Archive for category Fish

Smoked Salmon Supreme Plate

LoxThis is one of those appetizer plates that could easily turn into a meal if you let it. It’s spectacular when you’re too damned lazy to cook, or when you’re watching the Red Sox march to the World Series (which they are this year), or when you’re watching the latest episode of The Walking Dead.

It’s fairly simple to assemble. You do not need to smoke your own salmon. Smoked sockeye salmon is readily available (and sliced perfectly for this dish) at your local supermarket. Everything else you need for this, in my opinion, is stuff a well-stocked kitchen should have.

Serve it with your favorite wine. People will tell you that it should be a white wine, but what if you don’t really like white wine? I hate food and drink rules, frankly. Drink whatever the hell wine you want.

For serving, you need a long platter. I still have the one that my mother used when we were kids.


1 pkg of smoked sockeye salmon

4 tbsp capers

Lemon juice (for drizzling)

Extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)

2-3 tbsp freeze-dried dill (Litehouse makes a great product)

Bunch of asparagus, blanched

Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper (to taste)

Baby arugula


This is mostly an assembly project, folks. However, the first thing you need to do is trim off the hard (whiter) ends of the asparagus and discard them. Bring a pan of water to a rolling boil, place the asparagus in and just blanch them until they are tender enough to eat. Don’t allow them to become limp. Drain the asparagus and run it under very cold water. Set aside.

Line the long serving plate with a layer of baby arugula, one of the eight wonders of the foodie world.

The smoked salmon is generally layered in the package in stages. You want to spread them out a bit more, but leave them in layers, so that all of the slices can benefit for the olive oil and lemon drizzle. Place them atop the arugula on the long serving plate. Then, place the blanched asparagus along the sides.

Drizzle everything with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice, and salt and pepper (to taste). Sprinkle dill on top and add the capers. Remember to drizzle and sprinkle the asparagus as well.

I recommend serving this with Triscuits, and I prefer the olive oil and cracked pepper Triscuits. Simple and delicious.

Remember that this recipe is simple to double up on as well.




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Cajun Blackened Catfish

Cajun Blackened CatfishMany moons ago, before Emeril was the “big thing” in New Orleans, there was this chef named Paul Prudhomme. The first time I ever had blackened anything was at his restaurant, KPaul’s. I used to go to New Orleans every year for the same trade show, and every year the lines waiting to get into his restaurant would run the entire length of Chartres Street. It was worth the wait every single time. The first time I ate there, I had Blackened Yellowfin Tuna. He just happened to be in the restaurant that night and he not only signed the cookbook I bought, but he signed my menu.

Since then, I’ve had many things “blackened,” including beef. But catfish has to be my all-time favorite.

This is best cooked in a cast-iron skillet, but I’ve also been successful using a non-stick skillet. The idea isn’t to burn the daylights out of it, but just to blacken it a bit. This recipe is for two catfish fillets, but it’s easy to double it if you’re cooking for more than two people. This is one of those no-brainers.



2 catfish fillets (usually about a pound or slightly over)

2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme

2 tsp paprika

1.5 tsp Kosher salt

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp garlic powder

Butter or oil (do not use margarine; it will not work)


First, mix together all of the spices in a shallow dish that can accommodate the catfish. Rinse the fillets and pat them dry. Then place them in the spices, using your fingers to thoroughly coat both sides of the fish.

Put the butter or oil in the pan and heat the pan on medium-high heat. While you’re waiting for the pan to heat, be sure that you have your stove vent on and that you open some windows. If you are successful cooking this, you’re going to generate some smoke. That’s a good sign. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve set off the smoke detector in my house.

Put the catfish in the pan and cook for about 4 minutes on each side.  Don’t be tempted to turn the heat down! Searing under this high heat will release the flavors and the oils from the spices directly into the fish. Serve immediately with your favorite southern-style sides!






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Fisherman’s Wharf Cioppino

cioppinoI’m naming this Fisherman’s Wharf Cioppino because the first time I ever had this dish I was on vacation in one of my all-time favorite cities: San Francisco. This seafood feast is one of the eight wonders of the food world. It’s origins lie in — as you may guess — Italy. For a “stew” of this complexity, it’s remarkably uncomplicated to make.

Like its cousin, Mediterranean Fish Stew, you can serve it with crusty bread. However, I also highly recommend serving it over pasta, preferably homemade pasta.

You’re going to need a very large kettle or pot for this. I use the pot I cook lobsters in.


