The All Natural
Attitude Adjustment


By Fish Talk Radio


Scott Leysath,

  1. Fish should be cold, oiled and seasoned before adding to a hot grill. This will greatly reduce the chances of it sticking.
  1. If you are still worried about fish sticking to the grill or if you are grilling less-firm fish, place it skin side down on the hot grate over medium heat. Cover it with a lid or pan (foil pans work great) and it will work like an oven and cook the top as well, eliminating the fear of flipping it and having the fish potentially fall apart.
  1. When grilling whole sides of salmon or steelhead, the skin may stick to the grate. No worries. Take your time, don’t flip it and just remove the cooked flesh, leaving the skin stuck to the grill. You can deal with the skin when you clean the grate after dinner…or maybe next week.
  1. The general rule of thumb for cooking fish is 10 minutes of cook time (at 350 to 400 degrees) per inch of thickness, but 8 minutes per inch is better. Remove fish from the grill when it is slightly undercooked and keep it warm for a few minutes while you’re dealing with last-minute details. It will keep cooking while it rests. If your fish is too dry, you cooked it too long.
  1. Score the outside of whole filleted fish with a sharp knife before grilling. It will keep it from curling up as it cooks. While it’s cooking, baste with a buttery sauce to add flavor and help crisp up the skin.
  1. Just before serving fish, top it with a good squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. It’s like a natural MSG that will liven up your palate and add a little “zing” to the flavor of the fish.


Fish Wrap

We used to call these things burritos before the marketing people decided that they could call it a “wrap” and make a big splash in the fast food market. Call it what you like. This recipe works great with any kind of fish. Don’t feel like you need to stick to the listed ingredients for this recipe. Anything you like in a burrito or taco will work great in this recipe. If you cannot locate very large flour tortillas, allow two regular flour tortillas per person. Be careful not to overstuff your wrap or it will probably split when rolled.


1 1/2 pounds firm fish fillets

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon, or to taste, hot sauce

1 red bell pepper, quartered

1 yellow onion, sliced into thick slices

1 cup pepper-jack cheese, shredded

1 cup cooked black beans, warm

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

4 tablespoons sour cream

4 extra-large flour tortillas, warm

Combine salt, olive oil, lime juice, garlic and hot sauce. Pour over fish in a plastic, glass or ceramic container, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Grill fish, bell pepper and onion over ash-white coals until lightly browned. For each wrap, spread a tablespoon of sour cream across tortilla. Layer equal portions of fish, pepper, onion, black beans and avocado in a rectangular mound on the tortilla. Fold the bottom edge over and roll the wrap from one side, leaving one end open.


Fried Whole Crappie with Parmesan Peanut Crust

What else to do with those little crappies other than fry them and serve ‘fish & chips’ style? Exactly. Pair with your favorite beer and have yourself a very merry Fish Fry Friday. If you don’t have peanuts, use almonds or another nut in the house (just not your spouse).


7 – 10 crappie. cleaned and dressed with heads removed

1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs

1/4 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup buttermilk

peanut oil for frying

Spicy Tartar Sauce

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard

1/4 teaspoon creole seasoning

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Combine all ingredients.

In a shallow bowl mix bread crumbs, cornmeal, Parmesan cheese, ground peanuts, salt, and pepper. Coat each fish with flour, then dip in buttermilk, then coat evenly with crumb mixture.

In a large skillet, heat 1 – 2 inches of oil over medium high heat. Add fish and fry on both sides until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.


Halibut and Scallop Cakes


1/2 pound halibut fillet, flaked or chopped into pea-sized pieces

1/2 pound bay or sea scallops, chopped into pea-sized pieces (remove adductor muscle on sea scallops)

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

1 large egg lightly beaten

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/3 cup Japanese breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

olive oil

  1. Combine chopped fish and scallops in a medium bowl and dust with flour. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients except olive oil and mix well.
  1. Combine the contents of both bowls and mix well. Mixture should be the consistency of moist cookie dough. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions. Form 2 balls out of each portion and then press each into cakes, about 3/4-inch thick. Make sure that the cakes hold together and don’t fall apart. If they are too moist, add a light dusting of flour evenly over the mixture. If they are too dry, add a little more mayonnaise.
  1. Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the 8 cakes and lightly brown on both sides until just cooked throughout. You can also lightly brown the cakes and then finish cooking them through in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5 – 6 minutes.
  1. Serve immediately and top with your favorite sauce - lemon aioli, cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, etc.


Jalapeno Fish Spread

Broil, bake, fry, grill, sauté, pan-sear, pan-fry, stir-fry, braise, barbecue, cold-smoke, hot-smoke…but what about mash-it-up-into-a-spread? When most folks think about making a fish spread, it’s usually salmon or tuna. While both fish make great spreads, it’s easy to make a delicious fish spread with just about any type of fish. I like to serve the spread on homemade tortilla chips or sourdough toast. How you cook the fish really doesn’t matter. You can broil, bake, fry, grill…


1 1/2 cups cooked fish fillets, flaked

1/3 cup softened cream cheese

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

3 green olives with pimento, chopped

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup celery, finely chopped

2 tablespoons (or more) jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Chill for 1 – 2 hours before serving.

Note: Leftover fish is often thrown away – for good reason. Reheating last night’s leftover crappie just sounds crappy. Use cooked fish as you would canned tuna or salmon and you’ll find that it’s much easier to swallow.

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