How to Cook Fish

francine segan offers tips on how to prepare exquisite fish dishes.

Dinner Ideas

How to Cook Fish

Summer Catch

-Francine Segan, food+home editor

fish and chipsI don’t fish. I hate the idea of hanging around hoping dinner will swim by, but I sure do love fish in the summer. The warm weather just begs for light foods like fish, that’s quick to make.

Some quick summer ideas are:

1. Fish tacos: fillet of cod sprinkled with Cajun spice mix either grilled or broiled and served in taco shells topped with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and salsa.

2. Catch of the Day Salad: salad bar greens and fixings topped with a can of olive oil packed good quality tuna, smoked salmon, or crab meat.

3. Almost-Instant Shrimp Fried Rice: Toss a diced onion, soy sauce and a handful of peeled shrimp into quick cooking rice. Just before serving, stir in a can of bean sprouts and water chestnuts. Just like take-out, but without the wait.

Here are two of my other favorite summer fish recipes.

Spicy Tequila Shrimp
-Courtesy of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas

The hint of vanilla extract perfectly compliments this dish’s spice flavors. Since you’ll have tequila handy, go ahead and make yourself a margarita to enjoy before dinner!

Spicy Tequila ShrimpTequila Marinade:

¼ cup Tequila
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Pure Mexican Vanilla Extract
1 small stick of cinnamon, preferably Mexican
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano


1 to 1 ½ pounds medium shrimp peeled and deveined 2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced 2 jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
1 (6 – ounce) can diced tomatoes
¼ cup cool water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Hot cooked rice

For the marinade, combine the tequila, vanilla extract, cinnamon stick, olive oil, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic, thyme and oregano in a sealable plastic bag.

For the shrimp, add the shrimp to the marinade and seal the bag, turning to coat the shrimp. Marinate in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the bag occasionally. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and marinade. Sauté until the shrimp begin to change color. Add the onions, bell peppers, the jalapeno chilies and tomatoes. Cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp and shrimp turn pink.

Combine the water and cornstarch in a small cup and mix until the cornstarch is dissolved. Cook the shrimp mixture for 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the cornstarch mixture and cook until the mixture begins to thicken.

Serves 4 – 6

Mediterranean Red Snapper
From Philosopher’s Kitchen (Random House) by Francine Segan
Serves 4

This mix of classic Mediterranean ingredients -capers, olives, lemons, and bay leaves-is the perfect seasoning for snapper. This is one of my favorite recipes because it takes only minutes to assemble, can be made hours in advance, and is amazingly delicious. Plus, since the fish is wrapped in foil or paper clean-up is a snap.

Mediterranean Red Snapper Ingredients:

Juice of 2 lemons
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
4 bay leaves, crushed
1/2 tablespoon whole pink peppercorns
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
15 oil cured black olives, pitted and halved
4 red snapper fillets, about 8 ounces each
Salt and freshly milled pepper
4 twelve-inch long parchment or aluminum foil sheets
1 lemon, cut into wedges


Combine the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, bay leaves, peppercorns, capers, and olives in a large bowl. Add the red snapper to the marinade, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Brush both sides of the parchment paper with a little olive oil. Remove a fillet from the marinade, season with salt and pepper, and place it on the paper topped with several spoonfuls of marinate. To close the packet, bring the top and bottom edges together and fold them over about 1/2 inch. Continue folding until you reach the fillet. Tuck the sides of the parchment on each end under the fish. Repeat for the other 3 fillets. Place the parchment packets onto a baking sheet.

Bake the packets for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve the fish in the paper with lemon wedges on the side.

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