Good octopus is hard to find. Hence why I choose to procure mine from Spain nowadays. I bought mine precooked and vacuum-packed, saving me a lot of hassle (and time). They come ready to slice into a cold seafood salad, to warm by slipping the package into a pan of boiling water or to sear briefly in a heavy pan or on the grill with a slather of sauce.
The pressing question then becomes, what to make out of these tender tentacles? Seeing the weather is warming up, I opted for a simple grilled octopus arugula salad.
Grilled Octopus Arugula Salad
- 330g octopus salad
- 2 cups of arugula
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 lime
- Black pepper, kosher salt, to taste
- 3 tablespoons of Pukara’s lime flavoured extra virgin olive oil
- Take tentacles out of vacuum sealed pack and wash. Slice octopus diagonally into 2 cm bite-size pieces.
- Slice and dice the tomatoes.
- Heat a cast iron pan on high heat and add dash of olive oil.
- Once hot, throw in the chopped tentacles. As the octopus sears, crack some black pepper and salt to the pan. Squeeze the juice from half a lime too for that extra kick. Sear for roughly 3 minutes in total till you get the lovely golden char marks.
- Meanwhile, toss together the arugula and diced tomatoes with two tablespoons of Pukara’s lime flavoured extra virgin olive oil. Crack some black pepper and salt.
- On a clean plate, layer the mixed arugula tomato salad. Add the perfectly seared octopus tentacles on top. Drizzle some more lime juice. Garnish with a wedge of lime to serve.
SCALLOP-MANIA | Large sea scallops are kept in their shell and dosed with a mixture of garlic, pancetta and white wine before being baked to perfection.
Hankering for a quick and easy dinner but also concerned about sustainability? Scallops make a smart seafood choice. Not only are they convenient and cook in less than 5 minutes, they pair beautifully with other dinner staples such as pasta, quinoa, or couscous.
Besides pan-frying scallops, another quick and succulent way to cook scallops are to drizzle them with a mixture of white wine, olive oil, diced garlic, and strips of pancetta, and then let them bake in the oven. This has got to be the easiest “hands-free” way to cook scallops. Delicious.
Baked Scallops with White Wine and Pancetta
PREP TIME: 5 minutes | BAKE TIME: 10 minutes | TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes | SERVES: 6
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 strips of pancetta, diced
- 3 tablespoons of a dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons of freshly minced garlic
- Chopped freshly coriander, to garnish
- Keeping the shells intact, gently wash the scallops and pat dry with paper towels.
- Lay scallops on a roasting tray lined with parchment paper. Spoon half a tablespoon of olive oil onto each scallop, and top with ~1/2 slice of diced pancetta. Top with another 1/2 tablespoon of dry white wine and cover with 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic.
- Repeat process for the other scallops. Once done, stick the roasting tray into a preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Serve by garnishing each scallop with some chopped coriander.
Also known as maccarello in Italian, mackerel is one of the highly recommended oily fish for a healthy diet. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, this fish helps lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Mackerel also contains anti-inflammatory compound which helps lower joint pain and stiffness in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Wheat’s more, consuming mackerel on a regular basis is great for those who are prone to depression or suffer from frequent bouts of mood swings. Research has also proven that people consuming high dosages of omega-3 fatty acids are at lower risk of getting affected by depression. Mackerel is loaded with DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and consuming this fish lowers your chances of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.
Rather than just pan-frying mackerel with salt and pepper, it doesn’t take that much more time to add a citrus twang to this popular fish. With the juice and zest of an orange plus some ground coriander, cumin and crushed ginger, you can now be serving mackerel with a new moroccan twist.
For the fish:
- 2 mackerel fillets
- Juice of 1/2 orange
- Zest of 1/2 orange
- Pinch of freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
For the couscous:
- 2/3 cup couscous
- 1 cup vegetable stock or water
- 1/3 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1/3 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius and line a roasting tray with parchment paper.
2) For the fish, make a paste by grating the zest of 1/2 orange along with the cumin, coriander, oil, ginger and some salt. Make 3 slashes on the mackerel fillet and rub the paste all over.
3) Pour the fresh orange juice over the fish and bake for 12-15 minutes until the fish is cooked.
4) Meanwhile, cook the couscous. Put the couscous in a bowl and in a separate pot, heat the stock or water until it boils. Pour the hot liquid over the couscous, close the lid and set aside for 6 minutes till all the liquid gets absorbed. Fluff up the grains with a fork and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Feel free to grate some orange zest and throw in some raisins.
5) Make a bed of couscous and place a mackerel fillet onto each plate, spooning over the pan juices to serve.
Salmon is one of the most nutritious types of fish to add to your diet. It supplies iron, zinc, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, in addition to a whole host of other nutrients you need for good health. As you may all know, salmon contains a specific type of unsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids which helps lower your risk of dying from heart disease. Choosing salmon over red meat can help lower your cholesterol because salmon is much lower in saturated fat than beef, pork and some cuts of poultry.
There are many ways you can serve your salmon. With just a hint of seasoning, the amateur cook can make salmon taste delicious. That said, salmon fillets are traditionally prepared with dill. You can’t go wrong by baking your salmon fillet(s) in a heated oven then dressing them with a dollop of creamy lemon and dill yoghurt sauce.
