Sandwiches, Seafood Recipes

Salmon Sliders with Dill and Caper Yogurt Sauce

Salmon Slider with Dill and Caper Yogurt Sauce


Most of us are currently in the doldrums of winter.  It’s cold.  Perma-gray clouds are lingering.  We’re tediously wiping the pup’s paws after every walk.  (“tedious” is the best euphemism I could think of … it’s a family blog, after all.)  With all that said, I have to admit my inspiration for this fantastic dish.  It’s my recent return from a weekend in South Florida.  (Don’t be angry, fellow Northerners.  I won’t post pictures of the beach … yet.)

Here we go, with wonderful handheld salmon sliders.  What’s not to like about a small handheld sandwich on a mini brioche bun?  NOTHING.

This version is stuffed with melt-in-your-mouth wild salmon, tangy dill and caper yogurt sauce, thinly sliced red onion, cucumber, radish, creamy avocado, and crispy Romain lettuce. Harmonizing all these ingredients is the yogurt sauce.  Simply combine plain yogurt, capers, garlic, fresh dill, lemon zest and juice, salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.  Then, allow the sauce to marinate when you prepare the remainder of the ingredients.  A little sandwich with a huge amount of flavor.

Salmon Slider with Dill and Caper Yogurt SauceSalmon Slider with Dill and Caper Yogurt SauceSalmon Slider with Dill and Caper Yogurt SauceSalmon Slider with Dill and Caper Yogurt SauceSalmon Slider with Dill and Caper Yogurt Sauce


These sliders are ideal for game day, a cocktail party, or a family brunch.  Sandwich in one hand, cocktail in the other.  We’re all in sunny warm weather, as long as these sliders are on the menu.

Salmon Slider with Dill and Caper Yogurt SauceSalmon Slider with Dill and Caper Yogurt Sauce



  • 1 cup plain yogurt, I used Noosa yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp capers, chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 4 springs fresh dill, about 1 tbsp, chopped
  • The zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 lb fresh salmon, I used wild sockeye salmon
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 4 leaves of Romain lettuce, torn into pieces to fit the size of slider bun
  • 6 brioche slider buns, toasted (Note: A good bun makes the sandwich, so check out your local bakery for fresh options.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste


  1. In a small bowl, combine yogurt, capers, garlic, dill, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.  Reserve in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. If you haven’t already done so, prepare your slider toppings – red onion, cucumber, radish, avocado and lettuce.
  3. Next, prepare your salmon.  You can ask your butcher to remove the skin when you purchase the fish, or follow these instructions.  Cut salmon into 6 equal pieces, roughly the size of your slider buns.  Season both sides liberally with salt and pepper.  Heat a large pan over medium high heat, add oil, and sear salmon for 2-3 minutes per side.  I like my salmon slightly pink in the center.
  4. Next, assemble sliders.  (Note: Always use lettuce to protect bun from sauce.  Assemble as follows – bottom bun, lettuce, caper and dill yogurt sauce, salmon, cucumber, radish, avocado, top bun.)
  5. Consume immediately!

Servings: 2-3 (Serving size 2-3 sliders)

Note: Recipe easily doubled to serve a crowd. You will have plenty of caper and dill yogurt sauce left over.  If you double the recipe, no need to double the sauce.

* Thank you Noosa Yoghurt for the incredibly delicious yogurt used in this recipe. It’s tangy, thick, velvety, and ideal for a sauce.  I used their plain yoghurt in this particular recipe. Their flavored varieties must be mentioned as well.  A simple combination of plain yoghurt and a fresh fruit puree.  Noosa yogurt is a welcomed addition to my refrigerator!


Main Course Recipes, Pasta Recipes, Seafood Recipes

Zucchini Noodles and Spaghetti with Pesto, Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Shrimp

Pesto Zucchini Noodles and Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Shrimp


I’m a pesto loving fool.  I’m also a tomato loving fool.  Thankfully, this dish has ’em both (plus super cool spiraled zucchini noodles).  I’m a fool in love, and in this particular instance I’m referring to my dinner.

What do I love about this dish (other than the pesto and tomatoes?):

  • The harmonious balance of slightly chewy al dente pasta and crunchy veg achieved through the combination of pasta noodles and zucchini noodles.
  • The sweetness from the roasted garlic.  Enough said.
  • The toppings. Shrimp, garlic and herb panko breadcrumbs, lemon zest, fresh basil, and the parmesan cheese.

Tomatoesphoto 1photo 2


Spiral that fresh zucchini and slice up those pretty multi colored cherry tomatoes. Tear up that fresh basil, and take in that delicious aroma from the roasted garlic.  Lady Summer is still hanging around for a while, and she loves when you get a little foolhardy with her fresh ingredients … she told me so.

