. Double frying allows you to have all the fish cooked and ready to go, then you can finish it in the fryer right before serving to get it really crispy. This is best if you are cooking for a group of people because you can fry more fish at a time on the second fry. You can also batter the fish and do the first fry a day ahead, store it in the fridge on a cooling rack uncovered, then fry it when you want. The second fry should be done at 365°f and will take about 5 minutes.


I can’t believe it’s gluten-free fish and chips

That little bit of lemon and dill really comes through and compliments the flavour of the fish perfectly. Serve the gluten-free fish and chips with tartar sauce and coleslaw. If you have the option, eat the fish and chips by the water to really make the whole experience special.


The Wrap-Up

I am so excited for you to try this recipe. I cannot express enough how delicious it is. I’d been craving fish and chips for a while, and this really hit the spot for me. Yes, I know it takes a while to make, but make a Sunday of it. Invite some friends over, have a few drinks (not too many around the hot oil) and enjoy yourself. That’s what food like this is for. Happy cooking and even happier eating, everyone!

Thanks for reading, and remember to check out my brand new cookbook, “The How-To Cookbook For Men” It comes out on August 10th and is available for preorder here.

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Tequila Lime Scallops and How to Cook a Scallop Like a Pro

Tequila Lime Scallops and How to Cook a Scallop Like a Pro

Well-cooked scallops are like little tender morsels of ocean candy. But, poorly cooked scallops are like bland little rubber bullets. Unfortunately, the line between a well-prepared and a poorly prepared scallop is pretty thin. Today you’ll learn how to make one of my favourite scallops dishes; Tequila Lime Scallops. But, more importantly, you’ll learn how to prepare and cook scallops like a chef so that you can have tender morsels of ocean candy whenever you want. Let’s get to it.


How To Buy Scallops

The best way to ensure that you end up with great scallops is to start with great scallops. Buy fresh whenever you can. If you are buying fresh, make sure they are actually fresh. The scallops at the seafood counter in your local grocery store probably aren’t fresh even though they aren’t frozen. They are likely previously frozen. Ask if the scallops have been frozen or not before you pay a premium for “fresh scallops.”

There are two big differences between fresh and frozen scallops. First of all, fresh scallops are more tender and have a better texture. Frozen scallops tend to be slightly chewier. Frozen scallops also release a lot more liquid than fresh scallops when cooked. This makes it more difficult to get a nice sear on the scallops, and that sear is important for flavour development. If you aren’t sure if your scallops are fresh or previously frozen, cook one up, put it on a plate, and wait two minutes. With a fresh scallop, there will be little to no liquid on the plate after 2 minutes. If the scallops are previously frozen, there will be a white milky liquid on the plate after two minutes.

Size matters.

Usually, when you buy scallops, they come as either tiny bay scallops or sea scallops, which are large. However, a rating scale for scallops (and shrimp) is measured by a “U” followed by a number. For example, U10 or U20-30. The “U” stands for “under a pound,” and the number is how many scallops there should in a pound. So, the lower the number that follows the “U,” the bigger the scallops. If you buy U10 scallops, you can expect there to be 10 or less in a pound. Those are good-sized scallops. More often than not, the scallops you buy at the store are U20 to 30, so there are 20 to 30 scallops in a pound. These are a good medium-sized scallop. But, if you want large ones, ask for the U10s, especially if you are talking to a specialty seafood purveyor. To learn more about sizing and other scallop cooking tips, check out this post I did back in 2019.

It’s okay to buy frozen.

If all you can get are frozen scallops, it’s okay. They can still be delicious. You’ll have to be a little more diligent with them. For starters, you must give the scallops enough time to defrost properly. This means that you will have to transfer them from the freezer to the fridge at least 24 to 48 hours before you want to cook them. Never put them in the microwave to defrost them and never submerge them in water. The microwave will make them rubbery. Submerging them in water will cause them to absorb loads of extra water.

Defrosting Scallops

When defrosting scallops, remove them from their original package and place them on a plate or a sheet pan lined with a paper towel or a kitchen towel. Make sure the scallops have a little space between each one. This space will help them defrost. It’s best not to cover the scallops when they go in the fridge, but if you do need to cover them, do it with a paper towel or kitchen towel rather than a plastic wrap. The towels would be changed in an ideal world after about 12 hours, but you don’t have to do this. Changing the towel will help dry the scallops.

If you need frozen scallops in a hurry.

If for some reason, you need scallops in a hurry and they are frozen, you can quickly defrost them in cold running water. “But wait, you said not to submerge them in water.” Yes, I did say that, and I meant it. If you quickly defrost scallops under cold running water, the scallops must be in a sealed bag. Either the bag they came in or a zip-top bag. Put the bag of frozen scallops in a deep container, put the container in your sink (make sure the sink isn’t plugged) and run cold water over the bag in a slow, steady stream. Defrosting the scallops this way will take about an hour, give or take. It is important to keep the water running to maintain a safe temperature and so that the water doesn’t get too cold.

How To Prepare Scallops For Cooking

Whether you use fresh or defrosted scallops, they will be prepared for cooking the same way. First of all, remove the foot (it isn’t actually a foot, but that’s what people call it). The foot is the little piece of white meat that hangs off the side of the scallops. It is edible, but it gets very chewy when cooked, so it’s always best to remove it. Once that’s done, pat the scallops dry on both sides with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Again, the surface of the scallops must be as dry as possible to get that perfect sear.


