Fish — Deb’s Salmon Recipe with Red Thai Curry Paste

Steve's sister, Deb, and I share a love of cooking. This recipe arrived recently in an email message, and it looked so delicious that I had to include it.

“We came up with a great, easy recipe for salmon that I thought you might like.

Serves 4


  • 2 pounds of wild salmon fillet, cut into four pieces (to fit into the pan),
  • Red Thai Curry paste
  • Coconut milk
  • Brown Rice, cooked
  • Broccoli, steamed
  • Scallions, chopped


  1. Rub the fish all over with Red Thai Curry paste.
  2. Poach the fish in coconut milk until just tender.
  3. Serve with brown rice, steamed organic broccoli, chopped scallions, and lots of lovely poaching sauce.”

Deborah Crombie
Award-winning writer of mystery books




Fish — Home Made Tom Douglas Salmon Rub

When we were aboard ADAGIO in Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA, we were introduced to the numerous “rubs” sold under the brand name of Tom Douglas. Our favorite was the Salmon Rub. We are unable to buy this rub in New Zealand and Australia, so we reverse-engineered the recipe. Here is is. Be sure to use Sweet Smoked Paprika, NOT HOT Smoked Paprika.

Mix together the Salmon Rub:

  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Sweet Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

Instructions For Cooking the Fish:

  1. Heat a Wok on High heat.
  2. Add 3 Tb Olive Oil and stir to coat the pan
  3. Place fillets of Salmon into the hot oil, first one side then the other to coat both sides with oil.
  4. Sprinkle Salmon Rub onto the fish.
  5. Cook for 1 minute.
  6. Turn the heat down to Medium.
  7. Turn the fish over, and add more Olive Oil to the pan if necessary.
  8. Sprinkle the Salmon Rub onto the second side of the fish.
  9. Cook for another minute, testing for doneness.
  10. When the fish is just flaky but still a little soft in the center, remove it to a heated plate and cover.
  11. Deglaze the pan with a little white wine, and pour over the fish.
  12. Serve immediately.



Fish — Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce

This recipe was inspired by Ruth Reichl's “The Courmet Cookbook”, and by Steve's and my visit to Argentina, where the Chimichurri Sauce is traditionally served with Carne Asada, a delicious grilled beef dish.

Quick to prepare, and quite tasty.
Serves 2 people as a main course.


  • 3/4 pound Ahi Tuna in 2 pieces, each about 1 inch thick, brought to room temperature before cooking.
  • 1 T Canola Oil
  • Chimichurri Sauce (See recipe elsewhere in this blog.)


  1. Heat the Canola oil in a Wok or skillet, over High heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to Medium, and place the Tuna in the Wok, turning over to coat with Oil on both sides.
  3. Cook for several minutes per side, until browned on both sides, and still soft in the center.

Serve the Tuna with the Chimichurri sauce on the side.

I recommend a loaf of Ciabatta bread, or other crusty bread and a green salad as well.



Fish — Pan Fried Fish with Dukkah


In New Zealand, there are many excellent types of wild fish in addition to farmed salmon. Our favorites are Hapuku (a kind of Grouper), Snapper and John Dory. These are all firm, white-flesh fish. You will find the recipe for Dukkah elsewhere in this blog. We keep it on hand for use in main dishes like this one, and in appetizers.


  • Fillets of firm white fish, with or without skin, all cut to about the same size, and not much thicker than your thumb.
  • Olive Oil
  • Dukkah


  1. Pour 2 Tb Olive Oil into a Wok or skillet
  2. Heat the oil for a minute over High heat.
  3. Add Fish fillets to the hot oil, then turn over to cover the fillet with oil on both sides.
  4. Add more oil if you think it is necessary to keep the Fish from sticking to the pan.
  5. Sprinkle generously with Dukkah.
  6. Cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Turn the stove down to Medium Dukkah
  8. Turn Fish pieces over and sprinkle with more Dukkah.
  9. Cook until just before done, another few minutes.
  10. With a spatula, remove the fish from the Wok onto a preheated plate.
  11. Scrape the Dukkah bits out of the pan and sprinkle over the fish on the plate.
  12. Serve immediately with a Tartar sauce made of:
    • Mayonnaise
    • Smashed Capers
    • Chopped red onion to taste
    • Sweet pickles, chopped (optional)



Main Dish — Smoked Salmon Quiche

You can pre-bake the Puff Pastry, if you wish, to ensure that the pastry is well cooked and puffy. Follow the instructions on the Puff Pastry package.


