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Thread: fish recipes for non-fish eaters?

  1. #1

    fish recipes for non-fish eaters?

    I'm trying to teach my family (parents, sister/brother-in-law) that fish can be delicious. My BIL will eat fish in the form of fish and chips. My sister doesn't care for much fish, but she is open minded and willing to try. The only fish I am aware of Mom eating is canned light tuna. Dad will eat just about anything.

    Every one of them eats a lot of processed food and I'm usually the one to introduce them to healthy stuff. On Saturday I have invited them to dinner with the intent on teaching them fish can be delicious and healthy.

    I want to start off with some sort of white fish, the least fishy that I can think of. Orange roughy comes to mind. Maybe scrod or halibut.

    Anyone have any WOW recipes? Keep in mind, they are willing to try things, but not really keen on tons of spice or exotic spices. But I could probably get away with something asian inspired or lemony or whatever. I'm actually thinking some sort of sweetness to help balance the fish out would be good. But my rule is it has to be healthy too.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Columbus, Ohio
    Some ideas (not recipes yet) come to mind:

    -fish tacos

    -broil or grill the fish using some sort of marinade or glaze (maybe soy-sauce based?)

    -coat with panko and maybe a spice blend and pan-fry or bake to give it a crispy, but not greasy, coating

    Does any of that sound like the direction you want to go?

  3. #3
    I would be willing to explore any of those.

    I'm not sure how they would do with fish tacos as some of them are not big veggie eaters and I know they typically involve cabbage and such on top. Not sure if just the seasoned fish in the shell would be enough to entice them.

    Panko sounds good too.

    I guess I want some sort of flavor that is great but they not actually mask the fish flavor. Something that brings out the best in the fish if that makes sense.

    I was considering some sort of soy sauce. I do have a recipe that calls for soy sauce, rice vinegar and olive oil...pour over fish (I used orange roughy) and sprinkle with sesame seeds and broil. DH and I thought this was really good but it seems like it needs maybe one other ingredient to take it to that mind-blowing, "I can't believe I thought I didn't like fish!" level.

    I thought about Eating Well's beer battered tilapia with mango salsa.

    Hmm. I'll have to think some more about this. I prefer simple yet awesome if that makes any sense. And knowing me, it may very well not.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    NashVegas, baby!
    First, I would go with tilapia as my first choice. The least-fishy fish I know. Grouper would also be a good option.

    I like tilapia with my kiwi papaya (or mango) salsa (I've posted here several times). If that's too exotic, just broiling with some lime juice and garlic salt is pretty awesome. I've done this sometimes and then topped with a parmesan bread crumb topping with some minced green onion or shallot (sometimes adding a little minced cooked shrimp). Served each piece on a bed of sauteed spinach.

    Since you're open to Asian, I've made this several times to rave reviews. It calls for trout but I've just used whatever white-fleshed fish I had. You may need to adjust cooking times to account for fish thickness.

    Steamed Fish with Ginger-Wine Sauce
    CL Jan 2002

    8 servings

    3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
    1/4 cup fresh orange juice
    3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
    2 tablespoons sake (rice wine)
    1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
    1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh lemon grass
    1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
    1/2 teaspoon finely chopped hot red chile pepper
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon white pepper
    4 (6-ounce) trout fillets
    1/4 cup red bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch strips
    6 cilantro sprigs

    Combine first 11 ingredients in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Marinate fish in refrigerator 2 hours, turning occasionally.

    Preheat oven to 350°.

    Bake fish mixture (including marinade) at 350° for 17 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Garnish with bell pepper and cilantro.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Columbus, Ohio
    Yeah, I thought fish tacos might not work. I like the looks of the recipe funniegrrl posted; I have had something similar that is tasty. I have looked but can't find the recipe for the soy sauce based glaze that I was thinking of. I agree that a mild white fish, like tilapia, is the way to go.

    I am wondering what you are planning to serve with the fish? Perhaps it would be wise to go with side dishes that you know people like or that will seem familiar, to sort of lessen the shock, if that makes sense. I am thinking of a rice pilaf (or even just plain rice), or baked potatoes, or a green salad, or some sort of veggie everyone will eat. Or whatever local veggies are in season and delicious right now.

    I will also be interested to hear how your dinner is received.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    San Francisco
    My first thought was tilapia, too. (I don't know if you care, but orange roughy is completely overfished and not sustainable, so a lot of restaurants choose not to serve it.) These may be too basic but I had to throw out the idea of your basic lemon-caper sauce, such as this one from CL or this one, from Gourmet magazine, pan-seared tilapia with chile-lime butter.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Emeryville, CA
    Here are a few random recipes that we've made - perhaps one of them will work for you?

