Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Achiote Seared Shrimp with Habanero Pickled Onions and Cilantro

Another Rick Bayless gem. The onions can be made well in advance. I plated here using a basting brush, but you could simply drizzle the sauce or use a squeeze bottle. I had the temptation to write out a word or draw a heart or some such…perhaps next time. :)


  • 1/2 small package (3 1/2 ounces) prepared achiote paste (such as Yucateco, La Anita or Marin brand)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • Salt
  • 1 1/4 pounds (about 24 pieces) large shrimp, peeled, leaving tail and final segment intact/li>

Ingredients, Onions

  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small habanero chile, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Ingredients, To Finish

  • 3 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • Roughly chopped cilantro or parsley, for garnish


  • Large Skillet
  • Blender
  • Cutting Board, Knife
  • Bowl to Marinate Onions
  • Bowl or dish to marinate shrimp


  1. Marinate the shrimp. Break the achiote paste into a blender jar and add the garlic, orange and lime juices, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth. Pour over the shrimp, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the onions. In a small bowl, combine the onion, habanero (or as much of it as you think you’ll like), lime and 1 scant teaspoon salt. Cover and let stand until the shrimp is ready. (If working ahead, the onions may be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for several days.)
  3. Cook the shrimp. In a very large (12-inch) skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the shrimp out of the marinade and into the hot oil, leaving behind as much marinade as possible. Stir-fry until the shrimp is just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Scoop onto a serving plate, pour all of the marinade into the skillet, and stir continuously until the mixture thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Thin the sauce with a little water until it’s the consistency of a cream sauce. Spoon the sauce over the shrimp. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley and serve with the pickled onions.

*Serves 4.

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Rick Bayless’ Chipotle Shrimp

Smokey, spicy, and dead simple, this dish uses mostly pantry items for dinner in 20 minutes. You can roast your own peeled tomatoes to up the game (instead of the canned), or substitute scallops for the shrimp. Serve with either white rice (medium grain) or add zucchini or poblano and serve as tacos with warm corn tortillas. Recipe courtesy of the great Rick Bayless’ Mexican Everyday.


  • One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted), drained
  • 2 to 3 canned chipotle chiles en adobo
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle canning sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped or crushed through a garlic press
  • About 1 ½ cups fish or chicken broth or water
  • Salt
  • 1 to 1 ¼ pounds medium-large shrimp (21 to 25 shrimp per pound), peeled and deveined, tail left on if you wish
  • About ¼ cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped cilantro, for garnish


  • Blender or Food Processor
  • Large Skillet
  • Knife and Cutting Board


  1. Pour the drained tomatoes into a blender or food processor. Add the chipotle chiles and chipotle canning sauce. Process until smooth.
  2. In a very large (12-inch skillet), heat the oil over medium. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant and golden, about 1 minute. Pour in the tomato mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Add enough brother or water to achieve a light tomato sauce consistency. Taste and season highly with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon.
  3. Add the shrimp to the pan. Cook, stirring nearly constantly, until the shrimp are cooked through, about 4 minutes. Stir in a little more broth or water if the sauce has thickened too much.
  4. Scoop onto dinner plates and sprinkle with the cilantro.

*Serves 4

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Potato-Wrapped Halibut with Garlic Sautéed Spinach

There are a few tricks here, but it’s simpler than it looks. To keep the “package” from unraveling, you need to have paper-thin potato slices, and that requires a mandoline. It’s also good to wrap the fish package in Saran wrap and refrigerate for an hour before cooking to solidify the seal. The other risk is moisture, which will both splatter while cooking and prevent any crisping of the potatoes. You want to have the fish very dry (and salted) before wrapping, and don’t rinse the potato slices (but do also salt them) because the starches help seal too. That all said, I swear it’s not hard!


  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes, washed
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless halibut fillets
  • 2 lemons, cut into halves
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus tablespoon for spinach
  • 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, well rinsed
  • 6 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced

Variation: You can substitute Sea Bass, Cod or other thick, white fillets. Too thin and the fish will overcook before the potatoes can. I’ve seen Russets used instead of Yukon, as well.


