Archive for the 'Fish and Seafood' Category

Recipe: Poached fish and court bouillon

|October 9, 2011|read comments (4)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Poaching is a gentle cooking method, perfect for seafood, as it gives fish lots of moisture without masking its delicate flavor. Using a fish poacher makes poaching easier, as the rack allows you to pull the fish out of the hot liquid in one beautiful piece, while the poacher's shape allows you to use a minimum of liquid.

Making the court bouillon:

The traditional poaching liquid for fish, court bouillon is a broth made from simmering aromatic vegetables and herbs in water or stock, with the addition of lemon juice, vinegar or white wine.

1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2" thick
1 stalk celery, sliced 1/2" thick
4 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
2 T coarse salt
10 whole peppercorns
1 cup white wine or 1/2 cup white wine vinegar or 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 quarts water, vegetable or chicken stock (unsalted or low sodium)

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer uncovered 30 minutes. Strain and cool. Refrigerate up to 3 days. Can be frozen up to 3 months.

Poaching the fish:

Use any firm-fleshed fish. Wipe the poacher rack with a little cooking oil to prevent the fish from sticking. Clean the fish. Leave head and tail on if desired. (See How to Clean and Fillet a Fish for more information on this step.)

Place the fish on the rack and set the rack in the bottom of the poacher. Ladle enough cooled court bouillon over fish to completely cover. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook the fish gently until done, 8 to 12 minutes. Check for doneness by making a small knife cut in the middle of the fish, parallel to the backbone. The flesh should pull away from the bone and no longer be translucent. When done, remove fish from poacher, allowing liquid to drain off. Remove the skin by cutting through it at the base of the head and peel down to the tail. Turn fish onto a serving platter and peel the skin off that side. Fish is now ready to serve. Horseradish Relish makes a wonderful compliment.

Recipe: Baked Fish, Tater Wedges, Slaw, My Bistro Tart

|September 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Of course, it's Friday. A no meat day in our home. We still carry out this tradition.

It's also damp and cold – a perfect day to put the oven on – and – it's healthier to bake fish than to always have it deep-fried.

I've made my coleslaw early today –

Creamy Coleslaw

2 pounds of cabbage
2 large carrots
Minced red and green bell pepper for color and presentation (not quite half of each)
1 small onion
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/3 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 cup milk – I use whole milk in all my cooking and baking
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh or bottled is fine)

Shred cabbage and carrots with a grater or food processor.
Finely chop onion, or process in food processor. Combine cabbage, carrots, belln pepper and onion in a LARGE bowl.

Thoroughly mix remaining ingredients and pour over cabbage mixture and stir well. Refrigerate 2 hours, over night is even better, stir before serving.

My "fish butter" is made and in the refrigerator ready to go:

4 teaspoons butter (not margarine)
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 teaspoons lemon juice
A grind of black pepper from the pepper grinder

And the lemon is cut into slices; covered and in the refrigerator.

I've also made my coating for my fish and it's in a shallow dish covered with plastic wrap until I'm ready to bake the fish which is basically homemade bread crumbs combined with My Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning:

1/2 cup fresh ground black pepper
1 cup Kosher salt
1/3 cup dried lemon peel (you know I make my own)
1/4 cup dried minced onion (I make my own)
1/4 cup dried minced garlic (I make my own)
1/4 cup dried parsley leaves (I make my own)

Stir all the ingredients together and store in an airtight jar.

All I need to do for the fish is to rinse it off (I wash everything!) and pat dry, dredge in a flour mixture of flour, some Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper then press into coating and place on lightly oiled baking sheet – 350* F. 10 to 15 minutes (depending ont he thickenss of the fish).

I'll scrub my taters and leave the peels on and cut into wedges. I'll toss them in a bowl with melted butter, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, fresh minced parsley, a bit of dried basil. Place skin-side down on lightly oiled baking sheet – and since these take longer I'll have them on at least 45 minutes or more before the fish goes in the oven.

My "bistro apple tart" sounds good as well –

I just roll my crust out and place on a large baking sheet; place my cut apples (using My Apple Spice Mix – posted in my blog here) in the center and pull the edges up, folding over about 2 inches coming up the apples. Center apples are not covered. Bake at 350* F. until a beautiful light golden brown and the apples are tender.

I use a double crust recipe (I don't like thin crusts) and if you want you can place the tart on parchment paper to make it easy to remove from the baking sheet to wire rack to cool. Try serving with warmed caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream; top with chopped walnuts, if desired.

