Oswald Rivera

Author, Warrior, and Teacher

Tag: Fish

Home Made Fish Nuggets

In recent times our illustrious fast food culture had co-opted fish nuggets. They are now selling like hotcakes in every fast food venue. Problem is, though they may be artificially tasty, they suck in that they are very bad for you health-wise. They are chock full of sugar, chemicals and artificial ingredients. In essence, you are ingesting poison. So why eat this crap when you can make tasty fish nuggets at home? That’s right, home-made fish nuggets at very minimal expense and time. You can also make you own dipping sauce as well. With that in mind here’s a quickie, tasty recipe for crunchy fish nuggets with an appropriate sauce.

The recipe is easy as pie: coat the fish with seasoned milk, then dredge in seasoned bread crumbs; bake and serve with a honey-curried mustard dipping sauce. The whole thing takes about twenty-five minutes to prepare, if that. By the way, you can try the same recipe with chicken fillets and have chicken nuggets. It works just as well.

HOME MADE FISH NUGGETS

1/2 cup milk
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/4 pound cod or haddock fillets, cut into 1 by 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or more if you want it really spicy)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Honey-Curried Mustard Sauce:
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons mustard (preferably coarse-grained)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder (more if you want it really spicy)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, salt and pepper to taste.
3. In another shallow bowl or pie plate, mix together the breadcrumbs, chili powder, cumin and garlic powder.
4. Immerse the fish nuggets in  seasoned milk, turning to coat evenly. Then dredge the nuggets in the breadcrumb mixture, coating all sides evenly.
5. Arrange the fish on a greased baking pan (I prefer cast-iron), baking dish or greased foil paper. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until the breadcrumb coating is golden brown and crisp (the fish should be opaque at the center).
6. Meanwhile, prepare the dipping sauce: in a small bowl, whisk together the honey, mustard, curry powder, salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve the fish nuggets with the honey-curried mustard sauce.
    Yield: 4 servings.

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Fish Fillets Baked in Sour Cream

Sometimes the best meals are those that are created on the spot. You know, where you just get inspired at that moment, mainly because you don’t have the luxury of time or preparation. That occurred to me recently when my wife invited a mutual friend to dinner. This was a last minute thing and I had an hour to come up with something inventive. I checked the fridge and discovered we had some cod fillets and a pint of sour cream. I also had some whole wheat spaghetti on hand. And the result was the recipe given which resulted in a quick, fast, and delicious meal.

Let me state that for this meal you can use any firm-flesh fish fillets: cod, haddock, turbot, perch, etc. But you can also use frozen fillets. Just let them defrost overnight in the fridge or let them thaw out at room temperature in the kitchen. If you’re pressed for time you can speed up the process by letting cold water run over them. This is a quick no mess, no fuss endeavor. In my effort, I served the fillets with their sauce over the whole wheat pasta.

FISH FILLETS BAKED IN SOUR CREAM

2 pounds fish fillets
1/4 fourth cup butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
One cup sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Lay fillets on a greased shallow baking pan or baking dish (again, I prefer cast-iron).
3. In a small saucepan, melt butter and stir in the Parmesan cheese and sour cream.
4. Spoon sauce over fish, covering evenly. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes to 1/2 hour until sauce topping is golden brown and fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve over pasta of your choice, or over rice, or with boiled potatoes.
    Yield: 4 servings.

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Simple Grilled Salmon

Traditionally, Memorial Day weekend means the beginning of the grillin” season, particularly in the Northeast. We dig out the old barbecue grill from the back of the garage or the closet (if we live in apartments) and begin the annual ritual. So, this season, I’m starting off simple—as simple as grilled salmon. As I’ve noticed in other blogs, grilling fish, particularly fillets, the easiest of all procedures. And salmon works well. yeah, I know, the standbys are burgers, hot dogs, steaks, etc. But try some fish. You’ll be surprised at its juicy, succulent texture. And, if per chance, you don’t have a grill, you can still us the broiler–oven. Just broil the fish for 5-6 minutes, depending on thickness, or until easily flaked with a fork.

SIMPLE GRILLED SALMON

4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Red wine vinegar to taste
1. Lightly oil grate, and preheat grill to medium-high.
2. Brush salmon with olive oil, and sprinkle with rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, then place on grill.
3. Close lid and cook for 3 minutes, then flip the fillets and cook 3 minutes more.
4. Drizzle with vinegar and serve.
    Yield: 4 servings.
Photo: courtesy of photo blog.dinghome.net

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Grilled Whole Fish

Almost mid-summer, and the grill nuts are proliferating. But how about something unique and different besides the usual steak, hot dogs and franks? I know, some of you adventurous types have even taking to grilling lamb and pork chops. But how about a whole fish? Huh? What you say? Yes, barbecuing a whole fish. In Greece this is a very common procedure. It ain’t that hard, kiddies. And the ingenuity and combination of flavors will leave your guests wanting for more.

