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Aug23

Fresh Alaskan Seafood: Don’t Be a Hater

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Have I ever told you guys that I have FIVE older brothers? No? It’s true.

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When each of my brothers and I turned 21, my dad took us on a fishing trip to Alaska. In 2005, it was my turn to go to Alaska with my dad. Just me and him. Us and the boat. Us and the fish. Despite doing a lot of fishing growing up (I grew up with outdoorsy boys, after all), the first time I caught a salmon, I freaked out a little. 🙂Alaska0012I’ve always loved salmon and halibut; we ate a lot of it growing up as a result of the fishing trips every few years. But after this trip, I enjoyed eating it even more since it was kind of nostalgic for me. And eating wild fish from the ocean is so much better than farmed fish.

When Foodbuzz sent out an email announcing that they were teaming with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to give 12 bloggers the chance to host a themed party using the Cook It Frozen! methods with seafood sent straight from Alaska, I jumped at the opportunity and sent in my proposed theme:

I have a husband who swears he can’t stand seafood. I think he’s just never had it in a way that he enjoys since I truly believe good quality seafood is pretty hard to hate! I would use fresh halibut to create a dish that even he can’t resist. I would love to track down a few other “fish haters” to invite to change their minds too!

And guess what? I got selected! I got to choose from many different seafoods from Alaskan Seafood to use for my themed party for this post, but I chose halibut since it’s a great fish to introduce to seafood haters. It’s firm, meaty, not “fishy,” and pairs well with many flavors. It’s often called the “steak” of seafood.

Besides, I’m kind of a halibut pro. My dad is pointing to the largest halibut. Yeah, that would be my halibut. I caught that sucker. OK, I couldn’t exactly reel it in all by myself (it was over 30 pounds and was a fighter!), but I hooked it, therefore, it’s mine. 🙂Alaska0169 So, I decided to do halibut two ways: fish tacos and grilled halibut with a flavorful salsa. I combined different aspects from different recipes and knew the best way to have a great meal was to pair the fresh halibut with fresh ingredients. Off to the farmer’s market I went!(1 of 28) (2 of 28)

(3 of 28)After the farmer’s market, I stopped at a Hispanic grocery store to get some ingredients I couldn’t find locally. I also bought some Mexican soda to complete the feast. 🙂

Aren’t fresh ingredients so pretty?(1 of 1) After I stopped admiring the pretty colors, I got to work chop, chop, chopping.(5 of 28) First up, I prepared my salsa for the grilled halibut dish.

Grilled Halibut with Pineapple Salsa

  • 4 (8-ounce) halibut fillets, frozen or thawed
  • 1 T canola oil
Pineapple Salsa
  • 1/2 small pineapple, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick rings
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small jicama, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh Cayenne pepper
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 T finely chopped basil
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat your grill to medium-high (I just used a stove-top grill pan). Place the pineapple rings on the hot grill and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.(4 of 28) 2. Roast your red bell pepper. You can do this do ways: if you have a gas oven, just hold it over the flame of one of your burners until each side is black and charred brown. If you don’t have gas burners (we don’t), turn your oven broiler to high and place the pepper on a baking sheet on the 2nd to highest rack in your oven. Cook under the broiler until each side has turned black and the skin looks crackly. This took me about 3 minutes per side.

3. After the red pepper is charred on all sides, remove from the pan, place in a bowl and cover for 10 minutes.

4. While your pepper cools, dice the pineapple, removing the core from each ring.

5. Combine all other ingredients with the pineapple in a medium-sized bowl.

6. Remove the charred skin from your bell pepper. Slice open and remove the seeds. Finely dice and add to the bowl with the rest of the salsa ingredients.

(6 of 28) No, you can’t have any Maizey! You are allergic to onions.(7 of 28)

All mixed together! Quite possibly the prettiest salsa ever. (8 of 28) 9. For the halibut, preheat a grill pan to medium-high heat. Brush each side of the fillets with the oil.

10. Place the halibut in the hot pan and sear on one side for 4 minutes.

I threw my fillets on there completely frozen. Rock hard (just like my abs ;)…ok, maybe not). It was so frozen I couldn’t separate the two fillets. And guess what? That’s totally ok. (14 of 28)

11. Flip the halibut after you have a nice sear, reduce the heat to medium and cover. I just used aluminum foil since I didn’t have a lid for this pan.

12. If you are using frozen fish, cook for an additional 7-10 minutes, covered. After about 5 minutes, I used a fork to break apart the two fillets and let them continue cooking with a little personal space. (If you are using thawed fish, it should only take about 5 minutes, uncovered.)

Well, hello beautiful.

(16 of 28)

Alright, onto the tacos. I thawed the rest of the halibut overnight in the fridge since I planned to fry it for my tacos.

