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Video: Giada’s favorite fish dinners

  1. Closed captioning of: Giada’s favorite fish dinners

    >>> with giada. it's ash wednesday, the start of lent. "today" contributor and chef giada de laurentiis is here with some of her favorite fish dinners. let's start with the basics. you go to the supermarket, the fish monger , how do you know it's fresh?

    >> a lot of times they will say if you touch the fish it should bounce back. there shouldn't be a strong smell. a lot of people can't touch the fish at the fish counter . look for something that's shiny, looks fresh.

    >> if it's a whole fish the eyes should be clear.

    >> correct. and they shouldn't be sunken in. but ask the fish person, what's the freshest fish that day and go based on that.

    >> since they are in the business to serve the customer they should give you good information.

    >> they will.

    >> why do you think halibut?

    >> it's meaty so you feel like you're eating something like a steak and it's not overly fishy.

    >> how are we preparing it?

    >> lemon juice and olive oil .

    >> this is a marinade?

    >> right. i will marinade it for -- oh, there is no pepper in here.

    >> that's okay.

    >> it says on the notes you will marinate for 35 minutes. not 37 or 34. 35 minutes.

    >> okay. so lemon juice is an acid.

    >> it deteriorates.

    >> it cooks the fish. you don't want it to cook the fish or it becomes maealy and doesn't flake.

    >> you can do it in a plastic bag or a glass jar.

    >> but then you have to dump it out. let it sit in the fridge for --

    >> 35 minutes.

    >> take it out and actually we'll have to take it out and put it on a sheet pan . grease the sheet pan first and bake at 400 for 15 to 18 minutes.

    >> it gets nice and flaky.

    >> this is what it looks like when it comes out of the oven.

    >> what are we serving it on?

    >> shallots and red bell pepper .

    >> are these frozen or fresh?

    >> these are frozen peas . i like petite peas.

    >> do you have to defrost them?

    >> you don't. turn off the heat when you add the peas and it defrosts them. add lemon zest and thyme and mint. just like that. see how pretty it is?

    >> it's like a lightly cooked salad.

    >> a warm salad.

    >> you would do it longer because if those were truly frozen they would not be defrosted now.

    >> you would do it for a minute. you would be amazed how quickly they defrost. then you put the fish on top. see how pretty it is?

    >> yeah.

    >> most kids love peas. i put a little bit of mint on top.

    >> that's one fish dish. i was going to meet you the other way. the other two dishes, kids are going to like these as well. one is rigatoni with butternut squash and shrimp.

    >> cube the squash, vegetable stock and onions. cook it for 15 minutes . depends how small you cut it for how long it takes. you want it soft because you are going to puree it. put the lid on. there we go. puree it all together.

    >> so in effect you're making a sauce here?

    >> correct.

    >> you have the shrimp. just saute them for two minutes on each side.

    >> timing on shrimp is important. because if you cook them too long they get dense and chewy.

    >> i do one and a half to two minutes. take the butter nut squash. add it to the rigatoni which you cooked and drained. add it to three-quarters of a cup of milk or so to loosen it up a bit and parmesan cheese . toss it together and top it with whatever you want .

    >> for example?

    >> shrimp, fish, chicken. anything you wanted. this is a dish i had in capris and it's made with shrimp but do whatever you want . cook the pasta al dente so it absorbs and it's nice and creamy which the kids like.

    >> you place the shrimp on top or mix them in?

    >> no. i like shrimp because it looks beautiful. so keep it like that.

    >> one more. don't be stingy.

    >> okay. we finish it with basil.

    >> in a couple of seconds, another idea.

    >> tuna burgers.

    >> kids will like those. cook it a little bit more done than that.

    >> probably. a little tapenade from olives and mayonnaise.

    >> thank you very much. appreciate it. still ahead, how to land a high school or

TODAY recipes
updated 3/9/2011 7:10:41 AM ET 2011-03-09T12:10:41

Recipe: Roasted halibut with pea and mint salad

  • Fish
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) center-cut halibut filets, skinned
  • Salad
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 large or 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen petite peas, thawed
  • 1 packed cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Fresh mint sprigs for garnish

For the fish: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a small baking sheet or glass baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour the mixture into a sealable plastic bag or a glass baking dish. Add the halibut and coat with the lemon mixture. Refrigerate for 35 minutes. Remove the halibut from the marinade and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 15 to 18 minutes until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

For the salad: Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and red bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallots are soft and translucent. Turn off the heat. Add the peas, 1 cup chopped mint, lemon zest, and thyme. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spoon the salad onto 4 plates and top with the halibut. Garnish with mint sprigs and serve.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 23 to 26 minutes

Serving Size

4 servings

Recipe: Rigatoni with squash and prawns

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1 pound prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 3/4 to 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butternut squash, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Saute until the squash is golden and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the squash is very soft, another 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the squash mixture to a blender or food processor and puree.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the prawns with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Add the prawns to the pan and cook until just pink, about 3 minutes.

In a large pot over low heat combine the cooked pasta, pureed squash mixture, and 3/4 cup milk. Stir to combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk if the sauce needs to be moistened. Add the cooked prawns, basil, and cheese. Stir until warm and serve.

Serving Size

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Recipe: Grilled tuna burgers with tapenade

  • 1/3 cup pitted green olives
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 anchovy, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 12- to 14-ounce tuna steak
  • 4 6-inch-long pieces of baguette bread, halved horizontally
  • 4 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 4 thin slices red onion
  • 1/2 cup purchased roasted bell peppers, drained

Combine the olives, capers, 1 tablespoon of oil, lemon juice, parsley, lemon zest, and anchovy in a food processor. Pulse just until the olives are finely chopped. Season the tapenade with pepper.

Stir the mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl to blend. (The tapenade and Dijon mayonnaise can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate. Bring the tapenade to room temperature before using.)

Prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat). Lightly brush the tuna with the remaining oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the tuna until golden on the outside and just opaque in the center, about 2 minutes per side. Remove some of the bread from the center of each baguette piece. Grill the baguette pieces, cut side down, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.

Spread the Dijon mayonnaise over the bottom and top halves of the baguette pieces. Top with the lettuce and red onion. Cut the tuna steaks into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange the tuna slices atop the onions. Spoon the tapenade over the tuna. Top with the red peppers, then the baguette tops, and serve.

Active Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Serving Size

4 servings

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