Seared Sea Bass with Pears (dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free)

Food bloggers, even those like me, buy a lot of cookbooks. I found one this past week, Cooking Whole30, by Melissa Urban which had some interesting recipes, many those of us with allergies can use without modification. One, probably because it’s my favorite fish, struck my fancy except it used butter and peaches, two things I can’t eat. However, it’s been my experience that pears can often be substituted for other fruits so I thought it was worth a try. Here’s the result, DELICIOUS!

For 2 servings:

4 teaspoons avocado oil

2 sea bass fillets (cod, halibut or other dense fish could be used instead of the sea bass)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 medium pear sliced

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon of Wasabi powder

In a medium skillet, heat 2 teaspoons avocado oil then add the fish (dry it with a paper towel first so it doesn’t splatter the oil). Use medium heat and brown well on the skin side first then turn and cover to cook the meat of the fish for several minutes. Turn back to the skin side to finish cooking. This should take less than 10 minutes.

Remove the fish from the pan, salt and pepper to taste, and cover to keep warm while you sauté the pears. Add the pears directly to the fish skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, turning them once to brown on both sides. Add 1 teaspoon rice vinegar and cook for another minute. Add 1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder to the remaining avocado oil and whisk to combine.

Plate the fish, spoon the pieces of pear equally over both pieces of fish. Then drizzle the wasabi oil over each piece of fish. Add some salad to the plates and serve.

While the fish is cooking, core (and peel if you want but that gets rid of the fiber and the skin will be tender when the dish is finished). Also make a salad to accompany the fish:

For the salad:

Baby red romaine (or use any lettuce your family likes)

3 inches of an English cucumber sliced

2-3 of the pear slices, cut into pieces

Non-dairy cheese crumbles

Nuts or seeds (I used pumpkin seeds) (Optional)

Light Italian Dressing: In a small 1 cup jar, add 1/2 cup avocado oil, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon agave nectar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon Italian herb blend. Put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously for several minutes.

Baked Fish in Paper

I love this fish! Mainly because I use sea bass but any dense fish works well. A sole or flounder wouldn’t do for this dish but cod, trout or salmon would work well. And it’s very versatile because you can use whatever vegetables you like. Quick and easy to put together if you can wrap a sandwich in waxed paper (if you were alive when we used to have to do this rather than using a baggie!), or can fold down a paper bag, you can do this, it isn’t difficult.

For 4 meals, you’ll need:

4 4-6 ounce pieces of fish

Lemons, sliced into 8-16 slices

1 small onion sliced

2 cups of diced vegetables – here you can use anything you want – have a couple of picky kids who don’t like the same veggies, use different ones for different packets – pea pods, mushrooms, yellow or zucchini squash, thinly sliced potato (white or sweet), grated carrot, broccoli, sweet pepper, cauliflower, whatever you want or like. Of course, if you use things like pea pods and pre-grated carrot, it is even easier, 1/2 cup for each piece of fish

Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking spray

Parchment paper

Tear off four approximately 18×12″ pieces of parchment paper. Spray with the non-stick spray – DON’T FORGET THIS STEP OR IT WILL STICK TO THE PARCHMENT PAPER! Place 2-4 slices of lemon on each paper (the number you use will depend on the size of your fish.

Next, add one piece of fish to each paper and then heap the vegetables on top, doesn’t matter if they fall off slightly. Salt and pepper to taste. Once you have the vegetables you want on each paper, take the short sides of the paper and lift them up and fold like you would a paper bag until they rest on top of the fish and vegetables.

Then fold the ends like on a package you’re wrapping, fold each side in and then the entire end under the package.

Place the four packets on a sheet tray with edges or a baking dish. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. The packets will expand with the steam the vegetables let off (along with the lemon). Because of this steam, the fish generally doesn’t dry out because it’s sealed in the paper.

Using kitchen scissors, cut the paper (YOU DO NOT WANT TO TRY TO UNWRAP THE PACKET!). Be careful of the steam released when you cut it, you don’t want to burn yourself.

Using a spatula, lift each piece of fish onto a plate along with the vegetables (you don’t want to serve the lemon slices). The fish is delicious as is or you can serve with extra lemon slices or a tartar sauce. I often make a sauce using an avocado based vegan mayonnaise and some Chosen Lemon Garlic dressing mixed together.

Fish and Rice Stirfry (Dairy-free, Soy-free, Gluten-free)

I’m always looking for new ways to use fish.  Fish is one of those proteins that I love to eat but don’t often like to cook.  This is a quick recipe that really highlights flavor.  Its well balanced nutritionally, very filling, and can be adjusted to serve the tastes of anyone.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  •  6-8 ounces white fish, diced
  •  1/2 cup diced onion
  •  1/2 cup shredded carrots
  •  1/2 cup cooked peas
  •  1/2 cup diced celery
  •  1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  •  1 tablespoon dried parsley (or 3 tablespoons fresh parsley)
  •  Scallions, cherry tomatoes, etc. for garnish
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  Salt and pepper to taste
  •  Juice of a half lemon

In a large hot skillet, add the olive oil, onions, carrots, and celery.  Saute over medium heat until celery and carrots are softened.  Add the fish and cook thoroughly.  Add the rice, quinoa, peas, and herbs.*  Stir to combine.  Heat through, spritz with the lemon juice and serve with whatever garnishes you like.  This time of year, my first garnish is always tomatoes although this year, without my husband’s garden, I’ve had to find fresh tomatoes in the markets.

*Other additions, depending on your tastes, could be some diced peppers, sweet or hot; some hot sauce or chili oil; Old Bay seasoning or other herbs; and perhaps, since I’m now living in Minnesota instead of New Hampshire where this seems to be like seafood back east, some wild rice instead of the brown rice and/or quinoa.

Clam Chowder (dairy-free, gluten-free, fat-free)

Growing up in New England, chowder was part of everyone’s diet.  Fish chowder, seafood chowder, corn chowder, clam chowder, didn’t make any difference.  Several times a month we ate chowder (pronounced chow-dah for those of you not from New England).  This recipe can be altered to make any of these very easily, just substitute corn (and chicken for protein) for the clams; or add some crab and/or lobster and shrimp; or put in some white fish, usually cod.  Recipe makes enough for 4 appetizer servings or 2 entrée servings.

You’ll need:

  • 1 medium to large sweet potato, peeled, diced and cooked (if you prefer, you can use russet potato instead)
  • 1/2 cup cooked peas (I usually add them to the pot with the sweet potatoes)
  • 1/2 medium onion, sautéed until soft
  • 2-3 slices of bacon, cooked and diced (I use uncured turkey bacon but feel free to use whatever bacon your family likes)
  • 1 can of diced or chopped clams (6-8 ounces) OR 1 pound of fresh clams steamed, cleaned and diced (be sure to save 1/4 cup of the steaming liquid to add to the chowder)
  • 2 cups of rice milk (you could use any milk you like but rice is the mildest and in chowder, you don’t want a milk that interferes with the taste of the clams)
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice flour made into a slurry with 1/2 cup of the rice milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

After you cook the sweet potatoes and peas, drain and put back into the pot.  Add the onion, clams (don’t drain them but add the juice as well as the clams), and the milk to the pot.  Bring to a boil and add the slurry of brown rice flour and stir until the chowder starts to thicken.  We don’t want it really thick, just enough to get a good “mouth feel” when you eat the chowder.  Add the bacon and serve.  You can garnish it with diced scallion or chives if you like.  My mother always served chowder with oyster crackers but those are also optional.  Its so thick and hearty that you really don’t need crackers with this chowder.

Baked Haddock with Tomatoes and Basil

This is my preferred way to eat haddock.  Its so tasty and gives me the acidity that I really like to have with fish.  Takes only about a half hour in the oven to cook.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a 9×12″ oven dish to cover bottom (you can also use an olive oil spay to coat the bottom of the dish; Trader Joe’s has one that contains nothing but olive oil).

Add 1 pound haddock cut into serving size pieces.

Add:

  • 1/4 cup sliced onion
  • 1 teaspoon diced garlic (1 medium sized garlic clove)
  • 12-15 basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste along with any other herbs you like (I use Mrs. Dash’s original because I like the flavor it gives this fish).

If you’re like me and have an over-abundance of fresh tomatoes at the moment, you can peel and chop 6-8 fresh, medium-sized tomatoes and sprinkle them over the fish.  If not, an 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes works just fine.

Bake at 400 degree for roughly 30 minutes depending on thickness of your fish (if your haddock is very thin, 20 minutes would probably be enough).  This works for any fish, not just haddock, cod and halibut also work great in this recipe.

Serve over red quinoa or brown rice with your favorite veggies.  Sauteed bok choy goes great with this recipe.

Battered Fish (gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free)

I like baked fish, sautéed fish, and even fried fish although how many of us who are gluten-free often get to eat fried fish!  This makes a very crunchy on the outside, flakey and moist on the inside.  I find that spending a little more and buying the fresh fish produces a much tastier meal than using frozen fish which, I think, gets soggy when thawed out and cooked.

My husband, however, is convinced that the only way to eat fish is fried so I developed this recipe primarily for him.  And he’ll eat more of this than probably anything else I make for him, other than desserts.  For a normal family, this will serve 4; for my husband, this is 2 servings!

