'Wicked Tuna' fish cooking tip: It's all in the Ritz - or Goldfish - crackers

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When Capt. Dave Marciano isn't piloting his boat, Hard Merchandise, from its home port of Gloucester, Mass., to the waters of the North Atlantic in search of tuna, haddock and other fish, he might be found in the kitchen at home.

"The kids seem to think I'm a pretty good cook," Marciano, who plies his trade on National Geographic Channel's Sunday hit  "Wicked Tuna" tells Zap2it. "They enjoy it when I cook."

As Marciano explains, one side benefit of the fisherman's life is being first in line for the freshest seafood possible, whether it's tuna steaks, haddock or even lobsters.

"Anytime I want seafood," he tells Zap2it, "I just need to bring whatever we caught for the day home from work."

As for specific recipes, Marciano shares one from his Grandma Angie, an Italian immigrant who encouraged the young fisherman -- the first in the profession from his family -- when he was just a boy with a fishing pole and a hook.

"It was my grandmother," he says, "back when I was 7 or 8, when I started catching a few fish, she was the one who showed me how to clean the fish. Nobody in my family knew what to do with a fish if I actually caught one, except for her."

According to Grandma Angie, this recipe works for fillets from any white fish, such as cod, haddock or flounder. The ingredients are cracker crumbs (Marciano prefers Ritz crackers, but he says Goldfish cheese-flavored ones also work for kids), grated Parmesan cheese, butter and, in an optional touch, a clove or two of fresh minced garlic.

The fillets are placed in a baking pan and covered with a heavy layer of the grated cheese, followed by a topper of cracker crumbs. Butter is dotted around the pan, and if wanted, garlic is sprinkled on.

The fish is then baked at 360 degrees for 15-30 minutes (depending on how much is in the pan) until it is a uniform color throughout the thickest part of the fillets.

"You should try it this way," Marciano says. "For a lot of people who have kids, I give them some fish, and the next question is 'How do I cook it?' It's been my experience, when I tell people to do it this way, children -- even kids that don't like fish -- they seem to be very fond of it.

"I get a lot of stories of, 'My kids never eat fish, but when I made this, they cleaned the plate.' I think it's the Parmesan cheese. Kids love cheese; you can't go wrong. It isn't too overpowering either, so you can still taste the fish."

While he admits to enjoying deep-fried seafood, Marciano's new job on television has limited his consumption of it.

"I like fried seafood," he says, "but especially at my age, 46, and the way the camera puts on 50 pounds, I try to eat a lot less fried seafood. Otherwise, I'm liable to start looking bigger than the tunas."
Photo/Video credit: National Geographic
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