How To Cook Scallops

Choosing the right pan for cooking scallops

Scallops are very quick and easy to cook once you know how. The key is to get your pan very, very hot. I know that a lot of people don’t like to cook on high heat. I get it. But, with scallops, if you want that nice sear and rich flavour, high heat is vital. The pan you use should be either a heavy-duty non-stick pan, a very heavy-duty stainless steel pan, or a cast-iron skillet. My preference is cast iron becasue you can get it really hot. But, becasue of the sauce we’re making for the scallop recipe today, a non-stick or stainless pan is best. Again get the pan very hot. If your burner goes to 10, turn it on to 8 or 9 and leave it alone for 2 to 3 minutes.

Cooking the scallops

Once your pan is very hot, add just enough oil to cover the pan’s surface. Don’t use olive oil for this because it will burn and smoke. Instead, use an oil with a high smoke point like canola, peanut, or grapeseed oil. Season the scallops lightly with salt and pepper, then gently place them in the pan one at a time, leaving space between each scallop. When placing the scallops in the pan, start by placing them around the outside edge of the pan, then work your way in. Once you get the last scallop in the pan, go back and check the first one to see how well its colour is developing. Once the first scallop develops a deep caramel brown colour (about 90 seconds of cooking), flip it. Next, go around the pan and flip each scallop in the order they entered the pan and as they colour. Once the last scallop is flipped, go back and recheck the first one. Once the bottom is browned, take it out of the pan and place it on a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat until all the scallops are brown on both sides and are out of the pan.

Don’t crowd the pan!

Wheater using fresh or frozen scallops, you can’t crowd your pan. You need to leave about 20% of the surface of the pan uncovered. This helps the pan maintain its heat. If the pan’s temperature drops too much from overcrowding or becasue it wasn’t hot enough to start with, the liquid will escape the scallops, pool in the bottom of the pan, and boil your scallops instead of searing them. Though this will happen with fresh scallops, it will be much more extreme with previously frozen ones.


Tequila Lime Sauce

At this point, you’ve perfectly cooked some scallops. You can enjoy them as they are, or you can take them one step further and make this delicious Tequila Lime Sauce. To make the sauce, remove the scallops from the pan and take the pan off the heat to let it cool down slightly. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan, wait for it to melt, then add 2 tablespoons of minced shallot or onion. Put the pan back on the heat and cook for about 2 minutes before adding 2 ounces of good quality tequila (the one I used). Cook the tequila for about a minute, then add the zest of half a lime and the juice of a whole lime. Add the scallops back into the pan and toss with about 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped cilantro, then serve.

Tequila Lime Scallops

Seared scallops in a quick Tequila lime sauce finished with cilantro. A quick scallop dish that tastes like summer.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: alcohol, Fish and Seafood, Scallops, Seafood, Summer, summer cooking
Servings: 4 people
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Scallops, foot removed and patted dry 454 g
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 2 tbsp minced shallot or onion
  • 2 oz Tequila
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime juice and zest

Instructions

  • Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure the pan is very hot.
  • Lightly season the scallops with salt and pepper.
  • Add the oil to the pan and gently place the scallops in one at a time. Leave the scallops alone for 90 seconds.
  • Gently lift one of the scallops. If the bottom is a deep caramel brown, flip the scallops and cook for 1 more minute. If the scallop is still white or just turning brown, leave it for another 30 seconds or so, then flip it and finish it on the second side for 1 minute.
  • Remove the scallops from the pan and onto a warmed plate. Set aside.
  • Take the pan off the heat and add the butter. Once the butter melts, add the shallots and return the pan to the heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the shallots soften and turn translucent.
  • Pour the tequila into the pan. If you use a gas range, lift the pan away from the flame before adding the tequila, then return the pan to the heat. Cook until the tequila has almost completely evaporated.
  • Take the pan off the heat and zest half the lime into it, then squeeze the juice from the whole lime into it. Return the pan to the heat for 30 seconds. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper as needed.
  • Take the pan from the heat and add the scallops into the pan, toss with the cilantro and serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

The Wrap Up

I hope that you’re now excited to buy some scallops and cook them up for yourself. I know the process may seem complicated, but really, at its core, it’s just dry the scallops and cook them quickly in a very hot pan. There isn’t that much to it. If you’re wondering how to tell if your scallops are cooked, that’s not too difficult either. Right now, as you read this, hold your hand out and gently touch the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your thumb. Now, poke the bit of meat on your palm right below your thumb. A perfectly cooked scallop will feel the same when you poke it. I hope that helps. Thanks for reading, remember to share it, and have a great day and a great week! Oh, and if you cook some scallops, share some pictures of them on my Facebook page. I’d love to see them.

Remember to share this post on Facebook or Pinterest if you enjoyed it. Thank you for reading, and have a great day! Remember, there are new Chef’s Notes posts every Wednesday, and you can subscribe below, so you never miss one.

