Janet's Notebook
Creative Fish Recipes Serve Up Unique Meal Ideas

Shell's Colorful Fish Tacos

Surprise, surprise... we had an absolute ball observing meatless Mondays in January! Coming from a long line of red meat and potatoes women, it was an adventure into the unknown for my family and I to devote one day a week to meatless recipes. And while we still thoroughly enjoy sumptuous steaks and the occasional hamburger, I have fully embraced the idea of flavorful, meatless meals.

What helped me most in navigating this new recipe territory was the endless inspiration coming from your kitchens! Not knowing where to start, it was your recipes that fueled our New Year experiment. Turns out, not only are there a myriad of tasty ways to go meatless on Mondays, but you also have recipe boxes full of other red meat alternatives - like pork and fish - for the rest of the week as well.

In fact, fish has become a new-found staple in our house. As I constantly look to expand my cooking horizons, I've been thrilled with the many fish dishes we've tried lately that just plain rock our collective socks.

For me, it all started by getting comfortable with some solid cooking techniques. A great way to get your feet wet, so to speak, is with home cook Brenda Clark's favorite, Foil Envelope Fish! Start the dish by cutting a rectangle of foil and layering on fresh green pepper, lemon slices and tomatoes. Add in filets of your favorite fish - I love salmon or cod, but folks tell us trout works well, too! Finally, season with salt and pepper, seal your envelope and bake. It takes only 15 minutes or so for the fish to cook. When ready, score the envelope with a knife to reveal your seafood masterpiece! So simple, so delicious.

With solid technique, the flavor options are endless. Shell Lucas of Montgomery, TX prefers a Baja-style twist, winning a Blue Ribbon for her delectable Fish Tacos.

"I am getting hungry for them just postng the recipe!" laughs Shell. "It's an amazing burst of flavors to your mouth!"

Indeed, Shell's tacos are just plain incredible. When combined, her ingredients - oregano, cabbage, cumin and cilantro, for starters - merge into a perfection of flavors that nearly overwhelmed my palate upon first taste. Bite after bite, new flavors are revealed to make this one of the most interesting fish tacos I've ever had the pleasure to eat.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum - yet every bit as cravable - is Patricia Naveira's beautiful recipe for Roasted Pistachio Salmon with Maple Whiskey Sauce.

"This is one of my husband and son's favorite dishes," says Patricia. "It's so easy to make and tastes like a high-end restaurant item."

The star of this fab fish dish is Patricia's fantastic sauce. It is so decadently delicious that I was struck speechless when I first tried it. The maple flavor is far more prominent than that of the whiskey, which Patricia tells us makes it quite easy to omit the alcohol entirely if you'd prefer. The entire Crew and I loved the recipe as-is, though, and look forward to trying the scrummy sauce on other dishes as well.

I am proud to still consider myself a meat and potatoes gal, but I'm also so excited to be building out my recipe repertoire with some of these tasty deviations from our norm. After all, there's room in each of our lives for a pinch of change and a sprinkling of adventure every now and then. You may just feel all the spicier for it.

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Ruth Crook - Mar 4, 2013
Salmon is also very good cooked in parchment or puff pastry.
Mary Musumeci - Mar 1, 2013
When flash freezing veggies on a cookie sheet should the veggies be covered before putting in freezer. Thank you
marsha walker - Mar 1, 2013
i would like to submit a recipe, and i would like to know how what do i need to do to do it.... can someone help me please
seffy lov - Feb 28, 2013
I tried tuna in the same way. Tuna is more crispy and tasty.
seffy lov - Feb 28, 2013
I prefer to eat fried bass. A bit crispy and spicy.
I wrap bass pieces with spices and then fry it slowly.
Kitchen ideas
Maggie Proctor - Feb 26, 2013
My husband and I used to go camping a lot. Whenever he caught bass, I would cook it in foil envelopes on the campfire. I used onion, butter, lemon, salt and pepper. That fish would melt in our mouths!
Patricia Roudebush - Feb 26, 2013
proude: The fish in the foil took me back to the days when it was the rage to prepare 6 salmon fillets in the dishwasher. We placed the fish on a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. Lightly salt and papper. cover with a layer of thin cut lemon slices. Add 3/4 cup of good white wine. Fold the foil into the shape of a fish, making sure it can not leak. Place on top shelf in dish washer. Run dishwasher one full cycle using hot water. YUM
Carol Huck - Feb 26, 2013
We do meatless Thursday because that is when our local supermarket has specials on fish. Thanks for the fish in a foil packet reminder. I'll try it again. It's been a long time since I did this. Isn't it funny how we drift away from some recipes and need a gentle nudge to remember how good they are?