Celebrate Fish Days with your own fish dish

If you don’t want to brave the crowds for the festival’s featured menu items, try making your own fish

This weekend marks the return of Fish Day, but in a new iteration.

Port Washington’s largest festival is now a two-day event known as Fish Days.

The festival has its roots in the fact the city’s location on Lake Michigan made it a natural place for fishing. In its early days, commercial fishermen plied the waters. Today, individuals cast their lines from the breakwater and shore and groups often charter boats for fishing excursions.

Among the most commonly caught fish are king, coho and chinook salmon and rainbow and lake trout.

To complement the festival fare, you can hold your own informal celebration.

Even if you aren’t up to frying fish in the middle of summer, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy fish. It can be pan fried, poached, grilled, smoked and so much more.

Just take care not to overcook it.

When buying fish, use your nose. If it smells fishy, it’s not fresh.

The color of fresh fish fillets varies, but it should always be bright and uniform, never yellow at the edges. The flesh should be moist, firm and cleanly cut. It should never be partially thawed or covered with ice crystals, a sign of thawing and refreezing.

Refrigerate raw fish in the coldest part of the refrigerator. It’s best to use fresh fish within one to two days.

Fish can be prepared in many ways. The standard rule is to bake fish 10 minutes for each inch of thickness. Turn the fish halfway through cooking, unless it’s 1/2 inch or thinner. To ensure fillets cook evenly, tuck thin ends under.

And remember, fish is an important part of a balanced diet. It is one of nature’s power foods, an excellent source of protein that’s low in fat. A three-ounce cooked serving of most fish provides about 20 grams of protein, roughly one-third of the daily recommended amount. The protein in fish is of high quality, containing an abundance of essential amino acids.

Fish is also generally lower in fat and calories than beef, poultry or pork, and is loaded with minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium.

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish such as tuna and salmon that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids twice a week.

Following are fish recipes from the website feastingathome.com.





Roasted Mustard Seed Whitefish With Potato-Brussels Sprout Hash

8 to 10 ounces potatoes, sliced 1/8-inch thick

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil



8 ounces Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced

Pinch caraway seeds, optional

2 6-ounce filets of fish

2 to 4 teaspoons whole grain mustard

2 teaspoons olive oil

Toss potatoes and shallots with oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Place in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a 450-degree oven for 20 minutes.

Slice Brussels sprouts and place in the same oily bowl. Toss, add caraway seeds, if desired, and a little more salt and pepper. Set aside.

Mix whole grain mustard and oil together in a small bowl and season the fish with salt and pepper. Divide mustard mixture, spooning it over the fish.

After the potatoes have baked, add the Brussels sprouts and toss. Place the fish on the sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes, until fish is cooked through.

Divide potato Brussels sprout hash between two bowls and top with mustard glazed fish.


Baked Cod With Burst Tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar

1 shallot, sliced

4 garlic cloves, rough chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes

Zest of 1 lemon

1 lemon, sliced

1-1/4 pound cod fillet, cut into 4  to 6 pieces, 1-inch thick or more



Aleppo chili flakes

1/4 cup basil leaves, torn

Pour 3 tablespoons olive oil and vinegar into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.  Scatter the shallots and garlic in the dish, then add tomatoes, salt, pepper and lemon slices and toss again. Roast in a 425-degree oven for 10 minutes, then give the tomatoes a good shake.

Pat the fish dry, brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and Aleppo chili flakes. Nestle the fish in the baking dish,  between the tomatoes.

Lower the oven to 400 degrees and bake the fish for eight to 10 minutes, then give the pan a good shake, jostling the tomatoes a bit. Scatter lemon zest over the top and bake three to four more minutes, until fish is cooked to your liking.

Toss torn basil leaves with the warm tomatoes using tongs until the basil wilts slightly. Garnish each piece of fish with a few wilted basil leaves and serve immediately.


Baked Cod With Garlic and Lemon

1-1/2 pounds cod,  halibut, sea bass or similar fish

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons fresh thyme

Zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced

1 large leek, white and light green parts, thinly sliced into half moons

4 cloves garlic, rough chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon or zest from another lemon

1 tablespoons fresh thyme

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth or stock

1/2 cup white wine

Generous pinch salt and pepper

1  large bunch asparagus, cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces, tough ends removed.

Cut cod into four pieces and pat dry. Place in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, thyme and zest and toss to coat well. Set aside.

Heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in an oven-proof skillet, cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. Add fennel and saute five to seven minutes, stirring, until just tender.  Add leeks and garlic and continue cooking, stirring until leeks are golden and tender.  Add lemon zest, fresh thyme, broth and white wine. Stir in salt and pepper, then simmer on medium-low heat about five minutes, until liquid has reduced by half and fennel is tender.

If fennel needs a bit longer, add another splash of broth and cover pan for a few minutes to steam until tender. Once fennel is tender, add asparagus, give a stir and cook two more minutes, until asparagus is bright green. If mixture seems dry, add another splash of broth — you want about 1/4-inch liquid in the bottom of the pan.

Nestle fish in the pan, scraping off any excess marinade over the fish.  Bake in a 400-degree oven 10 to 15 minutes, until fish is cooked through. Divide among four bowls. Top with a sprig of thyme and lemon wedge.


Seared Halibut With Fresh Corn, Leek, Sage and Polenta

For polenta:

4 cups water

1 cup cornmeal

1  teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil or butter

1/4 cup sour cream

For corn:

1/8 to 1/4 cup finely chopped pancetta, optional

1 to 2 leeks, rinsed and sliced into 1/4 inch half-moons

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter

2 ears fresh corn, shucked, kernels cut off the cob



2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

For fish:

4 4 to 5-ounce pieces halibut



1 tablespoon olive oil

Bring four cups water to a boil in a medium pot, turn heat to low and whisk in one cup cornmeal until smooth. Add salt,  granulated garlic and a few cracks of pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat a little oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, then add pancetta and cook until crispy. Set aside.

To the same pan, add more oil or butter, then add leeks and stir two to three minutes. Turn heat to medium and continue sauteing five minutes, until leeks are tender. Add corn and sage and cook five to seven minutes, until corn is tender. Stir in pancetta and season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a skillet, heat one tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Pat fish dry on all sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper. When oil is hot, add fish, turn heat to medium and cook four minutes, until perfectly golden. Turn over and cook until done to your liking. Turn heat off.

Finish the polenta by giving it a good stir and whisking in butter and sour cream. Taste, adjusting with salt.

Divide polenta among four bowls. Top with seared fish. Spoon warm corn leek mixture over and around fish and garnish with a sage leaf.


Summer Corn Chowder With Whitefish

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion or 1 large shallot

8 ounces new potatoes, diced no bigger than 1/2-inch thick

1 ear corn, kernels sliced off, or 1-1/2 cups frozen kernels

1 cup vegetable, chicken or fish stock

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


1/8 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons or torn

2 to 3 tablespoon half and half, optional

8 ounces fish such as halibut, sea bass, wild Alaskan cod, haddock, salmon or black cod

Olive oil



Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté three minutes, until fragrant. Add potatoes and corn and saute two to three minutes, then add stock, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender.

Heat oil in another skillet. Season fish with salt and pepper, then sear each side over medium-high heat. Lower heat and cook to desired doneness. Set aside.

When the potatoes are fork-tender, uncover and cook off a little of the liquid. If desired, add a few tablespoons half and half or soy milk for extra creaminess, cooking it for a minute or two to thicken.

Stir in half of the basil. Taste, adjusting the salt.

Right before serving, stir in the remaining basil, saving a little to garnish the top. Serve the sweet corn chowder and top with seared fish and basil.


Citrus Baked Salmon With Fingerlings

1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 shallots, cut into thick wedges

1-1/2 cups kumquats, halved, or 2 tangerines, mandarins or Meyer lemons, thinly sliced

Generous pinch salt

Generous pinch pepper

1 pound wild salmon, skinless, cut into 4 pieces

A few thyme sprigs

For marinade:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

Zest of 1 orange

Juice of 1 orange

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Additional  thyme sprigs, squeeze of orange for garnish

Place potatoes, shallots and citrus on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat well and spread out. Bake in a 425-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender.

Stir olive oil, honey, garlic, half the orange zest, 2 tablespoons orange juice, salt, pepper and cayenne in a small bowl. Place salmon in a shallow bowl and pour the marinade over top, turning salmon to coat all sides. Set aside.

Lower oven to 375 degrees, toss potato mixture and nestle salmon between the potatoes, drizzling any remaining marinade over the filets. Scatter with a few thyme sprigs and bake eight to 12 minutes, until salmon is cooked to desired doneness. If desired, broil salmon for the last few minutes to add color.

Garnish with remaining orange zest, thyme and a squeeze of orange juice to taste.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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