Slice slice. I’m so good with knives. (Not.)(9 of 28) Could I be the next Food Network Star? Move over Aarti.(10 of 28)

I marinated the sliced fish in this delicious concoction for 20 minutes.(11 of 28) Then I put the fish hater to work, battering and frying the fish. Get to work boy!(13 of 28) Perfectly fried fish.

(17 of 28)

Marinated Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw & Chipotle Crema

  • 3 (4 oz) halibut fillets, thawed and sliced into 1/2 inch strips
  • 10-15 corn or flour tortillas, heated on a pan on the stove over medium heat (about 30 seconds each side) and placed between a towel to keep warm
Chili-Lime Marinade
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 10 cloves garlic, slied
  • 2 serrano chilis, stemmed and sliced
  • 2 t dried oregano
  • 1 T salt
Tempura Batter
  • 3/4 c  + 1 T ice water
  • 2 1/2 t mustard
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • Canola oil, for deep frying

1. Combine all marinade ingredients and add fish strips. Marinate for 20 minutes.

2. For the tempura batter, whisk together the ice water and mustard. Gently stir in the flour, but don’t overmix (it’s ok to be a little lumpy). Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Drain the fish strips and pat dry with a paper towel.

4. Using a deep pot, heat 2-3 inches of oil over medium heat until it reaches 360 degrees. Remove batter from fridge and stir.

5. Dip the fish strips into the batter, a few at a time, to evenly coat. Drop them into the hot oil, frying no more than 4 pieces at a time. Fry until a light golden brown. They’ll start to float in the oil when done, about 2.5 minutes per batch.

6. As you cook the rest of the fish, be sure to continue to monitor the temperature of the oil; you want it to stay around 360 degrees so they cook properly. Too low, the fish will be oily. Too hot, it will burn.

Cabbage Slaw
  • 1/2 head small green cabbage, julienned
  • 2 T mayonanaise
  • 3/4 t fresh lime juice
  • 2 drops hot sauce

1. Combine all ingredients, refrigerate and use with a few hours.

Chipotle Crema
  • 1 c mayonnaise
  • 1 T pureed canned chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
  • 2 t fresh lime juice
  • 1 T cilantro
  • 1/8 t kosher salt

1. Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving.

To assemble your tacos, lay a piece of fried fish on the tortilla and top with slaw and crema. (25 of 28)

With all the fish cooked and friends arriving, we were officially ready to party. I mean, who wouldn’t want seconds of this?

(24 of 28)

Shall we look a little closer? I thought so.(23 of 28) Mmmm…tasty.(27 of 28)

No party is complete without dessert. Key lime pie. Yes please. (28 of 28)

I made up little fish fact cards to give to my guests. Some of my favorite facts I included were:

    • Because of the strict laws around fishing in Alaska, no Alaskan seafood has been on the endangered list. Ever.
    • Alaska wrote sustainability laws into their constitution when they became a state. This helps ensure there will be Alaskan seafood for future generations.
    • Alaskan seafood is a great resource for omega-3s and vitamin D.

(12 of 28)

[For more information on how Alaskan seafood and fisheries are managed, check out the Alaska Seafood website. I’m so impressed with their sustainability.]

The morals of this long story:

  • Fish haters have probably just not had good fish or had it prepared well.
  • Fresh ingredients make any meal better.
  • It is so easy to have fish on a regular basis. Especially using the Cook It Frozen! techniques. I mean, I threw a whole frozen halibut fillet on the pan and it cooked up great. Honestly, the texture was perfect, and it only took about 15 minutes total to cook.
  • Wild Alaskan fish honestly does taste better than the farmed variety.

Trust me. I’m an expert. 🙂image0001What’s your favorite seafood? Or are you a hater?

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    81 responses to “Fresh Alaskan Seafood: Don’t Be a Hater”

    1. AWESOME pictures!! Way to go! I love freshly caught fish. It tastes amazing. I used to fish as a kid and learned how to clean the fish too.

    2. Moses, that’s a lot of siblings let alone brothers. They’re all pretty good looking too! 😉 I used to be all into putting worms on the fishing line as a kid, but now when I think back on it – I can’t even imagine touching the worm, let alone squish it onto the line…ha!!

    3. Oh wow, that all looks beautiful! I totally agree that fish haters have probably just not had fish prepared ‘well’ or to their taste. There are so many varieties out there and so much you can do with it.

    4. i love all fish..well maybe not catfish. or something called riverfish. ick.

      can we talk about which of your brothers are single? thanks.

      • baaaahahahahaha! The one farthest to the right is single. And he’s a genuine cowboy – roping competitions, breaking horses, everything. 🙂

    5. I ? seafood, most especially Tilapia, Salmon and lately, Mahi Mahi! My husband also claims he doesn’t like seafood, yet he likes salmon (depending on how it is cooked) and mahi mahi (which the kind we bought tastes just like chicken!) As long as I can “disguise” fish, he seems to like it. Maybe I just won’t tell him what he’s eating HAHA! 🙂

      • Oops, meant to type that I ? seafood (there really is no ? about that one!)

