Catch of the Day

Some generous friends who don’t like to freeze their catch recently gave me a bag filled with beautiful redfish fillets. There were far more than we could possibly eat at one sitting, so I planned several meals around the fish. For our first meal I prepared redfish amandine, a dish I haven’t had in ages. I dredged the fillets in flour, sautéed them and then topped them with sliced almonds browned in butter. I suppose brown butter and almonds would make most anything taste good, but not as good as this fish.

The next meal consisted of redfish prepared two ways. For an appetizer, we enjoyed ceviche (or seviche), a Latin American preparation that uses lime juice to “cook” the fish. The dish can be prepared in a variety of ways, but using lime juice to lightly pickle the fish is a common denominator. It is a refreshing dish in hot weather and doesn’t require turning on the stove. We enjoyed the ceviche with tostadas and cold beer.

For our main dish, we had redfish tacos. Tacos are one of my favorite foods, and I’ll fix them for breakfast or lunch or dinner or in-between meals for snacks. They’re a great way to dress-up leftovers, and they will accommodate a variety of sensible combinations. I much prefer white corn tortillas to ones made with yellow corn. Packages sometimes only designate white corn tortillas as “tortillas de maiz blanco.” Tacos are best when they’re eaten immediately, so we gathered around the stove, beers in hand, and ate them as they were made. For the record, redfish make a great taco in combination with chipotle chile pepper, lime, salsa and cilantro.

Finally, we used the remainder of the redfish to make fish cakes. It’s a simple dish to prepare, and it’s also a good way to use up any fish trimmings or leftover cooked fish. We accompanied our fish cakes with tartare sauce and a green salad. At the end of the meal, far from being tired of redfish, our only regret was that we had no more.


Redfish Ceviche

Cut 1 pound redfish fillets into ½-inch cubes and place in a glass container. Juice 8 limes and pour over redfish, making sure that all the fish is covered. Refrigerate, covered, for two hours.

Drain fish, transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and season to taste with coarse salt, freshly-ground black pepper and cayenne. Garnish with ¼ cup sliced green onion tops and ¼ cup cilantro leaves. Serve with tostadas or tortilla chips.

Makes 4 servings as an appetizer.


Tartare Sauce

1     cup mayonnaise
2     teaspoons minced sour pickle
2     teaspoons minced capers
2     teaspoons minced shallots
1     teaspoon chopped parsley
1     tablespoon prepared horseradish

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
Makes about 1 cup.


Redfish Cakes

Fish cakes can be made with raw, salted or cooked fish. They are a good way to use leftovers or fish trimmings.

Mince enough fish to yield ½ cup, packed. Add to mixing bowl, along with 6 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs and 1 egg (lightly beaten), 1 teaspoon chopped parsley and 2 teaspoons chopped green onion tops. Toss well to combine, then season to taste with coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne. Form mixture into 4 flat cakes, dredge in ½ cup all-purpose flour and place on wax paper.

Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons butter to large frying pan on medium heat until butter foams. Add fish cakes and fry until well browned, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on other side, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve with lemon wedges and tartare sauce.

Makes 4 servings.


Redfish Tacos

A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is the ideal pan for this. The chipotle chile powder imparts a smokiness to the fish. Make your own salsa or use a prepared version.
1    pound redfish fillets
    chipotle chile powder
    coarse salt
    lime wedges
1    cup cilantro leaves
    your favorite salsa
    white corn tortillas

1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and heat another cast iron pan, comal or griddle.

2. Season redfish with chipotle chile powder and salt. Cook in pan until browned on one side, then turn and brown on the other. Squeeze lime juice over fish, turn off heat and leave fish in pan to keep hot.

3. Meanwhile, heat tortillas on the other pan, comal or griddle.

4. Using spatula, remove a section of fish and place in heated tortilla. Add a spoonfull of salsa and a generous amount of cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and cold beer.

Makes about 8 tacos.


***  TIP  ***

Fresh fish should be iced and stored in the refrigerator.
Put fillets in a zippered freezer bag and pack them in a container filled with ice or frozen ice packs. Whole fish can be packed in ice, but they should be in a container that allows melted water to drain.


Redfish Amandine

This is a rich and elegant dish that brings top dollar in restaurants, but it’s easy to prepare at home

Season 4 small fillets of redfish with ¹⁄8 teaspoon coarse salt, dredge fillets in ½ cup all-purpose flour, coating both sides, then place on wax paper. Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or clarified butter) in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add fillets and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn fillets and cook on the other side, about 2 minutes.

Remove fillets to 4 serving plates. Pour off oil. Add 4 tablespoons butter and ½ cup sliced almonds to pan and cook, while stirring or tossing, until almonds are lightly colored. Top each fillet with almonds and butter. Serve with lemon wedges.

Makes 4 servings.