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Miso Salmon Rice Bowl

Miso Salmon Rice Bowl

If you are looking for a new and exciting salmon recipe, look no further. This Miso Salmon Rice Bowl is everything you want and more. It’s got lots of vegetables, sweet and salty salmon, creamy avocado, and it’s all tied together by the nutty brown rice. What more could you want from a meal? Before you get too far into this, I want to say that this recipe may seem intimidating at first. There are a few different components that make it seem a lot more complicated than it is. Really, it’s no different than making any meal. If you make marinaded pork chops, mashed potatoes, and vegetables, you’re making the same number of components. All this to say, don’t miss out on this recipe. It is worth every second that goes into it. Now let’s get to it.


Miso Salmon Marinade

The marinade for the salmon is a combination of 1 tablespoon miso paste, which you can find in most grocery stores and all Asian specialty markets, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon honey, and 1/2 a teaspoon of sriracha. Whisk these ingredients together. Put two 170 g (6-ounce) salmon portions in the bowl with the marinade, roll the salmon to coat it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.


Sweet Potato

While the salmon is marinating, peel and dice two small (or 1 medium) sweet potatoes. You want about 2 cups of diced sweet potato in total. A little more or less is fine. Toss the sweet potato with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Put the sweet potato in a small roasting pan and roast in a 400°F oven for 30 minutes. Flip the sweet potato halfway through cooking. Take the cooked sweet potato out of the oven and set it aside to cool.


Brown Rice

Once you get the sweet potato in the oven, start cooking your brown rice. For two portions, use 1/2 cup of rice and 11/2 cups of water. Ratios may vary by brand, so make sure to read the instructions on the rice package. Rinse the rice under cold running water until the water runs clear. Drain well. Put the rice and the 11/2 cups of water in a medium pot. You can add a pinch of salt and pepper and a teaspoon of olive oil if you want to. Bring the rice to a boil on high heat, stirring once or twice. Put a lid on the pot, turn the heat to low, and simmer the rice for 20 minutes. Take the pot off the heat, and set it aside to rest for 10 minutes.


Roasting The Salmon

Take the salmon out of the marinade, gently shaking off the excess. Put the salmon in a lightly oiled roasting pan and cook it in a 400°f oven for 12-15 minutes or until cooked. You can use the same roasting pan you cooked the sweet potatoes in if you put the cooked sweet potatoes in a bowl. That’s what I did to save on washing a bunch of roasting pans.


Snow Peas

While the salmon is in the oven, pull the strings off 200 g of snow peas. See this post for more clear instructions on how to do that. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of canola oil to the pan along with the cleaned snow peas. Stir-fry the snow peas for 3 minutes, then add 2 teaspoons of soy sauce. Cook for 30 seconds more, then take the pan off the heat.


Avocado

Finally, cut an avocado in half and remove the pit. Hopefully, your avocado is better than mine was. Gently pull the peel off the avocado and discard it. Dice the avocado into bite-sized pieces.

Plating the Miso Salmon Rice Bowl

Divide the rice between two bowls. Push the rice to one side of the bowl. Put the sweet potato at the top of the rice and the snow peas at the bottom. Lay the salmon across the rice and use the avocado to fill any gaps. To make the miso salmon bowl look a little fancier, you can garnish it with sesame seeds. Also, I had some homemade Teriyaki sauce left in the fridge from the Sushi Bowl Post, so I drizzled that over the miso salmon to finish it. You don’t have to do that, but if you happen to have some in the fridge or want to throw a batch together, it is worth it.

Miso Salmon Bowl

There are a few different components to this miso salmon bowl. On their own, the components are all simple. When combined, they created something slightly complex and incredibly delicious. Don't let this recipe intimidate you. It is well worth the effort.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Canadian, Japanese
Keyword: Bowl series, Fish and Seafood, Salmon
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp miso Paste
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha
  • 2 portions salmon, skin off 170 g (6 ounces)
  • 2 cups peeled and diced sweet potato
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 1 1/2 cups water plus more to rinse the rice
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pit removed and diced
  • 200 g snow peas
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce

Instructions

  • Heat your oven to 400°F.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the miso paste, mayonnaise, honey, and sriracha. Mix well. Add the salmon to the miso mixture, gently toss it to coat it in the sauce, cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, toss the diced sweet potato with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the sweet potato out in a roasting pan and cook in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Once the sweet potato is cooked, take it out of the oven and set it aside to cool.
  • While the sweet potato is in the oven, make the rice. Rince the brown rice under cold running water until the water runs clear. Drain well. Put the rice in a medium pot with 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring the rice to a boil on high heat, turn the heat down to low, cover the pot with a lid and cook the rice for 20 minutes. Take the pot off the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes. Rice to water ratios may vary by brand, so always read the instructions on the package.
  • Lightly oil a small roasting pan. Place the salmon on it. Roast the salmon in the oven (still at 400°F) for 12 to 15 minutes or until cooked. Take the salmon out of the oven and assemble the bowl. Discard the leftover marinade.
  • While the salmon is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in canola oil and the snow peas. Stir-fry the snow peas for 3 minutes, add soy sauce and cook for 30 more seconds. Take the pan off the heat and set it aside.
  • Divide the rice, sweet potato, snow peas and avocado among two bowls. Top with the salmon and serve. Optionally, garnish the salmon with homemade Teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

The Wrap Up

My wife and I both went crazy for this Miso Salmon Rice Bowl. It may actually be my favourite in the bowl series so far. And with only one post left in the series, I’d say it has a good chance of being my number one. As I said in the intro, this recipe may seem intimidating becasue there are a few different components. Still, it’s no different from making a meal with mashed potatoes, vegetables, and protein. If you only make one recipe from this whole series, it should be this one. Have a great weekend everyone!