        Also, I do find it funny that my Hubbs LOVES to fish more than anything, but just not eat it. Go figure:)

      • You should totally disguise it in these tacos. My husband thought it kind of tasted like chicken! 🙂

    6. That food looks so yummy! Oh and holy crap that fish is huge in the last picture… Love the pic of you and your brothers.

    7. I think I screamed a few times during this post. HOW COOL! My friend’s dad just took a salmon fishing trip, but dayum your pictures just don’t do it justice.

      The 5 brothers info, how did you come out of growing up alive, lol. Great looking family.

      What a fun party. Your pictures are simply fantastic!

    8. What a great post! Your pictures were amazingly beautiful. A lot of people I know hate fish & seafood, too. They are missing out-I should make them some fish tacos too & win them over!

    9. Holy yum, woman, you totally outdid yourself. This looks crazy good. And how ’bout those brothers of yours? Pretty dang cute in jeans, boots and plaid. Whew. Excuse me for a moment, a good lookin’ cowboy will do that to me. 😉 That’s so cool that your dad took each kid on a fishing trip!

    10. I’m a seafood hater and from Louisiana! Everyone there is shocked when I say it, but more mainstream are crawfish boils. Maybe I’ll try it again next time someone has it to see if my tastebuds have changed.

    11. Your fish tacos look incredible! :9

      As a New England girl who spent every summer on Cape Cod, I could not possibly hate seafood. That being said, it’s one of my all-time favorite “genres” of food! I am more of a fan of shellfish and crustaceans than I am of fish that swim-swim, favorites including scallops, oysters, and shrimp. Now that the fall is coming and what I like to refer to as “soup season”, I can’t wait to make some delicious & creamy lobster bisque! Yummmm!

      • I’m telling ya, these tacos were awesome! A great way to break in a non-seafood person. Unless, of course, you’re a vegetarian. 🙂

        Your blog title is so cute! What’s the link?

    12. You did such a great job with the idea, the meal and this post. I realllllly hope you win because then I would get to see YOU in November!! Right? You did say the winner gets to go to Foobuzz?? Your humor is fabulous. This post was such a fun read. Faaaabulous <3

      • Thanks love. I had some pretty awesome help. 🙂

        Yes, the winner gets to go to Foodbuzz this fall!! YOU’RE GOING?? I.MUST.WIN.

    13. Look at you–you’re quite the fisher(wo)man. Those are some ginormous fish. I just started liking fish within the past five years, now I love it! I think salmon and halibut are my favorites.

    14. The first time I tried halibut was after moving up here to Alaska and it definitely is a good type of fish to try if you don’t like fish. My husband and I enjoy making Mock Lobster with halibut. That Key Lime Pie looks delicious!

    15. Ok, I’ll admit that I am a seafood hater BUT your pictures and descriptions sound so good! I love seeing all of those colorful vegetables. A plate covered with colorful food is a very good thing!

      Um, FIVE brothers? Was that intimidating for Rob at all? Wow…a girl takes you home to meet her parents and five brothers.

    16. Hahaha I loved this!! And you look so small and tiny compared to all your brothers lol. So cute! I am not really a seafood lover either, but your tacos and halibut look so good, I’m sure you could have easily converted me as well. I may have to give fish a second chance after reading this 🙂

    17. I love orange roughy the most…but beware…it can do not fun things if you eat too much of it….like eating 24 oz a day on a competition diet! 🙂 Adorable post!!

      FIToriBLOG.com

    18. WOW!! I can’t believe how huge that halibut is! The way you prepared it looks fantastic, and I pretty much love grilled pineapple anywhere and everywhere. I tried fish tacos, believe it or not, for the first time in the Hamptons a few weeks ago – and fell in love! I guess it’s time to make my own 🙂

      • Fish tacos are the best! I bet they were so good in the Hamptons too with fresh fish! Oh, and next time you go to the Hamptons, take me, k? 😉

    19. 5 older brothers?! I’m so jealous! I have 2, but always wanted more!! You’re so cute there in the middle of all of them. 🙂

      I WANT to like seafood, and I do like salmon – but I can’t eat it too often. Something about it gives me the heebies. Something I do love, that grilled pineapple.

      Also, I’d totally vote for you on the next food network star!!

    20. I love your fishing pictures! The food looks fabulous. I’ve had fun reading your “new” blog. Hope you’re doing well!

    21. Oh My! I’m droooooling after looking at this {the food… not the dead fish, ha!}. Completely trying that fish taco recipe this week – sounds amazing.

      I’d have to say that salmon is my absolute favorite fish – but also love halibut and orange roughy.

