This time of the year many religions suggest a fish menu for the next 6-weeks or so. For the past hundreds of years people have observed this time of the year to fast and do without meat. They even continued into eating fish on Wednesdays and Fridays after this religious season. Today we know that fish is very healthy for us and especially here on the coast of North Carolina we find fresh fish plentiful. Eating fish at least once a week is healthy for your body, and believe it or not you will feel better when eating fish.

This time of the year many religions suggest a fish menu for the next 6-weeks or so. For the past hundreds of years people have observed this time of the year to fast and do without meat. They even continued into eating fish on Wednesdays and Fridays after this religious season. Today we know that fish is very healthy for us and especially here on the coast of North Carolina we find fresh fish plentiful. Eating fish at least once a week is healthy for your body, and believe it or not you will feel better when eating fish.

Fish and seafood may be fried, broiled, baked, stewed, ceviched, grilled, and microwaved. Preparing fish is as simple or as complicated as one desires, from eating it plain with some lemon and spices, to being creative with sauces and bread crumbs. Here are a few fish and seafood recipes that are very tasty. I especially like the Salmon with Brown Sugar.

If you are looking for more fish and seafood recipes I have placed numerous recipes in the Topsail Senior Center’s “Hook, Line and Topsail Seniors” community recipes and delights cookbook. There are still a few cookbooks with more than 300 delicious recipes available at the center for a donation of $10.



Mediterranean Salad with Shrimp or Crabmeat


1 tablespoon fresh thyme finely chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup champagne or white vinegar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon sweet onion, finely chopped


4 cups torn Romaine lettuce

1 can pitted black olives, cut in half

1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1-2 Kirby cucumbers, cut into large chunks

4-6 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves (Optional)

Croutons (Optional)

½-3/4 pound medium shrimp , shelled and deveined, or 1-2 cups fresh crab meat

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

In a glass jar shake together lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, thyme, onion, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and chill.

In a pot of boiling water, with 1-teaspon Old Bay Seasoning, flash cook the shrimp until just pink. Rinse under cold water, drain, and set aside.

Combine the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss together. Stir in salad dressing. Fold in cooked shrimp. Add croutons if desired.


Scallop Ceviche with Mandarin Oranges

This is one of my favorite dishes. The true recipe is to use the scallops or shrimp raw, but I always prefer just to flash cook the shrimp until a pale pink, just to may sure the bacteria are gone. It’s a dish from the Caribbean.

1 pound fresh sea scallops, cut up into small 1-inch pieces, or medium shrimp, shelled and deveined

1/3 cup lime juice

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ small red onion, finely chopped

1 avocado, cut into small cubes

1 can mandarin oranges, drained and cut in half crosswise

1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno chili (Optional for spicy ceviche)

In a pot of boiling water flash cook whole scallops (or shrimp) for 30 seconds and remove quickly, put into ice water to stop cooking, drain and cut into small pieces.

In a bowl fold together scallops, salt and lime juice. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so until scallops turn opaque. Add mandarin orange pieces, onion, cilantro and avocado; gently fold in until well blended. Serve with tortilla chips.


She Crab Soup

1 pound fresh or packaged crab meat, picked clean of any debris

1 large sweet onion

½ cup butter

1 cup all purpose flour

1 quart half and half

2 pints heavy cream

½ cup dry white wine

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

In a large saucepan sauté onions and butter until tender. Stir in flour slowly over low heat, stirring constantly until well mixed and there are no lumps. Add half and half and continue stirring, then add cream stirring frequently. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for another 20 minutes. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes covered to let flavors mellow. Serve hot and garnish with fresh parsley.


Manhattan Clam Chowder

6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

1 large onion, chopped

7 slices smoked uncooked bacon, diced

2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning

1 16 -ounce can clams

1 16 -ounce can diced tomatoes

1 16 -ounce can tomato sauce

Salt and Pepper to taste

½ cup dry white wine (Optional)

In medium skillet sauté bacon and onions together until bacon is crisp. In large stock pot add all ingredients. Cook on medium/low heat (about 2-3 hours) until potatoes are tender. Serve Hot.


Salmon with Brown Sugar

Serves 4.

4 6-ounce boneless salmon fillets

2 tablespoons butter, melted

¼ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (Optional)

Preheat oven’s broiler and have rack about 6-inches from heat source. Cooking spray a broiler pan, set aside.

Arrange salmon fillets on prepared broiler pan. Stir together in a small bowl warm melted butter with brown sugar, and Dijon mustard, if desired, mix well. Spoon sugar mixture evenly over tops of salmon fillets.

Broil until salmon flakes easily with a fork, about 10-12 minutes, depending on thickness. Serve with broccoli or asparagus and some sautéed brown rice.


