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Mar 1, 2009 07:10 AM

March 2009/July 2012 COTM Fish Without a Doubt: Salads, Ceviches, & Gravlax

**March 2009 Cookbook of the Month** is Fish Without a Doubt by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore.

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes for salads, ceviches and gravlax here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Spicy Ginger Lime Ceviche with Black Sea Bass (pg. 350)

    This was lovely and there was a lot going on with all the flavors in the ceviche. We were in day 5 of a heat wave and I couldn't bear the thought of turning on the stove. I had all the ingredients to the ceviche other than the fish. I subbed the recommended scallops in for the Black Sea Bass.

    The sauce was lime zest, lime juice, hoisin, fish sauce, sambal oelek and grated fresh ginger. I was a bit hesitant about the full amount of the hoisin sauce because of the sweetness, but I took a leap of faith and put it all in. I'm glad I did because the sweetness was balanced by the tartness of the lime zest and lime juice.

    The scallops than marinate for about 2 hours and after, you add chopped red pepper and scallions. I did make slight subs here - green pepper and spring onion. I also threw in more than stated and I recommend that you add even more than that (I used one whole green pepper and 1 spring onion). The reason is that there is a lot of sauce and the flavor can get overpowering. But, the veggie soaked into the sauce quite nicely.

    This is a really easy, summer meal that was perfect for the 90+ day we were having.

    5 Replies
    1. re: beetlebug

      Spicy Ginger Lime Ceviche with (Black Sea Bass), p. 350

      I made this with wild ling cod, which is not on the list of recommended substitutes for black sea bass in the recipe, but which I decided would work fine because like black sea bass, it's a firm but mild white fish. And it did, indeed, work well. This was a wonderful ceviche, and I agree with beetlebug that the marinade was very well balanced between sweet, tart, and spicy.

      I made a half recipe, but because I had this as a main dish, I wanted it to be a bit more substantial, so used the full amounts of cilantro and scallions, and more than the full amount of thinly sliced red pepper. Beetlebug is right - more vegetables are better in this, and I liked the contrasting textures a lot. Other than increasing the veggies and using a different fish, the only change I made in ingredients was to use Sriracha instead of sambal oelek. The book says it should marinate for at least 2 hours, but I ate mine after 1 1/2 hours and it was perfect.

      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

        This really sounds incredibly good. Serving this as a main, what did you serve with it, if you don't mind telling?

        1. re: LulusMom

          I just had a green salad on the side (going for light/healthy, and also it was just me), but it would certainly also be good served with chips of some kind for scooping it up.

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            That would seal the deal for my family (the chips) most definitely! Thanks for the inspiration, Caitlin and bb.

      2. re: beetlebug

        I made this ceviche again, this time using squid, one of his recommended alternatives. To prepare the squid, the bodies are cut in 1/3" rings (Moonen doesn't think tentacles work well in ceviche) and "flash-blanched" - put in boiling water and immediately drained, then spread on a plate and chilled thoroughly. Even though he says the squid should be in the water for no more than 3 seconds (mine were probably in for a few seconds more), they certainly appear cooked.

        As when I made this with fish, I made a half recipe in terms of the squid and liquids, but used the full amount of vegetables. It was as good with the squid as with fish; I think you can't go wrong with this mix of flavors.

      3. Tuna Preserved in Oil [pg 98]
        Niçoise Salad [pg 336]

        Cross-posted so make it easier to find in the future.

        My favorite farm sells something that they call Saladbowl lettuce. This lettuce is difficult to find in this country, but in the South of France, it is the standard lettuce at every bistro and restaurant I have eaten in. It has texture, fibre and a beautiful color, and yet is delicate like a Bibb or Boston lettuce. I make a point of getting to the Farmer's Market early enough to snag one of these heads before they are gone.

        Also in season right now are asperagus and carrots. With a shopping bag full of good vegetables, the question was, well, yes, but what is for dinner? A quick discussion and we decided to walk to the Korean market and get some of their beautiful tuna. So dinner was to be a salad with grilled tuna. But then it started to rain and I pulled out FISH!

        And dinner was changed. Niçoise Salad would be the plan.

