Garlic-Bomb Salmon

I love salmon. Hands down my favorite fish. I enjoy fish that has a real ‘fish’ flavor to it, and generally I’m not a huge fan of the blander fishes like flounder because it seems like the ONLY thing I taste is the topping/marinade. J was never a huge seafood eater before him and I got together because his parents aren’t that big into seafood. I, however, grew up in a household with a pescetarian – my dad has always eaten seafood, but not meat. Or as he put it, the “swimming, but no running or flying” diet. So, in an effort to diversify our diet in a healthy way, I’ve been leaning heavily on fish as of late. I actually had quite the flounder disaster last week (we’re not going to talk about it), and so I wanted to redeem myself with a nice salmon dish.

In deciding how to prepare my salmon, I leaned on J’s input again. Lately, he’s been on an intense garlic kick. Now, I love me some garlic as well. I’m of strong Italian descent, and garlic is one of our main food groups. Garlic was something that he always liked, but was never madly in love with. Then suddenly, about two weeks ago, EVERYTHING I put in front of him was met with “more garlic!”

Ok then! You want some garlic? You’re gonna get some GAAAAALICK!!!!

Servings: 4

Prep and cook: ~25 minutes

What you need:

4 salmon fillets (approximately 4 oz each)

1 tablespoon lemon-infused olive oil (or just regular olive oil with a dash of lemon juice would work)

1 teaspoon dried dill

1 teaspoon black pepper

~8 cloves of garlic (about two cloves per fillet, depending on how big your garlic cloves are)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put just a smidge of olive oil in the bottom of a glass baking dish (or, if you’re like me and don’t have a large square glass dish, put two fillets each in two round dishes). Place the fillets in the baking dish, making sure that none of them are touching each other. Brush the remainder of the olive oil over the fillets. I use D’Avolio lemon-infused olive oil (best Christmas present ever!). Sprinkle the dill and black pepper evenly over the fillets.

Then the fun part. Peel and slice up your yummy raw garlic and just lay those slices right on top of the fish in rows, getting two or three rows on each piece of fish. Just load right up on the garlic. Don’t be shy, now. Make sure that your top oven rack is at the halfway point of your oven – if you put this fish on a rack too close to the top of your oven, the garlic will just burn instead of cooking evenly and releasing all that good flavor. Put the fish in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Salmon is done when it flakes evenly with a fork, and is a light pink color.

I didn’t get a chance to snap a picture of my finished product because J swooped in on it too quickly. He was happy to finally get his major garlic fix! I hope you all enjoy this garlic-bomb recipe as much as we did!

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Italian Shrimp Stir Fry

Whenever I’ve done a stir fry in the past that focuses on Asian flavors, J has reacted with, “Eh, it’s good, but you know what would be REALLY good? Italian stir fry!”

So, tonight instead of a spicy Asian-influenced shrimp dish, I decided to run with his suggestion. The result? Lets call it Italian Shrimp Stir Fry! (Because I’m awfully creative like that)

Servings: 4

Prep and cook: ~30 minutes, plus thaw time for shrimp

What you need:

1 bell pepper (whatever color tickles your fancy – I used orange)

1/2 cup chopped onion

8 oz mushrooms (I used a package of baby portobellos)

8 cloves fresh garlic

12 oz shrimp (I buy it raw and frozen, with tails on)

2 tablespoons oregano

2 tablespoons parsley

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. Chop the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms and get them sauteing in the olive oil. Baby portobellos have a high water content, so as the veggies saute, you’re going to get extra liquid in the pan. Drain the veggies once or twice while cooking to prevent them from getting soggy. Add the oregano and parsley to the veggies.

In a second, smaller pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the shrimp (don’t forget to take off the tails!). I cooked the shrimp separately from the veggies (until the very end) to ensure that my shrimp are evenly cooked. However, if you’re confident about keeping an eye on your shrimp, you can keep this a one-pan dish. Peel the 8 cloves of garlic and use a garlic press to crush them directly into the pan of shrimp.

Once the shrimp is fully cooked through (pink, not translucent), transfer the shrimp and garlic into the pan with the vegetables. Add the balsamic vinegar (2 or 3 tablespoons depending on your tolerance for vinegar) and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly to distribute the vinegar.

The finished product was, I thought, pretty darn good. The meatiness of the mushrooms are a good compliment to the texture of the shrimp, and the balsamic vinegar gives it a little zing. I think I’ll take J’s culinary advice more often. Hope you enjoy it to!