Simply Seasoned Salmon

Salmon is one of the easiest, most versatile fish to cook.  Baked, grilled or poached, for lunch or dinner,  Salmon is also a great add on to rice bowls or Summer salads. Today, at the market when I saw wild caught salmon (which is not always available here) I had to buy it.  I am cooking my Salmon “simply seasoned”, fast and easy, it works for a light summer lunch or dinner.  Let’s Cook!

Simple Seasoned Baked Salmon

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Fast, easy, healthy for a Summer lunch or dinner



3-4 Wild caught Salmon filets

Large handful of fresh thyme

3 tsp capers

The juice of 1 lemon

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup white wine

Sea salt, course grain

Fresh ground pepper

-Preheat oven to 350 F

-Place Salmon filets skin side down on an oven to baking dish

-Squeeze the lemon over the fillets

-Drizzle fillets with olive oil, add the course grain salt (to taste)

-Generously add the fresh thyme leaves, the capers and fresh ground pepper

-Pour wine into the baking dish

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-Bake 12-20 minutes (desired doneness)

-Serve directly from the baking dish


Buon Appetito!



Tuna Stuffed Peppers, Fish on Friday!!

Instead of stuffing your peppers with meat, try stuffing them with a flavorful tuna filling.  This recipe is light, great for summer entertaining, easy to make and has few ingredients.  Now when you see those lovely sweet (or hot)  banana peppers at the farmers market bring them home and make this fun fish alternative.  Let’s Cook!

Tuna Stuffed Peppers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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An alternative to meat stuffed peppers, light, easy and flavorful



1 1/2 cup of canned tuna, oil or water

4-6 depending on size,  long, sweet or hot banana peppers

1 cup of ricotta cheese

1/2 cup of breadcrumbs (depending on the moisture of the ricotta you might need to add more)

1/2 cup Parmesan Reggiano

2 cloves of garlic

1 egg

1 1/2 cup easy tomato sauce

1/2 lb fresh Mozzarella cheese

Fresh thyme to taste

Sea salt and ground pepper to taste


    -Preheat oven to 350F

    -Clean and cut the pepper in half, if the peppers are large you can fill whole

    -Drain the tuna and put in a mixing bowl, add the ricotta, garlic, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, egg, thyme, salt and pepper mix well.  If the mixture is too wet to hold a shape, add more bread crumbs and or parmesan cheese

    -Fill the peppers with the tuna mixtureIMG_1365

    -Top with tomato sauce

  • Slice the mozzarella and lay on top of the each pepper
  • -Bake for 25-30 minutes, peppers should be soft and mozzarella melted


Buon Appetito!




Shrimp and Swordfish Lemon Mustard Kabobs…Fish on Friday!!

Its time to fire up the grill!  When entertaining friends and family this summer try this recipe, it is easy, fast and  makes a great impression.  The shrimp and swordfish are skewered together after marinading in a mustard lemon thyme sauce.   What is great  about this dish it can be made ahead of time, it is as good  at room temperature as it is hot off the grill.  I am serving mine kabobs with  Cucumber Herb Crunch and  Russian Salad  (both on the blog).  Pour a crisp glass of white wine and your all set….Let’ cook!!

Shrimp Swordfish Kabobs with Lemon Mustard Thyme Marinade

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Once your shrimp are cleaned and deveined marinate for an hour, the kabobs will cook in 10-15 minutes



2 lbs of shrimp (medium size) peeled and deveined

1 lb of Swordfish cut into cubes

2 lemons

2 tbls Dijon mustard

2 garlic cloves pressed

fresh thyme sprigs, at least 2 tbls

Salt seasoning i.e. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt or Montreal Chicken Seasoning McCormick’s to taste

fresh ground pepper to taste


-Clean, peel and devein the shrimp, cut the swordfish into bite sized cubes and add both to a bowl.fullsizeoutput_3f.jpeg

-Add, the juice of 2 lemons, the dijon mustard, garlic, thyme, salt mixture and fresh ground pepper stir well and let sit for at least 1 hourfullsizeoutput_40.jpeg

-Skewer the shrimp and swordfish, retain the marinade


-Heat the grill,  when hot ,place the kabobs on the grate, on low direct heat grill until golden on each side.  The reserve marinade can be brushed on during cooking. Approximately 5 minutes per side.


-Place on a platter and serve

Buon Appetito!