        Poaching the tuna could not have been easier. Salt the tuna and let it rest for twenty minutes before putting into a heavy pan, covering with olive oil and cooking over a low heat for 20 minutes. The instructions indicated to get the oil warm, but not warm enough to bubble. I had to adjust the amount of flame under the pan several times to prevent the oil from over-heating. I admit, I had some moments of doubt as my gorgeous piece of pink tuna started to shrink and turn grey, but there was no turning back. After 30 minutes, you let the tuna cool in the oil. If you were saving it, you would move the tuna and oil to a glass container.

        The Niçoise salad dressing that was recommended is different than anything I have had in Nice or anywhere along the Southern French coast. To be honest, making this dressing was an act of faith. Moonen has been right before, and I will trust him!

        I used 1/4 cup of the tuna oil which he recommends for the best flavor. Heat a heavy saucepan and when it is hot, add the 1/4 cup oil and 1/8 cup of minced garlic. Stir. When the garlic is fragrent and almost starting to brown add 8 anchovies and stir until the anchovies are just about to melt. I let them melt just a bit before taking the oil mixture off the heat. Add 1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar, and pour over the salad while still warm. I did let the dressing cool for just a few moments, since I didn't want a wilted salad.

        My composed salad had lettuce, boiled potato at room temperature, julienned carrots, blanched asperagus, hard-boiled egg and cucumbers, plus the poached tuna.

        I am not absolutely convinced by the dressing yet, but I may be reacting to the chunkiness instead of the flavor. My dining companion, who is not a fan of anchovies, really liked it, while I, the anchovy lover was less sure. Perhaps I should try making the dressing and then straining.

        The tuna, in spite of its grey appearance, was absolutely delcious- moist and flavorful. This is a method of cooking tuna [and probably some other fish] that I will utilize again. Overall, this dish was really good and served with a fresh loaf of bread was a perfect summer supper.

        1. Lobster and Potato Salad, Pg. 340

          This was a different and quite filling lobster salad as you can imagine with the addition of potatoes and other vegetables.

          You start with the meat of 2 steamed lobsters sliced in chunks. A cup each of petit pois and corn kernels are thawed by letting hot water pour over them in a sieve. Into a large bowl go the lobster meat, peas, corn, sliced boiled potatoes (I steamed them), chopped celery, scallions, and smoked oysters All is tossed gently together.

          The dressing consists of mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, champagne vinegar, minced shallots, chopped hard boiled eggs, Maldon salt and white pepper. Mix the salad and dressing together, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to let the flavors meld. Serve over lettuce...which I totaly forgot to do and I had a lovely bunch of baby arugula too... Bah humbug! I also served roasted zucchini spears and chilled champagne. Delicious.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Gio

            Gio that sounds spectacular and, like a perfect summer meal. I rec'd this book as a Christmas gift last year but haven't prepared any of the recipes as yet. This would be a lovely dish for our Canada Day weekend menu and if I can pick up some fresh lobsters, it will certainly be on our plates. Thanks for pointing it out!

            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              This is one of my favorite books. You do need to pull it out and dive in! And you have a head start since so many items from the book have been reviewed.

              1. re: smtucker

                i'll have to do that smtucker, good to know you love the book. I put almost all the past COTM's on my "wish list" for that very reason, it's amazing to be able to look back and share in the wisdom and experiences of my Chowhound friends whose opinions I so value.

                1. re: smtucker

                  I Love This Book. Seems to me that everything we made from it was exceptional. Although there are several recipes within recipes everything was carefully written and the finished dish came together without much of a do.

                  BC... You'll love it too. I just know you will.

              2. re: Gio

                Lobster (Salmon) and Potato Salad, Pg. 340

                I made this salad with salmon which is of recommended alternatives and it was delicious. Didn't have any lettuce but would've been pretty and tasty to serve the salad on a bed of greens. Next time because there will definitely be a next time!

                1. re: herby

                  I'm so glad you liked the recipe, JPR. Love that you made it with salmon. What a great idea. For the last few years here lobsters have been at rock bottom prices...sometimes as low as 2.99/lb. Lately though they're up to almost 10.00/lb. Good to know the salad works with other seafood as well, right now I'm thinking large Gulf shrimp for example.

