John’s Note: Salty water, sizzling sun, sand between your toes and tasty seafood … some of the pleasures of beaches we dream about after we leave. Whether you eat seafood at the beach, bring your bounty home to freeze and enjoy later or buy it at your local store, seafood doesn’t have to taste the same. Put spice in your life by varying your menu and adding some fire to fish, crabs and shrimp. Your seafood will sizzle with zesty flavor with these recipes. If you plan an elegant seafood dinner with several courses, dust off your best soup tureen to serve this light, colorful chowder that tastes even more delicious when reheated.
1 pound fillets of white-meat fish like cobia, speckled trout or grouper (fresh or frozen) cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup cut green beans
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup thinly-sliced onion
1 cup sliced or grated carrots
1/2-cup thinly-sliced celery
1 cup thinly-sliced yellow squash
1 cup sliced banana peppers
4 tablespoons chopped Chile peppers
3 cups skim milk
2 cans (10 3/4 ounces) or 1-1/2-pints chicken broth
8 ounces egg noodles
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup grated cheese
Use a food processor to slice vegetables. In a large pot, combine vegetables, fish, milk and chicken broth. Cover, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 15 minutes. In a second pot, bring water to rapid boil and gradually add noodles while continuing to boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until tender. Drain in colander. Add noodles to vegetable mixture. Simmer about 5 minutes more or until thoroughly heated. This chowder amply feeds eight adults as a main meal with a salad or 15 adults as a soup course.
HEAT INDEX: Mild. But you can make it hotter if you add chopped jalapeno peppers to the chowder.
A southern tradition in Alabama where my family lives usually includes having an outside fish fry when a church holds an all-day Sunday service. In years past, at these dinner-on-the-ground/religious services, catfish cooked in the kettle always made the hounds lounging around bark and bawl. To quiet the dogs while the preacher attempted to preach or the choir to sing, the cooks would drop some of the cornmeal batter used for the fish into the bubbling hot oil. Then the cook would throw the fried cornmeal to the dogs and tell them to, “hush, puppy.” Folks requested the fried cornmeal-battered pieces for themselves to snack on and named them hushpuppies, or that’s how one story goes.
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup self-rising cornmeal
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 cup onion, chopped
1 whole egg
1 can of beer (the alcohol dissipates from the cooking)
3 tablespoons chives
Mix flour, meal and cayenne pepper, and then add onions. To this mixture, add egg, and pour beer into mix until it makes a light batter. Add chives to mix. Preheat cooker containing cooking oil (peanut or canola oil preferably) to 450 degrees. Drop mixture by the spoon full into the cooker until the hushpuppies are golden brown and float. The hushpuppies will turn themselves. This recipe makes plenty of hushpuppies for a crowd – a dozen or more people.
HEAT INDEX: Medium Hot. However, you can make it warmer.
Preston’s Pittman Hushpuppies
Outdoorsmen may know Preston as a knowledgeable hunter, but he’s also an outstanding cook.
2 cups yellow self rising cornmeal
1 cup self-rising flour
1 onion, chopped
Chop up onions fine, mixing first three ingredients, and cover; let sit for an hour. Keep adding liquids until the mixture is still thick. Set aside until bubbles start forming (10-15 minutes) before dropping into hot oil.
Sharon Minton, the late Alabama’s Marine Resources Division head Vernon Minton’s wife, has had plenty of experience cooking delicious coastal dishes, and you’ll enjoy this unusual hushpuppy recipe from her.
1 cup of self-rising corn meal
1 cup of self-rising flour
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 3/4-cup)
1/2-cup sharp cheddar cheese, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
2-3 tablespoons of Italian bread crumbs (enough to cover the mixture)
2 teaspoons of Lawry’s seasoning
Mix flour and corn meal. Add milk until smooth. Blend in egg. Add Italian breadcrumbs, onions, Lawry’s seasoning and cheese. Stir until smooth. Mixture should be thick but not soupy. Heat oil to approximately 300 degrees. Spoon batter into oil (use two tablespoons – one to dip mixture and one to rake it into oil). Cook until golden brown (if the oil’s too hot, the batter will cook on the outside but still will be raw in the middle). Drain on paper towels.
To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks, “The Best Wild Game & Seafood Cookbook Ever: 350 Southern Recipes for Deer, Turkey, Fish, Seafood Small Game and Birds,” “Alabama’s Offshore Saltwater Fishing: A Year-Round Guide for Catching Over 15 Species of Fish,” and “Fishing Mississippi’s Gulf Coast and Visitor’s Guide,” click here.
About the Author
John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (AMA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors.