Trader Joe’s BATTERED FISH NUGGETS (+ Fish Taco recipe)


Trader Joe’s Fish Nuggets are tasty and these taste like a real battered piece of fish. They are perfect for making fish tacos for one thing. The first ingredient is Alaskan Pollack. Don’t confuse this item (“Fish Nuggets”) with TJ’s “Fish Sticks”which are terrible, way inferior to these at a dollar less. I used these nuggets to make Fish Tacos for dinner the other night. BTW I didn’t bake these as it says on the package. I sauteed them in a cast iron pan till they were crispy on both sides.

We really enjoyed these when we made them into fish tacos. The popular TJ’s Fish Tacos recipe is easy to make. You take a package of these, Corn Tortillas (which I think will taste better than flour ones) and top with crunchy slaw made with the Cole Slaw Mix, some Greek Yogurt, and lime juice. Optional but nice would be some ripe avocado and your favorite hot sauce. I would recommend TJ’s Green Dragon and/or Peri-Peri hot sauce as being a good match with fish tacos.

TJ’s BATTERED FISH NUGGETS are now $5.99 for a 1 lb package. The other thing these might be good for is an English style Fish & Chips with some french fries?

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/recipes/battered-fish-nugget-tacos

“These tantalizing tacos combine the tart, tangy, and savory flavors of fresh Lime juice and crispy Battered Fish Nuggets with a mix of soft, crunchy, and creamy textures, courtesy of our Corn Tortillas, Organic Broccoli Slaw, and Plain Greek Whole Milk Yogurt. Endlessly customizable with your favorite hot sauce, salsa, or crema, one batch of these can feed a family of four and even more, depending on your hunger level.”

FISH TACOS

  • TJ’s Battered Fish Nuggets
  • TJ’s Plain Greek Whole Milk Yogurt
  • 1 Lime
  • TJ’s Organic Broccoli Slaw or Cole Slaw Mix
  • TJ’s Corn Tortillas

Add yogurt and lime juice to the slaw mix; let sit a 1/2 hour to marinate. Cook up the fish till golden brown and put two pieces into a warm corn tortilla and top with slaw and a few drops of salsa or hot sauce.

Trader Joe’s GARLIC SPREAD / DIP (with Spinach recipe hack)


This has become one of my favorite items at Trader Joe’s! If you love garlic as much as I do, you will adore this “GARLIC SPREAD DIP” . I find this stuff amazing. It’s become yet another must have always in the fridge things for me. I think of it as much as an ingredient as a “spread”. You can add a spoon of this to a dish to give things an immediate flavor boost, kind of as you would fresh garlic. I put this in mashed potatoes, spinach, pasta, hummus…. It’s so versatile. It makes a great spinach dish. I came up with a super quick hack using (frozen) spinach which you can make a yummy dish in 3 minutes just by adding a heaping spoon of this dip. See my recipe hack down below.

Quite a few countries have some type of garlic spread like this. In Lebanese cooking, they have the garlic spread called “Toum” (basically TJ’s spread is Toum). In Greece, they have a spread called “Skordalia” made from garlic, olive oil and potato. In the South of France they have the yummy yellow garlicky mayonnaise called, “Aioli” famously served on toasted baguette alongside Bouillabaisse. Mashed garlic acts as an emulsifier with oil to make a spread. Trader Joe’s version like Lebanese toum is an emulsified paste of garlic, oil, lemon juice and salt, traditionally made in a mortar and pestle. They did not skimp on garlic. TJ’s GARLIC SPREAD is so garlicky it’s not funny. True garlic lovers will want to try this on everything. So what can you use this Garlic Spread on? To start with just try it on thin slices of toasted baguette, which will be match well with a salad or soup like croutons or garlic bread. This stuff is especially good for any pasta dish. Just toss in a spoonful into your finished pasta, especially tomato pasta (PESTO ROSSO? Add some of this to jazz it up! Use this instead of butter for cooking grilled cheese sandwiches. Put a little into your tuna or egg salad. Eggs, try some in an Omelet for some kick. Salmon or other fish, for sure. I’ve found it’s fantastic in mashed potatoes to jazz them up. Almost any vegetable dish will be enhanced with a spoon or two of this vegan garlic spread, so it’s ideal for vegans and vegetarians as well as us non-vegetarians. It was amazing on the CHICKEN SHAWARMA. Greek yogurt plus some of this spread makes and instant super easy tasty sauce. Here’s a recipe I came up with using spinach. This is a great tasting spinach dish in under 2 minutes.

