Simple Seared Scallops w German Coleslaw

The fresher the scallop, the more I prefer the simple sear cooking. I picked up some very nice large sea scallops and, as Best Yet market was running a sale on red cabbage, I figured that I would keep things simple, and use up the bacon I had left over in the fridge. Now, I know, most people would reflexively wrap the scallops in the bacon and grill them up, but I would rather add the bacon to flavor the coleslaw and leave the freshness of the scallop alone.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the scallops –

  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds dry sea scallops, approximately 16
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To prepare the scallop, remove the small side muscle, rinse with cold water, and pat dry thouroughly.

In a nice 12 inch non-stick sauté pan add the butter and oil. Turn the burner on high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops. Once the butter/oil begins to smoke, gently add the scallops. This ensures that the oil is indeed hot and the scallops will sear on the oil and not stick to the pan (if you’re not using a non-stick pan). Make sure they are not touching each other, or they will stick to each other. Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center.

For the coleslaw –

  • 1 red cabbage
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 rashers thick cut bacon, diced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2/3 cup beef stock
  • 1/3 cup duck walk red wine
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • salt and black pepper

Remove outer leaves from cabbage. Cut into quarters, cut out white trunk. Slice cabbage into very thin shreds.

Set large heavy pan over medium-high heat. Melt butter and add the bacon and caraway seeds. Cook until the bacon starts to brown. Add sugar and onion, cook until softened and translucent. Add cabbage, stir to coat well with the fat then add the salt.

Next, add the beef stock and red wine. Cover and bring liquid to a boil, cook for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat and add the vinegar, stir well, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the scallops and serve with a refreshing beverage…

As an option for you picnickers out there… You can let this refrigerate this slaw for a couple of hours and serve this cold, or room temperature.

National Apple Pie Day

Mother’s Day is national Apple Pie Day… go figure! So, in keeping with the holiday, here’s my contribution to the nation’s apple pie recipe repository. All you need is a touch of the natural maple sugar and a drizzle of natural maple syrup.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  •  1 ready made pie crust ( ok, so I cheat a little)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple sugar
  • 2 Tbsp REAL maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3 lb. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (8 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, cut up
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1–2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. raw sugar

In a large mixing bowl combine granulated sugar, maple sugar, maple syrup, flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Add apples; toss to coat. Transfer to pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter and pour whipping cream over filling. Trim edge of crust even with edge of pie plate.

On the lightly floured surface, roll out remaining pastry to a 12-inch circle. Cut an “x” or a design in the center of the pastry. Place pastry over filling in pie plate. Seal and crimp edges. Cut small slits in top of crust, if desired. Brush with milk and sprinkle with raw sugar. Place pie on a foil-lined baking sheet. To prevent overbrowning, cover pie edges with foil.

Bake in a 375° oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil from edges. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes more or until fruit is tender and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy this with your Mom!

Chesapeake Bay Beer-Battered Flounder

Thin fillets of flounder are a good fish for deep frying. There small size cooks very quickly. Using a heavy beer-batter to encase the fish actually reduces the amount of oil in the fish itself. The oil quickly cooks the batter and transfers that heat to cook the fish inside the batter. But even though… use good quality, non-transfat, high smoke-point oils like canola or peanut oil. You want to taste the fish, not the oil.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 to 5 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup Blue Point Summer Ale
  • 2 lbs. flounder fillets cut into 4×1 inch strips
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Tartar sauce

Heat oven to 200 degrees. Pour the oil into a large Dutch oven, 1 inch deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degrees.
Whisk the flour, salt, Old Bay, black pepper and cayenne together in a large bowl. When the oil is almost ready, whisk the beer into the flour mixture until completely smooth.
Pat the fish dry.  Add half the fish to the batter and stir gently to coat. Using tongs, lift the pieces of fish from the batter, allowing excess to drip back into the bowl; add to the hot oil.
Fry, stirring pieces gently to prevent sticking together, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
Remove the fried fish to a paper towel to drain and keep warm in oven.
Repeat process with the remaining strips of fish.  Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.

A Classic Fish Chowder

Soup’s on! Its been a while since I’ve posted any soup recipes here. I suppose its all the warm weather we’ve been having lately. But, getting back to basics, here’s a Cod fish chowder that can also be made using haddock or pollack, or any light, firm-fleshed fish.

here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound cod fish cut into pieces
  • 2 slices of thick cut bacon
  • 1 russet potato diced
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 3 cups of fish stock… you do have fish stock yes?
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 garni boquet of: thyme and parsley
  • 1 bayleaf

melt a little butter in a large pot and start browning the bacon. Add the fish stock, garni, potato and cook a few minutes until the potato starts to soften. Then add in the celery and carrots and let them cook a few minutes. Then, add in the fish and cook until the fish just cooks through and firms up becoming opaque.

Gently stir in the milk, add a touch of salt, and remove from the heat.

Let stand until the milk heats up then ladle into nice heavy bowls and I like to garnish with oyster crackers.. and a blue point lager.

 

Canned Salmon Cakes Twist!

OK.. let’s review the recipe – and add a comment about the sodium content of bread crumbs!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Can of salmon
  • 4 medium red potatoes
  • 2 ribs of celery diced
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 1 egg
  • Bread crumbs
  • Olive oil
  • bacon!