Remember to share this post on Facebook or Pinterest if you enjoyed it. Thank you for reading, and have a great day! Remember, there are new Chef’s Notes posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and you can subscribe below, so you never miss one.

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About me
9 Spring Recipes To Get You Through The Rest Of Winter

9 Spring Recipes To Get You Through The Rest Of Winter

Spring is officially nine days away. What better way to say goodbye to winter than with nine spring recipes. These are a collection of recipes from the Chef’s Notes archives that I think you will love and that are perfect for ushering in spring. If I can promise you anything, it’s that when you have finished reading this post, spring will be closer than it is right now. It’s true. Let’s get to it.


1. Cajun Salmon and Citrus Salad

Nothing says goodbye to cold weather, hello sunshine like throwing a piece of fish on the grill. In the case of this Cajun Salmon and Citrus Salad, the fish (salmon) is flavoured with olive oil and cajun seasoning, grilled and put on a salad of arugula, orange, and lime. This dish has the flavour of spring and summer in every bite.

Cajun Grilled Salmon and Citrus Salad

Cajun Grilled Salmon, On Top Of Arugula With Citrus Vinaigrette.
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: Barbecue, Best Pasta Salad, Citrus, Salmon, Summer Barbecue, Summer food
Servings: 2 Servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

Cajun Salmon

  • 2 fillets Salmon
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Cajun Seasoning

Citrus Salad

  • 1 lg Orange, Cut into Segments
  • 1 Lime, Zested and Cut into Segments
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Mustard
  • 4 cups Arugula
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Salmon

  • Combine the olive oil and Cajun seasoning in a medium bowl.
  • Roll the salmon in the Cajun Seasoning Mixture to coat it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to marinate for 2 hours.
  • Preheat your grill to 400°f for about 15 minutes.
  • Depending on how thick your salmon is, cook it 3-6 minutes per side over medium heat with the lid down.
  • Once the salmon has reached your desired level of doneness remove it from the grill and place it on the salad.

Citrus and Arugula Salad

  • Peel a large orange and using a small sharp knife cut between the membrane of each segment so that each segment comes away freely leaving the fibrous membrane behind. Once all of the orange segments have been cut free, squeeze the juice out of the remaining bit of orange into a bowl with the segments.
  • Using a microplane, grate the zest of the lime into the bowl with the orange. Once zested, peel the lime and segment it as you did with the orange, then squeeze any juice out of the bit that is left behind.
  • To the bowl with the orange and lime segments and juice add the honey, and mustard then gently whisk to combine.
  • Slowly whisk in the olive oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Toss the arugula with the dressing divide it among two bowls and top with the Cajun Grilled Salmon. Finish the salad by spooning the citrus segments and dressing over the salmon.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

2. Creamy Chicken Pesto

When we think of spring recipes we don’t often think of cream sauces. They seem like more of a fall/winter dish. But when the cream sauce in question is flavoured with homemade pesto and tossed with chicken, red pepper, and spinach, it’s a bit of spring in a bowl.

Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta

What more is there to say? It's creamy, it's chicken, and it's pesto. Delicious!
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: 30 minute meals, Chicken Pasta, Quick Meals
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, Sliced
  • 1/2 Small Onion, Sliced
  • 1 tsp Chopped Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Sliced Roasted Red Peppers
  • 2 cups loosley packed Spinach
  • 1/4 cup Pesto
  • 3/4 cup Cream
  • 1-2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan
  • 4 portions Cooked Pasta

Instructions

  • Heat large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add the olive oil and sliced chicken into the pan.
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook until cooked through it will take about 6 minutes.
  • Add in the onions and garlic, cook for 2 minutes, then add in the roasted red peppers and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Next up, add in the pesto, cook for about a minute then add in the cream and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add in the spinach and cook for 2 minutes before adding in the cooked pasta.
  • Add in the parmesan, toss the pasta to coat, taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

3. Sweet and Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Lettuce wraps are a great light meal, and this spring recipe for Sweet and Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps is going to put a spring in your step. Bad puns aside, this recipe is a little sweet, a little spicy, and a lot delicious.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

A new year a new you! What better way to kick off that new years diet than with some deliciously sweet and spicy chicken lettuce wraps?
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: 30 minute meals, 30 Minutes or less, Asian Food, Butter Chicken, Chicken, chicken recipes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Ground Chicken
  • 1/2 lg White Onion, Minced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper, Minced
  • 4 ea Green Onions whites and greens separate and diced
  • 1 tbsp Grated Ginger
  • 2 tsp Chinese 5 Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chilli Flakes
  • 2 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 3 tbsp Soy Sauce or GF Tamari
  • 2 tsp Rice Vinegar or white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 head Bibb Lettuce aka Boston Bibb Lettuce
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Seeds

Instructions

  • Heat a wok over medium-high heat.
  • Add the sesame oil along with the chicken and cook until the chicken is browned, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the chicken is browned and cooked through add in the onion, green onion (whites), and the garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the onions start to soften.
  • Next up add in the red bell pepper and red chilli flakes, cook for 1 minute then add in the Chinese 5 spice.
  • cook the spices for 1-2 minutes before adding in 1/4 cup of water along with the honey, soy sauce, and vinegar.
  • Turn the heat down and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
  • Add in the sesame seeds and the tops (greens) of the green onions.
  • Season to taste with salt.
  • Wash and pat dry the lettuce and serve with sticky rice.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

4. Cuban Sandwich

It may seem odd to include a sandwich on this list (that isn’t a BLT), but this Cuban Sandwich has a surprisingly fresh flavour that really invokes spring. It’s roasted pork that has been marinated in orange juice, thyme and some other stuff. The pork is sliced thin and put on a Cuban roll (I’m using a gluten-free burger bun) with yellow mustard, dill pickle, cheese, and ham. The sandwich is grilled and is perfect in every way.