Any firm fleshed fish will do, bass, striped bass, flounder, rockfish, blue fish, monk fish, or fresh water trout. Have the fishmonger (or fish guy) clean and gut the fish, but with the head kept intact.

In terms of the grill, make sure it’s well oiled. Soak a paper towel with canola or vegetable oil, then wipe the grill with it before cooking the fish.  This will prevent the burning or sticking of fish to the grill. Also, while grilling, some recommend sprinkling lemon juice over the fish to keep it moist.

So, guys, try grilling something out of the ordinary. Take that leap forward and expand your horizons. Become a real connoisseur of the grill. Besides, fish is brain food. Can’t go wrong with that.

GRILLED WHOLE FISH

1 cup diced ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup diced chopped fresh basil leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
Ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1 large whole fish or 2 smaller ones, 2 to 3 pound total
1 small lemon, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 bay leaf

1. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, basil, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic powder and oregano. Season to taste with black pepper. Let it sit at room temperature while you prepare the fish.
2. Preheat grill to medium high. Do not use high heat while cooking. High heat will burn the fish on the outside, while leaving the center uncooked.
3. With a sharp knife make 3 or 4 diagonal slashes on each side of the fish. This helps the fish cook evenly. Sprinkle salt liberally over the fish.  Rub the fish in and out with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Now, here we have a difference of opinion. Some experts state that no other seasoning should be added since other seasonings, like pepper, will burn on  the grill, and give the fish a bitter taste. Other experts  state that seasoning the fish with additional  pepper, oregano and other spices will enhance the taste. This is your call. If you want it well seasoned, go with it. If not, save the seasonings for the end.
5. Stuff the inside of the fish with lemon slices, garlic, and bay leaf.
4. Place and cook the fish on the grill about 10 minutes. Rule of thumb is fish should cook 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness. Turn and cook the other side 8-10 minutes. It’s best, when turning, to gently flip the fish over with 2 spatulas or one long one.
5. Fish is cooked when exterior is crisp and meat will flake easily with a fork. Carefully lift off the grill and set on a platter.
6. Serve fish topped with the tomato-basil mixture.
    Yield: 4 servings.

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Shallow Fried Fish

The Chinese Lunar New Year is upon us. The year of the Golden Rabbit. Chinese New Year has always featured traditional foods which are served to commemorate the event. In the south of China it’s stir-fried lettuce and Cantonese shrimp; in southern Taiwan it’s crab rolls; in northern China it’s fried dumplings. Always every meal includes a fish dish. One of my favorite fish meals for this time of year, or any time for that matter, is shallow fried fish. It’s very easy to make and includes a technique called “shallow frying.” This type of cooking has been popular in China, I’m told,  for many years. So, tonight, give tradition its due, and pay homage to friends and ancestors, with an entree that’s bound to please everyone.

Be aware that this recipe calls for a whole fish. That’s right: whole—with head intact. Almost any variety of fish can used: blue fish, tilapia, mackerel, flounder, mullet, tilefish, red snapper, stripe bass, etc. Just make sure the fish is scaled, gutted and clean (but with  head kept on). For this kind of cooking, a wok is perfect; but any large skillet or pan can also be used. Note that this fish goes well with steamed rice or noodles.

SHALLOW FRIED FISH

1 whole fish, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
1 teaspoon salt per pound of fish

2 tablespoon peanut oil (or olive oil)
1 teaspoon sugar

1 piece of ginger, approximately about an inch, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce (preferably light soy sauce)
2 tablespoons dry white wine, or dry sherry
2 tablespoons water
2 stalks scallions, finely chopped

1. Rinse the fish under cold running water and dry with paper towels. Rub it well inside and out with salt.
2. Heat the wok at a high temperature. Add the oil and tilt the wok until all the bottom is covered with oil. Lower heat to medium-low.
3. Add the fish, and tilt the wok at different angles to let the fish catch the heat evenly. BE PATIENT and cook for about 10 minutes. Additional drops of oil may be added, if needed, to prevent the fish from burning and sticking to the bottom of the wok. Turn the fish and cook the other side for about 10 minutes. When the fish is well browned (that means its done), carefully take out the fish, and clean the wok with paper towels.
4. Heat wok again, add sugar, ginger, soy sauce, wine, water, and scallions. Add fish and tilt the wok to let this mixture surround the fish. Cook on medium heat for 1 minute. Turn the fish and cook the other side for 1 minute. Remove from wok and serve, spooning the sauce over the fish.
    Yield: 4 servings. 

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