How To Safely Defrost Seafood

Unless it’s a special occasion, when I buy seafood I generally buy it frozen. Storing it is actually quite simple: the fillets are usually prepackaged and then grouped together in a larger bag. To defrost them, all you need to do is take out the number of individual fillets that you want to cook with that evening.

If you know that you’re having fish the day before, take out your frozen fillet and let it naturally defrost in your refrigerator. Keep it in the package and wait about 12-24 hours for it to fully de-frost.

If you decide to have fish on a whim, all you need to do is fully submerge your fillet, still in the bag, in a bowl of cold water for about half an hour. The cold water will melt the ice and then you’ll be able to work with your fillet. Never use warm water. It will ruin your fish fillet.

Either way you decide defrost your fish, make sure that after it is fully defrosted you rinse your fish well to help lessen the intensity of the fishy flavor. This taste becomes enhanced during the freezing process, but is easily rinsed away with water and some lemon juice.

Rubbing fish with spices, lemon juice, or even crusting them with breadcrumbs or cheese gets you a flavor you’ll never believe was previously frozen.

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Featured recipe: Spice Rubbed Roasted Salmon

Spice Rubbed Roasted Salmon with Sauteed Veggies

Category: Senior Year/Gluten Free
Servings: 1 person
Prep-Time:  5 minutes
Cook-Time: 15-20 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

I love cooking with fish, and when I can afford it I always get fresh fillets.  This spice rub paired with fresh lemon makes your fish taste delicious, and it’s always flaky and light and wonderful.

If you have a Gluten Allergy, make sure all of your products and brands are gluten free.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Salmon Fillet
  • 1 whole Lemon, juiced
  • To taste: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Roasted Vegetables Seasoning
  • Zucchini, Broccoli, Summer Squash etc

Step one: Preheat your oven to 400; squeeze half of your lemon over your fillet and cover it liberally

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Step two: Make your rub and massage it into the salmon fillet

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Step three: In a baking dish, roast your salmon for 15-20 minutes, depending on how you like your fish. 15 minutes will be medium, 20 minutes will be well done. Saute your vegetables while your salmon is cooking.

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Step four: Let your salmon rest covered for 5 minutes.

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Step five: Plate and squeeze the second half of your lemon over your fish and enjoy

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Roasted Shrimp with White Rice

Category: Senior Year/Gluten Free
Servings: 1-2 people
Prep-Time:  5 minutes
Cook-Time: 15 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

Shrimp and rice are another classic combination that is surprisingly filling. White Basmati rice cooks insanely quickly; it’s finished in about 15 minutes, and is perfectly light and well matched with the lightness of the shrimp.

If you have a Gluten Allergy, make sure all of your products and brands are gluten free.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of  Basmati rice, cooked
  • 6 shrimp
  • EVOO
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Butter to taste

Step one: Put on your rice and cook  according to the directions on the package

Step two: 5 minutes into your rice, preheat your oven to 400 and devain your shrimp

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Step three: Season your shrimp with EVOO, salt and pepper and lay them on a lined cookie sheet

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Step four: Roast your shrimp for 5-8 minutes

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Step six: Melt a bit of butter over your rice, place your shrimp on the rice and enjoy!

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Parmesan Cheese and Breadcrumb Crusted Cod

Category: Senior Year
Servings: 1 person
Prep-Time:  5 minutes
Cook-Time: 15-20 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

I love fresh cod, so whenever I have some extra cash laying around I make this recipe. I actually use the same breading for this recipe as in the skinny baked mozzarella sticks, and it gives such a beautiful golden crust to the light flaky fish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cod fillet
  • 1/4 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Lemon, juiced

Step one: Preheat your oven to 400; soak your fillet with half of the lemon

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Step two: Coat your fish in the breadcrumb mixture

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Step three: Bake your fish for 15-20 minutes, or until it flakes easily and is wholly opaque. 

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Step four: Dress your fish with the extra lemon and enjoy

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Bright and Tangy Catalina Tuna Salad

Category: Freshman Year/Vegetarian
Servings: 1 person
Prep-Time:  5 minutes
Cook-Time: 2 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

Tuna and salad go wonderfully together. I always have cans of tuna in my kitchen, because they don’t need to be refrigerated before opening and they have a wonderfully long shelf life.

I almost always pair tuna salad with Catalina dressing, because it’s so tangy and light, but it will go well with almost every other dressing. It’s a two step salad that’s easy and great on the go.

If you have a Gluten Allergy, make sure all of your products and brands are gluten free.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 or 1 can of Tuna in water, rinsed and squeezed
  • 1/2 cup of Salad, washed and dried
  • 1-2 tbsp of Catalina dressing

Step one: Rinse and squeeze your tuna to get rid of the fishy taste; rinse and dry your lettuce. Place the tuna on top of your bed of lettuce

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Step two: Drizzle your dressing over your salad and dig in

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Tuna Noodle Casserole

Category: Junior Year
Servings: 4-6 people
Prep-Time:  12 minutes
Cook-Time: 20-25 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

There are a wide assortment of casseroles in the cooking world, but tuna noodle is by far one of the easiest to make. It’s delicious,  moist, and makes an enormous portion.

