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Celebrate the bounty of the sea

No-meat Fridays for Catholics during Lent is something I grew up with, and I know my mom was always trying to find new and interesting ways to prepare fish. Even if you don't eat fish as part of a religious observance, my fishing friends tell me that they've mostly been doing well on the ice and are bringing home a fair amount of walleye and crappies. I checked out our local grocers this morning, and they're doing a splendid job of tempting our taste buds with a wide variety of salmon, tilapia, shrimp, scallops, lobster, tuna and crab legs, to name just a few. (I confess, I splurged on the crab legs for our dinner this evening and last weekend found us enjoying a surf and turf dinner.) Although I don't usually repeat recipes, I'm breaking my rule this time so that I can make sure you all know about my favorite walleye crab cake recipe with lemon dill sauce, accompanied by a delicious wild rice dish. It's one that always has people begging for seconds and then the recipe.

Walleye Crab Cakes

1 lb. walleye, chopped finely

1 (8-oz.) can crabmeat

1/4 c. melted butter

2-3 green onions, chopped finely

1/4 c. red bell pepper, chopped finely

1/4 c. mayonnaise

1 egg

1/2 c. seasoned breadcrumbs

1 pinch Old Bay Seasoning

1 dash Dijon mustard

Lawry's Seasoned Salt to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 c. breadcrumbs to roll cakes in

Mix all ingredients together; form into small patties (smaller for appetizers/larger for entrée.) Roll in breadcrumbs and put on a well-greased cookie sheet. Bake in oven on top rack at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, flipping once, until golden on both sides. Alternative cooking method: Instead of baking, grease a pan lightly and brown the cakes on the top of the stove at medium heat for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Serve immediately with lemon dill sauce on the side. Serves 6.

Lemon Dill Sauce

1/2 c. fat-free mayonnaise

1 t. lemon juice

1 t. grated lemon rind

1/2 t. dill weed

Mix all ingredients together and serve with walleye crab cakes or your favorite fish.

Wild/Brown Rice Jubilee

1/2 c. wild rice

1/2 c. brown rice

2 c. chicken stock

3 T. butter

1 large onion, sliced into 1/2-inch wedges

1 T. brown sugar

1 c. dried cranberries

2/3 c. fresh sliced mushrooms

1/2 c. slivered almonds, toasted

1/2 t. orange zest

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring rice and broth to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until rice is tender and the broth is absorbed. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onions and sugar, then sauté until butter has been absorbed and onions are translucent and soft. Lower heat and cook onions 20 minutes more until caramelized. Stir in cranberries and mushrooms. Cover skillet and cook for 10 minutes or until the berries start to swell. Stir in nuts and orange zest. Fold into the cooked rice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6.

Inside-Out Fish Tacos

1/2 c. dry bread crumbs

1 t. chili powder

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. pepper

1/4 t. cumin

1 1/2 lbs. firm white fish such as walleye, halibut, sea bass or orange roughy

Vegetable oil

6 flour tortillas

8 oz. fresh tomatoes, chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

3 to 4 c. salsa

3 c. (12 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Shredded cabbage

Mix the breadcrumbs, chili powder, salt, pepper and cumin in a shallow dish. Cut the fish into 6 equal portions and coat each portion with the breadcrumb mixture. Heat enough oil in a skillet to measure 1/2 inch. Fry the fish in the hot oil for 5 minutes per side or until golden brown; drain. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange 3 of the tortillas in a single layer in a 9-x13-inch baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Top each tortilla with 2 of the fish portions. Layer 1/2 of the tomatoes, 1/2 of the onion and 1/2 of the salsa over the prepared layers and sprinkle with 1 c. of the cheese. Top with the remaining 3 tortillas, remaining tomatoes, remaining onion, remaining salsa and remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Line 6 serving plates with shredded cabbage. Cut the tortilla stacks into halves and arrange 1 half on each plate. Garnish with lime wedges and serve with ranch salad dressing or sour cream. You may also serve with additional salsa, sliced avocados or guacamole and additional warm flour tortillas. Serves 6.

Shrimp and Feta Pasta

1 1/2 lbs. shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined

4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped

8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

1 bunch green onions, chopped

2 T. chopped olives

2 t. oregano

10 oz. spinach fettuccini

Combine the shrimp, tomatoes, cheese, green onions and olives in a bowl and mix gently. Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Cook the pasta using the package directions and drain. Add the pasta to the shrimp mixture and toss to mix. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Maple-Glazed Salmon with Pineapple

1/2 c. maple syrup

2 T. Dijon mustard

4 salmon fillets, 6 oz. each

1 1/2 t. kosher salt

1/2 t. black pepper

1/2 fresh pineapple

1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

2 c. cooked rice, white or brown

Whisk together maple syrup and mustard in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Place salmon in a foil-lined 9-x13-inch baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Remove peel from the half of pineapple and discard. Cut pineapple lengthwise into quarters, and then cut each quarter into 1/2-inch thick triangles. Scatter pineapple slices and jalapeño around salmon. Brush the salmon with syrup mixture, reserving some for serving. Broil for 8 to 10 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork. Serve the salmon and pineapple with rice, and drizzle with remaining syrup mixture. Serves 4.