Baked Fish Fillets and Mussels with Lemon, Tomato, and Red Capsicum Puree

Have you ever made a dish that was so flavorful that you wanted to make it again and again, and you think you won’t get sick of it? This recipe adapted from Baked Fish Fillets with Lemon & Red Capsicum Puree. I made a few changes, such as adding cabbage and mussels, and a roasted tomato to the puree. It goes great with fried potatoes or even rice.

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Ingredients:
1 large red capsicum (bell pepper)
1 medium tomato
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 teaspoons coriander seeds
6 fillets of white fish (approximately 4 ounces) each (I used tilapia)
10 half-shell New Zealand mussels
1 cup cut cabbage leaves
4 or 5 dried bay leaves
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley chopped finely
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Cut the capsicum into quarters, removing the membrane and seeds. Place capsicum and tomato onto a baking tray skin side up and roast until the skin has darkened.
2. Place the capsicum, tomato, garlic, olive oil, coriander seeds, lemon juice, salt and black pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth.
3. Place the cabbage leaves in an oiled baking dish. Season fish fillets and mussels with salt and black pepper, and place on top of cabbage. Pour the capsicum and tomato puree over the fish, scatter the bay leaves, and place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes at 400˚C (200˚F). Test fish is ready by inserting the point of a knife into the center of a fillet. If the fish is white and flaky, it is ready. If not, place back in the oven for another few minutes.
4. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the fish and serve at once.

3 servings

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Thai Red Curry Mussels

This is similar to the Thai Red Curry recipe I had posted before, but here you can put mussels instead. You can also add scallops, shrimp, and other kinds of shellfish.

Ingredients:
2 pounds mussels
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions:
1. Clean and de-beard the mussels.
2. Film a large pot with olive oil and set over medium-high heat. Add the onions and the peppers. Cook until they are soft and the onion is translucent. Stir in the garlic, and cook another 30 seconds.
3. Add the curry paste, brown sugar, and fish sauce to the vegetables, and stir to coat evenly. Pour the coconut milk and chicken broth into the pot. Bring the curry to a simmer and let it cook until reduced and slightly thickened.
4. Add the mussels to the pan and cover. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until all the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that haven’t fully opened after 5 minutes.
5. Transfer the mussels and curry to a serving bowl. Squeeze half the lime over top and tuck the remaining wedges around the bowl. Eat immediately.

2 servings

Chow Mein with Shrimp

A staple Chinese noodle recipe.

Ingredients:
7 oz. egg pasta noodles
10 shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Directions:
1. Cook the chow mein according to the package. Rinse under cold water until the water turns clear and the chow mein is soft. Don’t over cook the chow mein or the noodles will get limpy and soggy.
2. In a small mixing bowl, mix all the seasoning ingredients. Set aside.
3. Heat up the wok with the cooking oil. Add in the minced garlic and stir-fry until light brown or aromatic. Add the shrimp and stir fry until they are half done. Add the shredded carrot into the wok and do a few quick stirs. Add the noodles, the seasoning mixture, and the water. Continue to stir until the noodles are well blended with the seasonings and completely cooked through. Add the chopped green onions, do a few final stirs, dish out, and and serve hot.

2-3 servings

Hvar, Croatia

If you’re looking for a getaway destination with natural beauty, a cool nightlife, and amazing seafood, Hvar, Croatia, is the place. For the first week in September, this is where I landed. Every day, it was a feast of mussels, shrimp, fish, and other shellfish. I ate so much much in fact that I believe I developed some sort of seafood allergy (I know, oh no!). Here are some restaurants I visited during my time in Hvar, some of which I highly recommend.

Konoba Mustačo

This restaurant is situated about 2km from the main town of Hvar and inside a quiet cove. It was easy to get to from the apartment I was staying in Hvar, as there was a foot path down to the cove. You can also rent rooms here (the word “konoba” is Croatian for “inn”). The inn faces the sea, and you can rent beach chairs or a boat for a tour of the waters.


