Asparagus and Crab Stuffed Walleye

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Asparagus and Crab Stuffed Walleye served with a Green Bean and Radish Salad.

I like dinners that are elegant and look like you spent a lot of time preparing but actually come together quite easily and quickly. My Asparagus and Crab Stuffed Walleye is one of those meals. This entrée would be met with oohs and aahs if served at a dinner party.

I prepared this with fresh walleye however any mild tasting white fish would work well with it. What ever fish you choose, just be sure that the flavor of the fish compliments the boldness and doesn’t muddle the flavor of the crab. It pains me to say this, as I have a general dislike of the fish, but Tilapia would be a good choice for this. I like to describe Tilapia as the true chicken of the sea: bland, boring, and over farmed. I chose walleye because I believe the mild, somewhat sweet flavor works well with the crab.

Here is what I did:

Asparagus and Crab Stuffed Walleye

Ingredients

Fish
2 Walleye fillets or other white fish, skin removed
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 Cup shallot, minced
2 Cloves garlic, minced
6 ounces crab lump crab meat (pouch or canned is suitable)
1/4 Cup ricotta cheese (whole milk)
1 Teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
3 Tablespoons chives, chopped
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
6 spears asparagus trimmed just a little wider than width of fillet

Lemon Butter Sauce
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter (plus a little more for buttering the baking dish)
Juice from one large lemon (Approximately 4 tablespoons)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium low heat and gently sautée shallots. Add garlic when shallots are translucent and just beginning to brown. Add crab meat, ricotta, Old Bay Seasoning, chives, salt, and pepper. Stir to fully blend ingredients together. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Lay out fillets on cutting board. Check over for pin bones while patting dry. Divide crab mixture between fillets spreading evenly the whole length of the fish. Place three asparagus spears on the widest end of each fillet. Roll up the fillet beginning with the asparagus end and place the fillet seam down in a lightly buttered glass or ceramic baking dish.

Melt butter. Briefly whisk melted and lemon juice in a small bowl then then drizzle all but about two tablespoons of mixture over fillets. Sprinkle a little Old Bay Seasoning over fillets for color.

Bake crab stuffed fillets for about 20-25 minutes or until they flake easily with fork. It will depend on the size of your fish. Start checking them after 15 minutes if you have smaller fillets.

Red Snapper with Strawberry Avocado Salsa

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Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fish fry, and during Lent there are many to choose from in Cedar Rapids. However, a person can only eat so much deep-fried fish, and I really do not like deep frying anything, let alone fish, inside my house. (I set up my fryer outside or in the garage when I do deep-fry.)

This red snapper topped with a strawberry-avocado salsa is a welcome flavor fest this time of year and it just may get you through the last days of winter doldrum.

The red snapper can be cooked several different ways for this recipe and each of them are equally good. I have grilled, pan seared, and broiled the fish while making this and each time with excellent results.

If using a gas grill, I like to heat the grill to high temperature and then turn the burners down. This gets the grates very hot and the residual heat helps cook the foods. You will need a good 15 to 20 minutes to get the grill up to its high temp and then another 10 to 15 minutes for the grill to balance out the temperature to your desired cooking temp.

If broiling, begin with fish skin side up about 6 inches from broiler.

If pan-searing, you will need an additional 2 tablespoons of your preference of olive or vegetable oil. I recommend using a cast iron skillet if pan-searing.

Here is what I did:

Red Snapper with Strawberry Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
2 cups strawberries, hulled and medium chopped
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoon finely grated lime zest
4 (5- to 6-ounce) skin-on red snapper fillets

Directions

In a medium bowl, stir together jalapeños, strawberries, onions, cilantro, lime juice, avocado and salt to make a salsa. Set aside. I prefer to make this several hours ahead to allow the flavors to marry.

Preheat grill to medium heat, heat broiler to high, or heat 2 tablespoons oil in cast iron skillet on medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, prep the fish by combining oil and zest in a small bowl then brush all over both sides of fillets. Season both sides with salt and pepper. When grilling, grill fillets skin side down and do not flip. Grill until just cooked through and crisp around the edges; about 8 to 10 minutes. For pan-searing, begin with fish skin side down. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes and flip cooking an additional 4 to 5 minutes. If broiling, begin with the fish skin side down and broil for 3 to 4 minutes then flip and broil skin side up for and additional 5 to 6 minutes. For all methods of cooking, the fish will become opaque and easily flake when thoroughly cooked. Remove and discard skin and transfer to plates. Top with salsa and serve.