(1 fillet palm size ~ serves one)
- 1 salmon fillet (~4 ounce)
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon of fresh chopped dill weed
- 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest
- 1/2 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- Pinch of cracked black pepper and salt
- 1 tablespoon of greek yoghurt
- 1/2 tablespoon of fresh chopped dill weed
- 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line roasting tray with parchment paper. Marinade salmon all over with the marinade ingredients for 10-20 minutes.
2) Remove salmon from marinade and place on roasting tray. Shove in the oven and roast for ~15 minutes until skin changes colour and flakes easily with a fork.
3) In the meantime, make the yoghurt-dill sauce by mixing together all the sauce ingredients.
4) Remove salmon from oven and spoon over a dollop of the yoghurt sauce to serve.
Squid Attack! Last week after catching up over brunch with some friends at Cupping Room in Wan Chai (one of the more casual and decent brunch places in HK with coffee on par with Sydney standards) I walked pass the wet markets and saw some fresh squid eyeing me back. Picked two of these up and subjected them to the grill.
These slimy creatures are capable of providing the body with 90% of copper, a trace mineral which plays a role in the absorption, storage and metabolism of iron and the formation of red blood cells (nb: copper deficiency may show in the form of anemia). What’s more, squid is good for those of us who are stressed out as it is rich in magnesium, which is able to relax nerves and muscles. Squid is also a good source of protein, helping us maintain healthy hair, skin, muscles, and nails.
Squid is a sustainable seafood that is easy to cook in seconds. Here is a simple recipe that I adapted.
- 2 squids, cleaned
- 1 lemon, zest only
- Pinch of cumin
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 garlic clove, diced finely
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 diced chilli (optional)
1) Instead of slicing the squid into rings, aim for a concertina effect with the squid sliced, but still holding together. To achieve this with ease, simply push a large knife inside the ‘tube’ of the squid and and leave it inside flat on its side. With a sharp knife, slice the squid as if you were going to chop it into rings. The knife that is lying inside the body of the squid will prevent you from slicing right through.
2) Mix the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, cumin and sea salt in a bowl and rub it all over the squid. Throw in a diced chilli if you like some heat. Marinade for 1-2 hours.
3) Heat a griddled grill pan till it gets smoking hot. Remove squid from marinade and lay them flat on the grill. Flip after 2 minutes each side to get those lovely charred marks.
4) Serve squid on a warmed plate with a sprinkling of sea salt and a wedge of lemon.
Found some bacon rashers in the freezer and some fresh cherry tomatoes so decided I’ll get a bit “experimental” tonight. First thing that came to my mind was to make a bacon wrapped hoki fillet with a pan fried tomato salsa. Given that it is my first time attempting this dish, I am pleased it turned out surprisingly well and aesthetically pleasing. Simple enough to make for every home cook 🙂
INGREDIENTS (serves 1):
- 2 bacon rashers
- 1 hoki fillet (defrost if frozen)
- ~8-10 cherry tomatoes, sliced thinly
- 1 shallot, diced finely
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt and white pepper, to season
- Olive oil
1) Line a roasting tray with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
2) Defrost hoki fillet (if frozen). Wash and pat dry with paper towel. Season with salt and white pepper. Rub all over. Then wrap the two bacon rashers around the fillet like a parcel.
3) Place fish on roasting tray and bake for 10 minutes.
4) Prepare cherry tomatoes by washing, draining, and slicing thinly. Heat pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Chuck in the sliced tomatoes and stir fry, adding 3 tablespoons of water when needed to prevent the tomatoes from browning.
5) After 5 minutes or so, add in the diced shallot and sprinkle some salt and cook for another 5 minutes. When tomatoes turn soggy, add 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and stir.
6) By now the fish in the oven should have been roasting for ~10 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, turn on the broiler function and transfer the tray to a higher rack, roughly 3 inches below the broiler, turning up the temperature to 200 degrees celsius. Broil for 5 minutes to get a golden colour.
7) Drizzle some balsamic glaze in a zig zag pattern over the fish. Serve while warm.
Sometimes I crave fish and chips but am ever so cognisant of my expanding waistline. Seeing home cooked food should be healthy I decided to give my Phillips air fryer a shot and make my own version of battered fried fish without the oil and chips. I used frozen New Zealand Hoki Fish Fillets. After coating it with bread crumbs and air frying it for ~7 minutes, it actually turned out rather tasty!
- Hoki fish fillet (if frozen can thaw overnight in fridge or put in air tight plastic bag and soak in room temperature water for 20 minutes)
- Bread crumbs
- Salt and Pepper to taste
1) Preheat air fryer 3 minutes at 190 degrees celsius.
2) Pour bread crumbs onto a plate and rub white pepper and salt over the fish fillet.
2) Mix a teaspoon of olive oil to the bread crumbs. Coat fish generously with the crumbs on both sides.
3) Place fish inside air fryer and set timer for 7 minutes. Halfway whilst cooking, flip fish over with tongs. Serve with lemon juice and/or ketchup.