You bring home super fresh fish fillets from Motts Channel Seafood. You can't wait to dig in. But somewhere between your refrigerator and your plate the fish sticks, the skin rips or the flesh overcooks. How do restaurants make it look so easy? Donald Link, a Chef at Pêche in New Orleans, suggests five simple steps.
1. Dry Out
Starting with parched skin is the key to a pro result—try to cook wet fish and it’s going to steam, stick, rip, and generally be a huge, frustrating bummer. One hour before cooking, put your fillets on a plate, skin side up (no seasoning, please!), and leave them uncovered in the fridge to dry out. 2. Start Smoking
Get a large stainless-steel skillet ripping hot over high heat (2 minutes should do it), then pour in 1 Tbsp. oil and add a big pinch of salt. Once the oil is smoking, take the skillet off the heat and use a handful of paper towels to wipe oil and salt around and out of the pan (be extra careful—you might want to use tongs to hold the towels). 3. Give ’Em Some Skin
Put your now-seasoned skillet back over high heat and take those beautiful air-dried fillets out of the fridge. Add another 1 Tbsp. oil to the pan and hit both sides of each fillet with a decent amount of salt. Once the oil is shimmering, carefully lay a fillet skin side down in the pan (be sure to lay them going away from you to guard against spatters). 4. Be Firm
Use a fish spatula (call it a “fish spat” if you want to sound like a pro) to apply firm, even pressure to the fillet until it relaxes and lies flat. Repeat with remaining fillet, then keep at it! Periodically press down each fillet and cook until flesh is nearly opaque and cooked through, with just a small raw area on top. 5. Flip and Rest
Slide your fish spatula under each fillet and—using your other hand as a guide—turn it away from you (watch that oil). Remove the pan from heat. At this point you’re just letting the raw side kiss the skillet to finish cooking, about 1 minute.
Final tip. "Don’t dump a bunch of sauce on your crispy skin—you’ll ruin it. Put your sauce on the plate and place the fillet on top,” says Link.
Save the corned beef and cabbage for another year. This seafood stew recipe and its soda bread accompaniment will fill you up...no luck required.
Recipe and photo credit: cowlickcottagefarm.com
For the Seafood Stew
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 slices smoky bacon, chopped
2 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
3-4 red potatoes, diced (skin on)
8 ounces of clam juice (available at Motts Channel Seafood) or fish stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds of fresh Motts Channel Seafood fish of your choice, cut into bite-sized pieces (based on availability we recommend wahoo, grouper, snapper and to add in some fresh shrimp)
2 cups of heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chopped finely
In a large pot, melt the butter and sauté the onions over medium heat until soft.
Add the smoky bacon and continue to fry until it the bacon is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.
Add in the fresh thyme, bay leaves and potatoes and cook gently for 2-3 minutes before adding the clam juice or fish stock.
Season well with salt and pepper.
Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender yet firm.
Add the seafood and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Turn the heat to low and stir in the parsley and cream.
Heat just until warm and serve.
For the Irish Soda Bread
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1 teaspoon baking-soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly flour baking sheet.
Mix all the dry ingredients and raisins in a large bowl.
Gently mix in enough buttermilk to form moist clumps.
Gather dough into ball. Turn out onto lightly flour surfaced and gently knead just until dough holds together, about 1 minute. Shape dough into 6-inch-diameter by 2-inch-high round. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Cut 1-inch-deep X across top of bread, extending almost to edges. Legend has it that the deep X lets the devil out of the bread!
Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 35 minutes. Transfer bread to rack and cool. Serve with plenty of butter.
Leave it to Aaron at Lighthouse Beer and Wine to offer up some tasty pairings for the "O'Holiday." Stop by our neighbors on your way to or from Motts Channel Seafood and get ready to love your St. Patty's day meal from start to finish.
Highland Gaelic - The bready, caramel malt characteristics of this beer match well with the rich flavors of the stew. The slight earthiness of the English hops will also pair nicely with the herbs in the broth.
North Coast Scrimshaw - The light, effervescent body of this beer will make a nice contrast to the creamy stew. The hint of citrus and pepper in the beer will do a great job complimenting any fish.
Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout - In tradition of Guinness this sweet stout has a nitrogenized widget, allowing the beer to cascade in the glass providing a full bodied, creamy stout. Its flavors of milk chocolate and roasted barley will accent a creamy stew, especially one with richer fish.
Mix with Kelchner’s hot mustard to make a creamy spicy spread
Available today at Motts Channel Seafood!
Dustin Gross will receive a $25 gift certificate for his next fresh fish and seafood purchase. Next time you are in don't forget to drop your business card or write down your email address and drop it in our fish bowl. You could be our next winner!
Looking for something free to do on Wrightsville Beach that has nothing to do with green beer? On March 17th at 5:30 p.m. the Performance Club presents Children's Theater in the Park at Wrightsville Beach Park featuring Beauty and the Beast and the area's finest young thespians.
Come see why Star News readers have voted us Best Seafood Market
for 2013 and 2014!