This is one of my favorite summer dinners to eat and make. When my parents were alive, I loved to make this for them (with french fries, too) because they loved it to the nth degree. And what I loved was how much they loved the meal and how they commented with almost every bite about how delicious everything was. My mother Shirley Fried’s comment would be, “How do you make everything so perfect, dolly?” My daughter Randi loved the meal too, and she recently asked me to make it. I invited her father in law and his wife, because I really have fun with them- they are great people- and because they like my food. As my daughter says, “They are good customers.”
I bought the fish at Whole Foods and it was super fresh. The only other place I’ve bought fish that’s been this fresh has been at the Keyport Fishery. The corn I bought at an amazing farmstand in Pennington, NJ called Kerr’s Kornstand. The corn is brought right in from the field while you are there- and it is perfect corn- there is none fresher or sweeter! I also got my tomatoes there, and they were sweet, dark red, and juicy.
for the fish (tilapia, flounder, or other mild white fish):
My recipe for the fish harkens from the recipe used at Klein’s Fish Market in Belmar, NJ. I once asked them for their recipe, and they readily gave it to me, I think because they sell the coating mix right there in the market. For the coating they use 1 part McCormick Golden Dipt Tempura Seafood Batter Mix to 2 parts McCormick Golden Dipt Fry Easy All-Purpose Breading Mix. What a breeze to make. Simply put the mix into a 9 by 13 baking pan and whisk together to get any lumps out. Put some cold water in a separate mixing bowl. Dip each fillet into the water on both sides of the fillet, then dredge the fillet through the coating mix on each side of the fillet, using your hand to sprinkle some extra coating over the fish to cover the fillet completely. Then heat your oil (about 1/2 inch deep) on a high flame in a nonstick frying pan till it’s really hot. Fry about 2-3 minutes till underside is beautifully browned. Flip with spatula and cook till underside is browned. No need to drain- the fish doesn’t pick up excess oil if it’s hot enough to start.
For each pound of fresh fish fillets, use about 1 cup of the all purpose breading mix and 1/2 cup of the tempura mix.
Use canola or light olive oil in a large non-stick fry pan, and get the oil nice and hot before putting the fish in. Fry till underside is brown, flip and brown the other side. This should take about 5 min. altogether. Serve immediately with tartar sauce and/or cocktail sauce and lots of fresh sliced lemon.
judy’s homemade tartar sauce:
- 1 cup of Hellman’s mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh or Minute Maid frozen lemon juice from concentrate
- 1 tablespoon of freshly grated onion
- a few tablespoons of chopped dill pickle (I use Claussen dill sandwich slices)
- a dash of kosher salt
After you taste, adjust by adding a little more lemon juice or chopped pickle to your liking.
my simple cole slaw:
- 2 bags dole cabbage for cole slaw
- about 1 cup of Hellman’s mayo
- 2 tablespoons whole milk (you could substitute plain Greek yogurt or sour cream)
- about 4-5 tablespoons of white vinegar
- about 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- about 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- about 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- about 1 tablespoon of the BEST herbs- Litehouse dill
Mix together in large mixing bowl at least a few hours before serving. Add more or less of any of the ingredients to your taste.
fresh corn on the cob:
Cover shucked corn in a large pot with water. Bring to a boil. Simmer on low boil for 8 minutes. Serve.
french fries (Be careful with this recipe- although it’s easy, only experienced cooks should make this!)
Heat a large pot of oil (corn or canola) till oil starts to shimmer, but is NOT yet boiling. You don’t want your oil to come to a boil before you put the fries in, because the oil could catch on fire! Carefully place your fries in and stand back a bit so you don’t get burned if oil splatters a little- I use either Whole Foods Crinkle Cut Fries or Nathans Crinkle Cut Fries. Leave the fries alone, do not mix them in the oil. Fry on a rolling boil till fries are browned- the time may range from 15 min. to 25 min. Drain in paper towels, sprinkle with kosher salt, and serve.
baked stuffed potatoes:
- Idaho organic potatoes
- salted or unsalted butter
Pierce potatoes with a fork. Bake at about 375 degrees to 400 degrees for at least 1 hour till a fork goes in easily and potatoes are soft inside. Slice the tippy top of potatoes off. Scoop out the potato being careful not to break the skin and put in mixing bowl. Add butter to taste, salt to taste, and a little pepper to taste. Mash potatoes. Scoop the mashed potatoes back into the potato shells. Sprinkle tops with paprika.
Note: I usually make these in advance, so I refrigerate them, covered, and then I heat them up in a baking pan or sheet pan at 375 degrees for about 45 min. to an hour, till piping hot.