Category Archives: Fish

Seared Tuna Steak

Every Friday I make an attempt to make either a classic Wisconsin fish fry, or at least some type of fish or seafood. It’s probably how I was raised, as many of us in Wisconsin, where the default meal on Friday was typically a fish fry. Those who do not live in Wisconsin probably do not understand, and that’s perfectly fine. There are times however where I do not feel like frying a bunch of fish to feed five, and typically my default it pan searing seasoned tilapia filets, but this past week I decided to make a pan seared tuna steak, and I am very glad I did.

I love tuna, I really do, and it is something I normally do not cook with, but when I do, I like to buy a nice, fresh steak, and let the tuna shine. I think that searing tuna is the best way to cook it, and this recipe is not only quick, but it is pretty delicious.
Seared Tuna Steak

There are a variety of ways you can marinate your tuna, even different ways of cooking, but I find that a nice coating of a spicy dry rub, and pan searing it really makes the tuna shine.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tuna steak
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp tarragon
  • 2 tbsp chili oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Start by rinsing your tuna steak, and patting it dry.

Mix the garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt, and tarragon in a small mixing bowl.

Once dry, drizzle the chili oil all over the tuna steak, gently massaging it with your hands.

Sprinkle the seasoning all over the fish, trying to get all sides. Set aside on a plate, and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

How to make pan seared tuna steak

When you are ready to cook the tuna, heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add in the olive oil, and heat for a minute or so.

Carefully add in the tuna, and cook on both sides, uncovered for about 5 minutes per side. Now you can go longer if you want, but I go for a nice pink in the middle as that is how I prefer it, but you cook it to your liking.

The tuna steak is pretty awesome. The seasonings and the chili oil really make this one shine. Any leftovers can be used for a tuna salad as well, should you want to go that route and make a sandwich. Hope you enjoy!

Thai Cucumber Salad

It’s official, it’s spring time in the United States! For you warmer climate states, that probably doesn’t mean a whole lot to you, but to us Northerners, it means a great deal. It’s the first time we can see our yards, granted they are littered with winter debris, and the color of brown grass is not appealing, but we will take what we can get! With spring time said, it is that time where the chili dishes take a step to the side, and where other brighter dishes take a step forward, for example, this dish, the Thai cucumber salad.

I’ve made this recipe numerous times and I’m surprised I have never posted on the matter, as after all this salad is bright, diverse, easy to make, and super delicious. Need I say more?

Thai Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole cucumber, partially peeled, sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Thai chili sauce
  • Fresh mint leaves, optional
  • Fresh cilantro, optional
  • roasted peanuts, optional

Start by adding the sugar, salt, rice wine vinegar, and water to a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat, add the chili sauce, and let cool.

How to make Thai Cucumber Salad

Once cooled, add the cucumbers and red onion to a serving bowl. Pour the sauce over the vegetables, and gently stir. Let this sit for about 30 minutes, or overnight.

When you are ready to serve, feel free to sprinkle with roasted peanuts and fresh herbs such as mint, or cilantro, however without these, this salad stands tall.

The great thing about this salad is that you can serve it with practically anything. It is really perfect as an accompaniment to pretty much everything. It’s flavors are sweet with just that subtle amount of heat from the chili sauce. You can use the cucumbers and onions on sandwiches, as a side to grilled meats for vegetables, on omelets, or what I did, and serve with a side of seared tuna.

However you decide to serve it, I’m certain you are going to love this recipe. Hope you enjoy!

Thai Cucumber Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 whole cucumber, partially peeled, sliced
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Thai chili sauce
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the sugar, salt, rice wine vinegar, and water to a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat, add the chili sauce, and let cool.
  2. Once cooled, add the cucumbers and red onion to a serving bowl. Pour the sauce over the vegetables, and gently stir. Let this sit for about 30 minutes, or overnight.
  3. When you are ready to serve, feel free to sprinkle with roasted peanuts and fresh herbs such as mint, or cilantro, however without these, this salad stands tall.
  4. The great thing about this salad is that you can serve it with practically anything. It is really perfect as an accompaniment to pretty much everything. It’s flavors are sweet with just that subtle amount of heat from the chili sauce. You can use the cucumbers and onions on sandwiches, as a side to grilled meats for vegetables, on omelets, or what I did, and serve with a side of seared tuna.

 

Khao Poon

I’m certain I have said this before, but not only am I a huge fan of Thai food, but a few dishes in particular. Khao poon is being one of them. I will always say do not get intimidated by the ingredients, or any techniques for that matter, because once you are stocked up on some of the essential ingredients, they can go a very long way. I know my wife is always on my case when she opens the refrigerator and notices all of the bottles of soy sauces, sesame oils, fish sauces, oyster sauce, palm sugar, and so much more, but at the end of the week, this is stuff I am using on a regular basis, so yeah, I love cooking Thai food.

Khao poon is essentially a noodle soup made with whatever protein you desire, whether it may be chicken, fish, or pork, with an awesome coconut broth that I could drink throughout the day. This type of dish is also one of my favorites. Sure, I could eat laap and sticky rice everyday as well, but dishes like khao poon, khao soi, or laksa are really right up my alley when it comes to Thai comfort food.

