So maybe you're the kind of person who slinks past the seafood aisle of your local supermarket, telling yourself you don't know how to prepare fish, that it's too mysterious and difficult.
Now the winter holiday season is at its peak and other people – gifted, talented home cooks, no doubt – are crowding around outdoor seafood stands at various markets.
They've been buying lobster tails to broil, shrimp to steam, smelt to fry, haddock to bake, maybe as many as seven or 12 different kinds of fish to serve at one meatless meal.
This is a very traditional area, said Gary Ankner, a manager at Schiel's Family Markets, where outdoor fish stands will be staffed at the Hanover Street and George Avenue locations in Wilkes-Barre through New Year's Eve.
If your tradition involves many fish dishes, or perhaps just one old favorite, you probably already have some cherished recipes. But if you're just beginning to explore ways to cook fish and seafood, we have some simple recipes to get you started.
And if you can't make it to a harbor market in Boston or New York, it can be fun to find your fish at one of the many local outdoor stands.
There's an ambience to it, said Ankner, who recommends Baked Haddock Au Gratin as a simple and tasty dish. Below, we've published the recipe provided in the most recent Shur-Save flier. Multiple variations of it exist online.
For fans of shrimp and scallops, we also have a spicy recipe from Weis Markets.
And, if you dare to deal with some of the more unusual seafood, we found a recipe for Garlic and Herb Braised Squid at epicurious.com.
BAKED HADDOCK AU GRATIN
2 pounds haddock fillets
1 can cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery soup
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded mild cheese, optional
1 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs
3 tablespoons melted butter
Arrange haddock in a shallow buttered baking dish. Combine soup with milk in a sauce pan over medium-low heat; heat through. Pour soup mixture over the fish. Sprinkle fish with shredded cheese and bread crumbs mixed with melted butter. Bake fish for 10-15 minutes or until golden on top and fish is flaky and cooked through. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
(Recipe from ShurSave.)
ANISE-ORANGE SHRIMP AND SCALLOP SKEWERS
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon anise seed
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 pound large sea scallops
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Mix orange juice, oil, anise seed, garlic salt, ginger and pepper in small bowl. Place seafood in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove seafood from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. Alternately thread shrimp and scallops onto skewers. Grill over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and scallops are opaque.
HONEY GINGER DIPPING SAUCE
3/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons sliced green onion
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Whisk together all ingredients and use for dipping.
(Recipe from weismarkets.com)
GARLIC AND HERB BRAISED SQUID
1 1/2 pounds cleaned squid
2 cups flat-leaf parsley sprigs, divided
5 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil.
1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
3/4 cup Chardonnay
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup water
Crusty bread to accompany
Rinse squid under cold water and pat dry. Halve any large tentacles lengthwise and cut bodies (including flaps, if attached) crosswise into half-inch-wide rings.
Chop enough parsley to measure 2 tablespoons and reserve. Chop remaining parsley and garlic together. Heat oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over low heat until hot, then cook parsley-garlic mixture and red-pepper flakes, stirring, until garlic begins to sizzle, about 2 minutes.
Increase heat to medium-high and add squid, then cook, stirring occasionally, until squid is barely opaque, about 1 minute. Add wine and briskly simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes.
Add tomatoes with their juice, water, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until squid is very tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
Season with additional salt and pepper and stir in reserved parsley.
(Recipe from epicurious.com.)