Easy dinner recipes: Three tempting ideas for seafood fans

Love seafood? Simple to make, these hearty dishes come together quickly, whether you're planning for company or fixing a weeknight dinner for family.

Halibut and shimeji baked in parchment: Top halibut with cooked mushrooms, wrap it in parchment and bake. That's how simple this recipe from Food editor Russ Parsons is, and it's a great way to show off the delicate flavor of shimeji mushrooms. Best of all? You can prepare the packets in advance, and then refrigerate them until you're ready to cook. No parchment paper? Simply wrap the fish in foil.


Oyster stew with leeks and prosciutto: Another recipe from Parsons, who wrote, "My favorite oyster stew is not all that much more complicated to make, but it adds more layers of flavor. Start by stewing prosciutto, leeks and shallots in butter. Add wine and reduce it, then bring half-and-half to a bare simmer. When bubbles begin to appear around the rim of the pan, add the oysters and cook just until they're done. What brings all of the flavors into focus is a last-minute garnish of chopped tarragon (oysters love licorice flavors almost as much as they love cream)."

Oven-steamed salmon with dill mayonnaise: If you're looking for easy, it doesn't get much better than oven-steamed salmon, according to Parsons. With his recipe, you simply steam salmon on a baking sheet in a 250-degree oven over a baking pan filled with boiling water. The salmon is ready in about 20 minutes, when the fish just begins to flake. While it's cooking, whisk together a quick dill mayonnaise (mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, fresh chopped dill and shallots, and a little lemon juice), and you're good to go. Simple, right?

According to Food editor Russ Parsons, this oven-steamed salmon is one of the easiest dishes you'll ever make:

Here's all you do: Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Put the salmon on a baking sheet. Put a baking pan on the floor of the oven (or on the lowest rack) and fill it with boiling water. Cook. Yup. That's it.

The salmon is ready in about 20 minutes, when the fish just begins to flake. While it's cooking, whisk together a quick dill mayonnaise (mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, fresh chopped dill and shallots and a little lemon juice), and you're good to go. The salmon serves six to eight, perfect whether you're serving a large family or are looking for leftovers for the next couple days (the salmon is just as good chilled and tossed in with a salad later on).

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You can find the recipes below.

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Total time: 40 minutes

Servings: 6 to 8

Note: Shimeji mushrooms are generally available at Asian markets.

Canola or vegetable oil

1/2 pound brown or white shimeji mushrooms, tough base removed (leave stems on), and broken into sections


2 teaspoons minced shallots

1 teaspoon minced tarragon

1/4 cup white wine

Freshly ground black pepper

2 (1-pound) halibut steaks

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut 2 (15-inch-square) pieces of parchment paper or aluminum foil and lightly oil one side.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms, three-fourths teaspoon salt and cook, tossing frequently, until the mushrooms start to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. They'll begin to sizzle and shine as they release their moisture.

3. Add the shallots, tarragon and white wine, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the wine evaporates, about 2 minutes. The mushrooms should be tender and lightly browned in places. Season with just a dash of black pepper.

4. Lightly season each halibut steak with three-eighths teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Place a steak in the center of each piece of parchment paper and spoon the mushrooms evenly over the steaks. Crinkle together the edges of the parchment paper to make an airtight packet, with some room left for the packet to expand. Place the packets on a baking sheet. (The recipe can be made to this point several hours in advance and refrigerated until ready to cook.)

5. Bake the packets until they puff slightly, 25 to 30 minutes (you may need to unwrap the packets a little to make sure the halibut is firm and opaque). Remove from the oven and place the packets, still sealed, on a platter. To serve, open the packets and divide the halibut and mushrooms onto plates.

Each of 8 servings: 152 calories; 25 grams protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 4 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 36 mg. cholesterol; 390 mg. sodium.


Total time: 40 minutes

Servings: 6

1 tablespoon butter

2 slices prosciutto, cut in thin ribbons

1 medium leek, finely chopped

1 shallot, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups half-and-half

Salt, optional

2 dozen oysters, shucked with oyster liquor retained

1 1/2 teaspoons minced tarragon for garnish, divided

1. Place the butter and the prosciutto in the bottom of a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until the prosciutto softens and begins to darken, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the leek and shallot, and cook until they are soft and glistening, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine, and reduce to a syrup. (Recipe can be made to this point several hours in advance.)

2. Add the half-and-half and bring just to a simmer over medium-low heat. When you see bubbles beginning to appear around the rim of the pan, add the oysters. Cook just until the oysters are plump and firm, about 3 minutes. Season to taste, if desired. Remove from the heat and ladle into well-heated soup bowls. Garnish each serving with one-fourth teaspoon chopped tarragon and serve immediately.

Each serving: 171 calories; 5 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 12 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 46 mg. cholesterol; 178 mg. sodium.


Total time: 40 minutes

Servings: 6 to 8


1 (1½- to 2-pound) salmon filet, in 1 piece



1 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon minced shallots

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup minced fresh dill

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1. Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the salmon, meat side up, on a cutting board and feel along the surface of the flesh with your fingertips just above and below the midline. If you feel pin bones, pluck them out with tweezers or needle-nose pliers. Season the salmon with one-half teaspoon salt, or to taste, and place on a jellyroll pan lined with lightly oiled aluminum foil.

2. When the oven is ready, place a baking pan on the floor of the oven and fill it with boiling water. Place the pan with the salmon on the rack. Cook until a paring knife or toothpick penetrates the flesh easily, 20 to 25 minutes. Note that the flesh will be somewhat denser than usual and that it won't change color as much as with other cooking methods.

3. While the salmon is cooking, prepare the dressing. Combine the mayonnaise, shallots, mustard and dill in a food processor or blender or use a mortar and pestle and puree until fairly smooth. There should still be some dots of herbs visible. Add lemon juice and puree again. Taste, correct seasoning and set aside.

4. When the salmon is done cooking, there will probably be some white collagen collected on the surface. Moisten a pastry brush with oil and lightly brush it away.

6. Serve the salmon on a large platter with a bit of the mayonnaise spooned to one side. Serve the remainder of the mayonnaise in a bowl to pass. Tell your guests to scoop up the salmon with a spoon, leaving the skin behind.

Each of 8 servings: 407 calories; 21 grams protein; 1 gram carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 35 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 71 mg cholesterol; 0 sugar; 406 mg sodium.