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Mar 1, 2009 06:58 AM

March 2009/July 2012 COTM Fish Without a Doubt: Broiling, Grilling, & Smoking

**March 2009 Cookbook of the Month** is Fish Without a Doubt by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore.

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes for broiling, grilling, and smoking here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating!

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  1. Broiled Flounder with Arugula Pesto (page 125)

    MMRuth first reported on this recipe here , but I thought I’d continue the conversation in this thread.

    First, let me say that this entire dinner, including the salad but not the fish, was made with ingredients already in fridge that needed to be used up. So although I did follow the instructions, I adjusted the quantities to accommodate what was on hand.

    I used basa instead of flounder (in fact, my fishmonger calls basa “the poor man’s flounder”) and I liked it a lot. I thought the half teaspoon of breadcrumbs on each fillet would be too little to be noticeable and was surprised by the very pleasant hint of a crunch in every bite. This will be my new way of using up small amounts of leftover arugula, especially since I always seem to have pine nuts in the freezer.

    I served this with his Fennel Salad (page 461), which I reported on here:

    7 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      Great minds, etc. I also made the Broiled Flounder with Arugula Pesto a couple of nights ago. I had some Petrale sole from COSTCO which claimed to be wild and unfrozen. A very large package of them was reasonably priced and I froze the rest.

      I also really liked this recipe and I also subbed some ingredients with on-hand stuff.
      I made the pesto with walnuts because I was out of pine nuts, a usual staple in my kitchen. My fillets were not 1/2" thick, more like 1/4-1/3, but that didn't matter much. I used half the amount of butter even though I also had 4 fillets. That seemed sufficient.

      I also had no breadcrumbs and didn't notice until I was in the middle of prep and so left them off. I also used the Alice Water's pre-heated pan method - putting a cast iron skillet in the broiler for several minutes just prior to adding the fish.

      Since my fillets were thinner, I broiled them for 4 minutes and then checked. They were done.

      I served this with a simple cabbage slaw (CSA cabbages backing up in fridge) and some steamed and cooled small artichokes. They were dipped into a yogurt-based-tartaresque sauce.

      A very good dinner.

      1. re: JoanN

        3 rave reviews. Arugala hating husband will be out of town in about a week. I think I have decided what I'll make for dinner while he's away.

        1. re: LulusMom

          Three years later, I've finally gotten around to the arugula pesto. LulusDad wanted me to clear up the myth of his hating arugula - it isn't that he hates it, so much as that he had a very bad experience with it once. Anyway, he eats and very much likes it now. My broiler doesn't work, so I roasted the flounder at about 500 for 7.5 minutes. I had to sub lime zest for the lemon but otherwise followed the recipe (well, that and the roasting instead of broiling). We all liked this. Not a rave, but a very pleasant dish.

        2. re: JoanN

          Broiled Fish Fillets w/Compound Butter -p.124, 410

          Pulled our rarely used cast-iron griddle from the cabinet it lives in to preheat in the broiler, brushed the fish w/oil, topped with the Porcini Butter and voila! A terrific dish! I foresee a happier existence for that griddle.

          And that butter! Wow! Can't wait to try it on the scallops. And just about everything else!!!

          1. re: mirage

            I've been using a skillet for these broiled fish dishes, but I love the technique--and so many of the recipes--so much that I'm actually thinking about buying a cast-iron griddle. Gotta figure out where it's going to live first.

            1. re: mirage

              Broiled Fish Fillets with Compound Butter p.124

              I have made this recipe with both tilapia and salmon, both times with Sun-dried tomato compound butter on p.413. The butter really is a great flavor enhancer - good combination of sun-dried tomatoes, basil and garlic. The tilapia I made in a Le Creuset gratin dish (heated as instructed) and I put butter underneath and it worked really well. I followed the recipe instructions for the salmon, heating a cast iron griddle for 15 minutes under a hot grill then placing the oiled skin side down. I got the satisfying sizzle he talked about but I wasn't satisfied by the way the skin had seared to the griddle when I came to take the fish off. The salmon flesh just slid off the skin and I could not remove the skin. So that lovely crispy skin I was expecting was lost. I will try it again, maybe oiling the griddle as well as the skin.

              1. re: JaneEYB

                Broiled Fish Fillets w/ Compound Butter pg. 124

                I also tried this with a salmon fillet and subbed a swish of the Cumin Butter Sauce (pg.405) for the compound butter. Like Jane above, my salmon skin definitely stuck to my cast iron skillet. Caveat, the phone rang after the fish had been prepped, and just before the skillet was ready, so there was a lengthy delay in dinner, and the timing on pre-heating the skillet was out of whack. Not sure if that caused the trouble, but next time I would oil the skin more liberally (or perhaps add some oil to the pan).