    Grilled Tilapia with Cherry Salsa (Adapted from Everyday Food)

    For the salsa

    2 cups sweet cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
    1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    1 jalapeño, seeds removed, minced
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    salt and fresh ground black pepper

    For the tilapia

    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    4 tilapia fillets (about 4 to 6 ounces each)
    1 tablespoon olive oil

    Preheat grill with grates that have been lightly oiled.

    To prepare the salsa

    In a medium bowl, toss together cherries, onion, cilantro, jalapeño and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    To prepare the tilapia

    In a small bowl, whisk together salt, pepper and coriander. Drizzle the oil over the fillets and rub to coat. Sprinkle each piece with the spice mixture. Place fillets on the grill and cook until fish is opaque throughout, carefully flipping each piece halfway through, about 2 minutes per side. Serve fish topped with salsa.

    Makes 4 servings.

    Flounder with Smoked Paprika and Asiago Polenta(Adapted from CL)

    For the polenta

    4 cups milk
    1 cup coarse cornmeal
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 ounces fresh grated Asiago cheese

    For the fish
    2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
    4 6-ounce flounder fillets

    To make the polenta

    In a medium saucepan, bring milk to a boil - gradually whisk in cornmeal. Reduce heat to a bare simmer - cook, stirring often, until the grain has softened and the mixture is thick, about 25 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt and cheese - cover and keep warm.

    To make the fish

    In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high.

    In a small bowl, stir together remaining oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Evenly rub the mixture over the fish. Add fish to the skillet - cook about 3 to 4 minutes per side or until fish feels firm and begins to flake when tested with a fork. Serve each fillet with a portion of the creamy polenta.

    Makes 4 servings.

    Pistachio-Crusted Cod (Adapted from Everyday Food)

    4 6-ounce fillets of cod
    salt and fresh ground black pepper
    1/2 cup unsalted pistachios
    1/2 cup packed fresh parsley
    1 garlic clove
    3 tablespoons olive oil

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

    Set fish on a baking sheet lined with foil and lightly coated with nonstick spray. Season both sides with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

    In a food processor, add pistachios, parsley and garlic - pulse until coarsely chopped. With the processor running, gradually pour in oil and process until finely chopped. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

    Evenly divide pistachio mixture over the fish and spread to cover the tops. Place into the oven and roast until the fish is opaque, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove and serve with lemon slices or wedges, if desired.

    Makes 4 servings.

    Malaysian Barbecue-Glazed Flounder (Adapted from CL)

    4 flounder fillets (about 6 ounces each)
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    fresh ground black pepper to taste
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon orange juice
    1 tablespoon honey
    1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
    1 1/2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
    1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek
    1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
    1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

    Season fillets with salt and pepper.

    In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add fish and sauté until fish begins to flake when tested with a fork, about 3 to 5 minutes per side.

    In a small saucepan, stir together lemon juice, orange juice, honey, rice vinegar, hoisin, sambal oelek, fish sauce and cornstarch. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and brush the mixture over the cooked fillets.

    Makes 4 servings.

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    North Texas
    I know you said no fish tacos, but I just had to put this recipe out there anyway. This is one of my favorite CL recipes ever!! I have a thread on this too HERE.

    They don't have cabbage, only tomatoes and onion as the veggies, and the chipotle cream sauce is excellent, and not spicy. I actually think that eating a "taco" might be easier while getting to like fish. :-)

    Snapper Tacos with Chipotle Cream

    The fish cooks on top of the vegetables in one skillet. Break the fish into chunks to finish the filling.

    1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeded and minced
    1 1/2 cups chopped onion, divided
    1 1/2 cups chopped tomato, divided
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I just sprinkled a bit)
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    1 pound red snapper fillets, skinned (I used Tilapia)
    1 teaspoon grated lime rind
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas (I use corn tortillas)

    Combine sour cream, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and chile; set aside.

    Combine 1/2 cup onion and 1/2 cup tomato; set aside. (I don't separate this part, I put it all in the skillet)

    Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup onion, 1 cup tomato, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, and minced garlic; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in cilantro. Arrange fish over onion mixture in pan; cover and cook 3 minutes. Turn fish; cover and cook 2 minutes. Break fish into chunks. Stir in rind and juice; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

    Warm tortillas according to package directions. Fill each tortilla with 1/2 cup fish mixture and 1/4 cup reserved onion mixture; top each serving with 2 tablespoons chipotle cream. Fold in half or roll up.

    Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 taco)

    CALORIES 340 (21% from fat); FAT 7.8g (satfat 4g, monofat 2g, polyfat 0.9g); PROTEIN 28.1g; CARBOHYDRATE 38.1g; FIBER 3.3g; CHOLESTEROL 56mg; IRON 2mg; SODIUM 896mg; CALCIUM 108mg;
    Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2002
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    In my heaven on earth
    This one is a good one and you could mellow out the the aioli or use a different sauce altogether.

