I’ve been experimenting with different types of fish recently. My latest strategy is to walk up to the fishmonger and ask what he or she recommends on a given day.
It has never failed: The recommendations have been spot- on, fresh and delicious, and this approach has taken me out of the semi-rut of cooking soy ginger salmon once a week.
The fish I’ve bought has been uniformly fresh. When I unpack it, there is no fishy smell. And let’s consider the connotation of that phrase — if it is fishy, well, perhaps it is not terribly fresh. So, cultivate a good relationship with a reputable establishment and give these dishes a try.
Grilled Tuna with Herb Butter
I used basil for this butter because I have an abundance of it growing in my garden, but any herb would work fine, including dill, cilantro, parsley, thyme or oregano, depending on your palate and your pantry.
For the butter:
½ stick butter, softened
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herb(s)
½ teaspoon salt (or less, to taste)
Mix ingredients well with a fork and set aside until needed.
For the tuna:
4 tuna steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each (approximately 1-inch thick)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt
Generous sprinkle of freshly ground pepper
Place the tuna into a shallow dish. Coat it with oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper on both sides.
Allow the fish to sit for about 30 to 60 minutes at room temperature.
Heat a grill to medium-high and place the fish on it. Close the cover.
After about two minutes, rotate the fish 90 degrees (do not flip). This gives the steak those appetizing cross-hatched grill marks.
After another two minutes, flip the fish. Repeat the two minute/rotate process on the second side. For the final minute of cooking, spread a generous schmear of the seasoned butter on the top of each steak and allow it to melt. Remove it from the grill and serve immediately.
Oven-Roasted Snapper with Cilantro Mojo Sauce
This dish is super simple — especially if you buy the sauce. If you can’t find this precise condiment, you can use any green salsa, especially if you doctor it up with some fresh cilantro and lime juice.
The sauce recipe makes more than you will need for this dish; keep it in the fridge for a few days and slather it on anything you like. If red snapper is not to your liking, or is not available on a given day, you can do this with any medium-bodied whitefish such as bass, cod, mahi-mahi, fluke or grouper.
For the Mojo Sauce:
1 cup cilantro leaves
¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
3 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
Hot sauce to taste
Puree all the ingredients in a blender or Cuisinart. Store in the refrigerator.
For the fish:
4 red snapper filets
2 tablespoons butter or canola oil
Sprinkle of salt and pepper
Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
Place the fish in a large baking dish and daub it with butter or brush it with oil, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
Roast the fish in the oven for about 12 minutes until just about cooked through.
Drizzle the sauce over the fish; you will need about 2 tablespoons per filet. Cook for another minute or two until the sauce melts over the fish. Serve immediately.
Over Memorial Day weekend, we hosted a crowd at the beach. We wanted to take advantage of the proximity of fresh, local fish, and we also wanted something that would feed and please the crowd. This dish fit the bill.
1 pound haddock, cut in strips
½ cup corn meal
½ cup panko bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon salt
Generous sprinkle of fresh ground pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
Dash cumin powder
Fixings for tacos: Tortillas, salsas, sour cream, slaw, guacamole, etc.
In a shallow bowl, mix the corn meal, panko and seasonings.
Heat your oven to 375 degrees.
Dredge the pieces of haddock in the mixture, coating all sides.
Place the coated haddock on an oiled baking sheet.
Bake the fish in the oven until cooked through and lightly brown, approximately 20 minutes.
Serve the fish with desired fixings.