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Recipes for Fish

Here are two dishes I really love. I use local halibut (if I can get it) or sea bass, or even talapia.

Fish in a garlic wine sauce:

2 lbs. of fish filets (ruthlessly filleted)

¾ cups of white wine (not white zinfandel)

¼ cup butter (at least to start)  -- margarine is ok, too, but not the cheap stuff (it's too hard to cook with)

2 cloves garlic or more . . . . !!

2 tablespoons of corn starch if necessary

some flour

Hungarian paprika

If you hate garlic, pass on this recipe.

This method is very simple. The trick is in preparing the fillets. Take the fillets and cut off anything that looks brown or red. Be ruthless and don’t worry how much waste you make—trust me, you do not want to eat that stuff (it is a false economy). Dry the fillets (if you don’t, they will become gummy). Dust the fillets in flour and remove the excess. Melt some butter over medium heat (half of the recipe ingredients) in a skillet or sauté pan. When the butter begins to bubble (don’t let it burn—turn down the temperature if you must), add the fillets. Shake the pan from time o time to avoid sticking. Add butter to prevent sticking and add the garlic—the more the better I think. Don’t let the garlic burn. When the fillets are half done, turn them over and add the remaining butter (or some more if you wish—you only live once). Add the wine—make sure that it covers about one half of the thickness of the fillets. Shake them to avoid sticking. Add more garlic if you want. Have fun. Sprinkle the tops of the fillets with as much paprika as you wish—give it a little color. Place a lid on the pan and let it sauté until the fish flakes. Remove the fish from the pan and place on a serving platter. If the sauce is not thick enough, mix a tablespoon or two of cornstarch with a little water. Then add the mixture to the pan and stir the sauce vigorously (make sure you have removed the pan from the heat when you add the cornstarch—otherwise you will make dumplings). I like to place a couple of lemon slices near the fish fillets and pour the sauce over the fish.

 

Grilled Whitefish in a Brown Raisin Sauce

(really livens up a bland fish)

Ingredients:

            As much fish as you want.

2 tablespoons of butter or margarine

4 teaspoons of flour

6 gingersnaps (crushed--if they are not at least two inch cookies, add more)

1/4 cup sugar (or more to taste)

½ cup raisins

1 1/2  cups of  white wine (not white zinfandel)

1 cup of beef broth (don't use bouillon)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3/4 cup of water

Steps:

Start by creating a roux. In a large saucepan melt two tablespoons of butter and add four tablespoons of flour (regular flour, none of that fancy stuff). Mix it and cook over medium heat until it is golden brown.

Crush gingersnaps (put in a plastic bag and hit it with a hammer if you do not have a food processor). Add the wine and broth to the saucepan and simmer until it begins to thicken. This step should take a little while (at least seven minutes)--you want to steam off the alcohol in the mixture.

Add the raisins, gingersnaps, lemon juice, and sugar and cook four about another five minutes. Add some of the water--if it is still too thick, add some more. Taste it. If it seems a little bitter, add sugar to your taste. You can make this sauce in advance and zap it in the microwave oven. To dilute it, just add a little water. It is hard to mess up this sauce.

Grill the fish on aluminum foil. Or, if you wish cook the fish some other way, go ahead—but avoid using sautéed fish. Baking or grilling works best.

Spoon the sauce over the fish.

 

 

I am not crazy about salmon, but here are two recipes that I can stomach.

Salmon With Radish Tartar Sauce.

Ingredients:

¾ cup plain yogurt

¾ cup plain sour cream

½ cup thinly sliced green onions, including green tops

3 tablespoons of drained capers

1 ½ tablespoons prepared horseradish

salt to taste (I don’t use much)

Mix yogurt, sour cream, radishes, onions, capers, and horseradish. Add salt, if you must.  If you can,
make it a day ahead of time, but it is OK if fresh.

Grill or poach deboned salmon steaks (and serve the radish sauce in ribbons over the top of the fillets). If you are grilling the fish, place steaks on heavy aluminum foil. Generally, cook ten minutes per inch of filets.

 

Salmon with Lemon Rice Stuffing

Ingredients:

A whole salmon if you have one. If you do not have one, this recipe doesn’t work as well.
1 small grapefruit
4 strips of bacon (or more if you want; it’s a free country)
3 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of finely sliced celery
1 cup of a small  onion finely sliced
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 teaspoons of lemon zest
¼ cup of lemon juice
2 ½ cups of water
1¼ cups of long grain white rice

Prepare a lemon rice stuffing. This recipe is for a large salmon (for one five pounds or under cut the recipe in half).

