Go, Fish!

 

I love to eat fish. I freely admit I’m a bit of a fish snob, in the sense that I’m fussy about fresh fish, and if I can’t have it fresh, I’d just as soon have the stuff that’s flash-frozen on the fishing boats, or I’d rather not have it at all. I’m deeply suspicious of most “fresh” fish in the grocery store and I just won’t buy fish I don’t like the look or smell of (this is most of it). I prefer wild to farm-raised, and if it’s been out of the sea for more than about ten minutes, I’m not sure it’s fit to eat.

It’s easy for me to trace the origin of this prejudice: In my high-school and college years, I spent most summers on Prince Edward Island, stuffed into a 19-foot trailer with the rest of my large and argumentative family and at least one dog, and we caught and ate fresh fish every day. Mackerel, cod, hake, halibut, and the occasional salmon which Lorne Vessey, the one-armed fish peddler would leave for us in a plastic bag with some ice, tied round the doorknob of the trailer for us to find when we returned home at the end of the day. Clams (if I had a nickel for every pound of both steamer and quahog clams I’ve dug in my life, I’d be a millionaire). Lobsters (straight out of the ocean, boiled in seawater, and served hot). Smoked fish. Salt fish (if I had a nickel for every lobster trap I’ve pulled at 4 AM or every pound of fish I’ve salted or smoked … ditto).

Just hand me a narrow-blade carbon-steel knife, a whetstone, and a bucket of fresh fish, and stand back! I have this covered.

So, at this time of the Christian calendar year, I like to think about fish recipes.

One of my favorites is this one:

Almost 40 years after his death, Beecher Court remains a PEI legend. The patriarch of the North Rustico “Court Brothers Deep Sea Fishing” family, the gentleman died in 1980 at the age of 90. He and his wife, Ella had seven children, five boys who followed their father into the fishing business, and two daughters who had the sense to get married and pursue other interests.

The Courts adopted us when they discovered our yen to go a bit native, and I have them to thank for my unrivaled prowess with a filleting knife, my ability to accurately judge the weight of just about any piece of fish or shellfish that ever came out of the sea, and my encyclopedic knowledge of the manifest virtues, and many uses, of Irish Moss. And probably a few other things, too.

Including the King James Bible which Beecher gave our family, loudly proclaiming that it was the only one worth bothering with because it contained “the actual words Christ spoke.” I’ve never looked at any other version since.

But, I digress.

What I’d really like to happen here is that we should exchange fish recipes. Of any sort. Fresh, frozen, canned, bagged. Hot or cold. Freshwater or saltwater.

Please give up your favorites.

There are 48 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  1. Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… Inactive

    YUMMY! (I’ll need help to suss out the cookbooks – church ones preferred – but I will post a recipe, I promise.)

    • #1
    • March 25, 2018, at 6:31 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. PHCheese Member

    Your thoughts on fresh fish exactly mirrors mine. If we can’t get it of the boat we buy it frozen at Trader Joe’s. We do buy our local shrimp on ice in McClellandville SC about 25 miles north of us. The shrimp boats dock across the street from the store. Often hands are hauling buckets of them from the boat into the store while we are being waited on. It’s a really cool little town that is still of the beaten path and unspoiled. On certain days they sell rock crab claws which are delicious. Only one claw is removed from the crab so it lives and grows a new claw. MrsCheese has a great crab cake recipe but she keeps it secret.

    • #2
    • March 25, 2018, at 6:37 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Seawriter Member

    If you are ever in Galveston County, look me up. We will go down to the fish markets in Seabrook and get fish right off the boat.

    • #3
    • March 25, 2018, at 6:49 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    If you are ever in Galveston County, look me up. We will go down to the fish markets in Seabrook and get fish right off the boat.

    Deal!

    • #4
    • March 25, 2018, at 6:53 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. Percival Thatcher

    Swap rolled oats for the mashed potatoes, and add some garlic and I’ve done that.

    • #5
    • March 25, 2018, at 7:04 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Boss Mongo Member

    Fresh yellowtail snapper, whole.

    Score the sides. Insert in the scores, alternately, sliced/crushed ginger, cilantro, garlic and scotch bonnet peppers (or the pepper of choice that provides the desired amount of heat. “Scotch bonnet” sounds deceptively benign).

