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smoked brined salmon September 9, 2009

Posted by marksun in seafood.
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This would be a prepare ahead kind of dish and not a last minute deal but the actual cooking time once the brining part is taken care of goes fast.

I got some nice coho salmon filets at Costco about 3 weeks ago.  I cooked one filet then and froze the other and made it yesterday – both times the same way, brined and smoked.  Came out really nice and the freeze did not hurt the fish at all the second time around.  I’ve got a 20 year old Camerons stovetop smoker which is a stainless steel deep rectangular pan with a slide on flat steel lid.  To smoke anything, toss in a few woodchips on the bare steel bottom, then the stainless drip pan (or aluminum foil if you lose the drip pan like me). The rack sits on the drip pan, with the salmon or whatever on the rack.   The idea is slow dry heat filled with aromatic wood smoke.  The drip pan prevents the chips from flashing into flame.  Wood smoked food is probably not the healthiest thing, but this is a once in a while deal, right?

Brine : 1/2 C sugar, 1/4 to 1/2 C hawaiian salt, about 1 qt of water, and put the fish in. I used a pyrex covered rectangular container and let the fish soak in the mixture about 18 hours – that is probably not too critical, but at least 6 hours would probably be the minimum.

Then the smoker goes on the stovetop on medium heat (3-4 0n my electric stovetop).  The fish cooks in dry heat – the woodchips add smoke and aroma  – salmon doesn’t need to go long.  I went about 20 minutes or so – maybe a little too long, but the fish was cooked through, flaky, firm.

These are the basics – there are many recipes available out there – search for “smoked brined salmon” or something like that.  This is a very nice way to prepare salmon and it goes well with rice, bread, a salad, and is a quick meal, provided the fish is already brined of course.


Opihi and Kikapoo juice January 5, 2009

Posted by marksun in Dad, Hawaiian, sause, seafood.
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Opihi live in herds on the rocks in the ocean splash zone.  There are two basic kinds which we distinguish by the color of the foot – yellow and black – the yellow generally are considered to be better eating.  Opihi, like most Hawaiian ocean wild-life, are seriously depleted by over-fishing.  Fortunately, opihi are not anything like endangered, but edible/legal sized opihi are hard to find.

Kikapoo juice is what my dad used to call a mixture of Hawaiian red chili peppers, shoyu, vinegar, worchestershire sause, and ketchup.  Dad did not remember where he got it the word or the idea; however,  I can tell you that  it’s from the comic character Li’l Abner whose over-all clad kin made kikapoo joy juice, out’n in the woods by the light of the moon.

Kikapoo juice – combine in small bowl –

  • 2 hawaiian chili peppers, crushed
  • 1 T shoyu
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 1 T worchestershire
  • 2 T ketchup

That should be enough for 1 cup or so of fresh, raw, shelled opihi.

Giant opihi
Not too long ago, Joel gave me a present of frozen giant opihi about 3″ in diameter each that he had been cultivating.   At this size , opihi are a  tough and the flavor strong.  Joel’s advice – big opihi are better cooked.

On the grill:  dowse with kikapoo juice and roast in the shell on the grill until bubbling.

In the toaster oven: Make a foil catch pan and roast.

Slice the cooked opihi into strips to serve.

Steamed Trout or Mullet November 12, 2008

Posted by marksun in Dad, seafood.
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This is written in my dad’s hand on two yellow sticky notes in my book – from 1990.  

Steamed Trout or Mullet

  1. 1. Clean fish thoroughly scaled
  2. Salt belly and around fish lightly
  3. place sliced lemon in belly and head section
  4. cut onions and place along side lemon
  5. sear ti leaves over stove to wilt it. place it on thick foil
  6. place fish on ti leaves seal sides but leav top open to permit steaming. place about 2 tablespoons of water within ti leaves. This will create sufficient gravy and keep fish moist
  7. steam for about 20 minutes. After initial steaming lower flame to medium. 

Note! When you don’t have a cover for steamer, seal tight with foil.

  1. Note! when you don’t have a cover for steamer, seal tight with foil.

Clam Spaghetti November 12, 2008

Posted by marksun in pasta, seafood.
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Wrote this down in Feb 81and we still have this a couple of times a month, though Doris has taken over the prep with her own variations.  I started out with canned clams but now we use live manilla clams you buy at Times or Safeway, with a can of chopped clams to beef it up.

