Ma’s Favorite Recipes
Ma's favorite recipes - Ma's been in the kitchen cooking up some delicious herring dishes!

Recipe Menu

Cresto Stuffed Trout

4 whole trout, defined (cut from top fin to bottom fin)
Trout can be dressed with head on or head off, your choice
4 C watercress
2 C toasted blanched almonds
1 C freshly grated Parmesan -Romano cheese
Grape seed oil


To clean watercress
First swirl in a bowl of water, then spin dry in a salad spinner. Store the watercress in a closed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. As long as the leaves are dry, they will stay green for several days.


To make the cresto
In a food processor, add 2 c watercress and a small amount of oil and process for a few minutes.
Add the rest of the watercress, nuts, and oil and process again.
Finally add cheese and some more oil, depending on desired thickness of cresto (for stuffing, its best to make it thick).


To cook the trout
Once the stuffing is made, stuff the trout with as much or as little cresto as desired.
Use a cast iron skillet, heat the pan to medium heat and add grape seed oil.
When oil is hot, lay the trout in pan.
Once the tail starts to curl up, flip the trout to the other side using one or two spatulas (the tail starts to curl after about 2 min depending on the size of the trout).
Continue to cook on the other side for about another 2 min.


To debone the trout
Once the trout is cooked, follow these directions for deboning:
1. At a table or counter, hold the trout by the tail. You are going to start work at the tail and work your way towards the head.
2. Insert a knife between the flesh and the bone. Cut down the top of the fish, splitting off the fillet. Use your knife to separate the fillet from the bone (the meat should easily lift off). Now turn the trout over. Holding the tail again, gently pull entire skeleton up and off the second fillet. You can use the knife against the flesh to separate easier.
3. If you kept the head, be sure to remove the two luscious cheek pieces before discarding.


Buffalo Salmon Dip

6 oz pouch, cooked, wild caught Alaska pink salmon
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 C ranch dressing
3-4+ T hot Sauce of your choice
1/2 C cheddar cheese, shredded


Cream together cream cheese, hot sauce and ranch dressing. Fold in cheddar cheese. Fold in Salmon. Refrigerate in air tight container. May eat as a cold dip or put in crock pot to warm until heated through. Then leave on a low setting. Serve with celery sticks, tortilla chips and/or crackers.


Note: Try experimenting with different kinds of hot sauce to change the flavor. Cajun, Mexican, Thai, Asian – just let your imagination run wild. Also this dip is excellent hot, served over noodles as a main course. A seafood twist to mac and cheese.


Salmon Chowder

Makes approximately 8 cups of Chowder


½ C onion, finely diced
½ C celery, finely diced
½ C red bell pepper, finely diced
6 – 8 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only, keep 5 or 6 six leaves per serving to the side for garnish
½ t fresh ground black pepper
4+ T butter
1 ½ C chicken stock
3 C red skinned potatoes, finely diced*
1 LB fresh Alaskan salmon, skinned, boned and cut into small chunks
1 one-half pint heavy whipping cream
½ LB smoked Alaskan salmon, skinned and cut into small chunks


Choose a stock pot with a tight fitting lid. Heat pot over medium heat. When pot is hot add butter. Once butter is melted add onion, celery and red bell pepper. Add more butter if needed. Add thyme and black pepper. Sauté over low heat, with lid on pot to retain moisture, until vegetables are well cooked, approximately 30 minutes. Do not caramelize just sweat the vegetables.


Add chicken stock and potatoes; bring to a soft simmer. Cover pot and cook potatoes until al dente, not mushy. Test periodically with a fork for desired texture.


Once potatoes are cooked add fresh salmon; bring to a soft simmer. Cover pot and cook salmon until opaque. Add smoked salmon and whipping cream. Bring again to a soft simmer. Once smoked salmon is heated through, serve chowder in coffee mugs or small cups as this is very rich and thick. Garnish with reserved thyme.


*Potatoes – While vegetables are cooking dice potatoes, skin on, and place in large bowl of cold water. Replace with fresh water periodically. This process will keep potatoes nice and white and remove some of the starch. Completely drain the potatoes before adding them to the stock.