And don't be afraid to add craisins, raisins, or nuts to your apple filling.

I've got rye bread which I'll slice thick and heat in the oven while the fish is baking. It's much better than toasting the bread – takes longer – but it's really good with a good bread – try it!

Recipe: Easy Friday –

|February 27, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Well – It's Friday and I just don't want to cook today.  I made tuna macaroni salad (yes, I used the stove – but it didn't take long to make at all ) and we were all wishing for tuna fish.

And you know my views on tuna fish – and it has nothing to do with dolphin bashing or any other thing that goes on out in the waters that we cannot control. 

It's just like everything else in the supermarkets and on the shelves – smaller cans, higher prices.  It's getting to the point that you can get tuna on sale – 10 cans for $10.00.  But it's not worth it.

Can sizes have changed – years ago it was 7 1/2 ounces and it had tuna in it.  Now, it's down to 5 ounces and it's mostly liquid.  Once drained, you're left with tiny shreds of nothing – I won't even call it "flaked" at all.

So, I went to Wal Mart and bought myself a can of tuna.

Now that is what you call a can of tuna!  Weighing in at 4 pounds, 2.5 ounces = 66.5 ounces of REAL tuna – BIG chunks of tuna – not whatever shreds of nothing they scraped from the tuna's tail!

For the math – 66.5 ounces is equal to about 13 – 14 cans shrink-a-dink mystery cans.  That means – it's mystery tuna – you're not sure of what those little shreds are or what part of the tuna they came from.

IF and I mean IF, you find those stinking little cans on sale – that would be $13 – $14 for that amount and it wouldn't even be real tuna.  I paid $9.18 and I have REAL tuna to enjoy! 

After draining my tuna, a placed a healthy spoonful in the bowl I was using to make my tuna macaroni salad.  To this I added 6 hard cooked eggs, a generous helping of sweet pickle relish, minced celery, and 1/2 sweet onion (diced).

The remaining tuna was mixed with 1/2 sweet onion (diced), minced celery, a generous helping of sweet pickle relish and mayonnaise.

Meanwhile, I cooked my mini penne al dente, drained and rinsed well under cold water; drained well and added to my prepped ingredients.  Seasoned with Kosher salt and cracked black pepper; mixed in my mayonnaise.

And what did I do with these egg eyes?  Those were the center sliced from each hard cooked egg.

I placed them on top as a garnish and sprinkled with paprika, 

And I got to enjoy my tuna "slyders" – stuffing my split dinner rolls with tuna salad with a helping of tuna macaroni salad. 

Add some bread and butter pickles – works for me! 

And is there too much tuna salad?  It's a great spread on crackers for snacking – better than chips.  I will also make panini with some and stiff some pita bread tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Just a Basic Fish Fry

|February 26, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

For those that are interested – these are the recipes I used yesterday for my fish fry.

 


I made a Beer Batter for my haddock:


To begin with I had a little over 1 ½ lbs. haddock fillets


Sift about ½ cup all-purpose flour with Kosher salt to taste; add a pat or two (roughly 1 to 2 tablespoons) melted butter and a lightly beaten egg; pour in ½ cup beer (room temperature) adding gradually. Beat one egg white until stiff and stir in only until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for an hour in a warm place.


When ready to cook heat the deep fryer (I used shortening) to 375* Fahrenheit (because I wanted that protective shield formed by the batter which prevents the hot grease from penetrating the cooled food and making it greasy).


Rinse fillets with cool water and pat dry before dipping in batter; allow excess to drip off. Fry a few pieces at a time until brown and crisp; drain on paper toweling or wire racks placed over a baking sheet. Sprinkle with Kosher salt.


Keep warm in a preheated oven (190 – 200* Fahrenheit until all the fish is fried.


I decided to make some homemade fries as well and tuna croquettes.

 


Tuna Croquettes


Melt 2 pats of butter (about 2 tablespoons) in saucepan; add about ¼ cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, a few turns of the black pepper mill and mix well. Gradually stir in about 1 cup of whole milk (I always cook and bake using whole milk). I added 2 cans of tuna (drained well) and some minced fresh parsley, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, 1 lightly beaten egg.
With wet hand I formed mixture into 8 to 10 balls and rolled in fine dry breadcrumbs (I made from Italian bread – unseasoned).

