Fish & Seafood Tips

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How do I scale a fish?

Scale a fish

To scale a fish, grip it firmly by the tail.
Holding a vegetable peeler in one hand, use short, firm strokes from tail to head to remove the scales.

How do I cook scallops?

Citrus Grilled Sea Scallops

Overcooked scallops will become rubbery. Cook over a high heat for a short time for best results.

1 pound sea scallops
4 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon ginger root, grated
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
4 whole wooden skewers

Soak the skewers in water. Stir together peel, juice, ginger, soy sauce
and garlic. Pour over scallops. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Drain scallops and thread onto skewers.

Grill for 2 - 2 1/2 minutes. Turn and cook 2 - 2 1/2 minutes longer.

purchasing mussels

Buying Fresh Mussels

Make sure you are buying fresh mussels by following these simple guidelines.

Never purchase a mussel that is chipped, broken, or OPEN.
Mussels should be tightly closed when bought, indicating that they are still alive.

The Mussels should all be open only once they are cooked. Any that remain closed should be discarded.

How can I tell if fish is fresh?

Is it fresh?

Fresh fish will smell clean and will not have a strong odor.
The flesh will feel firm when gently pressed.

Whole fish will have full bright eyes, and the skin
will be smooth and moist rather than dry and rough.

How do I prepare seafood?

Lemon-Garlic Scallops with Almonds

Tender scallops in a lemon-garlic sauce contrast beautifully with crunchy almonds - simply delicious.

This recipe will serve 4.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups slivered almonds
1 whole lemon, juice & zest
1 1/2 pounds bay scallops, rinsed & dried
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in almonds, cook 1 minute. Remove to small bowl; mix in lemon
zest. Set aside.

Heat skillet over high heat; add scallops. Allow to brown on one side, about 2 minutes. Stir in nut mixture and lemon juice; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley.

Need a main course seafood recipe

Szechuan Shrimp

These Szechuan Shrimp are one of the best recipes I've ever prepared. Full of ginger and garlic, they are a crowd pleaser.

This recipe is scaled to serve 20 people with 2 other main dishes and 1 starch (rice).

3 1/3 pounds medium shrimp
5 pinches salt
2 1/2 egg white, lightly beaten
5 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with water
12 1/2 cups vegetable oil
5 teaspoons ginger, finely chopped
10 green onions, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 2/3 dried red chilies, seeded and chopped
5 tablespoons light soy sauce
5 teaspoons rice wine
5 tablespoons tomato paste
5 tablespoons oyster sauce
15 tablespoons Chinese Stock, or water
10 drops sesame oil

Peel the shrimp; mix with salt, egg white and cornstarch paste until well coated.

Heat the oil in a preheated wok until it's smoking then deep fry the shrimp for about 1 minute. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Pour off the oil, leaving about 1 Tablespoon in the wok. Add all the ingredients for the sauce, bring to a boil and stir until smooth and well blended.

Return the shrimp to the wok; stir to blend. Top with fresh chopped cilantro if desired.

How do I cook Shrimp?

Five Star Shrimp

Do try this recipe ~ it's one of my favorites. I especially like to prepare it ahead of time when we're having company and just pop the baking dish into the oven a few minutes before we're ready to eat.

1 pound shrimp
3 slices bread
2 cloves garlic
3 sprigs parsley
2 whole limes
4 Tablespoons romano cheese, freshly grated
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika

If using frozen shrimp defrost before starting. Shell, devein and dry the shrimp.

Using a blender process enough bread slices to get 1 cup (usually 2 1/2 slices)

Mince the garlic, set aside. Wash the parsley, dry and chop, set aside. Squeeze the lime and strain the juice, set aside. Grate the Romano and set aside.

Pour the chicken broth into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer (or heat in the microwave for 1 1/2-2 minutes).

In another small saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat until it's about to smoke. Take off the heat and add the garlic, basil, oregano, black pepper and paprika. Return to the heat for 30 seconds. Add warmed chicken broth and cook stirring for 1-2 minutes until it begins to sizzle. Remove from heat, stir in lime juice, 2 Tbsp of the Romano cheese and the chopped parsley.

Combine the prepared shrimp and the seasoned chicken broth; mix and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Scatter half of the fresh bread crumbs over the bottom of an ovenproof dish that is large enough to hold the shrimp in a single layer. Lift the shrimp out of the marinade/sauce and place over the bread crumbs trying not to overlap too much. There should be some sauce left from the shrimp in the bowl.

Sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs on top of the shrimp, drizzle the remaining sauce over the breadcrumbs and sprinkle with the remaining 2 Tbsp Romano cheese.

