Spurred by tons of studies showing the health benefits of eating a diet rich in fish, medical professionals won’t stop telling patients to eat more seafood anytime soon. So they’re probably dismayed to see most Americans are still a little unsure about fish. Even when we do buy the protein, it often ends up forgotten in the freezer and eventually thrown out. According to a recent study published in Global Environmental Change, nearly 50% of the edible seafood in the U.S. was wasted from 2009 to 2013.
We’re here to prove fish isn’t any more difficult to prepare the other proteins you cook. And while most think of seafood as lighter fare more appropriate for summer, it plays equally well with heartier preparations and ingredients we see once the weather cools down. Try these six fish recipes to see how fall-friendly fish can be.
1. Roasted Salmon with Parsnips and Ginger
As long as you use bold ingredients, you can turn out remarkably flavorful meals without resorting to a long list of ingredients. Try the method with this Asian-influenced salmon and parsnip recipe from Martha Stewart’s Body+Soul. Instead of going with a regular soy sauce, this dish uses tamari, a version that has a thicker consistency and a richer taste. Combine it with ginger, orange juice, and a bit of rosemary for a sweet and salty dressing that goes wonderfully with the fish and root vegetables.
If you’re new to parsnips, don’t be intimidated. You’ll roast them just as you would carrots, which brings out their naturally sweet flavor. When buying them at the store, stay away from ones that are too large as they’re often fibrous and tough.
- 1 pound parsnips, peeled, and cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons safflower oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 4 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place parsnips on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons safflower oil. Spread in a single layer on pan and bake until beginning to brown around the edges, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine ginger, rosemary, tamari, orange juice, and remaining oil in a small bowl.
Turn parsnips and push to edges of pan, making room for salmon. Add fillets, skin-side up, to the pan, and return to oven. Cook until fillets are opaque on tops and bottoms and fish flakes slightly in the center when pressed, 12 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway though. Transfer salmon to plates. Pour ginger dressing on pan, and gently toss with parsnips. Divide parsnips among plates, and spoon dressing over parsnips and fish. Serve.
2. Walleye Cakes with Horseradish Sour Cream Sauce
Crab and salmon aren’t the only types of seafood that taste great in patty form. In-Fisherman’s little cakes call for walleye, but almost any type of white fish will work just as well. Simply pulse the seafood in a food processor, then mix it with some mashed potatoes, herbs, and a few other seasonings. Once the patties are shaped, cook them in a bit of oil, then serve with a simple horseradish sauce.
Though cardamom and orange are delicious in this recipe, not everyone keeps those ingredients on hand. You can get equally delicious results with a little bit of lemon and a sprinkle of paprika or cayenne pepper. If you’re feeling extra hungry, pile a patty onto a sandwich with some of the sauce, a little bit of lettuce, and some sliced tomato.
- 1½ pounds fresh walleye, cleaned, and deboned
- 1¼ cups mashed cooked potatoes, cooled
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh pepper
- 1 bunch green onions, minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1½ teaspoons grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Flour or cornmeal
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ¾ cup sour cream or yogurt
- 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish or 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- ¼ cup milk
Directions: For sauce, combine all ingredients, and mix to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Grind walleye in a food processor until finely chopped. Mix together eggs, salt, pepper, green onions, cardamom, orange zest, cilantro, and parsley in a medium bowl. Add fish and potatoes, and stir to combine. Shape mixture into 2-inch patties, and dust with flour or cornmeal.
Heat oil in a skillet until hot. Sauté cakes until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Cakes should be firm, but not dry. Serve fish cakes with sauce.
3. Cod Chowder with Bacon, Butternut Squash, and Thyme
Clam chowder is a touchy subject. Different regions have their own styles and each thinks theirs is the best. Skip the controversy by whipping up a hearty fish chowder instead. We like this butternut squash and cod version from Every Day with Rachael Ray. The squash and bacon make it hearty enough for a chilly night, but the fish keeps it from feeling too heavy.