SPINACH WITH GARLIC SPREAD RECIPE – Two ingredients: frozen spinach and garlic spread. Toss the spinach in a pan with a little olive oil (or butter) and cook for a few minutes till done (keep it bright green!) then add in a nice heaping tablespoon of this Garlic Spread and mix. Fresh black pepper and a pinch of salt if needed. DONE. It will look a little bit creamy and taste absolutely delish.

In fact most vegetable dishes will be enhanced with a spoon or two of this VEGAN spread, so it’s ideal for vegans / vegetarians to give a enormous flavor boost to most things. One thing to remember, it does have some calories same as a mayonnaise, its mostly oil. 2 Tbls have about 150 calories. Its $2.99. GREAT ITEM!

Trader Joe’s THAI SWEET GINGER SAUCE


Trade Joe’s new product: THAI SWEET GINGER SAUCE. It seems to be flying off the shelves, people seem to love it. I am guessing mostly for all the frozen DUMPLINGS they buy?

I tried it and I can say it’s pretty good (though I do like my homemade dipping sauce). This sauce is quite thick and garlic-y. Ingredients include pickled garlic, coconut sugar, and coriander. Personally I think it needs even more ginger. I added some fresh grated ginger, and I found it very improved. I also found it good with something spicy added (Bomba or Peri-Peri) However even just poured out of the bottle this stuff is good. Serve this with all of your frozen dumplings obviously, either fried or steamed/boiled ones. Its quite good on sautéed tofu. Grilled chicken of course! Grilled shrimp? Perfect for shrimp or any fish for that matter. Even just try this on top of rice or just grilled veggies. It will add flavor.

THAI SWEET GINGER Sauce is $2.49 for a 10 oz bottle.

Yesterday it was out of stock. It’s popular and people are really buying up this stuff!

Is this replacing the red bottle of SWEET CHILI SAUCE? I am afraid thats gone now. I like both sauces and the chili sauce has been a must have item for me for ever. Sigh. I will have to go back to getting CHILI SAUCE in Chinatown. Its a staple condiment in Asian cuisine.

Trader Joe’s fresh, fully cooked, ready to eat, ROASTED SALMON FILLET


This is now one of my favorite New Products at Trader Joe’s. A fully cooked, lovely fillet of Roasted Salmon. Find it in Refrigerated near the fresh fish and smoked salmon. This cooked piece of salmon is so handy and convenient, especially for hot summer days, or anytime you don’t want to cook (or smell) fish cooking. The salmon is fully cooked but just barely, it’s incredibly moist, so you can even heat it up a wee bit if you like, which I did. Now the first time I bought this I didn’t check the dates carefully, and when I opened it, I smelled the tiniest bit of a fishy smell. A sprinkle of lemon took care of that and it tasted fine. However the second time I bought it I checked a few packages and noticed some had a date maybe a day or even two older than another package. So naturally I picked out a package with the most recent date, and when I opened it that night for dinner the salmon had no smell at all. So check the packages carefully and get the latest dated ones.

For under five bucks you get a lovely fillet of farmed Atlantic salmon from Norway. No bones. Skin on. You can slip off the skin in a second. I actually enjoy salmon skin if its crispy. So I tossed the fillet into a hot pan skin side down for maybe 90 seconds to crisp up the skin. Then I flipped it and gave it about 30 seconds on the top side too to get a little sear and color (this is all completely optional of course as it is already cooked). However I did think it was slightly improved with this little searing and I was very careful not overcook the fish. Plating it up I sprinkled some TJ’s DILL SEASONING BLEND on which is a perfect match for this. I flaked up the fish with a fork, put it on a plate with a squeeze of lemon. It was delicious and a pretty good deal for $4.99 (5 oz portion) Of course the fresh Norwegian farmed Atlantic salmon TJ sells for $10/lb is an even better deal if you don’t mind cooking.

note a little color from my searing the fish briefly

To second time I tried this salmon I thought it would be perfect to make some Japanese “Nori Hand Rolls”.

