See you, Australia! Hello, Fish Tacos and home!

Thank you so much Australia and New Zealand! It was yet another incredible leg of the Mrs Carter Show with Beyonce. I can’t wait to visit again, but dang what a long flight! I just got back last night after traveling for 30 hours and to my surprise I was actually able to sleep through the night and so far, (thank goodness) I’m not really that jet lagged! (*knocks on wood*)

I hit the ground running back in New York, running errands and taking care of business today. I went super market hopping today (one of my favorite past times), lugging around my brand new mortar and pestle from Sur La Table, picking up a whole bunch of ingredients for some upcoming recipes.. I could not wait to get back into the kitchen after being away from mine for a month! The first thing that popped into my head was fish tacos with a homemade sweet chili sauce. The tacos are light and fun and the chili sauce is sweet, zingy, and packs a serious punch.. Kind of like the perfect track to pair up with this recipe.. Christian McBride’s “I’m Coming Home” from his “Family Affair” album. It just seems oh so fitting.

Check it out!

You’re going to need a mortar and pestle for this. If you don’t have one, it’s seriously a great investment for the kitchen. Great for grinding up spices, making pesto, guacamole, and much more. (Mine was $25 from Sur La Table)

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Recipe makes 4 tacos

Sweet Chili Sauce:

  • 2 red chilis deseeded and chopped (see Adi’s Tips below)
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed and peeled
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped

Method

Combine chilis, garlic, sugar, and salt in mortar and grind with pestle until smoothish. Stir in olive oil, vinegar, lime, onions, and cilantro. Taste. Season accordingly.

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For the Fish:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb firm white fish (I used 2 basa fillets)
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Black pepper
  • Shredded radicchio
  • 1 small red onion sliced finely
  • Squeeze of lime
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • any other garnishments you like

Warm tortillas in a 300 degree F oven while fish cooks. In a pan large enough to fit the fillets of fish, heat olive oil over medium high. Season fish on both sides. Place in pan lying the fish down away from you so the oil doesn’t splash you. The fish should sizzle, if it doesn’t you need to wait longer for the olive oil to heat up. Cook fish 3-4 minutes on one side, then flip for an additional 1-2 minutes. Once cooked through, cut fillets into 4 servings and construct tacos with sweet chili sauce, radicchio, onion, and lime.

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Can you tell how excited I am to be home and cooking again!? haha

*Adi’s Tips: 

  • In order to de-seed a chili pepper you can pretend you’re the most killin’ drummer on the face of the planet and they are your drum sticks and jam out on your kitchen counter. (I’m serious) By tapping the pepper against a surface you release all the seeds, so once you cut the top off they will all pour out.
  • If your fingers start to burn because of touching the inside of the pepper rinse them with lemon juice. It’ll relieve the burn.

You can improvise:

  • Experiment with different garnishes like cabbage instead of radicchio, or by adding sour cream or guacamole, etc.
  • Use a different type of fish
  • Bread the fish with japanese bread crumbs by first dredging it in beaten eggs, flour, and then panko bread crumbs, then sear.

Stay tuned for more recipes! I’ll be cooking and playing up a storm the next 2 and a half weeks!

Sweet Chili Glazed Salmon and Freddie Hubbard

When I think of sweet chili sauce, the first thing that comes to mind is how amazing of a combination sweet and spicy are. Sweet things are always nice in the kitchen and in life, but I think that you need some excitement through spice thrown in there! The key word is balance. Like any great recipe, movie, show, anything.. there’s a balance involved.. Tension and release.

Cue Music: Freddie Hubbard “You’re My Everything” from Hub-tones

For instance,  trumpeter Freddie Hubbard’s  playing is the perfect balance of a sweet tone and exciting rhythmic interjections and nuances sprinkled throughout. He starts out playing the melody of one of my favorite jazz standards, “You’re My Everything” so sweetly, then halfway through he pops a high note out “Bow!” (I’m referring to 0:27) This is just a glimpse of the spiciness he’ll throw into his solo after the melody. He creates a cohesive solo through tasty phrasing and with a swinging band including Herbie Hancock on piano, Reggie Workman on bass, Clifford Jarvis on drums, and James Spaulding on saxophone backing him up, it creates the perfect sense of sweet satisfaction and spicy excitement! On with the sweet chili glazed salmon:

Yield: 4 servings 

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 lb salmon skin on cut into fillets

for the marinade:

  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • juice from 2 limes squeezed
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger

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Whisk all the ingredients together, pour over salmon in either a ziploc bag or container. Let marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat 2 tbsp of a “high smoking point” oil (grapeseed or vegetable oil)  in a large frying pan on medium high. Once oil is hot carefully place 2 fillets in the pan skin side down. Let them sear for about 2 minutes so the skin crisps up a little. Flip them and let the top side get golden on the edges (2 minutes). Repeat with the rest of the fillets. Place them on a baking sheet skin side down and finish them off in the oven, maybe 5-7 minutes depending on thickness of fillets. Photo-55

(excuse my iphone photos.. I left my good camera in Sweden by accident on the Mrs Carter Show Tour- being shipped back to the US 🙂 )

 Improvise by:

  • Baking the salmon completely, cooking on stove top, or grilling (yum!)
  • try marinating with different flavors/sauces (teriyaki, hoisin, etc)
  • Using this marinade for other proteins whether it be other fish or chicken, etc.

I prepared my salmon with wilted spinach, that I cooked in the same large pan the salmon was seared in, picking up all the tasty bits left behind. In addition, I roasted cauliflower that I coated with olive oil, salt and pepper in the oven at 425 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes, flipping/stirring occasionally.

Enjoy!