Family Meal

by Chef David Ferguson




Filtering by Category: Seafood recipes

Seared Blackened Tuna, Pickled Shiitake Mushrooms, Ruby Grapefruit, Purple Potato Chip, Green Onion Soubise, & Ginger Bell Pepper Puree

Prep Time:  60 mins    Cook Time:  1 hour    Serves:  2

A spate of warmer than usual weather had me thinking outside of typical Winter fare.  The bright colors and flavors of this dish can warm up your kitchen no matter what the weather is like outside.  I made my own blackening spice with chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, and cayenne.  However a store bought blend will do just as well.  Tuna can be cooked like steak, so a temperature range can be used.  I would suggest cooking the tuna quickly, just searing the outside in a very hot pan.  This keeps the texture and flavor you pay for in a nice piece of tuna, in tact.  

There are more than a few steps to this recipe, but don't be intimidated.  Completing each item before moving on to searing the tuna and plating is the easiest way to go about it.  



  • 1 lb fresh Ahi or higher grade Tuna; trimmed and cut into 2"x2"x4" logs
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • cilantro for garnish
  • grapefruit supremes for garnish


  • 1 cup cleaned shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 3" piece of ginger; pealed and sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt

Ginger Bell Pepper Puree-

  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup carrots; sliced
  • 1 3" piece of ginger; peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • salt to taste

Green Onion Soubise-

  • 1 large yellow onion; thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk 
  • 1 large bunch fresh green onions
  • salt to taste

Purple Potato Chip-

  • 3 purple potatoes
  • 4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups water


Place a sauce pot over high heat with  the components for the pickled mushrooms (water, rice vinegar, sugar, salt, lime juice) and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, place cleaned mushrooms, cilantro, and ginger in a medium sized mixing bowl.  When the mixture is boiling and the sugar has dissolved, pour the hot pickling bring over the mushrooms.  Set aside and let the mushrooms cool to room temperature.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Place your bell pepper in a saute pan or a small baking tray and let it roast in the oven until the skin begins to blister (approx. 20 mins). Place the pepper in a bowl and cover with a towel to cool, removing the skin and seeds once it is cool enough to handle.  Meanwhile, place the sliced carrots, peeled ginger, and grapefruit juice in small  sauce pan and bring to a simmer.  Simmer carrots and ginger until very tender, adding a tablespoon or so of water if the juice begins to evaporate.  Once tender, add the carrots, ginger, and cleaned bell pepper to a blender, reserving the poaching liquid.  With the blender running, add a tablespoon of the poaching liquid at a time to the solids until  a smooth puree forms.  Season with salt to taste then remove puree from the blender and set aside.

Add your sliced onion, butter, and milk to a sauce pot and set over medium heat.  Bring your pot up to a simmer and let cook until the onions become very, very tender (approx. 30 mins).  Strain out the onions, reserving the butter and milk.  Puree the onions in a blender with the whole, fresh green onions. Add the reserved milk and butter gradually until you reach the desired smooth and creamy texture.  Season with salt to taste then remove the soubise and set aside to cool.  

In another small pot, place potatoes, water, and salt over medium heat to simmer.  Poach potatoes until just tender, then remove from the water and let dry on paper towels or a wire rack.  When the potatoes have cooled enough to handle, slice into thin rounds.  Bake the sliced potatoes in the oven at 375 degrees until crisp (approx. 10 mins).  Once done, set aside to cool.

Mix together your seasoning in a shallow bowl.  Roll your trimmed tuna steaks in the seasoning blend, coating them liberally on all sides.  Place a saute pan over high heat and add 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil.  When the pan is very hot and just starting to smoke, place your tuna steak in and sear for 30-45 seconds on each side.  When all four sides are seared, let the tuna rest for 2-3 minutes before slicing.  