Bake at 425 for 8 minutes and then place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to brown or bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes.

While the shrimp bake, chop some additional fresh parsley, and slice the remaining lime into wedges.

Transfer the baked shrimp with the browned side up to warm plates, sprinkle with additional parsley, garnish with a lime and serve immediately.

How can I cook shrimp?

Saucy Shrimp

Serve this quick and delicious dish over saffron rice with Green Beans Almondine as a complimentary side dish.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato chili sauce
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Tabasco sauce, to taste
1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled

Heat the oil and butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth and raise the heat to high. Add the chili sauce, Cajun
seasoning, Worcestershire, Thyme and Tabasco sauce (if using). Boil for 1 minute, stirring well to blend.

Add the shrimp and cook until they just turn pink, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and serve over a bed of rice.

How do I make fish taste fresh?

Regain freshness

Generally I recommend cooking fish or seafood on the day you purchase it, but sometimes this is not possible.

To regain freshness and texture in seafood, soak in cold salted water, occasionally massaging the seafood.
Rinse and drain well before proceeding with your recipe.

How do I prepare seafood?

Seafood Strudel

This is an impressive dish to serve as a first course or a
main course at a luncheon. It's easier than you think, but
your guests will be suitably impressed.

Seafood Strudel

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 pound cooked shrimp -- cut up
1 pound scallops -- cooked
1 pound lobster meat, cooked -- cut up
1 tablespoon parsley -- chopped
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 eggs -- beaten
salt and pepper -- to taste
8 sheets phyllo dough
8 tablespoons unsalted butter -- melted

Melt butter in a Dutch oven and saute onion and mushrooms until all liquid is gone. The final mixture should not be runny. Add shellfish and fish and stir. Remove from heat and add parsley, ricotta, eggs, salt, and pepper and mix well. Preheat oven to 400°.

Butter a large baking sheet or use a nonstick one. Place 2 sheets of phyllo pastry on sheet and cover the rest with a damp cloth to prevent drying. Brush the pastry lightly with melted butter out to edges and repeat with remaining sheets, brushing every second one with butter. Spoon seafood mixture in a long even shape down center of pastry; carefully fold pastry and roll into a strudel. Tuck ends under and brush with butter.

Reduce oven heat to 375° and bake strudel 30 minutes, until top is browned. Brush top with butter twice during baking. Cool slightly, slice, and serve.

How do I prepare seafood?

Mussels with Black Bean Chile Sauce

These spicy mussels with their black bean and chile sauce have a distinct Asian accent and are simply divine.
They make an excellent company dish if you prepare the sauce ingredients ahead of time and then at the last minute
cook the mussels and serve.

This recipe is scaled to serve 20. Reduce accordingly.

16 cups mussels (5 pounds)
1 cup vegetable oil
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 fresh red chiles, finely chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
6 green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons cornstarch, made to paste
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
3/8 cup black bean paste
1 1/3 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup hot chile paste
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock

1. Place mussels in a large saucepan, add 2 cups water, cover and place over high heat about 5 minutes, shaking pan occasionally or until the mussels have opened. ** This may have to be done in batches

2. Remove from heat, drain and discard any mussels which have not opened.

*** Can make ahead to this point ***

3. In a wok, heat oil; add garlic, chiles, green pepper and green onions and stir-fry 1 minute.

4. In a bowl stir together remaining ingredients, stir into wok and bring to a boil; stirring. Simmer until lightly thickened.

5. Add mussels to wok and heat through about 5 minutes shaking wok occasionally.

How do I poach fish?

Poaching Fish

Use this flavored stock when poaching fish for additional flavor.

Poaching Stock

4 cups water
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cloves garlic
6-8 parsley sprigs
6-8 stems fresh dill
fresh ground black pepper

Place water, vermouth or wine, garlic cloves (bruise slightly for stronger flavor), parsley or dill and black pepper into a medium saucepan. Simmer gently for 10-12 minutes.

Add the ingredients to be poached. Cover saucepan and simmer over low heat until done.

Follow recipe directions for food item you are poaching to gauge cooking times.

NOTES: Yields about 4 cups stock

Need a sauce for fish

Sole in Herb Butter

This light tasting dish will serve six.

4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 pounds sole fillets
Fresh dill and lemon wedges, optional

In a bowl, mix butter, dill, onion powder, garlic powder, salt if desired and white pepper.

Transfer to a skillet; heat on medium until melted.

Add the sole and saute for several minutes on each side or until it flakes easily with a fork.

Garnish with dill and lemon if desired.

purchasing mussels

Storing fresh Mussels

Fresh, tightly closed mussels should be stored in a cool area where they can breathe.
The mesh nets they are frequently sold in are ideal. You can also use a paper bag that's not sealed.