          2. Broiled Mackerel (page 128)

            Came home from the farmers market with a mackerel that had been in the ocean less than 12 hours ago, so I wanted a very simple preparation that would just let the fish shine. Well, this couldn’t have been simpler, or a more perfect preparation for this fish. Heat the pan, oil and salt the fish, and broil for 3-1/2 minutes.

            So simple, in fact, that I might not be here posting if I didn’t want to brag a bit. The fisherman at the farmers market doesn’t clean and filet the fish for you, so I did it myself following the very clear instructions in the book. Luckily, mackerel don’t really have scales, because I don’t have a fish scaler and the last time I tried to do that I was picking up dried scales, twinkling up at me from the floor, from all over the apartment for weeks. I’ve beheaded and gutted fish before, but never filleted one. Pretty proud of myself . . . and there was only one bone.

            I served this, as recommended, on a bed of Tomato Concassé which was excellent and which I’ll report on in Essential Sides.

            4 Replies
            1. re: JoanN

              Applause. Applause. Brava, Joan. That looks wonderful! What luck to have found such fresh fish.

              I've shied away from the broiling chapter because I just cannot figure out my broiler. It has some sort of delay start... I don't know what it is and I can't explain it very well either. Today I'm going to dig out the manual and exercise my brain.....

              1. re: JoanN

                I bought a small mackerel filet from my farmer's market on Saturday and cooked it this way for lunch. I hadn't thought of buying a whole mackerel and cleaning it myself but if you say the instructions are very clear, maybe I'll try. I love mackerel.

                1. re: NYCkaren

                  The instructions are indeed clear, but I probably should have noted that I have my father's filleting knife (he was an avid fisherman). I think the thin, flexible blade was part of the reason for my success. The one I have is an older version of this one:


                  I love mackerel, too. And shad. Ought to be coming in soon. Haven't seen any yet. Those oily fish just have so much flavor.

                2. re: JoanN

                  My fishmonger was selling fresh mackerel the other day so I got him to fillet two smallish ones (no way am I filleting fish a la Joan) and gave them the FWAD broiling treatment (we call it grilling though).

                  I used a cast iron non-stick Le Creuset pan but my fish stuck a bit on the bottom, and didn't go particularly crispy for some reason. Apart from that, it was perfectly cooked and delicious. Mr GG, who is a bit of a fish dodger if it's not battered and served with chips, was underwhelmed, but ate it anyway. I served it with peperonata from the Essential Sides section, which was also pretty tasty. Report in the relevant thread.

                3. Citrus Broiled Shrimp

                  This was great! I don't have the book YET, so used the recipe at this link:

                  I halved the recipe, marinating one pound of shrimp in fresh-squeezed orange and grapefruit juice and zest with olive oil, fish sauce, garlic instead of shallots, and fresh mint and thyme for about 7 hours. At the 2-1/2 minutes the recipe suggests, they were cooked perfectly. I served them with a simple salad. E ate his plain while I dipped mine in melted butter. Messy, but delicious. We loved the flavors, and I'll definitely be making this again, both as an appetizer or a dinner that is ready in minutes. This recipe is a winner.

                  Between how good this simple dish was, and the effusive praise and delicious-sounding recipes everyone is reporting on, I broke my rule of buying no new cookbooks this year and went ahead and ordered the book. Troublemakers!

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Rubee

                    Citrus Broiled Shrimp, p. 131

                    I made a recipe of this for our 4th of July table; it proved a perfect counterpoint to our (oven-)BBQ'd pork ribs. Although my shrimp were gorgeous jumbos, they were still a bit of a pain to prep as they cook in their shells so must be deveined by cutting through each shell and removing the vein. But the effort really paid off.

                    I followed the recipe to the letter, marinating the shrimp for four hours in the grated zest and juice of three oranges and a grapefruit, 1/2 c. OO, 2 tsp. fish sauce, minced shallots, chopped mint, and thyme. They required about 3 1/2 minutes of broiling--and then they were perfect, easy to peel and not overcooked. The leftovers were delicious too, cold and dipped in garlic mayo.

                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                      These look & sound lovely ncw. A couple of questions if you have a moment. Did you use a cast iron griddle? (i dont have one) Also, what's the advantage of leaving the shells on? Do you think it enhances the flavou? I really dont like the fuss and messy eating of peel and eat shrimp but do trust the authors and their methods.