Pesto Zucchini Noodles and Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Shrimp Pesto Zucchini Noodles and Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Shrimp Pesto Zucchini Noodles and Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Shrimp Pesto Zucchini Noodles and Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Shrimp



  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti (or 2 oz per person)
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • A small pinch of Herbs de Provence (or dried oregano)
  • A small pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 head roasted garlic, squeezed from skins, and mashed with a fork
  • 1/2 cup pesto, homemade or store bought
  • 3 zucchini, spiraled (use a vegetable spiral slicer or a julienne peeler)
  • 1 lb large (16-20 count) shrimp, shelled and deveined (Ask your butcher for them this way.  If you have to devein your own shrimp, follow these steps.)
  • The zest from 1/2 of a lemon (approximately 1/2 tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste


  1. Reminder: If you haven’t already done so, roast your garlic now. This takes about 35 minutes!
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the sheet pan, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat, then spread out into a single even layer.  Roast for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions until al dente.  You want the pasta to be tender but slightly firm to the bite.  Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of starchy pasta water.  Reserve pasta.
  5. Meanwhile, add 1 teaspoon olive oil, panko bread crumbs, minced garlic, Herbs de Provence, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt to a small skillet.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the breadcrumbs are toasted and fragrant.  Remove from heat and reserve.
  6. Combine roasted garlic, pesto, and a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking water in a small boil.  Stir to combine and reserve.
  7. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add spiraled zucchini, salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until zucchini is cooked through.  (Note: Watch your spiraled zucchini carefully. You do not want it to overcook and become mushy. The goal is for it to retain a nice crunch.)
  8. Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp of olive oil to another large skillet over medium high heat.  Season shrimp with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and cook for 5 minutes until cooked through.  Cover to keep warm and reserve.
  9. Once spiraled zucchini is cooked through, add the cooked spaghetti and pesto mixture to the pan. Toss to coat and cook for 3 minutes.  Add more pesto or pasta water if necessary.  You want the spaghetti and zucchini to be coated with a nice layer of pesto.
  10. Add the roasted tomatoes to the pan. Toss to combine and cook one additional minute.  Sprinkle with half of the toasted bread crumbs, lemon zest, fresh basil, and reserved shrimp.
  11. Transfer to a serving platter, or serve right out of the skillet.  Serve with remaining  bread crumbs and fresh parmesan cheese on the side.

Serves: 4

Main Course Recipes, Seafood Recipes

Steamed Clams and Shrimp in Beer Infused Broth

Steamed Clams and Shrimp in Beer Broth


Lazy summer Sundays revolve around food.  That’s just a cardinal rule, (don’t ever break it). Where should we go for brunch?  What should we make for dinner?  A walk to the ice cream shop for dessert?  At the risk of sounding too “foodie-philosophical,” it’s always about the next meal for me.  Summer Sundays just epitomize that ideal.  Noshing my way through Sunday = my way to kick off the week.

Seafood is my favorite way to keep it light without sacrificing flavor.  Keeping that in mind, I’m going with shellfish … oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, shrimp, lobster, crabs … I love it all. Based on what was fresh at my local market, I used clams for this dish.  Any shellfish/combination of shellfish will work wonderfully.

Steamed Clams and Shrimp in Beer Broth


My favorite way to cook shellfish is in a flavorful broth.  A mouthwatering concoction of beer, shrimp shells (you read that correctly, this bad boy has shrimp infused broth!), lemon, shallot, butter, tomatoes, and fresh herbs.  I mean, half the fun of steaming shellfish is dunking copious amounts of toasted bread into that liquid gold broth.  Don’t forget the toasted bread!

My ideal Sunday afternoon nosh is set.  Time to start collecting empty shells.  Time to dip bread.  Time to start thinking about “the next meal.”

Steamed Clams and Shrimp in Beer BrothSteamed Clams and Shrimp in Beer BrothSteamed Clams and Shrimp in Beer BrothSteamed Clams and Shrimp in Beer Broth



  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, more if you want it spicy
  • 1 cup wheat beer (I used 6410 Citra Wheat from Horse Thief Hollow Brewery)
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 6 large deveined shell on shrimp, approx 1/2 lb (Ask your butcher for them this way.  If you have to devein your own shrimp, follow these steps.)
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeds discarded and chopped (I prefer vine ripened tomatoes)
  • 2 dozen wild caught littleneck clams (see note about clams below)
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon, approx 2 tbsp
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • Toasted sourdough bread for serving


Heat butter in a medium size stockpot, over medium heat, until butter is melted.  Add shallots and cook for 3 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional minute until fragrant.  Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Stir and cook for one additional minute.

Add beer and broth and bring to a low boil.  You may need to adjust the cooking temp to medium low to keep a low boil.  Add shrimp, cover the pot, and cook for 2 minutes or until just cooked through.  Using tongs, remove shrimp from the broth.  Once cool enough to handle, remove the shells from the shrimp and add them back to the stockpot.  Reserve cooked shrimp.  Cover pot, and allow shrimp shells to cook for an additional 8-10 minutes in the broth.  Remove shells from the broth and discard. (Shrimp stock, YUM!)

Note:  When you are removing the shells from the shrimp, keep broth covered over low heat to maintain a simmer (low boil).

Add tomatoes and clams.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until the clams have opened.  Check on the clams at 7 minutes to see if any have started to open.  If any clams do not open, discard them.