Red Pepper Marinated Marinated Shrimp, Charred Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, Radish, Red Onion, & Avocado Cream

Prep Time: 20 mins.    Cook Time:  30 mins.    Serves:  2

This recipe is a great light appetizer for your next outdoor get together.  The light heat from the crushed red pepper on the shrimp is balanced out by the refreshing flavors in the avocado cream.  The char on the tomatoes also gives them a nice smoky flavor that lends some depth.

When purchasing your shrimp at the store for this recipe remember; size matters.  Shrimp are sold by the pound, and are labeled by an approximation of how many shrimp (shell included) are in that pound.  16/20 shrimp for example (the kind called for in this recipe) contain between 16-20 shrimp per pound.  You can of course get larger shrimp should you desire, but smaller wouldn’t lend themselves well to this application.

Marinate the shrimp in garlic, crushed red pepper, basil, and olive oil for at least 30 minutes before sauteing, this will ensure they have absorbed enough flavor.  For the avocado cream, make sure to select ripe avocados that are still a nice bright green.  Under ripe avocados can be placed in a paper bag on the counter to speed the ripening a little.  



  • 8 raw 16/20 shrimp; shelled and cleaned
  • ½ cup heirloom cherry tomatoes; halved
  • 2 radish; shaved
  • ⅓ cup red onion; shaved
  • 2 tbsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 clove garlic; finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp basil; finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Avocado Cream

  • 2 ripe avocados; pitted, peeled
  • ½  cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp basil; finely chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste


Place a large saute pan over medium heat and add marinated shrimp.  Cook the shrimp, tossing occasionally, until the shrimp are bright red and cooked through (approx. 10 mins).  Place shrimp on a paper towel lined plate and reserve.

Process avocados, sour cream, vinegar, oil, 2 tablespoons basil in a food processor until mixture is very smooth, light, and thick. Season with salt.

For the tomatoes; place the halved tomatoes cut side down on a sheet tray.  Using a butane food torch, char the skins of the tomatoes.  If you don’t have a torch, you can also use a heavy skillet.  Heat the skillet over high heat until smoking, then add the tomatoes skin side down until they become charred.  

Plate your avocado cream before stacking your shrimp and garnishing with the charred tomatoes, radish, and shaved onion.


Pan Roasted Halibut, with Patti Pan Squash, Fava Beans, Shaved Purple Asparagus, Micro Greens, and Chive Oil

Prep Time:  20 min.    Cook Time:  20 min.  Serves:  2

The great thing about fresh seafood is that it reflects the seasons and allows the perfect accompaniment to seasonal vegetables. Halibut s tender, flavorful, and a great partner for the squash and fava beans in this recipe.  Though it is a bit pricier than some of the other fish in the seafood case, it’s well worth it.  Halibut is served with the skin removed so if you are not comfortable enough removing the skin yourself make sure to ask your seafood provider to do it for you.  

If you have a hard time tracking down the squash and fava beans, check your local farm market.  Bishop’s in Guilford is currently carrying  both, as well as the beautiful micro greens for the salad in this recipe.  When cooking the squash, beans and asparagus, use a small amount of oil.  When the begin to soften and become tender, add a tbsp or so of water or stock and toss in a pat of butter.  This should provide a light sauce and help the ingredients come together a little more.  

Chive oil is a great simple dressing for salads and is a breeze to make.  Simply grab a handful of fresh chives and throw them in the blender with a cup of olive oil and blend on high.  The vibrant color is matched by the bright flavor.  Feel free to dress is up with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt as well.  


