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Fish Steaks

May 9, 2009 | by Chef Herschel Arnow

A filling alternative everyone enjoys.

I was brought up eating four kinds of fish: Fillet of sole, tuna from a can, gefilte fish and lox. A rather limited selection. If I saw a fish with a bone, I steered clear of it. In the yeshiva I generally serve fish once a week to insure diversity. I almost always serve fillet and the boys love it. On occasion the price of filleted fish goes very high and I have to look for a substitute. Recently I served Canadian salmon steaks and tuna steaks. Nice slices of filling fish steaks with a lot to eat. The problem is the bones, but cut in the form of steak it is still easy to eat. These are the recipes I used and they were a big hit.

Grilled Salmon Steaks with Cumin Mayonnaise

  • ½ cup plus 1 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ tsps. ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsps. dried oregano
  • 6 8-oz. salmon steaks (about ¾ inch thick)

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Combine mayonnaise, cumin and oregano in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture on both sides of the salmon. Grilled the salmon until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.

Makes 6 servings.

Jerk Fish with Pineapple Sauce

  • 1 lime, cut in half
  • 4-6 tuna or salmon steaks
  • ¼ tsp. plus a pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tbsps. Jamaican-style jerk sauce or 1-2 tsps. Cajun seasoning
  • 1 can (8 ozs.) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 tbsps. sliced green onion
  • 1 tsp. grated, peeled ginger or a pinch of ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat the bottom of a 9 x 13 in. baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Squeeze enough juice from the lime to measure 1 tbsp; set aside. Arrange fish in the baking dish in a single layer. Squeeze the remaining juice from the lime over the fish and sprinkle with ¼ tsp. of the salt. Sprinkle sauce evenly over the fish. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine pineapple, the reserved 1 tbsp. lime juice, the green onion, ginger and pinch of salt.

Serve the fish topped with the pineapple salsa.

Makes 4 servings.

Spiced Herb Marinade for Fish

"Chermoula" is a traditional North African marinade for fish. It has become very popular recently with North American restaurant chefs as a quick and easy (and cheap!) way to add lots of flavor to bland fish.

  • 1 large bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed with the flat blade of a knife
  • 1 tsp. sea salt, or more to taste
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ground cumin, or more to taste
  • 1 tbsp. very fragrant crushed dried red pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 tbsp. ground sweet red pepper paprika, or more to taste
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • 6-8 small salmon steaks, each weighing about 6 ozs.

Chop the cilantro and parsley leaves together to a very fine mince. You should have 1 cup of minced herbs. Transfer to a saucepan.

Crush the garlic with the sea salt in a mortar, or using the back of a spoon in a small bowl, to make a paste. Stir in the cumin, dried pepper, paprika, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add to the saucepan with the herbs and mix well.

Have the fish steaks ready in a baking dish large enough to hold them all in one layer.

Set the herb mixture over medium-high heat and warm until it is very hot, but not boiling. Taste and adjust the seasoning. When it is the way you want it, pour the warm marinade over the fish steaks. Cover with plastic and set aside for an hour or so.

When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Remove the plastic wrap and transfer the fish with their marinade to the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the fish is done, basting every 5 minutes or so with the marinade.

Serve immediately spooning marinade over each serving.

Spicy Grilled Salmon Steaks with Black Butter

Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.

  • 1 ½ tsps. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. minced onion
  • ½ tsp. crumbed dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 salmon steaks (1 lb.) each about 1 in. thick
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

In a bowl stir together the black pepper, the paprika, the cayenne, the garlic, the onion, the thyme, the salt, and the oil until the mixture forms a stiff paste. Pat the paste onto both sides of each salmon steak. Heat an oiled ridged grill pan over moderately high heat until it is smoking and in it saute the salmon for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until it is cooked through. While the salmon is cooking, in a small skillet cook the butter over moderate heat, swirling the skillet, until it is dark brown, but do not let it burn. Transfer the salmon to heated plates and pour the butter over it.

Makes 2 servings.

Salmon Steaks with Red-Wine Butter

Unlike salmon fillets, salmon steaks have bones in the center. Any leftover red-wine margarine is delicious on beef, lamb chops, chicken or mushrooms.

  • 1 cup full-bodied dry red wine
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onions (3-4)
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice or an oranged drink
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. finely grated fresh orange zest
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened, or margarine
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 4 (1-in.) salmon steaks (each about ½ lb.)
  • 2 tbsps. olive oil

Combine wine, onions, juice, vinegar, tomato paste, and bay leaf in a 1- to 2-qt. heavy saucepan and boil over moderately high heat until the mixture is thick and jam-like and reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Transfer mixture to a small bowl set in a bowl of ice and cold water and stir until cold to the touch, about 5 minutes. Remove from ice water and stir in zest, butter, ¼ tsp. saute, and 1/8 tsp. pepper with a rubber spatula until incorporated.

Preheat broiler. Line rack of a broiler pan with foil.

Pat fish dry, then brush both sides with oil (2 tbsps. total) and sprinkle with remaining ¾ tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Broil fish about 5 minutes from heat, turning over once, until just cooked through, 8-10 minutes total.

Top each steak with 1-2 tbsps. red-wine margarine.


Leftover red-wine butter can be chilled, covered, up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 weeks.

Makes 4 servings.

A Fitting Side Dish: Mashed Potatoes
with Cilantro and Sauteed Chilies

  • 2 chili peppers
  • 4 lbs. potato, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 cup warm half-and-half dairy cream or 1 cup non-dairy Rich's for cooking
  • ¼ cup margarine or butter
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsps. Oregano
  • 2 heaping spoons of soup mix
  • ¼ cup dry wine

Saute chilies in olive oil. Cook, chop coarsely. Cook potatoes with garlic in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender. Drain. Mix until smooth. Gradually add half-and-half, butter and beat. Stir in chilies, salt and pepper.

Makes 8 servings.


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