Because Sharing is Caring

little_chef_1280x800-02Tips, hints, tricks, and little kitchen ‘hacks’ learned along the way and shared with you… please feel free to share your hints with me. Let’s talk about scaling fish…

  • Keep them wet
    Keep the fish wet until you scale them. If they have dried out, soak them a few minutes in ice water before scaling to make the scales easier to remove.
  • If they are from the market… do it now
    If you’re buying a whole fish from the market, clean it as soon as you get home, rather than storing it in the refrigerator. You should also plan to eat it the same day you buy it
  • Set up a table outdoors and cover it with newspaper
    Try to find a table high enough to work comfortably on, that can be rinsed easily with a garden hose when you are finished
  • Gather your supplies before you begin
    Set out a bucket for the fish parts, gloves if you want to wear them, a sharp cutting knife, and a container for the cleaned fish. If you have a lot of fish to clean, set out a cooler full of ice to keep the cleaned fish cold
  • Begin scaling the fish
    Hold it firmly by the head and scrape the scales from the tail toward the gills with a butter knife or scaling tool. Test for the right pressure; the scales should come loose easily and fly off.

    • Keep the strokes of your scaler short and quick. Avoid pressing too hard and gashing the fish
    • Work carefully around the fins, since they can prick or puncture your skin
    • Be sure to remove all of the scales from both sides of the fish. Don’t forget the scales around the pectoral and dorsal fins, and up to the throat, which is the edge of the fish’s gills
    • Rinse the fish, put it in the cooler, repeat!

So, a couple of hints, tips, take what you like and leave the rest… speaking of leaving… leave a comment to share one of YOUR tips!

Thank You!

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Salmon Cakes – With No Evil

What to do with that can of salmon? Make fish cakes! “Oh no! All that oil! Frying is evil” you say. Wait, Wait… you can make these in the oven, or more accurately, bake these in the oven and not have to deal with all that ‘evil’ frying. Although it is my firm belief that not all frying is evil.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 15 ounces canned red salmon, flaked
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs (2 bread slices)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

First, start by preheating you oven to 400°F. Then spray a cookie sheet with nonstick vegetable cooking spray, or use a nonstick cookie sheet.

Combine the salmon, bread crumbs, scallions, egg, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce in a medium-size bowl; stir the mixture well to combine. Then, shape the mixture into 4 equal patties. Place the patties on the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake the patties in the preheated oven for 5 minutes on each side or until the patties are golden and heated through. What could be simpler, and no evil frying. Top these with some homemade tartar sauce and enjoy without the fat-guilt.

fishcake02

Basic Stuffed Stripe Bass

Strippers are running just off shore. And they seem to be plentiful when the boats pull into Babylon, the local fishmonger is running a sale on whole fish. So, one great way to cook these up for a bunch of friends is to keep that bass whole, stuff it, bake it, and bring it to the table.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 two pound whole striped bass
  • 2 cups of cubed bread for stuffing
  • ½ cup of diced tomatoes
  • ½ of a small red onion diced
  • ¼ tsp tarragon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • Sea salt

Combine the bread crumbs, tomatoes, onions, tarragon, salt and pepper to taste. Use this simple stuffing mix to stuff your cleaned and dressed striped bass. Use toothpicks or those fancy bamboo skewers to close the fish and place it on a baking rack. Brush butter on top of the fish and bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily.

stripped_bass

Summer Citrus Grilled Bluefish

Summer on Long Island and the blues are running wild. It’s a nice way of spending a summer day out fishing, and the bluefish are plentiful. Now many people say they don’t like bluefish as it tends to be oily and has a very ‘fishy’ taste. Well of course it has a fishy taste, it’s a fish, and what did you expect it to taste like… mutton? But, be that as it may, there are many ways to add flavor to this fish while preserving the taste of the fish. One of my favorite ways to do this is be marinating the fish to displace some of its fatty oils. And the taste of summer citrus fruits on the open grill is one of the best things about the season here on Long Island.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 pounds of fresh bluefish
  • 1 cup of fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup Duck Walk white wine
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Chef Bill’s secret citrus spice rub

Place the fish fillets into a large bowl. Pour in the orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, olive oil and white wine. Stir to blend and coat fish. Leave the squeezed lemon and lime halves in the bowl too. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat a grill for high heat. When the grill is hot, oil the grate. Season the fish with salt, pepper and citrus rub.

Place fish fillets on the grill, and discard the marinade. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until fish flakes with a fork. Transfer to a serving platter, and remove the dark blue part of the fish before serving and let’s finish that bottle of Duck Walk!

bluefish bikini

Spring Trout with Dijon Mustard

April first is opening day for trout fisherman in the Finger Lakes tributaries. Catherine Creek which runs into Seneca Lake being the most famous, but any tributary to any of the larger finger lakes is likely to host a run of spawning rainbows. Lake fishing gets back in gear with many people running planner boards along the shore line of Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes looking for hungry trout and salmon. So, what to do with some spring caught trout?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 medium trout fillets
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard ( I prefer the stone-ground)
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt

Extra-virgin olive oil

In a wide flat dish, combine the bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt, to taste.

In a small bowl, mix together the mustard and the juice of 1 lemon. Brush both sides of the trout with mustard mixture. Then coat the fish on both sides with the seasoned bread crumbs and press firmly to adhere the crumbs to the fish.