                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        Hi Breadcrumbs--Yes, I did use a cast iron grill pan; I'm sure a cast iron skillet or other very heavy bottomed pan would work too. BTW, I didn't heat my pan under the broiler b/c I would have had to leave the oven door ajar, and it was too hot to do that so I preheatedit in a 500F oven for 20 minutes. The advantage of this is that the bottom of the shrimp cooks on the hot pan and you don't have to turn them. In a regular roasting pan, I think you'd have to turn the shrimp and cook them a bit longer,
                        RE shells: yes, shrimp cooked in their shells are supposed to be more flavorful, but they also "protect" the shrimp; in this particular prep, the flesh doesn't get charred or crusty, is more silky, if that's the right word. With their shells slit down the back, the shrimp are very easy to peel. That said, DH won't peel shrimp, even when it's this easy so, unless I'm feeling very generous and peel him a few (I usually do), he would rather skip them. (He absolutely loved these when they appeared on his plate, absent their carapace.)

                        You could of course make these w/shelled shrimp, but it would be a different dish. I wouldn't marinate them as long in that case and then be very careful about the cooking time.

                        Hope that helps.

                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                          ncw that's very helpful thank-you so much for taking the time and for such a thoughtful response.

                          When we renovated our kitchen my new oven was 1/4" narrower than my old one and my griddle doesn't fit. I tend to find that my cast iron pan creates some steaming since it has deep sides and I may very well replace my griddle. I saw a nice round one from Le Creuset but it was pretty expensive so I'm holding off for now.

                          As for shelling the shrimp...I'll keep you posted. If it's just for mr bc and I, I may leave them up just to see how this is intended to come out but I never like to serve shell-on shrimp to company and I was thinking of making this for some friends who LOVE shrimp. Thanks once again!

                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                            Re: Shelling shrimp. Don't do it for myself if the recipe doesn't call for it, but nearly always do it (at least, down to the last joint) if I'm preparing it for company. Interestingly enough, I don't do it for Asian friends. I know that they know how to deal with the shell politely and unobtrusively.

                            For those of you for whom deveining is tedious, I recommend this gadget highly. There are many other types on the market, but I never found one that works as well as this. I used to give it to friends as a house gift just to make sure they had one in case I needed to peel shrimp when I visited. Could do without if I had to, but preferred not to.


                            1. re: JoanN

                              Funny you said this about your Asian friends Joan as I'd no sooner posted this than I thought that my one exception to shelling would be for salt and pepper shrimp. I love those shell-on as part of the flavour experience comes from the joy of licking the s&p coating off my fingers (in a not-at-all delicate fashion I might add!!).

                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                Agree w/you and JoanN that I wouldn't serve shell-on shrimp to guests. Of course I grew up w/shrimp, crab, and crawfish boils and am perfectly comfortable being up to my elbows in seafood detritus, but I know from stories my mother told about the first few years after she arrived here and her horror every time she went somewhere and people were peeling seafood at the table--and my husband's never making the adjustment--that peeling at the table is not for everyone. (DH feels the same way about lobster--he loves it, but not when he has to hack at it himself!)

                    2. re: Rubee

                      Citrus Broiled Shrimp – p. 131

                      What can I say, we’re on a roll w these broiling recipes. I can’t imagine anything simpler and that would produce such consistently wonderful results.

                      Thanks to Rubee and ncw, prep has been well-covered above. As I mentioned in an earlier post here, I was debating whether or not to shell the shrimp. My dilemma was solved when I found some lovely jumbo shrimp (9/12 count I believe) These giant shrimp aren’t nearly as fussy as small ones so everyone was happy. I tossed my shrimp in a ziplock this morning along w all but ¼ cup of the marinade which I reserved for serving. A note on the marinade. Instead of the suggested herbs, I opted to use chopped fennel fronds and some toasted fennel seeds. We’re big fans of fennel here and I especially love the fennel/orange flavour combination.

                      As the shrimp sizzled away under the broiler I dumped my reserved marinade (that hadn’t touched the shrimp) into a pan along w a couple of tbsp of butter. I plated the shrimp over steamed Italian brown rice and drizzled the citrus butter sauce atop. We absolutely loved this dish. The shells were no trouble at all and everyone agreed they were “finger-licking good”

                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        That sounds like a lovely variation--and great idea to save some sauce for rice.

                    3. Broiled Bluefish Dijonnaise (page 126)

                      There was more gorgeous bluefish at the farmers market, and I was going to be making mayonnaise for the Classic Cole Slaw in “Bon Appetit, Y’All,” (see post on that here ), so decided to use up the mayo on this recipe. Making half the recipe, I mixed two tablespoons of the homemade mayo with 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, spread it on the salted and peppered fillet and broiled it in the preheated cast iron pan for four minutes. My bluefish must have been quite thick because it needed an additional four or five minutes and it was still just barely cooked through. The strong flavors of the fish and the topping paired extremely well. Another recipe I wouldn’t hesitate to make again.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: JoanN

                        Broiled Bluefish Dijonnaise, Pg. 126

                        For our fictional "Thursdays with Rick" date we made this recipe. The Fish Lady at our local Farmers' Market yesterday had 2 lovely bluefish fillets, not quite as thick as Joan's but fresh as can be. I used Hellman's mayonnaise and Maille grainy Dijon. I love the technique of heating a cast iron skillet under the broiler before placing the seasoned fish on. It caused the skin to crisp perfectly. Our fillets took exactly the 4 minutes stated in the recipe. What a tasty finished dish this was, and one I'm sure will be made again and again.

