Friday, November 18, 2011

Quick Sauteed Fish

I love fishing. I have for as long as I can recall.

In fact- see that little girl lovingly wrapped around her grandpa's leg. Yep, that's me. I have spent more hours dangling my toes in the water and fishing off the end of that dock than I can count.

Grandpa Zimmy, me, and my brother-Adam fishing on Little Bass Lake
Over the years, the dock grew to include more sections to accommodate seating. It also allowed us to cast our lines right to the drop-off where the larger fish liked to hang out.(Truth be told- I still love the thrill of catching all the little fishies right off the edge of a dock) I loved sitting and relaxing with my so many important  men in my life- my grandpa, some of my uncles, my dad, my brother, and even my husband.

As I got older, I expanded my fishing trips to several other lakes and rivers in Northern Minnesota.  I have a handful of women that I love to head out onto the water with. As soon as my niece was old enough to hold a fishing pole, I started taking her out too.

I am proud to tell you- I can bait my own hook with a variety of bait and lures.I can tie several fishing knots. I can identify many fish by the markings. I can skillfully extract hooks that have been inhaled by over-eager fish. I can, and do clean all my own fish. And, I learned many these important skills from my Dad and my Grandpa Zimmy.

I can recall vividly, my Grandpa Spranger leaving to have fishing time aka alone time when I was a kid. Sometimes, he'd come back with a stringer full of fish, other times all he had was the pole he left with. But no matter what- he always had a smile on his face when he returned. It was only as I got older that I understood fishing wasn't just about the fish. It was about peace, quiet, and personal time with Jesus. He was after all, the greatest fisherman of all time- a true fisher of men. This, was another deeply meaningful lesson for me.

I am blessed to have great men in my life. Men who have taught me the importance of faith, family, and providing for those you love.

Sometimes, as I have told you before, my dad would grill the fish he caught. Other times, however, my mom would saute the fish. We aren't deep friers in my immediate family. So, I never really appreciated deep fried fish. My mom's fish was lightly coated and sauteed in a little olive oil that produced a crispy, crunchy, and flaky result.

Jon comes from the school of deep fried fish.(haha, get it-school of fish. Sorry, my own bad puns make me giggle.) But, the first time I made this for him he fell in love with it. It has an unexpected light lemony undertone. And when the picky fish eater is happy- you keep the recipe close at hand.

This recipe was another minor setback  when I went gluten free.  Her recipe called for 3 TBS of flour. I didn't want to use my all-purpose flour because I didn't want the soy flour I add to my mix to overpower the delicate fish. I opted for flavorless corn starch and corn meal. The coating was perfect. It gave the same results that mom's original recipe produced.

Jon had one recommendation- get more fish and make more soon. :)

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Quick Sauteed Fish

1 lb fish fillets- thawed if frozen*
2 TBS corn starch
2 TBS corn meal
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil

Rinse fish; pat dry. Arrange in a single layer on a plate. Sprinkle lemon juice over both sides of the fish. Let stand for 5 minutes. Pat dry.

Mix corn starch, corn meal, paprika, salt, and pepper together in a shallow dish. Dredge fish through the mixture, coating each piece well. Let sit on a wire cooling rack.

Meanwhile- spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Add oil. Heat to medium-high heat.

Once oil is hot, add fish to the pan- do not crowd the pan and do not move the fish once they are in the pan.(Moving the fish around will just cause your coating to come off the fish so leave it alone!) Cook 3-4 minutes per side until the coating is golden and crisp. The fish should flake easily with a fork but not fall apart. Transfer to a cooling rack that has been sprayed with cooking spray, cool slightly before serving.

* Tilapia, grouper, ocean perch, walleye, and pan fish are all great options for this recipe.

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