My fiance, Catie, loves scallops. If given the choice between some tender seared scallops and a rib eye, I think she would be hard pressed to choose. As a lawyer, she works pretty long days, and so I surprised her with dinner by combining her favorite flavors: tender, lush scallops with Thai flavors.
We had these as an appetizer with a steak dinner entree (hey, just cause I said she would choose one over the other, doesn’t mean I made her choose!), but the scallops were the real star. A balanced, controlled heat from the peppers, a lushness on the tongue from the butter, and a tangy acidity form the lime juice that brings all the flavors together made every bight scrumptious. So grab some seafood and enjoy this epic journey under the sea!
1 Thai chili, minced (to lower heat, seed the chili; you can also use a jalapeno to drastically drop the heat level without sacrificing flavor).
6 tbsp butter
4 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp soy sauce
1.5 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
1 lime, zest and juice
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh mint, chopped
Put 2 tbsp vegetable oil into a large pan (just enough to coat) over medium high heat. While heating, pat the scallops as dry as possible with a paper towel on each side (this will help give a better sear). Cook the scallops approximately 3 minutes per side, making sure to flip only once, until cooked through and opaque. Remove from pan onto a paper towel to dry any excess oil and sprinkle with salt.
To the same pan, add the chili pepper and ginger, stirring frequently until fragrant, approximately 30 seconds.
Add the fish sauce and soy sauce, and, using a wooden spoon, scrap the pan of any browned bits on the pan.
Add the butter, cardamon, lime zest and juice along with a pinch of salt. Whisk and cook for a couple more minutes, making sure not to boil the butter (lower heat if required).
Plate scallops then spoon on some of the sauce on top. Garnish with fresh, chopped mint if desired.
My dad’s birthday was a couple of weeks’ ago (Happy Birthday, dad!), and what better way to celebrate a summer birthday by grilling up a storm. We made a number of dishes, but the favorites may surprise you: grilled portabellas and cauliflower, and grilled whole fish.
While a rib eye maintained its well earned love by my mother and me, my father prefers lighter meats, such as fish, and has a passion for vegetables without rival. To be sure, between the tender flesh of the branzini and the smokey, melt-in-your-mouth mushrooms, nobody will miss red meat if you decide to just go with those items for your next cook out and ahead of the Fourth.
Chili Spiced Portabella Caps
4 portabella caps, stems removed (reserve these for another use such as making vegetable stocks, or dicing and sauteing them as a topping for a burger).
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients except the mushrooms together in a bowl to make a thick paste – add more vegetable oil if needed.
Slather the mushrooms evenly with the paste, and place in a plastic bag up to overnight so that they absorb the flavors.
When ready to cook, on a hot, well-oiled grill, over direct heat, cook the mushrooms for approximately 3 minutes per side, trying to flip the mushroom as infrequently as possible as the flames allow.
Serve immediately – if desired, squeeze some lime juice on top before serving.
Grilled Whole Branzini
2 whole branzini – ask your fishmonger to clean and gut these for you.
2 lemons, sliced
1 bunch of cilantro, trimmed and cleaned
1 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp pepper, divided,
1 tbsp cumin, divided
2 teaspoon chili powder, divided
Several hours before you wish to grill, take the whole branzini and rinse them under cold water, making sure the fishmonger did not leave any remnants of unpleasantness in them and that the fish is entirely de-scaled. If not, de-scale the fish by running the back of a knife against the fish to get any missed scales.
Make sure you have everything prepped ahead of time. Squeeze some vegetable oil throughout the fish (we did this previously out of video).
With your CLEAN hand, sprinkle the seasonings evenly among both fish and the cavities of both fish. Stuff the fish with lemon slices and cilantro sprigs – as many as you can fit without the herbs and fruit spilling out.
Wrap butcher’s twine around the fish to keep everything inside of it. Place covered in fridge until ready to grill and up to overnight.
When grilling, make sure you oil the fish (again) very liberally, that the grill is very well oiled, and that you are working on high, direct heat. This will all prevent the fish from sticking. Grill for approximately 4-5 minutes on each side. The fish should not stick when you flip it over if it is cooked and you’ve done all these steps. If you do not feel like dealing with risk of a sticky fish, use a cedar or other wood plank pursuant to their directions and cook the fish on top of that. This will take longer but will still be delicious.
Remove the fish and serve with a squeeze of lemon. Remember to be wary of bones!
It was my birthday last week, and my parents surprised me with a cooler of live lobsters. Those who know me know that I try to cook with new ingredients often (read: at least weekly) so I can learn about new ingredients and methods of cooking (and just in case I ever make it onto Chopped on Food Network). Despite this, I had difficulty a month back finding anywhere in my vicinity that sold live lobsters, but my parents came to the rescue in a big way.
