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Ceviche with Carrots & Cilantro

In Appetizers / Starters, Fish & Shellfish On January 9, 2016 0 Comments

After the holidays, I’m preparing delicious, guilt-free foods.

This ceviche recipe is from Mexico. The fish is marinated in lime juice. Just add carrots, cilantro, onion, olive oil … it’s fantastic! You can serve ceviche on tostadas as a starter. Alternatively, these tostadas are perfect for a light lunch or dinner.

Active prep time: 15 minutes
Inactive prep time: 1 hour (fish & lime juice marinate in refrigerator)
Serves: 4 to 6

1 pound fresh cod or halibut fillets
Juice from 12 to 14 limes
1/2 cup chopped, red onion
1 carrot, peeled and finely shredded
1/3 cup finely-chopped cilantro (coriander)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh jalapeño pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
12 corn tostada shells

1. Rinse the fish fillets under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.

2. Place the fillets in a 3-quart glass or porcelain bowl.

3. Using shears, make continuous cuts into the fillets until 1/2-inch pieces have formed.

4. Pour the lime juice over the fish pieces; cover bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator.

5. Leave the fish and lime juice to marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.

6. Meanwhile, place the chopped onion in a glass or porcelain bowl and cover it with cold water; set aside.

7. After one hour, transfer the bowl with the fish to a counter near a sink.

8. Wearing cooks’ rubber or plastic gloves, grab a handful of fish and squeeze out the excess lime juice over a sink.

9. Place the squeezed fish pieces in a clean glass or porcelain bowl.

10. Continue this process until all the fish has been drained of excess lime juice.

11. Rinse the gloves and, using the same squeezing process, repeat this technique with the onion.

12. Add the squeezed onion pieces to the fish ceviche in bowl.

13. Stir in the carrot, cilantro, jalapeño, olive oil, salt and pepper.

14. Place 3 tablespoons ceviche on a corn tostada shell. Repeat this procedure on remaining tostada shells. Serve immediately.
Wine pairing: Chilled Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
Text and Photograph ©2016 Nancy DeLucia Real

Fish Veracruz Style

In Fish & Shellfish On March 13, 2015 0 Comments

Prior to Easter, during a 40-day period of fasting known as Lent, believers prepare for Easter by praying, giving alms, atoning for their sins and self-denial. Lent lasts forty days, in commemoration of the forty days that Jesus fasted in the desert, right before beginning his ministry (this is according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke).

Lent is observed by Christians in the Anglican, Calvinist, Lutheran, Methodist, and Roman Catholic traditions. During this time, Roman Catholics avoid rich foods such as meat and dairy. Fish, vegetables and grains become the norm. BTW, the fasting ends on Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015.

This year, Lent began on Ash Wednesday, February 18th. Many people have asked me to post a delicious fish recipe – something more than grilled or baked. Here’s a traditional fish recipe from Veracruz, Mexico. It’s called “pescado a la Veracruzana” or “Fish Veracruz Style”. I think you’ll love it!

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 4

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and julienned (cut into thin wedges)
1 red or green bell pepper, seeds & stem discarded and flesh cut into long strips
1 large zucchini, tips cut & discarded and flesh cut into 1/2-inch thick circles
1 medium brown or white onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces and seeds discarded
1/2 cup pitted green olives, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Four 8-ounce fish filets (fresh Red Snapper, cod, rockfish or haddock), rinsed under cold water & pat dry with paper towels


1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil.

2. When oil is hot, add the carrots, bell pepper, zucchini, onion and celery.

3. Stir-fry the vegetables on medium-high setting for about 3 minutes.

4. After 3 minutes, stir in the tomato pieces, green olives and the broth or water.

5. Cook the vegetable-broth mixture for 2 to 3 minutes.

6. After 2 to 3 minutes, stir in the salt and pepper.

7. Carefully add the fish filets, one at a time by gently pushing each one down, underneath the vegetables and into the cooking liquid.

8. Cover the skillet and cook on medium heat for about 5 to 6 minutes or until the fish filets are done.

9. To check doneness of fish, using a fork, cut into the center of one filet and taste.

10. If needed, cook the fish filets for an additional 2 to 4 minutes.

11. Serve the Fish Veracruz Style with white rice as a side.

Wine Pairing Suggestion: Chilled Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio (both are white wine varietals).
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

Spinach-Stuffed Calamari

In Fish & Shellfish On July 26, 2013 0 Comments

For seafood lovers, here is a classic Mediterranean calamari dish. And no, they’re not fried. Inspired from recipes of Ancient Greece, the calamari are stuffed with spinach and cooked in wine. I’d say, it can’t get any better than this!

Prep time: 50 to 60 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

1 pound clean squid (calamari), about 8 whole bodies and 6 tentacles
2 cups cooked, drained and finely minced spinach (2 fresh bunches or 1 pound, frozen)
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
¼ cup raisins
1 large egg, slightly beaten with a fork
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
¾ cup white wine
½ cup chicken broth
Chopped, flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Lemon wedges, for garnish

1.Finely chop the squid tentacles, but leave the bodies whole.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped tentacles, spinach, walnuts, breadcrumbs, raisins, the egg, ½ teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper.

3. Using a teaspoon, fill the squid bodies about three-quarters full with the spinach mixture. Close the ends with a toothpick. DO NOT OVERSTUFF, AS THE SQUID MAY BREAK OPEN DURING COOKING.