Cuban Sandwich

A delicious and flavourful sandwich made with roasted pork, ham, cheese, mustard, and pickles.
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Sandwich
Cuisine: American, Cuban
Keyword: Cuban Sandwich, Gourmet Sandwich, Roast Pork Sandwich
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Chef’s Notes

Ingredients

  • 4 Sandwich Rolls
  • 1/2 cup Yellow Mustard diveded
  • 8 slices Dill Pickles
  • 8 slices Ham
  • 4 Slices Swiss Cheese
  • 1 lb Thinly Sliced Roasted Pork divided
  • 1/4 cup Butter

Instructions

  • Slice the rolls and lightly toast the inside.
  • Brush the inside of the rolls with mustard then tops with pickles, ham, Swiss cheese, and the pork.
  • Heat a large frying pan on medium heat. Brush the outside of the rolls with butter and put them in the pan. Toast on one side for 2-3 minutes then flip. Press the sandwiches with a spatula to flatten slightly. Cook the sandwiches until the cheese starts to melt then serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

5. The Ultimate Roasted Cherry Tomato Soup

This spring recipe is Roasted Cherry Tomato Soup. It’s a little twist on the classic tomato soup becasue the tomatoes are roasted, and the recipe uses cherry tomatoes instead of roma tomatoes or something like that. Whenever you pair tomato and basil, it’s going to taste like sunshine, and this soup is no exception. Like all tomato soups, it is best served with a grilled cheese sandwich.

The Ultimate Roasted Cherry Tomato Soup

A delicious homemade tomato soup using up all the extra cherry tomatoes from the garden.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: autumn soup, Roasted Tomatoes, Summer Soup, Tomato Basil, Tomato Soup
Servings: 1 Litre
Author: Chef’s Notes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Cherry Tomatoes
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 cup Diced Onion
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Basil
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cups Whole Milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Pinch of Sugar if needed

Instructions

  • Toss the tomatoes, onion and garlic with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Roast the tomatoes, onion and garlic on a parchment-lined sheet pan for 40-50 minutes on 400°f or until the tomatoes start to shrivel and the onions and garlic are slightly browned.
  • Put the roasted vegetables in a medium pot over medium heat and add in the milk.
  • Cook the soup only until the milk is hot then add in the basil and purée.
  • Taste the soup and season with salt, pepper, and sugar as needed.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

6. White Wine Poached Cod with Parsleyed Potatoes

White wine poached cod with parsleyed potatoes to me is kind of the ultimate spring recipe. It has tomato and basil in it, lots of fresh flavours, and a light flakey fish. What more good you want on a warm spring day? As a side note, the potatoes are boiled new potatoes tossed in butter, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley, and they are one of my all-time favourite potato dishes. Seriously, they are so simple and so delicious. They are a definite must make.

White Wine Poached Cod with Parsleyed Potatoes

A quick and delicious cod dish that will knock the socks off any one you serve it to.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: 30 minute meals, Bistro Recipes, Cod, Delicious, Fish Recipes
Servings: 4
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Equipment

  • 1 pot with lid
  • 1 large frying pan

Ingredients

  • 4 pieces Cod or other white fish
  • 2 ea Shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
  • 8-12 ea New Potatoes
  • 1/2 ea An Heirloom tomato, diced or 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 5-6 leaves Basil, Sliced
  • 1 lg handful Spinach, stems removed, and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup` Chopped Parsley
  • 2-3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

Potatoes

  • Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with very hot tap water.
  • Season the water well with salt.
  • Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Once the potatoes start to boil, remove the lid from the pot and cook them the rest of the way uncovered.
  • One the potatoes are cooked (a fork easily passes through them) drain them well.
  • Add 2 tbsp of parsley, 2 tbsp of butter, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Gently toss the potatoes to coat with the seasoning and serve.

Cod

  • Heat the skillet over medium high.
  • Add the olive oil along with the shallots, garlic and a bit of salt and pepper.
  • Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the shallots are soft.
  • Add the diced tomato along with 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the fish into the pan presentation (white side) down.
  • Cook for 1-2 minutes then add the wine.
  • Once the wine starts to boil flip the fish and cook for another 1-3 minutes.
  • Smaller pieces of fish will be cooked quicker while larger pieces may take a little longer.
  • Remove the fish from the pan to a warmed serving tray as the fish pieces are cooked.
  • Once all the fish is out of the pan add in the spinach, basil, and 2 tbsp of butter.
  • Turn off the heat and mix the butter in to sauce to thicken it.
  • Finish the sauce with the remaining parsley and pour over the fish.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

7. Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Greek Salad, by its nature, screams spring and summer. The balance of sweetness from the vegetables, saltiness from the cheese, and acidity from the dressing is everything you could want in a salad. When you replace the lettuce with chickpeas, you a more substantial meal with the same great taste.