Khao Poon Recipe

This noodle soup will have you wanting more and more, and feel free to experiment with chicken or pork as well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound vermicelli noodles, cooked al dente, rinsed in colder water, drained
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 4 tbsp red curry paste, add more if you like it spicier
  • 28 oz unsweetened coconut milk
  • 14 oz water or chicken stock
  • 3 tilapia fillets
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 whole lime, cut into wedges
  • 14 oz bamboo shoots, drained, rinsed
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup of bean sprouts, per bowl
  • Thai chili, thinly sliced, optional
  • salt, to taste

Start by cooking your vermicelli and set aside as noted above.

During this time, make your broth. Add the oil to a medium sized pot, and bring to medium heat.  Toss in the red curry paste, give a good stir, and cook for a couple of minutes. Add in the coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, and fish. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add in the bamboo shoots, and give a good stir.  During this time, get ready to prepare your soup bowls.

How to make Khao Poon

To your soup bowl, add a bundle or two of vermicelli noodles. Add about a half a cup of shredded cabbage, about a quarter cup of fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime, the bean sprouts, and then ladle a generous amount of the broth. Top with sliced chilies if you prefer a bit more heat. Taste, and season with a pinch of salt if you think that is necessary.

Eat with a spoon and chopsticks if you can. The broth has this great creamy, spiciness to it that when it is bundled with the crunch of the cabbage, bean sprouts, and freshness from the cilantro, well, I need to say no more. Let’s just say, as I said from the beginning, this is one of my favorite Thai comfort dishes. I hope you enjoy.

Khao Poon
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound vermicelli noodles, cooked al dente, rinsed in colder water, drained
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 4 tbsp red curry paste, add more if you like it spicier
  • 28 oz unsweetened coconut milk
  • 14 oz water or chicken stock
  • 3 tilapia fillets
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 whole lime, cut into wedges
  • 14 oz bamboo shoots, drained, rinsed
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro
  • Thai chili, thinly sliced, optional
  • salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Start by cooking your vermicelli and set aside as noted above.
  2. During this time, make your broth. Add the oil to a medium sized pot, and bring to medium heat. Toss in the red curry paste, give a good stir, and cook for a couple of minutes. Add in the coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, and fish. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add in the bamboo shoots, and give a good stir. During this time, get ready to prepare your soup bowls.
  3. To your soup bowl, add a bundle or two of vermicelli noodles. Add about a half a cup of shredded cabbage, about a quarter cup of fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and then ladle a generous amount of the broth. Top with sliced chilies if you prefer a bit more heat. Taste, and season with a pinch of salt if you think that is necessary.
  4. Eat with a spoon and chopsticks if you can. The broth has this great creamy, spiciness to it that when it is bundled with the crunch of the cabbage, bean sprouts, and freshness from the cilantro, well, I need to say no more. Let's just say, as I said from the beginning, this is one of my favorite Thai comfort dishes. I hope you enjoy.

 

Fried Smelt

As you may or may not know, Wisconsin is huge when it comes to the Friday fish fry. I know I’ve mentioned this a couple of times, however Wisconsinites take their fish fry pretty seriously. I know that when I moved to Dallas to start my career, I was actually a bit bummed that they had no clue as to what a Friday fish fry actually was. Now sure, Texans knew how to fry fish, but it was not the same as the beer battered fish we would have up north.

Of my pickiest eaters, my son actually got turned onto the classic fish fry many years ago, and to this day he loves it. Both of my boys love fishing right now as well and have already learned to filet a variety of fishes. That being said, they still love the fish fry.  There is fish fry you normally do not see much of anymore in Wisconsin, and that is the smelt fry. You are normally offered cod, perch, and maybe bluegill or walleye for the fish fry, but rarely ever smelt. So as my kids love a great fish fry, as well as pretty much anything battered and fried, I thought I would offer up fried smelt and see how they would like them. I mean LOVE them.

Fried Smelt Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb smelt, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt, plus an extra pinch
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 Thai chili pepper, smashed, cut in half (optional)
  • 2 cups of canola oil
  • lemon wedges, optional

The great thing about these fried smelt is that they cook up really quickly.

Start by heating your oil into a pot, over medium, to medium-high heat. You’ll want your oil temp around 350 degrees.

During this time, add the rice flour and cornstarch to a bowl. Mix well, then add in the teaspoon of salt. Add in the smelt, and toss to make sure all of the smelt are evenly coated.

Prepare your garlic, ginger, and Thai chili.

How to make fried smelt

Once the oil is heated, shake off any excess flour from the smelt and carefully add them into the pot. Work in small batches.

These should only take a few minutes to cook and they will float when finished. Ensure they have a nice and cripsy coating. Once cooked, remove them with a slotted spoon and place them onto a paper lined plate. Season with a bit of salt.

Repeat until the rest are finished cooking. Once all of the smelt are done cooking and seasoned, add them to a serving bowl, and toss with the garlic, ginger, and Thai chili for extra flavor.

When my kids first questioned what they were, and trust me they were a bit skeptical at trying them, I just said go ahead and try them, they are like fish French fries. They heard that crunch when I bit into mine, and then, well just say the rest is history. Those fried smelt were gone in a matter of minutes they loved them that much. Getting a bit of garlic and ginger, along with accents from the Thai chili are best, that and a bit of freshly squeezed lemon.

From what I understand, smelting is no longer welcomed as much in the great lakes. This is probably one of the reasons you are not seeing an abundance of them on menus in Wisconsin.