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Fat Guy

Foolproof fish dishes for the landlocked

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Here's the challenge, from some friends in the Midwest I'd like to help out:

I'm looking for a few good fish dishes that will work for people who are 1) landlocked such that the best fish available locally is probably the frozen product at Trader Joe's, 2) not inexperienced but not highly experienced cooks, and 3) interested in fairly straightforward/non-elaborate recipes.

Any ideas? The first thing that came to mind for me was fish tacos.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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This Marcella recipe is one of my favorites. So easy. So good. It sounds boring, but is much the sum is much more than the parts. I use thyme because I'm not a rosemary fan. Good squeeze of lemon before tucking in.

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This preparation of conserved tuna is pretty versatile (links therein for a salad and a pasta dish). I'd bet you could substitute salmon or any other large firm-fleshed fish.


 

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When I lived in the landlocked midwest, fresh trout was always available in the average grocery store. My favorite recipe was also the simplest:

for each small whole fish:

- one small clove garlic, minced; 1-3 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs; salt, pepper, olive oil. Herbs can be anything you like, but judge amount accordingly (strong herbs like sage are used sparingly, parsley, chives, etc. can be used liberally).

- rub the inside cavity of the fish with a bit of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Evenly distribute garlic and herbs. Close fish, rub outside with a bit more olive oil.

- grill or panfry. Serve with lemon wedges.



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Although I have never made them myself, I had the most remarkable walleye fish cakes in MSP at Tavern on Grand last year that I am inclined in that direction. I think that fresh frozen cod or similar white fleshed fish would lend itself well to a good fish cake.

HC


Edited by HungryChris (log)

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This Marcella recipe is one of my favorites. So easy. So good. It sounds boring, but is much the sum is much more than the parts. I use thyme because I'm not a rosemary fan. Good squeeze of lemon before tucking in.

I really like this direction. I wonder what might be a good variant with a less starchy vegetable or vegetables (for low-carb people) and some boneless/skinless frozen filets of white something-or-other.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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One of the easiest fish recipes i know uses fresh salmon fillets (you could use frozen and just make sure they are defrosted first) Simply squeeze and zest a couple of limes and add a good handful of chopped cilantro to the mixture. Put a couple of spoons of the mixture on top of the fish fillet, then place the salmon on top of a couple of sheets of filo pastry, wrap like a parcel and brush with an egg glaze. Pop in the oven at a medium temperature for around 20 minutes depending on the size of the fish and how cooked you like it. I always serve with sauteed zucchini, chopped chilli and spinch with another good squeeze of lime juice added to the veg at the end. Its a great, no hassle dish...


"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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You know, I'm not a huge Trader Joe fan, but I imagine their IQF fillets and steaks of wild-caught fish are of pretty decent quality. So, as long as they are thawed properly, wouldn't they be able to be used in the same manner as fresh?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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While some of us may turn up our noses at the technique, baking fish is an easy option for cooks without a lot of experience, i.e. landlocked, and can result in very good fish done in a short amount of time with few ingredients. And, it's virtually foolproof.

One recipe that I use comes from Eric Ripert, Le Bernadin. You basically oven-poach fish in a fragrant stock. You pour a stock in a baking pan, lay the fish in the stock, then bake just until tender. The stock keeps the fish moist and the dry-heat of the oven cooks the fish. Easy for any cook, it's fast and it gives great results.

Most landlocked cooks won't want to buy fish bones, (if they can even get them), and make a proper fish stock. So an option is bottled clam juice, white wine and a bit of water. Add some diced carrot, onion, bay leaf and a few peppercorns. That's a mild stock that won't overpower the fish.

Pour the stock into a baking dish, add the fish, filets, steaks or whole fish will work. The stock should come up to about half the thickness of the fish. Cover the dish with foil and into a 400 oven. A 1" thick piece of salmon will oven-poach to a nice doneness in about 12 minutes. The landlocked crowd may prefer their salmon a bit more done than the medium-rare we prefer.

Now when the landlocked get a little more adventurous, oven-poaching fish in olive oil is also an easy method that give good results. There are lots of recipes online for oven-poached fish.

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I think alot of the seafood available in my supermarkets are prev frozen so I would also say just to use them the same as fresh. Although, I can recommend Nigella's Thai Butternut Squash & Seafood Curry recipe for use with frozen salmon and shrimp.


"The main thing to remember about Italian food is that when you put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided." – Mario Batali

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Salt them, then use any of the recipes for bacalao/bacalhau etc.

