They’re simple fish recipes that will make you want to head back out with your rod and reel to try them all over again.
Enjoy Your Fish Harvest in Style
It happens to the best of us: overworked, tired, and a bit irritated. You forgot to plan for dinner, so you plunk a frozen tilapia filet on a sheet pan and cook it in the oven. It’s edible… barely.
There’s a better way to enjoy fish. It is one that doesn’t result in a rubbery, overly fishy, disaster of a meal that even the cat turns his nose up at. The best part is that you don’t have to elaborately plan for any of these meals. Most can be started from scratch while the fish is still frozen. They’re simple fish recipes that will make you want to head back out with your rod and reel to try them all over again.
Blackened Catfish from Scratch
Catfish can tend to be on the fatty side. While you can trim most of that away, a lot of people avoid these fish because they taste too fishy. Fortunately, there is a way to minimize that taste with a little bit of preparation. Note: you can make this even simpler by grabbing a pre-mixed Cajun or Blackened Seasoning Mix and skip rounding up all of the dried ingredients.
2 Cups Milk or Buttermilk
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Dried Parsley
1 tsp Kosher Salt
½ tsp Cayenne Pepper (less if you hate spicy foods)
½ tsp Dried Oregano
½ tsp Dried Thyme
4 Skinless Catfish Filets (4oz each)
2 Tbs Olive Oil
Thaw your catfish filets, and lay them in a baking dish. Cover them with milk and let them soak at least 1 hour up to overnight. This will pull out any fishy tastes.
Heat up a cast iron skillet with the olive oil. When I say heat up, I mean it needs to be roaring hot. You will want to turn the vent fan on or do this outside as there will be smoke.
Pat the filets dry and discard the milk. Sprinkle both sides generously with your spice mixture pressing it into the meat so it adheres nicely.
Put the filets onto the pan and let them sizzle, pop, crackle, and almost burn (about 3 minutes), then flip them over. You will notice they have a nice dark crust to them. The fish is done when it flakes apart with gentle pressure.
Serve with a sprig of parsley if you have it around, and a lemon wedge if you prefer that method.
If your filets are especially thick, you may want to finish them off in the oven or on the grill to ensure they cook in the middle without burning on the outside.
Rosemary Garlic Trout Filet
You can leave the skin on the trout filets for this one, but I find they’re easier to eat when you don’t have to worry about the skins.
2 Trout Filets
1 Tbs Minced Garlic
4 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
2 Tbs Fresh Chopped Rosemary
1 Tsp Kosher Sal
1 Tsp Olive Oil
Preheat your oven or grill to 350 degrees.
Brush each side of the trout lightly with olive oil. The oil will heat and be pulled into the fish upon cooking.
Sprinkle each side with salt, chopped rosemary, and minced garlic.
Lay the fish on a baking pan (I prefer to line it with aluminum foil for easy cleanup) and bake for about 10 minutes or until the fish is flakey. Garnish with 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary.
Note: If you aren’t worried about fat and calories, you can throw a pad of butter onto each filet when cooking.
¨There’s a better way to enjoy fish. It is one that doesn’t result in a rubbery, overly fishy, disaster of a meal that even the cat turns his nose up at. The best part is that you don’t have to elaborately plan for any of these meals. Most can be started from scratch while the fish is still frozen.¨
The “Whole Fish on Coals”
I usually save this one for when I’m camping as it’s a lot easier than trying to pan fry a fish. Your first step is to make a nice big fire, and then let it die down until it’s almost out.
1 Whole Trout
1 Pad of Butter
1 Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Black Pepper
Gut and clean the fish as you would normally do, head can be left on if desired. Open the cavity and sprinkle in the salt, pepper, and drop in the butter. Wrap in aluminum foil, and place it directly onto the hot coals of your campfire. Make sure the cavity faces up so your melted butter doesn’t drain out. Give it about 10 minutes and then check to see if it’s done; you may need to move it around the coal bed in order to maintain the proper heat.
Squeeze a lemon slice onto the fish, and eat directly from the foil.
Cedar Plank Filet
There’s a joke that has made the rounds about cooking otherwise nasty fish with a cedar plank. It says that carp aren’t that bad. You clean them out, put them on a cedar plank, cook them until they’re done, then throw away the fish and eat the cedar plank!
The truth is, however, that the cedar plank can impart delightful flavors to your fish. This recipe is for a simply seasoned fish, you can change it up with a Cajun rub, or any other spice mix you love.
2 Cedar Planks (food grade, often found in the meat department of the grocery store)
2 Fish Filets (whole fish work to; avoid fatty fish like catfish)
1 Tsp Kosher Salt
½ Tsp Black Pepper
1 Lemon thinly sliced
Submerge the planks in water for 1 to 2 hours in a large baking dish. Make sure they’re completely soaked through.
Season your fish on both sides with the salt and pepper (and any other spices or herbs you find enjoyable).
When the planks have fully soaked, place the fish filets onto the boards, and layer with thinly sliced lemon.
Place on the grill and cook on low heat until the fish is flakey. Here’s where things can get tricky. The cedar will heat and release steam into the grill compartment. As it dries out, it will char and begin to smoke. You want the steam and the smoke to help cook the fish and impart a delightful earthy and woody taste. Every time you open the lid, you will lose heat, steam, and smoke. Try to resist the temptation to look at the fish, and check after 10 to 15 minutes to see if it’s done.
When the fish is complete, use a spatula to take the plank and fish out of the grill all at once and set it on a trivet in the middle of the table.
Good Old Fashioned Fish Fry
Sometimes you throw the diet to the wind and you gorge on fried fish. Nothing wrong with that as long as your fish are seasoned up properly. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the long summer evenings and the warm fall days where you can sit outside and eat fish to your heart’s content. Note: don’t fry frozen fish!
2 Fish Filets (just about any species will work)
½ Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Tsp Kosher Salt
2 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs
2 Quarts Vegetable Oil
2 Cups Milk
You can use a stove top pot to fry in, but getting a deep fryer is a much easier method. Fill it with the vegetable oil and set it to 375 degrees.
Cut your fish filets into slightly larger than bite size pieces. You can fry a whole filet at once, but it’s really hard to keep it from falling to pieces.
Beat the eggs in one bowl, mix the salt and bread crumbs in another, pour the milk into a third, and put the flour in a fourth. The order you coat your fish is important to keep that nice breaded crust on there.
Roll your pieces of fish in the flour; get all pieces that will fit into the fryer coated before going to the next step.
Dip each piece of coated fish into the milk, then into the egg, and then coat generously with the bread crumbs. Let excess milk and egg drip off, but move fast enough so it doesn’t all drip off.
When you have fully coated each piece of fish, drop them into the fryer and let them boil in the hot oil. Cook them until they look golden brown (about 5 minutes). Let the oil drip off and transfer the pieces of fish to a paper towel covered tray. You can throw some French fries or potato slices into the oil to serve as a side.
Catch, Cook, Eat
One of the best parts about fishing is you get to take home a delightful meal. Most recipes are pretty easy to make and fish cooks a lot quicker than many other foods.
You now have 5 methods of preparing fish; no more excuses. Your next catch can end up on your plate, and a picture of it can be uploaded to the Hafaspot App.