Archive for March 26th, 2009

Seafood for Lent: Cook it frozen

I cannot remember the number of times I’ve bought fish fillets at the seafood counter and been disappointed when I started to cook them. Sometimes they’ve had an off odor, or they’ve been a bit slimy to the touch.

I rarely buy frozen seafood because thawing takes time. But now I’m buying it frozen, thanks to The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Cook It Frozen techniques.


For stovetop grilling and sautéing, use a heavy nonstick skillet or ridged stovetop grill pan with a tight-fitting lid.
Pans and oven/broiler must be hot (around 400 degrees) before you start cooking. To test the temperature of a stovetop pan, sprinkle a few drops of water on the skillet; if they immediately pop off the surface, you’re good to go.
The oil
Using a pastry brush, lightly brush frozen fish with high oleic vegetable oils: olive, canola, peanut, grapeseed, soy or safflower. Avoid butter, sunflower or corn oil as they will burn at high heat.
The spices
Avoid seasoning the fish with dry spices before it is placed in the pan. Since the pan is very hot, the spices will burn and stick to the pan. Better yet, season your seafood after you flip it, since seasoning mixtures containing salt draw moisture out of uncooked proteins.
Cook just until done
Fish turns from translucent to opaque as it cooks and, like most proteins, will continue to cook after it is removed from the heat source. To check for doneness, slide a sharp knife tip into the center of the thickest part of a cooking seafood portion, checking for color. Remove seafood from the heat just as soon as it turns from translucent to opaque throughout.

Red Lobster has launched a new Interactive Chef’s Kitchen that provides helpful seafood cooking tips to home cooks. Here’s a video on how to prepare Key West shrimp.

Alaska salmon with orange vinaigrette

1 cup orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons red onion, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup fat-free Italian dressing
4 salmon steaks or fillets (4 to 6 oz. each), fresh, thawed or frozen
1 1/2 tablespoons olive, canola, peanut or grapeseed oil
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Prepare sauce: Cook orange juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it is reduced to the consistency of syrup (makes about 1/4 cup); let cool slightly.
Place onion, lime juice, mustard, and chili powder in a blender or food processor; add cooked syrup. Blend 10 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in Italian dressing until mixture emulsifies; set aside.
Rinse any ice glaze from frozen salmon under cold water; pat dry with paper towel. Heat a heavy nonstick skillet or ridged stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush both sides of salmon with oil. Place salmon in heated skillet and cook, uncovered, about 3 to 4 minutes, until browned or well grill-marked. Shake pan occasionally to keep fish from sticking.
Turn salmon over and season with salt and pepper. Cover pan tightly and reduce heat to medium. Cook an additional 6 to 8 minutes for frozen salmon OR 3 to 4 minutes for fresh/thawed fish. Cook just until fish is opaque throughout.
To serve, pool 2 tablespoons orange vinaigrette sauce in the center of each of 4 plates; top with salmon and garnish with chopped cilantro. Makes 4 servings. Each serving: 301 calories, 10 g fat, 126 mg cholesterol, 35 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, .5g fiber, 460mg sodium, 29mg calcium.

Mediterranean rub salmon

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper blend seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 salmon steaks or fillets (4 to 6 ounces each), fresh, thawed or frozen
Canola oil or nonstick cooking spray
1 lemon, cut in wedges
In a small bowl, blend rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil to make a thick paste.
Rinse any ice glaze from frozen salmon under cold water; pat dry with paper towel. Press rub mixture firmly onto cut sides of each steak/fillet (not skin); let salmon rest 5 minutes before cooking.
Heat grill or broiler/oven to medium-high heat. Brush grill surface with canola oil or coat broiling pan with cooking spray. Grill or broil 12 to 15 minutes for frozen salmon or 8 to 9 minutes for fresh/thawed fish, turning once during cooking. Cook just until fish is opaque throughout. Serve with lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings. Each serving:
212 calories, 9 g fat, 105 mg cholesterol, 29 g protein, 3 g carbohydrate, .5g fiber, 683 mg sodium, 34 mg calcium.