    Cornflake-Crusted Halibut with Chile-Cilantro Aioli

    Total Time 25 minutes

    2 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
    3 tbsp. fat free mayo
    1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
    1 garlic clove, minced

    1 cup fat free milk
    1 large egg white, lightly beaten
    2 cups cornflakes, finely crushed
    1/4 cup all purpose flour
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. pepper
    2 tbsp. olive oil
    4 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
    Lemon wedges

    1. To prepare aioli, combine first 4 ingredients, stirring well.
    2. To prepare fish, combine milk and egg white in shallow dish, stirring well with a whisk. Combine cornflakes, flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish.
    3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Dip fish in milk mixture; dredge in cornflake mixture. Add fish to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve with mayo mixture and lemon wedge. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 fish fillet, 1 tbsp mayo and 1 lemon wedge)

    Calories 367 Fat 11.2g Pro 40.8g Carb 25.1 g Fiber 2.2 g. Chol 56 mg Iron 2.4 mg Sodium 645 mg Calc 166 mg

    "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" ~ George Bernard Shaw

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    My DH prefers deep fried fish (which I don't make) and is very picky about spices also. He really does like this recipe though. I quite often use Tilapia and always have to cut make the garlic to a "moderate" clove

    The key for us though is I can't serve it too often or he will tire of it like he did Salmon when I tried serving it once a week.

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Greek Baked Fish with Vegetables

    Recipe By :
    Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
    Categories : Seafood

    Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
    -------- ------------ --------------------------------
    1 T olive oil
    2 onions -- chopped
    5 garlic cloves -- minced
    1 can whole tomatoes -- (28 oz) coarsely chopped
    4 carrots thinly sliced
    ¼ dry white wine
    2 t dried oregano
    ½ cup minced parsley
    1 ¼ pounds orange roughy
    Freshly ground black pepper

    Preheat oven to 400. Saute onions and garlic in oil till softened. Add tomatoes, carrots wine and oregano;bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring as needed, till the sauce is slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in parsley. Ladle half the sauce into a 2 ½ Quart casserole; top with the fish. Ladle the remaining sauce on top. Bake until the fish is opaque, l5 to 20 minutes. Serve, sprinkled with the black pepper.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 517 Calories; 54g Fat (92.3% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 5mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Vegetable; 11 Fat.

  11. #11
    I feel your pain. My husband hates fish so I have to allow him to "hide" it whenever we eat it (which is once a week - it's healthy! lol). Which means it has to be mild and either have a sauce or marinade or enough grain and veggie for him to mix it in.

    I recommend CL's Bourbon-Glazed Salmon, although for my fish hating hubby I subbed in mahi mahi. You could easily use halibut (more expensive) or cod (a little less expensive) though - just make sure it's a firmer fish (like salmon is but I can't get him to eat that). A lot of the other commenters have recommended tilapia and I personally think it's extremely mild but my husband says it tastes "fishy"

    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 6 tablespoons bourbon
    • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    • 2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 8 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
    • Cooking spray
    • 4 teaspoons sesame seeds
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions


    Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; add salmon fillets. Seal bag, and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes, turning bag once. Remove fillets from bag; discard marinade.

    Preheat broiler.

    Place fillets on broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 11 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle each fillet with 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon onions.

    The fish hater devoured this. Honestly he thought it was super delicious and said he would eat it again anytime. Plus it's easy!

  12. #12
    I think the delicate flavors of cod, haddock and flounder are a great place to start. They are like buttuh!

    I usually start with this recipe:
    Roasted Scrod with Parsley Potatoes
    Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 1998
    1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, quartered
    4 scrod fillets, (6 to 8 ounces)
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    24 flaky butter crackers
    4 tablespoons butter, melted
    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley, plus 1 tablespoon

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

    Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Season the water with salt. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook the potatoes until fork tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and set the potatoes aside.

    Season the scrod with salt and pepper. In a mixing bowl, using your hands, crush the crackers into fine crumbs. Stir in the melted butter and 1 tablespoon of parsley. Place the scrod on a parchment or waxed paper baking sheet. Sprinkle the top of each fillet with the crust. Roast the fillets for 12 minutes.

    In a saute pan, melt the remaining butter. Add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Saute the potatoes for 4 to 6
    minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining parsley.

    To serve, spoon the potatoes in the center of each plate. Lay the fish directly on top of the potatoes and serve.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    I used this with halibut and remember it as being good. I'm sure I used regular coconut milk and probably increased the cilantro, dirtus, and chili paste but you could go in the opposite direction to mellow it out a bit.