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  • Two 6 oz  halibut fillets; skin off
  • 1 cup patti pan squash; quartered
  • ½ cup fava beans; shelled
  • 3 stalks purple asparagus; shaved with vegetable peeler
  • 1 tbsp parsley; finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp basil; finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup mache greens; picked
  • ⅓ cup micro greens
  • ½ cup fresh chives
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic; minced
  • ½ shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp water or vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Season halibut liberally on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside.  Add your chives and olive oil along with fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt to a blender and set to high until the chives are completely emulsified into the oil.  Set aside

Set a large pan over medium heat and add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil.  Add in your chopped shallot and garlic and saute until fragrant before adding your squash and fava beans to the pan.  Continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until the squash and beans have softened.  At this point, add in your asparagus along with the tbsp of stock and butter.  Toss everything together until a light sauce begins to form.  Add in the chopped parsley and basil and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, set another pan over high heat and add the remaining tbsp of vegetable oil. Once the pan is very hot and smoke starts to lightly rise from the pan, carefully add in the fish.  Slowly lower each piece into the pan away from you so no hot oil splashes back.  Slightly lower the heat and cook the fish until you can see browning at the edges.  Gently look to see if a good sear has formed before flipping the fish over and cooking only briefly (30 seconds to a minute).  Remove the fish from the pan and allow to briefly drain on a paper towel.  Dress your greens in a small bowl with the reserved chive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper before serving over the fish.  

Watermelon Crab Salad with Jalapeño, Cherry Tomatoes, Mache, Mint, and Lime Vinaigrette

Prep Time:  20 mins    Cook Time:  0 mins    Serves:  2

Summer has come on strong, making the idea of turning on the oven and making the kitchen even hotter very unappealing.  This crab salad will keep you and the kitchen cool on a warm evening.  Use lump crab meat here, or anytime you use crab really.  Claw meat isn’t as tender and has a much stronger flavor that most find unpleasant.  

Jalapeño is low on the list of the world’s hottest peppers, but it can still be too spicy for some.  To help with this, wear gloves and then remove the seeds and veins.  Capsaicin, the active ingredient in peppers that gives them their heat, is mostly contained in the seeds and veins.  Make sure you wear gloves for this though, as capsaicin can remain on your hands even after a thorough washing and any contact with your face will burn quite a bit.  

Mache greens are a small tender green available at most farm markets.  They are soft in texture with a nutty flavor and beautiful dark green color.  They usually come with the root bundle still attached and a lot comes in a package. If you have a few extra plant pots hanging around, plant whatever you don’t use to come back to later.  They do well in mixed sun and loose rich soil.



  • 1 cup lump crab meat
  • 2 cups watermelon; cut into 1” cubes
  • ½ cucumber; sliced into wide strips on a mandolin
  • 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes; halved
  • 1 jalapeño; veined, seeded, and sliced on a mandolin
  • 1 cup mache greens
  • ⅓ cup mint leaves
  • ⅓ cup basil leaves
  • ¼ cup lime zest
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Add lime juice to a blender and slowly drizzle in olive oil with the motor running. Season with salt and pepper to taste then set aside.

Toss mache greens, basil, and mint lightly in lime dressing.  Plate your watermelon, tomatoes, and cucumber before adding your dressed greens.  Lightly dress the crab meat and plate amongst the rest of your salad.  Garnish with shaved jalapeño and lime zest then season lightly with salt and pepper.


Sole, Green Pea Pesto, Baby Yukon Potatoes, & Spring Salad with Lemon Honey Vinaigrette

Prep Time:  30 mins    Cook Time:  30 mins    Serves:  2

With warmer temperatures and the return of Daylight Savings, Spring has officially returned.  Sole is a delightfully light and delicate fish that fits perfectly into this Spring recipe with a sweet and mild flavor.   Sole fillets can be very thin and fragile so it is important to handle them carefully and cook them quickly in a hot pan to avoid overcooking.  

The cucumber and carrots can be shredded with a box grater or cut into a very thin julienne, whichever you are more comfortable with.  If you have the knife control and skill, you might get better results with a julienne.  If you are pressed for time or just not confident enough to make such small cuts, shredding them is perfectly fine.  


