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Help me! I’m a bad cook living in a seafood state

The seafood counter at the Union Avenue Hannaford supermarket.

The seafood counter at the Union Avenue Hannaford supermarket in Bangor, Maine.

Maine seafood is so good I wish I knew how to cook.

Before we moved to Maine, seafood was only a treat. It was something you ate occasionally at a fancy restaurant – like prime rib or top sirloin. We never bought seafood at the grocery store or served it for dinner. Baked haddock or grilled salmon just seemed too exotic and too expensive for a weekday supper call.

But things are different when you live less than 50 miles from the ocean.

Jen loves seafood and says she could eat it every night.

I like seafood, but it has to be good seafood.

Hey, one of my favorite meals of all-time was seafood. The meal was close to 20 years ago in Galveston, Texas with my cousin Janell and buddy Keith. We spent a day on the beach and stepped into the closest restaurant we could find. No Yelp. No Zagat. Just pure luck. We ordered a seafood feast. It tasted like the fish, crab and lobster jumped across the beach, into the kitchen and onto the grill. Fresh. Clean. Spectacular.

Sadly, most midwest seafood tastes like it took a semi from the beach, crawled into the kitchen and was wrestled onto the grill by a janitor.

Not in Maine. Maine, like Texas, is a seafood state.

With Jen’s strong encouragement, I started buying seafood at the grocery store. Breaded haddock or cod usually, something to fry up quickly on a Thursday night. It tasted good.

Then I started buying fresh fish. Pollock. Salmon. The stuff they catch down the road. I learned how to make an egg batter, roll it in bread crumbs and bake it – yes, bake it in an oven – at 425 degrees for 12 minutes.


I’m still working on my fish dinners. Making them better. I’ve developed my own tartar sauce. Added poppies or sesame seeds to the bread batter. Even grilled some mahi-mahi the other night.

But I could still use help.

If you have some tips for serving fish let me know. Leave a note in the comment section. I’ll give it a try.

It would be a shame to waste all this good Maine seafood on bad cooking.


From → Food, Home

  1. I’ve got you: cod with cherry tomatoes, basil and mozzarella! Get yourself a nice piece of cod, since you live in Maine preferably fresh but it works with frozen too as long as you defrost it first. About 500 g for two people should do. Place it in an ovenproof dish, season with salt and pepper. Add a handful of cherry tomatoes on top of and around the fish, some halved and some whole (it looks even better if they’re both yellow and red), tear up a mozzarella ball on top of that and top of with a handful of fresh basil. Drizzle with some olive oil and put it in the oven at about 175 degrees Celsius (sorry, don’t know Fahrenheit) for about 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through but not dry. Good luck!

  2. Fer permalink

    Nick, I tried salmon with a “relish” from Emeril L. It’s quick, easy and is so delicious (assuming you like the ingredients, of course). This only covers the relish; you’re on your own as the fish goes…

    Sweet corn, tomato and avocado relish:

    -Boil 2 ears of sweet corn
    -Remove kernels when cool
    -Dice (1/2″) two vine-ripened tomatoes and two avocados
    -Gently toss all ingredients in large bowl with salt, pepper (white, if available), and olive oil (1-2 Tbsp.)
    -Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour or even overnight
    -Take it out of the fridge an hour before serving
    -Toss in a nice squeeze of fresh lemon juice just before serving
    -Diced red onion is also an additional option

    Serve on top of the fish or on the side. Use an ice cream scoop for a fancier presentation. Cut the recipe in half for two people.

    The creamy texture of the avocado and the snap of the corn goes wonderfully with salmon. It strikes me as very Californian and it adds beautiful color to the dish.

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