5 tbsp olive oil

1 large Vidalia onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 large shallots, chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups fish stock

1 cup all-natural clam juice (Snows is what I use)

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes with juice

1.5 cups dry white wine (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay)

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 tbsp dried basil

1 tsp dried whole oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp fennel seed

1.5 tsp salt

1 tsp coarse-ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 bay leaves

1.5 lbs catfish, salmon, halibut or cod, cut in pieces

1.5 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1.5 lbs sea scallops, cut in half

1 lb mussels, cleaned and debearded

1 lb littleneck clams, cleaned and scrubbed

1 lb lump crabmeat

1/2 lb calamari, bodies only cut in 1-in rings


Heat the oil in a lobster pot or large kettle over medium heat. Add the onions, shallots, pepper and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, red pepper flakes, and coarse-ground black pepper. Cook for another several minutes.

Add the tomatoes (and their juices), clam juice, chicken stock, fish stock, white wine, fennel seeds and bay leaves. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the flavors blend together.

Remove the cover and add the littleneck clams and mussels.  Cook, covered, for 5-10 minutes or until the shells open. Remove the shellfish with a slotted spoon and reserve. Be sure to throw away any clams or mussels that have not opened.

Next, add the scallops, shrimp, fish, crab meat and calamari rings. Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes until everything is just cooked through. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Return the shellfish to the pot and stir in the parsley. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and serve immediately with crusty bread. Or serve over pasta with Parmesan cheese on the side.



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Mediterranean Fish Stew

Mediterranean Fish Stew 2My niece reminded everyone the other day on Facebook that it’s getting to be soup weather. I, for one, believe it’s already here. And it’s not only “soup” weather, it’s “stew” weather. This is an amazingly aromatic fish stew that calls for a firm fleshed white fish, like hake, halibut, mahi-mahi…even catfish. Better still, try a combination of fish in this one.

It’s great with a nice, dry white wine and some crusty Italian or French bread. And don’t worry about the addition of the anchovies. It adds amazing flavor, and nobody will even know they are there. Even though you may have some friends who are anchovy-phobic, do not leave these out of the recipe!


2 tbsp olive oil

2 Vidalia onions, chopped

1 celery heart, chopped

1 large or 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

6 large garlic cloves, minced

4 anchovy fillets, chopped

2 lbs ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1.5 cups dry white wine, like sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio

3 cups water

Sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

2 wide strips orange zest

2 lbs firm, white fish (halibut, hake, catfish, mahi-mahi, cod…or any combination thereof), cut in pieces

Saffron (generous pinch)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Chopped parsley or slivered basil, for garnish


Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions, celery and carrots. Cook for 10-15 minutes until thoroughly tender.

Add the garlic and parsley. Cook for several minutes more until the garlic is fragrant and becomes translucent.

Add the chopped tomatoes and anchovies. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often until tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture becomes aromatic.

Stir in the dry white wine and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the water, return to slow boil. Add about 1.5 to 2 tsp sea salt, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes. Stir frequently. Taste for salt and garlic. Add more if necessary. Remember that once the fish is added it will increase the depth of flavor.

Stir in the orange zest and the fish. Add a health pinch of saffron. Simmer slowly uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

Add the fresh-ground pepper, taste again, and adjust the salt if necessary.

Remove the orange peel, and remove the stew from the heat. Serve in soup bowls, garnishing with either parsley or slivered basil. Serve with crusty bread or garlic croutons.

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Rockport Fish Cakes

Cod Fish Cakes cooking in panHere’s another recipe from my cohort, Bill. Fish cakes are a nice. tasty change from the everyday dinner, and are relatively easy to make. This recipe incorporates cod, potatoes, bread crumbs and Old Bay Seasoning.

They go well with a simple salad (or a tomato salad), and a nice glass of Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio.


1 lb cod

2.5 lbs potatoes

1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1 medium Vidalia onion, diced

2 eggs, beaten

3 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning

1/4 cup Canola oil


Peel, boil and mash the potatoes. Set aside and allow to cool.

Poach the cod in a small amount of water until it becomes flaky, about 5-7 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Remove from the pan and mash with a fork. Allow it to cool.

In a bowl, mix the onion, bread crumbs and beaten eggs. Add the cooled potatoes and cod. Mix thoroughly. The consistency should be like meatloaf. Add the Old Bay seasoning and mix it in using your hands. Please feel free to add more Old Bay if you think it’s necessary.

Add the Canola oil to a skillet and heat to medium-high. Place the fish cakes in the oil and cook on both sides to a crispy golden brown.

Serve with a fresh spicy salsa or tartar sauce. Or both!





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