Recipe: Salmon cakes with avocado basil cream

If you live in Seattle, it’s nearly required by state law to eat wild salmon during the summer. Lately, I’ve been grilling more than we need in order to use the leftovers for these fragrant salmon cakes that I developed last year when faced with a pile of leftover salmon after a rained-out BBQ.  They’re simple to make and freeze well, and offer a healthy alternative to fish sticks. They’re easily dressed up by a simple … [Read more...]

Shrimp with Tarragon on Wilted Greens

It started as this small thing, just a tiny container from a local nursery. Then, like something out of a 1950s horror film, by August last summer, my French tarragon grew into an embarrassment of riches on the patio of my Seattle home. On a chilly day in late autumn, I hacked most of it back and dried it to make my own fine herbs, that classic combination that's a mainstay in French cuisine. The traditional ingredients … [Read more...]

Cooking in Parchment (video lesson)

Cooking en papillote (French for “parchment”) is a wildly overlooked method of cooking in America. It’s an easy method for a quick weeknight dinner that’s also elegant enough for guests. The smell that escapes when the package is reason enough to try it. This works well for salmon and mild-flavored white fish such as snapper, cod and so on. The best part? No dishes. Just throw the paper away. To assure thorough cooking, … [Read more...]

Recipe: Spicy, Garlicky Planked Fish

Pike Place Market in summer reminds me of when I first moved to Seattle back in 1996. Can that possibly be 13 years ago? I’d never lived on the west coast, or in a place with mountains or even one with a major public market. Although I loved to cooked, I’d rarely cooked salmon or mussels, never laid eyes on a geoduck. My formative years were in Michigan. I didn’t know that you could buy fish at a store. This was back … [Read more...]

Recipe: Easy Pan-Seared Fish

I’ve been spending the week on Anna Maria Island. No trip is complete without a visit to Cortez, the historic fishing village named for the murderous bastard who wiped out its original population. Mom and I headed over to the Cortez Bait & Seafood Market yesterday and picked up some grouper and red hog snapper, also known as hogfish, caught by local fishermen in the Gulf. Back home, I did a quick slather with some … [Read more...]

Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat Bluefin Tuna

Last night, I attended a screening event of the beautiful, fascinating and depressing documentary The End of the Line. The film illustrates the message and research found in the book of the same name written by British journalist Charles Clover. The tag line says it all: "Imagine a World Without Fish." The End of the Line is the first film to document the devastating effects of overfishing, pushing some species into near … [Read more...]

Recipe: Spicy shrimp in saffron tomato sauce

Next week, I’ll be joining a Holland America ship as my second gig as a guest chef for the cruise line. Long story, but another chef canceled and so we agreed to go relatively last minute. HAL partners with Food & Wine magazine to put together culinary programs on all of their ships. We’re leaving from Rome, hitting Livorno, Monte Carlo, Mallorca, Palermo and Naples before returning to the eternal city. The big lure … [Read more...]

Recipe: Bluefish with Grapefruit and Mustard

Mustard and grapefruit did not immediately hit me as a killer fish marinade. But my chef friend Ted, visiting us in Florida from Seattle, insisted it would be great, especially since we had a supply of fresh grapefruit from the tree in my mom's yard. When we hit the Star Fish Co. in the historic fishing village of Cortez, we settled on a a heavy clear-eye bluefish. "Are you sure? Have you ever had bluefish?" the guy … [Read more...]