Fish on Friday….Spaghetti with Mussels

Its Friday, and we love fish on Friday, or maybe we just like to say it!.  Today’s recipe Spaghetti con le Cozze (Mussels), like it’s sister Spaghetti con le Vongole (Clams) is another one of our favorite dishes here in Venice.  Mussels, so versatile, can be prepared  so many ways, stuffed, fried, curried, or in seafood salads, but one of our favorite ways to cook mussels is to simply sauté them and use them as a sauce for spaghetti.  So, to honor Fish on Friday, here is a simple recipe for Spaghetti con le Cozze…let’s cook!!

Spaghetti with Mussels

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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If you like Mussels, then you will love this spaghetti!



6 lbs of fresh mussels

6 tbls extra virgin olive oil

fresh hot pepper to taste

4 large ripe plum tomatoes

2 tbls fresh flat leaf parsley chopped

1 1/2 cups of dry white wine

Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

6 cloves of garlic

1 lb of imported high quality spaghetti


Step 1 Mussels

Fill your sink with cold water and place the mussels into the water. Scrub and de-beard the mussels by pulling the black string-like piece that is attached out carefully so as to not disturb the mussel inside.  Place in a colander.


-In a lidded pot large enough to contain the mussels, add 2 tbls of olive oil and 3 cloves of garlic sliced or smashed lightly, brown the garlic on a lively heat

-Carefully pour the mussels into the pot with the hot oil and garlic, add the white wine, stir the mussel, place the lid and cook until all the mussels open, stirring occasionally, the cooking time is less than 10 minutes, keep your eye on the mussels

-When all mussels open take the pot off the heat and let the mussels cool


-When the mussels are cool enough to touch, take them out of their shell, place in a bowl, discard the shell… Important, Do not discard the cooking liquid.   Note-mussels that do not open, do not force them open, discard them.

-With a paper towel inside of  a strainer, strain the cooking liquid of the mussels and set aside

Step 2- The Sauce

-Bring  a small pot of water to boil

-Make an X on the stem top of the tomatoes, when the water boils, drop the tomatoes into the water for 1 minute, remove, let cool, peel off the tomato’s skin, cut the tomato in half, remove the seeds, chop the tomatoes into cubes


-In a wok style skillet, large enough to cook off the spaghetti, add 4 tbls olive oil and 3 cloves of garlic either diced or pressed, and hot pepper to your heat preference,  lightly brown the garlic, add the tomatoes, cook until the tomatoes start to break down, salt and pepper to taste.


-Add  1 1/2 cup of the strained mussel cooking liquid, cook along with the tomatoes until the liquid reduces, add the mussels into the sauce stir well and let rest while you cook the spaghettiIMG_0697.JPG

Step 3 – The Spaghetti

-In a pasta pot bring water to boil

-Add Sea Salt, the Spaghetti, and cook for 1 minute less than package indicates

-Place the sauce back on a lively heat

-With a pasta fork, scoop the pasta out of its water, drain each forkful well on top of the pasta water

-Add the pasta to the mussel sauce incorporating the sauce with the pasta, over a lively heat, stirring,  add the chopped parsley (note-if sauce seems dry, add more of the mussel cooking broth)

Serve and Enjoy


Buon Appetito!!








Baked Whole Fish with Potatoes, Tomatoes and Capers

I know making a whole fish can be intimidating, but it is really easy and well worth the effort.  I grew up where we ate fish already filleted, we never really had to deal with the head, tail or skin.   It is completely the opposite here in Venice.  Rarely,  you’re  served fish filleted, restaurants take great pride presenting you your fish before and after it is baked or grilled.  The following is a basic recipe that can be adapted for salt water fish of any size.  Your fish monger will help you choose the right size fish for the quantity you need.

Red Fish (Scorfano) Baked with Potatoes, Tomatoes and Capers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe can be adjusted easily,  just add more tomatoes, capers and potatoes as you increase the serving size


Whole fish (mine was 3 1/2 lb Red Fish or Scorfano) Cleaned and Scaled by your fish monger

5 large potatoes  cut into pieces

3 Tbls capers

10-15 Cherry tomatoes cut in quarters

-Extra virgin olive oil

Sea Salt course grain and fresh ground pepper to taste

1 cup dry white wine


-Preheat oven to 375 F

-Line a large oven pan with either aluminum foil or parchment paper

-Peel and cube the potatoes, boil for 6-8 minutes to precook, drain (note time will depend on potato type, potatoes should be firm they will continue to cook with the fish again in the oven)

-Drizzle the prepared oven pan with olive oil and lay the fish in the pan, add tomatoes and capers


-Toss the potatoes on top, salt liberally, ground pepper and drizzle again with olive oil


-Pour the wine onto the fish

-Bake 45 minutes in 375 F oven


-Serve immediatly

Buon Appetito!!