  • 2 6-oz Sole fillets
  • 1 cup fresh English sugar peas
  • 8 Baby Yukon potatoes
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup shredded cucumber
  • ½ cup basil; chiffonade
  • ½ cup mint; chiffonade
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice; divided
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ½ shallot; chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic; chopped fine
  • ¾ cup + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup chicken stock
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


Place baby Yukons in a small  sauce pot and enough water to just cover the potatoes.  Salt the water heavily and bring the water up to a low simmer.  Simmer the potatoes until fork tender, about 15 minutes and then remove from the water.  Let potatoes dry on a wire rack before slicing them in ¼” rounds.  Set aside.

Place chicken stock in a small sauce pot and set over medium heat.  Blanch peas in stock until tender then strain, reserving the stock.  Add the peas, half the of the basil and mint and 1 clove of minced garlic to a food processor.  With the motor running add  stock gradually until  smooth.  Add in butter and process until melted.  

Add shallots and garlic to a pan with teaspoon of olive oil and set over medium heat.  Cook shallots and garlic until garlic has begun to brown and shallots are translucent.  Add in white wine vinegar and reduce.  Once vinegar, garlic and shallots  have reduced to a thin syrup remove pan from heat.  Add lemon juice, honey, and reduced shallots and garlic to a blender.  With the motor running, gradually drizzle in olive oil to emulsify.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.  

Place a saute pan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp vegetable oil.  Place potatoes flesh side down in pan.  Cook 2-3 minutes until brown, then flip.  Cook additional 2-3 minutes on opposite side before removing potatoes from pan with a slotted spoon and draining on a paper towel.

Return pan to medium high heat and add reserved vegetable oil.  Season Sole fillets with salt and pepper.  When the pan and oil are very hot, add the sole fillets.  Cook 4-5 minutes before flipping and cooking an additional 4-5 minutes.  

Toss shredded carrot and cucumber along with reserved basil and mint in vinaigrette.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Plate pea green puree with potatoes, serve Sole over potatoes and top with salad.

Pan Roasted Salmon, Red Quinoa Pilaf with Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sautéed Spinach, & Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Prep Time:  30 min    Cook Time:  40 min    Serves:  2


Cooking fish can be a bit intimidating.  A beautiful fish filet can go from perfectly cooked to overdone in a snap, and leave you with something dry and unpalatable.  However, once you get the timing down you will be producing flavorful dishes with tender, flaky flesh and a perfect crisp crust.   Salmon, due to its higher fat content and darker flesh, is more forgiving than white fish to cook. You can actually take temperature on a piece of salmon and cook it much like a steak from medium-rare to well done.  For this recipe I will be cooking the salmon to medium, but if you like your fish a little more well done, just add a couple more minutes in the oven.  To save yourself some time and effort, ask your fish provider to remove the skin for you. They should be more than happy to accommodate your request and it saves you a step in your preparation. 

Quinoa often carries a reputation as a bland health food, but this pilaf is hearty with lots of bold flavor. The sweet potatoes and onions balance nicely off the slight bitterness of the spinach.  Quinoa, like most grains, cooks at a proportion of 1:2 grain to liquid.  Always rinse your quinoa in cold water before cooking to remove excess starch and add in your onion, spinach and sweet potatoes at the very end of cooking.

When preparing the brown butter vinaigrette, be careful not to scorch the milk solids in the butter.  Cook the butter over medium heat.  At first the butter will foam up before the milk solids separate and settle to the bottom of the pan.  At this point, watch the color of the solids closely as they shift from a light golden hue to a darker brown color.  Brown butter smells heavenly and carries a complex nutty flavor that adds a depth and intricacy to anything it’s added to. 


  • 8 oz salmon fillets; skin off
  • 1 large sweet potato; peeled and cut into 1” cubes
  • 2 ½  cups raw spinach; separated. 2 cups whole, ½ cup chiffonade
  • ½ cup fresh basil; chiffonade (fine ribbon cut)
  • ¼ cup smoked almonds; chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic; minced
  • ½ large yellow onion
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil; separated
  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 6 oz unsalted butter
  • 6 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped shallot
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Season both sides of your salmon liberally with salt and pepper and set aside.  Add your cubed sweet potatoes to a bowl and drizzle with 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss the the sweet potatoes to evenly coat and spread out on a lined baking tray.  Place the sweet potatoes in the oven for 20 minutes and then set aside, they should be fork tender at this point. 