Mediterranean chickpea salad

Mediterranean chickpea salad

A quick, delicious and healthy salad that works just as well as a side dish as it does a lunch. 
Total Time: 15 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Mediterranean chickpea salad
Servings: 4 people
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 1 can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 baseball sized Red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 ea Cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 pint Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata Olives
  • 1/2 cup Crumbled Feta (or more)
  • 1 tbsp Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 4 ea Mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp Red Wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Powder
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • to taste Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  • In a small bowl combine the vinegar, honey, garlic, mustard powder, and oregano. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until fully incorporated. 
  • In a separate bowl combine all the other ingredients.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. 
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

8. Chicken Quinoa Greek Salad

Salad bowls are a great spring food. That’s why I’m doing a whole series of them every Friday. This chicken quinoa Greek salad is great for all the reasons the chickpea greek salad is great. Plus, it has chicken for protein and quinoa, which is really good for you. So, you’ve got lots of fresh flavours, and it’s good for you. Sound like a great spring recipe to me.

Chicken Quinoa Greek Salad

A delicious and filling salad. The perfect meal for a hot summer day.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek-ish
Keyword: 30 minute meals, Chicken, Delicious, Greek salad, Healthy Meals, Quinoa
Servings: 4
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 2 ea Chicken Breasts
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 heads Romaine Hearts or one full head of romaine
  • 1 cup Quartered Cherry and Grape Tomates
  • 1 cup Diced Cucumber
  • 1/4 large Red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 ea Green pepper thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Good Quality Olive Oil half for dressing half for the chicken
  • 2 tbsp Dried oregano half for dressing half for the chicken
  • 1 tbsp Red Wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves Minced Garlic
  • 1 lemon Juiced
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Parsley
  • 1 tsp Dried Dill
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Plain Greek Yogurt

Instructions

Quinoa

  • Combine the quinoa with two cups of water and a pinch of salt in a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Once the pot begins to boil, cover it with a tight fitting lid and reduce the heat to low.
  • Let the quinoa simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let rest, covered for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Fluff with a fork and serve.

Chicken

  • Cut the two chicken breasts in half horizontally.
  • Lay flat on the cutting board and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried oregano on both sides.
  • Heat a large skillet on medium heat.
  • Sear the chicken on one side. Flip the chicken and cover. Reduce the heat slightly and cooked covered, flipping once or twice until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Let the chicken rest, then slice and serve.

Salad

  • Cut, wash, and spin dry the lettuce.
  • Combine all the vegetables in a large mixing bowl, except the lettuce.
  • Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, dill, garlic, parsley, and salt and pepper into the bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Mix the warm quinoa into the vegetables along with 1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese. Mix well.
  • Add the lettuce and mix.
  • Serve the salad in a large bowl, top with sliced chicken, the remaining feta, and a spoon full of yogurt.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

9. Nicoise Pasta Salad

The last spring recipe on the list is my Nicoise Pasta Salad. It is everything you love about a Nicoise Salad but with pasta in it. The salad starts with a basic red wine vinaigrette to which tuna, olives, blanched green beans, tomatoes and pasta are added. The salad is finished with slices of hard-boiled egg. It is even better than it sounds.

Nicoise Pasta Salad

Nicoise salad is often considered by Chefs to be one of the best salads ever created. Now, you can have it in pasta salad form.
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Best Pasta Salad, Nicoise Pasta Salad, Salad, summer cooking, Summer food
Servings: 4 cups
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 1 can Tuna in water, drained
  • 2 Hardboiled eggs, cut into eights
  • 1/4 cup Pitted Olives Nicoise Olives if you can find them.
  • 1 handful French Green Beans, Cooked in boiling water for 3 minutes then cooled. about 40 total
  • 2 cups Rotini Pasta, cooked
  • 12 Grape Tomatoes cut in half

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp Redwine Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Grainy Mustard
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Chopped Parsley
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a medium mixing bowl combine all the dressing ingredients except the olive oil and whisk.
  • Slolwy whisk in the olive oil until it has been fully incorporated.
  • Add all of the remaining ingredients except the eggs to the dressing and toss or gently stir to combine.
  • Garnish the salad with a few sprigs of parsley and the eggs.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

The Wrap Up

If these nine spring recipes can’t get you through the last few days of winter, nothing will. They are all packed with loads of fresh ingredients and flavours and are simple enough that anyone can make them. What are some of your favourite spring recipes? Tell me in the comments below or on Facebook.

Did you know that I wrote a cookbook? It’s called the 5-Ingredient Cookbook for men (of course, it is for everyone). The kindle version is officially on sale now and the physical version goes on sale March 16th, but you can preorder it now from Amazon in Canada here, and Amazon in the US here.

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Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa – A Taste of Summer

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa – A Taste of Summer

As I sit here and write this, it is -10°c outside. This hasn’t been the worst winter I’ve ever seen, but when compounded with everything else, it seems never-ending. Like a lot of other people, I am craving warmer days and sunshine. Unfortunately, I can’t change the weather, but I can make summer food to cure those winter blues. These Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa are that cure. Every bite is like a little taste of your own personal summer. You can almost feel the sunshine. Let’s get to it.