My favourite is brandade.

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Not so suited to this time of the year, but in winter I love a good fish pie. (Pie in this case means "topped with creamy mash" rather than "encased in pastry"). Jamie's version is meant to be very easy, but I can't comment on it directly.

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Salt them, then use any of the recipes for bacalao/bacalhau etc.

My favourite is brandade.

Well, or just buy bacalhau. :wink:

Squid and octopus freeze well, as do shrimp. I bet that frozen clams would work just fine in a pasta dish. Mackerel braised in miso and ginger would probably work just fine with frozen mackerel. Salmon may be ubiquitous, but that doesn't mean it's not tasty.

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Not so suited to this time of the year, but in winter I love a good fish pie. (Pie in this case means "topped with creamy mash" rather than "encased in pastry"). Jamie's version is meant to be very easy, but I can't comment on it directly.

I can comment on it directly. It is very easy and tasty, and works great with frozen fish fillets.

See here for a picture of my version on the dinner thread.

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I live just outside of Boston. there is a "high end" fish monger not so far from me:

http://www.captainmardens.com/

they have a wide selection and have a restaurant-ish attached to use up there fish

its very $$$ and the Salmon for a lot of $$$ does not oftern pass the sniff test:

fresh fish only smell of the sea: salt water if that.

The Trader Joe has many times "better" fish cryo vac's

it key to get your TJ fish with no damage to the Cryo: tight with no air in the pack.

this will be much better if you thaw overnight in ice water in your frig than most of what you might buy at so much more $$$

use that $$$ for lets say an armagnac good luck with that!

ask your Fishy Monger if they will let you do the 'sniff test' before you buy

then ,move on!

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Simplest easy no-cleanup fish recipe I use is a variation of en papillote.

Pre-heat oven to 400F. Cut plain white flesh filets into 4-5 ounce portions. Measure thickness of filet at largest thickness. Cut aluminum foul into sizes suitable for each portion when folded. Oil foil. Place one filet on each foil. Add a couple tablespoons of julienned or small diced aromatic veggies you have on hand (any combo you like of, for example, onions, carrots, bell peppers). Add extra olive oil or butter if you like. Season as desired (fresh or dried herbs always welcome), fold foil securely so there's no leakage, leaving just a little headroom. Place on baking sheet or pan and bake for 10-minutes per inch of previously measured thickness. (This 10 minutes per inch method is known as the Canadian method.)

There are plenty of veggie possibilities for the packets. Tomatoes are good if you just use just the meaty part, since you don't want to use anything too watery. For example you could use summer squash if you pre-cook it, but that messes up another pan. Other possibilities: leeks, shallots, fennel, mild peppers other than bell, etc.


Edited by rlibkind (log)

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Or, in place of foil and since you're already shopping somewhere that I presume sells frozen plantain leaves (and if they don't, they should start!), you could go with the recipe/method I posted over in the Cooking on Leaves thread. It works with any white fleshed fish, works admirably with frozen things, and can be modified in a number of different ways to mesh up with your personal tastes.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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DOes the deli section of your supermarket not have fresh fish flown in? If so, and perhaps with frozen you can also do it: the best IMO is a whole fish, cleaned, of course, stuffed with herbs and vegies of your choice-I like parsley or cilantro, onions and thinly sliced carrots but you don't even have to stuff with anything. Place on an olive oiled baking dish-I often use aluminum throw away ones for fish, shmear the top of the fish with olive oil and lemon and again herbs and/or vegies on top-optional. Bake at 200C, 10 mins per inch of fish height. Usually it takes around 15-30 minutes depending on height and how many fish. As soon as the fish flakes -when you poke it you can check - if the inside is mushy it is not done or flaky-it is done. Fish is always best this way, I think, ANd fresh is best...

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My default for salmon is a glaze of two tablespoons maple syrup, two tablespoons bourbon whiskey, one teaspoon soy sauce, and a little bit of grated ginger. (It does help to buy good salmon, though.)

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I cooked and posted about a Swordfish Chowder on the Dinner thread last year. I've never cooked the chowder with frozen fish, but I think frozen swordfish would be fine. Other frozen white chowder fish could work, too.

Here (my post #24001):

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Joan Nathan has a recipe for Moroccan fishball tagine in one of her books. The fish is ground, mixed with spices and herbs, formed into balls, and cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. Its a very simple dish and the quality of the fish can be hidden in the flavors.


"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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