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What would you do with these fresh caught fish?

Just got back from an all-day fishing trip in the Monterey Bay, and came back with quite a haul! We've got about four and a half pounds of halibut, five of rock cod, and a pound and a half of ling cod. The fish was filleted for us on the wharf, and I cut them into individual servings when we got home. I put most of it in the freezer, since there are only two of us and there's no way we could finish that much fish without freezing. However, I left out two nice-sized fillets of each kind of fish, so my boyfriend and I can enjoy a different one each night for our next three dinners.

Our expert fisherman friend recommended battering with Dixie Fry (is that just seasoned flour, or something else?) and pan-frying in a mixture of canola and peanut oil. What's your favorite way to prepare these kinds of fish?

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  1. "Dixie Fry"® is simply a mixture of flour, salt and spices along with some herbs and coloring and lots of chemicals. You can make your own mix using AP or rice flour with herb and spices of your own. Just dip your fillets into a mixture of a few drops of water and egg (well beaten) the dredge them in your mix. Then dip them gently into the egg once again and into a pan of hot (but well below the smoking point) oil. Fry until golden brown, turn over with a gentle rolling motion and cook to golden brown on the other side.
    You could also use the fish you have as a portion of the ingredients for a good boulibase, or you could use panko bread crumbs in place of the flour mixture for a crispier more sophisticated coating and combine your oil with butter (50/50 mix) for a richer flavor profile.
    As a side note, be sure the fish you're storing in the freezer is wrapped tightly in freezer wrap or freezer bags, not paper or standard plastic wrap. The moisture in fish will want to escape and the air that transpires through low quality plastic (yes, it does allow air to pass through) will generate freezer burn very quickly.

    10 Replies
    1. re: todao

      First of all, congratulations on your haul. To let the fish shine, I prefer nothing more than a simple broil with nothing on top but oil and salt. Make a sauce for the table if you like.

      When I fry, again, I prefer it simple. The halibut would be great fried in cornmeal instead of flour, like you do catfish.

      An avid fisherman friend of mine advised me to freeze all fish completely surrounded in ice. Put them in the bag, then fill enough to cover in water, and squeeze all air out. Freeze flat in stacks. He's right -- NEVER any freezer burn.

      I hope they'll all last the three days after you brought them home. I think I'd keep them in their packaging on top of a rotated bowl if ice, if I were you.

      1. re: dmd_kc

        i have to agree about holding the fish for 3 days, unless the op's refrigerator is crazy cold and never gets opened.

        a trick that helps is to coat the fish in olive oil and wrap tightly in saran. this helps keep air from penetrating the flesh.

        a simple lemon beurre blanc is great over white fish like these.

        1. re: dmd_kc

          Ah okay. I read all kinds of conflicting advice online regarding how long fresh fish keeps in the fridge, and came up with 3 days as a median number. I'll put the ziplock bags into a bowl of ice in the fridge per your recommendation. Thanks!

          1. re: operagirl

            I never keep fish more than 2 days, but that is just me. 3 days is tops. I keep mine wrapped in saran well or ziplocks whatever you have will work fine, NO oil for me and then I set on ice to keep it extra cold. Don't let it get water soaked. 3 days is tops, 2 days if fresh caught. If you had some that night, eat and and then keep another couple of pieces for 2 days later. The rest freeze as far as I am concerned.

            1. re: operagirl

              If you store your fresh fish in a ziplock bag like that make sure the bag is not closed all the way. You need to let some air in or your fish will spoil faster. Ziplock bags are much thicker than saran wrap and they insulate the air in the bag keeping it warmer than the temp out side of the bag.

          2. re: todao

            For the frozen ones, I portioned them into ziplock sandwich bags of 2-3 fillets each (give or take 8 oz of fish in each sandwich bag), then put the sandwich bags into larger freezer bags, flattening to remove as much air as possible. Does that sound like a good solution? Also thanks for the info on Dixie Fry - I figured it was something like that!

