I often go to the low carb diet when I need to shed pounds. My love for pizza, pasta and wine prevents me from staying on it as a permanent lifestyle change, but I’m pretty good at keeping my body in ketosis for a week or two at a time. Mix it with exercise and it generally does the trick. One of my laments in life is the lack of seafood on our dinner table. This is because my family generally will not eat it. They were not raised on it and are mostly unwilling to try. I have been successful at getting the two youngest hooked on fish sticks, so there is hope for the future.

Full of tomato flavor with a touch of heat

Full of tomato flavor with a touch of heat

A conundrum produced this recipe. How do I create a delicious dish that (1) keeps me in ketosis, (2)satisfies my craving for seafood, and (3)provides my family with an opportunity to enjoy fish by integrating it as a component flavor instead of the main feature of a dish? In my solution, I felt bad about using a perfect steelhead filet in this way. Usually, a salmon or steelhead trout finds its way to the smoker. I enjoy it with hickory or grapewood smoke flavors, accented by onion and lemon. Leftovers are integrated into omelets for days to come.
A beautiful steelhead fillet

A beautiful steelhead fillet

Nothing like picking them fresh

Nothing like picking them fresh

This recipe has a definitive Italian flare. I had to stop myself from adding basil and/or oregano and turning it into a full blown Sunday gravy. You will find it full of flavor, and similar to a good puttanesca, the flavors of the sea are present but not overwhelming. The jalapeño adds a touch of heat. I tend to use them a lot since I keep a box of them growing year around.
You will need:

4 roma tomatoes

20 oz steelhead filet

12 oz shrimp

6 cups of chicken or turkey stock

2 tablespoon olive oil

3 garlic cloves

1 carrot

1 white onion

2 celery sticks

1 jalapeño pepper

1 lemon

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon thyme

1 can of tomato sauce (low carb)

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

Parsley for garnish


Prepare the ingredients. Cut the tomatoes into strips removing the seeds and core. Dice the carrots and celery. Cut the onion into thin slices. Dice the jalapeño and be sure to keep the seeds and rind (that’s where the heat comes from).  Cube the filet into half inch pieces. De-vein, peel, and remove the tail from the shrimp. Zest the lemon, and then cut in half.
The flavor base

The flavor base


ready for the last kick: Parmesan

ready for the last kick: Parmesan

Put a stockpot on the stovetop and set the heat to medium. Add the olive oil, onion, jalapeño, carrots, and celery, cooking until the onions are aromatic and start to become translucent. Crush three garlic cloves into the pot using a garlic press and stir for another minute. Stir in the thyme, fennel seeds, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Squeeze the juice of the lemon into the pot, and then add the stock and the tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, then add the tomato strips and let them stew for fifteen minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium. Add the fish and shrimp. Cover and cook for about eight minutes or until the fish and shrimp are cooked. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese. Ladel the stew into bowls and garnish with parsley.


There was no fishy aroma in the house, it smelled like Italian cooking! Surely I could win them over in a sneaky way! Alas, my wife took one look at it and refused. She says she tried it when I wasn’t looking, but I don’t believe her. The kids could not be coerced. I ate a huge bowl for dinner and a small bowl with a side of greens for lunch almost every day for a week and never grew tired of it.  I would make this again and again, but who would I share it with? Give it a try and let me know what you think!