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Tillamook Coast Life Blog

Cooking Oregon Seafood Like A Local

Once you’ve caught your wild fish or harvested shellfish, how do you cook it up? Try one of these tried and true recipes inspired by generations of cooking on the Oregon Coast.

My smoked salmon dip always garners raves at parties, especially from people who smoke their own. The versatile, easy fried fish recipe is loved by many anglers and cooks. It works very well with any thin, flaky white filet. I like it with petrale or Dover sole, but it’s just as good with thicker rockfish or ling cod.

The pasta with clams in buttery garlic sauce is the go-to of many a clam gatherer. It uses small manila clams which cook up tender and juicy. It’s versatile, too. The aromatics can be swapped out to add creative touches, like the Thai-style version pictured here.

For more Oregon seafood recipes developed by Oregon Coast residents (including yours truly), check out Oregon State University Extension’s Sea Grant Eat Oregon Seafood collection.

Easy Fried Fish

  • 1 pound fresh Oregon-caught white fish filets, like rockfish, petrale or Dover sole, lingcod, perch, bass, etc.
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  •  Salt and lemon pepper
  • Vegetable oil

Pat fish dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle each filet on both sides with a little salt and lemon pepper.

Prepare your frying station: a medium-size bowl for the two beaten eggs, and two plates, one for flour and one for bread crumbs.  Add a generous amount of salt and lemon pepper to both the flour and the bread crumbs, and mix well. Prepare another plate or tray with a layer of paper towels to drain fish after frying.

Heat a cast iron pan on medium-high, then add enough oil to cover the bottom to about 1/2-inch. Warm the oil until it shimmers.

Working quickly, dredge each fish filet in flour, then coat it in the eggs, then dredge it in bread crumbs.

Place coated fish in a frying pan. You will likely need to fry in two or three batches.

Fry until you see the bottom is turning golden brown. This will take only a couple of minutes if your filet is small and thin, like perch or Dover sole, longer if thicker, like rockfish. Turn and cook the other side until opaque throughout. Time varies as above. Do not overcook. Remove fish with tongs, and drain on a plate with paper towels. Remove any excess bits in hot oil with a wire skimmer before adding a new batch of fish. Serve immediately with tartar sauce or corn tortillas with mango salsa and shredded cabbage as tacos.

Perfect Smoked Salmon Spread

  • 1 cup, roughly 7 ounces, smoked salmon, flaked gently with your hands into small pieces
  • 1 cup whipped cream cheese
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions, green part only
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika and chopped parsley as garnish

The secret is in the whipped cream cheese. Gently hand-mix salmon, cream cheese, lemon juice and zest, and green onions until combined. Don’t use a food processor, because it will turn the fish gritty. If you’d like it a bit thinner, add a spoonful or two of sour cream or some heavy cream. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Add garnishes just before serving. Serve with crackers of your choice.

steamed clams recipe
Cooking Oregon Seafood Like A Local

Simple Steamed Clams For Two

  • 1.5 lbs. Oregon Manila clams (foraged or purchased)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Chopped garlic, as much as you like
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped aromatic vegetables like celery, leeks, peppers
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Chopped parsley to garnish

Scrub clams well. If you use Manila clams, there’s no need to purge sand inside prior to using. In a pan (with a lid) on medium heat, saute garlic and aromatic vegetables until fragrant, about 2 minutes, then add wine and clams to the pan. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes until clams open.

Remove the clams and leave the liquid.  If any are still closed when you open the lid, leave them in for another minute or so, and if they don’t open, discard them. Boil down the broth so it’s a bit more concentrated, then pour over the clams and serve. Note: clams are often salty and don’t need seasoning, but taste the broth before you pour it over the clams and add salt if necessary. Add garnish. Serve with crusty bread.

Thai-style variation: for the aromatics, add slivers of red onion and fresh jalapeno. To the wine, add a spoonful of widely available Thai chile garlic paste and a splash of Thai fish sauce. For garnish, use chopped fresh mint leaves.