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Buying fresh fish is easy once you've learned the basic

methods for determining its quality. Just follow these

simple guidelines:

Flesh - The flesh should be firm and elastic to the

touch, and should not be separating from the bone.

Fillets should have a fresh-cut appearance and the

color should resemble freshly filleted fish.

Appearance - Fresh fillets, steaks, chunks, cuts, etc.

should look moist, firm, and practically free of any

brownish streaks throughout the meat. If, when you

press your finger into the flesh, there is an

indentation that fills with liquid, or if there is

excessive liquid in the package, the fish has probably

been frozen and thawed.

Eyes - If present, the eyes should be bright, clear,

transparent, full, and protruding. As fresh fish ages,

the eyes will become cloudy and sunken and often turn


Gills - If present, the gills should be bright red and

free of slime. As the fish begins to deteriorate, the

gills change color, fading to a pink, then gray.

Eventually they will become brownish and greenish.

Skin - The skin should be vibrant and bright. Any

skin markings (color, spots, stripes) should be distinct.


The easiest way to cook a Maine Lobster is to boil for

12 minutes in salted water.

Add 1 teaspoon salt for every quart of water.

Bring water to a rapid boil and plunge lobster

...head first... into water.

Return to a boil and cook for 12 to 15 minutes.

Remove lobster and serve with melted butter, 414e412e

lemon wedges, lobster crackers and lots and

lots of napkins.



Do not pre-thaw crab legs.

Place frozen crab legs in vegetable steamer or colander

over boiling water.

Cover tightly and steam approximately 6 minutes.

Brush with melted butter, season and serve with

cocktail sauce.


Do not pre-thaw crab.

Place frozen crab legs in microwave and cover with a

damp towel to prevent moisture loss.

Heat for 5 minutes on defrost cycle.

Brush with melted butter, season and serve with

cocktail sauce.

Grilled Rock Lobster



1teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 10-ounce rock lobster tails, thawed


1) Split rock tails lengthwise with a large knife.

2) Mix seasoning with oil and lemon juice.

3) Brush meat side of tail with marinade.

4) Pre-heat grill and place rock tails meat side down

and grill 5 - 6 minutes until well scored.

5) Turn over lobster and cook another 6 minutes,

brushing often with remaining marinade.

6) Lobster is done when it is opaque and firm to the


Chef's Tip

Serve with drawn butter and fresh lemon, or for an

interesting twist, roasted garlic can be added to butter.

Beverage suggestions: Sauvignon Blanc,

Johannisberg Riesling

Roasted Maine Lobster with Crabmeat Stuffing

Serves: 2



1 pound blue crab meat

1 teaspoon shallot, minced

1 teaspoon parsley

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon bread crumbs

1 whole egg

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon Worcestshire


2 whole 1 1/4 pound Maine lobsters

1 stick butter, cut into pieces

1 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons lemon juice



1) Blend all ingredients except crab.

2) Fold in crab meat, refrigerate


1) Split lobsters lengthwise with a large knife, remove stomach sac.

2) Place equal portions of crab stuffing in each head.

3) Crack claws with the blunt side of knife.

4) Pour lemon juice on tail meat, then sprinkle with paprika and dot with pieces of butter.

5) Bake in a 400°F oven for 15 minutes.

6) Serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.


To clean crab meat of shell pieces and cartilage: Spread chilled crab over a cookie sheet and place under a red hot broiler on top rack for 30-60 seconds. Bone fragments will be easy to pick out at this time.

Beverage suggestions: Champagne - Blanc de Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc

Fried Soft Shell Crab

Serves: 4 servings


18 Live Soft Shell Crabs

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper, Ground

1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Onion Powder

2 oz lemon Juice

3 Dashes of Soy Sauce

1 Cup Flour

3 Eggs, Beaten

2 Cups Plain Breadcrumbs


1) Clean crabs (refer to how to clean crab procedure) but do not remove top shell.

2) Rinse well in cool water.

3) Place the crabs on a sheet pan and season with salt, pepper, lemon, soy sauce, garlic power and onion powder, then refrigerate for at least two hours.

4) Place flour in one bowl, eggs in another, and bread crumbs in the last.

5) Roll crab in the flour, dip in the eggs, and then coat with the bread crumbs.

6) Preheat oven to 450¦.

7) heat a skillet with about 1" of oil.

8) Sauté crab on one side for 4-5 minutes, turn and continue until crab is crispy.

9) Place browned crabs in oven for 8 minutes until hot all the way through and crispy.

Serving Suggestions: Serve with cocktail sauce, remoulade, a green sauce, or a creamy dijon sauce. Always serve the sauce on the side.

Chef's Tip

For a great variation top the crab with some toasted almonds and melted butter. 

Beverage suggestion: Any pale ale or honey wheat lager.

Maryland Crab Cakes

Serves: approximately 8 cakes


1/2 teaspoon garlic minced

1 tablespoon onion minced

1 tablespoon celery diced

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 whole egg

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1 pound lump crab meat

2 tablespoons oil for sautéing


1) In a large stainless steel bowl, combine all ingredients except crab meat and bread crumbs.

2) Using gloved hands, gently mix in crab meat, then add bread crumbs.