If you use live clams, scrub them and wash them well first to get the sand out.  To prepare them for this dish,  in a big enough skillet on medium heat, add the clams with 1/4 inch of water and a little wine if you like, and cook covered until the clams pop open. Put aside as they pop open to keep them tender , then cook as below.  Clams being clams, eat unopened, lifeless, or old clams at your peril.

  • 1 can clams or any other shellfish with juice
  • handful fresh parsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic diced fine
  • (optional) canned or fresh mushrooms, fresh diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 C (or more) olive oil
  • In olive oil, saute garlic and mushrooms

add clams and juice and cook for 1 minute 
Add parsely and wilt in the pan, then serve on pasta with parmesan cheese

Fish Provencale November 12, 2008

Posted by marksun in fish, seafood.
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I got this out of the newspaper in the early eighty’s and it is a great way to cook thick fish filets like a red snapper, probably halibut would be great, … firm fish.

  • 2 T onion chopped
  • 1/4 t garlic minced
  • water
  • 2 T salad oil
  • 1 can 16oz whole tomatoes crushed
  • 1/4c dry white wine or water
  • 6 pitted black olives sliced
  • 1 strip orange peel 3″ long
  • 1/2 t thyme leaves, crushed
  • 1/4 t oregasno leaves, crushed
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/8 t ground black pepper
  • 1 T flour

12 oz thick fish fillets – (definitely thaw them out first!)

In a large skillet, heat oil until hot. Add onion and garlic and saute until lightly browned 3 min.  Stir in tomatoes, wine olives,orange peel, thyme, oregano, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat simmer and cover for 10 minutes.  Combine flour with  2 T water. Blend into tomato mixture.  Simmer uncovered until sause is thickend about 2 minutes and stir constantly.  Shouldn’t be too thick.  Arrange fish over sause, spooning some over fish and simmer covered until fish flakes when prodded with a fork, about 5 min.  Server over steamed rice.

Chinese style fish November 11, 2008

Posted by marksun in fish, seafood.
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Fish filet or whole fish – (snapper, mahimahi, mullet, moi, tilapia )
1″ x 1″ piece of fresh ginger sliced into thin slivers 
bunch of green onions sliced into 1″ thin strips lengthwise
bunch of chinese parsley, chopped or leaves stripped off stems by hand (optional)

1/4 C peanut or olive oil
1/4 C shoyu

Prepare and slice ingredients first and set aside. This dish cooks fast.

Cook the fish first – there are several ways. No matter what, most fish should be just cooked, no raw spots, but not cooked to tough dryness.  Fish should always be cooked gently, as opposed to violently.  If you do end up cooking a fish violently, you will see what I mean. 
Saute method. The fish filets can be placed in 2T of oil in a 12″ skillet on medium heat and cooked gently until it just begins to flake. The easiest way if you’re not used to cooking fish is to saute filets in a pan in a little oil.
Steam method.  In a covered pan that’s big enough to hold the fish, add about 1/2″ of water.  Place a rack or the equivalent on the bottom.  The idea is that you want the fish above boiling water which will make steam to cook the fish.  I personally make a foil coffin for the fish or fish fillets and place it on a steaming rack.  Medium high heat – steam about 10-12 minutes depending on the fish – fish should come away from the bone – flake – when done.  

With this recipe, you don’t have to add anything (like salt) to the fish because this recipe has a sauce. If things look a little dry, add a bit of water in the dry spots of the pan to keep from sticking. Most fish can also be poached, that is cooked in steaming water, or steamed covered. The thicker the fish, the longer it takes, so for whole fish it’s good to cover to keep the heat in.

Place the cooked fish on a platter, preferably one with some depth to hold the sauce in. Sprinkle fish with ginger and heap on green onions and chinese parsley. 
Pour shoyu over fish.
Dish should look pretty and inviting at this point.  

Heat 1/4 C oil the skillet on medium heat. The oil is hot when a piece of ginger sizzles in the oil.

Pour hot oil over fish and vegetables – there should be a little sizzling. The oil mixes with the shoyu and absorbs the ginger and other flavors to make an oil sauce.

This is the basic recipe.  More oil, less oil, different kinds of oil, a little wine, slivered mushrooms, sliced red bell pepper