Go Fish

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Fishing for trout, crappie, and blue gill: Andy with his dad, Gus, his sister, and her friend – Big Bear, California around 1953

Have you been bemoaning the fact that BigLittleMeals hasn’t blogged about any (ZILCH) recipe with seafood? There are several good reasons. We’ve been trying to give you recipes that freeze well and reheat well, and most recipes with fish or shellfish don’t do that. And really good, not-frozen seafood is both hard to find (unless you’re on a coast somewhere) and expensive. Also, given the complexity of trying to eat what doesn’t greatly harm the planet, it’s tricky knowing what seafood to enjoy and what to avoid – and whether to eat “farmed” seafood – or not.

In thinking about all of this, we realize how much we miss Louisiana and its readily-available crawfish and oysters and shrimp. I wouldn’t even begin to try to make my own Oyster Po-Boy here in California, nor would I order one out. You just can’t replicate that N’awlins’ favorite anywhere else….not even in Baton Rouge.  A shrimp and sausage gumbo is undeniably delicious but is awfully time-consuming for our keep-it-short-and-simple goals.  And every spring we think about having crawfish shipped to us, but we know it wouldn’t be the same.

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Loving our crawfish dinner on Centenary Drive, Baton Rouge, LA – around 1985

Without further adieu and without breaking the bank, or ruining the planet, or planting yourself in the kitchen for hours, here are a few suggestions for a simple fish dinner.

With Louisiana still on my mind, I’ll start with catfish.  Fresh, farm-raised USA catfish. Out of the three grocery stores we frequent (Whole Foods, Olivers, and the Sonoma Market, for those of you in our area),  two of the three regularly have fresh catfish filets on hand and Whole Foods often gets some in on Tuesday (don’t ask me why Tuesdays; weird). Our recipe for Summery Baked Fish can be made with catfish, cod, tilapia, or any nice firm fish filet.  The recipe is made in a nano-second and can be grilled or baked, depending upon your druthers.  It’s “summery” because fresh, juicy tomatoes are essential.

My Bestie in Los Altos, Diane, provided the Best of the Besties: Honey Garlic Shrimp. Diane is known for whipping up appetizers for 100 or so folks without batting an eye, doing cooking classes on hors d’oeuvres, and is offering to cook a Provencal French dinner for 10 – to be bid on at a charity auction to help abused women.   Diane knows and appreciates easy, delicious food…..plus, she’s pretty amazing.

For the Honey Garlic Shrimp use frozen shrimp that are NOT farm-raised and ARE peeled and deveined.  Better yet, buy fresh shrimp in the shell (not farmed) and peel and devein them; it’ll take a little time.  Read more about what to look for in purchasing shrimp in Consumer Report’s article in Food for Thought.

And if canned seafood is your best option, you’re going to love “Mom’s Tuna Noodle Casserole.” A trip down Memory Lane, if you’re of our generation.  It’s a little time-consuming to make, but unlike most fish dishes, it freezes well and reheats well.

 

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Summery Baked Fish in Foil – just before it’s wrapped in the foil for baking or grilling

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The finished dish: Summery Baked Fish with Orzo & Rice

Summery Baked Fish in Foil

  • Servings: 1
  • Print
Note that this is a ONE serving recipe; each additional serving should be cooked in its own little packet, using the same instructions.

Ingredients

  • 1 4-5 oz fish fillet; I’ve used tilapia, farmed catfish, and Icelandic cod; ideally the filet would be about 1/2″ thick
  • 2 slices of a nice, big, juicy red tomato
  • 1/2 of a small sweet pepper, sliced very thin, or use a mildly spicy hot pepper, such as a Fresno; I used a New Mexico Sandia chile in the photo (great for the home gardener to grow)
  • 1/2 small shallot, sliced very thin or a very thin slice of red onion, quartered
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2-3 T white wine; if your tomato isn’t juicy, opt for the 3 T
  • 1 T fresh lime juice
  • a few dashes of Tabasco sauce (or whatever hot sauce – or not -suits you)
  • about 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • cilantro, finely chopped, to garnish
  • aluminum foil (heavy duty works best)
  • a bit of vegetable oil or additional olive oil to coat the foil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Take a 12″x18″ piece of heavy duty aluminum foil; if you only have regular foil, take a 12″x30″ piece and double it up.  Brush a little oil in the center of the foil and fold up the foil edges a little to catch any juices which escape prior to sealing up the packets.