Add lemon juice, parsley, and reserved shrimp.  Cook for an additional minute to allow shrimp to heat through.  Serve with toasted sourdough bread and a cold beer.  Bread dunking in the broth is obviously mandatory.

Servings: 2

Note about clams:  It’s best to purchase clams just before cooking.  If you purchase them several hours in advance, they should be kept on ice in the refrigerator.  Clams are purchased alive and must be kept alive.  So, don’t wrap them in anything airtight.  They need oxygen to survive.  Just before cooking, scrub them with a stiff brush under cool running water.  If any clams are open, tap the shell.  If they don’t close tightly, discard them.

Thank you Americas Best Racing, Horse Thief Hollow Brewery, and Koval Distillery  for a wonderful night of excellent  food, drink, and company.  This post was inspired by the delicious beer at Horse Thief Hollow Brewery.  I used their 6410 Citra Wheat beer.  It’s citrus flavor & hoppy finish gave this dish a wonderful depth of flavor.  If you live in the Chicago area, check out Horse Thief Hollow Brewery. You won’t be disappointed.

Salads, Seafood Recipes

Lentil Orzo Salad with Shrimp and Feta Cheese

Here’s a clever little twist I came up with.  I added a couple ingredients to this lovely lentil orzo salad recipe from my archives.  This time around, I topped it with sauteed shrimp and crumbled feta cheese.  Yeah, I hear ya … “Real clever, Emily.  Adding crumbled feta and sauteed shrimp to most anything will make it delicious.”  Well … you’re right, it IS delicious.

Round out this terrific summer meal with a glass of sauvignon blanc and al fresco dining.

Lentil Orzo Salad with Shrimp and FetaLentil Orzo Salad with Shrimp and FetaLentil Orzo Salad with Shrimp and Feta



  • 2 cups green lentils, uncooked
  • 2 cups orzo, uncooked
  • 2 cups carrots, spiraled or chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh parsley (1 large bunch), chopped
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tbsp butter or cooking oil
  • 1 lb large (16-20 count) shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 6 oz block feta cheese (crumbled by hand)
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste


Prepare lentils: Place lentils in a colander and rinse under running water.  Sort through to remove any small rocks or shriveled lentils.  Combine rinsed and sorted lentils to a pot with 4 cups of water.  Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer (you should only see a few small bubbles and slight movement in the lentils). Cook, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes.  The lentils are fully cooked when they are  just tender and still have a bit of a bite to them.  Be careful not to overcook your lentils because they will become mushy.  Drain lentils and return them to the pot and add a pinch of salt.  Cool and reserve lentils.  At this point, if you are not preparing the salad right away, you could add your cooled lentils to a container and refrigerate up to 1 week.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add orzo, stir orzo to prevent noodles from sticking, cook uncovered for 9-11 minutes until al dente.  Drain, cool, and reserve orzo.

Combine cooled lentils, orzo, carrots, red onions, and parsley in a bowl.  Wisk together lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, dried dill, salt and pepper, and pour over salad.  Toss to combine. Note: You may not use all of the dressing.  Let salad rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour so flavors develop before serving.

Season shrimp with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Heat a large saute pan to medium-high heat and add butter or cooking oil.  Add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until cooked through.  Reserve.

To serve, pile lentil orzo salad high on a plate and top with shrimp and crumbled feta cheese.

Servings 6 (Serving size: 1 1/2 cups salad, 3-4 shrimp, 1 oz feta cheese)

Note:  Leftover salad will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Pasta Recipes, Seafood Recipes

Summer Spaghetti with Shrimp

Summer Spaghetti with Shrimp


I LOVE PASTA!  That’s all there is to it.  I try to minimize my carb intake, especially at night.  That being said, sometimes I have to give in to my craving for a big bowl of pasta.  In the summer months, this dish is perfect.  I know perfect is a strong word, but really, it applies to this pasta.  Tomatoes are just starting to come into season in my neck of the woods. So last weekend, when I was at the farmers market, I scooped up 2 large pints of cherry heirlooms.  These tomatoes have a sweet, tangy, candy like quality to them.  Perfect (there’s that word again) to be eaten raw.

This recipe is simple to make, and it only takes 15 minutes to put together.  During the week, this is exactly the type of dish I am looking for.  I added shrimp to round out the meal with a bit of protein, but you can very well leave it out.  The key to this recipe is making sure the spaghetti is still warm when you toss it with the rest of the ingredients.  The warm spaghetti absorbs the fresh flavors of the tomatoes, garlic, and basil. This results in the perfect (had to throw it in there one more time) dish.


  • 14.5 oz box whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 pints heirloom cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup, plus 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 12 jumbo raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil.  Cook pasta 10 minutes until al dente or according to package directions.  Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water.  Drain pasta and immediately add to serving dish.

While pasta is cooking, preheat a saute pan to medium-high.  Season shrimp with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to hot pan.  Saute shrimp for 5 minutes turning half way through the cooking process. Remove shrimp from pan, top with lemon juice, and reserve.

To warm pasta, add tomatoes, garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, the reserved pasta water, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Toss to combine.  Add basil leaves, toss, top with reserved shrimp, and serve.  Enjoy with a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc.