Something Fishy
Reel in these seafood recipes

Sure, the sunsets are great, the rolling waves are OK, the buff hunks in swim trunks are decent and the warm sand between your toes is pretty nice.

But what really makes the beach so appealing is the seafood.

Why wait for vacation to enjoy the fruits de mer?

Swimmingly whip up your own dishes with recipes from four recent cookbooks…and you don’t even have to squeeze into your bikini to do it.

“Rick Stein’s Complete Seafood”
Published by Ten Speed Press

Grilled Snapper With Mango, Shrimp and Chile Salsa



4 (6-ounce) pieces unskinned snapper fillet
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish


2 large, medium-hot red chile peppers
4 ounces peeled, cooked tiger shrimp, thickly sliced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 ripe but firm avocado, peeled and cut into small dice
1/2 ripe but firm mango, peeled and cut into small dice
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of salt


If you are using a charcoal grill, prepare and light it 30 to 40 minutes before cooking time.

For the salsa, halve the chiles lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a small knife; leave the ribs behind to give the salsa more heat.

Cut the chiles across into thin slices. Then, mix all the salsa ingredients together.

If not cooking the fish over charcoal, put a ridged, cast-iron grill pan over a high heat (or preheat the broiler).

Brush the snapper fillets on both sides with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Cut each one into three slightly on the diagonal.

Cook the pieces of snapper, either skin-side down on the grill or grill pan, or skin-side up under the broiler, for 3 to 4 minutes.

To serve, spoon the salsa onto 4 plates and arrange the grilled strips of fish on top. Drizzle a little oil around the edge of the plates and garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Makes 4 servings.

(Note: Can substitute red mullet, sea bass, bream or porgy, john dory or gray or striped mullet.)

Oysters in Tempura Batter With Sesame Seeds and Lime


Dipping sauce

1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1/4 cup water
Juice of 1 lime


20 Pacific oysters
Canola oil for deep-frying
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Small pinch of salt
4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
3/4 cup ice-cold soda water from a new bottle


Mix together the ingredients for the dipping sauce and pour into four small dipping saucers or bowls.

Shuck the oysters and discard all the juices. Keep the deeper bottom shells for serving.

Heat some oil for deep-frying to 375 degrees.

Make the batter by sifting the flour, cornstarch and salt into a bowl.

Stir in the sesame seeds, then stir in the ice-cold soda water (it must be very, very cold and from a new bottle for this batter to be successful).

Stir until only just mixed in; the batter should still be a little lumpy.

If it seems a bit thick, add a drop more soda.

You want the batter to be very thin and almost transparent.

Dip the oysters, one at a time, into the batter, then drop them into the hot oil and fry 1 minute, until crisp and golden.

Lift out and drain very briefly on paper towels.

Place the oysters back in their bottom shells and arrange on 4 plates.

Serve with the lime wedges and dipping sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

“The Essential Seafood Cookbook”
Thunder Bay Press

Ocean Trout With Leek and Caper Sauce



1-1/2 ounces butter, melted
4 thick (about 5-ounces each) skinless ocean trout fillets


1-3/4 ounces butter
1 leek, white part only, chopped
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons bottled capers, drained
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley


Brush a baking tray with melted butter. Place the trout on the tray and brush with melted butter.

Grill under moderate heat, without turning, until the fish is just cooked and flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Remove and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

For the sauce, melt the butter in a small pan over low heat and cook the leek until soft but not brown.

Add the wine and simmer 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the capers and parsley and salt and pepper, to taste.

Spoon the hot sauce over the fish and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

(Note: You can substitute salmon fillets or cutlets or any thick, white fish.)

Salmon With Lemon Cannelloni



1 (13-ounce) can pink salmon
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion


4 ounces butter
2/3 cup plain flour
2-3/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
16 cannelloni tubes
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh dill, to garnish


Drain the salmon, reserving the liquid for the sauce.

Remove and discard the skin and bones.

Flake the salmon flesh and mix with the ricotta, lemon juice, egg yolk and onion. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

For the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in the flour and cook 1 minute, or until pale and foaming.

Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk.

Return to the heat and stir constantly until the sauce boils and thickens.
Reduce the heat and simmer 2 minutes.

Add the reserved salmon liquid, lemon rind, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Stuff the cannelloni tubes with the filling, using a small spoon or piping bag.

Spread a third of the sauce over the bottom of a shallow, ovenproof dish, then set the cannelloni tubes in side-by-side.

Pour the remaining sauce over the top, covering all the exposed pasta.

Bake about 30 minutes, until bubbly.

Serve garnished with dill.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

“Williams-Sonoma Fish”

By Shirley King
Published by Simon & Schuster

Halibut Fillet en Papillote


2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 green onion, including tender green parts, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (6 to 8 ounce, 1 inch thick) halibut fillet, pin bones removed
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
2 leeks, white and tender green parts, cut into fine, 3-inch-long julienne
2 celery stalks, cut into fine, 3-inch-long julienne
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh, flat-leaf parsley
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or olive oil
4 tablespoons dry, white wine
1 egg white, lightly beaten


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut a 16-by-20-inch length of parchment paper and fold it in half, lengthwise.

