Trout Tacos with Avocado Shisito Salad

The Grill-Meister went on a fishing trip off the coast of Mississippi recently, and brought back some lovely trout.

Goody! Now I get to learn how to cook trout. I love a new challenge.

It turned out not to be much of a challenge at all.  Trout is super-easy to grill.  And grilled trout is perfect for fish tacos.

The fish only needs olive oil and seasoning to be absolutely perfect. I use Zippy Southwest, the seasoning mix I make for family and friends. It’s great to have a big batch of Zippy SW on hand, for use in grilling chicken, fish or shrimp, or in many other ways.

These fish tacos would be great with just Pico de Gallo and avocado slices, but the only peppers I had on had were shisitos, so I created this quick salad to complement the trout. Another way to go would be to garnish the tacos with a slaw, like my Pepper Jelly Slaw. And a great sauce would be Stephanie’s Stephanie’s Green Dip. But I didn’t have any of these on hand, and was happy with the Avocado Shisito Salad; it was mild and creamy and just right.

Trout Tacos with Avocado Shisito Salad

Ingredients (serves 4)

Fish & Peppers

  • 1 1/2 lbs. trout filets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp southwest seasoning or seafood seasoning (I use my Zippy Southwest)
  • 1 1/2 cup shisito peppers (about 18 peppers)

Avocado Shisito Salad

  • 2 large or 3 small ripe Haas avocados, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped ripe tomatoes (I use grape tomatoes)
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

 

  • 8-10 corn tortillas
  • Sour cream
  • Sriracha
  • Lime wedges

Cooking Instructions

Heat a gas or charcoal grill to high. Oil the grill or a perforated grill pan with cooking spray. While the grill is heating, drizzle the fish with olive oil and then coat generously with the seasoning.

Grill the fish for about 4 minutes on each side, or until it is done, while at the same time grilling the shisito peppers, removing them when they are blistered. Remove the fish from the grill, sealing it in foil to keep it hot. The fish might break up a bit as you remove it, but that’s ok – it’s going to be put in pieces in tacos. Leave the grill on.

Chop the shisito peppers, then combine the with the avocados, onion, tomato and arugula, and stir to mix. Add the lime juice, olive oil and salt, and stir again.

Grill the corn tortillas for 30 seconds per side on the still-hot grill and seal them in foil.

To serve, put a generous amount of the Avocado Shisito Salad on a corn tortilla, then top with several pieces of fish. Add a dollop of sour cream and a few drops of sriracha.

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Resources

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Spicy-Sweet Honey Chipotle Pork Spareribs

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You’ll need a lot of paper towels with these ribs, but they’re worth it!

If you’re like me and have never tried ribs before, and, also like me, perhaps a bit intimidated by the vague feeling that you have to smoke them for hours and they still might come out tough, this is the recipe for you!

I rolled up my sleeves one rainy Saturday afternoon and pulled together this ribs recipe when the Grill-Meister was out playing dominos with his friends. Then I surprised him with them when he got home.  Score!

Succulent and fall-off-the-bone-tender with just the right balance of spicy-sweet and piquant, these ribs take their ‘cue (pun intended!) from the spicy rub they get before baking and a last-minute swab of homemade sauce before a quick char on the grill.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

Rub

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This is the brand of ancho chile I use
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp ancho or chipotle chilé powder (use paprika if you don’t like it spicy)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Ribs

2 racks St. Louis style pork spareribs, 2 1/2 – 3 lbs each

Honey-Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

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    Chipotle is really important in this sauce

    1/2 cup olive oil

  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped chipotle peppers and sauce
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup catsup
  • 2 tbsp of the spice rub

Cooking Instructions

Preheat oven to 300. In a small mixing bowl, combine the spice rub ingredients. Set aside 2 tbsp of the spice rub to use in the sauce, and then rub the ribs generously with the mixture.

Wrap each rack of ribs in heavy duty foil, sealing completely.  Place seam side up on a pan or cookie sheet with a decent-sized lip.  Bake for 2 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, make the barbecue sauce by putting all ingredients in a small, heavy saucepan,  heating to a boil and then reducing to a simmer.  Cook at a simmer until reduced and thickened.

When the ribs have 20 minutes left to bake, preheat a gas or charcoal grill to high heat.  When 2 1/2 hours have elapsed, remove the ribs from the oven and carefully undo the foil around the ribs, being cautious about steam and very hot pan juice.  Place the ribs on a different cookie sheet or platter and reserve the pan juice for another use (I like to use it to make stock with the rib bones).