    Malaysian Lime-Coconut Swordfish Cooking Light YEAR: July 2000 PAGE: 160

    1/3 cup light coconut milk
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    2 tablespoons thinly sliced peeled fresh lemon grass (about 1 stalk) or 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
    2 tablespoons fish sauce
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    1 teaspoon lime juice
    1/2 teaspoon Thai chili paste (such as Dynasty)
    2 shallots, peeled
    1 garlic clove, peeled
    1 (1-1/2-pound) swordfish steak (about 1 inch thick)
    Cooking spray
    Cilantro sprigs (optional)
    Lemon wedges (optional)

    1. Preheat broiler.

    2. Combine first 9 ingredients in a food processor; pulse 3 times or until coarsely chopped. Place fish on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; spread 1/2 cup shallot mixture evenly over fish. Broil 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve the fish with the remaining shallot mixture, and garnish with cilantro sprigs and lemon wedges, if desired. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 5 ounces fish and 2 tablespoons sauce).

    CALORIES 255 (30% from fat); FAT 8.5g (sat 2.7g, mono 2.9g, poly 1.8g); PROTEIN 36.8g; CARB 5.4g; FIBER 0.2g; CHOL 71mg; IRON 2mg; SODIUM 840mg; CALC 18mg

  14. #14
    Thanks everyone! I will look at all of these more closely when I get home from work. Looks like some wonderful choices here...I'm sure one of them will work for me.

    As for tilapia-I can't say I am a big fan. I used to eat it but it almost has like a dirty aftertaste? I like the texture, but not so much the flavor.

    I will say this...the past few months I've switched to only buying wild fish. I've never seen such a thing as wild tilapia at my store, otherwise I would try it. I buy a lot of scrod, cod, orange roughy, flounder, sole and wild salmon. I did not realize orange roughy was in any danger at all. I've simply been buying it because it is a mild wild option. I may buy it once a month (because I am always rotating some other fish in).

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    I agree with you , Angela, about the taste of Tilapia. It tastes musty or something. I will post a few recipes for fish later. Making dinner right now with 5 DGKs here!


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    South Lake Tahoe, CA
    This is not low calorie but it is easy, mild and good. Historically I usually used orange roughy; the other day I tried it with tilapia and it was very good as well. Actually, it works with many types of fish. I've also substituted margarine and other types of cheese, grated finely. If using steaks rather than fillets, it may take a bit longer to cook. It is a lot of food for two people -- I find that 1/2 recipe feeds the two of us (older folks admittedly) just fine. The butter and P. cheese can also be reduced relative to the fish. I usually serve with rice and a green vegie.

    Parmesan Golden Sole

    6 tablespoons soft butter
    3/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
    2 large fillets of sole, about 1/2 pound each

    Spread half the butter thickly over bottom of baking-serving platter [I use a Pyrex pan]; sprinkle with half the Parmesan. arrange sole in a single layer over cheese; dot with remaining butter; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) 15 minutes, or until cheese is golden; baste frequently with melted butter and cheese. Serve with drippings spoon over. Serves 2.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    SF 'burbs
    Hi Angela,
    DH is the pickiest eater on the face of the earth. He has a LONG list of foods he won't eat, and fish is one. He loves THIS recipe by anne Burrell for "Potato Crusted Halibut".



    In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the olive oil, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, lemon zest, crushed red pepper flakes and fennel seeds. Bring to a boil then turn the heat off and let it sit for at least 1 hour. (*Big tip: This can be done ahead and used for LOTS of different things.)

    Cook's Note: In this case it is important to work quickly and to slice the potatoes for 1 halibut fillet at a time. We are NOT going to soak the potatoes in water, this will help them maintain their starch so they will stick to each other and to the fish, but could cause them to turn brown.

    Using a mandoline, slice 1 potato extremely thin, (paper thin), in elongated rounds. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a clean, dry work surface. Arrange 3 potato slices in an overlapping vertical line pressing them together as you put them on the parchment. Repeat this process until you have a 4 by 6-inch overlapping potato rectangle that replicates fish scales. Brush the potato "scales" with the infused oil and sprinkle with salt. Season the halibut with salt. Lay the halibut fillet closer to 1 end of the potato rectangle than the other and then roll the fish up in the potato slices, using the parchment to help facilitate the rolling. Press to compact and really adhere the potatoes to the fish. Brush the outside of the potatoes with the infused oil to seal the potatoes and to prevent the potatoes from turning brown, this will also help make a nice tight "fish package". Reserve the fish in the refrigerator while preparing the remaining fillets. Refrigerate the fillets for at least 1 hour before cooking.

    To cook the fish:
    Add the infused olive oil to a large nonstick saute pan until the bottom is generously covered and bring the pan to a medium-high heat. Season the fish with salt and add to the pan. Cook the fish on both sides for 3 to 4 minutes frequently spooning the excess oil over the fish to "baste" it. The potatoes should be crispy golden brown and very well flavored and the fish will be succulent inside its crispy "scales". Transfer to serving plates and serve.

    This will make a fish lover out of anyone!

    "Be kind to your neighbor... he knows where you live." -Brian Copeland

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