What's Tasty at Sigona's Farmers Market

July 3, 2012

Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil of the Month: July 2012

Sigona’s Fresh Press Olive Oil of the Month: July 2012

July means sunny skies, celebrating our independence on the 4th and summer barbeques with friends and family. And what barbeque would be complete without a piece of mouth-watering, extra-virgin-olive-oil drizzled bread adorning your plate?

That’s why we’re excited to let you know that our fresh pressed extra virgin olive oils from the southern hemisphere have just arrived in the store. The first oil we’re going to feature is Empeltre from Chile. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to drink a salad, taste a sample the next time you’re in the store – just be careful of that peppery goodness on the back end.

Sigona’s July 2012 Olive Oil of the Month

Empeltre (from Chile)

This oil:

  • Is like eating a salad
  • Boast notes of celery, fresh lettuce and additional vegetables
  • Delivers a jolt of throat-closing pepper on the back end
  • Packs a robust polyphenol count of 398

Try this recipe from Veronica Foods

Super Robust Olio Nuovo Empeltre EVOO Focaccia with Rosemary & Caramelized Shallots


  • 5 cups all purpose, unbleached flour
  • 2 cups lukewarm water; filtered if possible
  • 1 cup cooled, unseasoned, mashed russet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup + 1/3 cup + more for drizzling of Sigona’s fresh pressed Empeltre EVOO
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 medium shallots thinly sliced
  • 1 package active dried yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves rough chopped
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Sea salt to taste


If making the dough in your bread machine, follow its instructions for the order of adding ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and yeast. Allow the yeast to bloom for about 5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of olive oil, mashed potatoes and sea salt. Mix to combine.

breadWith the mixer running on the lowest speed, begin to add the flour, cup by cup, until the dough has come together and becomes elastic and just slightly tacky. Reserve any leftover flour for rolling the dough out.

Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for one hour.

On a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment, gently push the dough to the edges, using fingertips to stretch it and make dimpled indentations. Cover and allow the dough to rise for another hour in a warm place.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Distribute the thinly slices shallots and rosemary evenly over the focaccia. Drizzle with the remaining 1/3 cup of Sigona’s fresh pressed Empeltre EVOO. Add a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper and sea salt.

Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes until golden brown. While still hot out of the oven, drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil to taste. Serve warm and enjoy.

Click here for more great recipes!

June 27, 2012

Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: Corn

Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: Corn

  • Getting corn from local farmers is great because it’s fresh. The sugars in corn start to convert to starch as soon as it’s picked, so corn is sweeter and more tender the fresher it is.
  • Produce pros recommend leaving husks on the ears until you’re ready to cook, but we do offer the convenience of husking at our stores.
  • Choose corn with husks that are tightly wrapped, grass green and slightly damp. The corn silk showing at the top can be dry but not rotting. The ends should appear fresh-cut.
  • Keep corn in the fridge until you use it.
  • Although it will hold up in the fridge for 5-6 days, it’s always best to eat corn as soon as possible after purchase.
  • Corn is best from May through September.
  • White corn is typically sweeter than yellow corn.

Robbie Sigona is our produce buyer. He works with local farmers and scours the market for the very best in fresh fruits and vegetables — some you won’t find anywhere else.

Get Grillin’ with Local, Fresh-Picked Corn

Get Grillin’ with Local, Fresh-Picked Corn

Shuck it, grill it, put it in a salsa — one of the summer favorites is arriving daily at our stores and it doesn’t get any sweeter than fresh-picked. Plus, get a free tote of corn just in time for the 4th of July!

By Robbie Sigona

Ah, summer. Barbeques send swirls of mouth-watering scents through the air, kids run through sprinklers, you favorite fruits are now coming from local growers and iced tea is brewed in the summer sun. Speaking of barbeques, did you know you can cook almost anything on the grill? This includes corn on the cob. There is no reason to heat up the kitchen more than it already is by boiling a large pot of water. Just throw those cobs on the barbie!