Sushi Style Salmon Hand Rolls Bites

I made some Sushi Rice and served up these tasty little bites of Salmon Hand Rolls (“Temaki Sushi”) with the salmon and matchsticks of cucumbers on TJ’s SEAWEED SNACKS (nori). One piece of salmon was enough for two of us with the rice and other things. We REALLY enjoyed these sushi bites. You take a square of nori in one hand, gently spoon on a little sushi rice add some salmon and cukes, then pop the whole bite into your mouth. This is super tasty. Really, try making this, it’s fun and delicious.

Want to learn how to make sushi rice? Its not hard and TJ’s carries the rice vinegar (you have salt and sugar). Sadly I’m afraid they’ve discontinued the CALROSE RICE they had! I’m bummed about that as med/short grain rice is best for sushi rice and it was easy to get it at TJ’s while they had it. Oh well. In a pinch, Jasmine works if you can’t get short/med grain rice.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/99211/perfect-sushi-rice/

I would think even though this salmon is cooked its still best to use it the day you buy it, if you can. If not, you could keep it in the coldest part of the fridge to use the next day (or in a pinch freeze the whole package and when ready to use, do an overnight defrost in fridge).

PS – If you dont like / eat salmon skin, and you have a pet, don’t throw it away; Wash it off as much as possible and give it to your cat or dog. They’ll likely go nuts getting some healthy healthy Omega-3’s and fish oil.

Trader Joe’s suggest this goes well with the new TAMARIND SAUCE (I’ve yet to try it)

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/recipes/60-second-tamarind-salmon

60 Second Tamarind Salmon
Sweet and tangy with a gentle heat, Trader Joe’s Tamarind Sauce delivers maximum flavor with no prep time required. Slather it on a Trader Joe’s Fully Cooked Salmon Fillet and serve atop a bed of rice or salad greens for a protein-packed, positively satisfying meal that’s ready in about a minute. For a pleasant crunch, top with Trader Joe’s Crispy Onion Chips and fresh green onions.

Trader Joe’s CEDAR WRAPPED BBQ SALMON FILLET


(Frozen) Trader Joe’s came up with an interesting creation: CEDAR WRAPPED BBQ SOCKEYE SALMON. The frozen package contains a boneless filet of (wild) Sockeye Salmon, seasoned and wrapped up in a very thin piece of cedar wood which is pretty cool. This is inspired by the traditional Pacific Northwest Native American way of cooking salmon, nailing a side to a cedar plank and cooking them vertically around a fire. Something like this…

Cooked BBQ Sockeye Salmon

Trader Joe’s version is a pretty good deal for $4.99 and worth trying. I made a piece for dinner and found the cooked salmon to be really tasty.

Cooking: Though the package has instructions for 2 ways, in the oven or on an outdoor grill, I didn’t want to heat up my oven and the kitchen on a pretty hot day. So I decided to just grill it on in my cast iron pan on the stove. I didn’t cook this fish from frozen like it says to do either. I defrosted the fish prior to cooking it (just placed the sealed package under running water for 10 minutes which worked ok). Inside the plastic package the salmon is wrapped in a thin piece of cedar and tied. I grilled it with the cedar side / bottom down for about 4-5 minutes (again it was not frozen, if it was they say takes 25 minutes in the oven). When the bottom was done I flipped it and grilled the top side for about 2-3 minutes. You could put in foil as they suggest, which is the French “en papilotte” method of making a moist environment. Sockeye salmon is different than what you may be used to when you think of salmon, meaning the usual Atlantic salmon, typically farmed. Wild Sockeye salmon has a more dense and meaty texture and has very dark red flesh as it is a wild fish. This sockeye salmon cooked up well and tasted nice with TJ’s not too overpowering bbq seasoning. Plus the cedar flavor was subtle and tasty and the fish had a nice moist texture. One piece makes a decent portion for one. The skin on the bottom stuck to the cedar plank and kept it moist. I just served it with just a sprinkle of lemon. It might be quite nice with a little sauce on the side too (some lemon and Greek yogurt with a touch of Zhoug?). The Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend was a good match for this as a side dish. That is a staple for me.