    Wrap in banana leaves and cook over low/medium heat grill for 8-10 minutes per side, x 2.

    • #6
    • March 25, 2018, at 7:07 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  7. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Fresh yellowtail snapper, whole.

    Score the sides. Insert in the scores, alternately, sliced/crushed ginger, cilantro, garlic and scotch bonnet peppers (or the pepper of choice that provides the desired amount of heat. “Scotch bonnet” sounds deceptively benign).

    Wrap in banana leaves and cook over low/medium heat grill for 8-10 minutes per side, x 2.

    Oh, that sounds great! Scotch bonnet peppers are wonderful. 

    • #7
    • March 25, 2018, at 7:12 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Boss Mongo Member

    She (View Comment):

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Fresh yellowtail snapper, whole.

    Score the sides. Insert in the scores, alternately, sliced/crushed ginger, cilantro, garlic and scotch bonnet peppers (or the pepper of choice that provides the desired amount of heat. “Scotch bonnet” sounds deceptively benign).

    Wrap in banana leaves and cook over low/medium heat grill for 8-10 minutes per side, x 2.

    Oh, that sounds great! Scotch bonnet peppers are wonderful.

    As is the surface of the sun…

    • #8
    • March 25, 2018, at 7:17 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  9. Arahant Member

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    “Scotch bonnet” sounds deceptively benign

    But another name is habañero.

    • #9
    • March 25, 2018, at 8:26 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Randy Webster Member

    I’ve never cared for the flavor of habaneros.

    • #10
    • March 26, 2018, at 5:49 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Ekosj Inactive

    Ekosj’s generic fish recipe

    Fish … any.

    Lemon … fresh

    Butter … lots

    Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

    Fire….not too hot

    • #11
    • March 26, 2018, at 6:02 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    Pan-Fried Mackerel:  Very fresh mackerel fillets, dried off, then dipped in egg, flour, egg again and rolled in oatmeal. Pan fry in a little butter and/or olive oil, a few minutes on each side.

    • #12
    • March 26, 2018, at 6:16 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Old Buckeye Member

    I’m also fussy about fish I buy, except when I go to a restaurant I just eat it without too much quibble. I’m always suspicious of packaged fish that is available in a grocery store, especially if it says it originated in Thailand or somewhere exotic, so I seldom buy anything commercial to fix at home. Is there a brand of fish that is flash-frozen that I’d find in the grocery store that is ok in your book, @She? Or a place of origin that is reliable or other indicators to look at on a package? 

    • #13
    • March 26, 2018, at 6:39 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Arahant Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    I’ve never cared for the flavor of habañeros.

    Agreed. Like Jalapeños, they are sour. I much prefer Serranos.

    • #14
    • March 26, 2018, at 7:28 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    Old Buckeye (View Comment):

    I’m also fussy about fish I buy, except when I go to a restaurant I just eat it without too much quibble. I’m always suspicious of packaged fish that is available in a grocery store, especially if it says it originated in Thailand or somewhere exotic, so I seldom buy anything commercial to fix at home. Is there a brand of fish that is flash-frozen that I’d find in the grocery store that is ok in your book, @She? Or a place of origin that is reliable or other indicators to look at on a package?

    I tend to go for the “wild” fish. Almost all Atlantic salmon is farmed, I think. Farmed fish has come a considerable way in the last few decades, but I’m still not totally on board with it (my sister lives in Scotland, and is quite happy with some of the farm-raised salmon up there, and she’s quite fussy). So, Pacific salmon. I’m actually happier with the frozen fish than with a lot of what’s supposedly “fresh” in the supermarket. There are a couple of stores in Pittsburgh’s strip district (no, not that kind of strip) that get fresh fish flown in daily (they mostly sell to restaurants, but also have a retail operation), and when I’m up there, those are good to visit.

    I’m not sure about brands because there are so many and differently available in parts of the country. I just read the packages, and if I can find “frozen at sea,” I tend to favor those (you can google “fish frozen at sea” and get a lot of information on that method and why it’s better). I’ve had good luck with some of the Sam’s club frozen cod.