Coat a large skillet with about 1/4 to 1/2-inch of olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Add the fish to the pan and cook about 6 to 7 minutes. Carefully turn the fish over and cook the other side until the fish is brown and crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes. This is where those long thin fish spatulas come in handy. Trying to do this with small spatulas usually breaks the fillet.

Remove the fish from the pan and drain on paper towels. I recommend the Duck Walk white with this and since the trout is packed with strong flavors with the Dijon mustard, I keep the sides simple a spring greens salad and rice.

spring trout

Winter Flounder with White Wine

Winter flounder, unlike summer flounder is caught in estuaries close to shore. It’s a common fish caught when ice fishing, but we’ve had no ice around here this season.  You can tell the difference at the fish store by noticing the eyes. The winter flounder has its eyes on the right side of the body, white the summer flounder has its eyes on the left side. The winter flounder is a fish of choice when you want a light ‘white meat’ fillet. The Summer flounder tends to have a darker more ‘fishy’ fillet. So cooking the winter flounder in lighter aromatics like white wine, and serving it up with winter veggies makes a healthy addition to a new year’s menu.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb flounder fillets
  • ½ cup Duck Walk white wine
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • ½ cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • dash of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange fillets in a greased baking dish. Mix wine, onion, mushrooms, and seasonings together and pour over fish. Bake for 25 minutes or until fish is done. Serves 2. Very good served with wild rice and steamed squash.

icefishing

Jim Beam Bluefish

One thing we have in abundance here on Long Island is fresh local bluefish. Another thing we have plenty of is fresh local liquor stores. And in almost all of those strip-mall shoppes is a bottle of Jim Beam. So, lets combine these two local favorites into a main course of Jim Beam Bluefish.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Marinade:

  • 1 jigger Jim Beam
  • Brown Sugar, 6 tsp unpacked
  • Soy Sauce, 2 tbsp
  • Ginger, ground, 1 tbsp
  • Lime Juice, 1 fl oz
  • Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
  • Pepper, black, 1 dash

Additionally:

  • 1 ½ pounds of bluefish fillets

Combine the marinade ingredients in a large zip lock bag & seal and keep in the fridge for 1 1/2 hours.

Now, heat a large skillet. Give it s coating of vegetable oil. Add bluefish and marinate to skillet and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

Then place on plates and drizzle with sauce. I like to serve this up with oven roasted potatoes and a bottle of Sam Adams Cherry Wheat beer.

jim_beam_bluefish

Cod and Sam Adams Boston Lager

Different beer profiles lead to different flavors in beer battered fish. A pilsner will generally leave a slight flavor, while lagers, porters, and bocks will provide other flavors. So it’s important to try out a variety of brews in you beer batter.  Fish is healthy, beer is healthy, so fish AND beer should be very healthy right…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 gallon vegetable, canola, or safflower oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tsp Smokey paprika
  • Dash Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 12oz bottle of Sam Adams Boston Lager
  • 1½ pounds cod, cut into 1-ounce strips
  • Cornstarch, for dredging
  • Malt vinegar, for serving

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, paprika, and Old Bay seasoning. Whisk in the beer until the batter is completely smooth and free of any lumps. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Refrigerating the batter allows it time to thicken, and a thickened batter adheres to the fish much better. A bit of time makes a better batter. You can make the batter up to an hour ahead of time.

Now, when you’re ready to cut fish, cut the fish into one in strips, lightly dredge fish strips in cornstarch. Working in small batches, dip the fish into the batter and immerse in the hot oil. When the batter is set, turn the pieces of fish over and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain the fish on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Keep the fried fish in the warmed oven (about 200 degrees) while you cook the remaining batches. Serve with malt vinegar and chips.

cod_and_Sams_9327

Haddock with Bulmer’s Sauce

My local fishmonger out here had a special on haddock fillets that I couldn’t, no seriously could not, pass up. Besides, I haven’t had un-smoked haddock in a while. Haddock is often found already smoked, but this recipe works best with un-smoked fillets.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 11/2 pounds of haddock fillets
  • 2 cup of Bulmer’s hard cider
  • 1 medium onion sliced thin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp light cream
  • ¼ cup cornstarch

Divide the fillet into four equal sizes. Place them into a pan add the sliced onion, bay leaf, and lemon juice. Pour in most of the cider, reserving about 2 tablespoons worth for the finishing sauce. Cover, bring to a boil, and then let simmer for about ten minutes. Now, strain about 1 ¼ cups of the liquid from the pan into a measuring cup.

Now, in a small pan mix the cornstarch with the cider, and gradually whisk in the strained liquid, bringing this to a boil. Whisk continuously till smooth and thickened, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cream. Season the sauce with a little sauce and pepper and ladle over the fish.

bulmers01

Stuffed Whiting wrapped in Bacon

Wrapping fish fillets in bacon is a great way to combine two wonderful flavors into a unified dish. This recipe uses a simple breadcrumb stuffing. You can pack even more flavor into this dish by making changes to the stuffing, like adding diced celery, or minced jalapeño pepper.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 fillets of whiting (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 rashers thick cut bacon
  • 2 oz butter
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • Pinch of thyme
  • Sea salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter in a sauce pan, sauté the onion till tender. Add breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme and salt and pepper. This makes up our stuffing. Distribute the stuffing onto the fillets. Roll the fillets and wrap them with a rasher of bacon. You can secure these with a toothpick. Place these in a lightly buttered baking dish, cover it with foil and pop into the oven for about ten minutes. Remover the foil and let these cook uncovered for another five minutes or so. Serve them up with a bottle of Duck Walk white wine.

whiting_fillets