Cast Iron Skillet Fish Recipes
August 24, 2011 7:58 AM   Subscribe

I seasoned my new cast-iron skillet! Now I need some recipes for fish to pan-sear or otherwise cook in my cast-iron skillet (stovetop or oven). I've got fish to fry, people!

I have some fresh catfish and some shrimp currently, so any recipes for those would be great. I would also be grateful for recipes for salmon prepared in my cast-iron pan, or other tasty fish.

I tend to like the healthier recipes that don't call for 6 tablespoons of butter, but if it is absolutely to die for, then go ahead and share it. I'll just run an extra mile next time I work out.

Any tips about cleaning the skillet afterwards or general maintenance of it are also appreciated.
posted by cashman to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Mark Bittman's shrimp with paprika, cumin and garlic is as basic as you can get, but really good.
posted by bcwinters at 8:13 AM on August 24, 2011

This baked shrimp in tomato feta sauce recipe was what finally got me to buy a cast iron pan. I use fresh grape tomatoes (halved) instead of canned. You can even make it healthier by using light feta cheese (the one at Trader Joe's is pretty good).
posted by cranberry_nut at 8:17 AM on August 24, 2011

I cook exclusively on cast iron. I wash with hot water and no soap, dry with a towel (not heat) and oil immediately. YMMV depending on what you feel comfortable with, cleaning wise.

I probably wouldn't cook fish as the first thing after I freshly seasoned one of my pan. I'd ease it in with something more fatty for a week or two. And I wouldn't use a recipe with a lot of acidic ingredients like lemon or tomatoes right away.

But I baby the shit out of my cast iron. I have a "utility" cast iron pan that I use for recipies that require acidic or juicy ingredients and for cooking stuff that has a higher likelihood of sticking and messing up the surface (like beans, etc). Then I have a couple I use for meats that I care for a bit more. Dutch oven for braising.

I also have a small pan I use exclusively for eggs and it's AMAZING. They slide right off like they were never on there at all.

I don't know why I like cast iron so much but I do. Caring for them makes me happy.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:23 AM on August 24, 2011 [5 favorites]

Seconding nathancaswell to not start with fish. Make some cornbread or fry some chicken first. Both are best made in cast iron skillets.
posted by shoesietart at 8:30 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I like to serve brightly-flavored relishes along with grilled or fried fish. Think spicy, acidic salsas, raitas, and chutneys. I make this chickpea salad (self-link!) whenever I pan-sear red snapper or catfish.

Another thing that I picked up somewhere (Mark Bittman?) is that for most fish other than salmon and tuna, black pepper can be really overwhelming. I like to use salt and a little cayenne and/or coriander instead of pepper, which has a really nice aroma and unexpected flavor. Don't go overboard with either, though.
posted by rossination at 8:33 AM on August 24, 2011

Oh, also! Since we're talking about cooking fish: depending on where you live (especially if you live in North America), this time of year you see whole salmons on sale in the supermarkets. Here in Seattle, whole wild Alaskan cohos and sockeyes are on sale for about $6 a pound. When you see them at that price, buy a few whole fish and have the fishmonger fillet them into two huge sides for you, then take them home, portion the out, and freeze them! I did this recently with some salmon and am looking forward to inexpensive, delicious fish all winter.

OK, I'm done.
posted by rossination at 8:35 AM on August 24, 2011

These Tacos are a favorite chez Rallon and can be made with just about any fish you please. I generally puree the avocado right into the sauce as I like that texture a little better.
posted by Rallon at 9:04 AM on August 24, 2011

Well we are pretty simple here at Sanctuary with our cast iron and our fish.

Usually we get our fish as steaks with the skin still on. I pat it dry then sprinkle a little sea salt on the flesh and let it sit while I prepare the pan, which needs a cover that fits. I pour a tablespoon of oil in the pan and put it on medium high until the oil smokes. Then I put the fish, skin side down, in the pan and put the cover on and turn the heat down to medium. After a couple minutes I will toss in a splash of water to make more steam and put the lid back on. After a couple more minutes I will start checking the fish with a fork for "partly done" because it's going to keep cooking after I serve it, which I do as soon as possible and right on the cast iron. I warn people about the hot pan, though.

Anyway, the fish gets eaten and there is sometimes a tussle about who gets the skin, which is trivial to pull off the pan after the flesh is gone.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:16 AM on August 24, 2011

I probably wouldn't cook fish as the first thing after I freshly seasoned one of my pan. I'd ease it in with something more fatty for a week or two.

Why? For the sake of the food, or for the sake of the pan? I used this seasoning method previously recommended on mefi, and went through with 6 coats. Took me a day and a half. So am I okay to cook the fish in it knowing how well it was seasoned?
posted by cashman at 10:18 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

More so for the pan. You'll probably be fine if you went through 6 coats. I guess basically if I spent a day and a half seasoning the first thing I'd want to cook would be something where I could admire how it slid off right off the bat to justify all that time spent. Fish tends to stick more than other meats because there isn't a lot of fat to seep out as it cooks and keep the pan oiled. There is also the skin which tends to stick. Cooking a ribeye or something actually leaves the pan in better shape than you started.

You'll probably be OK, and I'm sure I'm being over cautious. Like I said, I really baby my cast iron. Just give it a wash pretty soon after cooking, the stuff that's left on the pan comes off with a lot less work if you wash it right away. If you let it harden you'll have to use soap or really scrub at it, which I try never to do.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:37 AM on August 24, 2011

(I also rarely fry fish, I usually bake it, so you may have better luck).
posted by nathancaswell at 10:42 AM on August 24, 2011

Can I bake it in the oven in the skillet? Any good recipes for that? As you can tell, I'm kind of excited.
posted by cashman at 10:54 AM on August 24, 2011

You might consider Trout Amandine for a weeknight. It's basic, and good. If you want to minimize your butter you can tuck the trout's tail into the mouth so that the flesh inside is steamed rather than seared or fried, but you have to trust yourself to go easy on the sauce.

For salmon, it's tough to beat pan searing with olive oil and seasoning with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. A touch of creme fraiche is nice, and I think it goes well with peas (especially mint pea puree). I've also used my cast iron for acidic foods, like tomato sauce
posted by Hylas at 11:31 AM on August 24, 2011

For salmon, it's tough to beat pan searing with olive oil and seasoning with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. A touch of creme fraiche is nice

Do you have any more details on this? I am not by any means a good cook, but I'm trying.
posted by cashman at 12:05 PM on August 24, 2011

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