Cooking Seafood – Eugene Register Guard Article

Fresh-catch state of mind

Tiffany Haugen previews her twelfth cookbook, “Cooking Seafood,” and shares her passion for making the most of fresh fish and game.

Cookbook author Tiffany Haugen lives in Walterville with her husband, co-author Scott Haugen, and their two sons. Here, she holds Cedar Planked Salmon, which is prepared on a bed of citrus slices. The Haugens’ latest cookbook, “Cooking Seafood,” is for cooks of all skill levels. “I want people who go get their fish from a fish market to be able to use this book,” Haugen says. (Collin Andrew/The Register-Guard)

By Jackie Varriano

For The Register-Guard


The very first recipe Tiffany Haugen made her own was a barbecue sauce she copied down from a PBS cooking show at the age of 9.

“My mom let me experiment in the kitchen, so I went and made it. They happened to be having friends over that night and people were just freaking out over this barbecue sauce,” Haugen says one recent afternoon over tea at her family’s home in Walterville.

Although the recipe for Haugen’s famous barbecue sauce was lost in a move, she says she still tries to recreate it to this day.

While some people might have forgotten about a recipe they learned at the age of 9, Haugen still loves tasting, testing and tweaking recipes.

In fact, when she isn’t hunting, fishing or gathering food with her family, she’s writing cookbooks. The latest, titled “Cooking Seafood” (Amato, 2014) — which she co-authored with her husband, Scott Haugen — is her twelfth and due out Jan. 1.

“I was constantly making crazy creations,” Haugen says of her childhood as a curious cook. “I’d have notes everywhere and all my own creations and substitutions and whether it worked or whether it didn’t. And that’s how I learned to cook, that whole trial and error and making stuff up in the kitchen.”

Haugen says her curiosity really started to come in handy when she and Scott moved to the most remote part of Alaska after accepting teaching positions in a small village.

“There were no roads, no stores, no nothing. You bought nine months’ worth of food at Costco and that’s what you cooked with. I taught myself how to make ice cream out of pudding and Coffee Mate,” she recalls with a laugh.

A few of the locals gave them some caribou meat to get started and Scott began hunting, a hobby he had enjoyed since childhood.

“I had cooked blacktail deer, salmon and trout growing up,” Tiffany says, “but all of a sudden there’s caribou and dall sheep, arctic ground squirrels, ptarmigan and grizzly bear, and I have all these animals and I thought, ‘What am I going to do with these?’”

Unfortunately, there was no Google for searching “how to cook a moose,” so Haugen relied on her curiosity and creativity to get them through the next seven years spent in Alaska.

“After seven years of only game, I was like, ‘There’s nothing out there I can’t tackle,’” she says.

Indonesia became the next teaching post for the Haugens and with it another set of obstacles in the kitchen for Tiffany to tackle.

“I was always experimenting with different flours and different things to cook,” she says.

Sharing her gathering excitement

The Haugens moved back to the United States in 2003 and in 2004, Tiffany published her first cookbook, “Cooking Salmon and Steelhead.”

“Scott started writing first and a publisher in Portland that he was writing for asked me if I had any fish recipes,” she says. “I thought, oh yeah, seven years in Alaska and you get a lot of fish recipes.”

After “Cooking Salmon and Steelhead,” Haugen went on to write “Cooking Game Birds,” “Cooking Big Game,” “Grill It! Plank It! Wrap It! Smoke It!,” “The Power of Flour” and more.

“I write for hunters, fishermen and families, teaching the idea that gathering is exciting,” she says.

The prep for “Cooking Seafood” began nearly five years ago, with the serious recipe editing, testing and photos all happening over the past year and a half.

Divided into sections titled “River Fish,” “Shellfish” and “Ocean Fish,” the book is for every level of skill in the outdoors as well as in the kitchen.

“It’s not like you have to go dig your own clams or go catch your own trout to use the recipes in this book,” Haugen says. “I want people who go get their fish from a fish market to be able to use this book.”

All-mouths-on-deck endeavor

Haugen and her family spent the summer deep in test kitchen mode.

“There was clam chowder for breakfast, clam strips for lunch and lobster tails on the grill in the afternoon,” the author says.

While for many that may sound divine, Haugen admits there were occasions when her two sons, Braxton and Kazden, protested.

“There were days where the kids were like ‘I’m not eating octopus for breakfast,’” Haugen recalls with a laugh.

As part of her development process, after cooking a recipe herself a few times, Haugen has friends and family taste each dish and offer feedback. Additionally, Haugen’s mother and a few other cooks of all skill levels cook each recipe, following directions and reporting back to Haugen.

“I try to get a super cook to read through and then a novice cook to read through, because I want everything to be really simple,” she says. “There’s nothing truly gourmet in this book. Nothing you can’t do in a short amount of time.”

On this day, Scott is busy at the kitchen table, sectioning antelope meat from a recent hunting trip in Wyoming.

Haugen proudly mentions they do all their own butchering, in addition to any and all preparations from smoking to jerky.

Seeing the meat and thinking of all the months just spent testing seafood recipes, it’s reasonable to wonder whether Haugen was over seafood by the time her new cookbook went to the printer.

“You almost think you’re sick of seafood,” she admits, “but as I was going through the editing process and looking through all the photos I’d be like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so hungry for this I want to make it right now!”

Her favorites include recipes for paella and bouillabaisse.

“And something super simple like oysters on the grill with citrus butter,” Haugen says. “It’s so simple and so fresh it just makes me want to grab the clam buckets and go to the coast.”

What’s next for Oregon’s wild game and fish cookbook writer extraordinaire?

“I’d love to tell some of my food memories with a few recipes at the end (of each chapter).”

Here’s to hoping she’ll include everything from her tale of Crock-Pot eider ducks in the Arctic Circle to banana-leaf pork in Indonesia.


Writer Jackie Varriano can be contacted at

Cedar Planked Salmon

By Tiffany and Scott Haugen, from their forthcoming book “Cooking Seafood” (Amato, 2014). Plus, see a sampling of other recipes from the book including Shrimp & Potato Curry, Crab Lasagne, Lemon Parsley Clams, Scallop Pico de Gallo, and Fish Balls & Sticks.

1/2 pound salmon fillet

10 slices of lemon, lime or orange (or a combination of all three)

Seasonings of choice

1 presoaked plank


1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon fresh ground black

1/2 teaspoon granulated onion

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon cumin


Soak plank at least two hours in water, apple juice or white wine. In a small bowl combine rub ingredients. Remove plank from liquid and discard liquid. Cover plank with overlapping citrus slices. Place salmon, skin side down, on top of citrus. Season fish with BBQ Rub or seasoning of choice letting fish sit 10-15 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven or a hot grill 15-20 minutes or until fish is no longer opaque and reaches an internal temperature of at least 135 degrees.

Planks can be purchased “ready-to-use” or untreated wood can be bought at a lumber yard and planks can be cut to desired size. Any non-resinous wood can be plank cooked upon; cedar, alder, oak, maple, cherry, apple, pecan and hickory are some of the more common wood types.

Note: Visit see these expanded instructions on cooking with planks, including preparation, precautions and the different techniques required for plank cooking over direct or indirect heat on a grill, or in an oven.)


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