Spaghetti with Clam Sauce

The Lovely fresh clams from the area are a mainstay in La Cucina Veneziana.  I think that Spaghetti with Clam Sauce is probably one of the most popular dishes here in Venice.  Our Vongole Verace  (local clams) are so good, you can taste the sea.  We try not to complicate this recipe, letting the clams have center stage.

Spaghetti with Clam Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
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Baby clams will work well with this recipe, if not you can chop larger sized clams into bite sized pieces



3 1/2 lbs of fresh clams the smaller the better (note- this will yield about 1 1/5-2 cups of cooked clams

6 tbls extra virgin olive oil

fresh hot pepper or hot pepper flakes to taste

1 tbls fresh flat leaf parsley chopped

1 lb spaghetti (high quality)

1 cup dry white wine

4 large garlic cloves

sea salt and ground pepper


Step 1

-Place the clams in the sink in cold lightly salted water let sit for at least an hour, drain until ready to cookIMG_1075.JPG


-In a large skillet, add 2 tbls olive oil, 2 large garlic cloves smashed or sliced and hot pepper or hot pepper flakes,  on a lively heat, lightly  brown the garlic,  carefully add the clams, and the white wine, stir well and place a lid on the skillet…. checking occasionally and stirring keep cooking the clams until they all open, this takes approx 5-10 minutes.  Turn of the heat and let cool.IMG_1090.JPG

-When the clams are cool enough to touch, take them out of their shell and place them in a bowl, discard shells….. IMPORTANT reserve all the liquid in the panIMG_1083.JPG

-Using a strainer, place paper towel inside and filter the clam broth liquid from the cooked clams.  This will filter the  sand, pepper and garlic.  Place broth aside.



Step 2

-In a pasta pot bring water to boil for the spaghetti

-In a skillet large enough to mix the spaghetti clam mixture, add 4 tbls olive oil, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, additional hot pepper,lightly brown the garlic, add the clams and 1 cup of the broth and cook reducing the broth by 1/2. If sauce look dry use more of the clam broth, add parsleyIMG_1087


-When pasta water boils, add sea salt and spaghetti cook 1 minutes less than indicated on package.  With a Pasta fork, drain each scoop over the water pot, add the spaghetti to the clam sauce and with a lively flame incorporate the spaghetti with the clams sauce mix well

Serve hot

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Buon Appetito!!



Tuna Croquettes, Polpette, Meatballs

These  Tuna Croquettes are a big hit whenever friends come over… served with a lovely ice cold glass of Prosecco.  They are also great served on top of a mixed baby green salad. Easy to make,  best served hot but great at room temperature too…  However you serve them, it is hard to eat just one!

Tuna Croquette, Polpette, Meatballs

In whatever language French, Italian or English these always a crowd pleaser


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1 cup of can tuna drained  (water or oil packed)

1 cup of ricotta cheese

1 egg

1 cup of Parmesan cheese grated

2 + cups of breadcrumbs

1 tbls chopped flat leaf parsley

1 clove of crushed garlic

sea salt and pepper to taste

vegetable oil


-in a mixing bowl add the tuna, ricotta,  Parmesan , egg ,garlic  salt, pepper and parsley mix well.  Add 1 cup of breadcrumbs mix well (note you might need more breadcrumbs based on moistness of the ricotta) .  IMG_0853

-form into desired shape, small balls,  ovals or sticks

-on parchment or foil add breadcrumbs and roll the tuna to coat the outer layer

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-in a high sided pot pour  or deep fryer add vegetable oil and heat, when ready, gently place 3 -4  meatballs at a time allowing them room to fry until they reach a golden brown.  The meatballs may need to be gently turned in the oil to ensure even cooking

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-with a slotted spoon lift them onto a plate with paper towel to drain,  salt freely with a finishing salt.


-Serve alone as an appetizer or on a bed of baby greens


Buon Appetito!!


Welcome Spring… with a Mango, Avocado Shrimp Layered Salad !!

I saw this beautiful ripe mango at the market and just had to buy it.  Since today is the first day of Spring , I thought it might be nice to make a sweet and savory salad with my mango.  Certain fruits go so well with seafood, mango being one of them so I decided to do a Shrimp Salad and Layer it with Guacamole and Mango…… Hope you try it!!!!!

