Surf’s Up

Seafood is one of my all-time favorites, as anyone who reads my column should have ascertained by now.  I have done two columns on shrimp, a column on crab and I have included many recipes in between for shrimp, tilapia and crab as well as a smattering of cod. Shrimp and fish, usually tilapia, are staples in my home and can always be found in the freezer.  When I forget to set something out for dinner, seafood is where I go for a quick meal.  Even frozen, seafood, regardless of what you are using, is fairly quick to thaw and quick to cook, with or without a recipe! 

Seafood in general, is a great way to increase your Omega 3 intake as most people know, but it’s also a great source of lean, high quality protein.  Seafood is low in fat and sodium and, depending on what you are eating, they are a rich source of vitamins and minerals as well. All in all, it’s advised to eat at least 8oz of seafood a week.  There is no way I would be able to stop at 8oz though, just saying.  Give me a pound of shrimp (or two) any day!

This week, don’t worry if you forget to set out dinner to thaw.  Pull some seafood out of the freezer for an easy, nutritious meal. Make your grocery list then, meet me in the kitchen this week for recipes so delicious, it’s hard to stop eating sometimes.  Let me tell you, fried alligator was it for me this week.  I had to stay out of it so I could put the sandwiches together!  I will have to admit, I had a different recipe planned for the scallops.  However, when it came to making it, I just wasn’t feeling it anymore.  It was so easy to just throw some seasonings on them and call it good in butter.  Also, a huge thank you to Melissa and Anthony this week for help with ideas for the column!

Tilapia Cakes

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

2 bay leaves

1 lemon - cut into 8 wedges

1lb tilapia fillets

2 Tbsps. real unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onion - diced fairly small

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp. mayo

2 ¼ tsps. Dijon mustard

3 eggs

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

2 tsps. paprika

¼ tsp red pepper flakes, more or less to taste

1¼ cup Panko bread crumbs

¼ cup parsley, finely chopped 

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Fill large skillet with an inch of water. Place over high heat. Add pepper, bay leaf and 2 slices of lemon to the water. Bring to low simmer. Place tilapia in simmering water and cook until flesh has whitened and cooked through, about 6-9 minutes. Using slotted spoon, carefully remove fish from water and set aside to let cool. Empty water from skillet. Over medium heat, melt butter. Once melted, add the celery, and onion. Sauté the vegetables until onions turn translucent about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Transfer to large bowl. In small bowl, whisk mayo, mustard, eggs, salt, pepper, paprika, red pepper flakes. Add mixture to sautéed vegetables. Add panko crumbs and chopped parsley to large bowl and stir everything to combine. Flake cooked tilapia into large bowl with vegetables. Form into even patties. I used a ¼ cup measuring cup so they would include the same amount of mixture. Place patties on prepared baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least one hour to set. (You can keep it in the fridge for longer, but chill for at least 1 hour). Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove from fridge. Remove plastic wrap and lightly brush cakes with smear of mayo. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately with remaining lemon wedges if desired. 

Recipe adapted from


Shrimp and Sausage Skillet

1lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

14oz smoked sausage, sliced

2 medium zucchini, sliced

½ bunch asparagus, sliced 

2 yellow bell pepper, diced

1 12oz pkg green beans

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 Tbsps. real unsalted butter

2 Tbsps. Cajun seasoning, divided

Melt butter in large skillet.  Add asparagus and sauté for 3-5 minutes.  Add zucchini, green beans and pepper and sprinkle with Cajun seasoning.  Sauté another 3-5 minutes.  Add sausage and shrimp and remaining seasoning.  Stir to coat well and sauté about 5-7 minutes until shrimp is pink and vegetables are tender as you like them. I like a mine to still have a crunch so I sauté until everything is hot and slightly softening.  If you like your vegetables to be completely soft, you may want to increase the amount of cooking time to 10 minutes.  

Note: Feel free to use other vegetables, just know how long they cook.  If they take longer to soften, they will need to go in sooner. This was such an easy dinner to throw together. 

Recipe adapted from


Gator Po’ Boy

2lb. alligator meat

3 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

3 tsps. Cajun seasoning

1 cup milk

2 eggs, beaten

2-3 cups oil for frying

3-4 French or Hoagie Roll

2-3 Tbsps. butter

1 tsp garlic powder

Lettuce and tomato for sandwich

Remoulade Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp garlic powder

Juice from ½ lemon

1 tsp Dijon mustard, to taste

1 tsp hot sauce, to taste

2 Tbsps. relish

1 green onion finely chopped

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp creole seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

In small bowl, combine lemon juice, mayonnaise, garlic powder, relish, green onions, mustard, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, creole, salt and pepper.  Cover with plastic wrap and let flavors meld in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.  Preheat oil in skillet to 375°F.  Rinse and dry alligator. Tenderize using meat tenderizer. Cut into strips. Place flour in shallow bowl. Add salt and Cajun seasoning to your taste and mix well. In another shallow bowl, mix milk and eggs. Coat alligator bites in egg wash. Place in flour mixture, coating well. Fry in oil 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350°F. Open rolls and bake about 15 minutes to toast bread.  Melt butter and garlic powder together.  Spread over toasted rolls.  Once alligator is cooked, assemble sandwich by layering tomato, lettuce and alligator.  Spread or drizzle sauce over meat or spread on bun.


Cajun Scallops in Butter Sauce

1lb scallops

6 Tbsps. butter, divided

2 tsps. minced onion


Cajun seasoning

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet.  Pat scallops dry.  When butter is sizzling, add scallops to skillet and sprinkle with paprika and Cajun seasoning to taste.  Add minced onion.  Cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Flip scallops.  Season again if desired.  Cook another 3 minutes.  Add remaining butter.  As butter melts, stir together well to combine any seasonings in pan.  Remove from heat. Serve scallops over pasta or rice and spoon extra butter sauce over scallops. Serve hot. So yummy!