As I’ve mentioned before, my grandfather was a fisherman (as well as many other things). My grandmother cooked a bunch of different fish recipes but one she never made was baked stuffed fish. This was probably because baked stuff fish isn’t all the good for people with high blood pressure (so much salt! so much butter! but so good!). I don’t fish and my husband doesn’t like seafood so we don’t eat much of the sea’s bounty around here. Which is too bad, as I like seafood and it always reminds me of my grandparents. Since the husband wasn’t going to be home last night for dinner and since I had some fish in the freezer from the CSA my mother joined this past summer, I decided to just do it. Make fish. More specifically, make the bake stuffed fish that I love so much. Mmmmm.
The recipe I used is slightly modified from one I read on a friend of a friend’s blog- but I don’t know the person’s name, so I apologize in advance to whoever the friend of the friend is. It originally called for cream of celery soup but my fear of canned, condensed soup used in casserole form is well documented here so I made my own. I improvised. It was all delicious. My mom even came over for dinner. The best part? There are leftovers waiting for me, since my husband obviously won’t eat them.
Baked Stuffed Fish (in memory of Grandma)
1-2 pounds of white, mild fish (cod or haddock both work) or whatever you happen to have in your freezer. I might have used monkfish.
1/2 pound of scallops
1/2 pound of shrimp (I used frozen, shell-on, which meant I had to peel them but it’s ok because they were (according to the package) “e-z peel”)
1/2 pound of real crabmeat (not imitation)
1 can cream of celery soup OR make your own- 3 Tb flour, 3 Tb butter, 1-2 cups milk, sprinkle of onion powder, celery seed, salt
2 sleeves ritz crakers, crumbled and crushed
1 stick of butter, melted
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt your butter and then use a little of it to coat your baking dish. I used an 8×8 dish.
Place your fish in the dish, flat down. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Make your cream of celery soup stand-in. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium to high heat. Once it’s melted, add the 3 tablespoons of flour and whisk. The flour will sort of absorb the butter. Cook it for a minute to get rid of the raw flour taste.
Add the milk, a bit at a time, and whisk the lumps out. Add some onion powder, celery seed, salt, dry mustard and pepper. Whisk again and cook while whisking until it thickens.
Set this aside to cool so that you don’t burn your hands when you go to mix everything together.
Time to chop your seafood for stuffing. I threw everything into the food processor because, c’mon, you know me: LAAAAAZZZZY.
So, however you choose to do it, chop your scallops, shrimp and crab.
Obviously, if you chop by hand it won’t be this finely chopped. That’s ok. Throw your crushed ritz crackers, melted butter, soup stand-in and seafood into a bowl and mix.
I use my (clean) hands which just feels like the right thing to do.
Dump all of this atop your fish and spread out evenly. You’ll have lots more stuffing than fish, which, for me anyway, is totally ok.
Place it in the oven and cook for about 40 minutes, covered. I didn’t realize until it was in the oven that I don’t really have a good, ovenproof lid for this pan. So I improvised.
If you have any shrimp leftover, as I did, you should totally roast them. So good. Peel them and throw them in a pan with some olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic (fresh or granulated). Roast in the oven at 425 for about 8-10 minutes or until they’re pink. Then, I dare you to not eat them all while standing over the stove, burning your mouth. If you can resist, they’re great on pasta- sort of a quick shrimp scampi.
While my fish was cooking, I roasted some broccoli and cauliflower. See here for tips on roasting veggies.
After 40 minutes, take the lid off the fish pan and bake for another 15 minutes, so the top will get all brown, bubbly and crunchy.
I promise, there’s fish in there. Serve with veggies or salad. You don’t so much need a starch as the stuffing works for that. So good. Definitely not an everyday meal (the butter! the calories!) but worth it for a treat now and then. I imagine you could use the same stuffing, in smaller amounts, to stuff shrimp or clams or lobster or anything else ocean-related. Mmm. I’m wishing I’d brought some for lunch today (though, I think shared microwave etiquette demands that you do not re-heat fish or anything similarly smelly at work) instead of this salad. Sigh.