Mango Salsa

The first step in making these fish tacos is to make the mango salsa. You can use store-bought salsa if you want, but you won’t get that same fresh summery flavour. If you have the time, make the salsa. It’s worth the effort. If you don’t like or can’t find mango, it can be substituted with pineapple, peaches, or oranges.

Ingredients

The salsa ingredients are mango, red onion, lime juice and zest, cilantro, cumin, garlic, grape tomato, kosher salt, and pepper. I didn’t add anything spicy to the salsa because the tacos have chipotle lime mayo on them and fresh jalapeno. Of course, if you want to slice up a jalapeno or habanero and add it to the salsa, go for it.


Cutting The Mango

Cutting the mango is the trickiest part of making this salsa. You can peel the mango, cut it into thin slices, cut those slices into sticks, then cut those sticks into small cubes but doing that will take a lot more time than the technique I’m about to describe. Stand the mango up on your cutting board and cut the two sides off. There will be about a half-inch pit in the middle that you can’t cut through. Take those sides and make small even slices in the flesh but not through the peel. Rotate the mango by 90° and make more slices the same width apart. Push up on the mango’s bottom to make it look like a porcupine and cut the little squares away from the skin. The only thing to keep in mind when doing this is that you do not want to cut through the skin. The mango won’t pop up properly if you do. Once you get the sides of the mango diced, go back to the pit and cut off any excess fruit and dice it.


Finishing The Salsa

Put the diced mango in a mixing bowl, mince some onion, dice the tomatoes, chop the cilantro, and mince the garlic. Put all the ingredients in the mixing bowl, including the cumin, olive oil, salt, pepper, lime zest and juice. Stir. Cove the salsa with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for an hour before serving.

Mango Salsa

Use this fresh Mango Salsa on tacos, nachos, or burritos.
Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Sauce, Side Dish
Cuisine: Canadian, Mexican
Keyword: mango, Pork Tacos, Salsa
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 1 cup diced mango 1 mango
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1 lime juice and zest
  • 1/4 cup diced grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for an hour before serving.
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Chipotle Lime Mayo

What is Chipotle?

Chipotle peppers are smoked and dried jalapenos. You can buy them in three ways, as the whole dried pepper, dried and ground, or canned and packed in adobo. Adobo is like a Spanish pickling liquid. For this recipe, use the canned ones. I find they have more flavour and are easier to use than the dried ones because you don’t have to rehydrate them. You can buy canned chipotles in most grocery stores by the taco kits. You won’t use the whole can for this recipe, but any leftovers can be frozen and used later.


Making the chipotle lime mayo

To make the chipotle lime mayo, cut two chipotles as small as you can and combine them with mayonnaise, lime juice and a bit of salt. Put the chipotle lime mayo in a small dish or squeeze bottle and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving. If you’d like, you can use sour cream instead of mayonnaise.

Chipotle Lime Mayonnaise

A quick and simple chipotle mayo that you can use on tacos, sandwiches, burritos, or burgers.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: chipotle, mayo
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chipotle in adobo
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  • Mix all the ingredients. Put in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.
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The Fish

For my fish tacos, I used halibut, but you can use literally any fish you’d like. You may need to change how you cook the fish and cooking times depending on the fish you use, but other than that, everything can stay the same. If you’d like to, you could also use shrimp or scallops in place of the fish.

Preparing the fish

To prepare the fish, again, in my case, it is halibut; cut it into thin strips and season it with salt and pepper. Heat a medium non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add a bit of oil to the pan, then the fish. Cook the fish until it is very light brown, then flip it and brown it on the other side. It should take two to three minutes per side. You have to make sure to let your pan heat fully before adding the fish; otherwise, your fish may boil in its own juices. Finish the fish by squeezing the juice from half a lime over it.


Making The Fish Tacos

To assemble the fish tacos, warm six corn tortillas and spread some sliced avocado out onto them. Put the fish on the avocado, then the mango salsa on the fish. Top the fish with thinly sliced jalapeno and chipotle mayo. Finish the tacos with pickled red onion and a few leaves of fresh cilantro. Serve the tacos with lime wedges on the side.


Pickled Red Onion

I had a jar of pickled red onions in my fridge that I made a few weeks ago, so I don’t have a recipe to share. The pickled onions do add a lot to the tacos, so I suggest making some. At a glance, this recipe seems good, but I haven’t made it myself. I usually eyeball my ingredients when pickling onions. Still, if I had to guess, I would say I usually use 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, and 1/2 cup of thinly sliced red onion. Put all the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, then turn off and cool. Store the pickled onions in the fridge for up to a month. Again, this is not a tried and true recipe, just an estimation of what I usually do.