Take the ribs outside to your barbecue, slather the sauce on one side and place on the grill, sauce side down.  You may have to be very gentle with the ribs, because they will be very tender and may want to fall apart.  Slather the sauce again on the top side just after you place the ribs on the grill.  Sear on each side for 4-5 minutes until there’s a nice char, then remove them.  Place on a cutting board and cut between the bones.  Serve with extra sauce on the side.

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The finished product is great with a cool, crisp, chipotle-fennel slaw
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Ingredients for the spice rub
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I made a double batch; the spice rub is good on other meats and fish
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Generously rub each rack with the spice mix
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Seal tightly and place in a pan with a lip
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Make the sauce while the ribs are baking
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After baking, before the grill
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After the final quick char
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Super-tender, super-good!
Honey-Chipotle Ribs with Chipotle-Fennel Slaw
The finished product

These ribs are so good with just a quick slaw. I created a complementary Chipotle-Fennel Slaw when I made the ribs a couple of weeks ago and will publish that recipe soon. And until then, here’s a Pepper Jelly Slaw.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Grilled Tuna Burgers for Two

images-25We’re empty-nesters here at Glover Gardens now that the last millennial has gone off to college, so I’m trying to pare down the amounts when I cook.  It’s easier with some recipes than others.  These delicious tuna burgers are simple to make for two, or four, or more.  Just increase the recipe.

The tuna burgers benefit from what we call “Salad on a Sandwich”.  It’s a quick toss of baby spinach or other greens, red onion and tomato with a tiny bit of olive oil and a healthy splash of balsamic vinegar.  Salad on a Sandwich brightens up a variety of sandwiches and makes the everyday sandwich feel like a gourmet treat.  And it looks really beautiful.

Ingredients

  • Two 6+ ounce tuna steaks, about an inch thick
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne or ground ancho or chipotle chiles
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large bell pepper or several small sweet peppers, sliced into 1-inch wide strips, seeds, ribs and stems discarded
  • Olive oil
  • Grill spray
  • Two buns (we like onion rolls)
  • Purchased or prepared remoulade (click here for a killer and super-easy recipe)
  • Salad on a Sandwich
    • 2 cups baby spinach or your other favorite greens
    • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 very ripe medium tomato, thinly sliced, or 6-8 grape tomatoes, halved longways
    • 1 tsp olive oil or a few sprays from an olive oil mister
    • 2 tsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cooking Instructions

Sprinkle tuna all over with salt, pepper and cayenne or ground chile. Toss peppers with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Assemble Salad on a Sandwich by combining and tossing all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Set aside.  Prepare remoulade, if making your own.

Preheat gas or charcoal grill for cooking over high heat.

Wrap buns in foil.  Grill tuna and peppers on lightly oiled grill rack, turning over once, until tuna is pink only in center and peppers are just tender, 4 to 6 minutes total (peppers may take longer than tuna). In the last few minutes of cooking, put the buns in foil on the grill to heat them up.  Transfer tuna and peppers once they are cooked to a serving plate.

To serve, spread remoulade on buns (top and bottom), put a layer of grilled peppers on the bottom of each bun, and then top with a tuna steak.  Add a generous helping of Salad on a Sandwich, then cap the tuna burger with the top bun.  Enjoy!

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The Salad on a Sandwich and remoulade are ready, and the tuna has been seasoned in readiness for grilling.  Yum!
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Grill the peppers at the same time as the tuna; the buns can be warmed on the top shelf.
Grilled Tuna and Peppers
The tuna and peppers have been grilled and are ready for the sandwich.
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The remoulade and Salad on a Sandwich combine with the tuna and peppers to make a great burger with a variety of tastes, colors and textures.

This recipe works really well without the bun, too.  Just flip it – position the tuna steak atop the Salad (Not) on a Sandwich, then arrange the grilled peppers on the tuna and dress with the remoulade or serve it on the side.  It’s beautiful, healthy and low-cal.

Our other favorite seafood in a burger is salmon – click here for the recipe.

 

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Easiest Salmon Burgers Ever

Ever since I got out of the hospital and put that horrible food behind me (click here to read about it), I’ve been craving all of the healthiest foods in my comfort food category.  The Grill-Meister has been a great partner in this Healthy Comfort Food Quest.  He made his oh-so-wonderful Tom’s Smoked Salmon for me on Monday, the Labor Day holiday, and bought extra salmon for us to have salmon burgers.  Yum.