Corn is fantastic when grilled, whether it’s left on the cob or sliced off to be used in salsas, salads or other dishes. We have some delicious corn recipes on the blog, including Green Beans with Roasted Corn and Green Onions inspired by Food Network’s Guy Fieri.

Let’s Get Corny

Did you know that a stalk of corn only produces one good ear? It’s true! Our local farmer John Spina only harvests the biggest and best ear from the stalk. Or how about this: did you know you really only need to let corn swim in boiling water for about 2 minutes if that’s the cooking method you choose? Well, corn doesn’t really need to be cooked at all before you eat it – in fact, if you’re in the employee room during corn season, you might just see a Sigona peel back the husks and start eating an ear of corn as is…no cooking required.

There’s nothing like fresh-picked corn on the cob, either dressed up with a smear of butter and a dusting of salt & pepper, or grilled and incorporated into a summer salad. Judging by the popularity of our corn display the majority of you agree. We get daily deliveries of white corn from our friend John Spina of Spina Farms in Morgan Hill. The corn is picked in the morning and delivered to our stores in the afternoon so we have fresh corn every day.

Such a quick turnaround is significant because fresh corn is sweeter. This is because once picked, the sugars in corn begin converting to starch. Same with asparagus. Moral of the story: corn is best eaten as fresh-picked as possible.

One of the biggest myths about corn is that it needs to be cooked for a long while before it’s edible. Even the freshest ear, when cooked too long, can taste starchy and stale. Grilling corn allows its natural sugars to caramelize, which adds another layer of flavor and makes for a more chewy texture. Again, just don’t keep it on the heat for too long. Slice the grilled corn off the cob and incorporate it into a citrus-based salsa and you’ll be the talk of the town!

Meet the Farmer

We’ve worked with the Spina family – John, his father and his son (all named John) – for nearly 40 years. They have a small produce stand of their own in Morgan Hill, too, and used to buy some items from us at our old roadside fruit stands along Old Monterey Highway…back when we were called Coyote Berry Acres. A lot has changed for us since then, but our relationships with farmers have stayed the same. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for our local farmers.

John Spina

John Spina of Spina Farms

Corn got a late start this summer, just like most California produce, but John says the stalks are doing well now and should be in steady production until November.

“We have 150 acres on which we’re growing a few different varieties of white corn this season,” said John. “We grow different varieties each year to find which respond the best to the conditions and farming techniques. Quality is very important to us and we pick only when the corn is at its peak so Sigona’s and its customers get the best.”

In general, white corn is more tender and sweeter than yellow corn, which has a more chewy texture and hardy corn flavor. My Uncle Carmelo remembers when white corn was a rare find in markets; it wasn’t until the 1970s that the demand for white corn grew and farmers began planting more white than yellow. Until that time, yellow corn was the norm – Golden Bantam was popular in the 1950s and Golden Jubilee was the rage in the late 1960s.

In addition to white corn, Spina Farms grows peppers, tomatoes, beans, squash, Indian corn and 67 (yes 67!) different varieties of pumpkins and gourds, many of which you’ll see decorating our stores come fall.

The Spina family also operate the Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch on their farm in the fall, featuring train rides on the Spina Pumpkin Express, hay ride tours of the pumpkin patch and Indian corn field, pumpkin decorating and more. It’s a great destination for the family in the fall and it’s open beginning the last weekend in September through the month of October.

Remember to take advantage of the coupon we’re offering this week…just in time for your 4th of July celebrations! Bring in your coupon and when you spend $30 or more you can walk away with a free tote bag full of corn. Also make sure to check out our recipes for corn, such as Sautéed Corn with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil and Fresh Corn Salad with Black Beans, Tomato and Cilantro.

