Fish is ideal for summer cooking – quick on the grill (or on the stove) and light on palate.
Here are three fish recipes ideas for summer meals, using three types of fish. The snapper would be a fine weekend dinner, while the salmon salad would make an elegant Sunday lunch.
The pasta recipe is the fastest of all – it makes use of good canned tuna in oil, perfect for a weekday.
Pan-seared snapper with tahini-yogurt sauce
According to author Maureen Abood, a recipe that marries tahini, cayenne and fish appears in most Lebanese cookbooks. Served with a side of freshly cooked peas or beans, a 4-ounce portion of beautifully fresh red snapper will satisfy. But if you keep things simple and spare, or start with a soup and have only the fish and its sauce, allow for two sauced fillets per person.
Adapted by The Washington Post from Abood’s “Rose Water & Orange Blossoms: Fresh & Classic Recipes From My Lebanese Kitchen” (Running Press).
For the fish:
Four 4-ounce skin-on red snapper fillets (fresh or frozen/defrosted), preferably from the Gulf of Mexico, pin bones removed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Few grinds black pepper
Pinch ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts
Leaves from 4 stems flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
For the sauce:
1 small clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/3 cup tahini, or more as needed
For the fish: Season the fish on both sides with the salt and the black and cayenne peppers. Let it sit while you prep other ingredients.
Toast the pine nuts in a large skillet (preferably a well-seasoned cast-iron pan) over medium-low heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan to avoid scorching, until they are fragrant and golden brown. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Finely chop the parsley.
For the sauce: Smash the garlic and place it in a mini food processor, along with the salt, yogurt and tahini. Purée until well incorporated. Cut the lemon in half; squeeze in the juice and pulse just until blended. Taste, and add tahini and/or salt, as needed. The yield is 1 generous cup.
Return the skillet to the stove top; increase the heat to medium-high. Add the butter and oil; once the butter is foamy, lay in the fillets, skin side down. Cook for about 3 minutes, until crisped on the bottom, then use two thin spatulas to carefully flip them over and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on the second side, so the flesh is opaque and just flaky at the center.
Transfer to a platter. Drizzle with the sauce, then sprinkle with the pine nuts and parsley. Serve right away.
Per serving (based on 4, using half the sauce): 300 calories, 27 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 19 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 50 mg cholesterol, 240 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar
Serves 2 to 4
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Tuna, dill and garlic pasta
This pantry-friendly recipe is easy to scale back to 2 servings, but leftovers taste great cold. If the taste of raw garlic doesn’t agree with you, pop the whole cloves into the pasta pot for a few minutes, then let them cool before mincing. Serve with a salad of peppery greens.
Adapted by The Washington Post from “Cooking With Three Ingredients,” by Andrew Schloss (HarperCollins, 1996).
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the cooking water
8 ounces fresh linguine
1/2 cup hazelnuts (skin-on or skinned)
3 cloves garlic
Small handful fresh dill
10 to 14 ounces (from 2 cans) good-quality tuna packed in olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a good pinch of salt, then the pasta. Cook just until tender, then drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, toast the hazelnuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan often to avoid scorching, just until the nuts are fragrant and lightly browned in spots. Cool, then coarsely chop.
Smash, then mince the garlic. Finely chop the dill.
Place the tuna and its oil (to taste; if you like a lot of tuna, use the entire cans) in a pasta serving bowl; use a fork to break up any large clumps of fish. Add the garlic, dill, the just-cooked pasta and its cooking water; toss gently to incorporate. Mix in a few grinds of pepper and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Divide among bowls; garnish with the hazelnuts. Serve right away.
Per serving: 440 calories, 24 g protein, 34 g carb., 26 g fat (4 g sat.), 70 mg cholesterol, 530 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar
Grilled salmon salad
This recipe is from chef Bertrand Chemel of 2941 restaurant in Falls Church, Va.
Six 5-ounce, center-cut, skinless salmon fillets (about 3/4-inch thick)
Freshly ground pepper
2 cups plain, whole-milk Greek-style yogurt
1/4 cup buttermilk
Finely grated zest from 2 lemons
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
18 asparagus spears
1 pound haricots verts (thin French green beans)
18 cherry tomatoes
3 heads of Bibb lettuce
18 opal basil (or green basil) leaves
3 baby zucchini
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt
Heat a grill pan over high heat. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Use cooking oil spray to grease a rimmed baking sheet. Meanwhile, bring the fillets to room temperature. Rub both sides with a little olive oil; season lightly on both sides with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place in the grill pan, skinned sides up. Cook for 45 seconds, to create light grill marks on both sides, then transfer to the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 7 minutes. Let them rest.
Whisk together yogurt, buttermilk, zest, shallot and chives in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate this salmon sauce until ready to use.
Boil a pot of salted water over high heat. Trim and cut asparagus spears and haricots verts into 2-inch pieces; add to the pot in batches and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute; transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice-water bath until cool. Pat dry.
Cut tomatoes into quarters. Cut lettuce heads in half from top to bottom. Cut or tear basil leaves into pieces. Use a mandoline or vegetable peeler to shave zucchini into thin slices.
Whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and sea salt in a mixing bowl. Add the tender inner lettuce leaves; toss lightly to coat, then divide among individual plates. Combine the asparagus, haricots verts and tomatoes in the same bowl; toss lightly to coat, then distribute evenly among the portions of lettuce. Scatter the basil and shaved zucchini over each one.
Arrange a salmon fillet alongside each salad; serve its sauce on the side.