Fish and Chips

Serves 4-6

2 pounds fish fillets, cut in half (haddock, cod or flounder)

1 cup buttermilk or one cup milk mixed with 1-tablespoon white vinegar

1 lemon thinly sliced

all purpose-flour

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 cups pancake mix (I also use Bisquick mix.)

¼ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

2 ½ cups club soda

canola oil

1 pound potatoes ( 2 medium), thickly sliced into rings or strips

In a shallow bowl or pie plate, cover fish with buttermilk and lemon. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove fish from dish. Dredge fish in flour and let dry for 3-4 minutes.

In a bowl, combine club soda, sugar, Old Bay seasoning, and pancake mix to make a batter.

Heat oil in heavy skillet until hot, about one-inch deep. Dip floured fish into batter and let excess drip off. Fry fish in hot oil for 4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Keep fish warm until ready to serve by arranging the fillets on a cookie sheet and placing them in a 250 degree oven until all fish fillets are finished.

Microwave potato slices in a single layer for 3 minutes. Fry in oil until brown.


Crispy Flounder Fillets

Serves 4

4 6-ounce skinless flounder fillets

2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes

½ teaspoon dried, crushed thyme

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Vegetable cooking spray

1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1 large egg, beaten with 1-tablespoon water or milk

1-2 tablespoons canola oil

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, mix together panko, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and thyme in a shallow dish or pie plate. Spray fillets with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and black pepper, to taste.

In another shallow dish or pie plate, whisk together egg and water or milk. Dredge fillets in egg mixture; let excess drip off and then dredge in panko mixture.

Heat 1-tablespoon canola oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2-fillets at a time and cook about 3 minutes on each side or until a golden brown or a desired doneness. Repeat with remaining 2-fillets. Serve with salad and a potato side.


Shrimp and Cheese Enchiladas

Serves 4-6

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

½ cup sour cream

1 cup picante sauce

1-2 teaspoons chili powder

½ pound medium, shrimp, shelled, deveined and cut into small pieces

½ cup Monterey Jack cheese

6 6-inch flour tortillas warmed

1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped

¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl combine together mushroom soup, sour cream, picante sauce, and chili powder; stir well.

In another bowl stir soup and sour cream mixture, reserving 2/3 cup for topping, with shrimp and cheese; mix well. Divide the shrimp mixture evenly among the 6-tortillas. Roll up tortillas place, seam side down in a 11x7-inch baking dish. Pour remaining soup and sour cream mixture over filled tortillas. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes until enchiladas are hot and bubbly. When ready to serve, top with chopped tomato and chopped cilantro.


Stuffed Tomatoes with Salmon Salad

Serves 4

For tomato cups cut off ¼ (one fourth) inch slice from the stem top of each tomato. With a spoon scoop out the tomato pulp leaving a ½ to ¾ inch shell.

4 medium, ripe standard tomatoes

1 7 ounce can salmon, drained and flaked, chilled

½ cup chopped scallions

2 stalks chopped celery

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Prepare tomato cups and set aside on individual salad plates. Mix together remaining ingredients and divide equally into 4 parts. Stuff each tomato with the salmon salad and garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley.

Note: Tuna fish, crab meat, shrimp, or chicken salad can be substituted or cottage cheese mixed with parsley and cilantro.


Angel Hair with Shrimp and Wine

Serves 4

8 ounces hot cooked angel hair pasta

¼ cup butter, melted

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

¾ pound fresh or frozen shelled shrimp, halved lengthwise

½ cup sweet onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon EVOO, olive oil

1 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon instant chicken bouillon granules

2 teaspoons dried basil, chopped

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half

In a saucepan cook onion in 2 -tablespoons of butter and 1- tablespoon olive oil until tender. Stir in wine, bouillon granules, basil, pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10-12 minutes until ½ the liquid is evaporated. Halve shrimp lengthwise. Add to wine mixture. Cover and simmer for about 2 minutes until shrimp are just pink and tender. Stir in halved tomatoes and heat for about 1-2 minutes.

Toss prepared cooked angel hair with ¼ cup melted butter. Add shrimp mixture, cheese and parsley, stir well. Toss until angel hair is coated. Serve immediately.

Note: Scallops may be substituted for shrimp if desired.


Oyster Stew

Serves 4

2 dozen shucked raw oysters with liquid

¼ cup butter

1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon celery powder or celery salt

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ teaspoon paprika

½ cup dry white wine (Optional)

1 quart half and half or whole milk

Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Remove any bits of shell from oysters. In a saucepan heat butter until sizzling. Add oysters with liquid. Stir evenly, then add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, celery powder or salt and paprika. Heat over medium heat until edges of oysters curl slightly. Add milk. Heat over medium heat, add white wine, but be sure not to boil stew. Serve hot in bowls with pats of butter and sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley over the top.


Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.