4. In a 6 to 8-quart saucepot, heat the oil. Add the squid and garlic.

5. Season the squid with salt and pepper. Turn the squid with thongs and cook until they are light golden, about 3 minutes.

6. Pour the wine over the squid and cook about 2 minutes.

7. Stir in the broth, cover skillet and simmer on low heat for about 25 to 30 minutes. Turn the squid once or twice during cooking.

8. If broth dries out too much, add ½ cup more – there should always be one-inch high liquid in saucepot.

9. After about 30 minutes, transfer the squid to a platter. Remove toothpicks and serve immediately.

10. If desired, cut each squid in half.

Serve with a side dish of rice and/or garden salad.

Text and Photograph ©2013 Nancy DeLucia Real

Salmon Torta (Torta di salmone)

In Fish & Shellfish On March 21, 2013 0 Comments

Many Roman Catholics are presently observing Lent (a period of fasting that takes place 40 days prior to Easter). This means they’re staying away from meat, dairy products and/or sugar. For my fellow Italians as well as people of other cultures, fish replaces meat.

Here’s a fantastic recipe that I’ve taught in my recent culinary courses – Salmon Torta. Btw, “salmon en croute” is an Italian invention called “torta di salmone”.

Enjoy this Torta di salmone not just on Good Friday, but anytime you wish to make a great impression on someone. The flavors of dried cherries, nutmeg, cinnamon and mint in the salmon stuffing will astound them all!

Prep time: 25 minutes (pastry); 25 minutes (salmon)
Bake time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves: 6


1-1/2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash ground black pepper
1 large egg, beaten with 1/3 cup cold water in a small bowl

1. In a 2-quart mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper.

2. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add the beaten egg mixture to the well.

3. Using a fork, gradually (a little at a time) mix in the flour from sides of well until a soft dough forms.

4. With one hand holding the bowl, use the other hand to pick up the mound of dough and gently knead it inside the bowl, grabbing a little flour at a time.

5. When the dough is smooth and soft, set it aside on a floured surface, covered with an overturned bowl.

6. Pass the remaining flour in bowl through a sieve and set it aside (it will be used later to roll out the dough). MeanwhilE-


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound fresh salmon filets, cut into four pieces (each measuring about 4X3 inches)
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons minced yellow or white onion
1/3 cup minced fresh, Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup minced fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup dried, tart, pitted cherries, minced with shears
1 teaspoon salt
Dash each ground black pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon
2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs

1. Line a 12X18-inch baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the salmon filets and sear them on medium-high heat. DO NOT TOUCH THE FILETS FOR 60 TO 90 SECONDS.

3. After 60 to 90 seconds, using a spatula, GENTLY TURN OVER THE FILETS. DO NOT TOUCH THE FILETS FOR 60 TO 90 SECONDS.

4. After 60 to 90 seconds, transfer the skillet with salmon filets to a cold burner or surface; set aside.

5. In a 1-pint mixing bowl, combine the garlic, onion, parsley, mint leaves and cherries; set aside.


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Holding the pastry dough between both hands, flatten it to a 6-inch roundish rectangle. Lay it on a flat, lightly floured surface.

2. Lightly flouring the top of the flattened pastry dough, begin rolling it out. After every 2 to 3 rolls, CAREFULLY FLIP PASTRY CIRCLE OVER AND ONTO THE LIGHTLY FLOURED SURFACE.

3. Continue rolling out the pastry circle UNTIL IT BECOMES A RECTANGLE, measuring 16X10 inches.

4. Carefully transfer the rolled-out pastry rectangle onto the parchment-lined baking sheet; set aside.

5. Prepare a bed for the fish filets by placing half of the onion-herb mixture in the center of the pastry rectangle, forming a horizontal row (across).

6. Place the seared salmon filets over the row of onion-herb mixture.

7. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg evenly over the salmon filets.

8. Distribute the breadcrumbs evenly over the spices covering the filets.

9. Spread the remaining onion-herb mixture over the row of filets.

10. Close one long side of the pastry over the stuffed filets. Fold over the other pastry flap.

11. Turn the short sides of the pastry underneath the salmon torta; set aside. If desired, using a sharp, pointed knife, cut out leaf shapes from scraps of dough and place them on top of salmon torta.


1 large egg
1 teaspoon cold water

1. Crack the egg over a small bowl, discarding egg white. Using a fork, mix the egg yolk with 1 teaspoon cold water and set it aside.

2. With a sharp knife, cut 4 to 5 slits on pastry top of the salmon torta. Brush top of salmon torta with the egg wash.

3. Place baking sheet with the salmon torta on a rack positioned in center of preheated oven.

4. Bake the salmon torta for 25 to 30 minutes. After 25 minutes, check to see if pastry has turned light golden brown. If it is still pale, bake the salmon torta for an additional 5 to 8 minutes.

5. Immediately transfer the salmon torta in baking sheet to a counter; let it cool for 6 to 8 minutes before cutting.

6. Cut six 3-inch slices, placing each one on a dinner plate, accompanied by A Side of Carrots and Green Beans (previously published on this blog). Alternatively, serve with other types of vegetables.

White wine pairing suggestion: chilled Pinot Grigio.

Text and Photograph ©2013 Nancy DeLucia Real