Layered Shrimp Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: medium
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-10  (1/2lb) med/large shrimp shelled and deveined

-2 Stalks of Celery finely chopped

-1 scallion

-1 tbls mayonnaise

-1 tbls plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

-2 dashes of Tabasco

-1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard

-1/2 lemon

-dash of balsamic vinegar

-1 tsp lemon juice

-1/2 Mango chopped

-1/2 Hass Avocado chopped

-2 medium plum tomatoes chopped

-lime juice

-1small garlic clove pressed

-cilantro chopped

-1/4 chopped red hot pepper (optional)

-sea salt and pepper

-extra virgin olive oil


-Peel and devein the shrimp. In a pot large enough to hold the shrimp,  cut a lemon in half then cut of the end , add the lemon to a pot filled wth cold water, add sea salt and bring to boil.

-When the water boils add the shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes they will turn white when cooked. Drain

-Finely chop the celery and the scallions, cut the shrimp into bite size piecesimg_0815

-For the Shrimp dressing add the yogurt,mayonnaise,mustard,Tabasco, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper, in a bowl mix with the shrimp

-peeel and chop the avocado, chop the tomatoes, add garlic, lime sea salt pepper cilantro and hot pepper (optional) mix well.

-Peel and chop the Mango into  small even size pieces

-Assemble, on a serving plate, using a large pastry ring layer half of the shrimp salad, pressing it into the form, next your guacamole and last the Mango.  Carefully lift the ring exposing your 3 layers.  You can carefully dribble on some olive oil. E’ Voila!!


Thyme lemon simply grilled shrimp

Here is another great alternative for a meatless meal.   This thyme, lemon  grilled shrimp , is easy to make, healthy and light.   Great for appetizer, lunch or dinner , on top of a big mixed green salad or as a stand alone main course this dish takes no time at all and is well worth it.  If you don’t have a grill use a grill pan on your stove, you will get the same results.

Thyme lemon simply grilled Shrimp

  • Servings: 3 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
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Easy, healthy appetizer or entree, light and fresh


-3 dozen fresh or frozen whole shrimp (note-I prefer the medium size for their tenderness)

-the juice of 2 fresh lemons

-3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

-5 sprigs of fresh thyme

-3 garlic cloves crushed

-sea salt and fresh ground pepper


-Devein the shrimp, rinse and place in a colanderIMG_0772

-Heat the grill

-In a bowl add the juice of 2 lemons, the crushed garlic, sea salt, pepper add the olive oil stir with a small whisk add the thyme.IMG_0774

-place the shrimp one by one on metal or wood skewers 7 or 8 per (note-if using wood skewers, soak them in water so they don’t burn while grilling)IMG_0773

-In a shallow dish long enough to hold the skewers, add the marinade, let sit at least 20 minutes

-on a medium/low direct heat grill, place the skewers and grill  3-5 minutes per side…when the shrimp turn white they are cooked. Save the marinade in the dish to brush on the shrimp while  cooking.IMG_0776

Serve along side or on top of a mixed green saladIMG_0779

Buon Appetito!!

Freshly Fried Calamari

A staple in Italy and now is so many American restaurants is fried Calamari.   The  biggest difference is in Italy we are using fresh Calamari and in America you may only find frozen.  Freshly fried, both  are still delicious!!  Calamari are so versatile, they can be dipped, but they really shine served alongside or on top of a big mixed baby green salad with just a squeeze of lemon.  So, however you  serve them…..this is the basic recipe for a favorite of many!!

Freshly Fried Calamari


-2 pound of fresh or frozen calamari (defrosted) and cleaned, cut into 1/4″ ringsimg_0754

-flour as needed

-vegetable oil

-sea salt fine grain


-Clean the calamari, take off the tentacles save and cut them into pieces, pull out the spine cartilage and rinse the insides well….cut into 1/4 in rings. Dry the calamari as best you can

-With a colander place a plate underneath, put a handful of calamari in and pour flour liberally on the calamari.  Use your fingers to mix the flour and calamari… the goal is to coat the inside and outside of the rings and tentacles well.  Reuse the flour the passes  the onto the plate.img_0762img_0757

-Place the floured calamari on a plate.

-In a deep bottom pot or a deep wok style pot…heat enough vegetable oil (about 5 or 6 inches of oil)  you can test the oil by dropping a tiny piece of calamari inside (note-if it does not deep fry the tiny piece the oil is not ready)

-When the oil is hot, drop the pieces in separating then as you drop them and not over filling….give the calamari space to fry freely


-with a large draining spoon, turn them lightly in the oil , then wait until the calamari become a golden brown, remove from oil carefully and place the calamari on a plate lined with a paper towel.  Repeat process until all calamari is fried

-Salt generously

-Serve hot


Buon Appetito