Raw California Whole, Jumbo Pistachio Meats on Sale at Sigona’s

John Sigona’s Pick of the Week

California Whole Raw (Jumbo Size)

Pistachio Meats

Regularly $6.99 

On special right now for $3.99 (6 oz. container)

Raw pistachio meatsOur raw pistachios are coming from a family owned and operated farm in Terra Bella, California. These pistachios are of the finest quality in the world. They’re jumbo sized and picked at full maturity to assure excellent flavor.

Raw pistachios are full of extraordinary nutritional benefits. Here are some of the reasons why they are so good for you:

A (1) oz. serving of raw pistachios provides 10% of the daily value for:

  • Dietary fiber
  • Vitamin B6
  • Thiamin
  • Phosphorus
  • Copper

Raw pistachios are rich in:

John outside with produce

John Sigona is the dried fruit & nut buyer for Sigona’s Farmers Markets in Palo Alto and Redwood City, Calif.

  • Phytosterols, which directly aid in lowering cholesterol levels
  • Monounsaturated (healthy) fats
  • High quality plant source of protein, providing essential and non-essential amino acids

Try raw pistachios in:

June 26, 2012

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Local Corn

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Local Corn

Fresh-picked corn lends itself to a corn-a-copia of delights…sorry, couldn’t resist! Whether on the cob or shaved off and stirred into a dish, don’t miss out on one of summer’s sweetest foods.

Grilled Corn Salad with Lime, Red Chili and Cotija

Grilled Corn Salad

Grilled Corn Salad with Lime, Red Chili and Cotija. Recipe and photo courtesy of The Food Network.

I absolutely love grilled corn in a number of dishes. What I love about this one most is that it’s all done on the grill! No mess to clean up in the kitchen. Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay of The Food Network.


  • 8 ears fresh corn, silks removed, husk on, soaked in cold water 30 minutes
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil, such as Arbequina
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 TBL ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated cotija cheese
  • 1/4 cup Queso Fresco, for garnish

Directions: Heat grill to high. Grill corn until charred on all sides, 10 or so minutes. Take off the grill and remove the kernels with a sharp knife. While you are cutting the corn, put a cast iron skillet on the grill to heat.

Add the corn and the remaining ingredients to the hot pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until creamy and heated through.

Sprinkle with crumbled Queso Fresco once the dish is plated.

Green Beans with Roasted Corn and Green Onions

green beans corn and tomato

Green Beans with Roasted Corn and Green Onions. Photo and recipe courtesy of The Food Network.

The simplicity of this dish makes for an easy weeknight side or potluck dish for your next summer get-together. Recipe adapted from Guy Fieri of The Food Network.


  • 4 cups fresh green beans, such as Blue Lake beans, ends cut
  • 2 corn on the cob
  • 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil, such as Arbequina
  • 1 red onion, large, cut in 1/8-inch rounds
  • 1/4 cup white wine, such as chardonnay
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 TBL butter
  • 1/4 cup diced, seeded Roma tomatoes
  • 3 TBL grated Sigona’s Bio Parmesan cheese

Directions: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and blanch for 3 minutes. Remove from water and put into an ice water bath. Drain.

Heat grill or gas burners. Place cleaned corn on the cob on the grill or burner. Turn corn and lightly brown all the way around. Let cool and slice the kernels off the cob.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add oil, after 45 seconds add onions and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, add green beans, corn, and garlic. Sauté for 4 minutes, deglaze with wine, season with salt and pepper, and butter.

Garnish with Roma tomatoes and Parmesan.

Fresh Corn Salad with Black Beans, Tomato and Cilantro

corn cilantro salad

Corn Cilantro Salad

Delicious with tortilla chips or as a salsa to top grilled Tilapia, local halibut or white seabass this salad is always a hit. Courtesy of Laura H., a Sigona’s fan. Serves about 4.