                        Served with Chinese Cabbage With Vinegar, page 184; Stir-Fried Broccoli With Chilli and Sichuan Pepper, page 174 both from Fuchsia Dunlop's new cookbook "Every Grain of Rice", and steamed basmati rice.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          Broiled [sole] Dijonnaise p. 126

                          I love this! My fish selection is limited, (due to my lot in life haha) but I used one thin sole fillet to experiment . I don't have a cast iron griddle, so used a semi-well-seasoned frying pan. Though the recipe didn't tell me to, I barely wiped it with oil. Then let it preheat about 8 inches under the broiler for 15 minutes. The mustard I used (Inglehoffer) is a brand we like, but isn't Dijon. Best Foods (Hellman's) mayonnaise. Used black pepper (not white as specified) and a sprinkle of (Turkish) oregano. When I slipped schlepped plopped the fillet into the hot pan, it sizzled nicely and I immediately put it back under the broiler. After 4 minutes I checked and the (maybe 1/2 inch thick) piece of fish *looked* done, but not much browning had taken place. So I left it maybe 40 more seconds and took it out.

                          Absolutely delicious. I was afraid the mustard and oregano would overpower sole, but I could really taste both, really a good flavor. I think the pan or griddle should be closer to the heat, I think fillets must vary very much in thickness, I think the choice of mustards and peppers and herbs will be pretty personal, but this is SO easy and foolproof a way to cook fish. Mr. blue room will benefit tonight from my abbreviated experiment. I can't wait to do this up full 'scale' haha. Really, try the preheating method -- it works so well! The bottom of the fillet was browned exactly as you'd want it if you were flipping and fussing on the stovetop, but no flip, no fuss.

                          1. re: blue room

                            Variation on the above.: My friend gave me a recipe for broiled fish I am going to try this weekend. Using the fry pan method, place a piece of fish, skin side down, on the sizzling pan. Top the fish with a mixture of mayonnaise, saffron, garlic salt, and a touch of turmeric. Should be a nice variation to the Dijonnaise sauce listed above.

                          2. re: JoanN

                            Broiled Bluefish (Mackerel) Dijonnaise – p. 126

                            Holy Mackerel, did we love this dish!! Naw, I didn’t just use mackerel so I could make this joke!! I’m addicted to this method of broiling fish and I picked up two filets on the way home tonight so I could make this dish. Quick and easy prep made for the perfect weeknight meal. I used Hellman’s mayo and a locally produced grainy faux Dijon to which I added a minced clove of garlic. Lovely. Our 1 ¼” thick fish cooked perfectly in just under 5 mins. I served this over steamed Italian brown rice (yes, again but Zoji cooks it to perfection while I’m at work so I can’t resist). Thanks to those of you who went before me, your reviews enticed me to make this dish!

                          3. Grilled shrimp w/ chili-cumin marinade, p. 173

                            That's what it is: shrimp marinated in chili powder, cumin (seeds toasted and ground -- I used a morter and pestle since my cheapo spice grinder gave out), minced onion (I used fresh "spring onions" from my CSA), garlic, lime juice & vegetable oil (I used canola).

                            Moonen likes head-on shrimp but I consider myself fortunate to purchase a bag of Emeril's frozen wild-caught American shrimp. Sustainable, and they come already shelled and somewhat de-veined.

                            Moonen would have you skewer the shrimp and then marinade. No way did I want to soak bamboo sticks in oil and then grill on charcoal. I like to -- and did -- soak bamboo skewers in water for 1/2 hr before skewering. It seems to reduce the burning.

                            Very tasty, and I've made it twice already. The shrimp cooks in a snap. A nice variation from my usual rosemary, garlic & olive oil grilled shrimp.

                            Served w/ a corn, pepper, onion, garlic saute. Mmm sweet corn.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: NYchowcook

                              Made this for dinner tonight with tuna, one of the alternative recommendations. Used bamboo skewers soaked in water and grilled stovetop in a cast iron grill pan.

                              God, I love this book! The tuna was in the freezer, I wanted something simple for dinner, found this, and couldn't have been happier. Served it with plain brown rice and leftover broccoli rape (Lucques recipe, modified for somewhat less fat). This book just keeps on delivering. I'm rarely disappointed.

                              1. re: NYchowcook

                                Grilled Shrimp with Chili-Cumin Marinade p. 173

                                This was a miss for us. It wasn't terrible, but we felt that the marinade overpowered the flavor of the shrimp.