I make tuna noodle casseroles on Sundays and eat them all week long, just like the rice casserole. This recipe is a favorite in my family, and is a great easy meal that can be taken on the go throughout the week.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 of a package of Medium Egg Noodles
  • 2 cans of Tuna
  • 3/4 cup of Milk
  • 1/2 a cup of Peas
  • 1/2 a cup of Shredded Cheese
  • 1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 2-3 handfuls of Potato Chips
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Step one: Preheat your oven to 350; mix together your cream of mushroom soup, milk, cheese, peas, and tuna

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Step two: Prepare your egg noodles as directed on the package; add to your mixture and mix until combined fully

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Step three: Crush your potato chips over the top of the casserole; bake for 20-25 minutes

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Step four: Serve and enjoy!

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Cafe Classic Tuna Melt

Category: Sophomore Year
Servings: 1 person
Prep-Time:  5 minutes
Cook-Time: 10 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

Making a tuna melt is just as simple as a tuna sandwich; the only difference is toasting the bread and adding a slice of Swiss cheese. It’s the perfect warm, easy sandwich to have during the winter.

When I was younger, I would go out to cafes and diners and order tuna melts. I loved them so much more than regular tuna sandwiches, because they warmed my belly as I ate them.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1 tbsp of Mayo
  • 2 slices of Bread
  • 1 slice of Swiss Cheese

Step one: Lightly toast your bread. You can do this in a pan as well, or in an oven on a low temperature. 

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Step two: Break up your tuna with a fork

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Step three: Mix in your mayonnaise until fully combined

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Step four: Spread your tuna over your bread and lay your cheese over the tuna

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Step five: Return the piece of toast with tuna and cheese on it to the toaster until the cheese has melted

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Step six: Put the pieces of bread together and dig in to your melty, crunchy tuna melt!

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Tuna Pinwheel Roll-up Sandwiches

Category: Freshman Year
Servings: 1 person
Prep-Time:  5 minutes
Cook-Time: 15 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

My mom would make tuna pinwheels for lunch all the time, and everyone who tried them went crazy over how delicious they were. We were all convinced that this had to be more than a simple tuna sandwich, but it’s not.

It’s simply divine, incredibly easy to make, and once you eat a tuna sandwich like this you’ll never go back. You can eat them sliced up or as a whole roll-up if you’re taking it with you to class.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of Tuna
  • 6 slices of bread, crusts cut off
  • 3 tbsp of Mayo
  • 2 tbsp of Butter

Step one: Combine your tuna and your mayo

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Step two: Cut the crusts off of your bread; spread your butter on the ends and lay them on top of each other

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Step three: Spread your tuna over the bread slices; roll the slices up with cling wrap on the outside and twist the extra to seal.

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Step four: Refrigerate for about an hour, then cut up and serve

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Simple Shrimp Cocktail

Category: Senior Year/Gluten Free
Servings: 1 person
Prep-Time:  10 minutes
Cook-Time: 5-7 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

Learning how to perfectly boil shrimp is something everyone who enjoys seafood should learn how to do. Buying frozen, shell-on shrimp will save you boatloads of money, and cooking them yourself is incredibly simple.

Once you know how to boil shrimp, you open your doors to the ultimate “surf” pairing with any “turf”. There are so many possibilities, but my favorite way to eat shrimp has to be shrimp cocktail.

If you have a Gluten Allergy, make sure all of your products and brands are gluten free.

Ingredients:

  • 10-15 medium frozen Shrimp, shell on
  • Your favorite Cocktail Sauce or Russian Dressing (See: Russian Dressing)

Step one: Thaw your shrimp by running cold water over them until the ice has melted. Then peel the shell from the shrimp like this:

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Step two: Bring a pot of water to a boil; cook your shrimp until fully opaque, about 5-7 minutes

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Step three: Immediately drain and transfer the shrimps into an ice bath

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Step four: Once the shrimp are cool, serve them over ice with your favorite cocktail sauce!

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Tim’s Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Category: Holidays
Servings: 2 people
Prep-Time:  35 minutes
Cook-Time: Varies, 3-5 hours

Why is this a survival recipe?

Whenever the holidays come around, I love to indulge in seafood. In my house, Superbowl Sunday is considered a holiday, and my favorite appetizer has always been crab stuffed mushrooms.

The crab dip and other ingredients are super affordable, and this easy half-time snack is perfect for all of your more mainstream holidays as well.

Ingredients:

  1. 1/4 cup of plain Panko Breadcrumbs
  2. 2 Portabello Mushroom caps, medium
  3. 4oz of store bought Crab Dip
  4. Smoked Paprika, to taste
  5. Cooking Spray

Step one: Preheat the oven to 350; remove the stems from the mushrooms, and dampen a paper towel to brush the dirt from the mushrooms. Next, spray the outside with your cooking spray

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Step two: Flip the caps and stuff the crab dip into the mushroom caps

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Step three: Cover the dip with Panko and press down gently

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Step four: Season with the paprika

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Step five: Spray again with the cooking spray

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Step six: Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned

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