THE NUTRITION LABELS STATES YOU GET A WHOPPING 32 GRAMS OF PROTEIN !

Worth trying. I would buy this again.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/cedar-wrapped-bbq-sockeye-salmon-fillet-064671

TRADER JOE’S SAYS : “Our Cedar Wrapped Sockeye Salmon is rubbed with seasonings including smoked sea salt and chipotle powder to yield a balanced, smoky, mildly spicy, distinctly cedar-y Fillet. And, in addition to imparting flavor, that cedar wrap also ensures a super moist result—no matter whether you bake it or grill it!”

PS – you know those pictures of bears catching salmon jumping upstream? They are probably these Sockeye Salmon.

Trader Joe’s “LIGHTLY SMOKED” SALMON (canned salmon)


RAVE

TERRIFIC! – “Skinless, boneless salmon in Extra Virgin Olive Oil“. A portion contains a whopping 21 grams of protein!

Trader Joe’s came out with this new product they call “Lightly Smoked Salmon“. You will find it with the tuna, sardines, and two or three other kinds of canned salmon they carry. I was intrigued and curious when I first saw this one the shelf and a bit confused by it’s name (huh? smoked salmon in a can?). Forget about the “smoked”. Just know this is terrific canned salmon, maybe the best gourmet one you ever had. Trader Joe’s has a hit here. I find it it’s so popular, it sometimes sells out. Now to me the word “smoked” is is off and confusing. Ignore it. Its nothing like “smoked salmon” in a fresh package. I would just call this “the best can of salmon” you ever had. Practically Gourmet. This made me think of the gourmet tins of fish like high end canned tuna from Spain (Ortiz for example) which can sell for $15-25 a can! TJ’s so called Lightly Smoked Salmon is basically “salmon poached in extra virgin olive oil”. When you open the can you see an appetizing piece of Atlantic salmon, and unlike most canned salmon this is boneless and skinless, for many a big plus. The fish is swimming in yellow/orange olive oil (the color from the salmon). The salmon is so flaky and incredibly moist. It has an excellent flavor and texture from being cooked in a decent quality extra virgin olive oil. Yes, it’s farmed but top quality Atlantic salmon. It is a “Product of Chile”.

Now as far as any “Applewood smoke” which is listed in the ingredients I would say that it’s so light as to be non-existent. I can’t really taste any smoke flavor so just forget they use smoked in the name. Just know this. This salmon was so tasty I couldn’t stop trying it to review. I kept saying “umm, let me just try one more little bite” and shortly noticed the can was almost empty, Yes, people it’s that good. Oh and that golden oil it’s swimming in? If you dump this, you are missing out. I implore you do not dump this precious juice, the way one usually dumps all the oil in a can of tuna. Here the salmon’s juices, mixed with decent Extra Virgin Olive Oil make for a very delicious “sauce” oozing flavor. I just spoon some of this golden juice over the fish with a squeeze of lemon. So Perfect. You could equally spoon this flavorful golden olive oil over your salad, potatoes, rice bowl, or what have you.

You can use this salmon exactly like you would a piece of poached salmon. You can simply open this up and put the fish on a plate or put it on top of a salad or greens, or in a protein bowl, or mashed up into an avocado for an almost instant delicious (and healthy) dinner or lunch with no effort. This salmon is wonderful as-is right out of the can. On a toasted bagel, on toast, or on crackers. Perfect for TJ’s Norwegian CRISPBREAD for a Scandinavian style open faced sandwich.

Open faced salmon sandwich on TJ Norwegian Crispbread, cucumbers, cream cheese, lemon. Delicious, try this!

This salmon is especially perfect for summertime, heat or whenever you don’t feel like cooking. Mix a bit of mayo and lemon juice into this and you can have a wonderful salmon salad in about a minute. The other night I didn’t feel like cooking. I found I had a nice ripe avocado I needed to use, so I just mixed a can of this salmon with a little mayo, lemon juice and some Peri-Peri sauce and voila! I ate this lovely avocado stuffed with salmon for dinner, which took me less than 5 minutes and was so tasty.