Grab your grater and grate those potatoes, watch the knuckles. Toss this into a large bowl. Then add the salmon, celery, onion, and egg. Mix this together well. Add in the bread crumbs, fresh if you can get them from the bakery, canned from the store if you can’.

Now, a quick health note about canned bread crumbs. Get the Panko style crumbs, the Japanese one… I’ve checked all the sodium contents for the other types of crumbs including the plain old crumbs and the sodium is well over 20 mg. That’s not acceptable. We want bread crumbs, not salt-bread crumbs. The Panko crumbs have sodium counts under 50mg. Much better for my heart.

So, now that you have the mixture ready, here’s the twist – use a scoop to form balls from the mixture, not patties. But wait! there’s more! take a strip of thin cut bacon and wrap it around the ball, securing with a toothpick if needed.

Take these bacon wrapped – great salmon balls and place them on a baking sheet then pop into a 350 degree oven for half an hour.

You can turn this recipe from a main course of large balls to an appetizer of small ball by using a melon scoop to form smaller balls and wrap with bacon slices cut in half. Either way these make a nice addition to your canned-salmon skills.

Canned Salmon Cakes

Salmon cakes, made with potatoes and eggs and breadcrumbs. These are pretty darn heart-healthy if you don’t fry them in a gazillion gallons of bad cooking oil. These cakes, made by grating fresh red potatoes and making use of that can of fish.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Can of salmon
  • 4 medium red potatoes
  • 2 ribs of celery diced
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 1 egg
  • Bread crumbs
  • Olive oil

Grab your grater and grate those potatoes, watch the knuckles. Toss this into a large bowl. Then add the salmon, celery, onion, and egg. Mix this together well. Add in the bread crumbs, fresh if you can get them from the bakery, canned from the store if you can’t, until the mixture has the same consistency of cement… bad metaphor, sorry.

Now add a little olive oil to the pan and put on a moderately high heat.

Form patties from the salmon/potato mixture and fry them for about 3 to 5 minutes per side.

These are nice when topped with homemade tartar sauce, or you can add pickle relish to a little Russian salad dressing and use that to top them.

Sardine Salad with Feta and Bulgur

You’ll notice that yes, this recipe is a whole lot like the last one. The last one, Sardines with chick peas and feta, is more Mediterranean, this variation is more Turkish, Persian. We are swapping out the chick peas for a good portion of bulgur wheat. Pack this with a cold-pac and it travels well… it is picnic season as I’ve mentioned previously.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 to 3 cans of sardine fillets
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground cornmeal (or substitute equal amount flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups course bulgur wheat
  • 2/3 cup diced, seeded cucumber
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pitted and sliced black olives
  • Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives

First, let’s get the bulgur wheat going. To prepare the bulgur, take one and a half cups of strongly boiling water into a heavy glass bowl, then add the bulgur and two or three tablespoons of olive oil and a juice of half a lemon. Stir together and let stand for about fifteen to twenty minutes. It’s just like making French-style couscous.

Carefully lay sardine fillets out on a towel and pat dry. Make coating by combining flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika and cayenne. Set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together the bulgur wheat mixture, cucumber, feta, olives, lemon zest and the other half of the lemon’s juice, mint and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange equal parts of salad base on six plates.

Dredge sardines through flour mixture and set aside, ready to be fried. Heat remaining olive oil over medium heat in a fry-pan large enough to accommodate the sardines in one or two batches. When barely smoking, carefully lay in sardines, working in two batches if necessary to avoid crowding. Sizzle fish in oil about 30 seconds on each side then carefully transfer back to dry towel to drain. Now, a word of caution here, make sure the pan is hot. This prevents the extremely delicate fillets from sticking.

Stack the fillets on top of each salad and sprinkle with a pinch of chopped chives and a few cracks of black pepper. And yes, this still goes well with a Duck Walk white.

Sardines with Feta and Chick Peas

This is an appetizer / salad course fresh from the sustainability desk, a somewhat Mediterranean inspired salad that incorporates canned sardines, chick peas, and feta as its prime components. If you are not a big fan of the chick peas, wait until I post a twist on this tomorrow. Pack this with a cold-pac and it travels well… it is picnic season as you know.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 to 3 cans of sardine fillets

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground cornmeal (or substitute equal amount flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (1 16-ounce can) chickpeas, drained
  • 2/3 cup diced, seeded cucumber
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pitted and sliced black olives
  • Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives

Carefully lay sardine fillets out on a towel and pat dry. Make coating by combining flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika and cayenne. Set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together chickpeas, cucumber, feta, olives, lemon zest and juice, mint and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange equal parts of salad base on six plates.

Dredge sardines through flour mixture and set aside, ready to be fried. Heat remaining olive oil over medium heat in a fry-pan large enough to accommodate the sardines in one or two batches. When barely smoking, carefully lay in sardines, working in two batches if necessary to avoid crowding. Sizzle fish in oil about 30 seconds on each side then carefully transfer back to dry towel to drain. Now, a word of caution here, make sure the pan is hot. This prevents the extremely delicate fillets from sticking.

Stack the fillets on top of each salad and sprinkle with a pinch of chopped chives and a few cracks of black pepper.

This does indeed go well with a Duck Walk white.