Author Archives: Joyce Taylor

Baked Grouper with Green Onion and Mushrooms

another fresh seafood idea

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Baked fish can be simple or fancy. A golden-browned, baked fish is notable for bakedgrouperits simplicity. It can also be dressed up with a topping of sauce or vegetables. Fillets also can be rolled up, stuffed and baked. Or you can put stuffing on the flesh side of a fillet, then place another fillet on top, flesh side down. This creates boneless stuffed fish.

  • 1 pound grouper fillets
  • 1 tablespoon melted margarine or butter
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/2 pound small mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill (or 1 tablespoon dried)

Place fish in greased baking dish. Brush with melted margarine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons margarine. Add green onion and mushrooms and saute lightly. Add dill and mix well. Spoon over fish. Bake at 425 F until done, about 15 or 20 minutes. Serves 3 to 4.

From: Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas

Contributed by Joyce Taylor

Is it OK to eat raw shellfish?

seafood is safe to eat

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Eating raw or partially cooked oysters, clams, mussels and scallops poses openoystersignificant health risks for some people. Eating these raw or undercooked shellfish accounts for 85 percent of all seafood-borne illnesses. Shellfish need to reach an internal temperature of 145 F to be done. Just-opened shellfish are not fully cooked. A crinkled appearance to the meat typically indicates doneness.

The reason for the high incidence of illness from this handful of popular bivalves is simple. We eat them whole — digestive tract and all — and whatever microorganisms or toxins have accumulated in their guts reaches ours. As filter feeders, bivalve mollusks sit in one place and eat whatever the water brings them. If the water is contaminated by natural toxins, sewage or industrial pollution, so is the oyster, clam, mussel or scallop.

A naturally occurring bacterium, Vibrio vulnificus, poses a threat for people with certain medical conditions. Most infections occur from eating raw or partially cooked oysters. The bacterium can also enter the body through an open wound, cut, sore, puncture or burn on skin exposed to sea water or raw shellfish containing the bacteria. Vibrio vulnificus can be found in warm water along the coast, especially during the summer months. It does not pose any danger to most healthy people and can be killed by thorough cooking. Freezing does not destroy it. Nor does drinking alcohol or eating with hot pepper sauce.

Gastroenteritis usually occurs within 16 hours of ingesting the organism. Symptoms include chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, blood poisoning and even death within two days for people with weakened immune systems. More than 50 percent of infections from Vibrio vulnificus prove fatal for people with the health conditions listed here.

No major outbreaks of illness have been attributed to Vibrio vulnificus, but sporadic cases occur frequently.


People with any of the following medical problems are at risk and should not eat raw or partially cooked shellfish:

  • liver disease — from excessive alcohol intake, viral hepatitis, cirrhosis or other causes. This category accounts for most seafood-related illnesses and increases the risk of death more than 200 times.
  • gastrointestinal problems, including previous gastric surgery, low stomach acid, or low stomach acid from regular use of antacids
  • transplanted organs
  • chronic alcohol use
  • diabetes
  • immune disorders, including HIV infection
  • long-term steroid use, as for asthma and arthritis treatment
  • hemochromatosis and other iron disorders
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • cancer
  • heart disease and blood disorders

Older adults tend to be at increased risk because they suffer from these health conditions more often. Also, pregnant women, infants and very young children should eat fully cooked shellfish.

The best way to reduce the risk of illness is to keep within the seafood safety net. Never purchase shellfish from unknown or uncontrolled sources. They’re no bargain. Buy only from reputable dealers who buy from shellfish harvesters licensed under the National Shellfish Sanitation Program. If in doubt, ask to see the shipper’s tag that accompanies in-the-shell products. Also, ask to see the shipper’s number on shucked oyster containers. Such information tells who shipped the product and where it came from originally.

From: Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas

Contributed by Joyce Taylor

Deviled Crab

another fresh seafood idea

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devil-crabBlue crabs may be bought live or cooked. Or you can catch your own. But because of the difficulty in picking the meat from the shell, most of us buy crabmeat that is cooked, picked and ready to eat.

Always be sure that seafood is fresh. If you buy whole crabs, be sure that they are alive. Live crabs show movement of the legs. Cooked crabs look bright red and should have no disagreeable odor. Cooked, picked meat should have good color and no disagreeable odor.

  • 1 pound special or claw crabmeat
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup fine, soft bread crumbs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup fine, soft bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted

Melt 2 tablespoons margarine in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion until tender. Add 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Add cream, stirring constantly. Add cayenne, mustard, salt and Tabasco. Stir in egg. Gently fold in crabmeat. Place in 6 lightly greased shells or ramekins. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crumbs and drizzle with 2 tablespoons melted margarine. Bake at 350 F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Serves 6.

