Knowing how to expertly sear a piece of fish is a great skill to add to your cooking repertoire. While fish is expensive, it’s a terrific source of nutrients. So, find the best source you can for the freshest fish and keep an eye on sales. Halibut is a great choice to feed your family, and can often be found at a good price.
Below is a template for cooking halibut, but feel free to substitute other fish. Try one of my savory marinades to amp up the flavor. Simply brush a tablespoon of marinade on each fillet before searing. Serve additional marinade on the side for an instant and delicious sauce.
To sear halibut:
You need a 6 oz piece of halibut (each about 1 1/2 – 2 inches thick) for each person. Don’t cook more than 4 fillets at a time (crowding the pan would steam the fish instead of searing)
Heat 2 tbsp Olive oil in a large skillet.
Season the halibut on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the fish for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn and cook about 5 minutes longer, or until the fish is opaque in the center and browned on both sides.
A perfectly grilled, juicy chicken breast is a thing of beauty – and once you have mastered this take-it-slow technique, chicken success on the grill will be guaranteed, every time! Don’t be afraid of the lightly spiced paste, I was worried my children wouldn’t go for it. But slathered in the sweet honey glaze? They gobbled dinner right up!
Consider making a double batch of the spice paste and honey glaze. With dinner insurance in the fridge, you are just a step away from a savory dinner - simply brush some on grilled or seared meat, pork, fish or shrimp. The flavor is incredible. Happy cooking!
½ cup Olive oil
1 tbsp Honey mustard
2 tsp Garlic, minced
1 tsp Paprika (preferably sweet paprika)
1 tsp Brown sugar, light
1 tsp Oregano, dried
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp Chipotle chili powder (optional)
4 - 4½ lbs of Chicken breasts, skinless and boneless, trimmed
¾ cup Honey
2 tbsp Soy sauce, low-sodium
2 tbsp Ketchup
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Sriracha (optional)
In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, honey mustard, garlic, paprika, brown sugar, oregano, Kosher salt and chipotle chili powder (if using).
Spread spice paste all over the chicken breasts and store them in a large ziploc bag. Marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Let come to room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
In the meantime, in a second small bowl, whisk honey, soy sauce, ketchup, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar and Sriracha (if using). Set aside and reserve ½ cup to serve with dinner.
Spray the grill with canola spray and heat to high. Close grill top and allow the grill to heat to 350 - 400 degrees.
Once grill is heated, turn the burners to low, place the chicken on the grill, preferably on a slant for the grilling marks.
Grill chicken for 5 minutes and then flip to the other side.
Once the chicken has cooked for 10 minutes, brush with glaze and then flip for an additional 5 minutes. From this point forward, brush with glaze every time the chicken is flipped.
Once that time is up, flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes. At this point the chicken might be finished, or need an additional 5 -10 minutes of cooking time.
You should pull the chicken when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, while resting, the chicken will continue to cook an additional 5 degrees (chicken is ready to eat when the internal temperature is 165 degrees).
Once chicken is finished cooking, allow the chicken to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.
This meal idea originally began life as a grill recipe, but when you look outside and see your grill literally in flames – it needed to be completely cleaned – a fast pivot was necessary. Thank goodness for sheet pans! And a sheet pan with aluminum foil? That’s complete no-dishes-to-wash heaven! Back to the recipe…I had some leftover wasabi sauce that I wanted to use and I thought it could be perfect on the side of an Asian flavored flank steak. This marinade could not be simpler, it’s TWO ingredients, and the kids really enjoyed it. We are mostly a chicken and pork family, but when we do eat red meat, flank steak is my first choice. It’s lean, and to feed a family of 5 or 6, you can buy an entire flank steak for less than $20. So, while that certainly isn’t cheap, it is way more cost-effective than individual steaks and it’s a much leaner cut of meat, which I personally like much better. I have to confess that both Dashiell and Trafford always ask where the fat is…how they can eat that stuff I will never understand…yuck!
Flank steak is mouthwatering in the oven or on the grill. If you decide to grill, the cooking times will be very similar, see my recipe for That Steak Salad for grilling instructions. Just be sure to let it rest for 10 minutes. The cut is so lean, it's crucial that the juices re-distribute. Happy cooking!
1¾ - 2 lb Flank steak, scored (see note)
1 tbsp Wasabi, prepared
½ cup Soy sauce, low-sodium
In a small bowl whisk the wasabi with the soy sauce.
Place flank steak in a large Ziploc bag and pour marinade over. Massage the marinade into the steak and place bag in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Remove flank steak from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to start cooking.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cover a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
Place flank steak on the sheet pan and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 400 degrees and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove sheet pan from the oven and transfer the flank steak to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes.
A flank steak is done when the internal temperature is 130 degrees, which is medium rare. Feel free to cook for a few more minutes if you want it more to a medium doneness.
Slice the meat thinly, against the grain (which means finding the direction of the grain, the way the muscle fibers are aligned, then slice across the grain rather than parallel with it) and serve.
Scoring - Flank steak has long fibers, so try making ⅛ inch shallow cuts against the grain in one direction, then another set of cuts the other way (it will look like a cross-hatch pattern). These cuts sever some of the long fibers, so your steak becomes noticeably more tender. A bonus is the shallow cuts absorb the seasoning or marinade, making for a more flavorful piece of meat.
Pork loin is always a big hit in our house. It’s delicious, lean, healthy and lends itself to all types of savory flavors. When it’s cold outside I sear and then roast the pork, but as soon as Spring arrives I head out to the grill. Not only am I fascinated by the alchemy of the grill, I love not having dishes to wash, so I am always trying to figure out how to make our entire dinner outside. The tasty marinade bastes the pork and then transforms into a delicious sauce for your dinner…and a vinaigrette for a quick salad later in the week. Now that’s getting some serious mileage from a small cooking investment!
