NEBRASKAland July 2017

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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68 NEBRASKAland • JULY 2017 B aked fish casserole is a concoction my husband, Tom, thought up several years ago. It is a favorite at the Geiser table and a hit with guests, too. This is a meat-and-potatoes, stick-to-your- ribs dish that is great any time of year and, despite its name, is delicious. Any type of game fish can be used in this recipe, but we usually use panfish such as bluegill or crappie, as the fillets are a good size for casseroles. Game fish with larger fillets also can be used, but we cut the fillets in half, making them single-serving size. Everything in this casserole is precooked, then baked until warm and bubbly. While Tom's baked fish casserole does take a little more prep time than some other fish dishes, it is worth the extra effort. Servings: 4 to 6 Prep Time: 45 minutes Bake time: 20 minutes Ingredients: • 6 to 8 pan-sized fish fillets • 4 medium potatoes (can be peeled or not) • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled • 1 9-ounce package of Béarnaise sauce mix • Finely crumbled saltine crackers • 2 eggs • 1 ⁄3 cup of milk • ½ cup of roux (recipe below) • ¼ cup of butter • ¼ cup of chopped onion • 1 ⁄8 cup of all-purpose flour • Milk • 3 1 ⁄8-inch thick slices of Velveeta cheese • Steak seasoning to taste • Chives for garnish, optional 1. Wash and slice the potatoes into 1 ⁄8-inch slices and boil in water until you can easily pierce them with a knife. While the potatoes are boiling, fry the bacon in a skillet until crisp. When cool, crumble bacon into a bowl and set aside. When the potatoes are cooked, drain the water and place them in a greased 9-by-9 baking dish so they cover the bottom of the dish. 2. Start the roux by melting the butter in a skillet. Add the onion and slightly brown before adding about 1 ⁄8-cup of all-purpose flour to the butter and onion. Stir the roux mix and add milk until it is a gravy-like consistency. Add the Velveeta slices and melt, stirring constantly. Add more milk as needed. Add a few dashes of your favorite steak seasoning to the roux mix. Pour the roux over the potatoes and sprinkle with half of the crumbled bacon. 3. Beat the eggs and mix with 1 ⁄3-cup of milk. Finely crush one packet of saltine crackers in a gallon-size zip- close bag. Rinse fish fillets off, pat them dry and place in the egg and milk wash, and then dip into the saltines and fry in the reserved bacon grease over medium heat. Brown the fillets on both sides and place over the potatoes, covering them. 4. Prepare the Béarnaise sauce mix as directed on the package or make your own homemade version and pour over the fish. Sprinkle the remaining crumbled bacon over the fish. Bake in a 350 degree oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until you see the sauces start to bubble. Top with cut chives if desired and serve. ■ Julie Geiser is our magazine writer/ photographer stationed in North Platte. Her other duties include outdoor education, youth mentoring and the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program. Baked Fish Casserole By Julie Geiser A down-home, meat-and-potatoes kind of meal.

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