Tag Archives: Easy fish recipes

Breaded Cajun Fish Filets

A quick post as I am running behind here.

This recipe is based on one of the late Jeff Smith’s, (The Frugal Gourmet), and, with all due respect to my Cajun friends, I have toned the spiciness down. Feel free to fire it up!

Breaded Cajun Fish Filets; easy and tasty!

Breaded Cajun Fish Filets; easy and tasty!

(These also make an excellent sandwich when placed on a big bun or in Italian bread with a bit of mayonnaise or tartar sauce and some nice lettuce leaves.If you’re feeling really adventuresome, add caramelized onion &/or sauteed or pickled peppers.)

Breaded Cajun Fish Filets

1 lb. fish filets, (preferably frozen whitefish; I like cod. Please see guidelines n the Archive: “Lent/Easy Baked Fish “, Feb. 2013)

1 cup milk
1 Tbsp. Lemon juice

1 cup flour (can be rice flour)
1 cup cornmeal

2+ tsp garlic granules or powder,(if you only have garlic salt, omit salt
2 tsp. salt (any type)
1-2 tsp. cayenne pepper

3+ Tbsp butter and 1Tbsp olive oil, (NOT extra virgin
or 4+ Tbsp. margarine

Mix the milk and lemon juice. (Milk may curdle; that is fine). Soak the thawed fish filets for at least 15 minutes in the milk mixture.

In another bowl, mix the flour and cornmeal; add the salt, garlic and cayenne, adding a little of the pepper and adding more if needed. (Taste at this point for saltiness, a nice garlicky flavor and the ‘heat’ of the cayenne; add more of any of these, if needed.)

Heat some of the butter and oil or margarine in a flat, non-stick pan until rather hot,(do not burn). Place a small amount of the breading mixture on a plate. Remove one filet at a time from the milk mixture and place on the plate. Sprinkle the top of the filet liberally with more breading and press the breading down onto the fish. Carefully flip the fish over into the hot pan. Place more breading on top of the filet and press down. Continue with the remainder of the fish, keeping them in one layer in the pan.(You will need to make only 2-3 at a time). Keep the heat fairly high and do not attempt to turn the filets until they are golden brown on the underside or they may not be firm enough to survive the flip. Check carefully with a spatula or ‘pancake turner’ for color. When browned, flip gently and allow that side to brown. (You may need to add more butter and oil or margarine.) Repeat until all the fish is cooked.
(If the filets break, don’t worry; they will taste just as good. If your filets are thin, you may want to cut them into pieces no bigger than 2 ½-3 ” . They will cook  with less chance of breakage when turning.)

Serve with “Dirty Rice“, (See Archive, February 2013″Mahi-Mahi/Fish with Dirty Rice, Pasta and Potatoes”) and vegetables of your choice, but, as another nod to the Cajun of it, I suggest some sort of ‘Greens’.

Enjoy!

Easy Codfish Cakes

From what I can gather, I am not the only one who misses Gorton’s canned codfish cakes. The mixture came solid in a can and one only had to slice and fry them in butter or margarine for a real treat. When they started getting scarce where I lived, (and now are non-existent), I developed the recipe based on the label ingredients, which I share with you today. I think it is close to what you may remember.

Codfish Cakes (Gorton-style)

1 lb of cod filets { frozen
1 ½ cups mashed potatoes
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. milk {can be rice, almond or soy milk
2+ Tbsp flour {all-purpose, potato or rice flour
(opt. 1+Tbsp. parsley)
Butter or margarine

Poach the cod by placing the filets in a deep flat pan and covering them with water.(Can be still frozen). Add 2 tsp. of salt and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Simmer until the filets are no longer translucent,(nearly clear), but opaque in color, (solid white). [ I used to wrap them in cheesecloth to prevent them from breaking apart while boiling but found that they are fine cooking a little longer at a gentle simmer, just under boiling.] Drain the filets and flake them in a mixing bowl.

Add premade mashed potatoes, [See Dec. 2012 Archive, You Can Do It…Breakfast Potatoes and Leftovers if you need instructions.] and milk and salt. Stir in the eggs, mix well and add the salt then sprinkle in the flour. Depending on the wetness of your potatoes and the absorbency of your flour, more may be required, but please do not expect the consistency of our belated, beloved canned codfish cakes: This mixture will be somewhat loose.

Melt butter or margarine in a large , flat pan or griddle,(preferably non-stick).Keep the pan on a medium-high setting and  pick up the cod mixture, roll into a loose balls and flatten before dropping onto the pan or drop the mixture by a large spoonful and immediately flatten with a spatula.( You need to make these rather thin). Leave the cakes cooking for some time until the bottoms are deep golden-brown and flip them gently with a ‘pancake turner’ once, and allow them to brown equally on the other side.(In the ones pictured,I went heavy on the option of parsley!)

codfishcakes2

I hope that if you grew up loving codfish cakes as I did, these will satisfy you.

