cooking: it all started with an onion

seared ahi, kale chips, brussels sprouts & garlic chili aoili

Our Wednesday night dinner was a mind blowing meal, and I owe it all to an onion.

We had yet to grill fish on our Traeger, but after our trip to Hawaii, Ben was ready to give it a shot. I have no aversion to fish, but, other than sushi, Ben wasn’t a fan. Until Hawaii, that is. We dined on the best of the best, and he came home with a new appreciation. That, coupled with our pescetarian friend joining us for dinner, meant it was time to introduce the grill to some seafood. “Grill, meet fish”, “Fish, meet grill.”

Wednesday night was our test run dinner. I bought some frozen fish from Trader Joe’s, and wasn’t sure what the quality of frozen fish would be, so we planned a meal just for us to try things out. The fish turned out good, the kale chips were addictive and the brussels sprouts were cooked perfectly. The magical part of the meal, though, was the caramelized onion. It tied it all together.

The dish started with the kale chips. I chopped a yellow onion, added garlic paste (trader joe’s has a great jar variety), cumin, salt and pepper. Then I sautéed everything with oil in a medium pot for about 15 minutes, until the onions were sweet and delicious. I strained the oil from the onions and used it to toss over the kale. Then I baked the kale on a cookie sheet until it was crispy with browned edges.

To marinade the fish – I added some more oil to the onions (still in the pot), added some soy sauce (about 1/4 a cup), put it all in a gallon sized ziplock baggie (it had cooled enough at this point) and added the ahi steaks. They sat in the mixture for about 30 minutes. Longer would have been better, but we were hungry and pressed for time.

Ben cooked the ahi tuna on the grill, smoking it first, then searing it. We’ve had some issues with the temperature gauge on our Traeger, and the fish ended up a bit more done than we’d hoped, but it still turned out very good.

After putting the fish on the grill, Ben brought the remaining marinade back in so I could use it one last time, to saute the brussels sprouts. I emptied the bag in to the same pot I’d used before, put in some more oil, then added the sliced brussels sprouts, and let it all cook for about 10 minutes.

I topped the ahi with kale chips, which gave a nice contrasting flavor and texture to the fish. The final touch was an easy red sauce – organic mayo, garlic, salt, pepper and chili sauce (sriracha). Then I attempted to make a pretty swirl on top with a bit more chili sauce. It was a nice side to accompany the fish.

Side note: I wasn’t expecting the meal to turn out well enough to blog about it, so I didn’t get any interim photos of the preparations. Next time!


Kale Chips (printable recipe here)

1 bunch kale
1 yellow onion, diced
½ cup olive oil
1 tbsp fresh garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

1. preheat oven to 350*
2. saute diced onion, garlic and spices in olive oil until caramelized (med heat for approx 15 min)
3. remove stems from kale, tear leaves in to small pieces (place in large bowl)
4. strain the oil in to another bowl (reserve onions for other recipes below)
5. drizzle oil & spices over kale, toss to coat
6. place kale on baking sheet
7. bake for ~15 min (until edges start to brown – they should be crunchy)
8. remove and enjoy!

Note: If you’re only making the kale chips part of this, bake the onions right along with the kale. It turns out great!


Ahi Tuna Marinade (printable recipe here)

Caramelized onions (from kale chip recipe above)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Mix together in gallon sized ziplock baggie (wait until slightly cooled).
2. Add ahi tuna, marinate for 30+ minutes.


Sautéed Brussels Sprouts (printable recipe here)

Remaining Ahi Tuna Marinade (above)
20 Brussels sprouts, sliced in half
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Add remaining ahi tuna marinade to pot, heat on medium high temperature.
2. Add Brussels sprouts to pan.
3. Saute for 10-15 minutes, or until Brussels sprouts are al dente.


Garlic Chili Aoili (printable recipe here)

1/2 cup organic mayo
1 tsp garlic
1/4 cup chili sauce (sriracha) – modify amount for desired spiciness
salt & pepper, to taste

1. Mix to combine.


Please let me know if you try any of these recipes, and how they turn out for you. Please link back and give credit to my page if you choose to share any of my recipes or photos on your own. Thanks!



1 Response to “cooking: it all started with an onion”

  1. 1 the accidental kale chip recipe « Trackback on July 19, 2012 at 10:00 PM

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Mom to "C", wife to Ben. I'm a part-time blogger, cook, organizer, seamstress, house cleaner, taxi, nurse (the mom kind), accountant... I could go on, but really... it's all in the blog. Read away!

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