These salmon burgers are so easy they should be on the table at least once a month.  And they’re good, really good.

Made with fresh salmon, they’re so good that you might be able to convince an innocent child that they’re actually chicken burgers…that little white lie is between you and your conscience.  But hey – how is it different than Santa Claus?

Ingredients (Makes 6 Burgers)

  • 1 1/2 pounds (24 oz.) fresh (never frozen) salmon filets, skin removed
  • 1/8 cup minced red onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 cup capers, drained
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • Six buns
  • Red onions slices
  • Sliced very ripe tomatoes
  • Baby spinach or arugula
  • Condiments:  mayonnaise, fancy mustards, or (my favorite) remoulade (click here)

Cooking Instructions

Cut the salmon in big chunks and add to the food processor.  Pulse until it is ground, but still a little chunky.  Transfer to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.

Mix first with a spoon, and then with your hands.  Divide the salmon mixture into six parts and form burgers with your hands, first by making a ball, then by pressing it flat onto a plate or cookie sheet.  Be careful not to overwork the patty, which will make it tough.  Put a dimple in the middle of each patty with your thumb, which will help it keep its shape.  Add another quick grinding of fresh pepper and salt.

Spray the gas or charcoal grill with grill spray, and heat it to high.  Grill the salmon for about 5 minutes on each side, or to your desired degree of doneness.  While the salmon is cooking, place the buns on a less hot part of the grill in foil to heat them up.

Serve the patties with the buns, tomato, onion, baby spinach or arugula and your desired condiments.

Variations

You can serve these patties without buns atop the greens with the fresh veggies and condiments.

If you’d like to sauté rather than grill them, measure one more cup of Panko after making the patties, add a 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper to the Panko and mix well, then dredge each patty in the Panko mixture.  Add a small amount of olive oil to a skillet and sauté the patties over med-high heat, a few minutes per side, until they are done.

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Pulse the salmon in the food processor until it is ground but still a little chunky – this amount of salmon is for a half recipe, since we are empty-nesters here at Glover Gardens
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The ingredients for a half recipe (3 patties)
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Put all ingredients in the bowl, then mix with a spoon, and finally, your hands
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The patties (half recipe) ready to grill
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We also had our grilled asparagus that night; click here for the recipe
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The salmon burgers are lovely as an outside meal in late summer / early fall

Copyright Glover Gardens Cookbook, 2016.

Summer Pork Tenderloin | Glover Gardens Cookbook

Reblogging my post from last August 1 – there’s nothing that says “Summer!” like a quick and easy pork tenderloin on the grill.

Pair a quick-marinated and grilled pork tenderloin with fresh fruit and pasta salad for the perfect summer meal on the patio.

Source: Summer Pork Tenderloin | Glover Gardens Cookbook

Beef and Pork Burgers Stuffed with Pesto-Cheese Filling

One of the gifts I like to bestow on a loved one is to make a requested favorite dish or meal for their birthday dinner, and recently, one of my beloved nieces wanted lasagna.  I found a really good lasagna recipe on Epicurious, which had a terrific herb and cheese filling.  Of course I modified the recipe a bit, adding pesto to the filling, and also expanded the portions to ensure we could send care packages home with the birthday girl and our other guests.  There was some of the filling left over, so of course I had to develop a recipe to use it in…and thus, the Beef and Pork Burgers Stuffed with Pesto-Cheese Filling.

These burgers are sultry and rich, and need no added cheese.  To make them even more decadent, spread some of the leftover pesto-cheese filling on the buns.  You can also serve them with some of the pesto.  Yum!

Beef and Pork Burgers Stuffed with Pesto-Cheese Filling (serves 4-6, depending on your appetites)

Ingredients

Burger Mixture

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1/4 c. minced onions
  • 3 lg cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus extra to shake on patties
  • 1 tsps ground pepper, plus extra to shake on patties
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, plus extra to shake on patties

Filling

  • 1 cup ricotta or cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan, romano, or other hard cheese
  • 1/4 already-prepared pesto
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Serve with…

  • Buns of your choice
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Red onion slices
  • Spinach or arugula
  • Leftover cheese spread and your choice of condiments (Dijon mustard is especially good with these burgers)

Cooking Instructions

Combine ground beef and pork in a medium bowl, then add the onions, garlic and spices.  Mix well with your hands.  Form the mixture into 6-8 loosely packed balls, depending on whether you want large or medium patties.

