Bluefish with Mango Salsa

I know its January, and the winter is well set in. So why does H-Mart have a big sale on mangos and papayas? It is a mystery to me, but an inspiration also… blue fish with a Caribbean mango salsa. It’s an explosion of flavors that will convince you that winter is actually far far away.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Mango Salsa –

  • 1 papaya, peeled and diced
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 red sweet bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons captain morgan’s dark spiced rum
  • 3 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • salt, to taste

Combine all these ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so it let the flavors meld together.

Now, grab a pair of bluefish fillets and place them in a baking dish. Spread the salsa on the fillets and bake in a 350 degree oven for about half an hour.

mango_salsa

Clams Au Gratin

This is a noodle casserole with fresh clams and clam juice. It’s a yummy, cheesy, seaside comfort food for chilly winter days. This dish bakes up nicely in a warm oven that helps take the chill out of the air.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One pint of clam meat
  • 1 ¼ cups of clam juice and milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup of butter (bless you Paula Dean)
  • 1 cup of elbow macaroni cooked
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese (use the good stuff or you’ll get tat day-glow faux cheese nastiness)
  • 1 tsp seal salt
  • Dash of pepper

 

Shuck the clams and save the juice. Chop up the clam meat, scald the juice and milk or cream if you prefer.

Add the butter and melt that into the liquid. Take it off the heat and add in the macaroni, bead crumbs, grated cheese, salt, pepper, clams, mix well. Then, blend in the two eggs. Transfer this mixture to a well greased casserole dish.

Bake the casserole in an oven at 350 degrees for about forty five minutes. Let it set for a few minutes before bringing it to the table.

SteamerClams1

Shrimp with Patron Silver Glaze

It’s a clean, crisp, and smooth nectar from the agave plant crafted into one of the best things to come from Jalisco Mexico. And it makes a nice glaze for shrimp. And being close to the holidays, it’s a nice way of finishing up the tequila left over from summer and make room for a new bottle on the shelf. So, let’s grab that bottle of Patron Silver, free a lime from the fridge, and make some sweet shrimp.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup Patron Silver tequila
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp. lime juice
  • Half a dozen or so jumbo shrimp

Clean, peal, and de-vein your shrimp.

Combine the tequila, brown sugar, and lime juice in a sauce pan and simmer until its about the same consistence of maple syrup.

In a hot pan sauté the shrimp for a bout one minute, then brush the glaze on them and let them cook another minute or so. These guys do cook up rather quick.

I like to serve these guys up on a bed of roasted corn relish, or over Cajun spiced rice. But you could just plate them up with a shot of Patron Silver and a lime wedge and enjoy them as an appetizer (especially if you prepare this with a larger number of smaller shrimp).

Tequila- Patron-Silver

Cod and Sam Adams Boston Lager

Different beer profiles lead to different flavors in beer battered fish. A pilsner will generally leave a slight flavor, while lagers, porters, and bocks will provide other flavors. So it’s important to try out a variety of brews in you beer batter.  Fish is healthy, beer is healthy, so fish AND beer should be very healthy right…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 gallon vegetable, canola, or safflower oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tsp Smokey paprika
  • Dash Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 12oz bottle of Sam Adams Boston Lager
  • 1½ pounds cod, cut into 1-ounce strips
  • Cornstarch, for dredging
  • Malt vinegar, for serving

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, paprika, and Old Bay seasoning. Whisk in the beer until the batter is completely smooth and free of any lumps. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Refrigerating the batter allows it time to thicken, and a thickened batter adheres to the fish much better. A bit of time makes a better batter. You can make the batter up to an hour ahead of time.

Now, when you’re ready to cut fish, cut the fish into one in strips, lightly dredge fish strips in cornstarch. Working in small batches, dip the fish into the batter and immerse in the hot oil. When the batter is set, turn the pieces of fish over and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain the fish on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Keep the fried fish in the warmed oven (about 200 degrees) while you cook the remaining batches. Serve with malt vinegar and chips.

cod_and_Sams_9327

Last of The Summer Ale with Shrimp

So, summer is winding down here, and one of the things that goes away with the long daylight hours, is the summer ale from Blue Point brewery. So, before the taps run dry, there is one more shrimp fry to host. Let’s grab the summer ale, and the flaked coconut, pour a finger or two of rum and cook it up!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 24 shrimp
  • 2/3 cup Blue Point Summer Ale
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 3 cups oil for frying

In medium bowl, combine egg, 1/2 cup flour, beer and baking powder. Place 1/4 cup flour and coconut in two separate bowls.

