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green olives

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Tomato, Green Olive and Fresh Herb Salsa with Pan Seared Scallops

Tomato, Green Olive and Fresh Herb Salsa

It’s been a busy summer.  And we’re not done yet!  Although school starts soon (doin’ a happy dance right now) it still feels like summer in these parts and I’ve got a few more summer recipes to post.  Here in the Northwest, we hang on to summer as long as we can. 

Pan Seared Scallops over Tomato, Green Olive and Fresh Herb Salsa

For me summer is all about gardens, farms, farmer’s markets, pea patches, and anything that’ll give me fresh ingredients to create a great meal.  But alas (big sigh), I do not have a green thumb.  I hear you all gasping for air.  I wish I had a green thumb.  My peppers pooped out, my lettuce greens and strawberries were eaten by the bunnies and I think I probably planted my squash in the wrong location. 

Pineapple Mint

But I can grow a bumper crop of herbs.  That’s my specialty.  Yesiree I grow the prettiest mint, the prettiest oregano and the prettiest thyme, rosemary, chives and parsley.  I’m so proud of my herb garden.  It’s beautiful and I feel like Farmer Karista when I look out my window at my beautiful box of herbs. 

The lettuce thief!

To celebrate my bumper crop of herbs I created this tasty little salsa.   Sweet, tangy and full of fresh herbs and capers, the salsa made a beautiful and delicious plate for my pan seared scallops.   I love it when enticing and mouth-watering flavors come together to make a surprisingly decadent dish.  Ah… it’s summertime and the livin’ is easy. 

Cherry Tomato, Green Olive and Fresh Herb Salsa with Pan Seared Scallops

Serves 4


2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quarterd

1 cup green olives, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh Oregano and Italian parsley

Drizzle of Olive oil (this is the perfect time to pull out the good stuff!)

Squeeze of lemon

Sea salt and Fresh ground black pepper


Gently toss together the tomatoes, olives, fresh herbs, capers, squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Serve with pan seared scallops, grilled halibut or chicken.  Yum!

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Petrale Sole with Mixed Olive and Citrus Relish

Looking in my pantry one afternoon, I realized I had quite the assortment of olives.  Kalamata olives, Greek stuffed olives, orange peel stuffed olives, black olives, large green olives and an olive and herb mix in vermouth.  I guess it’s no secret, I love olives.  But I really needed to make room in my pantry for a few other items, so I thought I’d better start dreaming up something yummy to prepare with delectable olives. 

One of my favorite olives to serve as an appetizer with cheese, artisan crackers and winter fruit is the orange peel stuffed olive.  Typically I can only find these olives around the holidays so when I find them I snatch several jars and save them for my olive cravings.  Citrus and olives seem to compliment each other beautifully.  Combined with a few other standout ingredients, a beautiful and tasty relish is created.

This delightful relish can be served over most grilled, pan seared, poached or roasted white fish.  It’s also delicious over grilled chicken breasts or roasted chicken.  Try the relish over garlic crostini for a fun and tasty starter to your family or holiday gathering.  You can also prepare the relish a day in advance.  Just bring it to room temperature before serving. 

Bright flavors and intense colors make this recipe a divine little fish dish.  Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life!

Serves 3-4


1-1/2 lbs Petrale Sole (Cod, Halibut, Sea Bass, Swordfish or Flounder are all excellent substitutions)

Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Olive oil

1 cup mandarin oranges, coarsely chopped

1 cup black and green olives, diced (mixed Greek olives also work well in this relish)

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced or grated

¼ cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped, and a little extra for garnish

1 tablespoon dry sherry or white wine


Season the fish with salt, pepper and smoked paprika.  Set aside.

Toss together the oranges, olives, ginger, basil, dry sherry or wine and a dash of olive oil, then season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.  Set aside at room temperature.  This relish can be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated.  Bring to room temp before serving.

Prepare the fish either in the oven or stove top. 

To roast the fish in the oven, place the fish in a baking dish and drizzle the fish with olive oil and white wine.  Roast the fish on 375F until done.  Most fish will take 10 minutes of cooking per inch of thickness. 

To pan sear, add a little olive oil to a skillet and heat on medium heat.  Pan sear the fish until done and then transfer to a platter. 

Once the fish is done, plate the fish on individual plates or a platter and top with the mandarin and olive relish.  Serve immediately.

This dish is fabulous with a mixed green salad with citrus vinaigrette or roasted asparagus spears found under “sides” in this blog.

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Grilled Halibut with a Mediterranean Sun Dried Tomato Relish

Halibut Season is here and I’m on the halibut band wagon!  Actually, I feel more like a walking halibut commercial.  It’s a happy day around these parts when halibut season opens each year.  Beautiful white and flaky, but delicate and sweet tasting fish from our Pacific Northwest waters.  Not only deliciously divine, halibut is a healthy dinner option and simple to prepare. 

Halibut is delicious pan seared, grilled, even oven roasted (so long as it has a topping).  And Fishmonger Jim, from our local Gemini Fish Market, shared with me another great method of preparing this beautiful fish.  Jim poaches his halibut in a little white wine, shallots and herbs.  I’ll get Jim to give me his recipe and post it soon.  

Meanwhile… here’s another great recipe for fresh halibut.  Tangy, sweet sun dried tomato, combined with fresh chopped oregano, lemon zest, green olives, capers and a little splash of lemon.  A great way to top your grilled, pan seared, or oven roasted halibut.  For something different, try adding just a splash of balsamic vinaigrette to your relish.  This relish can also be finely chopped into a fabulous bruschetta to serve over crostini.   

Serve with an herbed brown rice cous cous and roasted fresh spring asparagus (also in this blog under “sides”).   Simple, delicious and healthy.  Happy Cooking!

Serves 4


1 ½ – 2lbs fresh halibut

1 cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, julienned

½ cup green olives, sliced

2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

1 clove garlic, minced

½ cup chopped artichoke hearts, not marinated (optional)

Pinch of sugar

Salt and pepper to taste


In a large bowl add the sun dried tomatoes, green olives, capers, chopped fresh herbs, lemon zest, garlic, sugar, and lemon juice.  Toss together and then taste for salt and pepper.  Set aside. 

To Grill the halibut, brush olive oil on the halibut and season with salt and pepper.  Heat the grill to 400F.  Grill the halibut for several minutes on each side, depending on thickness.  Halibut steaks are the best cuts for grilling.  If you have a halibut fillet, try pan searing or oven roasting. 

To oven roast the halibut, preheat the oven to 375F.  Drizzle a little olive oil over the halibut and season with a little salt and pepper.  Place in a baking dish and roast until the fish is flaky to the touch.  This will be about 8-10 minutes depending on thickness. 

To pan sear the halibut, heat a large skillet on medium high heat with a high heat oil such as safflower or sunflower oil.  Season the halibut with salt and pepper and when the oil is hot add it to the pan.  Turn the heat down to medium and let the halibut sear for several minutes.  Typically the fish will turn easily when it’s ready. If it won’t budge, let it sit a little longer.  Sear on each side for several minutes, and if the fish is thick, pop it in a preheated 375F oven to finish cooking.

When the fish is ready, transfer individual pieces to plates and then mound several tablespoons of relish on top.  Garnish with additional chopped fresh Italian parsley or oregano.  Serve immediately.

Compliment this dish with a side of herbed brown rice cous cous and roasted spring asparagus.