Category Archives: Seafood

seared scallops with pan sauce

Lovely and delicate, scallops are a delicious favorite to pair with great conversation and a chilled sauvignon blanc. A light salad, simple greens and crusty bread for the extra pan sauce, are excellent companions for this gorgeous dish.

When prepping, note the scallops need to be as dry as possible. Blot delicately between paper towels at least twice. Place on a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Because of the quick cook time, any dishes or other dinner prep should be complete before searing, as once the pan sauce is created, your scallops should be served immediately. Enjoy!

seared scallops with pan sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: medium
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  • 1 to 1 ½ pounds scallops, which is 4 to 5 scallops per person
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  1. Tip: Remove side-muscles first. It’s a small tag of muscle tissue on back of scallop that adheres it to shell. Its fibers run opposite of the rest of the scallop. Pinch with thumb and fore finger and give it a small tug. It will pull away.
  2. Pat dry, more than once if necessary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat butter and oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. When your pan is ready, add scallops a single layer about an inch apart, not crowding the pan.
  4. They cook quickly, about two minutes, when golden brown, flip with spatula or tongs.
  5. Cook until deep golden brown about 2 to 3 minutes, until just firm and opaque. Do not over cook. Top and bottom of your scallops should be golden brown and when you look at the sides, they should be opaque all the way through. Transfer to plate immediately.

Pan Sauce 


  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  1. Reduce heat to medium-low, whisk 3 tablespoons lemon juice into the skillet. Scrape browned bits. Add 2 tablespoons cold butter, adding a few cubes at a time, whisking constantly until just melted. Whisk in ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Drizzle over scallops on plate and serve immediately.
  2. Garnish with parsley

Note: Because scallops cook so quickly, all of the other elements to your meal should be completed before you begin searing.

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Alaska Cod Tostadas

Simple and delicious, this  recipe serves 8 and can be prepped, cooked and on the table in 25 minutes.

After a day filled with work and errands, it isn’t always easy to eat a healthy home cooked meal. It’s tempting to slide into the a drive thru line or pull up an app on our phones and order take out. That’s one reason I am always watching for dishes with great flavor combinations, are appealing to the eye and that start to finish, are on the table in under 30 minutes.


Alaska Cod Tostadas

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: simple
  • Print


  • 8 oz. regular or light cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1-1/2 pounds Alaska Cod fillets, fresh, thawed or frozen
  • 8 flat tostada shells (6 to 7 inches each)
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Prepared salsa, as needed
  • 1 large avocado, peeled and sliced


  1. Mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and 3 tablespoons lime juice in small bowl; set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 425ºF.  Combine olive oil, remaining lime juice and cilantro, salt and pepper to taste; mix well.
  3. Rinse any ice glaze from frozen Alaska Cod under cold water, pat dry with paper towel.  Place fillets on a spray-coated baking sheet; bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Baste cod fillets with olive oil mixture.  Bake an additional 7 to 8 minutes for frozen cod or 3 to 5 minutes for fresh/thawed fish, adjusting cook time for smaller fillets.  Bake just until fish is opaque throughout.
  4. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on tostada shells.  Divide shredded cheese on top of cream cheese.  Place tostadas on baking sheet and bake just until cheese melts, about 2 minutes.  Flake cod with fork; divide among tostadas.  Top with prepared salsa and fresh avocado slices.

**A very special thank you to Alaska Seafood for another delicious recipe!

Halibut, Cherries and Beer; An Excellent Combination by Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson of WEB  Photo:  Judy Pavlik

Ginger Johnson of WEB
Photo: Judy Pavlik

Beer for the Halibut, I say! And what a terrific medium it is – fresh fish – to showcase beer as complement and ingredient.

Since Halibut is a rather hearty white fish it’ll absorb flavors nicely. I’d encourage you to cook down some cherries with a moderate and well balanced brown style beer like Everybody’s Brewing Hoedown Brown. The caramelization as the beer cooks will really make the cherries and the juice they produce sing. Cook it until it’s Photo:  Ginger Johnsonthe consistency and flavor you wish, tossing in more cherries or beer as you go to get it just right. A small teaspoon of brown sugar will amplify the caramelization as well, though add it later in the cooking.