Avocado Stuffed with Salmon
Seaweed Hand Rolls with Salmon and Cucumber

One serving contains 190 calories. You get a whopping 21 grams of protein. The 5 oz can has about 3.6 oz of drained salmon. It’s $3.69. Product of Chile. Great pantry item. I would gladly buy it again.

RECIPE IDEAJapanese Salmon Rice Bowl: Put some fresh rice in a bowl. Top with this salmon flaked up. Sprinkle on a nice amount of Furikake seaweed blend and chopped scallion. Optional: a sprinkle of Soy Sauce with a sprinkle of Toasted Sesame Oil. Mix gently. YUM.

One might even get extra cans of this salmon and put it away in your larder for a year or two, to improve with age like fine wine*….

*Spain and Portugal have places which specialize serving tinned fish and seafood, aged for a year or two or three… Believe it or not the canned fish actually improves as it ages just like wine. Here’s a video of the late great Tony Bourdain visiting one of these bodegas in Spain, eating from cans of seafood and loving every bite…. EL ESPINALER

Why you should eat SARDINES (Protein, Omega 3 & Calcium…)


You should probably add sardines to your diet if you don’t eat them already. Before you click away just hear me out. Don’t be squeamish about these little fishies. Sardines are good, and they’re good for you. In fact did you know Sardines are one of the healthiest fish you can eat? Not only are they are loaded with protein they are a terrific source of calcium (the ones with skin and bones but don’t worry these tiny bones are so soft you don’t even notice them). Women especially need extra calcium. And Sardines are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids giving one 2 grams of omega-3s per 3 ounce serving – which is one of the highest levels of omega-3s in any food per amount They also have the lowest levels of mercury of any fish. Sardines are WILD caught only, never farme and the sardine is a plentiful and sustainable fish. And they are cheap. But not only are these little guys healthy for you. I think sardines are DELICIOUS. Europeans love them and eat lots of sardines. Not so much here in the U.S, but you should if you don’t already.

Trader Joe’s sells about three varieties of canned sardines. I especially love TJ’s SMOKED SARDINES IN OLIVE OIL (purple can) which is just $1.69 (!). A can gives you a whopping 21 grams of protein. Plus Calcium and Omega’3. I probably eat a can for lunch at least once a week.

SERVING SUGGESTION: Drain and mash them up with a fork adding juice of a quarter lemon or lime and a teaspoon of mayonnaise, with a grind of fresh black pepper. Add a touch of hot sauce if you like. Spread this paste on fresh toasted bread or your favorite cracker. So yummy.

Trader Joe’s has 3 varieties of sardines. If you can’t bear to see the ones with skin, the skinless boneless ones in olive oil (grey can) are a good starting point but I do recommend the tasty smoked ones (purple can) which I love best. The “smoked Trader Joe’s sardines” are very tasty.

You can even saute cubed potatoes in the left over oil in the can.

Country of origin: Portugal (purple can), Canada (blue), Morocco (grey)

Get some more ideas here: https://wildplanetfoods.com/recipes-category/sardines/

TJ’s ARGENTINIAN RED SHRIMP with Ginger Garlic Butter & Togarashi Seasoning


(defrosted)

This is the wild same Argentinian Red Shrimp TJ’s has but packaged up with seasoned butter for a ready-to-cook meal. Convenient, yes, but naturally you pay extra for said convenience. We made this and the finished dish with the sauce was very tasty, but honestly nothing I could not have done with maybe 5 minutes of little effort. This pack is $8 for a 9 oz portion which cooked, makes for two meager portions for 2 as a dinner. To make this into a full meal (for two) I served the shrimp with a few sides plus a salad and a little French bread. Follow the instructions on the package which are to thaw overnight in the fridge. After defrosting I used a thin knife to get it out of the package (actually a bit tricky) and tossed the whole mess into a hot nonstick pan with a little (extra) butter. These Red Shrimp cook fast – they will be done in about 1 1/2 minutes – so be careful not to overcook them if you want the shrimp to stay plump and juicy.

Frankly if you want to get more bang for your buck it’s easy to just buy a pound of shrimp and make a similar sauce. Buy the bag of frozen WILD RED ARGENTINIAN SHRIMP ($10.99) and just add some butter and seasonings. This package is convenient but not great value and its so easy to make shrimp and add a few things. Personally I probably won’t buy this again, I’ll just do it myself. Your call.