  • Mandoline
  • Saran Wrap
  • Non-Stick Saute or Frying Pan
  • Knife and Cutting Board

Variation: You can use parchment paper instead of Saran wrap, but I found the wrap kept better in the fridge which I think is a good step (though Martha Stewart doesn’t do this).


  1. Halve potatoes lengthwise. Using a very sharp knife or mandoline, slice potatoes lengthwise into paper-thin rounds.
  2. Lay a piece of Saran wrap on work surface; arrange potato slices, slightly overlapping, to form a 5-by-7-inch rectangle on Saran wrap; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pat fish fillets dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper
  4. Place one fish fillet on potato rectangle. Using the Saran wrap, wrap one side of the potatoes around the fish, pressing to adhere. Wrap remaining side of potato rectangle around fish, pressing to adhere (don’t put the wrap between the potatoes, just use it to press the potatoes to the fish, and then wrap the whole thing). Repeat process with remaining potatoes and fish fillet, adding potato slices as necessary for the seal if you come up short.
  5. Refrigerate fish packets for 1 hour. Meanwhile, wash spinach, slice garlic cloves on the mandoline, and have a drink ;)
  6. When fish is ready, heat large nonstick skillet to medium-high and cook lemon halves first, flesh side down, until slightly charred (this adds flavor and loosens juices). Be mindful of smoke. Place lemons aside and reserve for service.
  7. Heat olive oil over same medium-high heat for fish. Pat potatoes dry with a clean towel and add fish, seam side down; cook, turning, until potatoes are golden and crisp on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. You can gently use tongs or two spatulas to handle the fish. Remove from heat, place on paper towels to gather excess moisture and cover to keep warm.
  8. Wipe used oil out and add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet for the garlic and spinach. Add garlic first; stir 1 minute. Add 1/3 of spinach; toss with tongs until spinach begins to wilt. Add remaining spinach in 2 additions; stir just until beginning to wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Divide spinach among plates with fish, garnish with the lemon half, and serve.

*Martha Stewart demonstrates the basic wrapping procedure in an unfortunately long video here. Or here is another instruction. Or here is my favorite, with lots of images, only using Cod and Russet.

*Serves 4

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Whole Stuffed Rainbow Trout Baked in Foil

Baking the fish in foil is essentially steaming, which keeps the juices inside and is a healthy means to prepare. I discard the skin in this case, but if grilled, baked, or pan-fried unwrapped you can get a lovely crisp skin for eating. It’s fatty and salty, but also has Omega-3s. Trout is a relatively oily fish that should be fine unwrapped, but be careful to not dry out the fish (or especially other less oily white fish) and make slits in the skin. A great technique there is to baste the fish in it’s juices (or butter) frequently.


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 small rainbow trout, boned. Instructions here.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lemons, one sliced, one cut in wedges
  • 8 fresh tarragon or dill sprigs, or 4 rosemary sprigs
  • Chopped fresh tarragon, dill or parsley for serving

Variation: Fill the trout with sauteed Swiss chard or other greens with garlic and olive oil and serve with more on the side.


  • Aluminum Foil
  • Baking Sheet, Oven
  • Knife and Cutting Board
  • Tweezers for de-boning


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut four sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil or eight sheets of lighter foil into squares that are three inches longer than your fish. If using lighter foil, make four double-thick squares. Oil the dull side of the foil with olive oil, and place a trout, skin side down, on each square. Season both sides with salt and pepper, and open them out flat. Place two tarragon or dill sprigs (or one rosemary sprig) and two lemon slices down the middle of each, and fold the two sides together. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon olive oil over each fish.
  2. Making sure that the trout are in the middle of each square, fold up the foil loosely, grabbing at the edges and crimping together tightly to make a packet. Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, checking one of the packets after 10 minutes. The flesh should be opaque and pull apart easily when tested with a fork.
  3. Place each packet on a plate. Carefully cut across the top to open it, taking care not to let the steam from inside the packet burn you. Gently remove the fish from the packet, and pour the juices over it. Sprinkle with fresh tarragon, dill or parsley. Serve, passing the lemon wedges.

*You can prepare the fish and make the foil packets several hours ahead. Keep in the refrigerator until shortly before cooking.