In a saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add 1 cup of finely sliced (do the best you can, this isn’t rocket science) celery and a small onion chopped finely (you can leave it out and substitute some onion powder if you want). Increase temperature to medium and sauté the vegetables until they are soft (about 5 minutes)—don’t burn the butter or you will have to start over again. Add 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, at least 2 teaspoons of lemon zest (grated lemon peel), ¼ cup of lemon juice, and 2 ½ cups of water. Bring it to a boil. Mix in 1¼ cups of long grain white rice and cover the saucepan. Reduce heat to just warming and let it go for another 20 minutes.

In another saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and raise the heat to medium and add 1 to 2 cups of slice mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms for about five minutes. When the rice is done, stir in the mushrooms.

Make sure to wipe the fish dry, inside and out. Lightly fill the fish cavity with the stuffing and sew the opening with heavy thread (or, you could tie it with string if you keep the string wet).

If you are grilling the fish, place slices of grapefruit on heavy aluminum foil and place the fish on the slices. Place remaining grapefruit slices atop the fish. If you want to cook it precisely, insert a cooking thermometer in the thickest part of the fish (but away from the dorsal fin). Just a side note, cover the fish tail to keep it from burning). Place another piece of aluminum foil loosely over the fish as it cooks.

The fish is done when it reaches a 120 degrees. Otherwise, it will take about ten minutes for each inch the fish is thick. Turn over the fish once during cooking. Drizzle it with melted butter (or margarine, or olive oil from time to time.

Slide the fish from the foil to the serving platter. Cut any thread or string.

If you are baking the salmon, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. The place the salmon in a baking dish. Place bacon strips on the exterior of the fish and cover completely with aluminum foil. Bake until interior of the fish is 120 degrees.

Live it up.

 

Turkey Sausage, Cornbread, and Apple Stuffing with Sauvignon Blanc Wine

 Baked in a Pumpkin

This recipe is based on one presented by Tyler Florence and appearing on Food 911

Ingredients:

1 (4 to 5 pound) pumpkin (This size is not very big. if you get a bigger pumpkin, you will need to bake the stuffing before transferring it to the pumpkin for final baking.}
1/4 cup melted butter or high quality margarine
Black pepper (I prefer to use no salt since the ingredients already contain plenty to my taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, pureed
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cubed
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon fennel seed (I like to crush these seeds in a pestle)
2 oranges, zested
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage, divided
2 pounds ground turkey sausage
1 cup Sauvignon Blanc or Fume Blanc wine (get some good stuff, such as Murphy-Goode Fume Blanc or, if you can find it, DeLoach FUme Blanc)
1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
1 (16-ounce) package cornbread stuffing
3 cups chicken broth (or apple cider if you wish)

Dash of cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten

 

Cut off the lid of the pumpkin and set it aside. Pull out the seeds and strings from inside the pumpkin. Brush the inside flesh with melted butter, season with salt and pepper. Place pumpkin on a roasting rack set inside a pan; bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Do not overbake--if your oven is extra hot, cut down on the time.

In a large skillet or pan, heat oil at a moderate heat. Add onion, celery, garlic, apples, celery seed, and fennel seed. Sprinkle in orange zest and 2 tablespoons each parsley and sage. Stir the ingredients a lot, for at least 3 minutes. It should smell really great. Add pepper and (if you must) salt to your taste, (but do not overdo it). Season with salt and pepper. Add the ground sausage and brown it, breaking up the meat as you cook it. Deglaze the pan with the Sauvignon (or Fume) Blanc wine, raise the flame a little and cook down 2 minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Stir in the cream and let it thicken a little. Check your seasoning.

Scrape the sausage mixture into a large bowl and fold in the cornbread. Gradually blend in the eggs and chicken broth (or apple cider), until the stuffing is evenly moistened. Add remaining parsley and sage. Fill the pumpkin with stuffing. Here is where I like to top it with a little cinnamon and even some small diced apples. But it is your stuffing. Do what you what. Return the pumpkin to the oven, and bake 20 minutes until the eggs are cooked and the stuffing has a little lift. The pumpkin will get a little soft, but if you do not overcook it, it will hold up just fine. Make sure you have the pumpkin on a cookie sheet with a lip all the way around--otherwise you could find yourself with an unwanted oven cleaning task.