    As with many things, once fish has been frozen, you absolutely should not thaw and then freeze it again. So I am suspicious of frozen fish packages that have frozen condensation on the outside, or that look as if they may have thawed at one point (Shake them. If the contents are all stuck together inside, that’s not a good sign, or so I think.) And get them home and into your own freezer pronto.

    Fresh fish should not be all floppy and squishy and falling apart. Some of the stuff I see in the local grocery store is appalling. It should be almost shiny, glistening even, and it should hold together if you flex it up and down. I would never freeze fish I bought at the grocery store when I got it home, because even if it’s sold as “fresh,” I’d never be sure it wasn’t previously frozen.

    Other than sometimes buying a few shrimp, I avoid shellfish altogether unless I’m at the seashore. Especially those Prince Edward Island mussels. Of course, I’ve dug hundreds, if not thousands of pounds of them (seriously) myself in my life, so I’m fussy about them too. The dry, miserable-looking specimens in the local Giant Eagle just don’t do it for me.

     

    • #15
    • March 26, 2018, at 7:50 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. Seawriter Member

    A twofer – delicious fish and a neater herb garden. (This assumes you have a herb garden.)

    The day before you plan to have fish cull the dry fennel stalks from your herb bed, and trim the woody parts of your rosemary and marjoram plants. Soak these in water overnight.

    Get a whole fish pan-dressed (gutted and scaled – if you are a weinie, cut off the head). Rub seasonings to taste on the inside and outside of the fish. Put in a fish basket (a wire frame shaped like a fish).

    Fire up a charcoal grill. When the coals are burning well (I wait until I see white ash on the coals) put the soaked fennel, rosemary and marjoram stalks on the coals. 

    Put the fish basket in the grill, and cover grill so the smoke is trapped. The herbs smoke the fish. When the fish is done, remove, remove from basket, and serve out.

    This works really well with fish like redfish, bass, or trout.

    • #16
    • March 26, 2018, at 8:04 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  17. Merrijane Inactive

    The only fish I really love is a good, fresh salmon fillet. I bake it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 6-8 minutes per half inch thickness, which usually ends up being about 15-20 minutes. Season beforehand with smoked salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of brown sugar if you like that sort of thing.

    • #17
    • March 26, 2018, at 9:46 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    Merrijane (View Comment):

    The only fish I really love is a good, fresh salmon fillet. I bake it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 6-8 minutes per half inch thickness, which usually ends up being about 15-20 minutes. Season beforehand with smoked salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of brown sugar if you like that sort of thing.

    I love salmon. And the simplest preparations are sometimes the best.

    • #18
    • March 26, 2018, at 10:51 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Ekosj Inactive

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    A twofer – delicious fish and a neater herb garden. (This assumes you have a herb garden.)

    The day before you plan to have fish cull the dry fennel stalks from your herb bed, and trim the woody parts of your rosemary and marjoram plants. Soak these in water overnight.

    Get a whole fish pan-dressed (gutted and scaled – if you are a weinie, cut off the head). Rub seasonings to taste on the inside and outside of the fish. Put in a fish basket (a wire frame shaped like a fish).

    Fire up a charcoal grill. When the coals are burning well (I wait until I see white ash on the coals) put the soaked fennel, rosemary and marjoram stalks on the coals.

    Put the fish basket in the grill, and cover grill so the smoke is trapped. The herbs smoke the fish. When the fish is done, remove, remove from basket, and serve out.

    This works really well with fish like redfish, bass, or trout.

    Many years ago Mrs E and I were in St Thomas. I forget which beach. There were lifeguards. A couple young guys. Locals. Late afternoon, just us, them and a sprinkling of locals. At five, as we were packing it in, they took down the “Lifeguard On Duty” sign and retreated to the guard shack. A few minutes later they emerged … one guy carrying a DIY grill made from half a 55 gallon drum and some charcoal; the other with a mask, snorkel, fins and spear gun. Spear gun said, “I’ll be back before the coals are ready” dove in and swam off.

    We just looked at each other and mutually concluded these guys had it made!!! Wherever we were going for diner was not going to top what these guys were having.