  • Juice from 2 limes, about 4 TBLs
  • 4 TBLs olive oil
  • 2 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • A 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Kernels cut from 1-2 ears of white corn (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatoes (use an assortment of halved cherry tomatoes or use 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped)
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • Half a bell pepper, seeded and diced (look for an orange one to add color to the dish)
  • 3 TBLs minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (add more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin (or to taste)
  • Optional: top with diced or sliced avocado when ready to serve.

Directions: In a bowl whisk together lime juice, oil, garlic and salt to taste. Stir in remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Let salad stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let flavors develop. Laura recommends making it the night before.

Corn Ice Cream

This recipe comes from Frontera Grill in Chicago, one of the nation’s best known Mexican restaurants, owned and operated by Rick Bayless who’s widely respected as one of our countries premier chef’s and an expert of Mexican cuisine. Makes about a quart.


  • 1 1/2 (1.5) cups corn kernels
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 (.5) cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 (.5) tsp vanilla
  • 1 pinch of ground cinnamon

Puree the corn with the half-and-half until as smooth as possible. Push the puree through a sieve or strainer to remove big chunks. Put corn puree, sugar and yolk in top of a double boiler and whisk together, cooking and stirring until thickened and starting to steam, about 180ºF. Do not boil. Remove from the heat and cool. Stir in cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Chill until cold and then churn in an ice cream maker according to directions.

Sautéed Corn with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil

A summer staple in my house that is incredibly easy to throw together and a great side dish to grilled meat or fish. Serves 4. Adapted from “Joy of Cooking.”


  • 2 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (use a variety of tomatoes for added color)
  • A few leaves of basil, sliced thin (use scissors to snip)
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1 TBL butter
  • 1 TBL cream, optional

Cut the corn from the cob. Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the corn kernels and cook for 1 min. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for another minutes until juices start to run. Stir in salt, pepper, basil, and cream. Serve.

Keep it on the cob.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

For an impressive presentation, peel back the husk – don’t remove it – to remove the silk. Pull the peeled husk down to the bottom, creating a handle. Take one of the outer husk leaves off and trim it to a thin strip. Use the strip to tie the peeled back husks together with a bow.

Heat grill to medium heat, oil the grates and place the ears directly on the grates. Turn several times as the corn cooks. Keep it on the grill for about 10 minutes or until the husks are charred and are beginning to peel. Serve corn immediately along with butter, salt and pepper. You can also use spiced or herbed butters. Recipes follow.

Boiled Corn on the Cob

  • Use about 1 quart of water per ear of corn
  • Salt

Directions: Bring salted water to a boil. Add the corn and cook for 2-4 minutes. Remove corn using tongs and shake off the extra water. Serve with butter, salt and pepper.

Not-So-Plain Corn on the Cob

Following are a few fancy butter spreads that add fantastic flavor to corn on the cob. Each ingredient combination is enough for about 4 ears of corn.

Herb’s Favorite

  • 3 TBL butter, softened
  • 1 ½ TBL of fresh herbs, such as a combination of parsley, basil, tarragon, chives, sage and chervil

Directions: Combine all ingredients, blending well. Store in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator.

Honey Butter

  • 3 TBL butter, softened
  • 1 TBL Honey Hole Honey Co. honey or organic Agave nectar

Directions: Combine all ingredients, blending well. Store in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator.

Chili Butter – Or – Chili-Lime Butter

  • 2 TBL butter, softened
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • For chili-lime butter, add grated peel of ½ of one lime. Add more if desired.

Directions: Combine all ingredients, blending well. Store in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator.

Lemon & Dill Butter

  • 3 TBL butter, softened
  • 1 tsp fresh dill weed or ½ tsp dried
  • Grated peel of 1/2 lemon
  • Pinch of white pepper

Directions: Combine all ingredients, blending well. Store in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator.

June 25, 2012

Beef Potstickers made with Open Source grass-fed beef

Beef Potstickers

Grass-fed Beef Potstickers by Luisa Ormonde of Luisa’s Catering in San Carlos, Calif.