Drop into the deep fryer and they are done in just a few minutes – cooking until golden; drain on paper towels or wire rack set over baking sheet. Keep warm in preheated oven until ready to serve.

 


Earlier in the day I made a Basic Creamy Coleslaw


I shredded about 4 cups of green/white cabbage and about 1 cup of red cabbage. I “chipped” some carrot for color.


My coleslaw dressing was approximately ½ cup mayonnaise (I used a heavy creamy mayo that I bought at the restaurant supply house), about 2 tablespoons sugar, about 1 tablespoon white vinegar and Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Whisk well and toss with cabbage/carrot mixture. Refrigerate a couple hours before serving.
When ready to serve, stir.

 


My potato and macaroni salads were basic –


Potato Salad


Peel and cut up potatoes, cover with cold water; bring to boil; cook until tender and drain well; cool completely. You want your potatoes cold before combining your salad.
Add hard-cooked eggs, chopped celery, chipped carrots, minced onion, chopped sweet pickles.


Coat with heavy creamy mayo mixed with a bit of yellow prepared mustard.


Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle top with paprika; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 


Macaroni Salad


Bring large pot of water to boil, add salt and wait for water to return to a full boil. Add pasta (I used a pound box of medium shells) and cook al dente (to the bite); drain well and rinse under cold water to cool off; drain well. You want your pasta cold before combining your salad.


Add hard-cooked eggs, chopped celery, minced onion, chipped carrot, chopped sweet pickles.


Coat with heavy creamy mayo and a bit of yellow prepared mustard.


Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle top with paprika; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 


Tartar Sauce


1 cup Miracle Whip (yep for this recipe)
1 teaspoon sweet pickle juice
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh parsley
3 stuffed olives, finely chopped
A sprinkle of grated white onion


Combine; cover; refrigerate until ready to serve.

 


And yes – I wanted enough potato and macaroni salad as well as coleslaw for two days. Today I made Chicken in a Basket.

Recipe: How to poach fish

|February 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Poaching is a gentle cooking method, perfect for seafood, as it gives fish lots of moisture without masking its delicate flavor. Using a fish poacher makes poaching easier, as the rack allows you to pull the fish out of the hot liquid in one beautiful piece, while the poacher's shape allows you to use a minimum of liquid.



Making the court bouillon:


The traditional poaching liquid for fish, court bouillon is a broth made from simmering aromatic vegetables and herbs in water or stock, with the addition of lemon juice, vinegar or white wine.


1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2" thick
1 stalk celery, sliced 1/2" thick
4 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
2 T coarse salt
10 whole peppercorns
1 cup white wine or 1/2 cup white wine vinegar or 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 quarts water, vegetable or chicken stock (unsalted or low sodium)


Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer uncovered 30 minutes. Strain and cool. Refrigerate up to 3 days. Can be frozen up to 3 months.



Poaching the fish:


Use any firm-fleshed fish. Wipe the poacher rack with a little cooking oil to prevent the fish from sticking. Clean the fish. Leave head and tail on if desired. (See How to Clean and Fillet a Fish for more information on this step.)


Place the fish on the rack and set the rack in the bottom of the poacher. Ladle enough cooled court bouillon over fish to completely cover. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook the fish gently until done, 8 to 12 minutes. Check for doneness by making a small knife cut in the middle of the fish, parallel to the backbone. The flesh should pull away from the bone and no longer be translucent. When done, remove fish from poacher, allowing liquid to drain off. Remove the skin by cutting through it at the base of the head and peel down to the tail. Turn fish onto a serving platter and peel the skin off that side. Fish is now ready to serve. Horseradish Relish makes a wonderful compliment.

Recipe: Cleaning mussels

|February 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Cleaning Mussels

 


Most mussels sold today are farmed and come fully cleaned. Mussels only need to be washed and bearded. To beard, use fingers to pull out the clump of hair- like strands.


Before you cook mussels, clean them thoroughly. In a bowl, combine the mussels and enough cold water to cover them. Let them sit for 20 minutes.


Lift out the mussels – so you leave the grit behind – and transfer them to a colander. You may see a threadlike piece on the mussels where the shells meet. This is the beard. Yank it hard to pull it off. Discard any mussels that stay open after you pinch them closed.

Recipe: Cleaning clams

|February 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

1. Scrub the clam shells under cold running water, using a stiff brush. Then soak the clams in salted water to expel any sand. Working over a plate to catch the juices, hold the clam with the hinged side against a heavy cloth in one palm. Insert a sturdy blunt-tipped knife between the shell halves.