  • 2 sheets frozen Puff Pastry, thawed according to the directions on the package
  • 5 large Eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups Milk
  • 1 package (200 gm) Hot Smoked Salmon, plain or spicy, broken into medium sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped or sliced Sun-dried Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Salt, or less according to your taste

Special equipment:
9-1/2-inch deep-dish (2 inches deep) or 10-inch regular pie plate.


  1. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 13-inch circle. Fit into a 9-1/2-inch deep-dish or 10-inch regular pie plate.
  2. Trim excess pastry, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Turn edge under itself and crimp decoratively.
  3. Put a rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 220C.
  4. Whisk together Eggs, Milk and Salt, and stir in the Salmon and Sun-dried Tomatoes.
  5. Pour filling into pie shell.
  6. Bake at 220C for 25 minutes.
  7. Turn oven down to 200C and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the center is set (It should not jiggle when shaken).
  8. Transfer pan to a rack to cool to warm or room temperature.



Main Dish — Smoked Salmon, Fresh Corn and Sun-dried Tomatoes

A one-dish meal that is quick to prepare, and perfect for the summer when fresh corn is in season. I have not tried the recipe with frozen corn, but it might be just great.


  • 2 cups fresh Corn, cut off of the cob
  • 5 Sun-dried Tomatoes, packed in oil and herbs, and cut into strips
  • 2 large Garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 200 grams Hot-Smoked Salmon, flavored with cracked pepper or other seasonings, cut into large chunks
  • 3 Tb flavored oil from the jar containing the Sun-dried Tomatoes
  • Large handful of fresh Basil leaves, torn into large pieces
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a wok or large skillet, heat the 3 Tb flavored oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes.
  2. Add the Corn, Sun-dried Tomato strips and Garlic.
  3. Stir-fry over High heat, for about 2 minutes, until the Corn is covered with oil and is heated.
  4. Turn down heat to Medium and add the Salmon.
  5. Toss until the Salmon is heated, but do not overcook, about 2 minutes.
  6. Serve in large, shallow bowls with fresh Basil leaves generously scattered on top.



Eggs — Scrambled Eggs with Hot Smoked Salmon

This can't be beat for a really quick and nutritious meal. We try to keep a small supply of hot smoked salmon in the bottom of our fridge for such an occasion. Choose salmon that is flavored with cracked pepper, Italian seasoning or something similar. The key to success is to cook over High heat, in a well-oiled Wok or skillet, and lift and fold the eggs. Don't stir the eggs. Cook until just tender and still moist.

Serves 2 people.


  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • About 180 gms seasoned Hot Smoked Salmon, broken into chunks
  • 4 Eggs, mixed with a fork


  1. Heat the oil in the skillet or Wok.
  2. Add the Salmon, and toss to heat through.
  3. Move the Salmon to one side of the pan.
  4. Add the Eggs and allow to set for 15 seconds.
  5. With a spatula, scrape the egg off the bottom of the pan, and fold the eggs slowly, keeping them away from the Salmon at first.
  6. Incorporate the Salmon into the Eggs and cook for a short time more, making sure the eggs are just tender, and not overcooked and dry.

Serve on two plates with fresh fruit or salad.



Thai Fish Cakes

This recipe was given to me by the chef of the Metropole Restaurant in Parnell, Auckland, many years ago. The original recipe was simply a list of ingredients jotted down on a Metropole customer invoice slip of paper. We experimented and developed a recipe with a quantity for each ingredient, but we encourage you to alter the amount of garlic, ginger or chili sauce, according to your taste. A Thai native would consider this recipe to be very mild. The recipe will make 8 fish cakes. After cooking, the fish cakes keep for several days in the coldest corner of your refrigerator.

When we catch a fish at sea, we first use it to make Sashimi, then to make Poisson Cru, and finally carry on with cooked fish dishes. This is one of our favorites. We devised its ingredients to avoid the mashed potatoes and green beans that are often added to fish cakes. We prefer a recipe with fish as the main ingredient.

The recipe instructs you to pre-cook the fish and seasonings, mix them with other ingredients, then form into patties to cook in a pan or Wok. Be careful to not overcook the fish at either step.

We enjoy our own recipe of crunchy diced cucumber sauce (see below) with the fish cakes, but the traditional sauce is an Asian Sweet Chili Sauce, from a bottle.