Recipe courtesy of Luisa Ormonde, a local private chef and caterer. Luisa says, “I made these this morning for a client and will make them again for myself! I found the dough very easy to work with, *but if you are intimidated just use premade pot sticker wraps/round wonton wraps instead. Enjoy!” Makes approx. 25-30 potstickers.

For dough (*see note above)

  • 1 3/4 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup boiling-hot water

For filling

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef (such as local Open Source beef, found at Sigona’s)
  • 3 TBL soy sauce
  • 3 TBL Asian sesame oil
  • 1 TBL peanut oil
  • 2 TBL minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp black bean garlic sauce
  • 1 TBL organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green garlic chives (6 oz) (Cook’s note: find flowering garlic chives (jiu cai in Mandarin) at a local Asian market or use regular chives minced with a little garlic)

For panfrying

  • 1 TBL peanut oil
  • 1/3 cup warm water

Make dough: Put 1 3/4 cups flour in a large bowl, then add boiling-hot water, stirring with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. When just cool enough to handle, turn out dough (including any loose flour) onto a work surface and knead, incorporating some of remaining 1/4 cup flour if dough is sticky, until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Form into a ball and cover with clean towel. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes.

Make filling while dough stands: Stir together beef, soy sauce, oils, ginger and bean paste in a medium bowl, then stir in chives.

Form and fry dumplings: Divide dough in half. On lightly floured parchment paper, roll out one half until thin with rolling pin. With a 3 inch round biscuit cutter, cut as many circles as you can out of the dough (you can reroll the scraps but form into a ball and let rest again before rolling). Place a level tablespoon of filling in center of each round, then brush or dab halfway around edge with a little water and fold in half, pressing edges together to seal then crimp. Place each dumpling, sealed edge up, on a wax/parchment paper-lined tray. Make more dumplings in same manner with remaining dough.

For panfrying: Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot, then remove from heat and arrange dumplings in a tight circular pattern standing up in oil (they should touch one another). Cook, uncovered, over moderate heat until oil sizzles, then drizzle warm water (1/3 cup) over pot stickers and cook, covered, until bottoms are browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons more water if skillet looks dry before bottoms are browned.

Remove lid and cook, shaking skillet to loosen pot stickers, until steam dissipates, 1 to 2 minutes. Invert a large plate with a rim over skillet. Using pot holders, hold plate and skillet together and invert skillet. Remove skillet and serve pot stickers warm.

Cooks’ note: Dumplings can be formed 4 hours ahead. Chill in 1 layer, not touching, on wax-paper-lined tray, loosely but completely covered with plastic wrap.

June 13, 2012

Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: cherries, peaches & nectarines

Robbie Sigona’s Produce Tips: What’s New

This week:

  • We have in our famous, local Bing cherries from Andy Mariani’s orchard in Santa Clara Valley…just south of us in Morgan Hill. They’re huge, deep burgundy and extremely sweet. They arrive at Sigona’s within hours of being picked – Uncle Paul picks them up at 10 a.m. and brings them to Sigona’s!
  • On another note, Paul Buxman, our local, certified California Clean grower, will soon be in with white and yellow peaches and white and yellow nectarines. It’s all going to be real good, but I expect the Diamond Bright yellow nectarine to be excellent! It’s one of the best varieties of the year.

Robbie Sigona is our produce buyer. He works with local farmers and scours the market for the very best in fresh fruits and vegetables — some you won’t find anywhere else.

Healthy, Quick, Delicious: Local Halibut and White Seabass

Healthy, Quick, Delicious: Local Halibut and White Seabass

Carmelo Sigona with a fresh-caught, wild, local seabass.

These local, line-caught beauties are now at Sigona’s in Redwood City! Come in today for fantastic fillets and more, delivered daily. 

By Carmelo Sigona

This time of year is always my favorite. Not only are we on the verge of being inundated with local, farm-fresh produce delivered within 24 hours of being picked, but it’s also time for the best, most flavorful bounty of the sea to come into season.