*Serves 4

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Frontera Halibut Ceviche


  • 1 pound “sashimi-quality” skinless meaty ocean fish fillet (halibut, snapper and bass are great choices), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • About 1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
  • 1 small white onion, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • Hot green chiles to taste (roughly 2 or 3 serranos or 1 large jalapeño), stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup pitted green olives, preferably manzanillos
  • 1/4 cup (lightly packed, about 1 ounce) soft sundried tomatoes, chopped into 1/8-inch pieces
  • 1/4 small jícama, peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (OR, omit this and the sundried tomato and use 1 large (10 oz) ripe tomato cored, seeded, and chopped into 1/8 inch pieces)
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) chopped fresh cilantro (thick bottom stems cut off)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  • Large Steel or Glass Bowl
  • Mini Food Processor
  • Knife and Cutting Board


  1. “Cook” the fish in the lime juice. In a large stainless steel or glass bowl, combine the fish, lime juice and onion. The fish should float freely in the juice; if not, add a little more. Cover and refrigerate until the fish is as “done” as you like: An hour or so for medium-rare, 3 to 4 hours for “cooked” all the way through. Tip off the lime juice—sad to say that it’s fishy tasting at this point and can’t be easily used for any other preparation.
  2. Flavor the ceviche. In a mini food processor, process the green chile and olives until finely chopped (or finely chopped by hand). Add to the fish along with the tomato, optional jícama, cilantro and olive oil. Stir well, then season with salt (usually about a scant teaspoon) and sugar. Refrigerate until ready to serve — preferably no longer than an hour or two.

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Mango Salad with Chile-Grilled Prawns

Ingredients, Mango Salad

  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 (4-inch-long) fresh hot red chile, thinly sliced, including seeds
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 firm-ripe mangoes, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced

Ingredients, Shrimp

  • 16 jumbo shrimp (1 1/4 pound), shelled, leaving tail and adjoining first segment attached, and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium fresh jalapeño chile, minced, including seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Accompaniment: lime wedges


  • Long Wooden Skewers (soaked)
  • Grill


  1. Make mango salad: Whisk together brown sugar and lime juice in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved, then whisk in red chile, shallot, cilantro, and mint. Add mangoes, tossing gently.
  2. Skewer shrimp: Beginning at thick end, insert a skewer lengthwise through each shrimp to straighten. Transfer to a tray.
  3. Grill Shrimp: Whisk together oil, jalapeño, cumin, and salt, then brush on skewered shrimp until well coated. Grill shrimp, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and just cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  4. Toss mango salad again and divide among 4 plates. Arrange 4 shrimp on top of each serving.

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Salmon “Bulgogi” with Shiitake Mushrooms and Bok Choy


  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled, divided
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry
  • 1 3/4-inch cube peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
  • 4 6-ounce center-cut skinless salmon fillets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large bok choy, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips (about 7 cups)
  • 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced


  • Mini Processor
  • 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish
  • Rimmed Baking Sheet
  • Large Nonstick Skillet
  • Tongs


  1. Blend 1 garlic clove and next 7 ingredients in mini processor. Arrange salmon in 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon marinade over. Let marinate 5 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 500°F. Arrange fish, with some marinade still clinging, on rimmed baking sheet. Transfer any marinade in dish to small saucepan. Roast fish until just opaque in center, about 8 minutes. Bring marinade in saucepan to boil; set aside and reserve for glaze.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add bok choy and mushrooms; using garlic press, press in 1 garlic clove. Stir-fry until mushrooms are tender and bok choy is wilted, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Divide vegetables among plates. Top with salmon. Brush fish with glaze.