Baked Great Lakes Whitefish

Makes 2 servings


2 fresh whitefish fillets (6 to 8 ounces each), skin on with pin bones removed
2 lemons, one thinly sliced and one cut into wedges
1 T butter
Sea salt and pepper or other type of seasoning salt, to taste
2 t brown sugar
Cooking oil spray


Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray a glass oven-proof baking dish, large enough for fillets to be placed in a single layer. Place fillets in baking dish, skin side down. Lightly season fillets and sprinkle with brown sugar. Lightly rub seasonings into fillets. Top fillets sparingly with thin slices of butter and place a layer of fresh lemon slices on top. Bake, uncovered, 8 to 10 minutes, maybe longer depending on the thickness of the fillets, until fish is opaque and flakes easily. Take care not to overcook as fillets will become tough.


Serve immediately with additional fresh lemon wedges on the side.


Seafood Cakes

Ma Baensch Tuna Cakes
Makes 4 patties


7.1 oz. package albacore tuna, flake tuna with a fork
3 T corn meal
1 T cornflake crumbs
1 T fresh chives, minced
1 T Italian leaf parsley
1 T lemon juice
1 t lemon zest
½ t granulated onion
¼ t granulated garlic
¼ t salt
¼ t pepper
1 egg


Preheat oven to 425° F. In a bowl, combine all ingredients together. Form mixture into patties and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 425° for seven minutes. Serve as a hors d’oeuvre, side dish or on buns with lettuce, tomatoes and tarter or remoulade sauce.


Ma Baensch Salmon Cakes
Makes 4 patties


6 oz. pouch pink salmon
1 T celery, minced
1 T green onion, minced
1 T mayo
3 T crispy bread crumbs
1 t tried dill weed
1 t lime zest
¼ t sea salt
¼ t pepper


Preheat oven to 425° F. In a bowl, combine all ingredients together. Form mixture into patties and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 425° for seven minutes. Serve as a hors d’oeuvre, side dish or on buns with lettuce, tomatoes and tarter or remoulade sauce.


Ma Baensch Fish Cakes
Makes 7 patties


10.35 oz. package blue gill, cooked and flaked
½ C Panko crispy bread crumbs
2 T mayo
2 T celery, minced
3 T granulated onions
2 T lemon juice
1 t lemon zest
1 t jalapeno pepper sauce
½ t dry mustard
¼ t sea salt
¼ t pepper
1 egg


Preheat oven to 425° F. In a bowl, combine all ingredients together. Form mixture into patties and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 425° for seven minutes. Serve as a hors d’oeuvre, side dish or on buns with lettuce, tomatoes and tarter or remoulade sauce.


Halibut With Fresh Dill

Makes 2 servings


8 oz fresh halibut fillets, skinned and cut into 1” cubes

1 t grape seed oil

1 t butter

Sea salt or other seasoning salt, to taste

2 T fresh dill, minced

1/8 C dry white wine

1 lemon, sliced in wedges


Lightly season halibut cubes, if desired. In a medium sauté pan (with a cover), heat grape seed oil and butter over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add halibut. Sauté for three minutes and turn cubes over with tongs. Sauté one minute more and turn off heat to pan. Add fresh dill and wine, toss and cover immediately. Let fish sit another few minutes until fish is opaque and flakes easily.


Serve immediately with fresh lemon wedges on the side.


Easy Salmon Ball

6 ounces cream cheese spread
½ t. onion powder
¼ t. Worcestershire sauce
¼ t. asian chili sauce, or to taste*
1 T plus 1 t. lime juice
6 ounces skinless, boneless pouched pink salmon
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled
Assorted crackers



Place salmon in a colander, flake with fork and allow to drain, discarding liquid. In a medium bowl, using a fork, cream together cream cheese, onion powder, Worcestershire, chili sauce and lime juice. Add salmon and continue mixing until well blended. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Remove from refrigerator and form into a ball. Place single layer of toasted pecans on a sheet of waxed paper. Gently roll salmon ball over pecans to cover. Wrap securely with plastic wrap and store up to 24 hours or place in center of serving platter and surround with crackers and serve.


*To add more heat, increase amount of chili sauce.


Mediterranean Salmon Cakes

What better way to start the day than with a healthy breakfast of salmon cakes, eggs and whole wheat toast? Believe it or not, substituting heavy breakfast meats with seafood like salmon can boost energy and stamina levels throughout the day.


Makes 8 cakes


2 – 7 ounce pouches pink salmon, boneless and skinless
3 eggs, raw
½ C whole wheat bread toasted and shredded
½ C onion, minced
½ C kalamata olives, diced
½ C feta cheese, crumbled
1 T oregano
1 t. cumin
¼ t. dill
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
Olive oil
Lemon wedges


In large skillet over medium heat, sauté onions in a small amount of olive oil.


