Shrimp Grilled with Herb Butter. Credit: Vanda Lewis.

Mariner’s Menu
Summertime Specials


Mariner’s Menu, North Carolina Sea Grant’s popular online seafood guide, features blogger and photographer Vanda Lewis’s pictures with hundreds of recipes that Joyce Taylor developed. Enjoy these summertime specials — and check fish markets around a full moon for fresh soft shell crabs. 


1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1/4 cup of unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon of dried parsley flakes
• 1 teaspoon of dried chives
• 1/2 teaspoon of dried tarragon leaves
• 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard
• 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder

Melt the butter, and add lemon juice and seasonings. Add the shrimp, and marinate for 30 minutes. Remove the shrimp, and reserve the marinade. Place on skewers or in a hinged wire grill. Cook about 4 inches over hot coals, basting occasionally with marinade and turning, until done — about 8 minutes.

image: Almond-Encrusted Snapper on a plate with Cream Sauce.

Almond-Encrusted Snapper with Cream Sauce. Credit: Vanda Lewis.


4 snapper fillets, cut into halves
• 1 cup of flour
• 1/2 teaspoon of salt
• 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, freshly ground
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1/2 cup of milk
• 1/2 cup of almonds, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons of canola oil
• 3 tablespoons of butter
• 1/2 cup of dry white wine
• 1/4 cup of heavy cream
• 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
• salt
• white pepper, freshly ground

In a shallow dish, combine flour, salt, and pepper. In another dish, whip together the egg and the milk.

Dredge the fish in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Dip the flesh side of the fish in the egg mixture, and coat with almonds. Place it in a pan, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

image: Baked Trigger fish Fillets with basil.

Basil -Baked Trigger fish Fillets. Credit: Vanda Lewis.


4 triggerfish fillets, skinless
• 4 tablespoons of butter, melted
• 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon of salt
• 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper, freshly ground
• 1/2 cup of fresh basil, finely chopped
• 6 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

In a small bowl, combine the butter, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and basil.

Place the fillets in a greased baking pan, and brush with the mixture. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until done, basting about halfway through the cooking time. When almost done, sprinkle with Parmesan.

image: Soft-Shell Crabs on a plate with Garlic Sauce.

Soft-Shell Crabs with Garlic Sauce. Credit: Vanda Lewis.


12 soft-shell crabs, cleaned
• 1 cup of Bisquick or other baking mix
• 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, freshly ground
• 3/4 cup of butter
• 1 teaspoon of garlic, pressed
• 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, finely minced

Mix the Bisquick, cayenne, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge the crabs until coated. Gently shake off the excess. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the crabs upside down in the pan, and cook until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the crabs over, and repeat. Remove to a warm platter.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, and heat. Sauté the fish, nut side down, until just golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes, being careful not to burn the almonds. Flip the fish, and repeat, cooking until done. Remove the fish from pan.

Add wine to the pan, scraping up the bits remaining. Reduce by half. Add the cream, and cook over low heat until slightly thickened. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and lemon juice, and blend well. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over fillets.

Add garlic to the skillet, and stir quickly. Add lemon juice. Scrape up the pan deposits. Pour sauce over the crabs, and sprinkle with parsley.


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from the Summer 2023 issue of Coastwatch magazine