Bring out the grill with warm weather

The unseasonably spring-like weather we’ve been experiencing has me on the party deck doing some grilling. If this mild winter continues, I’ll be firing up the blender and getting out the deck chairs!

Our freezer is stocked with fish from summer fishing expeditions. We were also fortunate to enjoy some fresh winter king salmon, especially in January.

My preparation for grilling fish is simple: salt, olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon and onto a hot grill rack it goes. I’ll make a sauce or special side dish to dress it up if I’m inspired. A compound butter made with butter, herbs, shallot and lemon is a nice accent for a perfectly grilled piece of salmon, halibut, cod or rockfish.

Compound Herb Butter

You will want to prepare this at least an hour prior to serving your fish, as it needs time to chill enough to be firm enough to slice.

In a medium size bowl, add 1 stick of softened butter and about 1 teaspoon of fresh or dried herbs of your choice. Fresh herbs are more flavorful than dried, so you’ll need less of them. I like combinations of tarragon, basil, oregano, thyme and parsley. You can also just stick to one herb, say tarragon. Add a little grated lemon zest and 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. Add 2 teaspoons finely diced shallot, or green onion, or chives and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

Transfer the butter mixture onto a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap and shape the butter into a log the size of a stick of butter. Roll up and twist ends together. Place it into the fridge to firm up.

When your fish is hot off the grill, slice a piece off the butter log about the size of a quarter and place it atop a piece of warm fish. All those wonderful flavors and butter will melt into it, adding a special touch and flavor.

Miso-Glazed Grilled Sea Bass with Sesame-Honey-Ginger Slaw

We are so fortunate to have accessibility to excellent fish and seafood here on the coast of Alaska. This recipe is a combination of local fish, Asian ingredients, and varieties of flavors and textures.

Serves six

Miso Glaze

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup white miso

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup water

To prepare the miso glaze, in a small bowl whisk together all the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Sesame-Honey-Ginger Dressing

This is also good on baby spinach or coleslaw.

1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger, chopped

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons fresh basil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

1/3 cup canola oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

In a blender or food processor, combine the ginger, honey, basil, mustard, and vinegar and blend until smooth.

With the motor running, slowly add the oils, blending well until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper and add the sesame seeds. Taste and add more honey if you want a sweeter dressing.

*Pre-heat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.

Fish

6 (6 ounce) filets of firm- fleshed white fish such as sea bass, ling cod or yellow eye rockfish

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

Slaw

¾ cup peeled and grated carrot

6 cups shredded or very thinly sliced won bok (Chinese cabbage)

½ cup julienne green onion, green part only

1 cup sunflower or radish sprouts

2 tablespoons finely chopped dry-roasted peanuts for garnish

In a bowl, combine the carrot, cabbage, green onion, and sprouts. Toss with dressing just before serving to ensure that the slaw will be crisp.

Reserving 6 teaspoons of the miso glaze, rub the fish fillets with the pepper and olive oil and coat with the glaze. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before grilling.

Place the fish fillets on a clean, oiled, hot grill rack and grill, turning once, approximately 2 minutes on each side. Cooking time will vary, depending on the thickness of your fish fillets.

To serve, place ½ cup dressed slaw on each plate and lay a fish filet over the slaw. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the reserved miso glaze over each serving, and garnish with the peanuts.

Potato-Crusted Cod or Halibut with Spicy Ketchup

When our sons were little guys, I was always looking for fish preparations I thought they would enjoy.

This was a favorite!

4 cups potato chips

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1- pound equal size fillets of skinned cod or halibut

½ cup flour

3 eggs, well beaten

¼ cup butter, cut into 4 pieces

2 tablespoons oil

Place the chips in a gallon size sealable bag and close bag tight. With a rolling pin, roll and crush the chips in the bag. You will get about 1 cup. Transfer to a shallow bowl and add the cayenne pepper.

Lightly coat the fish on both sides with the flour, shaking off the excess.

Dip the fish in the eggs, and then coat fish on both sides with the crushed chips.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of the butter and 1 tablespoon oil and heat until butter is melted and sizzles. Add enough fish to cover the bottom of the pan, but don’t crowd. Fry the fish about 2 minutes on each side until it just begins to flake when prodded with a fork.

Remove fish when done and keep warm.

Fry remaining fish in additional butter and oil. Serve with lemon, spicy ketchup or tartar sauce.

Spicy Ketchup

½ cup ketchup

1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

As you prepare dinner, enjoy the beautiful sunsets!

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