      So excited to find another healthy food blogger in Charlotte!! <3

      Linds

        • hehe. HOW have I not found your blog before?? It’s awesome! You are freaking hilariuos and I love your term Designer Wife.

          We should probably schedule a NC blogger meet-up ASAP. 🙂

    22. Oh my gosh. I love those pics of you with that huge halibut. Too funny….I am definitely a seafood lover, and all of these recipes looks incredible! My fav seafood is probably salmon (can anything be better than grilled wild salmon? I doubt it), but I really do love to eat all kinds of seafood!

    23. What a great post–I love the pictures from your fishing trip. I am a fish lover, but don’t eat it very often. To be really honest, I haven’t mastered the art of cooking fish, but will order it when I am on the coast.

    24. Oh my goodness! That halibut is HUGE! I’m so impressed, I loved this post. You told such a great story with it, I totally agree that most fish haters just haven’t had great fish yet. I just had halibut the other week! Yum yum 🙂

    25. Gorgeous. I too hosted an Alaskan Seafood dinner so it’s been fun to see what others have made. Though I certainly do not have the fishing chops that you do. Held my party last week and will be posting about my salmon dinner soon. Love that you were able to convert a few.

    26. I LOVE that you are a fisher woman! It just adds to your dimension and shows how multi-faceted you are! I absolutely love seafood. I can still recall where I’ve had the best catfish (Chattanooga, TN when I was about nine) the first time I tried oysters (Jersey Shore two years ago) cracking open a lobster on my own from tail to head (Maine 10 summers ago) and EVERY time I have had good scallops – my favorite!

      Great post -you deserved to be chosen!

      • Yes, fishing is one of my many secret talents. 😉

        I love that you remember all those first times! I’ve never had lobster – can’t wait to someday try it though!

    27. Five older brothers?! Uh.. any of them single? 😉
      I use to adore seafood like no other but when I went vegan, I lost interest. Now I let myself eat it but since I don’t usually crave it, I pass on it. I do have to say though.. your pictures make me want fish NOW.

    28. Good gravy sista that Halibut is almost bigger than you! I’m so proud of you, catching large fish like that! I here am a fishy person…Just had myself a lovely Halibut with Plum sauce for my pre-marathon meal. It was scrumptious. Wish I ate it more at home, I will have to try the frozen stuff. (Wayne won’t touch the stuff, yet he LOVES sushi, crap and shrimp) Makes no sense to me. I wish you could be my personal chef, that would be the LIFE!

    29. My husband turned me on to fishing. Was never into it but we went out in the San Francisco Bay for our first date. Has “hooked” ever since! He has done the Alaska fishing thing several times. I can’t wait until he goes again now that I read this blog and reviewed those recipes! Yummy!

    30. I just stumbled across your blog – it is beautiful! Your posts are so well thought out and well written. Your pics are great too.

      I have gone fishing with dad I don’t know how many times. He has taken plenty of fishing trips in Alaska (but none with me! ) 🙁

      • oh thank you! That means a lot!

        Fishing with dads is the best, isn’t it? You need to get him to take you to Alaska!

    31. As a born-and-raised Alaskan, I won’t touch farmed fish! Wild Alaskan seafood or bust, baby. Once you get the taste for the real thing, you can never go back to conventional, fake, grain-fed nonsense.

    32. What a cute post! I’ve never had fish tacos, they make me nervous for some reason, but the way you describe them sounds great! I just did a Wild Alaska post as well, with Salmon. you’re right, wild fish really is the best!

    33. I buzzed! but I’m still a hater !
      Maybe when fish don’t swim in their own poop…. and taste alot more like brownies … 🙂
      We google-earthed your house! See you soon!

    34. I buzzed! but I’m still a hater !
      Maybe when fish don’t swim in their own poop…. and taste alot more like brownies … 🙂
      We google-earthed your house! See you soon!

    35. This was SO true about me. “Fish haters have probably just not had good fish or had it prepared well.” I was a fish hater until the last few years (after I went to Alaska actually) when I decided I REALLY wanted to learn to like fish. My mother-in-law has some awesome recipes as she used to be a fish hater herself and knows how to make it right. The key is definitely freshness. Last year on our honeymoon in Barbados I was in LOVE with the fish (oh yeah, and my husband) because it was prepared to perfection! This recipe looks stellar!

    36. I am not a seafood hater but I am defiantly jealous at those fresh halibut and salmon and of course your friends enjoying those wonderful tacos.

      • Thank you!! How did you know?? They told me I couldn’t announce it on my blog yet until they officially announce it! You are so sneaky! 🙂

    37. We just had our “Fish Festival” tonight and it was all a hit! Wayne said, “This is only like the 3rd time (other than sushi) that I’ve actually enjoyed eating fish. He not only went back for seconds but thirds! Thanks for the recipes and detailed/pictured instructions, they were very helpful.

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