    • #19
    • March 26, 2018, at 11:25 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  20. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Many years ago Mrs E and I were in St Thomas. I forget which beach. There were lifeguards. A couple young guys. Locals. Late afternoon, just us, them and a sprinkling of locals. At five, as we were packing it in, they took down the “Lifeguard On Duty” sign and retreated to the guard shack. A few minutes later they emerged … one guy carrying a DIY grill made from half a 55 gallon drum and some charcoal; the other with a mask, snorkel, fins and spear gun. Spear gun said, “I’ll be back before the coals are ready” dove in and swam off.

    We just looked at each other and mutually concluded these guys had it made!!! Wherever we were going for diner was not going to top what these guys were having.

    I bet.

    My own memorable beach party consisted, in part of 34 lobsters, straight out of the sea. That was the day that I discovered the joys of warm lobster, cooked in seawater . . . 

    • #20
    • March 26, 2018, at 12:07 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  21. Ekosj Inactive

    She (View Comment):
    My own memorable beach party consisted, in part of 34 lobsters, straight out of the sea. That was the day that I discovered the joys of warm lobster, cooked in seawater . . . 

    Yum!!!

    • #21
    • March 26, 2018, at 12:10 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. Old Buckeye Member

    Thank you, @She, for giving me some guidance when shopping. I’ll be reading the labels and hoping to find something!

    • #22
    • March 26, 2018, at 2:12 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… Inactive

    As promised…Not quite a church cookbook recipe, but inspired by el Sñr. Caballero in a food post, during Lent of 2015: Shrimp Ceviche…Minus the pisco, that is…Link to the recipe; pic of ingredients/steps – You may’ve seen one of the very satisfied diner, (on Good Friday of that year) elsewhere here:

    • #23
    • March 26, 2018, at 2:24 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  24. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    A salmon recipe I really like, courtesy of Nigella Lawson in How To Eat:

    Sugar-Spiced Salmon with Chinese Hot Mustard
    For an 8-ounce, juicy thick salmon fillet, mix 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, sugar, salt and (Coleman’s) mustard powder. Heat a smooth griddle or a nonstick pan, and when hot, thickly dredge the fish in the spice mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until seared and bronze without and still rare and coral-fleshed within. Remove and let stand, while you make the mustard sauce with 1 1/2 teaspoons each of (Coleman’s) mustard powder and sugar with 1 teaspoon of warm water.

    (I’ve been told that the mustard sauce is worth it by itself, a lovely mixture of hot and sweet. But it is particularly good with the fish.)

    • #24
    • March 26, 2018, at 4:22 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. Ekosj Inactive

    She (View Comment):

    A salmon recipe I really like, courtesy of Nigella Lawson in How To Eat:

    Sugar-Spiced Salmon with Chinese Hot Mustard
    For an 8-ounce, juicy thick salmon fillet, mix 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, sugar, salt and (Coleman’s) mustard powder. Heat a smooth griddle or a nonstick pan, and when hot, thickly dredge the fish in the spice mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until seared and bronze without and still rare and coral-fleshed within. Remove and let stand, while you make the mustard sauce with 1 1/2 teaspoons each of (Coleman’s) mustard powder and sugar with 1 teaspoon of warm water.

    (I’ve been told that the mustard sauce is worth it by itself, a lovely mixture of hot and sweet. But it is particularly good with the fish.)

    This is completely at odds with my generic recipe …. and I am absolutely making it! Is sounds amazing!!!! Except it’s a Nigella Lawson recipe. Mrs E might still be enforcing the Nigella ban.

    • #25
    • March 26, 2018, at 4:51 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    Mrs E might still be enforcing the Nigella ban.

    • #26
    • March 26, 2018, at 5:03 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. Ekosj Inactive

    She (View Comment):

    Mrs E might still be enforcing the Nigella ban.

    Yup

    • #27
    • March 26, 2018, at 5:09 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Ekosj Inactive

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Mrs E might still be enforcing the Nigella ban.

    Yup

    And I don’t know why because Nigella’s got nothing on the lovely Mrs E.

    • #28
    • March 26, 2018, at 5:24 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  29. Nanda "Chaps" Panjan… Inactive

    @ekosj, is it Ms. Lawson herself, or her recipes that are under the ban? Just wondered….

    • #29
    • March 26, 2018, at 5:35 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Arahant Member

    She (View Comment):

    • #30
    • March 26, 2018, at 5:37 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  1. 1
  2. 2