One of my son’s friends was a local fellow and one day we were discussing food,(which should be of no surprise). He complained that he had gone to a restaurant with his father somewhere in New England and he had tried to order biscuits and gravy, but the waitress had no idea what he was talking about. I told him that biscuits and gravy was a local favorite and that I had not learned to make sausage gravy until I had moved to Kentucky.
He still did not understand; after all, the restaurant had been one in a national chain and he had ordered the same breakfast at nearby locations many times.
I said, “But the menus vary; they feature local favorites. For instance, I was born in Maryland and if I walked into a restaurant here and ordered codfish cakes, they’d look at me like I am crazy”, to which my Tennessee-born then-daughter-in-law replied, “Kinda like I’m lookin’ at you right now?”

Maryland or any where else, I hope you are crazy about the recipe for codfish cakes that you found here.

Creamed Tuna/Tuna Salad

In keeping with our fish and seafood theme, consider the lowly can or packet of tuna. Humble, but convenient, easy to prepare and although the price has risen, it is a good buy. I stock up when it is on sale.

Open a packet or drain a can of tuna, toss a little mayonnaise in it and I am happy. I had been out of touch with a cousin for many years but when we reconnected, I found that she eats it with crackers, as comfort food. She remembered my mother giving it to her that way. I love it with cottage cheese and dry bread crumbs.(Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.)

If you add a little minced green or yellow onion, a dash of celery salt and a bit of minced celery, I am very happy; add a little minced dill pickle, put it on a nice Kaiser roll and I am more than happy…stuff it in a tomato and I am ecstatic. That makes a wonderful hot weather meal and a nice luncheon entrée or first course.
The salad alone or in a tomato can be made ahead of time and will last several days in your refrigerator.

Easy to make, delicious to eat, a great tuna sandwich is ready in minutes.

Easy to make, delicious to eat, a great tuna sandwich is ready in minutes.

Tuna Salad, my favorite way:*[see note]

1 packet or drained can of tuna
1-2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. minced onion
1Tbsp. minced celery
1 Tbsp. minced dill pickle
½ tsp celery salt

Serve on toasted bread,(rye is wonderful,), Italian or French bread, rolls or stuff into a tomato, top-off and seeded. Serve on a bed of lettuce with toast, crackers or plain rice cakes.
*note: Alternatives include using salad dressing “Miracle Whip” instead of mayo, if you prefer it a bit sweeter, and my husband opts for a bit of tartar sauce or sweet pickle relish. You can also add melted cheese of whatever type suits your fancy.

Another hit that I grew up with is Creamed Tuna. Easy to make, it is a warm and different take on tuna and can be served in a variety of ways.

Mom’s Creamed Tuna

2 Tbsp, butter or margarine
2 Tbsp. flour[use part corn starch or arrowroot if you are not using whole milk]
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cups milk (can be soy or rice)
2 packets or well-drained cans of tuna
[opt: ½ tsp onion powder &/or ¼ tsp. white pepper]

Melt the butter or margarine in a heavy saucepan. Mix the flour in to make a smooth paste. (This is a ‘roux’; do not brown it.)
Add the milk slowly, (a wire whisk may come in handy), and cook over medium heat until quite thick, stirring constantly. If you are called away, return as soon as possible and stir briskly with a wire whisk. As long as the bottom has not scorched, it will be OK.
When thickened, add the tuna and stir over low heat until it is blended and warmed thoroughly.
Serve over cubed toast, (traditional), rice or small pasta and side vegetables. Green beans are a good choice with it; the flavors truly compliment each other.

In a container by itself, it can stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, be warmed on the stovetop or in a microwave and then spooned over fresh toast or warm rice /pasta.
(Do not let it boil or scorch).

It can be also made in a bigger batch, in a bit thinner consistency and layered on rice,(preferably), or pasta with green beans in a casserole dish. It, too, can stay pre-made in the refrigerator for a few days. Warm in a slow oven (325F) before serving.

Give it a try!

Lent/Easy Baked Fish

Lent sneaked upon me!. Although time sure got away, here I am, back in time for Ash Wednesday anyway. I hope that you learn a bit about cooking fish and try some of the recipes in the upcoming weeks, especially if you have had bad experiences with seafood. [Please check into the July and August Archives for meatless protein combinations to add to your repertoire of Lenten meals.]

If you have read the “About ” of this blog, you’ll know it started out as an answer to a
plea for help with Lenten dishes, and more meatless recipes throughout the year.
Where I now live was once considered “The Holy Land of the South”, where it was highly Catholic, but even the Baptists here do not eat meat on Ash Wednesday.