2. Holding the shell firmly, move the knife blade around the clam, cutting the muscles holding the shell together. Twist the knife slightly to pry open the shell.


3. Cut the clam muscle free from the shell. To serve the clam on the half shell, use the deep half of the shell. Or, combine the muscle and juices for use in the shucked form.

Recipe: Cleaning oysters

|February 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

1. Hold the oyster in an oven mitt with the flat side up. Using a strong-bladed oyster knife with a hand guard, insert the knife tip into the hinge between the shells.


2. Twisting the blade to pry open the oyster, move the blade along the inside of the upper shell to free the muscle from the shell. Remove and discard the top shell of the oyster.


3. Slide the knife under the oyster to sever the muscle from the bottom shell. Use this shell for serving the oyster on the half shell. Discard any bits of shell on the oyster.

Recipe: Cleaning scallops

|February 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Opening and cleaning


Opening a scallop requires a short, sharp and stout knife and a live scallop. (As long as the shell is very tightly shut you can be fairly certain that it is alive).

To open a scallop and clean it at the same time, hold the scallop in the flat of your left hand with the rounded half of the shell downwards and the hinge facing away from yourself. On the right of the hinge as you now view it where the shell begins to bulge there will be a slight gap between the two shells.

Place the point of the knife (blade pointing away from you) in this gap and push the blade upwards and in towards the centre of the shell. Then keeping the blade pressed against the inside of the upper flat shell, cut through the adductor muscle where it joins the shell moving towards the hinge of the scallop. When the muscle is cut you will feel the two halves come apart.

In the same motion lift the flat shell upwards to reveal the contents (unfortunately you will probably see the muscle and other organs pulsating at this point). With one motion cut behind the testis and roe right around to the adductor muscle to separate the edible parts from the eyes, gills and mantle. Cut the bottom of the adductor away from the rounded half of the shell and you should be left with good edible parts. Discard everything else except the shell.


There will be a small dark tube (gut) around the rear edge of the adductor muscle which needs to be scraped away, as do any remaining bits of mantle or eye that are left. Then the scallop needs rinsing off in cold water and cooking as soon as is possible.


Remember that the shell can be used as well, so don't discard it with the rest. The rounded half when cleaned out makes a perfect cooking and serving dish for many recipes. They also make good ash trays, side dishes, play things for children, garden ornaments, ground up are good for laying chickens… The list goes on.

 


Cooking


It is possible to freeze the scallop at this stage but they loose something special when used later. I would suggest only using fresh scallops recipes. Scallops should be cooked very gently as they loose their sweetness and delicacy if overcooked, especially the coral, which is why it should be added late on in the cooking process if possible. Too many people fry scallops until they are blackened on the outside and rubbery in the middle, this is a terrible waste as the beauty of scallops is their sweetness and very delicate flavor.


Scallops make a very filling and rich meal, and at most 4 to 6 should be enough for even the most hungry of you. Because scallops are also only at their very best when fresh please only collect enough for your immediate needs. Remember to only take those big enough (over 10 cm diameter). It is also important to find out your local fisheries bylaws that may prohibit the harvesting of scallops during certain times of the year.

Recipe: Cleaning squid

|February 21, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Squid can be fairly messy to clean but it doesn't have to be that way!! The key to NO MESS is to not bust the INK SACK!!!


Firstly, don't remove the head straight away!!! You need to remove the transparent spine (or quill) by running a finger along the inside of the mantle, being careful not to grip too heavily in the middle (thus busting the ink sack) but instead holding it by the tip or carefully by the base of the mantle.


Next, grab the head, while holding the tip of the mantle and PULL!!! Most of the guts will come out in one neat pile (including the ink sack which is the green/pearly bit).


Next you need to remove the wings and skin. You need to make an incision with a knife along one of the wings. Then run a finger under the wing from the tip to the base of the hood. It should then peel like an orange, with the skin coming off in one piece, including the other wing.


To give the mantle a final clean up, turn it inside out and remove any remaining gunk.
So you are left with two clean wings and a clean mantle. Enjoy!!


And if you were wondering, YES you can eat the legs too! Don't bother trying to remove the skin though. Don't forget to "pop out" the squid's beak (similar to the beak of a parrot!). The beak should easily come away from the surrounding legs and can be discarded.