Place the fish in the reduced Brown Cherry sauce and let it simmer on low for a few minutes to give the fish extra opportunity to soak up flavor. Or drizzle the Brown Cherry sauce it on top of the fish, having baked it simply with just a brush of high quality olive oil and one squeeze of lemon juice. You can serve it with fresh steamed artichokes and other vibrantly green early summer vegetables to make for a colorful, flavorful and totally nutritious meal.

Photo:  Ginger JohnsonYum! The flavors of summer keep coming – try this out, pour yourself a fresh beer and enjoy.

Try This Pairing Suggestion: When you get the chance enjoy a refreshing glass of Full Sail’s Chris’s Summer Delight Berliner Weiss. Pair it with full fat Monterrey Jack cheese on simple crackers.

Events: Get on the road and go to the Gorge Blues & Brews Festival in picturesque Stevenson, Washington this weekend. The fest runs Friday night & Saturday with live music and Ginger will take the stage 3 times to edutain about beer. See you there!

When beer people get together, you can rest assured that there will be tasty beer, lively conversation, and terrific relationships built. It makes the endeavor all the better.

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at or

Sizzling Summer Seafoods

An excellent source of lean protein, food from the sea is a delicious option for eating well.  Each spring and summer I yearn for the delicious flavors that only seafood can offer.  It’s time to heat up the grill and start the seafood sizzling.

Summer Paella

Summer Paella

Summer Paella by Eating Well.  Paella, a rice dish that originated on the east coast of Spain is known to be prepared with many variations.  I haven’t a favorite as the ingredients can vary with the rest of the menu and theme of any get together.  This recipe by is not only delicious it is   a tad on the healthy side as well. If you see an ingredient listed here that you do not care for, omit or replace it with one that your tastebuds adore.  This recipe serves 6 and takes about an hour and a half to prep.  Shopping List; Green bell pepper, red or orange bell pepper, olive oil cooking spray, raw shrimp, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, reduced-sodium chicken broth, crumbled saffron threads, kosher salt, short-grain white rice, hard-shell clams, raw-spice turkey or chicken sausage links, baby peas, black olives, green olives and parsley.  Full recipe and method

Pairing Suggestion;  Muga Rosado 2012

Grilled Halibut with Herb Pistou and Walnut Butter

Grilled Halibut with Herb Pistou and Walnut Butter

Grilled Halibut with Herb Pistou and Walnut Butter by Danny Grant for Food and Wine.  A great weeknight meal is full of flavor, quick to prepare and sure to please the crew gathered around the dining room table. Halibut is a meaty fish that grills well and can be paired with many foods.  The portion of this recipe that takes the most prep time is the butter and the pistou and fortunately, both of these can be made ahead and chilled for two days.

You will need to step out of your pantry for the ingredients and I promise, the combination of flavors are well worth it.  Shopping List; Halibut, salt, sugar, walnuts, butter, juniper berries, orange zest, serrano ham, lime juice, fennel pollen, cloves, extra-virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, watercress ( leaves and tender sprigs only ), baby arugula, parsley leaves, basil leaves, dill, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice and black pepper.  Recipe and method here

Pairing Suggestion;  Passaggio Wines UNMARKED Sauvignon Blanc

There are three widely known types of paella: Valencian paella (Spanishpaella valenciana), seafood paella (Spanish: paella de marisco) and mixed paella (Spanish: paella mixta), but there are many others as well. ~ Wikipedia

 A fabulous wine that will pair well with both dishes:  Geyser Peak Chardonnay

An Impromptu Gathering; Grilled Salmon and Pinot Noir

Grilling outdoors is a delicious way to assemble friends, enjoy fellowship and engage in great conversation.  Add a cooler of brews, cocktails you have pre-mixed and a few bottles of wine to your backyard deck right next to your barbecue and ask everyone to bring their favorite dish.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate and sometimes the best get-togethers are spur of the moment.