Jazz up your fish: Mustard-Grilled Red Snapper

Red snapper is a firm, mildly flavored, white-fleshed fish that can be prepared in a wide variety of dishes; from a very simple dish to a gourmet meal. My favorite way to prepare red snapper is grilled with a spicy Dijon mustard sauce. Here’s what I do:

Ingredients

1/3 Cup Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 Red Snapper filets (6 to 8 ounces each)

Directions

Heat grill to medium-high for direct grilling.

Meanwhile combine mustard, vinegar and red pepper in small glass bowl and whisk well. Coat both sides of fish thoroughly with mustard mixture.

Grill fish over direct heat on a covered grill over medium-high heat. Grill approximately 5 minutes and one side and then turn and grill an additional 4 to 5 minutes on the other side or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork. Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve.

 

A kid friendly meal that adults will also enjoy: Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks

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Susan and I are really quite fortunate that John will eat most anything we serve him. He is far from a picky eater. I still like to keep him in mind while planning meals and try to make one of his favorites each week. One of his favorite meals is fish sticks. I, on the other hand, have bad memories of the cardboard boxed Mrs. Paul’s and Van de Kamp’s fish sticks of my youth and would rather forgo them.

Here is how I satisfy the palate of a six year-old and make a fish stick that an adult will also find tasty.

Fish Sticks

1 large egg
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cups panko
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ pounds cod fillets (or similar firm white fish), cut into wide strips

Directions

Preheat oven to 475° F. Line 9 x 17 baking sheet with aluminum foil, spritz lightly with cooking spray and set aside.

Lightly beat the egg in a wide, shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. In another wide, shallow bowl, combine panko, Old Bay, and olive oil. (Mixing the olive oil with the panko will help the panko to brown.) First dip the fish in egg and then shake off the excess. Next, dredge in panko mixture pressing the fish into the panko to help it adhere then place on baking sheet.

Bake until lightly browned, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Serve fish sticks with sauce and lemon wedges on the side.

Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

½ cup light mayonnaise
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
2 teaspoons prepared white horseradish

Directions
Whisk together mayonnaise, parsley, mustard, lemon juice, and horseradish in a small glass bowl.

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Grilled Catfish Tacos

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Most people do not think of seafood and fish when they think of Mexican cuisine. They are sadly mistaken. Mexico is bordered by two large bodies of water and has miles and miles of coastline. In some places like Veracruz, seafood is ubiquitous and beef, pork, and chicken are hard to find.

One of the easiest Mexican dishes to prepare using seafood is tacos. Most any type of seafood from shrimp to cod can be used. Since I live in Iowa, catfish is plentiful and that is what I chose to use. Another thing most do not think about is grilling fish but here again it is something so easy and it has the benefit of not filling the house with the smell of fried fish.

The sauce

Ingredients

½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
1 lime
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon ground hot Mexican chili powder
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon capers, minced
1 jalapeno
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream and mayonnaise until well blended.

Squeeze the juice from one lime into the mixture, then whisk thoroughly. You’ll want the consistency of a pourable, creamy salad dressing. If still too thick, add more lime juice. If too runny, add sour cream.

Add all of the spices, whisking to mix thoroughly. Add the capers, minced pepper and cilantro, and whisk thoroughly.

Cover the bowl with wrap and refrigerate the sauce for at least one hour — the longer the better.

Grilled Catfish

Ingredients

4  Catfish fillets
1 tablespoon hot chili powder or your favorite Cajun seasoning blend
1 tablespoon grape seed oil or other high heat oil like refined canola
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice

Prepare grill to medium heat. Combine chili powder, oil and lime juice in a small bowl; brush over both sides of fillets. Arrange in a wire grilling basket coated with cooking spray or other suitable grilling rack.

Place grilling basket on a grill rack; grill 6-8 minutes on each side until catfish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Remove and slice in strips.

Assembling the tacos

Additional Ingredients

Slaw mix
Fajita size flour tortillas (warmed according to directions)
Sliced avocado

Place approximately ¼ cup of slaw mix on warm flour tortilla. Place a few slices of grilled catfish on slaw. Then top with above sauce and slice or two of avocado.