Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Fish Tacos with Spicy Olive and Green Apple Slaw

These California-style tacos are simple, fresh, and loaded with flavor—a little spicy, sweet, and tangy all at once. Although the fish is breaded and fried, the coating is very light, made with a thin layer of cornmeal and panko for a crispy finish. And it’s not deep-fried: one-third cup of peanut oil is all you need.

The biggest flavor—and crunch—comes from the topping. Fresh vegetables and fruit, along with one of the easiest slaw dressings you’ll ever make, turn these tacos into a delicious, nutritious casual dinner.

Makes 8 tacos


For the Slaw
  • 2 cups shredded savoy cabbage (or other cabbage)
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1/2 small Granny Smith apple (or other tart green apple), chopped
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green and black olives
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Slaw Ingredients
For the Tacos
  • 1tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup panko (or other fine, dry breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 tsp chile powder
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb skinless cod filet (or other whitefish), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil
  • 8 6-inch flour tortillas, warmed

For the Slaw

  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients (through scallions) in a medium bowl.
  2. Combine the sugar, lime juice, and vinegar in a small bowl, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the dressing to the cabbage mixture and toss well to combine. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to allow flavors to combine. Stir again before serving.
Slaw Ready to Dress

Slaw Dressing

Dressed Slaw
For the Tacos

  1. Place the cornstarch in a heavy, sealable bag.
  2. Whisk the egg and milk in a medium bowl.
  3. Place the cornmeal, panko, chile powder, salt, and pepper in another heavy, sealable bag and shake well to combine.
  4. Place the fish in the bag with the cornstarch and shake well. Dip each piece in the egg mixture, letting the excess drip off. Place the fish in the bag with the cornmeal mixture and shake well.
  5. Using tongs, remove the fish to a plate and refrigerate 20-30 minutes. (Refrigeration helps the coating adhere to the fish.)

Fish Ready to Bread

Breaded Fish
  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the fish pieces in a single layer.
  2. Fry until golden brown on the bottom, 3-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Turn the pieces over and fry until the fish is tender on the inside and golden and crispy on the outside, about 3 minutes longer.
Fish Beginning to Fry

Fried Fish
To serve, place the fish in a bowl and serve the warm tortillas and slaw alongside.

Fish Tacos with Spicy Olive and Green Apple Slaw

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Shrimp and Mussel Chowder with White Beans

Fresh seafood and a flavorful broth are the signature ingredients in this recipe. The addition of tomato paste to the clam juice and chicken broth gives it a little Manhattan chowder flair, but it’s really just a simple seafood soup that delivers with briny shrimp and mussels and creamy cannellini beans. Don't neglect the finishing touches with parsley and scallions—they lend an earthy touch that complements the main ingredients in the chowder. This is a light, inviting, and refreshing dinner that cooks in less than 15 minutes.

Note: Give the mussels room to breathe when you bring them home. After scrubbing, lay them on a bed of ice in the fridge to keep them alive and fresh before cooking. Include the cleaned shrimp to make cooking assembly even simpler. 

Mussels and Shrimp on Ice
Serves 2

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced and separated
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 8 oz bottled clam juice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup cooked cannellini beans (rinsed well if canned; use leftovers in salads)
  • 1/2 tsp dried red chile flakes
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb mussels (14-16), scrubbed
  • 1/2 lb large (26-30 count), peeled, deveined shrimp
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Rinsed and Drained Cannellini Beans
  1. Heat a wide, deep pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the white parts of the scallions, onion, and garlic. Cook 2 minutes, until fragrant, stirring frequently to prevent the garlic from burning.
Onion, Scallions, and Garlic Beginning to Cook
  1. Add the wine and tomato paste and stir until well combined, 2 minutes. Add the clam juice, chicken broth, beans, and chile flakes and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes. Add the mussels, cover the pot, and simmer until the mussels open, 4-5 minutes. (Discard any that do not open.)
Tomato Paste, Beans, and Liquids Added

Mussels Added

Mussels Opened
  1. Add the shrimp and cook until just cooked through, about 2 minutes.

To serve, divide the chowder between 2 shallow bowls. Garnish with parsley and green parts of the scallions and serve right away.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Baked Spaghetti with Chicken and Mushrooms

Baking spaghetti in layers—like lasagna—adds extra cheesiness to a simple pasta dish with a few fresh vegetables and ground chicken. I used thigh meat, but ground chicken breast works too. You could also use ground beef, but be sure most of the oil cooks out of the pan (or drain it) before adding it to the baking dish. You want the finished pasta to be a little firm, not soggy.

Serves 4

  • 6 oz thin spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 3/4 lb ground chicken
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water until al dente, 6-7 minutes. Drain.
  3. Heat a large skillet or pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, and bell pepper and cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the ground chicken and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up the chicken, until just cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed, 10 minutes.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons parsley, and oregano and re-season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until the mixture has thickened slightly, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool 10 minutes.

Garlic, Onion, and Bell Pepper

Chicken and Mushrooms Added

Cooked Chicken Mixture

Tomato Mixture Added
  1. Spread 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of an 11 X 7-inch baking dish. Top with 1/2 of the spaghetti, spreading to an even layer. Sprinkle the pasta with 1/3 of the mozzarella.
  2. Top with 1/3 of the sauce and the remaining pasta. Sprinkle the pasta with another 1/3 of the mozzarella and spread the remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top of the sauce.
  3. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned, 20-25 minutes. Remove and let rest 5 minutes.

1st Sauce Layer

1st Spaghetti Layer

1st Cheese Layer

Ready to Bake

Baked Pasta
Garnish with parsley, cut into fourths, and serve.

Baked Spaghetti with Chicken and Mushrooms