            1. re: operagirl

              Perfect way to freeze. Exactly how I do it and freeze fish weekly. Some of my fish has been there for a couple of months and still in great shape. In fact taking some out tomorrow to have for dinner.

              Yes, never use pre mixes for fish, Flour and few spices and herbs work just fine. Some times some corn meal for frying but I love it not fried if possible.

              1. re: operagirl

                <For the frozen ones, I portioned them into ziplock sandwich bags of 2-3 fillets each (give or take 8 oz of fish in each sandwich bag), then put the sandwich bags into larger freezer bags, flattening to remove as much air as possible. Does that sound like a good solution?>

                I double freezer-bag anything that's going to be in there more than a couple of days.

                Rather than coat the whole fillet and "fry," I prefer giving it a "topping" of a panko and herb mixture. I get the pan very hot and put the fillets into hot oil with the topping side down first to brown and get the crunch up, then turn them over and add about 2 tablespoons dry vermouth to the pan and finish cooking. ;)

              2. re: todao

                I agree with the poster who like to do almost nothing to the fish and let its true flavors shine through, but this is a way I make fish filets quite often. It is easy delicious and light. Fish baked in an aluminum foil packet with tomatoes, olives, capers etc.

                See the recipe at http://www.morethanspaghetti.com/More...

                1. re: MoreThanSpaghetti

                  I have posted many recipes for a similar recipe. Fish pockets either in foil in the oven or grill or parchment in the oven is a great way. A mix of any veggies. Not just olives or tomatoes but zucchini, carrots, summer squash, mushrooms, some white wine, butter, lemon slices, anything goes. Close up and cook. A very easy way and very healthy way to cook the fish. I have actually 37 different combos in my cookbook or my catering menu I offer. It is so much fun and easy to do.

                  I love the pouches too. I grill fish at least 1-2 per week in pouches on the grill. I can't eat enough.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I heartily second this! Best thing you can do with really fresh fish.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Ceviche sounds wonderful! After seeing this post, I just ran out and bought ingredients to make some for dinner tonight. I think we're going to have to invite a couple friends over, since I ended up using almost 2 pounds of fish . . . can't wait!

                  2. I am so envious!

                    I would suggest the following dish for your halibut. Food writer Colman Andrews (Saveur & Gourmet Magazines) described this dish as "simply one of the two or three best ways of cooking fish I know.” I would agree. If your fillets are less than 1 1/2" thick, you will probably need to reduce the cooking time to avoid overcooking the fish. In that case, I would first give the potatoes about 10-15 minutes in the oven before adding the fish and other ingredients and then return the dish to the oven until the fish is done.

                    Baked Fish with Potatoes (4 Servings)
                    Paraphrased from Catalan Cooking by Colman Andrews

                    1 1/2 lbs sea bass, halibut, swordfish or tuna (1 1/2 to 2 lbs) cut into 4 steaks 1 1/2 inch thick
                    1/2 lb potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced, blanched for 3-4 minutes & patted dry
                    2 tomatoes halved
                    4 cloves garlic minced
                    2 sprigs parsley minced
                    2 scallions, white part only minced
                    1 sprig fresh rosemary minced
                    1 spring fresh thyme (or 1/4 tsp dried)
                    Olive oil
                    lemon juice
                    salt and pepper

                    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the bottom of a casserole or baking dish with oil, then layer it with potato slices, overlapping them to cover the bottom completely. Arrange the fish on top of the potatoes, and arrange the tomato halves, cut side up, alongside the fish. Brush the tops of the fish and tomatoes plus any exposed potato slices, lightly with oil. Mix the garlic, parsley, green onions, rosemary, and thyme together well, then sprinkle over the fish. Lightly drizzle lemon juice over the garlic mixture, then salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the fish and potatoes are done.

                    1. Brush with good quality mayo, sprinkle with S&P, broil, sprinkle a smidgen of minced parsley on them when they come out and a squeeze of lemon. Great fresh fish is a gem on its own. Maybe a wedge of fried polenta, and a nice mixed greens salad with a vinagrette to go with.

