Category Archives: seafood

Horseradish Crusted Haddock

If my Dad was asked to name his favorite type of fish, he would say haddock. No doubt about it.

I think my Dad’s love affair with  haddock began as a boy, growing up in an Italian catholic family  in Upstate NY where on Friday nights it was tradition to eat a  fried haddock dinner, honoring the “no meat on Fridays” rule.

Though my Dad is especially fond of the fried haddock dinner, served  with lemon,  tartar sauce,  and a side of coleslaw (oh yeah, and probably onion rings too), he enjoys haddock prepared a number of ways. Haddock (smaller cousin to the cod) has a firm texture, and is very mild in flavor; hard not to love this fish.

I have seen my Dad’s eyes light up at a restaurant when the server included haddock as one of the evening’s specials. Even if there was something else on the menu that caught his attention, haddock would win out each and every time.

This was the case on the last evening we spent together up on the lake. Our whole family went out to dinner one last time before we headed our separate ways, away from the lake, and back to our homes in far away states. The memories of a fantastic summer were shared over glasses of wine, and  a meal that was equally memorable. The special for the evening was Horseradish Crusted Haddock, served au gratin style, with a crisp golden crust.  The bright pungent flavor of the fresh horseradish worked so well with the haddock; just the right amount of heat, without overpowering the delicate nature of the fish.

I thought it would be fun to recreate the dish we enjoyed so much on that last night up on the lake. So Dad, this one is for you. Hope you like it~

Freshly grated horseradish (in season now-winter) really makes the dish

Horseradish Crusted Haddock

1 cup fresh-grated horseradish

1/2 cup chopped parsley

Juice plus zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1  egg white

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper

1 cup Panko, (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

8 (6-ounce) haddock fillets, skin removed


Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix the horseradish, parsley, lemon juice and zest, garlic, egg white, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a medium bowl. Stir in the breadcrumbs.


Toss 1/4 cup olive oil into the breadcrumb mixture using a fork. Break apart any clumps and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the fillets with the remaining salt and pepper and place 3 of the pieces in the skillet — skin side up. Cook for 2 minutes, gently turn the fillets with a flexible spatula and cook for 1 more minute. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with remaining fillets. Top each fillet with an equal amount of breadcrumb mixture, press lightly to adhere, and roast in the oven until the breadcrumb crust  is golden and the fish is cooked — 4 to 6 minutes. Serve immediately over a bed of sauteed swiss chard or spinach.


8 servings



Dinner and a Movie: Fried Green Tomatoes

Remember the movie Fried Green Tomatoes with Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates?  Well I hadn’t seen it since its debut in 1991, so when my daughters asked me what it was about while searching through Netflix,  I told them I really couldn’t remember, but I knew that I liked it, and thought it would make a could pick for our family movie night.

Since we planned to watch the movie together, I thought it would be fun to make some fried green tomatoes for dinner to go along with our theme for the evening. Though my kids really preferred the traditional version of fried green tomatoes dipped in a buttermilk/ranch type dressing, my husband and I really enjoyed this version, with the flavors of fresh corn, basil, crab, and roasted red peppers.

The combination of the crisp, corn meal crusted exterior, and the warm,  tangy interior of the tomatoes make them hard to resist, no matter how you eat them; that’s one thing we all agreed.

Though I usually wait to make fried green tomatoes until I have  end- of -the season green tomatoes left on the vine, I’m glad I plucked a few early to make this dish. They were a welcomed treat. And the movie? Just as wonderful as I had remembered, with a storyline the whole family enjoyed.

For the Corn & Avocado Relish:

Kernels from 4 ears of corn

1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, diced

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup basil leaves (I used purpled ruffled leafed basil) cut into chiffonade

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.

For Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Coulis:

2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded

2 large plum tomatoes, halved

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Place peppers and tomatoes directly on grill rack and grill until skin on peppers and tomatoes chars and begins to blister, about 10 minutes. Remove from grill; cool slightly, and remove skin from peppers and tomatoes. Chop and place in blender. Add remaining ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Reserve at room temperature until ready to serve.