Ingredients for Fish Cakes:

  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons bottled Fish Sauce (Nam Pla) or Oyster Sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted Sesame seed oil
  • 1 lb (500 gm) white Fish fillets, skinned, de-boned, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 small white Onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium-to-large-sized Garlic Cloves, smashed, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Ginger, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon medium Chili Sauce or 1/2 teaspoon fresh, chopped chilis
  • 1 teaspoon white Flour
  • Chopped fresh Cilantro Leaves
  • Sesame Oil or Canola Oil to cook the cakes

Equipment: Frying pan or Wok, large mixing bowl, electric hand mixer wand

Instructions for the Fish Cakes:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the Fish Sauce, pepper and egg. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons toasted Sesame seed oil in a Wok or frying pan. Sauté the onion, garlic and ginger briefly over moderate heat, until the onion is transparent. Add the fish and chili sauce. Cook, stirring and chopping up the fish until the fish is not quite completely cooked. Remove pan from stove top.
  3. Sprinkle with the flour and stir in.
  4. Add the fish mixture to the egg mixture and blend with an electric hand mixer wand until well-mixed but still chunky.
  5. Stir in the chopped cilantro leaves by hand.
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons toasted Sesame seed oil in a Wok or frying pan to moderately hot. Use a 1/3 cup measure to form a round cake, place it on the griddle and press it down a bit with a spatula. Cook the fish cakes until light brown. Turn over and cook until light brown on the other side. Remove to a pre-heated plate and serve immediately with the following sauce.

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 1 Cucumber, seeds removed and diced small
  • 1 Tb Garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 Tb Ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tb Honey (optional)
  • 4 Tb White Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Sweet Cooking Rice Wine
  • 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted Sesame seed oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped Green onions
  • 1/3 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Sweet Chili Sauce

Instructions for the Sauce:

  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
  2. Do not pour the sauce over the fish cakes on the serving plate. Serve it in a small pitcher with a spoon so that each person can use a little or a lot of the sauce. Sauce keeps in the refrigerator for several days.




Tuna and Apple Salad

When sailing across an ocean, we don't mind eating the same thing for lunch several days in a row. This salad has become a staple. It provides a well-balanced meal, and keeps well in a sealed container in the refrigerator. We love serving it to guests who arrive at lunch time unannounced.


  • 1 can Tuna, 425 grams (15-16 oz), chunky style in spring water, drained
  • 2 medium Apples, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup sweet Pickle relish or chopped “Bread and Butter” pickles
  • 2 tablespoons Capers, drained
  • 3/4 tsp Celery seeds (optional but tasty)
  • 1/2 cup Mayonaise
  • 1/2 cup non-fat Yoghurt (We like the plain Greek style yoghurt.)
  • 1 Red bell pepper (called a capsicum in New Zealand), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 hard-boiled Eggs, cut into bite-sized pieces


  1. You can vary the amounts of each ingredient as suits your taste.
  2. Drain the Tuna and put into a large bowl.
  3. Break the tuna into bite-sized pieces with a fork or knife.
  4. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the eggs, and mix well.
  5. Add the eggs last and mix again.
  6. Serve with crackers or crusty bread.
  7. I sometimes use this salad in sandwiches.




Hot Smoked Salmon Pasta

When my grandson and I were looking in the fridge for ingredients for dinner one day, we found my packet of Hot Smoked Salmon and decided to make Pasta with it. Fortunately I had observed my son-in-law make proper pasta dishes so was confident that we could whip up something delicious. This is a quick and easy main dish for lunch or dinner, for 4 people. You will have to work quickly from start to finish, so don't let anyone interrupt you halfway through making this dish.

  • Ingredients:
  • 16 oz (450 grams) Spaghetti, or other pasta of your choice. Penne pasta is good here, too.
  • 16 oz (450 grams) Hot Smoked Salmon, flavored with pepper or Cajun seasonings
  • 1/4 cup Capers, drained
  • Good quality Olive Oil
  • Instructions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions, until al dente tender.
  2. Scoop out 1 cup of the pasta water before draining, and set aside.
  3. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  4. Break the Hot Smoked Salmon into medium-sized chunks and heat gently in a little Olive Oil in the pasta pot, just enough to warm it.
  5. Add the Capers and the drained pasta to the pot with the Salmon.
  6. Add a little Olive Oil and toss.
  7. Then add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to help make the sauce. Add more of the water only if the Pasta seems to need more sauce.
  8. Toss to mix and serve immediately.