I opted to make a Lobster Boil as I had been informed we would be having company over, and the recipe below follows. Few meals are as inclusive as a seafood boil – friends and family huddled over a mass of shared, delicious food can be the ultimate comfort food experience.
I then used the shells to make a lobster stock for Jambalaya, and that recipe will be posted later on separately. I did also take one Lobster and make a Lobster Curry, and I’ll share that recipe as well. I also apologize for the lack of photos – this was not originally intended to be on the blog, but enough people have expressed interest in how to do it that thought I would share!
Before we get started though, I want to say hello and thank you to our new followers. We’re happy to have you here!
So here where the lobsters that starred in the show:
Later on, we grabbed the pot and started pouring the liquids and first ingredients:
Next came the corn:
Then, it was time for the seafood:
Let the feasting begin!
2 medium onions, quartered
1 head of garlic – all cloves peeled and crushed (not chopped)
8 Yukon Gold Potatoes, halved
3 Thai chilis, sliced
3 Mexican Style Beers of your choice (If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can substitute seafood stock).
2 links of Turkey Sausage (We had some dietary restrictions with our company, but you could easily substitute Andouille or Kielbasa sausages, and if you eat pork, would recommend doing so). Cut these into about 1.5 inch pieces.
4 ears of corn, husked and cut into 3 pieces of each for a total of 12 small cobs.
5 live medium lobsters (about 1-1.5 pounds each)
4 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp toasted coriander seeds
4 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 pounds of mussels, scrubbed and cleaned
2 pounds of shrimp, under 16, cleaned and deveined (alternatively, use frozen but make sure that they are cleaned and deveined as well)
3 tbsp cilantro, cleaned and chopped
Place the onions, garlic, potatoes, chili peppers, and sausages in a large pot. Place 4 cups of water and both beers on top.
Place pot on medium high heat to bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer. Add the corn. Cover pot and cook for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper together. You may want to make a double batch so you can sprinkle the mixture on top of the boil later.
After 15 minutes has elapsed, add half the spice mixture over the ingredients already in the pot, then add the lobsters. Cooking time for lobsters will vary. We followed these guidelines to make sure that we treated the lobsters humanely before putting them in the pot: https://www.thespruceeats.com/ways-to-kill-a-lobster-1808804.
After you add the lobsters, cover the pot. For the lobsters, you will need about 20 minutes for the first pound, and about 7 minutes per pound after. So after 20 minutes, add the mussels and shrimp and cover the pot again. Add the rest of the spice mixture. The liquid should be simmering and steaming during all of this.
Cook for about 7-10 more minutes depending on size of lobsters and check on pot. Mussels should be open at this point (discard and do not eat any unopened mussels) and shrimp should be pink and opaque.
Strain the pot and make sure to reserve the broth. Lay out the seafood wonders onto prepared newspaper or parchment paper. Garnish with chopped cilantro, more of the spice mixture, and lime wedges. Serve immediately.
There is a restaurant local to where I work that serves She-crab soup every Friday for its special. While She-crab soup, of course, is in itself special, nobody seems to agree on much about it, what should (and just as importantly, should not) go into its preparation.
The orange tint of most of the she-crab soups that are made come from the crab roe addition to it; however, this can be difficult to find due to crabbing laws and geography depending on where you’re located. Some people add crumbled hard boiled yolks to imitate the texture, others find this sacrilegious.
One thing almost everyone does agree on is that there is something comforting about a seafood bisque-like soup that invokes images of warmth, comfort and sunshine. Below, you’ll find our own recipe for crab bisque. We used Maryland blue crab and seafood stock that was leftover from our Paella recipe. We substituted the traditional grated white onion for shallots for a more mild taste and added the addition of fragrant garlic to enhance the crab meat.
One area you cannot go wrong with any seafood bisque is to add a teaspoon of sherry or other dry white wine to your serving bowl which will add a depth of flavor to the soup. As always, bon appetit!
3 cups whole milk
1 cup seafood stock (preferably homemade, but can use store bought)
2 tbsp butter
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp flour
1 pound crab (preferably blue She crabs, but other varieties will suffice)
½ teaspoon cayenne
1 cup heavy cream
Sherry or other dry white wine
Chives for garnish (optional)
In a pot, place milk and stock. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer. Keep mixture on simmer while working on the soup.
In a large pot, melt butter on medium high heat. Once pan is hot, add shallots. Stir frequently until translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add flour and stir regularly until flour turns brown and bubbles.
Add the hot milk/stock mixture into the soup pot with the flour, stirring while adding. The mixture will start to thicken.
Add crab. Continue to simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid is thickened.
Turn off heat and stir in the heavy cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. Let sit for 3-4 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Add a teaspoon of sherry to each serving bowl and ladle soup. (Alternatively, add 3 teaspoons of the sherry to the entire pot. If you wish to avoid alcohol, substitute with apple cider vinegar). Garnish with chives. Serve immediately.