Easy, baked fish for Lenten meals or any time

Easy, baked fish for Lenten meals or any time

For those of you who do not understand, going meatless on Ash Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent,(and in past times, on all Fridays and certain other days), were considered ‘penitential’ or done as a sacrifice. That is why instead of the year-long Friday ‘abstinence’,(abstaining from meat),the faithful in many parts of the world have been given the option of doing something different, perhaps giving up something more in tune with sacrifice for them or ,( even better), for them to take on something…do good works, help someone, give of themselves. I am in favor of that, because, frankly, many meatless meals are far from penitential.
For example, a great couple I knew happened to be one of Old New York Presbyterian money who married Irish Catholic Boston/Philadelphia money. When their nest was empty one Lent, she bemoaned the fact that she did not want to cook fish just for herself. He gallantly stated that he had felt like a good steak anyway, so he took her off to a fine restaurant. They were seated and she left for the ladies’ room. When she returned, they were at the table for some time when she asked, “Where is the waiter with the menus?” He replied, “Oh, he came right away before you came back; I ordered for you?”
“What did you order for me?” she asked.
He replied, “Lobster”.
“JACK!”, she cried.
“What?” he answered, “It’s not meat”.
“That’s not the idea!” ,she practically wailed. Believe me, it would have been far more penitential for her to have gotten a cheeseburger at McDonald’s.

However, we’re going with the flow and going meatless when proscribed and any other time we wish, even if they end up being better meals than quick, meat-laden ones.

Before we start, let me say that I happen to be living in an landlocked area in the United States, and have been for many years. I miss my fresh seafood. Unless you are in another part of the world where you know your seafood is safe, or if you live in the U.S. on a coast and can get truly fresh seafood, your best choice for fish is fresh frozen filets , (alliteration unintended), or shrimp and the like. Most of the fish are caught and processed onboard ship, so they are ‘fresher’ than the ‘fresh’ fish you may be buying from your grocer’s seafood case. Check labels, fine print and ask the counter people. You may find that what they are selling had been previously frozen anyway. They have thawed it, and it’s been sitting around. You better cook that seafood immediately and don’t even think about freezing it again at home.
My next statement may be controversial, but let me tell you why I do it: I buy mostly wild-caught fish. I am concerned about over-fishing; I would like to see food and the fish be sustainable, but most fish and shrimp that are farm-raised are done so in countries where there is little to no inspection or standards, indeed; some are literally raised in sewerage. They are then treated in the muck with anti-fungals and insecticides that are illegal to use in the United States, Canada and a few other countries, but, despite the fact that they then contain levels of the poisons, they are allowed to be sold in your local markets. Until standards are raised and safety standards are consistent, I will continue to buy wild caught seafood, or farm-raised only in in the U.S. and Canada.

Are you worried about your fish being ‘fishy’? Lemon juice is a fish cook’s best friend.
Thaw your fillets in tepid water with a generous squirt of lemon juice. I prefer cod to any other fish for most dishes; it is the least fishy, but whiting and perch can be used, even flounder and you can do it for the halibut.(If you are allergic to lemon, vinegar can be used; apple cider is the best choice, wine or balsamic is you like the taste …and can afford it.)

Herbed and spiced fish with pasta...easy!

Herbed and spiced fish with pasta…easy!

And I will leave you today with the easiest and most versatile recipe I have.

Thaw the fish filets in lemony water and drain. Press dry with paper towels,(or I have a big Little Mermaid beach towel that I use for the fish alone and wash with my kitchen towels.)

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper, if you wish, but with them or plain, brush it with olive, peanut or vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt,(preferably sea salt, but any will do.) Place the filets flat on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and herbs or spices, [combination suggestions listed below]. Sprinkle with more oil,(and more lemon juice if you’d like), and bake at 375F until well done,(may brown at edges), but not until the fish is rubbery. Serve with rice , pasta or potatoes, with salad or side vegetables.

Some spice or herbs good on fish can be as complex or simple as you’d like. It depends on your taste and if you’d like to serve the fish with seafood sauce or tartar sauce,(then use less herbs and spices). I find it doesn’t need either. There is no right or wrong, just your own personal taste.

Some toppings I use are :

Parsley,(which I usually add with most of the others listed below)
Dill weed
Italian spices (parsley, basil, marjoram, rosemary, all or mix&match)
Oregano
Dehydrated sweet pepper and tomato flakes
Garlic
Minced onion
Cracked pepper
Lemon peel\
Celery salt/celery seed
Tarragon
(mix or match any of the above)

Chipotle
Garam Masala (it is a bit sweet if you are unfamiliar with it, but it is interesting)
I hope you give these a try.

I will be back; I have more easy fish tricks up my sleeve which include Mahi-Mahi, Salmon, (canned and filets,;BBQ, Salad-Stuffed Tomatoes, Salmon Patties), Stuffed whole fish, Fish Tempura, Smelt, Codfish cakes, Seafood Pasta Salad, Tuna Salads, Creamed Tuna, non-dreadful Tuna Casserole, Twice-baked Potatoes with Shrimp , Oyster Stew, Adriatic Fish,  Cajun Fried Fish, Lemon–Pepper Fish…I’ll think of more.

Anything sound interesting? Any requests or questions? Leave a message…(don’t wait for a tone…just Tonette!)