In a medium bowl, combine salmon, eggs, shredded bread, onions, olives, feta cheese, spices and lemon juice. Mix well; shape into eight 1/2-inch thick patties.


Add salmon patties and a small amount of more olive oil to the skillet. Cook three to four minutes per side or until golden brown. Serve patties with fresh lemon wedges and toast.


Grilled Halibut with Fresh Lime

Makes 2 servings


2 halibut* fillets (4-6 ounces each and 1” thick), skin removed
Grape seed oil
Cajun seasoning without salt
Seasoned salt, your favorite brand
3 fresh limes cut into wedges
When purchasing halibut try to get fillets that are uniform in thickness as they will take the same length of time to cook.



Prepare grill. Remove fish from refrigerator 15 minutes before grilling. Rub a small amount of grape seed oil on both sides of fillets and then rub cajun seasoning on flesh side of fillet and seasoned salt on skin side. Rub oil on fish/vegetable grilling tray. (May cook directly on grate as well. Rub the grate with oil before placing over coals). When coals are grey and hot, place cooking tray on grate directly over coals to preheat. When tray is hot, lay fillets, flesh side down, on tray. Grill for 4-5 minutes. With a spatula loosen fillets and turn over. Squeeze fresh lime juice over fillets. Grill for another 2-4 minutes or until fish is opaque. Remove fillets from grill and place on warm plates for platter. Do not overcook. Fish will continue to cook after removed from the grill. Garnish with wedges of fresh lime and serve immediately.


*May substitute: haddock, cod or turbot.


Hot Buffalo Tuna Dip

3 (6 oz) cans, solid white albacore tuna in spring water, drained
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 C ranch dressing
3/4 C hot pepper sauce, brand of your choice (more or less to taste)
1 1/2 C shredded Cheddar cheese


Heat tuna and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook until well-blended and warm. Mix in half of the shredded cheese and transfer mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on low setting until hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks, tortilla chips and/or crackers.


Great Lakes Smoked Fish Spread

4 oz smoked salmon*, flaked
4 oz oz mayonnaise
1 T lemon juice
2 t grated onion
1 t horseradish


Blend all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Cover and chill. Serve with your favorite crackers. Recipe may be doubled for hungry hunters.


*May substitute your favorite smoked fish such as trout, whitefish or chubs.


Marlin Nuggets with South Seas Dipping Sauce

1 lb marlin steak – cut into about 20, 1 inch nuggets
1 lb sugar snap peas, raw, trimmed
South Seas Dipping Sauce—two separate batches
Green leaf lettuce


South Seas Dipping Sauce
2 T soy sauce
2 T rice wine vinegar
2 T housin sauce
1 T sesame oil
1 T sesame oil



Combine ingredients for one batch of South Seas Dipping Sauce. Place marlin nuggets and one batch of dipping sauce in a Ziploc bag and marinate for at least one hour.


Preheat broiler on high. Line a shallow baking tine with foil. Pour marinated marlin nuggets on foil and arrange nuggets evenly. Nuggets should not touch and height should be even. Broil on high for three minutes. Remove pan and evenly turn nuggets with tongs. Return immediately to broiler and broil three additional minutes. Remove from oven.


To serve, prepare a platter lined with leaf lettuce. Place second batch of South Seas Dipping Sauce in a bowl at the center of the platter and place nuggets around the bowl on the leaves. Drizzle with sauce. Sprinkle sugar snap peas amongst the nuggets. Serve with toothpicks to skewer nuggets and peas for liberal dipping.


NOTE: Do not keep fish warm as fish will overcook; this appetizer is able to be served at room temperature.


Broiled Whitefish with Balsamic Glaze

2 T balsamic vinegar
6 T honey
2 T teriyaki sauce


2 whitefish fillets, skin retained (usually ½ to ¾ pound each)
Green onions, diced—optional garnish.


Preheat broiler. Combine first three ingredients in a small sauce pan. Bring to boil on high heat. Boil three minutes stirring constantly. Remove form heat.


Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a large cookie sheet. Place fillet, skin side down, on foil. Spoon glaze evenly over fish. Broil on high allowing approximately 8 minutes per inch of thickness. Check for doneness by using a thin-bladed knife to peek inside fish. When just a touch of translucence remains, the fish is done and will finish cooking on the way to the table. Garnish with freshly diced green onions if desired.


*If you are making more than two fillets, place fillets side-by-side on foil and increase glaze proportionally.