Grilled Salmon with Green Onion & Basil ~ The Heritage Cook

Grilled Salmon with Green Onion & Basil ~ The Heritage Cook

Each Wednesday, our fabulous wine contributor Jack Chase, gives wonderful advice on wine and food pairings.  You can find his latest piece here.  The tantalizing pairing that caught my eye this week is Pinot Noir and Grilled Salmon.  So I went searching for the perfect recipe for a back yard grill and found it.  Jane Evans Bonacci of The Heritage Cook has the most delicious cuisine on her site and she has so graciously agreed to work with us on this post.  Please take some time and poke around her site.  You are going to love it there.

Grilled Salmon with Green Onions & Basil ~ The Heritage Cook

Grilled Salmon with Green Onions & Basil ~ The Heritage Cook

Grilled Salmon with Green Onions and Basil by The Heritage Cook

What I love about recipes like this, is the colors are beautiful, they are full of flavor,  my two favorite things, and I also really appreciate that the ingredients list is very basic.  You more than likely already have these items in your pantry, so the shopping list is very small, which is key to an impromptu gathering.     Ingredients; garlic, salt, shallot, mayonnaise, soy sauce, salmon fillets, fresh basil, onion, lemon and ground pepper.  Full recipe on The Heritage Cook.

In her post, Jane gives tips and tricks on barbecuing.  Since I use a gas grill I am not familiar with a charcoal chimney.  I miss the flavor that only charcoal can bring to foods, so I am reconsidering how I will purchase my next grill.

If you are still using lighter fluid with your charcoal you need to buy a charcoal chimney. Lighter fluid leaves a greasy unpleasant taste on your foods and is a contaminant to the environment. The chimney is a simple design that works like a champ. Crumple up a little newspaper and stuff it in the bottom, place the chimney in your barbecue and fill the top with coals. Use a stick lighter to light the paper and within about 15 minutes your coals are starting to get ashy and are ready to pour out into the barbecue and cook over. Just make sure you use heavy leather gloves or oven mitts to protect your hands. – jane evans bonacci

Archery Summit

Archery Summit

Pairing?  I am definitely following the advice of our resident wine guru, Jack Chase and going with a great Pinot Noir, Archery Summit Premier Cuvee from the Willamette Valley.  

If you have questions about wines or wine and food pairings, Jack is here to assist!

Please enjoy the gallery of photos Jane has sent to us, following her creation of the delicious Grilled Salmon, step by step.  Then head over to her page for the full recipe, grilling tips and ideas.

Smoked Salmon

by Celebrating Home with Karie Engels on Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 11:29am

My Honey has the perpetual itch to fish and hunt ~ so when the news came “pinks are in!”, this guy was on it.  This awesome man prepares himself well, heads out there and catches food, brings it home, cleans it, packages it all up and bonus ~ he cleans the mess afterward!

Late last week he declared we were smoking the salmon on Sunday.  Those who have been with me here a while know how much I love it when he fires up that smoker.  He is a bit stingy at divulging the ingredients of his brine, however he is willing to let me share a bit of that with you for which I am thankful or my piece here would probably contain only photographs.

As always, tips, tricks and other input are extremely welcome as we love to grow and share our recipes with others ~ well, one of us does anyway.  :)

When it comes to his “secret recipe brine” the only ingredients he will allow me divulge are salt, brown sugar and water.  Fortunately there are many wonderful online tools and sites for you to pull brine recipes, tips and tricks from.

Generally the morning before he fires up the smoker he pulls fish from the freezer to thaw and right before he heads to off to sleep, he pops them in the brine for a final swim and puts them in the fridge.  Eight to twelve hours is the norm to soak the salmon, as he says we just do it til it’s convenient.  It was approximately eleven hours this run.

In the morning, he lays out newspaper to soak up the mess ~ and there is mess ~ places the smoking racks on top of the paper and goes to work.  He removes the fish piece by piece, rinses it thoroughly and places on the rack.  He then pats each piece dry with a paper towel.  When he feels they are good and dry he sprinkles brown sugar on all of them and gently rubs it in.  Some of the salmon receive generous amountsof ground pepper on top of the brown sugar, which is incredibly tasty.

He set the smoker for 120 degrees and used 1/2 alder and 1/2 special blend bisquettes.

Cook Time: 6 hours at 120 degrees

Cook Time: 3 hours at 140 degrees

Smoke Time:  First 3 hours