In a gallon freezer bag, mix:

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill 1 for 1 or your favorite all purpose works fine)
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, or other herbs to your taste (this always makes me remember Emeril telling his audience, “I don’t know where you buy your flour, but mine comes unseasoned”).  I generally use about a teaspoon of each except less of the ground pepper.

Cut into serving sized pieces, trying to keep thicker and thinner pieces separated (TIP: so if you have a “normal” piece of haddock, one end is probably thinner than the other and one side is probably thicker than the other so you want to make sure the thicker pieces are cut together so that the fish will cook evenly).

  • 1 pound of fresh haddock, sole, or other white fish, cut into serving size pieces

Add fish pieces to the freezer bag, close, and shake fish until covered in flour.

Mix in a shallow bowl:

  • 1/2 cup gluten- free flour
  • 1/4 cup cassava flour (this adds a lot of crunch to the batter)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc., to your taste
  • 1/2 cup club soda, you may need more to get the batter to the proper consistency.

Whisk until blended.  The batter should be the consistency of pancake batter, thin but not too runny.

Add  oil to a 10-12 inch fry pan (or you can use an electric skillet where you can more easily control the temperature); oil should be 1 inch deep in the pan at a minimum.  I always use a combination of avocado and olive oil.

Remove each piece of fish from the flour mixture and dip into the batter.  When the oil is hot (350-375 degrees), add the thicker  pieces first being sure to place them in the oil closest to you first and then ending with the piece of fish away from you.  Cook on each side until golden brown (thicker pieces will take 3-5 minutes per side while the thinner pieces will only take 2-3 minutes per side).  Remove to a paper towel to drain excess oil; salt and serve.

Tuna Lettuce Wraps

Want a quick and easy yet tasty lunch?  This takes only minutes, is very filling and delicious.  Serves 2.

Mix:

  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1/4 cup of chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup cooked peas
  • 2 tablespoons (or enough for your taste, don’t make it too dry) of your favorite vinaigrette or vegan mayonnaise

Spoon mixture onto large lettuce leaves (I used red butter lettuce).  You’ll need 6 to 8 leaves depending on how hungry you are and how big a spoonful you place on each lettuce leaf and how many toppings you want to add.

You can top each lettuce leaf with a number of things to give them some crunch and/or added flavor such as:

  • Grated carrot
  • Grated radish
  • Grated jicama*
  • Sliced tomato
  • Sliced avocado

*If you aren’t familiar with jicama, its also called Mexican yam bean or Mexican turnip.  Its a white, fibrous root that has a high water content and is very crunchy like an apple. Jicama is an anti-inflammatory that can help people who suffer from disorders such as IBS, leaky gut syndrome, and ulcers.  Its also very delicious.

Salmon with Bok Choy (dairy-free)

Want a quick meal that is very tasty?  This one can be prepared and cooked in less than a half hour.  Bok choy is one of my favorite vegetables and it pairs very well with a salmon filet.  Here I’ve sautéed the bok choy with some red onion and garlic in a little olive oil and topped the salmon with an easy mustard sauce.  The recipe serves two, or if you’re like me and love bok choy, this serves just me!

You’ll need:

  • 4 small to medium bok choy, washed and chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 salmon filets
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of your favorite vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon stevia (or 2 tablespoons agave or honey, 1/8 teaspoon monk fruit powder,  etc.)

Prepare 4 small to medium baby bok choy by cutting of the lower portion and rinsing thoroughly under cold water.  The bok choy may still have some spots and that’s okay.  Be sure to rinse the green portion as well as the white.  Then slice from bottom to the leaves, you can use all of this vegetable.

Chop one small red onion (I like to half it, then slice it into medium slices, and finally cut each slice in half).  Chop one clove of garlic.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a hot 10-12 inch skillet.  Add the prepared vegetables (bok choy, onion and garlic).  Stir to mix thoroughly and then cover and cook over medium heat for approximately 7-10 minutes depending on how al dente you like them.

Meanwhile, heat a large grill pan or skillet; add a small amount of olive oil.  Wash your salmon filets and dry them with a paper towel.  You will notice that I prefer the thinner slices of the salmon, they cook faster and I find I don’t dry the fish out as much.  Make some slices across the skin side and add, skin side down, to the hot pan.  Reduce heat to medium.  I like to cover the fish and cook for 5 minutes.  I then remove the cover and turn over the fish to cook for another 2-3 minutes until pink inside.

While your salmon and bok choy are cooking, in a small container with a lid put 1 tablespoon of your favorite mustard and 1 tablespoon of your favorite vinegar.  Add a very small amount of stevia (I used about 1/8 of a teaspoon).  Put on the lid and shake until mixed.  Sauce is ready.