              3. Classic American Tuna [Salmon] Salad (page 334)

                After preparing the Grilled Toro Salmon (reported on here: ), I used the same seasonings and method to grill the remaining part of the fillet and refrigerated it overnight to make this salad the next day.

                I’m usually pretty laissez-faire when it comes to measuring ingredients, but this time I followed his measurements exactly so I would know just what the salad would be like as written. It’s pretty standard: minced red onion, minced celery, mayo, Dijon, chopped fresh dill, and s&p. I added 6 ounces of my cooked salmon.

                This is one of very few recipes in the book I wasn’t crazy about. Just too much mayo for me; that was about all I could taste.

                I should note that he recommends serving the salad on toasted potato rolls with sliced dill pickles and potato chips on the sandwich and I just served it on salad greens. I’m sure it would have been better his way, but I’d still adjust the recipe. If I made this again (but I probably won’t; much prefer the Union Square tuna sald), I’ll make it with his Tuna Preserved in Oil and cut way back on the mayo.

                6 Replies
                1. re: JoanN

                  I never did like pickles and chips On a roll as components of a sandwich. But serving on the lettuce as you did sounds as if it should have been delicious. Too bad the amount of mayo over powered everything. It's a good use of that salmon fillet though... with modifications. Our Farmers' Market begins tomorrow and I'm dying to see what seafood is there.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    I am apparently one of the few people in the world who can't stand pickles in/with my tuna or chicken salad. And too much mayo can definitely ruin it. Sorry to hear about this rare bad recipe.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      I'm not a fan of dill pickles at all but I don't mind sweet pickles in my mayo-based salads. That said, I totally agree w you and Joan LLM, I use the mayo judiciously. Recently I've been buying Hellman's Olive Oil mayo and for whatever reason, we seem to prefer it....again, in moderation.

                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        I like mayo a lot, but yes, too much in a mayo based salad seems gloppy. Overpowers everything else and I don't care for the texture.

                    2. re: JoanN

                      I thought this came out absolutely perfect. The salad was spot on and very tasty by itself, but the dill pickles and potato chips really took things to the next level. I disagree with the comments of too much mayo, but that might be because I had them on the sandwich as described in the recipe, and that gave it a bit more substance to balance things out.

                      1. re: ngeunit1

                        I made this in the early afternoon-
                        I adjusted the mayo and used tarragon instead of dill.
                        I also didn't put potato chips on sandwich.
                        I topped sandwich with tomato and homemade pickle.


                    3. Grapefruit-Pomegranate Ceviche with Black Sea Bass (Scallops), p. 345

                      Looking for a no-heat solo dinner option for summer and incidentally trying to lose 5 lbs that have crept on recently, this called out to me as a fresh and light option.

                      I used the recommended sub of sea scallops. They're salted, then combined with lime zest, grapefruit zest and juice, pomegranate juice (I used bottled from concentrate -- would certainly be better with fresh), ground coriander and jalapeno, then refrigerated for at least two hours. Just before serving, grapefruit segments, pomegranate seeds, cilantro and scallions are stirred in. I served with pita chips and some sliced avocado on the side.

                      This was very good, and I am certainly no ceviche expert (have certainly eaten, but it's not a mainstay, and I have never made it before), but here are my admittedly pretty small quibbles:

                      - Calls for quartering the scallops if using, but the sea bass is supposed to be in 1/2-inch pieces -- the scallop pieces seemed way too big to me, both in terms of scoopability and in having everything combine harmoniously.

                      - It says to "season the fish with salt" before marinating, but doesn't give a recommended amount and "to taste" doesn't really seem to apply with raw fish. I ended up having to add salt to the final combined ceviche to get the right balance -- not a big deal, but would be helpful to have a guideline.

                      - I upped the jalapeno from 1 Tbsp to at least 2 Tbsp, but still had to mix in some red pepper flakes to feel like the balance was there on the heat vs. fruit.

                      I made a half recipe but didn't finish it and actually found that the leftovers were better the next day for lunch with some chunked up avocado thrown in...despite being dubious about the notion of "leftover ceviche." Might have been partly due to the large size of the quartered scallops though.

                      I am also interested to try the spicy ginger lime ceviche that beetlebug reviews above -- probably with fish rather than scallops.