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Scallops with a Lime/Chile Sauce over Forbidden Rice


  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 small fresh hot chile (2 1/2 inches long, preferably red), chopped, including seeds
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 16 medium dry sea scallops (1 pound), tough muscle removed from side of each if necessary
  • flour to dust scallops
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter (or raw, ulsalted butter)


  • Mortar and Pestle
  • Non-Stick Skillet
  • Tongs


  1. Pound garlic, chile, and sugar to a fine paste with a mortar and pestle. Stir paste together with vinegar, fish sauce, water, and lime juice. (Alternatively, purée sauce ingredients together in a blender.)
  2. Pat scallops very dry and lightly dust with flour. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil and butter in skillet over medium/high heat. Butter should just barely begin to smoke when ready. Place scallops, uncrowded, facing down and don’t move for about 2 minutes. Use tongs and check for a golden sear and flip if ready, cooking about another minute (2 at most) until done. The center should still be slightly translucent from the side, they will continue to cook once off the heat. They should be quite springy when done, if they are very firm they’ve overcooked.
  4. Serve scallops immediately with sauce spooned over.

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Colin’s Favorite Shrimp Tacos

I ♥ Tacos: Garlic Sautéed Shrimp Tacos with an Asian Margarita Slaw and a Fiery Sriracha Mayonnaise from scratch. A Wilkinson Original!

**Serves 4. Great for parties, the slaw and dressing can be made up to a day in advance, with the slaw tasting better with time to marinate. Grilled white fish is a suitable substitute for the sautéed shrimp, and if using larger shrimp or prawns I’ll typically chop them before assembling the tacos. Can be served with simple mashed black beans and cilantro/lime rice, or served alone for an easy weeknight meal.

Ingredients, Red Pepper Dressing

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon fluer de sel (or kosher salt)
  • 3/4 cup neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup drained, chopped, roasted red pepper from jar
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

Ingredients, Margarita Slaw

  • 12 oz (about 7 cups) shredded cabbage
    (I mix red and green cabbage with a carrot or two, or you can buy pre-made rainbow salad or coleslaw mix)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • dash of sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice (about 1.5 limes)
  • 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh-squeezed OJ (about 1/4 orange)
  • 1 shot tequila (Milagro Silver is a favorite)
  • dash of Tabasco
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

Ingredients, Shrimp Tacos

  • 1.5 pounds shrimp, 20-30 per pound, peeled, rinsed and dried
  • 3 or 4 big cloves garlic, cut into slivers (a mandoline is convenient)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more as needed
  • salt and black pepper
  • lime to taste
  • cilantro, diced tomato for garnish
  • small, flour tortillas, preferably from a local tortillaria. About 3 per person depending.


  • food processor or blender (for dressing)
  • large bowl for mixing slaw, smaller bowl for oils
  • measuring cups
  • whisk
  • cutting board, knives
  • medium skillet for shrimp
  • bowl for finished shrimp plus foil to cover, plate for warmed tortillas

Directions, Red Pepper Dressing

  1. Put the yolk, lemon, mustard and salt in a food processor or blender and turn the machine on. While it’s running, add the oils in a slow, steady stream (use 1 tablespoon at a time if you need help pacing). When an emulsion forms, you can add it a little faster, until all the oil is incorporated
  2. Add red pepper, Sriracha, and lemon zest and blend to incorporate.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding up to an additional 1/4 cup of Sriracha for heat, or a squeeze of lemon for acid.
  4. Salt/pepper to taste
  5. Place in a covered bowl, with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface of the dressing, and refrigerate.

Directions, Margarita Slaw

  1. Place cabbage and cilantro in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oils, lime and orange juices, lime zest, tequila, and Tabasco.
  3. Pour over cabbage and toss to coat completely.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Serve cold, with at least a few hours to marinate.

Directions, Shrimp Tacos

  1. Warm olive oil in pan over low heat.
  2. Add garlic slivers and cook until golden, a few minutes.
  3. Raise heat to medium high and add shrimp, salt, pepper, and lime.
  4. Stir to blend and cook, shaking the pan once or twice and turning the shrimp once or twice until they are pink all over and the mixture is bubbly, 5-10 minutes.
  5. Place in bowl with tongs or slotted spoon and lightly cover in foil.
  6. Wipe skillet with paper towel and use to heat tortillas, about 30 seconds a side.
  7. Assemble tacos using red pepper dressing, slaw, shrimp, and finally tomato and cilantro over the warmed tortilla.

All recipes stolen/borrowed from somewhere, butchered/adapted exclusively by CHEF BOY/R/C.