Cindi Rockwell of Berkley, Michigan, was a finalist in our 2012 Best of the Midwest Recipe Contest for these hearty fish cakes with a zippy wasabi dressing. Cindi says the recipe, which has two signature Minnesota ingredients, was inspired by the resort her grandparents owned there.
Freshwater salmon soaks up the flavor of cider-tarragon marinade created by Sally Sibthorpe of Shelby Township, Michigan. She finishes the elegant main dish with a cream sauce scented with aniselike tarragon.
Smoked fish brings a wonderful heartiness to this creamy appetizer. The recipe is from Chicago's "Fish Guy," Bill Dugan. Top chefs and seafood newbies come to Bill's Fish Guy Market for fresh fish and advice. "My calling is to make sure the simple pleasures of life -- quality and taste -- don't get away," Bill says.
Try the Fish Guy's Smoked Fish Spread on crackers or bread, or scoop it up with bell pepper wedges.
Cooking in paper -- en papillote -- is a simple, elegant way to prepare fish. When the package is opened, an aromatic puff of steam escapes.
Bill Dugan suggests that beginners try this simple method: Sprinkle a fresh 4- to 5-ounce portion of fish with salt, wrap in a parchment bag and steam in a vegetable steamer for 5 to 8 minutes. Serve au jus or with a splash of vinaigrette. He also suggests baking delicate fish 15 minutes in a parchment bag with fresh herbs.
The Finfish and Vegetables in Papillote recipe uses fresh vegetables as well as herbs to create a fragrant main dish.
Bill Dugan grills fish over coals or tucks it into a foil packet to grill. (You'll get more grilled flavor with the direct method, but the foil packet makes for easy cleanup.) We like the fish with a good squeeze of lemon, served over greens and couscous.
Fish chowder celebrates Michigan, the Great Lakes State (four of the five lakes touch it). Freshwater salmon teams up with two more state ingredients (potatoes and asparagus) for an exceptionally satisfying soup.
Ceviche (seh-VEESH) is a Latin American dish of raw fish and seafood marinated in acidic citrus juices until it turns opaque. In this recipe, you'll cook the shrimp and fish in boiling water for a minute (to avoid any problems with using fish that's not perfectly fresh), cool it, and marinate in the original citrus juices, coconut milk and tequila.
A mixture of fresh basil, pistachios, lime juice, garlic and butter tops easy grilled salmon. Store leftover pistachio-basil butter in your refrigerator for up to a week; toss with hot pasta or spread on toasted French bread.
Every self-respecting North Shore cook makes a version of this traditional old Scandinavian main dish. The father of Grand Marais, Minnesota, native Nancy Lindquist brought his recipe with him from Norway. These tasty fish cakes are based on that recipe. A touch of nutmeg flavors the moist-on-the-inside and crisp-on-the-outside patties.
Peel and devein 1 pound of large fresh shrimp in shells (about 16), leaving tails intact. Rinse; pat dry. Using 8 slices of Niman Ranch Bacon or other bacon (halved crosswise), wrap each shrimp in a piece of bacon, securing with a wood toothpick (neck to tail in a half-moon). To grill, place shrimp on lightly greased rack of uncovered grill over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until bacon is crisp and shrimp turn opaque, turning once. (For gas grill, cover and grill as directed.) If you like, serve with your favorite barbecue sauce. Makes 16.