Seafood Recipes

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Shrimp Spring Rolls (Vietnamese Roll Recipe) Recipe

Shrimp spring rolls (gỏi cuốn in Vietnamese) are the perfect finger food when we have a party. Not only are they healthy, but they're very tasty as well. I usually serve them sliced in half with a peanut and hoisin sauce on the side.

For this dish, I prefer to wrap the rolls with tapioca sheets, called bánh tráng mỏng in Vietnamese, which literally translates to "thin paper disks". They are thinner than rice paper, and as a result the shrimp are still visible once wrapped. The other plus of using tapioca sheets is that they look fresh longer, once they're made, versus the ones with rice paper. Tapioca rounds are stickier than rice paper when wet though, so it's a little more difficult to wrap them.

In these particular fresh rolls, I added the basic ingredients such as shrimp, rice noodles, bean sprouts, cucumber, lettuce and Vietnamese herbs. Meat could be added but I like them very simple. It's a fairly fast dish; the only long step is wrapping the rolls, but with our large family, the work was quite easy.

And for the vegetarians in the house, we wrapped bì cuốn chay, so everyone could share the same meal for dinner.


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Mustard Deviled Quail Eggs with Smoked Salmon (Oeuf Mimosa Recipe) Recipe

Oeuf mimosa ("deviled egg" in English) is a first course (or appetizer) made of hard cooked eggs from which the egg yolks have been removed and mixed with mayonnaise and herbs and then filled back into the egg white.

Deviled eggs are a very common French bistro dish but instead of using large chicken eggs, I used quail eggs. There are simple rules on how to boil quail eggs. The freshness of the eggs is very important. Remove the eggs from the refrigerator 15 minutes prior to cooking to bring them back to room temperature, then cover them with cold salted water and add a hint of vinegar. Egg shells are porous and by salting the water, the eggs will already be seasoned; the vinegar helps the egg whites coagulate in case they break while boiling.

The eggs are usually dressed with anchovies rolled into a ring with a caper or olive on top. Today I wanted to glam them up though, so I served the deviled eggs with smoked salmon and dill. Our guests love the mini appetizers and so will you if you give this recipe a try!


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Lemon Crusted Fish (Baked Mahi Mahi Recipe) Recipe

This lemon crusted fish recipe is my attempt to create a savory dish using the Walkers shortbread cookies I recently received. Instead of using bread crumbs, I finely ground shortbread cookies that I blended with sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, candied kumquats, lemon zest and a few other spices.

I used mahi mahi because it's a great way to introduce fish to children, as the flesh is more subtle in flavor than any other fish. When properly cooked, mahi mahi is flaky with bright, firm flesh. To make the dish, I very briefly seared the fish, covered the fillets with the lemon crust and bakes them for a few minutes. It was as simple as that!

The shortbread crust has a buttery flavor and mild sweetness that really accentuates the fish. I set some aside and the girls were eating the crust by itself. It was such a hit that I’m thinking of recreating the dish with fried tofu instead of fish. Stay tuned.

Crusted Fish Recipe with Picture


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Ca Nuc Kho (Traditional Vietnamese Whole Mackerel in Sugarcane Sauce) Recipe

Cá nục kho mía literally translates to "mackerel braised in sugarcane sauce". It's the fish traditionally served in  a Vietnamese claypot. The dark caramel ginger sauce is made from galangal and sugarcane juice (nước mía in Vietnamese).

Mackerel is high in Omega 3 oils but can have a strong fishy flavor. There are several steps that can be taken to ensure this dish is absolutely delicious. First, when you're at the market, make sure the fish is fresh; fresh mackerel shouldn't smell fishy. Look for clear-eyed fish with bright, shiny scales. The second step is to clean the inside of the fish thoroughly in several water baths and let the fish rest in a vinegary solution for a few minutes. The last part is to use a lot of shallots and galangal, which has a sharper, more aromatic flavor than ginger. It's slightly more expensive than ginger but it's well worth it.

I served the fish with steamed jasmine rice and sautéed rau muống (Vietnamese pea shoot tendrils) with fresh chestnuts and wood ear mushrooms.


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Cha Tom Recipe (Vietnamese Shrimp Cakes) Recipe

Chả tôm are lightly seasoned shrimp cakes. No tasteless fillers here; a sprinkling of tapioca starch, coriander, green onions, garlic and kaffir lime are the only ingredients added to supplement the flavor and texture of the shrimp. It is true Vietnamese comfort food.

These shrimp cakes make wonderful appetizers, but can also be served as an entrée. Just pair them with vermicelli (called bún chả tôm) and you'll have yourself a very traditional Vietnamese meal. You could also make mini sandwiches for a change of pace. I served them recently as appetizers for a dinner party with a plum dipping sauce. They will be delicious no matter how you choose to prepare them!


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