It’s local halibut and local white seabass season and we’ve got fresh, wild and line-caught fish fillets at our Redwood City store now! These beauties are locally line-caught and delivered to our store the next day. Wild king salmon is still here too; it’s coming from the Oregon coast for a few weeks – it’s still caught in the morning and flown down to us so we have fresh wild salmon the next day. Our local commercial salmon season reopens June 27th.

Both of these white fish, the halibut and the white seabass, are outstanding, but the white seabass is my favorite. For starters, there is nothing more simple, healthy and delicious than white seabass fish tacos with cabbage-jalapeño slaw. You just marinate the fish in a combination of lime zest and juice, paprika, garlic, oil and salt for a few minutes…the fish soaks up the flavors and presents a huge wow factor in every bite.

Oh, man! I know what I’m having for dinner tonight!

Halibut has a snow-white flesh, firm texture (sometimes called the steak of seafood) and a mild flavor so easily takes on the flavors of other ingredients with which it’s cooked. It’s also naturally lean, packed with fatty Omega-3s to help break down cholesterol and is nutrient-dense. It’s an excellent source of high quality protein, and is rich in selenium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium, all of which are essential in maintaining a healthy, functioning body. Halibut is a popular choice for Cioppino, a seafood stew which has roots in San Francisco. We have a recipe for it,  courtesy of Zest Bakery in San Carlos, as well as other local halibut recipes on our blog too.

Now, the local white seabass. The most important point to note here is that local white seabass is NOT striped bass or Chilean seabass. Not only is it from a different area, it’s from a different family all together. The Monterey Bay Aquarium notes, “The white seabass isn’t a seabass at all – it’s a member of the croaker family and the largest croaker in the Pacific Ocean.”

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has also noted that the local wild, line-caught white seabass is a “Best Choice” sustainable seafood choice, meaning it’s abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly way. The population of the white seabass has recovered after previous overfishing and is a best-choice alternative to white seabass caught with gillnets. Furthermore, the aquarium encourages people to avoid Chilean seabass as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing has depleted some populations of Chilean seabass.

Eating-wise, local white seabass is a meaty fish (striped bass, on the other hand, is a soft fish). It has more oil than halibut so it’s more moist; plus it’s more forgiving…it’s likely to still be tender and juicy if overcooked.

You can make a fish lover out of nearly anyone by searing white seabass so it has a nice crust. Pair that with a nice sauce and you have a fancy-pants meal on your hands…er…plate. I have go-to verblanc sauce that’s absolutely fantastic over seared or grilled white seabass. It’s easy to make with only five ingredients, one of which being wine…you can’t go wrong with a wine sauce for fish!

White seabass, just as the halibut, is an excellent source of selenium, which acts as an antioxidant, especially when combined with vitamin E. The fish is also a wonderful, light and lean source of protein. Be sure to check out our other white seabass recipes, including one for Grilled Miso-Marinated White Seabass from local food blogger Jean Pope of Lemons and Anchovies.

Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter posts to know when the freshest deliveries of local white seabass and halibut arrive at our Redwood City store. You’ll love these local, wild fish!

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Local Halibut

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Local Halibut

Halibut has a snow-white flesh, firm texture (sometimes called the steak of seafood) and a mild flavor so easily takes on the flavors of other ingredients with which it’s cooked. It’s also naturally lean, packed with fatty Omega-3s to help break down cholesterol and is nutrient-dense. This is a delicious fish and we know  you’ll enjoy the recipes!

Fish Tacos with Cabbage-Jalapeño Slaw

This is absolutely my favorite way to eat local halibut. It’s simple, healthy and delicious. For this recipe I’ve done a quick job on the marinade and not taken the time to let marinate. All the flavors come together just about the same, especially when you’re in a hurry. Recipe adapted from Food Network’s Anne Burrell. Serves 4.

