An Outdoor View: New twists on fish and shrimp

New twists on fish and shrimp

by

Les Palmer

It happens now and then, and a few days ago, it happened again. I was overwhelmed by an urge to eat fish tacos.

Sadly, all the fish that had wintered in our freezer had been eaten. Not to be put off, I bought a fillet of Pacific cod at Safeway in Kenai.

I did all the usual stuff that I do when cooking white fish for a taco — the dusting with seasoned rice flour, the dipping in the seasoned egg wash, the rolling in the seasoned Panko, and the frying in peanut oil. I even used the usual soft flour tortillas and the usual shredded green cabbage. However, I veered off my usual path when it came to the sauces.

Fish dishes fairly plead for acid, and Mexican dishes want some heat, so I made a green chili sauce (salsa verde) that had both. It was just for the two of us, so what I put in the food processor was one jalapeno pepper, one serrano pepper, one tomatillo, a few sprigs of cilantro (stems and leaves), a tablespoon of fresh lime juice, and a pinch each of salt, cumin and coriander. From experience, I’ve found that removing the seeds from the peppers leaves a comfortable level of heat.

I often make salsa with raw peppers and tomatillos, but this time I roasted them under the boiler until they were lightly charred. Roasting makes them taste more mellow, less sharp.

My wife and I usually add a dollop of sour cream to our tacos and burritos. But for these fish tacos, I doctored up the sour cream with some mayonnaise, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. I thinned this sauce with a little water and loaded it into a plastic squeeze bottle.

Sauces done, I was ready for battle. Assembling these tacos was simple. After heating flour “taco-size” tortillas in a frying pan, I added pieces of hot fish, salsa verde, cabbage, and the lemony sour cream. The delicious fish, the crunchy cabbage, the tangy heat of the salsa verde, and the creamy tartness of the sour cream made this dish a home run.

A couple of days later, while watching a rerun of “Heat Seekers” on TV, I saw something different being done with chili rellenos. The traditional chili rellenos is made by removing the skin and seeds from a poblano pepper, filling it with cheese, dipping it in batter and deep-frying it. Like peach cobbler with ice cream, these things are sinfully good, but you might as well just take them out of the oven and tape them to your belly, because that’s where they’re going.

But I digress. One of the restaurants on the TV show made a seafood-stuffed chili. What’s more, instead of battering and deep-frying it, they cooked it in the oven. I had never thought of doing this, but I found recipes for variations of it on the Internet. One used shrimp for filling; another used shrimp, bay scallops and calamari. One used Monterey Jack cheese, another, quesadilla cheese. I ended up using shrimp and Monterey Jack.

The hardest part of making this dish is roasting and skinning the peppers. I recommend watching a couple of YouTube videos on the subject, but eventually you just have to get in there and do it. After the first one, the rest will be easier.

My wife and I had seafood-stuffed chili rellenos for our Cinco de Mayo dinner this week. I cut the shrimp into ½-inch pieces, dusted it with cajun spices and lightly sauteed it. Next, I mixed the shrimp with grated cheese, stuffed it into the peppers and topped them with more grated cheese. After a few minutes in the oven, and after the cheese had melted, they were done. For a side dish, I heated up some canned black beans and pureed them. I finished the plates with a schmear of the beans, a spatter of red chili sauce, a squirt of lemony sour cream (above), a sprinkle of cilantro and queso fresca (Mexican fresh cheese), and served them with Margaritas. Another home run, according to my chief critic, my wife.

Everything in the above two dishes and sauces can be found in local stores and waters. What’s more, there is no closed season and no bag limit.

Les Palmer can be reached at les.palmer@rocketmail.com.

More in Life

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: This and that

Organizations are running out of people to keep them going

This Al Hershberger photo of his good friend Hedley Parsons was taken in Germany in 1945, after World War II had ended. Parsons and Hershberger came to Alaska together a few years later, and in 2010, when Parsons was interviewed for this story, he may have been the last person living who had actually attended George Dudley’s messy funeral
This parting was not sweet sorrow — Part 2

The funeral was scheduled for 2 p.m. on May 5, and spring break-up was in full, sloppy bloom at the Kenai Cemetery

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
A copy of “People, Paths, and Places: The Frontier History of Moose Pass, Alaska” stands in sunlight in Soldotna on Friday.
Off the Shelf: Community history project a colorful portrait of hometown

The book features the work of students at Moose Pass School and integrates further stories pulled from a community newspaper

The Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra performs. (Photo courtesy Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra)
Anchorage orchestra group to visit Kenai Peninsula for 10th annual tour

Anchorage Bowl Chamber Orchestra will play four shows from May 30 to June 2

File
Minister’s Message: Boasting only in Christ and the Cross

The Reverend Billy Graham advised every president since Truman during his lifetime

Corn cheese is served alongside grilled beef, kimchi and lettuce. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Planning barbecue with all the bells and whistles

Expect kimchi, lots of side dishes, piles of rice, marinated meat for the flame and cold fruit for dessert

Noa (voiced by Owen Teague) in 20th Century Studios’ “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.” (Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios)
On the Screen: New ‘Planet of the Apes’ expands, brings new ideas to franchise universe

“Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” tells a story that feels more rooted in fantasy than the post-apocalypse vibe of its predecessors

A mural depicting imagery and iconography of Kenai brightens the entryway of the Walmart in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Visible art raises people’s spirits’

Local artist’s mural introduced as part of Walmart renovations

Former North Kenai resident George Coe Dudley, seen here during the winter of 1950-51, was a hard-drinking man. His messy funeral in 1967 in Kenai echoed his lifestyle. (Photo courtesy of Al Hershberger)
This parting was not sweet sorrow — Part 1

“Dudley was an easy-going, laid-back sort of guy, always laughing and joking, as well as hard drinking.”

Most Read