The cold, dark days of winter offer plenty of opportunity for fishermen to be adventurous with cooking frozen fish they’ve accumulated during the summer.
Some fishermen might be tired of having fish again and again in the same way they’ve always known. Others may be staring down a pile of frozen fillets from last year … or is that pile from 2006? Some might not know what to do with the stuff now that mom won’t cook it for them anymore.
Regardless of the situation, experimentation with cooking fish takes a bit of bravery and a little encouragement.
Linda Tannehill a University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service Health, Home and Family Development extension agent, said many recipes can be found online depending on what type of fillets fishermen have.
Tannehill offered these suggestions for out-of-the-box fish preparation ideas:
■ Sear and bake: Take a serving sized piece of fish, put a rub on it, and sear both sides in a cast iron skillet and finish it off in a hot oven for about 10 minutes.
■ Canning: If vacuum sealed packages of fish have broken — evidenced by ice crystals forming on the fish — it would be a good time to either cook the fish or can it as long as the fish is not freezer burned.
■ Ceviche: Fish that has been frozen before can be used in ceviche, particularly halibut. The recipe can be a favorite among certain crowds. The dish is served and prepared cold and uses an acid like lemon or lime juice and onion and other ingredients to cook it — sort of. “I’m finding it more and more often when I am going to potlucks that people really like that,” she said.
■ Salmon salad sandwiches: Leftovers from baked salmon fillets can be mixed into a salad with mayonnaise, various seasonings, pickle relish and can be served on bread, as a dip, or salad.
■ Soups: Salmon can be mixed into chowder, or old halibut and salmon can take on new life in a seafood gumbo. “It is a good time of the year for soup,” she said.
■ Salmon patties: For salmon that has been canned or leftovers from fillets that have been baked, consider making salmon patties from the fish, eggs, crumbled crackers, bread crumbs. Sear patties on the griddle or in the fry pan.
■ Poaching: Take the fillet cut into serving sizes, place it in boiling seasoned water with carrots, onions or any other vegetables.
“What I like to do is then use that water, which is now fish stock because it has this great fish flavoring, is then use that for salmon chowder,” she said. “Whenever I poach fish, salmon especially, I never throw out the water.”
■ Beer battered (from the author): Cut into cubes, batter and fry in high-heat oil such as canola or peanut oil. Try ambers or porters for more flavor, lagers and ales for lighter batters.
■ Fish sticks: Cut the fish into strips, bread it with crumbs or panko and cook in the oven.
■ Nut crusted: With halibut some people will use nuts chopped very finely — like pecans or macadamias — as a crust. Cut the fillets in serving size pieces, dip in flour, then eggs, and pat the nuts on it before baking it in the oven. “It is that easy and it is really elegant,” she said.