My favorite dish of summer: Fish Tacos with Cabbage-Jalapeno Slaw. Recipe adapted from Food Network’s Anne Burrell. Photo from Food Network.


  • 1 pound local halibut or white seabass
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 tsp Spanish paprika (also known as pimenton)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press Arbequina extra virgin olive oil (it has a fruity-buttery flavor)
  • Kosher salt


  • 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 3 green onions, sliced thinly on the bias
  • 1 jalapeño, minced, optional
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 TBL Honey Hole Honey Co. honey, either the wild apricot or blackberry honey
  • 1/8 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press Arbequina extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt

For serving:

  • 8 flour or corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted and flesh sliced

Fish: Cut the fish into strips. Combine the fish with the lime zest and juice, paprika, garlic, oil and salt, to taste, in a medium bowl. Let sit at least 20 minutes. This can be done a day ahead, covered and refrigerated.

Cabbage: Combine the cabbage, carrots, green onions, and jalapeño, if using, in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, honey and oil. Add to the cabbage mixture and toss until well dressed. Season with salt, to taste. If using within a couple of hours let it sit at room temperature, if making this ahead, refrigerate until ready to use.

To cook and assemble: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap the tortillas in foil.

Put the fish strips on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Put the fish and tortillas in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

While the fish is in the oven, taste the cabbage for seasoning and adjust, if needed.

Remove the fish and tortillas from the oven. Put some fish in the center of a tortilla, top with a couple of avocado slices and finish with some of the cabbage slaw. Repeat with remaining ingredients and serve.

Carmelo’s Halibut in a Parchment Pocket with and Ginger, Green Onions and Jalapeno

This dish practically prepares and cleans up itself! Throwing ingredients in a parchment pocket is one of my favorite ways to prepare summer dishes, plus baking in parchment melds all the ingredients together making for a flavor-packed dish. Serves 6. – Carmelo Sigona

  • 6 portions (about 5-6 oz. each) local Halibut
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger (2 inches), peeled and julienned
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (do not cut – should be removed before eating)
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 small-medium jalapeño, julienned (remove the seeds to lower heat intensity or leave out the jalapeno completely)
  • 1/4 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
  • Gluten-free soy sauce, for drizzling, such as organic Tamari by San-J
  • 6 17-inch long sheets of parchment paper
  • 6 lime wedges (for serving)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400F. Place a piece of halibut in the center of each sheet of parchment. Season lightly with sea salt.

Top each piece of halibut with an even amount of ginger, cilantro, garlic, green onion and jalapeño (if using). Drizzle each with a little of the olive oil and a little soy sauce.

To make the packets, bring the long ends of the parchment together and fold down at least three times to touch the top of the ingredients, making a seam. Fold or twist the ends up to meet the ingredients. Secure with a bit of string if the packet needs help staying folded shut.

Place the packets on a baking sheet (you may need more than one baking sheet) and bake at 400 for 13-15 minutes or until the packets are puffed up and fish is cooked through.

Serve each packet with lime wedges. Be sure to inform your guests to remove the garlic clove before eating and also advise them to use caution when opening the packets – the steam that escapes can be very hot!

Pan-fried Halibut with Mango Salsa

Pan-fried Halibut with Mango Salsa. Recipe and photo courtesy of the food blog Teczcape – An Escape to Food.

Another nice summer dish, do you think so? It’s simply divine when you use local, fresh-caught halibut and fresh fruits for the salsa. Recipe and photo courtesy of the food blog Teczcape – An Escape to Food. Serves 2-3.

Homemade Mango Salsa:

  • 2 Mango, cut into small cubes
  • 2-3 kiwis, cut into small pieces
  • 10+ some water chestnuts, cut into small cubes
  • handful of cilantro leaves, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Fresh-squeezed lime juice from 1 lime

Directions: Just mix all the ingredients and set aside in fridge.