You can make this dish pescetarian by simply omitting the bacon, but adding a pinch of smoked paprika helps give it a similar flavor. Don’t forget to pick up some bread to dunk in the flavorful broth.
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, divided
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1½ tablespoons flour
- 3½ cups vegetable stock
- ½ cup clam juice
- 1 pound skinless cod fillets, cut into large pieces
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Pinch cayenne
Directions: In a large pot, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 3 minutes. Add onion, celery, and 1 tablespoon thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in squash and flour. Cook, stirring until flour beings to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the stock and clam juice and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until squash is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add cod, cover, and simmer until fish flakes, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in cream and cayenne. Divide among bowls, sprinkle with remaining thyme, and serve.
4. Halibut with Roasted Vegetables and Spicy Cilantro Sauce
Hearty roasted beets and squash make the perfect base for flaky halibut in this simple recipe from Epicurious. Everything bakes in the oven, making for a low-maintenance supper that practically cooks itself. Though you’ll have plenty of time to whip up the cilantro sauce, you can take an easier approach by stirring a few pinches of red pepper flakes into some purchased pesto.
- 4 pounds butternut squash
- 1 pound beets
- 1 medium onion
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 4 (5-ounce) skinless halibut fillets
- Spicy Cilantro Sauce
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Halve squash lengthwise and discard seeds. peel squash and cut enough ¾-inch cubes to measure 6 cups. Trim and peel beets. Cut beets and onion into ¾-inch cubes. In a 17-by-11-inch roasting pan, toss squash, beets, and onion with oil until coated. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast vegetables in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Thinly slice garlic and scatter over vegetables. Roast vegetables 8 minutes longer, or until barely tender. Season halibut with salt and pepper and arrange on top of vegetables. Roast halibut until just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Serve with cilantro sauce.
5. Creamy Spinach Stuffed Flounder
You’ll find plenty of recipes out there for some type of fish or meat stuffed with spinach. While they’re usually delicious, they also take forever to prepare. Taste of Home’s fast recipe takes an easier route by opting for a vegetable cream cheese and frozen spinach, which cuts down on ingredients as well as time. Since the fish is so elegant, some steamed vegetables and simply cooked grains are all you need to complete the meal.
- 1 (10-ounce) package chopped, frozen spinach, thawed, and squeezed dry
- 1 (8-ounce) package garden vegetable cream cheese, divided
- 4 (3-ounce) flounder or sole fillets
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, combine spinach and ¾ cup cream cheese. Spoon onto each fillet, and roll up. Place fish, seam-side down, in a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Bake uncovered 25 to 30 minutes, or until fish flakes with a fork.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine milk, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and remaining cream cheese. Microwave on high 30 to 60 seconds, and stir until smooth. Spoon sauce over fish, and serve.
6. Pizza with New Potatoes, Smoked Trout, and Goat Cheese
Smoked trout makes a great appetizer, but it can be hard to know exactly what to do with leftovers. This hearty pizza with potatoes and goat cheese from Wood Stone Home might just be the best use for the fish. Though seafood doesn’t often go very well with cheese, the smokiness of the trout really stands up to the tangy dairy in this dish. If you can’t find crème fraîche, substitute sour cream that’s been thinned with a little bit of heavy cream.
- 2 (7-ounce) dough balls, rolled out
- 4 medium fingerling potatoes, sliced very thinly on a mandoline
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 ounces smoked trout, crumbled
- 4 ounces semi-soft goat cheese, thinly sliced or crumbled
- 2 small spring onions, sliced into very thin rings
- 2 ounces Niçoise olives, pitted, optional
- ¼ cup crème fraîche
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
- Fresh dill sprigs or lemon thyme leaves
Directions: Preheat oven to 550 to 580 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay potato slices in a single layer over dough. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter trout and cheese evenly over potatoes, then top with onions and olives. Mix crème fraîche and horseradish together and set aside.
Transfer pizzas to oven and cook until crust is crisp and top is beginning to brown. Drizzle with horseradish sauce, scatter herbs over, slice, and serve.