                      1. I'd blacken the Halibut butter and not to much K Pauls Blackned redfish spice blend. Take grill off you gas grill heat cast iron pan down on burners for 10min.
                        Cod I love this easy soup



                        1. First I wouldn't fry, but that is just me.

                          I love a light citrus marinade with a fresh fruit salsa, mango or peach works well with this marinade.
                          I like some oj, lime juice, a little vegetable oil, garlic, brown sugar makes a great marinade. Just a hour or so and then grill, top with the fresh salsa.

                          Ceviche is very good this time of year.

                          Add some shrimp along with the fish to make an excellent seafood chowder

                          I love to bake at 425 in casserole just s/p and then topped with fresh vegetables
                          Mix some olive oil, fresh herbs, parsley and oregano, fresh sliced onion, celery, red pepper, capers and diced potatoes

                          Steam it with ginger and soy sauce.

                          Skewered with fresh veggies all marinaded in a light herb dressing. Then Make a light white wine cream sauce with a little lemon to drizzle over the fish.

                          Serve this baked halibut over a bed of steamed spinach. Coated lightly in panko crumbs and then baked. Serve it with a light saute on scallions, white wine, capers, and lemon

                          1. With that much Cod, and depending on youre tastes, I too would suggest making a Chowder--and if you dont havea guide, recipe or experience of course you can find a million or so ideas here and online.

                            Broil some, quick fry some and make a Cod and Corn Chowder, or something along that line.

                            1. i don't suppose there is not a hard, bright distinction, but i've noticed over several decades that there is a difference between preparation advice offered by avid fisherman and avid cooks. most frequently, fishermen suggest a form of batter frying while cooks emphasize ligher frying, broiling, or baking.

                              you can start a great debate at a fish camp about the best way to fry fish, but there'll likely be agreement on the need for a dry product--flour, cornmeal, special k, potato buds, or what have you--liquid, maybe beer, 7up, milk, or lake water--and some sort of fat--whether it be lard, peanut oil, canola oil or crisco. i've often assumed that these general preferences follow from recipes that can be cooked over an open fire with few tote-along extra ingredients.

                              folks who are cooks first and fishers second, often assume a fully stocked pantry and exquisite control of heat.

                              for me--if i catch the fish, i behave like a fisherman. if i buy the fish, i act like a cook.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: silverhawk

                                Agreed ...

                                for me--if i catch the fish, i behave like a fisherman. if i buy the fish, i act like a cook.

                                I admit that to a point. If I catch a fresh trout, perch, bass, I pan fry, whiting the same, snapper probably, grouper ... no a just grill or pan sear. Cod and other thick white fish I also pan sear, bake but don't fry. Salmon, just grill. There are just some fish I love fried more than others.

                                If at a camp site ... yes Fish is fried right on the spot. Nothing better. Maybe just the atmosphere.

                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                  kchurchill5, my son fished at Grand Isle this weekend and came home with some trout. Will you tell me exactly how you pan fry it? Much appreciated..

                                  1. re: suites

                                    A couple of ways. Cast iron for both, both easy flavors.

                                    You can fillet and skin which is my favorite. I do nothing more than a simple egg dip and then some bread crumbs and/or cornmeal and flour mix. I find both together work well, but using all bread crumbs/corn meal or all flour works just fine. Season the mix well with some cayenne, paprika, onion powder, parsley and s/p. A simple but flavorful seasoning. I just pan fry in a mix of olive oil and butter. A simple pan fry to get is brown on each side medium/high, about 4 minutes approx per side until golden brown. Perfect. Drizzle with fresh lemon and salt when done. Great with grilled romaine salad and potatoes. I love tarter sauce with the fish, one of the few times I like tarter but it is not necessary, just as good without tarter.

                                    If whole and not filleted. You can pan sear as well. Cast Iron is recommended as well. I coat again in a little egg wash and then the flour, bread crumbs or cornmeal mix. But I love to stuff the trout with some sliced onion and lemon wedges. Grill on one side until golden brown, 6-8 minutes, flip and sear another 6-8 minutes. Fish will fall and flake off the bones and skin. Very tender and flavor full.