From: Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas

Contributed by Joyce Taylor

Sautéed Flounder Amandine

another fresh seafood idea

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The term “sauté” is often used interchangeably with “pan-fry.” LR-FlounderThere is a distinction, though. Sautéing is much quicker. The term comes from the French word meaning “to jump.” To sauté indicates cooking quickly — into the pan, fast cook, out of the pan.

Sautéing uses just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, and it almost always calls for butter. You can use clarified butter, oil and butter, or oil. If you use both oil and butter, heat the oil, then add the butter. If you want the best possible flavor from sautéing, use clarified butter. You’ll be glad you did.

  • 4 small flounder fillets
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Dry fillets thoroughly by patting gently with paper towels.

In shallow bowl, combine flour, salt pepper and cayenne. Dredge fillets in mixture.

Heat oil in large skillet. Add 3 tablespoons margarine. Melt margarine and heat. Sauté fillets until golden brown on one side, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and repeat on other side. Remove fish to warm platter.

Wipe pan clean. Melt remaining tablespoon of margarine. When it begins to brown, add almonds. Cook until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add lemon juice, mix thoroughly and return to heat for 1 minute. Spread over warm fillets. Serves 4.

From: Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas

Contributed by Joyce Taylor

Maryland-Style Crab Cakes

another fresh seafood idea

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Photo by Scott Taylor

Fresh North Carolina crabmeat is now available year-round in most seafood and many supermarkets. Your crab cakes will be tastier if you avoid imported or pasteurized crab meat.

The meat should be white with slight red or brown pigments and should have a mild, sweet odor.

You can usually substitute one kind of crabmeat for another. Most recipes calling for backfin can be made with special or claw meat. The only difference is the size of the pieces and the color.

Be sure not to overcook crab dishes. Remember the crabmeat has already been cooked, so cook the food just long enough to thoroughly heat the meat. Any other ingredient, such as egg, will be done by then.

Crabmeat is high in protein, and low in fat, calories and cholesterol.

  • 1 pound backfin crabmeat
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ¾ cup medium coarse saltine cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup medium coarse saltine cracker crumbs for rolling cakes
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, margarine or butter

Remove any shell or cartilage from crabmeat.

In medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, egg, mustard, onion, pepper, Tabasco, Worcestershire, Old Bay and parsley. Blend in ¾ cup crumbs.

Gently mix in crabmeat, being careful not to break pieces apart.

Shape into 6 or 8 crab cakes. Lightly coat with cracker crumbs. Heat oil in skillet to 375 F. Cook crab cakes until golden brown on one side, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and repeat on other side. Drain on paper towels.

Contributed by Joyce Taylor

Baked Clams with Garlic Butter

another fresh seafood idea

Baked Clams with Garlic Butter. Photo by Vanda Lewis

Baked Clams with Garlic Butter. Photo by Vanda Lewis

Clams may be bought in the shell or shucked. Those in the shell should be heavy and tightly closed, or should close when tapped lightly. They should have a pleasant, briny odor. Discard any with open or broken shells.

  • 36 littleneck clams
  • 1/4 pound margarine or butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped green onion, including tops
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • rock salt

Scrub clams thoroughly with a stiff brush under cold, running water. Open clams and discard top shell.

Combine margarine, garlic, green onion, parsley, wine, crumbs, salt, pepper and half the Parmesan. Blend until smooth.

Place clams on the half shell in a bed of rock salt in a cooking pan. Spoon margarine mixture evenly over clams.  Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and bake at 450 F until clams are done and cheese is melted, about 6 to 8 minutes. Serves 6.

From: Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas

Contributed by Joyce Taylor

Freezing Shellfish and Storage Times

How to Select, Handle, Clean and Store Seafood

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Storage Times

frozen-shrimpIdeally, all frozen seafood should be used within two months for maximum quality. When properly frozen, lean fish such as flounder and catfish should maintain quality up to six months. Fatty fish such as bluefish, mackerel and mullet should be used within three months.

Shrimp, scallops, clams, oysters and crabs can be stored up to three months. The sooner fish and shellfish are frozen after harvest, the longer the shelf life will be.


  • should be headed and frozen in their shells in freezer containers. After filling the carton, cover the shrimp with ice water, leaving enough head space for the water to expand when frozen. Use small or medium containers so that the shrimp will freeze more quickly.


  • should be shucked and frozen in airtight containers.

Clams and oysters…

  • are best frozen in their shells, which makes them easy to shuck with no loss of juice. This is not always practical and they can be shucked and frozen in airtight containers.

Blue crabs…

  • should be cleaned and cooked before freezing. Freeze the cores and claws and thaw them before picking the meat out. The quality of the crabmeat will be superior to that of frozen, picked meat that undergoes significant textural changes.

From: Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas

Contributed by Joyce Taylor