Softshell crabs

How do I clean soft shell crab?

Softshell crabs don't need to be cleaned as all parts are edible as long as it's been cooked alive.

If you plan to keep them more than a few hours, they will need to be cleaned and it's best to have the fish monger do this for you.

How do I know if fish is cooked?

Is the Fish done?

Learning not to overcook fish is important.
When a fish becomes opaque; it's done and if it's still in the oven or on the grill, you've overcooked it.

The trick is to watch carefully, and just before the fish is completely opaque remove it from the heat.

It will continue to cook for a few minutes from the residual heat, so removing it slightly under-done means it's "perfectly cooked" by the time you get it to the table.

How do I store Sea Scallops?

Storing Sea Scallops

Sea scallops are best stored in the refrigerator in a covered bowl or plastic bag, for a maximum of 2 days.

They can also be frozen for up to 4 weeks.

How can I prepare scallops?

Grilled Glazed Scallops

Simple to prepare full with a lovely hickory smoked flavor.

2 pounds sea scallops
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1. Whisk together the Dijon, maple syrup, soy sauce
and liquid smoke.
Pour the sauce over the scallops, turning to coat
2. Just before grilling, skewer scallops onto metal skewers,
with slight spaces in between - 5-6 per skewer.

3. Grill or broil the scallops, 4 inches from the
heat source 3-4 minutes per side until golden, basting with the

Serve immediately.

Seafood appetizer

Champagne Oysters

Oysters in Champagne sauce ~ simply outstanding.

2/3 cup Hollandaise sauce
2 shallots, finely minced
1 cup Champagne
16 oysters, on the half shell

To a basic Hollandaise Sauce add the shallots and champagne.

Spoon a little of the sauce on each oyster, place under the broiler for 1 1/2 minutes just to get them bubbling. Serve immediately!

How do I grill shrimp?

Coriander Shrimp

Fast and phenomenal describes this recipe perfectly!
Try it once, and you'll be making it often.

Shrimp Skewers with Coriander Dipping Sauce

24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Coriander Dipping Sauce
1 cup fresh coriander, packed
1 Tablespoon jalapeno, chopped
1 Tablespoon ground almonds
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons light sour cream
4 teaspoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced

In a food processor chop coriander, almonds, and jalapeno pepper. Add mayonnaise, sour cream and lime juice, puree until smooth. Stir in garlic and transfer to dish. (Can be made ahead and refrigerated for 24 hours)

Thread each shrimp onto short metal skewers or soaked wooden skewers. Brush with oil, season with salt and pepper. Place on greased grill over medium heat, close lid and cook, turning once for 5 minutes or until pink.

Serve with coriander dipping sauce.

Appetizer recipe

Escargot Stuffed Mushrooms

If you've never tried or cooked Escargot before, this is an excellent
recipe to try. It's elegant, easy and full of flavor.

1/2 Cup butter, softened
1 Teaspoon shallots, minced
1 Clove garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon parsley, minced
1 Tablespoon celery, finely minced
1/4 Teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 Large fresh mushrooms
12 Large snails, canned

Cream 6 tablespoons of butter with shallots, garlic, parsley, celery, salt
and pepper. Remove the mushroom stems and reserve for another purpose. Heat
the remaining butter in a skillet. Add the mushroom caps and turn to coat
on all sides. Arrange in the depressions of a snail pan, in scallop shells
or in a shallow baking-serving dish.

Place a scant teaspoon of the herbed butter in each mushroom cap, add a snail and cover it with a little more butter.
Before serving, bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.

Serve with warm french bread to soak up the garlic butter.

This recipe will serve 4 as an appetizer.

How do I select Sea Scallops

Selecting Sea Scallops

Fresh Sea Scallops will have a sweet smell; avoid those that are slimy or have a sulphurous odor.

Color will vary from beige to pale pink or slightly orange.

Regardless of color all Sea Scallops should be firm to the touch and moist.

How do I make Mango Salsa?

Salmon with Mango Salsa

For something a little different serve this light, refreshing salsa over grilled salmon.

Mango Salsa
1 ripe mango, diced
2 fresh red chile peppers, seeded & chopped
1 Tablespoon fruity olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 Tablespoons red onion, minced
2 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
1 clove garlic, minced

1. Prepare ingredients as directed and combine in a mixing bowl.

2. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving for flavors to blend.

3. Serve spooned over grilled salmon fillets.

Yield: 4 servings of salsa

This salsa is also nice served on top of a bed of mixed greens.

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Guru Spotlight
Carma Spence-Pothitt