North Carolina Sea Grant

November 8, 2009 | Joyce Taylor

methods of preparation

An easy way to enhance simply prepared seafood is to use a sauce or butter. Delicious fish can be made even better by adding a basic, simple-to-prepare dressing. Butters and sauces add eye appeal, particularly to steamed or poached fish. Remember that you want to bring out the natural flavors, not disguise them. Avoid heavy sauces that cover up the true taste of seafood.

Delicate flavors such as snapper and flounder need butter or light cream sauces that will not overpower the fish. Oilier, more flavorful fish such as mackerel or bluefish can take a stronger lemon, vinegar or tomato-based sauce.

Cold fish are best complemented by mayonnaise-based sauces. Fried fish are often served with a mayonnaise-based sauce such as tartar sauce. And herb butters or sauces bring out the flavor of sautéed, poached or steamed fish.

Creating a sauce can be as simple as adding margarine or herbs to natural cooking juices. Use your imagination. Make a simple butter sauce and add slivered, toasted almonds for amandine. Or add fresh lemon juice or curry.

Flavored mayonnaise can be easily prepared. Just add ingredients such as fresh dill, garlic and Dijon mustard to your favorite mayonnaise. Or for a curry mayonnaise, add fresh lemon juice, curry powder, fresh garlic and freshly ground black pepper.

Herb butters are easy to make. Simply chop your favorite herbs and add to softened butter or margarine, along with fresh garlic or lemon juice.

Butters sometimes classify as sauces since they melt on the food. In our recipes, we use the term “butter” loosely, since margarine can also be used.

Most of our butters will add just a few calories and little fat to your fish.

From: Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas 

Contributed by Joyce Taylor


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