Simple Seafood Stew

Simple Seafood Stew

Are you afraid to cook fish? If you are, you are not alone. For many years I thought I didn’t really like fish, but I grew up in a time when everything was cooked to death! If it wasn’t well done, it wasn’t eaten.

When I learned how to properly cook fish, a whole new world opened up for me. And the key to cooking fish was so simple. . . just don’t overcook it.

This recipe for simple seafood stew is easy, fast and really delicious. You can use almost any kind of whitefish. I had a few fillets in my freezer from Community Seafood, the CSF (community supported fishery) that delivers freshly caught seafood to my local farmer’s market. All the seafood is caught off the California coast by local fisherman, so I get to know who caught your dinner, and exactly where and how they caught it.

I did a step by step photo tutorial on how to make a fish stew over on Zester Daily. It comes together in about half an hour, making it a great weeknight dinner option.

Click here to find the recipe for my Simple Seafood Stew.


Lemon-Tarragon Tuna Melt with Provolone

Lemon-Tarragon Tuna Melt with Provolone | Black Girl Chef's Whites


Once upon a time a chef entered a contest for the best grilled cheese sandwich. It was only a grilled cheese after all, how hard could it be to come up with the winning recipe?

That is how I began my post about the Brie, Gorgonzola and Pork Loin Grilled Cheese recipe I developed for a contest. Well, here is the second recipe I entered into that contest . . . and the second one that did not make the cut.

So, it occurs to me that it may indeed be fairly hard to come up with a winning recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich.  Could someone pass me that humble pie please?

This tuna melt starts with extremely flavorful tuna with lemon zest and fresh tarragon, with gooey provolone cheese and creamy avocado.

And to really make it really special, I threw on some potato chips for crunch.

Lemon-Tarragon Tuna Melt with Provolone | Black Girl Chef's Whites

Damn good grilled cheese, if you ask me.


Wild California Halibut Ceviche

Wild California Halibut Ceviche | Black Girl's Chef Whites


I came to the fish lovers table fairly late. Growing up during the 1970’s, fish was usually an overcooked, under-seasoned,  grey looking piece of protein I pushed around my plate while pretending to eat. But those were also the days of the clean plate club, so I was often forced to eat a lot more than I wanted too!

It wasn’t until sushi took hold here in America that I realized how wonderful fish is.  For the first time I was tasting fish in its purest form, raw and unseasoned. I quickly took my seat at the fish lovers table.

I recently joined a CSF, or Community Supported Fishery.  A what, you say? Just like a CSA delivers produce straight from the farmer, each week I get a portion of seafood that has been freshly caught off the coast of Santa Barbara, California.  Every week before I pick up my seafood from my local farmer’s market, I get an email informing me of what type of seafood I will receive, who caught my fish and the methods used to catch it! Really, talk about knowing where your food comes from!

The fish is never frozen, never flown thousands of miles to get to market. And most importantly, the fish does not smell fishy. The sign  of very fresh fish is that it smells clean, briny like the sea, but never fishy.

If you live in a coastal community, check to see if there is a local CSF available for you to join. I highly recommend Community Seafood, which is my local CSF. If you live in the Los Angeles area, check them out. They deliver to 3 different farmer’s markets in the Los Angeles area.

Last week the fishermen caught local wild California Halibut. I had just harvested some lemongrass and serrano chiles from my little organic garden, so making Wild California Halibut Ceviche seemed like a no-brainer.


Wild California Halibut Ceviche | Black Girl's Chef Whites

Cedar Plank Rosemary and Lemon Salmon

Gas grills are for wusses. Oh all right, that’s not really true, but I have been a charcoal grill user since day one. Way back in the stone ages when I was a child, my father was the king of the Weber kettle in the backyard, cooking up burgers and hot dogs and chicken and hot links for all! Inside the house, mom would handle the baked beans and potato salad.

And where would little Cheryl be? Outside helping dad with the grilling, which meant being a go-fer girl when he needed something. I told you he was the king, and I was a mere servant girl. Although a servant girl would imply that I was being paid, and lord knows that was not the case! But I learned how to start the charcoal, how to spread the coals and how to grill.

Grilling over hardwood coals imparts the best flavor in my opinion, which you just don’t get with a gas grill. Of course, this is not to say I would never own a gas grill. I can imagine they come in handy, since you do not have to wait for the coals to be ready. In fact, I have been lusting over this Combination Gas-Charcoal Grill from Char-Broil. But I am happy still grilling on my father’s trusty Weber kettle grill. And I plan on teaching my daughter the proper way to BBQ, when she is old enough.

I recently agreed to write a guest post on the grilling blog over at Outdoor Gourmet, a great website that sells grilling planks, wraps and other accessories to make your grilling experience delicious. When you grill your foods on a wood plank, it stays moist and the wood imparts a subtle flavor.

The planks were soaked in water, although I bet you could soak them in other liquids to impart even more flavor. Of course anything highly flammable would probably not be a good idea. You know, something like 151 proof rum.

I like to buy my salmon in a whole fillet, which is one complete side of the fish. I then cut it into smaller pieces, and freeze them for future use. I had some wild salmon with the skin on to use, so I made a simple marinade of olive oil, Meyer lemon zest, salt and fresh ground pepper.

Salmon has such a strong flavor it can really stand up to other strong flavors. Many types of fish would just get overpowered if you paired it with fresh rosemary, but not salmon.

I laid some large, fresh rosemary sprigs onto the soaked cedar planks, then put my marinated salmon on top. That is three different sources of flavor: the simple marinade, the rosemary and the cedar. And then you add the hardwood smoke from the BBQ, and you have a really special salmon fillet.

When preparing your grill, set the coals up for indirect heat.  That means put the pile on one side of the BBQ only, as you can see in the picture.  The planks are then set on the side without the coals, so the wood does not get completely incinerated by the heat.

Once the salmon is on the grill, cover it up and let it go for about 15 minutes, until it is done to your liking.

My plank did not catch on fire, and the rosemary began to dry out a little, releasing its oils into the salmon.

The salmon was moist, tender and flaky with hints of lemon, rosemary and smoke throughout. If you are worried the salmon would taste like a cedar closet, have no fear. The cedar notes were very subtle and lent a distinct and lovely flavor to the salmon.

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Cedar Plank Rosemary and Lemon Salmon
Grilling salmon on a cedar plank imparts a subtle flavor while helping the fish retain its moistness.
  • 2 large wild salmon fillets
  • 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • to taste sea salt
  • to taste fresh ground black pepper
  • 6-8 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 2 cedar planks, soaked per manufacturers instructions
Prepare your grill for indirect heat cooking.

Place your salmon fillets onto a plate or platter. In a small bowl mix the zest, oil, salt and pepper together. Rub the marinade onto the fillets and let it sit at room temperature while your grill is getting ready.

Divide the rosemary sprigs between the two soaked cedar planks. Place one salmon fillet onto each plank.Place the planks onto the grill rack on the side without direct heat, then cover. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the salmon is done to your liking.


Prep time: 20 mins Cook time: 15 mins Total time: 35 mins Yield: 2 salmon fillets

Cheryl D Lee on Foodista