                                    Either way is my favorite.


                                    Quick second way, dredge fillets in milk and then flour mixed with s/p and cayenne. Pan sear in butter and olive oil until golden brown on both sides. Remove and cover. Add some white wine to deglaze the pan, add some capers, seasoning (s/p and thyme) and cook until slightly reduced. Remove and add cream and stir until thick. Right before serving add some fresh lemon juice and drizzle over fish. Either recipe are great and so fresh.

                                    Hope this help. Enjoy!

                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                      I'm going to use your first recipe. I love capers but I think the boys would enjoy the first best. Thanks so much!

                                      1. re: suites

                                        Enjoy, let me know the outcome.

                                      2. re: kchurchill5

                                        How do you make the tarter sauce?

                                2. Made ceviche for dinner tonight and it was AWESOME.

                                  Operagirl's Ceviche

                                  2 lbs white fish (I used a mixture of halibut, rock cod, and lingcod) cut into 1/2" cubes
                                  juice of 12 limes

                                  6 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
                                  1 small red onion, cut in small dice
                                  2 cloves garlic, finely minced
                                  3 jalapenos, seeded and finely diced
                                  1/2 tsp. salt
                                  juice of 4 more limes

                                  2 large hass avocados, in 1/2" cubes

                                  1. In a large glass bowl, combine the cubed fish and juice of 12 limes. Place in refrigerator for 4-6 hours, stirring once or twice.

                                  2. Drain the fish, then add tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapenos, salt, and juice of 4 more limes. Stir to combine, then put back in refrigerator for another hour or so.

                                  3. Serve with tortilla chips, using avocado chunks and cilantro for garnish.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: operagirl

                                    Was your lingcod meat green? And if so, did the marinade change its color?

                                    I've always hesitated to make ling ceviche out of concern for the color of the finished dish.

                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                      My lingcod had a bit of a greenish tinge to it when raw, yes, but when "cooked" in lime juice it turned the same white color as the rest of the fish. No worries!

                                      1. re: operagirl

                                        Cool. Thanks for that info. Now if only the winds will die down, fresh fish (or at least the possibility) will be in my future, too!

                                  2. Whatchagot Fish Chowder is always good.

                                    Half a pound each of this & that - trimmings, or other pieces of fish a couple inches square - say 2 pounds worth of fish. Put that in a gallon of water. Add half a dozen chunk cut new potatoes and bunch of chopped carrots; a couple sticks of celery and a chopped onion or two. You can even do green beans, dice bell peppers, and corn if you like. Season to taste with Old Bay and or Tony Chachere's Cajun blend plus salt and pepper. Like a creamier chowda? Add some cream....

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: KiltedCook

                                      i make a simple fish chowder with Canned tomatoes, crushed and the juice, sauteed onions and garlic, fresh italian parsley, thyme, a bottle or so of clam juice if you don't have fish stock, your fish cut into cubes, of course, and salt pepper to taste. Oh yeah, alittle dry white wine is good in here, too. Garnish with lemon wedges, and serve with lots of crusty french bread or croutons.
                                      you can figure out the proportions.

                                    2. I like it pan fried with cajun seasonings covering every last inch.

                                      and for the halibut, here is my fave:
                                      Halibut with Sambal and Wasabi sauces

                                      For sambal vinaigrette
                                      1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
                                      2 teaspoons sambal oelek (Southeast Asian chile sauce)
                                      1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
                                      1/3 cup vegetable oil
                                      For wasabi cream
                                      2 teaspoons wasabi (green horseradish) powder
                                      3 tablespoons water
                                      1/4 cup sour cream
                                      For halibut
                                      1 (2-lb) halibut steak (1 1/2 inches thick), skinned, boned, and cut into 4 pieces
                                      1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
                                      1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
                                      Accompaniment: pickled ginger
                                      Preheat oven to 400°F.
                                      Make vinaigrette: Blend vinaigrette ingredients in a blender until smooth. Season with salt.
                                      Make cream: Whisk together wasabi powder and water until smooth, then whisk in sour cream. Season with salt.
                                      Make halibut: Pat fish dry and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1 side of each piece with parsley.
                                      Heat a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over high heat until hot. Add oil, then fish, parsleyed sides up. Sear fish until undersides are browned, about 1 minute.
                                      Turn fish over and put skillet in middle of oven. Roast until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.
                                      Serve fish, parsleyed sides up, with a spoonful of each sauce. (I put the sauce in a squeezy tube. Prettier)