Warning--if you make a bigger batch, the baking time ordinarily would increase, but the pumpkin cannot really hold up to extended cooking. So, you may have to bake the stuffing in a baking dish until it is halfway done. Then you can stuff the pumpkin and finish the job as planned with the 20 minutes of baking.

Serve stuffing in the pumpkin bowl topped with lid. It will rise a bit, but do not let it worry you.

 

Beer Can Chicken 

This recipe sounds strange--and the looking at the cooking chicken while it is sitting
on its can on the barbecue grill will make people laugh--but the taste of the chicken
is terrific.  The chicken bastes from the inside and stays moist and juicy.


Ingredients:

 

        a whole chicken (not cut up into parts) about three to five pounds
            (The size of the chicken is not an issue, but the larger the chicken is,
            the longer the cooking time must be.   It will be helpful to have a meat
            thermometer to be sure.)

        some vegetable or olive oil to rub on the exterior of the chicken

       a twelve ounce can of beer

    Optional:  some dry barbecue seasonings to rub on the exterior of the chicken

    For grilling on a gas grill, it also is nice to have a smoker box prepared with
        mesquite or hickory chips (follow the instructions with the smoker box)

Steps:

1.    Make sure the chicken is completely thawed before beginning.  Clean out the
       inside the chicken including any fat, giblets, neck bones, heart and the like
       that may be stuffed inside.  Take your time to clean out the interior of the
       bird--the processing plants often get sloppy about this step in preparation 
       and you do not want residue to spoil the taste of your creation.  Rinse the
       chicken's interior in cold water and then do what you can to dry the thing.

2.    If you wish, sprinkle a little of your barbecue rub inside the bird (not too
       much, a tablespoon should be enough).  

3.    Get the barbecue grill ready.  For a charcoal grill, heat it to approximately
       medium heat.  If you are using a gas grill, heat the grill to high with the
       smoker box filled with your soaked wood chips (if you are adding this
       delightful step).  When the chips begin to smoke, lower the heat to medium.  

4.    Here is the fun part.  Wash the beer can (who knows where it's been?) and
       then open the beer can and then add three or four additional holes in the top
       of the can with a "
church key"-style can opener.  Drink or pour out (!) about a
       third and a half of the beer.  Insert the chicken onto the beer can.  That's
       right, place the beer can on a level surface, hold the chicken upright and
       insert the beer into the cavity.  The chicken should be sitting on its can with
       its legs in front and its wings folded over the back. 
Spread the drumsticks
       away from the body to support the bird in a sort of tripod position. 

      Here are pictures of chickens both before and after cooking to help you get
      the idea.

    Place some vegetable oil or olive oil on the outside of the chicken (be liberal
    in its use).  If you want to sprinkle some additional barbecue rub on the
    exterior of the chicken, this point is your last realistic chance.

5. Cook the chicken (or chickens) with indirect heat.  In other words, do not set
    the chicken over fire.  Some people like to place a pan under the chicken with
    a little water, but I find that it works just fine using some aluminum foil with
    some water in the bottom and the edges turned up.  

6. Cover the grill and cook the chicken until the skin is a browned and crisp and
    the meat is cooked through.  Getting a good temperature measurement can be
    tough.  Since this recipe tends to produce chicken that falls off the bone,
    sometimes you have to take your temperature reading from the juicy thigh
    meat and sometimes from the comparatively dry breast meat.  If you have one
    of the "instant read" meat thermometers, insert it in the thigh (if you can) and
    when it reads about 180 degrees Fahrenheit you can be comfortable calling it
    done.  If your measurement is taken from the breast meat, a temperature of
    about 165 Fahrenheit is OK.  The cooking time should take around 1¼ to 1½
    hours. Users of charcoal grills usually are suggested to add about 12 new coals
    after the first hour of cooking.

7. Remove the chicken from the grill.  Let it sit (rest) for about five minutes. 
    Some people like to carve the chicken while it remains standing (as a conversation
    piece, I suppose), but the chicken may be falling off the bone and such carving
    may be a pain in the neck.  Instead, remove chicken carefully from the beer can.
    There may be some hot beer left in the can--so use some tongs or hot pads and
    watch out.  Carve the chicken and serve to your stunned and hungry guests.

Some people like to put some honey on the outside of the chicken and others like to
put some garlic between the skin and the chicken meat.  By the way, I have heard of
people using ginger ale instead of beer, but since the alcohol in the beer cooks away
anyhow, what it the point?