Meanwhile, place quinoa and vegetable stock into a medium sauce pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  The grains should appear soft and translucent, and the germ ring will be visible along the outside edge of the grain.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a medium sauté pan and add garlic.  Allow the garlic to slightly color and become fragrant before adding your onions.  Cook onions until they become tender and translucent, about 5 minutes, then add 2 cups spinach.  Toss the spinach in the pan and cook lightly, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Allow the spinach to begin to wilt before removing everything from the pan and incorporating into the quinoa.  Cover and set aside.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until browned but not burned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.  In a blender, combine the vinegar, olive oil, shallot and mustard. Blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the reserved butter and blend until thickened. Season to taste and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.

Place a sauté pan over medium high heat and add the remaining tbsp of oil.  Allow the pan to become very hot, with light wisps of smoke coming off before placing the salmon gently into the pan.  Immediately put the pan in the oven and cook for 8 minutes, allowing for extra time for more well done fish.  When you are ready to serve, dress the chiffonade basil, spinach, and chopped almonds with the vinaigrette and serve the small salad atop the salmon.


Pan Seared Diver Scallops, Fried Leeks, with Sauce Verte, & Pistachio Gremolata

Prep Time:  35 mins    Cook Time:  5 mins    Serves:  2

Scallops are a luxurious seafood that when cooked properly yield a soft texture and subtle, sweet flavor.  Searing scallops without overcooking can take a bit of practice, but once you have mastered the technique they will be one of you your favorite items to cook for their versatility.  Like all proteins, getting a good sear on scallops requires a few steps.  Scallops should be rinsed, patted dry, and allowed to come up to room temperature before searing in a very hot pan.  The time in the pan won’t be much, merely a minute or so each side.  You will be able to see them caramelize at the edges, indicating it is time to flip.  Due to their short cooking time, it is possible for you to complete all other items in the recipe and get them on the plate before turning your complete attention to cooking the scallops.  


  • 1 lb fresh diver scallops
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup leeks; thinly sliced into 2” segments
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley; divided
  • ½ cup chopped chervil leaves
  • ½ cup chopped chives
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped; divided
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon chopped anchovy
  • ¼ cup capers
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted pistachios
  • 1 lemon; juiced and zested
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


    Place a high sided pan over medium heat along with the vegetable oil and allow to come up to temperature.  To prepare the leeks, cut the white and pale green part off of the stem. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly (try to keep each half in tact).  Thinly slice the leeks into even pieces, about 2" -inches long. Dry thoroughly.  Test the oil with a few pieces to make sure the oil is the correct temperature and not too hot or cold.  Using a slotted spoon, lower the leeks into the oil. Fry them for about 1 to 2 minutes, just until they turn golden. Be careful of any splattering oil. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain.
    In a blender, combine  1 cup parsley, chervil, chives, 2 cloves garlic, shallot, anchovy, capers and lemon juice. Pulse to puree. With the motor running, very slowly drizzle in 1 cup of the olive oil until it is thoroughly incorporated. Transfer to a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Combine the reserved parsley and garlic along with the pistachios, lemon, and red pepper in a small bowl; let stand 15 minutes to allow flavors to develop.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    Remove the small side muscle from the scallops, rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat dry.  Place a large saute pan over high heat with reserved tbsp olive oil and butter.  Season both sides of the scallops liberally with salt and pepper and wait for the pan to come up to temperature.  When the pan is hot (thin wisps of smoke should be coming off the pan), gently add the scallops one at a time to the pan, making sure they are not touching each other.  Move quickly and ensure they have even contact with the pan.  Cook for one minute, looking for browning at the edges, then flip.  The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center