                                      1. I saw another interesting recipe for halibut this morning and thought of you:

                                        It looks and sounds divine.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                          Ooh! I love the idea of pureeing vegetables to make a healthy, light "sauce." Just hit up the farmer's market yesterday and came back with some beautiful carrots, among other things. Now I'm thinking I'll coat my halibut in ras el hanout, sear/finish in oven, and serve over a carrot puree.

                                          1. re: operagirl

                                            haha, i just made a carrot/ginger/miso sauce today for tonight's dinner. i love that it needs no cooking!

                                        2. My two favorite ways of eating incrediby fresh fish is either sliced thin raw with some good olive oil and good salt, or simply coated in olive oil then lightly grilled and topped with some awesome salt. I think that you cannot beat this as the fish is so fresh.

                                          1. Made another delicious fish recipe for dinner tonight -- miso glazed halibut! I based it on a recipe I found online, but halved the ingredients and substituted agave syrup for granulated sugar.

                                            Operagirl's Miso Glazed Halibut for Two
                                            two 6-8 ounce halibut fillets

                                            1/4 C. light miso paste
                                            2 1/2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
                                            2 Tbsp. agave syrup
                                            2 Tbsp. canola oil
                                            1 Tbsp. soy sauce
                                            pinch cayenne pepper

                                            1/2 tsp. sesame seeds

                                            1 lime, cut into wedges
                                            pickled ginger

                                            1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 450F.

                                            2. In a quart-sized ziplock bag, combine miso, vinegar, agave syrup, oil, soy sauce, and cayenne pepper. Smoosh the bag around to mix the ingredients together, then add the halibut fillets to the bag and let marinate for 20 minutes or so.

                                            3. Place the fillets on a foil-lined pan, then pour about half the marinade over the fillets. Discard the rest of the marinade in the bag. (To avoid wasting a plastic bag, you could do all of this in a mixing bowl. I just liked the convenience and lack of clean up!)

                                            4. Sprinkle the fillets with the sesame seeds, then bake for about 15 minutes, or until miso has turned a shade browner and sesame seeds are beginning to toast.

                                            5. Serve over rice, quinoa, or whatever you like. Garnish with lime wedges and pickled ginger.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: operagirl

                                              This sounds good. A couple of questions, which you may or may not be able to answer:

                                              Could I substitute honey for the agave/sugar?
                                              Could this be done on the grill? I hate turning on the oven this time of year....
                                              I'm perpetually confused by miso. When you say light miso paste, is that referring to the color, or something else? I think last time I went to buy miso there were at least 3 different kinds available, and I was at a loss to figure out which was appropriate for what I was making.

                                              Thanks in advance!

                                              1. re: Bat Guano

                                                You could definitely substitute honey for the agave syrup. It would add another flavor component - agave is very neutral. I don't think the flavor would clash, though!

                                                As for grilling, it might be an awfully sticky project. I can see the whole thing just gumming up and fusing to the grill in a yucky way. OH but actually if you put the fillets on heavy duty aluminum foil and sort of made a throwaway pan for the grill, I think it'd work well.

                                                Light miso does indeed refer to the color. For this recipe, as well as miso dressing or soup, look for light, or "shiro" miso.

                                                1. re: operagirl

                                                  I have no idea what their recipe proportions were but in the past I have had an incredible miso marinated Butterfish that was grilled at the Fairmont on the Big Island. The sugar had camerlized and it was awesome.

                                                  1. re: operagirl

                                                    Thanks! I'm going to give it a shot, next time I get a hold of some halibut.