Need a recipe for a sauce? Here you go:

GINGER/GARLIC BUTTER SAUCE: Grate or finely chop 1/2″ of fresh ginger and 2-3 cloves of garlic (optional: a little grated fresh lemon peel too); Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter in a hot non-stick pan; Toss the garlic and ginger into. Sauté 30 seconds, then toss in your (defrosted) shrimp and cook tossing them for about 60-90 seconds just until the shrimp turn opaque (max, 2 minutes lest they will shrink up). As soon as they are opaque and pink. add the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Optional: if you like spice, add a small spoon of BOMBA or your favorite something spicy to taste. Add a pinch salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley or scallions. Serve with rice and/or crusty bread to mop up the tasty sauce.

Cooked (I garnished with scallions)

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/recipes/honey-aleppo-shrimp

(NB: TJ’s recipe says cook the shrimp for 5-10; just ignore that unless you want really overcooked shrimp! Cook no more than 2 minutes)

Trader Joe’s recipe idea: Smoked Salmon on Potato Pancakes


This is hardly a “recipe”, just putting out an idea how sometimes putting two or three TJ products together is an easy way to come up with something good. For New Year’s Eve I had the idea for a “Russian inspired” taste: Smoked Salmon with Potato Pancakes (the pancakes instead of blinis). The combo turned out just as delicious as I hoped and we really enjoyed these as a super easy special holiday meal – however you can make them any old day!

I took a package of Trader Joe’s Latkes / Potato Pancakes and Smoked Salmon and OK instead of sour cream I actually used Greek yogurt to save a few calories. Of course a Russian would use lots of Sour Cream, calories be damned, plus fresh dill. To put the dish together all I had to do to was cook the frozen Potato Pancakes till crispy in an frying pan, then topped them with a good amount of smoked salmon and topped that with a spoon of Greek yogurt. Better with sour cream sure, up to you. Sprinkle some fresh dill on if possible plus a few drops of fresh lemon juice. Voila, it took about 5 minutes until they were ready to serve as a dinner with salad and roasted beets on the side. Easy as pie to “make” and really yummy, so try this if it sounds good to you. You could make this as an appetizer for a few guests in minutes and make a big splash with almost no work except assembling the ingredients. Now I was hardly the only one shopping thinking about Smoked Salmon early afternoon of New Years Eve. Trade Joe’s whole section with smoked salmon was completely sold out except for a few packs of this Nova Salmon! The Nova was a wee bit saltier than some other versions they sell, but as fine with the creamy sour cream / yogurt as it it all balanced out. The next time I make these I will probably opt for the Everything Salmon.

Trader Joe’s (frozen) Potato Pancakes Latkes are $2.69 for 10 little pancakes. I think the Nova was about $9 for 8 oz package.

Trader Joe’s PREMIUM SALMON BURGERS


For a short while, Trader Joe’s was carrying fresh Salmon Burgers in the fresh fish section of the refrigerated case. Unfortunately for one reason or another they must have been discontinued these and TJ’s no longer sells fresh salmon burgers – which were pretty good. However TJ’s does carry a frozen version, “Premium Salmon Burgers”. Because these have a lot more ingredients listed than the fresh version had, I was a bit reluctant to try these but I finally did and found them to be actually a bit better than I had expected. At first, I tried cooking them defrosted (which the package says not do!) and I found out why. Defrosted they are so soft you can’t even get them out of the plastic wrapping without falling apart as you do it. Therefore I cooked them again, this time from frozen as the package states. Of course the salmon burger was much easier to handle when it was a frozen hockey puck. Interestingly I found the results cooking them frozen or defrosted came out about the same. I grilled the frozen salmon burgers, using the pan fry skillet method, as per the package cooking them for about 3-4 minutes per side in a little oil and butter. They were pretty tasty. We ate them on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce. On the plus side, the Sodium level listed is not terribly high which is good. I would buy these again. They’re $6.99 for a 12.8 oz package which contains 4 salmon burgers.

Also available at Trader Joe’s in the freezer next to these fish burgers are some other kinds of seafood burgers: Mahi-mahi burgers and shrimp seafood burgers. I will review these too in future.

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