Draw half a heart as large as the paper, beginning at the fold, and cut it out with scissors. Repeat to make 3 more hearts.

In a small bowl, mix together the lime juice, green onion, garlic, jalapeno and salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle the fish with the lime juice mixture.

In a medium bowl, mix together the carrot, leeks, celery and parsley.

Spread a paper heart open. Sprinkle a few drops of melted butter or oil in the center of the right-hand side of the heart.

Lay 1 fish fillet on the butter and place a fourth of the vegetable mixture on top.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, more melted butter and 1 tablespoon of the wine.

Brush the inside edge of the paper heart shape with egg white.

Fold the paper over and press the edges together.

Starting from the top of the heart, fold the edges over twice, working your way along the paper’s edge to end with a twist at the bottom of the heart. Tuck the twist underneath the packet.

Repeat to make three more packages. Place the packages on a baking sheet.

Bake about 20 minutes, or until the paper is nicely puffed up and starting to brown.

Remove from the oven and transfer to warmed plates. Open the packages carefully with scissors and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

(Note: You can substitute trout, baby coho salmon, red snapper or salmon fillets.)

Rolls of Sole With Spinach and Scallops



2 tomatoes, peeled and seeded, then chopped
2 tablespoons minced, fresh tarragon or flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced shallot
6 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


4 (6-ounce) sole fillets, skinned
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
20 young spinach leaves, stemmed and halved lengthwise
12 medium to large sea scallops, small muscles removed
2 cups fish stock or bottled clam juice
Fresh tarragon of flat-leaf parsley sprigs for garnish


To make the vinaigrette, combine the tomatoes, tarragon, shallot, oil, vinegar and salt and pepper in a blender. Process until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut each fillet lengthwise into thirds.

Place the strips on a work surface, skin-side up, and sprinkle with salt.

Cover the strips with the spinach leaves. Place a scallop near the slender end of each strip and, starting from that end, roll up the fillet, enclosing the spinach leaves and scallop. Secure with a toothpick.

Place the rolls in a baking dish. Pour the stock or clam juice over the fish.

Bake, basting occasionally, about 20 minutes, or until the scallops are firm and opaque throughout.

Just before serving, pour the vinaigrette into a saucepan and warm it over low heat.

Pour the vinaigrette onto a warmed platter. Carefully place the fish rolls on the platter and discard the toothpicks.

Sprinkle with pepper and garnish with tarragon.

Serve immediately.

(Note: You can substitute flounder, fluke or sand dab for the sole.)

“Crazy for Crab”

By Fred Thompson
Published by The Harvard Common Press

Crab and Tomato Napoleon


1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Dash or two hot pepper sauce
1 pound crabmeat (lump or jumbo lump backfin blue or Dungeness preferred), picked over for shells and cartilage
4 large, ripe beefsteak tomatoes, peeled and cut into 4 slices each
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Balsamic vinegar for drizzling


Blend the sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, cilantro, chives and hot pepper sauce together in a medium-size mixing bowl.

Carefully fold in the crabmeat. Cover with plastic wrap and refigerate about 1 hour.

When ready to serve, divide the crab into fourths.

On each of 4 servings plates, lay down 1 tomato slice and top with some crab mixture.

Repeat the layering with the remaining tomato slices and crab, ending with a tomato slice.

Drizzle a little oil and vinegar around each napoleon.

Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Chef’s Topsail Island Tarragon Crab Pasta


4 cups ripe cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped, fresh basil leaves
12 ounces bow-tie pasta, cooked until al dente
and drained
1/2 pound crabmeat (jumbo lump backfin
preferred) picked over for shells and cartilage.


Combine the tomatoes, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil and basil in a large serving bowl.

Add the pasta and toss to coat. Gently fold in the crabmeat.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours to let the flavors mingle before serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Getting Fresh

Salmon over here, tuna over there. Many markets and grocery stores offer seafood, but how do you make sure you're choosing the freshest?

According to "Wellness Foods A to Z" by Sheldon Margen, M.D., the following tips can help you buy the best:

  • Trust your senses. Overall quality can be judged by sight, smell and touch.
  • Buy from a fish market or a grocery department with a good reputation, a clean appearance and a knowledgeable staff.
  • Refrigerate as soon as possible after purchasing. On especially hot days, it's a good idea to have the fish packed in ice for the ride home.
  • Look for fish displayed on top of clean ice, with metal trays or sheets of paper or plastic to shield from direct contact with the ice.
  • Make sure the stacks of fillets aren't too deep or displayed under hot lights.
  • Check that whole, fresh varieties have tight, shiny scales and don't feel slippery or slimy. Eyes should be bright and clear, not clouded or sunken in their sockets.
  • Use within a day of buying. Fish can be kept an extra day or two if it is of very high quality and was very fresh when purchased.