Mike Kuckelman, offshore angler and professional chef, is talented at catching and cooking wild ocean fish.
A corporate chef for Bush Brothers Provision Co. in West Palm Beach, Kuckelman shared some of his fish-cooking secrets at the Sept. 23 meeting of the Boynton Beach Fishing Club.
Fishing club members enjoyed samples of Kuckelman’s mouth-watering smoked fish dip, fried fish and seared yellowfin tuna over sautéed Chinese vegetables.
Here are a few fish recipes that Kuckelman was kind enough to share:
Smoked fish dip: Start with kingfish or Spanish mackerel fillets, soaked overnight (in a refrigerator) in a brine solution consisting of water, non-iodized salt, brown sugar, honey and molasses. After brining, dry and smoke the fish at about 220 degrees using wet pieces of white oak or maple wood (or a smoking wood of your choice) to produce the smokey flavor. Flake the smoked fish and fold in Hellmann’s mayonnaise and lemon juice. Add a dash of salt and black pepper, a dash of Worcestershire sauce and a drizzle of hot sauce. Mix with clean hands. The smoked fish spread should be sweet and smoky. Serve with crackers and a bottle of your favorite hot sauce.
Fried fish: Use a light, white fish such as scrod. Dip the fillets in flour, then egg wash, then breading (Drake’s Crispy Fry Mix). Refrigerate the breaded pieces for half an hour, then fry them in hot oil (canola or peanut oil). The fish pieces float when they’re done. For a beer batter, use a warm beer and whip it until the beer goes flat, then add the Crispy Fry Mix.
New England tartar sauce: Hellmann’s mayonnaise mixed in a food processor with white onion, capers, dill pickle relish, salt and pepper and a hot sauce such as Cholula. Let it stand for six hours before serving.
Bahamas-style fried lionfish: First, don’t forget that lionfish have 18 venomous spines on their bodies and must be cleaned carefully. Rinse the fillets in cold water. Lightly flour them, dip them in egg wash, coat them with cornflake crumbs and fry them at 350 degrees until golden brown.
Dipping sauce: Equal parts mayonnaise and ketchup with a dash of hot sauce, mixed well.
Seared sesame seed tuna over Chinese ginger vegetables: Buy or catch fresh yellowfin tuna. Coat the tuna in sesame oil, then roll it in sesame seeds. Sear the tuna in an iron skillet holding hot vegetable oil. Leave the fish pink in the center. Sauté the vegetables in a separate skillet holding a combination of sesame oil and vegetable oil. Kuckelman uses bok choy, matchstick carrots, white onion, snow peas, strips of red bell pepper and Napa cabbage. Leave the vegetables crunchy. Add fresh-grated ginger, a pinch of salt, a shot of soy sauce, a splash of rice vinegar and a dash of ponzu sauce at the end. Slice the tuna and serve it on top of the sautéed vegetables.