I've lost track of the number of times I've been asked the whereabouts of my husband and have replied, "He's gone fishing." Those who know him well are not surprised.
If my husband isn't working and has no special projects to get done here at home, he often heads to the lake. He doesn't always catch fish, but that doesn't bother him too much. He enjoys the atmosphere and the solitude he experiences at the water's edge.
Throughout the years, I've cooked a lot of fish - on the grill, stove top or in the oven. No matter how it's prepared, a freshly caught fish just can't be beat but occasionally I purchase frozen shrimp, fish fillets or fish sticks. So convenient to have in the freezer when I need a quick meal.
If the fish aren't biting, try your luck at the grocery store. The fish won't have been caught just hours earlier but should still be very tasty. You just have to know what to look for. When choosing fresh fish, the skin should have a shiny look to it and be firm to the touch with no visible blemishes. The eyes of the fish should be bulging; sunken eyes are a sign of a dried-out fish. The eyes should also be clear and not cloudy. The scales should have a shiny appearance and be attached to the fish. If you notice loose scales, don't choose that one. The gills should be reddish-pink in color. Gray gills indicate the fish should be avoided. A fresh fish never smells "fishy." Avoid any fish that has a strong odor. Seafood should be as fresh as possible, usually no more than two or three days out of the water.
Shopping for frozen fish? Use your nose. If frozen fish has an odor it has probably thawed and been refrozen. When it is thawed it should have hardly any odor. Also pay attention to how the fish is packaged. The wrapping should be free of tears or ice crystals.
There are various methods for cooking your "catch." You can tell if the fish is fully cooked when the flesh turns opaque and is a solid white color. Also, if you cut into the center at the thickest part with a fork and the flesh flakes, this is a sure way to know the fish is ready to serve.
Ready in about 15 minutes
OVEN FRIED FISH
2-lbs. fish fillets (walleye, cod - any white fish)
1/4 tsp. paprika
2 T. melted butter
1 tsp. fennel seed, crushed
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
Cut fish into serving size pieces. Arrange in a shallow baking pan and sprinkle fish with paprika. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over fish. Bake at 375 for 15 min. or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Yield: 4-6 servings.
Easy and delicious
1-lb. frozen pollock or cod fillets
5 tsp. salt
2 T. white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place frozen fillets in a deep skillet. Cover with water and add the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Drain. Cover again with cold water. Add the wine vinegar. Bring to a boil. Lower heat. Simmer 10 minutes. Drain. Serve hot with melted butter drizzled over each fillet. Season as desired.
No potatoes to peel and chop
2-lbs. frozen hash browns
1 can cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1 can cream of celery soup, undiluted
8 oz. sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Place hash browns in a large mixing bowl. Combine soups with sour cream. Pour over hash browns and stir to blend. Transfer mixture to lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish or large casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove from oven and stir in about 2/3 cup of cheddar cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Return to oven and bake about 30 min. more.
From plain to fancy
PEAS AND WATER CHESTNUTS
1/2 cup chicken broth
1-1/2 cups frozen peas
8 whole water chestnuts, sliced
1 T. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
Bring chicken broth to a boil; add peas and water chestnuts. Simmer for about 3 min. or until peas are done. Add butter and salt. Yield: 4 servings
Variation: Add bacon bits before serving.
Food for thought: As you get older it's best to do things when you think of them ... or you'll forget.