Pan-fried Halibut with Mango Salsa:

  • 2 fresh local halibut fillets
  • salt and pepper
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil, for sautéing
  • mango salsa prepared earlier


1. Dab dry the fillets and season with some salt and pepper

2. Heat some olive oil in sauté pan at low-medium heat. Pan-fry one side of the halibut for about 5-6mins (Note: DO NOT turn the fillet while sautéing one side.)

3. After 5-6mins, turn the fillet over and pan-fry for another 4-5mins

4. While pan-frying the other side, spoon the mango salsa on the already cooked top-side. Use a aluminum foil to cover top-side of fillet that is topped over with salsa, while pan-frying the other side.

Note: The salsa need not be cooked. Covering with the foil circulates the heat of frying within the fillets while frying and warms the mango salsa simultaneously, so that the entire dish – fish and salsa – is served warm. The flavors also meld a bit more.

5. Serve immediately

Lazy Cioppino, a San Francisco Seafood Stew                       

Recipe and photo courtesy of Zest Bakery (a gluten-free hotspot) in San Carlos. The Zest crew notes, “Cioppino is a classic San Francisco stew featuring fresh shellfish and fish. I’ve always loved lightness of this tomato-based soup, and it’s probably the easiest soup I’ve ever made and the easiest soup to eat.” Total time: 40 mins. Serves: 6-8.

Lazy Cioppino, a San Francisco Seafood Stew. Recipe and photo courtesy of Zest Bakery in San Carlos.


  • 3 TBL olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small (or 1/2 large) fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand, juices reserved
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
  • 1 pound skinless local halibut (or local white seabass) cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded
  • 1 pound large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined (or frozen king crab legs, thawed)
  • For serving: a gluten-free baguette – find them at Zest Bakery in San Carlos!

Directions: Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion and fennel are soft, about 12 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes with juices, wine, clam juice, and 1 cup water. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring often, until flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Stir in fish, mussels, and shrimp and bring to a simmer.

Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Cook until mussels open and seafood is cooked through, about 5 minutes (discard mussels that do not open). Serve with toasted bread.

Note: try one of Zest Bakery’s baguettes (they’re gluten-free!) toasted it with a little garlic, olive oil, and parsley salt. YUM.

Medjool Dates on Sale at Sigona’s

John Sigona’s Pick of the Week


Best Price Ever!

California grown, jumbo

Medjool Dates

A 15 lb. box for just $3.27 per pound – that’s only $49.00 – an unheard of, excellent sale price for these dates.

Sale ends June 25th so load up now!

Medjools store excellently in the refrigerator (up to 3 months) or in the freezer for up to 8 months.

Try eating them directly out of the freezer – excellent!

Some Nutritional Facts

  • High fiber: six grams per three oz. serving
  • Good source of potassium, iron and copper
  • Excellent source of magnesium (10% per three oz. serving)
  • Medjool dates consist of 2% protein


  • Room temperature—good for at least (2) weeks
  • Refrigeration—good for 2-3 months
  • Freeze—good for 6-8 months
John outside with produce

John Sigona is the dried fruit & nut buyer for Sigona’s Farmers Markets in Palo Alto and Redwood City, Calif.

Eat ‘em up! Medjools are an excellent, healthy alternative to sugar or honey when diced and mixed with:

  • Oatmeal
  • Cereals
  • Muffins
  • Cookies
  • Trail mixes
  • Fresh fruit Smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese

Stuff Medjools with cheese and enjoy! It’s easy: simply slice lengthwise, remove the pit and add in a slice of:

  • Soft goat cheese (my # 1 favorite!!)
  • Cream Cheese
  • Monterey Jack
  • Sharp cheddar
  • Blue cheese
  • Or dice any of the following and mix with cheese before stuffing:
    • Spicy jalapeno peppers or any hot pepper of you choice
    • Granny Smith apples
    • Any favorite raw nut—like almonds, walnuts or pecans
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