Fish Tacos

These fish tacos are made with seared halibut, but they work with any fish. Get the fish preparation simple and let the rest of the ingredients do the heavy lifting flavour-wise.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 16 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Canadian, Mexican
Keyword: Fish and Seafood, Halibut, Tacos
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 200 g halibut fillet
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 limes
  • 6 corn tortillas 6-inch
  • 1/2 cup mango salsa
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup pickled red onion
  • 1/4 cup chipotle lime mayo

Instructions

  • Slice the halibut into 6 evenly sized strips. Heat a medium non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pan, season with fish with salt and pepper, and cook on both sides for 3 minutes or until lightly brown. Finish the fish by squeezing the juice from half a lime onto it.
  • Warm the tortillas in a pan, in the microwave in a tortilla warmer, or in a 350°f oven, wrapped in foil for 10 minutes.
  • Put the fish on the warmed tortillas, top with the remaining ingredients. Serve with lime wedges on the side.
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The Wrap Up

Fish tacos are the epitome of summer food. When paired with fresh mango salsa, you’ll feel like you’re eating pure sunshine, but in a good way. At first glance, this recipe may seem complex and like there are many steps, but really you’re only making the salsa, and the chipotle mayo, then cooking some fish for a few minutes. You can even make the salsa and mayo a day ahead to cut down on prep time. If like me, you would like a little break from the cold weather and a preview of what’s to come in a few months, these fish tacos may be the exact thing you need. Try them for yourself.

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Smoked Mackerel Sushi Bowl

Smoked Mackerel Sushi Bowl

When you want sushi but don’t want to buy or make it, a sushi bowl is the next best thing. It’s everything you love about sushi, but without having to roll it. This particular sushi bowl is made with smoked mackerel, homemade teriyaki sauce, carrot, edamame, sushi rice, and smoked nori snacks. You can follow the recipe as is or create your own ingredient combination based on your favourite sushi roll. Alright, let’s get to it.


Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki, as we know it, is not really teriyaki sauce. The stuff you buy at the grocery store is thickened with cornstarch and usually has garlic and ginger in it. Authentic teriyaki sauce is basically sweetened soy sauce. The sweet and salty flavour of teriyaki sauce is the perfect thing to put on the smoked mackerel in this sushi bowl. The sauce works just as well on smoked salmon, fresh salmon, scallops, chicken, or whatever else you can think of. To make it combine a 1/4 cup of soy sauce with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of sake or water. Bring the mixture to a boil in a small pot and cook for 2 1/2 minutes. Keep an eye on the pot as it may boil over. Store the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month.

Teriyaki Sauce

A simple and delicious teriyaki sauce recipe that you will want to always have in your fridge.
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: teriyaki sauce
Servings: 4
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tabelspoons sake or water

Instructions

  • Combine all the ingredients and boil for 2 1/2 minutes.
  • Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a month.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Sushi Bowl Ingredients

The sushi bowl ingredients are sushi rice, seasoned rice vinegar (which you can buy at most grocery stores), edamame, carrots, scallion, smoked mackerel, wasabi, teriyaki sauce, and smoked nori snacks (you can find these in most grocery stores too).


Prepping The Sushi Bowl

To prepare the sushi bowl’s ingredients start by cooking the rice. Follow the rice package instructions for two servings, then mix the seasoned rice vinegar into the cooked rice. Put the edamame in a small pot, cover with water, boil for four minutes and drain.


Cut the vegetables

While the rice and edamame are cooking julienne (cut into matchsticks), a two-inch chunk of carrot, and thinly slice two scallions.


The Mackerel

Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over medium heat and add in a teaspoon of cooking oil. Sear the mackerel on both sides for a minute or two to heat it through. I used homemade smoked mackerel that I smoked this summer, but you can buy it in most grocery stores. If you don’t want to use smoked mackerel, you can use smoked salmon instead (don’t heat it). You can also roast a piece of salmon or any other type of fish you’d like to use.


Putting the Smoked Mackerel Sushi Bowl Together

To put the sushi bowl together, start by putting the rice down, then the edamame, the carrot, the fish, dress the fish with the teriyaki sauce, put a few dabs of wasabi around the bowl, garnish with the scallions, and put the nori sheets on the side.


Smoked Mackerel Sushi Bowl

Everything you love about sushi, but in a bowl.
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup uncooked sushi rice
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup shelled edameme
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil
  • 2 fillets smoked mackerel
  • 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 cup julienned carrots
  • 2 teaspoons wasabi paste
  • 2 slices scallions

Instructions

  • Cook the sushi rice according to the instructions on the package. Then stir in the seasoned rice vinegar.
  • Put the edameme in a small pot, cover with water, bring to a boil and cook for 4 minutes. Drain the beans.
  • Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the cooking oil and the mackerel to the pan. Cook for a minute or two per side or until the mackerel is browned and warm.
  • Divide the cooked rice among two plates. Top the rice with the edamame, carrots, mackerel, teriyaki sauce, and scallions. Put a few dots of wasabi around the plate.
  • For an authentic sushi taste serve the bowl with a side of smoked nori snacks.
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The Wrap Up

What I love about this sushi bowl is how simple it is and how fresh it tastes. You can throw the whole thing together in as long as it takes to cook the rice, and you get the flavour of good sushi with much less effort. Make this recipe as is, or use it as a template to make your own sushi bowl creations.

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Seared Halibut with White Bean Ragout

Seared Halibut with White Bean Ragout

Continuing with my Valentine’s Day meal that started on Monday, the appetizer of Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese salad, today, we are making the main course. Specifically, seared halibut with white bean ragout. This dish seems much more complicated than it is; that’s part of the beauty of it. It’s actually a straightforward dish that tastes and looks amazing. If you can’t find halibut or don’t like it, you can substitute it with salmon, haddock, cod, or just about any other kind of fish you’d like. Alright, let’s get to it.