Put the filet in the center of the foil and salt and pepper lightly;  top with the slices of tomato, pepper, and shallots.  Add the olive oil, wine, lime juice, and Tabasco.   Salt and pepper lightly again (about 1/2 tsp kosher salt total).

Fold the foil into airtight packets, starting with the long side.  Bake for 20-22 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes; then very carefully open the packets (which will be hot and steamy) and transfer the contents to a bowl to serve.  Crusty french bread to dip into the juice would be a perfect accompaniment.

We’ve done this recipe on our gas grill, cooking on indirect heat for about the same amount of time and got great results.  Perfect for a hot day when you want to keep your kitchen cool!  Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy & Ann.
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20 Minute Honey Garlic Shrimp

Best of the Besties: 20 Minute Honey Garlic Shrimp

  • Servings: 4
  • Print
Recipe adapted from SallysBakingAddiction.com

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 lb uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 T olive oil
  • green onions for garnish

If using frozen shrimp, defrost according to package instructions.  If using fresh shrimp, peel and devein.

Whisk the honey, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger together in a medium bowl.

Place the shrimp in a large zip-top bag.  Pour 1/2 of the marinade mixture on top and give it a shake or a stir.  Zip it up, pop it in the refrigerator and allow it to marinate for 15 minutes – or as long as 8 hours.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Place the shrimp in the skillet, discarding the used marinade.  Cook the shrimp on one side until pink – about 45 seconds – then flip the shrimp over, pour in the remaining marinade and cook it all until the shrimp if cooked through – about another minute.

Serve the shrimp with the reserved 1/2 of the marinade and a garnish of sliced green onion.  Brown rice and broccoli or broccolini make excellent side dishes, and the marinade will be good on both.

Recipe brought to you by Diane in Los Altos and BigLittleMeals.com.

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Mom's Tuna Noodle Casserole

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 6 oz dried egg noodles (I prefer the medium width – and not curly; your choice)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 5 T butter
  • 10 oz fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1/4 c white wine (if you’ve got some open; omit, if you don’t – and add a little more broth or milk)
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 2 c chicken broth
  • 1 c whole milk
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 6 oz jar or can of tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 1 1/2 c bread crumbs, either fresh or dry (such as Panko)
  • 1 c grated cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • vegetable oil to drizzle on the bread crumbs
  • extra butter to butter the baking dish

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Butter a shallow 2 qt baking dish.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a big pinch of salt, then add the egg noodles and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain the noodles and return to the pot and mix in 1 T butter.

Bring a large skillet to medium heat, then add 1T of the butter and the onion.  Stir and saute until the onion is translucent, then add the mushrooms, soy sauce, and wine and saute, stirring often, until the liquid the mushrooms give off has almost evaporated.  Add the remaining butter (3 T) to the mushroom mixture and blend in.  When the butter has melted, stir in the flour and cook for about a minute.  Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and the milk and cook for about 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Add the tuna to the mushroom sauce, flaking it gently, as you blend it in. Then fold in the drained noodles. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish.

In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and grated cheese.  Drizzle a little oil over the top of the crumbs and mix it all together.  Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the casserole.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and the sauce is bubbling on the edges. Serve immediately.  Leftovers warm up well and freeze well.[/recipe-instructions]

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann

 

4 Comments

  1. jeanie f says:

    Our kitchen is a construction site these days so we’re microwaving in the bedroom/bath or eating out. Love reading your blog and thinking of real food. Plus I want to meet your friend Diane someday. xxxoojeanie

    Like

  2. theRaggedys says:

    Maybe I need to blog about Great Microwave Recipes. 🙂 We did that re-do one year in Louisiana….while my parents were visiting and it was Christmas. That was a challenge, to say the least.
    Bet your new kitchen will be fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Helen Weaver says:

    Boy little brother did we look good in 1953. I know at that age I had other things on my mind & it wasn’t cooking as you may remember. Thanks for the memories. Sis

    Liked by 1 person

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