Great fish without the oceanfront view

Published 5:40 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fish are a finicky animal, especially for cooks.

Some are hard to cook and some are just as tough to mess up.

Some are rich in natural flavors, some not so much.

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And depending on where you live and the season (like Demopolis in the winter), some species can be nearly impossible to find.

Let’s take fresh fish out of the equation. It’s just hard to find around here, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Sure, if we all lived just off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico I’d tell you to run down to the closet dock and haggle with a fishermen, but that’s simply not the case.

Most of our local grocers have a nice supply of frozen fish, so we’ll just go from there.

Let’s face it. You’re probably going to marinate it or put something else on top of it, so our fish is really just the canvas on which we’re about to paint.

Unless you’ve got a good fly rod and a long weekend, stop by your favorite grocer and pick up some salmon filets or salmon steaks and give this a whirl:

And I know what you just said. “Salmon?! Gross!” Come on. Give it a shot.

4 six ounce salmon steaks, with 4 sheets of aluminum foil

4 carrots, sliced

1 yellow squash, sliced thinly

quarter cup of lemon juice

quarter cup of melted butter

2 teaspoons of dried dill weed

1 teaspoon of lemon pepper

Spray the aluminum foil with a flavorless non-stick spray and set aside. Place each salmon steak in the middle of a sheet of foil and surround with sliced carrots and squash. In small bowl, combine lemon juice, butter, dill and lemon pepper. Spoon over the top of each salmon steak. Bring up the sides of the foil and double fold to form a packet, leaving space for heat circulation inside. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Much longer than 4 hours and the flavor is too intense for my taste. I like the flavor of salmon so I don’t want to choke it all away.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and cook salmon steaks for about 20 minutes.

Once the steaks are done to your liking, serve them immediately. Fish get cold extraordinarily fast.

The above recipe works well with a variety of fish, so if you’re just not a salmon person, give it a try on something else. It’s also pretty good on bass or crappie. If your husband is a fishermen and you’re looking for a way to clean out your freezer without breaking out the deep fryer, this is a pretty tasty way to go.

Tiffany Cannon is a field editor for Taste of Home Magazine and owner of 2ate9 Bakery and Catering in Demopolis. She can be reached via email at