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Sunday, September 19

Fish...A Singular Sensation!!

Hubby and I went fishing again today...didn't catch anything worth keeping, but it did make me start to want some to eat.  I'm not talking about hitting Long John Silvers or Cap'n D's either...I would rather hit the local seafood market, and cook it fresh!  Alas...we really don't HAVE a local seafood market where I live (Alabama boonies), so I have to make do with the seafood section at Walmart.  Limited choices, but better than nothing, because fish really IS one of the best gifts you can give your body!! 

Rich in Omega3 fatty acids (especially saltwater varieties), it's extremely heart healthy...studies have proven that consumption of fish at least 2 times each week SIGNIFICANTLY reduces development of cardiovascular illnesses.  That alone should be enough to convince you to eat more of it.  However, the most common reason given for not eating your fair share of it isn't cost...it's taste.  Most people simply say they don't like the flavor (or smell).  Well, today is your lucky day!!  With little effort, and even with limited choices, I bet I can change your mind. 

You're probably wondering how I can say that with such confidence.  It's simple, really...I used to be JUST LIKE YOU!!  I thought fish smelled nasty...tasted nasty...and I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole (even though I LOVE fishing...go figure).  It wasn't until I went to New Orleans that I found out how GOOD it could be!!  That day, a brand new world was opened up!! 

You see, there are really only 2 tricks to great fish...quality of the fillet and how you prepare it.  Let's start with quality.

When you look at fresh fish fillets, you want to look for clean, trimmed pieces that look like they have JUST came from the water...shiny and almost metallic in appearance.  If they look dull or have discolored spots on them, they are old, and NOT good.  Also, look carefully to see if there is any liquid on the fillet...it should be clear.  If it's cloudy looking, it's starting to go bad.  Next test is to smell the fillets...if they smell fishy, then don't buy them, because they've probably been there for a while.  Fresh fillets smell FRESH...they have virtually NO scent if freshwater, and if saltwater, should smell like a clean ocean breeze.

For those of us who have to rely on frozen fillets, look at the labels. The first thing you should look for is an indication that this seafood was caught in America, Canada, Iceland or New Zealand. These countries have the best fishing management practices in the world.  The best choices for frozen fish are cod, pollack, halibut, and whiting.  They are easiest to work with, freeze well, and very mild in flavor.

Next we address preparation.  Today's recipe will use whiting fillets, vacumn frozen, from Walmart (like I said, I'm limited in choices here...boonies, remember?).  A typical whiting fillet will be about 10 inches long.  Sounds big, but fish shrinks a bit when cooked, so an adult can eat a whole one, kids can split a fillet.  Take out however many fillets you'll need, and thaw them in a zippy bag, air pressed out, in cold water.  This allows them to thaw gradually...fast thawing can cause them to smell (not sure why, it just does).  It takes about 2 hours to thaw.

On to the recipe.  This is one of my favs, and gets smiles every time.

4 full whiting fillets
Parmesan cheese, enough to sprinkle over each fillet
1 1/2 tsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste (won't need much)

Preheat oven to 450.  Use no-stick spray on a low sided baking dish, lay fillets in dish.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese over fillets.  In a small pan, saute' the onion for about 3 minutes in the butter, then mix in breadcrumbs.  Sprinkle breadcrumbs mixture over the fillets, then lightly season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 20-30 minutes in center of oven until fillets are flaky and tender.  Serve with the veggie of your choice.

It's a simple recipe, but it really can open your eyes to what you can do with fish.  ENJOY!!




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