Seafood and Bean Stew with Pesto

Fish, shrimp, beans and pesto make the most delectable combination in this heavenly bowl of soup that will have you reaching for leftovers. Go ahead, it is comfort food with a conscience packed with three types of lean protein and juicy tomatoes. When basil is in season and my CSA box is full of this aromatic green goodness, I make batches of pesto and freeze tablespoon-size portions using mini-muffin tins. I store them in a freezer-safe container and enjoy during winter months in recipes like this. Don’t have fresh pesto on hand? Store-bought pesto will also work well and taste delicious in this dish.

Ingredients:
2 ounces pancetta, diced
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons pesto
8 ounces any firm white fish, such as cod or halibut, cut into bite-size cubes
8 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp
1 (15 ounce) can no salt added cannellini beans
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons pesto

Directions:

  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until brown and crispy, stirring occasionally. Remove pancetta with a slotted spatula and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Add onion to the stock pot and sauté, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.\
  3. Add the tomatoes and vegetable broth to the stock pot and increase heat to medium high. Bring to a gentle boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low and add the fish and seafood to the soup. Cover and simmer for about five minutes.
  5. Remove lid and add beans, pancetta, salt, pepper and pesto to the soup, stirring to combine. Cook for two to three additional minutes and serve.

Servings: 4

Halibut with Tropical Salsa and Coconut Rice

I created this recipe while on vacation earlier this summer using fresh seafood from a coastal fish market. I have enjoyed this dish back at home with local bell peppers from my CSA share and the taste brings back wonderful memories from vacation. The seafood may not be local, but I believe in cooking with whatever regional ingredients you can access. I love how cooking one recipe in different parts of the country or world can result in the use of different locally-sourced ingredients.

The tropical salsa and coconut rice also make a great pair for grilled pork chops and filet mignon if you want to serve a variety of options for your guests. Cheers to firing up the grill this weekend with your protein of choice as we say farewell to the summer season.

Ingredients:
2 cups white rice
2 (13.5 ounce) cans unsweetened, light coconut milk
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
1 lime
8 (4 to 6 ounce) halibut steaks or cod filets
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
3 small or 2 medium bell peppers, any color
1 pineapple, peeled, cored and quartered
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Directions:

  1. Bring coconut milk to a boil, add rice and reduce to low heat. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until milk is absorbed and rice is tender. Add sugar and coconut flakes and stir to combine, allowing sugar to melt into the steamy rice.
  2. Meanwhile, zest lime with a citrus zester or microplane grater. Brush halibut or cod with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with ½ teaspoon salt, pepper and zest from lime. Set aside while preparing the tropical salsa.
  3. Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Remove seeds from bell pepper and slice in half. Brush pineapple and bell pepper with remaining olive oil. Grill produce until light grill marks appear on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from grill and set aside until cool enough to touch.
  4. Grill fish for about 4 minutes per side until the center is firm and opaque. Remove from the grill and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  5. Dice pineapple and bell pepper and place in a medium bowl. Juice lime over salsa and add cilantro and salt, stirring to combine. Serve fish over coconut rice and top with tropical salsa.

Servings: 8

Fish Tacos with Purple Cabbage and Avocado Cream

With bright purple cabbage, one look at this dish is like sunshine on a rainy day. Filled with tender and flaky fish, crunchy cabbage and creamy avocado sauce, one bite of these tacos will have you reminiscing of ocean- or lake-front dining. Pair them with chips, salsa and a margarita for a restaurant-inspired meal.

Ingredients:
4 cups purple cabbage, shredded
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
The juice of 2 limes, divided
1 small avocado, pit removed
1 cup plain, light Greek yogurt
1 ½ pounds halibut
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
12 corn tortillas
⅓ cup cojita cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine cabbage, cilantro and half of the lime juice, and stir until evenly coated.
  2. With a spoon, scoop inside of avocado from the outer shell and place in a food processor. Add yogurt and ¼ teaspoon salt, and process until smooth.
  3. Prepare an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Brush fish with olive oil and season with chipotle pepper, black pepper and remaining salt. Grill fish until opaque, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from grill and flake into large chunks with a fork. Drizzle fish with remaining lime juice.
  4. Place tortillas on the grill for about 30 seconds on each side, until light grill marks appear. Remove from grill and place an equal amount of fish in each tortilla. Top with cabbage, avocado cream and cojita cheese.

Servings: 6 ~ Serving size: 2 tacos