Nothing says summer like fresh fish, veggies

What am I excited about cooking in my kitchen right now? Fresh-caught halibut and king salmon. That first-of-the-season fresh fish, grilled and basted lightly with sweet herb butter or deep-fried golden brown and served with a creamy dill pickle tartar sauce. King salmon carpaccio; paper-thin pieces of fresh king that are drizzled with citrus juice and zest, good olive oil and fresh dill and marinated a few hours then served as an appetizer with pan-toasted thin slices of sourdough bread. Crunchy romaine lettuce dressed with a piquant lemon Caesar dressing, homemade garlic croutons and shavings of really good parmesan cheese. Big fat spears of green asparagus roasted with buttery olive oil and sea salt. For dessert there is a tart sweet rhubarb dessert with Jello from Grandma’s handwritten recipe card or a sinful bowl of salted caramel ice cream. The sunshine inspires me to prepare lots of colorful healthy produce, fresh-caught seafood and grill everything from fruit to veggies to pizza — it’s time for summer fare.

The Other Fisherman is busy being a farmer and my personal charter captain and deck hand. He’s planted many rows of potatoes, has lots of little vegetable starts looking vulnerable but hopeful in the garden, and a big raised box of carrots. He is raising little fuzzy and feathered poultry of various kinds — turkeys, laying chickens, meat chickens and our mature layers. We went halibut fishing and anchored at a pretty sweet honey hole for halibut, everyone had a bite almost every time our bait hit the bottom. He is a very busy husband.

So much to do, so many delicious things to eat, so much fun to have, but so little summer time. Enjoy gardening, fishing and playing under the midnight sun. 

Until next time, bon appetite.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Fool

Serves 6

There as many rhubarb recipes to try as their are cruise ship tourists in Juneau this time of year. Rhubarb is the first to awaken in the spring. Strawberries are a perfect complement to rhubarb and they look beautiful together. Add a tangy, creamy component and you have a little bit of heaven in a dish.

1 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt

2 pints strawberries, rinsed, patted dry and hulled

3 stalks of rhubarb, about 3⁄4 pound,
stem end and tip 1⁄2 inch removed from each stalk, coarsely chopped

4-6 tablespoons mild-flavored honey, such as fireweed or clover

1 cup whipping cream

Spoon yogurt into a fine-meshed sieve placed over a bowl lined with a paper coffee filter or two thicknesses of dampened cheese cloth.

Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to drain. Coarsely chop 1 pint of the strawberries. Cut the remaining strawberries into halves if small, quarters if larger.

Place the 1 pint of coarsely chopped strawberries and the rhubarb in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until fruit begins to lose its juice and bubble, stirring occasionally. Uncover pan, reduce heat and simmer about 8 to 10 minutes, or until strawberries and rhubarb lose their shape and only a few lumps remain, stirring occasionally.

Add 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) honey and stir well to incorporate. Add the remaining pint of strawberries, and cook over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The strawberries should be soft, but still hold their shape. Taste and add 1 to 2 tablespoons more honey if necessary. Pour the mixture into a medium mixing bowl and allow to cool. Meanwhile, whip cream until stiff peaks form.

Add drained yogurt to strawberry-rhubarb mixture and stir well. Add whipped cream, folding in gently until only a few white streaks remain.

To serve, spoon into individual dishes or goblets. Garnish each with a sprig of fresh mint.


Halibut Skewers with Charmoula Sauce

4 servings, 2 skewers each

All winter long I dream of that first taste of fresh halibut, sweet and tender. This preparation of fresh halibut brings together my favorite components for grilling: marinated seafood, veggies and a snappy sauce.

For the marinade mix together
the following in a medium glass bowl:

1⁄4 cup chopped white onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1⁄4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Juice of 1⁄2 a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

10 ounces firm white fish, such as cod, or halibut, cut into 16 pieces (about 1-inch each)

3 each small zucchini and yellow squash (about 11⁄4 pounds) cut into 1-inch pieces

Add the fish and squash and marinate at room temperature, about 15 minutes.


Charmoula Sauce

1 1⁄2 teaspoons of ground cumin 

1⁄2 teaspoon of ground coriander 

1 tablespoon of sweet paprika 

2 teaspoon of kosher salt 

1⁄4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper 

1⁄8 teaspoon of white pepper 

4 garlic cloves — minced 

1⁄2 cup of Italian flat leaf parsley — cut up 

1⁄2 cup of cilantro — cut up 

1 lemon — juice and zest 

1 lime — juice and zest 

1⁄2 cup good quality olive oil 

Mix spices together in a small bowl.  Add remaining ingredients to a food processor fitted with a large bowl. Slowly add citrus juices and zest and then olive oil with blade running. Transfer to small bowl and set aside. 

8 cherry tomatoes

8 wooden skewers soaked in water
at least 20 minutes

Preheat the grill on high. Oil the grates well. Thread the marinated fish and squash onto the soaked skewers, 2 pieces of fish per skewer. Place 1 cherry tomato on the end of each skewer. Skewer like this: zucchini, halibut, summer squash, halibut, cherry tomato. Place on the grill and cook until lightly charred on the outside and the fish is just cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. 

While the fish is still warm, drizzle with a little charmoula sauce and serve more on the side for dipping. The sauce is good with other types of seafood. 

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