05 July 2010

Family recipe Monday: fish

Another summer storm, another summer rainbow

That was one wild week, last week. We moved many large and spectacular things into the new building, which will be the subject of a later post. The crew of staff and students was exhausted by the end of the day Friday, but aglow with a sense of real accomplishment. We are opening an exhibit in the campus art gallery tomorrow, and hosting an open house for alumni all the rest of the week. The new building will be front and center all week, so there won't be much moving going on, just a lot of talking about the building to some of the people who care most about its success.

The farmers' market produce is coming in nicely, too. The first peas and carrots of the season are starting to appear on the stands. Right now the kitchen smells like fresh basil and ripe peaches. Those scents really do go together amazingly well. We picked up chicken tamales and salsa verde at the market for a quick lunch on Saturday, figuring we wouldn't feel much like cooking after a busy morning. It was a good call, and a good reminder that I need to drag out the tamale steamer at the end of the summer and put together a celebratory dinner for everyone who worked on or helped with the move.

For some reason, fish always sounds good in the hot months. Here are some suggestions from the Simple Gifts files.

This recipe is a good one with any whole fish. If you have fresh peas courtesy of the farmers' market, do use those. I'm hoping that the Minnesota contingent weighs in with more on the subject of wild rice, soon.

Red snapper with wild rice stuffing

1 3-lb. fresh or frozen red snapper (with head and tail) or other whole cleaned fish
1 4-oz package wild rice
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
¼ cup butter or margarine
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 T sliced green onions
2 T chopped pimientos
½ tsp finely shredded lemon peel (zest)
2 T lemon juice
2 T butter or margarine, melted

Thaw fish, if frozen. Cook rice according to package directions. Cook mushrooms in 1/4 cup butter or margarine till tender. For stuffing, combine cooked rice, cooked mushrooms, peas, onions, pimientos, lemon peel ands juice, 1 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. Toss lightly. Sprinkle fish cavity with salt. Fill fish cavity with stuffing, patting stuffing to flatten evenly. Tie or skewer fish closed. Place in a greased large shallow baking pan. Brush some of the 2T melted butter over fish. Bake in 350o F oven for 45-60 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, brushing occasionally with remaining melted butter. Carefully lift fish to a warm platter. Remove string or skewers. Garnish with lemon slices and bias-sliced green onions, if desired. Makes 6 servings.
--Shirley Johnson Shelton

This is a Brazilian fish recipe given to me by a paleontologist colleague, John White. I wish I could find the original card for this, because he drew the exact size of the garlic clove required (paleontologists are like that). It was, as I recall, no bigger than a good-sized lemon seed. When he says small, he means small. As you can see, this is a recipe that can be easily expanded to fit the size and appetite of the group. It's a winner for a big crowd.

Peixe escabeche

1 lb. fish of any kind per person
1 tsp salt per pound of fish
1 small clove garlic
1 lemon per every 2 lb. fish
8 oz olive oil
1 medium onion per every 2 lb. fish
1 medium tomato per every 1 lb. fish
2 rings of fresh green pepper
1 pinch fresh celery leaves

Put salt into mortar or cup. Cut clove of garlic into tiny cubes and grind into the salt with pestle or blunt end of knife. Squeeze lemon(s) into salt and garlic. Rub mixture all over fish, then place in skillet or stewing pot. Pour enough olive oil over fish to leave about 1/8” on bottom of cooking container. Slice onions and tomatoes over fish. Place the green pepper and pinch of celery leaves on fish. Cover and start on high, then reduce heat. Cook for about 30 minutes. Do not overcook. Serve with rice. Pour the gravy that forms into a gravy bowl--good on rice!
--John White

Finally, here is a Mid-Atlantic Shoreboard classic. From Delaware Seafood Recipes: “One of Delaware’s finest—Years ago this was a meal prepared for the Delaware Bay Pilots before they took command of a vessel heading up Delaware Bay. It can be breakfast, lunch or dinner—any way it is truly an excellent, hearty, rich meal.”

Pilot boat breakfast

6 skinned cod filets (cod is best; however, any lean fish such as striped bass, weakfish or sea bass is a suitable substitution)
6 large potatoes
6 hard-cooked eggs
Melted butter
1 lb broiled bacon
2 diced onions (raw)
Salt and pepper

Peel potatoes and boil until done. Bake or steam fish until done (about 10 minutes). Dice potatoes and cover with cooked fish. Sprinkle bacon pieces and chopped hard-cooked eggs on top. Add raw onions to taste and pour melted butter over all. 3 hearty servings.

Your heart may not thank you for this one as it is written, but you can tweak this recipe in many ways to make it healthier. Bon appetit and happy Monday.

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