When you are feeding a crowd you can't go wrong with pork loin. It's a crowd pleaser and so much easier to manage on the grill then lots of burgers or chicken breasts. If you don't have oregano, either thyme or rosemary would work equally well in this marinade. Happy cooking!
1 cup Oregano leaves
¼ cup Garlic, minced
2 tsp Kosher salt
¾ cup Olive oil
¼ cup Sherry vinegar
4½ - 5 lb Pork loin, trimmed (see note)
In a food processor combine oregano leaves and garlic and pulse until a paste is formed.
Add Kosher salt, olive oil and sherry vinegar and pulse until the dressing is emulsified.
Place the pork in a pyrex dish, poke about 10 holes with a fork in each side of the pork and spread both sides with approximately ⅓ cup of the dressing.
Transfer the rest of the marinade to a mason jar - now you have dressing for your pork.
Cover the pork with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Spray grill with olive oil or canola spray and heat to high. Let grill preheat until the temperature gauge reads at least 300 degrees.
Place pork on the grill, I like to put it crossways for grill marks, and grill over high heat, turning every few minutes for about 15 minutes total (this is the searing part of the cook time).
Turn heat to low and continue cooking, turning the pork every 15 minutes, for about 45 minutes longer.
The internal temperature of the pork should be 145 degrees when you take it off the grill. Let it rest for about 10 minutes so the juices can redistribute, the internal temperature will continue to rise.
Thinly slice to serve (the meat will be slightly pink in the center).
Pork loin - it's important to trim not only the excess fat and the silver skin off the pork. The silver skin is tough and inedible when cooked, so you definitely want to cut it off.
Seared ahi tuna is one of those fabulous meals that exists somewhere between dreams and reality…this recipe was born from a sushi craving. I love to feed my kids as much seafood as possible, but the reality is that means frozen shrimp or seafood on sale. I saw yellowtail on sale at Wegmans last week, so I snapped it right up. My kids really like seafood, so it wasn’t hard to get them to try tuna. However, the sesame seeds are completely strange to them and I definitely got some pushback, so I adjusted accordingly. I made one of the tuna steaks sesame seed free – and everyone ate their dinner. You have to pick your battles….
If you aren't sure your kids will eat sesame seeds then play it safe and make one tuna steak sesame seed free. To introduce them to the flavor give them a small piece from your plate and let them try it. For my kids I try to have realistic expectations...eating sesame seeds is less important than enjoying a happy and healthy dinner. Happy cooking!
2 Tuna steaks (1¼ - ½ lbs total)
4 tbsp Canola oil, divided in half
2 tsp Sesame oil, divided in half
⅔ cups Sesame seeds, mix of white and black seeds, divided in half
½ tsp Kosher salt, divided in half
Spray grill with canola spray and turn to medium high.
Pat tuna dry.
On one plate combine half of the canola oil and sesame oil.
On a second plate combine half of the sesame seeds and Kosher salt.
Dip tuna in the oil mixture, making sure to completely cover the tuna.
Transfer to the plate with the sesame seed mixture and throughly coat the tuna, pressing the sesame seeds to adhere to the tuna.
Grill tuna on medium high for 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and slice thinly to serve.
Pork tenderloin is such a great weeknight dinner solution, but this recipe is also interesting enough for company. The flavors in the rub give the tenderloin a subtle kick, but it’s mild enough for your kids to dig right in. All of the kids loved this dinner and I was left with just a few pieces after all of the older boys went back for seconds! The chow chow is a cinch to make, adds some grown-up interest to the meal and can be done ahead of time. The chow chow keeps great in the fridge and play the elevated and much more interesting mustard role in your fridge…enjoyed on sandwiches and pulled pork all week! I was planning on grilling the pork but it ended up torrential downpouring just as I was ready to start the grill, so I decided to rely on an Martha Stewart technique – from one of the first cookbooks I ever owned, Quick Cook Menus from 1988. Once you sear the pork on the stovetop, it’s totally hands-off and the pork comes out perfect everytime!
I've been making this recipe for years...and it still surprises me how much everyone enjoys this meal. My younger children won't go near the chow chow sauce, but they devour the pork. The chow chow? So delicious and a terrific condiment to have in the fridge - try it with grilled chicken, pulled pork, on sandwiches....Happy cooking!
Remove pork from the fridge, preheat oven to 375. Mix dry seasonings, add canola oil and stir to combine. Coat the pork with the seasoning rub.
Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil coating it and then a second sheet of aluminum ready to become a pouch for the pork.
Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sear the pork on all sides until well-browned, approximately 3-5 minutes per side.
Transfer seared pork to the prepared baking sheet and pour pan drippings over the pork.
Tightly close the foil with the opening along the top of the pork and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and carefully open the foil about 1 inch along the top.
Return to the oven and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven (the temperature on the pork should be between 140-150 degrees at this time (see note) and place on a cutting board placed inside a baking sheet (the technique catches all of the pork juices when you start slicing). Let rest 10 minutes, uncovered, before slicing.
Silver skin on pork: It's important to remove the connective tissue on the pork because it does not dissolve into the pork. This step only only takes a minute and really improves the quality of your finished dish! Here's a great how-to guide. http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to-trim-tenderloin.aspx The correct temperature for pork: The National Pork Board recommends cooking pork chops, roasts, and tenderloin to an internal temperature between 145° F. (medium rare) and 160° F. (medium), followed by a 3 minute rest. Since large cuts increase approximately 10° F. while resting, remove them from the heat at 150° F. followed by a 10 minute rest.