3) Spread a thin layer of plain bread crumbs on work surface.

4) Form crab mixture into equal balls, approximately 2" in diameter. Place on crumbs.

5) Gently flatten ball of crab mixture and round the edges. Form cakes about 1/2" thick and 3" round. Refrigerate.

6) In a sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons of oil until hot. Gently slide in crab cakes 2 at a time.

7) Brown on one side approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and brown on the other side. Turn down heat to simmer and cook crab cakes another 5 - 8 minutes.

Chef's Tip

Don't increase the bread crumbs.

Beverage suggestions: Pinot Grigio, light lager beer

Batter-Fried Shrimp

Serves: 6


1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled & deveined

1/2 cup oil

1 egg, beaten

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/4 teaspoon salt

Oil for deep frying


1) Preheat oil to 350 degrees. Combine 1/2 cup oil and egg; beat well. Add remaining ingredients except oil for frying and stir until well blended.

2) Dip shrimp into batter to coat. Drop shrimp into hot oil and fry for 30-60 seconds or until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon; drain on paper towel.

Used with permission by Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture; Bob Crawford, Commissioner

Chef's Tip

Add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder to batter to make a much lighter crust, or use beer instead of milk for a barley flavor.

Beverage suggestions: Light lager, dark or amber beer

Rock Shrimp Creole

Serves: 6 - 8


2 lb rock shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced 1/2"

1/2 cup onion, diced 1/4"

1/4 cup celery, chopped fine

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons flour, all purpose

1 can 14.5-oz whole peeled tomatoes, roughly cut

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3-4 cups cooked rice


1) Rinse shrimp briefly and remove any large veins that are visible.

2) In a small sauce pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.

3) Mix in flour and stir until dissolved and mixture begins to thicken, then reduce heat.

4) Add tomatoes and their juice to the butter and flour mixture, stir well, and heat through. The mixture will thicken. Hold warm.

5) In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons of butter, and over medium high heat, cook bell pepper, onion, celery, and garlic until soft but with a little bit of a crunch.

6) Add shrimp and cook until no longer transparent (3 minutes).

7) Add tomato mixture, bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer for 5 minutes.

8) Serve over hot rice (white or wild mixture).

Chef's Tip

If rock shrimp are only available cooked, then add the shrimp and the tomato mixture at the same time.

Add a Cajun style sausage when cooking the vegetables for an extra Cajun flair. 

Cajun or Louisiana style seasoning can be used instead of or along with salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.

Serve with a French style or sour dough bread.

Broiled Dill Salmon

Serves: 4


1/2 cup melted butter or olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fresh dill chopped

1/8 teaspoon red pepper

4 salmon steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 2 pounds)


1) Place melted butter, lemon juice, salt, fresh chopped dill and red pepper in small bowl and stir to combine.

2) Preheat broiler.

3) Place salmon steaks on lightly greased pan and brush with half of seasoned butter.

4) Broil, 5 inches from source of heat, 5 to 10 minutes.

5) Turn heat to 400°F, close oven and bake an additional 5 - 8 minutes.

6) Brush with remaining butter blend. Serve.

Chef's Tip

Check the date on your baking powder to see if it is still current as it will have lost its rising power if it is not.

Beverage suggestions: Light lager beer, Chenin Blanc

CountryFried Flounder

Serves: 6


2 pounds flounder fillets, fresh

1 cup cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


1) Skin fillets. Cut fillets into serving size portions.

2) Combine cornmeal with seasonings. Roll fish in cornmeal mixture.


1) Place flounder in an iron skillet which has been preheated with about 1/8 inch of oil.

2) Brown on one side 2 - 3 minutes. Carefully turn and cook on the other side an additional 3 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork.

3) Serve with tartar sauce and coleslaw.

Chef's Tip

Marinate the fish in buttermilk for one hour prior to frying for a moist authentic taste.

Beverage suggestions: Light lager beer, Chenin Blanc

Citrus Cous Cous

Serves: 2


8 ounces dry cous cous

1 1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon fresh chopped dill

1 teaspoon fresh chopped mint

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 can mandarin oranges


1) Place water, salt, sugar, pepper and olive oil in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.

2) Remove from heat and add cous cous cover and let stand for about 7 minutes.

3) Fold in oranges, juice, and fresh herbs.

4) Let stand for 2-3 minutes.

Chef's Tip

Try adding raisins or dates for a different flair.

Serving suggestion: This dish is delightful with seafood or chicken

Sparkling Fruit

Serves: 2


2 fresh fruits

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup champagne or white wine

1/2 teaspoon fresh mint chopped


1) Recommended fruits; strawberries hulled and sliced lengthwise, melon balls, plums, peaches, pears, nectarines peeled quartered and seeded.

2) In a shallow serving bowl mix the fruit gently so it is not crushed.

3) Evenly sprinkle with sugar and gently mix again.

4) Pour cold champagne or wine over fruit, enough to almost cover fruit.

5) Let stand refrigerated for 1-2 hours.

6) Serve in chilled champagne glasses.

Chef's Tip

Serve with Pepperidge Farms Pirouettes or a similar type cookie that will not dissolve quickly in liquid.

Beverage suggestion: Espresso

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