Combine the ricotta (or cream cheese) with the shredded cheese, pesto, salt and pepper, stirring well to ensure that it is completely blended.

Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper.  To fill the patties, take each one and make a deep well in it, then add a heaping tablespoon of the filling.  Carefully stretch and pull the patty to form it all the way around the filling, completely sealing it in the ball, then gently pat it into a patty shape on the cookie sheet.  After filling all of the patties, sprinkle them on each side with salt, freshly ground pepper, and a few more red pepper flakes.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least a half hour while you are heating up the gas or charcoal grill.

Grill 5 or more minutes on each side until the patties reach your desired level of done-ness, remembering that they include ground pork and should be at least medium.  The Grill-Meister gets a nice sear on each side and then moves the burgers out of the direct flame to let them reach medium.

Serve with your choice of buns, garnishes and condiments.

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A big dollop of the filling will make this burger very juicy
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Carefully flatten the burgers into the traditional patty, then sprinkle with more salt, pepper and red pepper flakes
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The Grill-Meister carefully manages the grilling so the patties reach just the right level of done-ness
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The finished product is a whopping big, beautiful burger; the pesto-cheese filling is a juicy surprise as you make it to the middle of the burger

You can pre-make these patties and freeze them ahead of a road trip or beach day, letting them thaw in the cooler as you travel to your destination.  They are wonderful when grilled on charcoal and eaten beside the pool or with the sand between your toes.

High-Temp Eye of Round Roast Faux-Fajitas

A Fajita Craving

When we’re at Little House in the Rockies, sometimes we have to substitute ingredients and combine things we wouldn’t ordinarily put together.  We were in the mood for fajitas on this trip but the country grocery store didn’t have skirt steak, so I impulsively chose an eye of round roast and thought I could make do.

What I didn’t realize, being an eye of round roast newbie, is that it is an extremely lean cut of beef and can therefore be extremely tough.  Whoops!

What to do?  Change the recipe plan and use the tortillas, jalapeños, avocados, etc. on another night?  Or boldly go forth and try to create Faux-Fajitas?  (Or should we call them Faux-Jitas?)

Making Do with Eye of Round Roast

I’m sure you’ve guessed which path we chose, Dear Reader.  A Google search and some good-looking roasting recipes gave us the confidence that we could do a nice, rare/medium-rare roast and then slice our way to Faux-Jitas.

Here’s our take on it.

Ingredients

  • Eye of round roast, about 2 1/2 to 3 lbs.
  • 1 tsp. salt (I prefer coarse kosher salt for this type of cooking, but alas, we had only fine – and it was fine)
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper or course ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • Flour tortillas

Optional Garnishes

Cooking Instructions

Combine spices in a small bowl, then spread over all sides of the roast.  Put the roast on top of a piece of foil in a baking dish.  Let it stand at room temperature for an hour, and when there are only 15 minutes left, preheat the oven to 500, making sure that the rack is in the middle of the oven.

Put the roast in quickly on the middle rack and shut the door.  Cook the roast for 5 minutes per pound, and then turn off the oven.  Keep the roast in the oven for 1 1/2 more hours, and do not open the door.  At all.  Even if you are tempted.  Don’t do it.  Just look through the oven door with the light on.

Remove the roast and use a meat thermometer to check the temperature.  Use this guide for your desired temperature, or your own preference.  Tent the roast about ten minutes for the juices to settle; it will cook a little more while it rests. Slice fairly thin and serve with tortillas and garnishes.  I put the slices back into the pan juices and broiled them for about 30 seconds just before serving so they’d be hot.

The Whole Story, In Pictures

Gather All Ingredients - High Temp Eye of Round Roast
Gather the ingredients first, as always
Spice Mix for Eye of Round Roast
I remembered to line the pan with foil
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It has the promise of a nice meal even before being cooked
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It had just gone into the oven; I made a promise to myself NOT to open the door
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Tent the roast for about ten minutes after removing from the oven
Roast Out
This is what it looks like when you remove the tent
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It was a lovely rare / medium rare
Roast Ready to Serve
We sliced about a third of the roast and put in under the broiler for 30 seconds to reheat, then served it with tortillas, our favorite condiments and a black bean salad
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The roast slices made lovely Faux Fajitas; we’re going to do this again!

We were really, really happy about learning this technique for eye of round roast and will definitely use it again.  There’s a lot of beef left and we’re planning a cool meal with the leftovers.  Of course you can expect to see a post about it.  🙂