Creamy shrimp noodles and seafood spaghetti.

Buffet Pizzeria Bepo

The owners of the apartment I was staying at recommended this restaurant, as it was within a five minute walking distance and served good seafood for a good price. And it had a great view.


The grilled fish place with fish, mini octopuses, crawfish, and vegetables.

Kod Barba Bozjeg

During my entire stay in Hvar, this was my favorite restaurant. Not only was the seafood delicious, the price was amazing as well. For two, we paid under 30 euros. The staff is very friendly, mainly presented by a large, balding man with glasses who looks like he could have been a pirate back in the day. Although the restaurant is in Milna, 4km from the city center, we managed to come back twice because it was that good.


Buzzara (tomato sauce) mussels and seafood spaghetti.

Dordota Vartal

Next to the Franciscan Monastery is my second favorite restaurant. Again, another restaurant with good food for a reasonable price.


Seafood pizza, grilled vegetables, and fried seafood.

Buffet Pizzeria Ex Rocco

Out of all the restaurants during my time in Hvar, this one was my least favorite. Although the service was great and the food was quick, I felt too rushed here. The restaurant is placed alongside three other ones, so I guess it felt like it had to compete.


Shrimp and zucchini risotto, and seafood spaghetti.

Hula Hula Beach Bar

We came here one afternoon after taking a stroll around Hvar. A fun place for drinks and random ocean diving. When the sun sets in the evening, this place really starts bumping.

Cioppino

There’s nothing like a bowl of mussels, fish, and shrimp in a tomato broth on a cloudy, rainy day. 🙂

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Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 can tomato sauce
1/2 can chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup white wine
1 tomato, chopped
10 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 cod filet, cubed

Directions:
1. Over medium-low heat, melt butter in a large stockpot. Add onions and garlic. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until onions are soft.
2. Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, bay leaf, basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, tomato, and wine. Mix well. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.
3. Stir in the shrimp, mussels, and fish. Bring to boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes until clams open. Serve warm.

2 servings

Ca Kho To (Vietnamese Braised Fish)

When my mom cooked, really cooked, it was almost like perfection. She wouldn’t use a recipe or a book, everything she knew was from her head. This was one of those dishes. My mom wasn’t a big fan of meat, but she sure loved seafood…shrimp, fish, clams, abalone. She made this dish from time to time when she was in the mood, and every time, it was always wonderful. Memories of it has inspired me to make it myself. The Ca Kho To recipe I used is from The Ravenous Couple, a food blog with various Vietnamese dishes. It turned out pretty tasty, although I was lacking two things, a clay pot and catfish (I haven’t been able to find catfish in Germany). Instead, I used a regular pot and salmon steaks. And I need to wait for the sauce to carmelize a little more next time.

New Year Wontons

It started last year, when it was during this time, around New Year’s, that I got a craving for wontons. I suppose it’s because of the holidays, that all I want is comfort food, food I’m used to eating at home with the family. So last year, I made wonton soup, wontons cooked in chicken broth. This year, it’s fried wontons, which consist of shrimp, cabbage, and green onions. Of course, you can make the filling to your liking, such as adding pork, beef, etc.

Ingredients:
20 pieces medium-sized shrimp, chopped
1 cup sliced green cabbage
1 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon sesame oil
wonton wrappers
water for sealing wontons
oil for frying

Directions:
1. Mix the chopped shrimp , sliced cabbage, chopped green onions, and sesame oil in a large mixing bowl.
2. Wet one side of a wonton wrapper with water. Place a tablespoon of the shrimp mixture in the middle of wonton wrapper. Bring together the corners of the wonton and twist at the top to close the wonton (there are different ways of folding a wonton, you can look them up on youtube.com).
3. Heat oil in a deep frying pan until hot. Fry several wontons at once in the pan until golden brown. Place fried wontons on a paper towel to dry.
4. Serve with a sweet chili sauce of your choice.

3-4 servings

Have a Happy New Year!