For the tomatoes:

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 large unripe tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch thick slices, ends removed

1/2 cup canola oil

1 pound lump crab meat

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, and cayenne together. Pour the buttermilk into a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dip the tomatoes in the buttermilk and then dredge them in the cornmeal mixture, coating both sides well.

Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, pan-fry the tomatoes (in batches if necessary) until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Carefully remove the tomatoes and drain on paper towels.


Have the relish and coulis prepared and ready to go, so that when you are finished frying the tomatoes, your assembly will be quick, allowing the tomatoes to stay warm and crisp.

Spoon 3 tablespoons of the coulis onto serving plate. Place one fried green tomato atop coulis. Spoon 1/4 of crab onto tomato slice. Top with second tomato slice. Spoon 1/4 cup corn/avocado relish over 2nd tomato slice. Top with 3rd tomato slice and garnish with additional relish.

Repeat with remaining ingredients.

4 servings


Lowcountry Cuisine and a Recipe for Shrimp and Grits with Chipotle White Cheddar

There’s a whole world of flavor packed into the 80 mile stretch of coastal South Carolina and Georgia that runs from the Savannah River in Georgia north to Pawley’s Island.

Lowcountry (notice I use one word), is a picturesque   area marked by  flat expanses of salt water marsh grass and  live oak trees, with their long, arching limbs draped with silvery clumps of  Spanish moss.  There is  a pungent, slightly salty smell that permeates the air of the Lowcountry. Its source is the area’s pluff mud: the dark marsh soil left behind after the tide recedes. That smell—and term—is one of the Lowcountry’s many distinctive qualities. Tidal marshes, rivers, estuaries, and the Atlantic Ocean all play a part in the cuisine this low elevation area is known for, which also goes by the same name.


The Lowcountry teems with aquatic life, and for centuries local cooks have turned to the water for culinary inspiration. Crabs, shrimp, fish, and oysters form the basis of any traditional menu, along with rice, grits, and local produce.

You’ll find African, French, Spanish, and Caribbean influences of the Gullah, a group of descendants of former slaves who live on the barrier islands in lowcountry cooking, where the names of the native dishes are almost as colorful as the fresh local ingredients that go into them: she-crab soup, Frogmore stew, and hoppin’ John, for instance.

Before my parents retired to Pawleys Island,  I was unfamiliar with the whole lowcountry thing. I can tell you it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the diverse beauty of the area, and it definitely didn’t take me long to embrace the unique flavors that go along with lowcountry cuisine.

Among my favorites has to be the ultimate comfort you’ll find in shrimp and grits. There are a million different ways to make this dish, but I have found that one of the requirements to make cooking it authentic, is the use of bacon drippings, or “drippins” as they are affectionately referred to in the south. I like the grits smooth, and creamy, and since I have a thing for chiles, I like to add a bit of smoke and heat. Chipotle white cheddar cheese goes into my grits, along with a pretty good amount of butter AND the bacon, along with some of the drippins. Not exactly a candidate for Cooking Light magazine, but you know, sometimes a little indulgence is okay. At least I think so anyway.










Shrimp and Grits with Chipotle White Cheddar


3 cups chicken broth

¾ cup quick grits

1 cup (4 ounces ) chipotle white cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

¾ pound thick sliced bacon, cut into ¼-inch matchsticks

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound shelled and deveined large shrimp

2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

2 tablespoons chopped green onions


In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Whisk in the grits and cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and the grits are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and butter, season with salt and pepper and whisk until the cheese is melted. Cover and remove from heat.


In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the bacon and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is golden, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.


Pour off all but 4 tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the skillet. Add the shrimp and cook 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook 1 minute. Stir in the parsley, green onions,  and bacon; season with salt and pepper.


Spoon the grits on to each plate and top with shrimp mixture.


4 servings