Hold shrimp by tail, and dredge in flour, shaking off excess flour. Dip in egg/beer batter; allow excess to drip off. Roll shrimp in coconut, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) in a deep-fryer.

Fry shrimp in batches: cook, turning once, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Using tongs, remove shrimp to paper towels to drain. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce. And enjoy the last of the summer ale… and look forward to the Oktoberfest lagers.

Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp

Stuffed Flounder

Canned crab meat is a great shortcut in making so many recipes where the crab is being used as an accompaniment. I usually don’t use the canned if I’m using crabmeat as a standalone, like stuffed crab salad. Although when I’m making a crab – corn chowder, I can go either way. But with this recipe, canned crabmeat for the stuffing is a great way to use canned crabmeat when you run across a good sale on it.

  • 4 pounds whole flounder – cleaned, rinsed and dried
  • 1 pound crabmeat, shredded
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, minced
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon old bay seasoning
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease a large casserole dish or a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. Stir in onion, green onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until onions are soft. Then remove pan from heat and stir in shredded crabmeat, seasoning, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.

Now, rub the flounder skin and cavity with butter. Stuff the cavity with crab mixture and place in prepared pan. Bake this for 30 minutes, or until flesh is firm and white at the thickest part of the fish.

The more adventurous cook will take the flounder head, put it in a pot of water with some celery trimming, left over onion ends, top and bottom of the green pepper that would otherwise been thrown out and other aromatics lying around, perhaps one of those soy sauce packets from the Chinese take-out, and make a fish stock. Then you use the fish stock to make couscous to serve with the flounder.

Rolled Sole with Veggies

Sole, a nice simple filet lends itself to a very gentle method of cooking, steaming. Rolled up on a bed of mixed Chinese vegetables and steamed on a plate in the bamboo steamer… just a perfect fish to go with rice and wine.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 fresh sole fillets (about 5 ounces each)
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 large carrot, cut into julienne strips
  • 3 baby bok choys chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced green onions and tops, divided

Combine 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, wine, ginger, onion powder and sugar in shallow dish. Then add the sole fillets letting is marinade for ten minutes, five minutes for each side.

Meanwhile, toss carrot and bok choys together with remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce in small bowl; pour off excess sauce. Transfer the vegetables to an 8-inch round heatproof plate.

Remove sole fillets from marinade; spread out flat. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons green onions evenly over fillets. Starting at thin end, roll up the fillets, and arrange them seam side down, on vegetables. Place plate on large steamer rack set in large pot or wok of boiling water. (Do not allow water level to reach plate.)

Cover and steam 12 minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon green onion evenly over fish once you’ve plated up the portions.

A Summer Classic… with Bacon!

Bacon and scallops straight from the sea, the scallops that is, the bacon comes straight from Western Beef (the thick cut bacon is the one I use). These are best tossed on an outdoor grill, but you can broil them indoors.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs bacon
  • 2 lbs sea scallops (if very large, cut in half)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth

Cut bacon strips in half and wrap a piece of bacon around each scallop; secure with toothpick. Then if you are cooking indoors: Arrange the wrapped scallops on a baking sheet and broil about 5 inches from heat for 3 minutes per side, or until bacon is crisp. If your cooking outdoors, I use a perforated cooking sheet over the grill on top of hot coals.

Make the sauce:  In small skillet, melt butter; add garlic and saute about 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cook this for about 2 minutes to reduce.  Place scallops in large bowl; pour broth over, gently toss to coat. Now, if there were a bed of linguini in that bowl, well, it couldn’t hurt.

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Rosé Summer Mussels

Every Mediterranean country has its version of shellfish in a tomato-based broth, and the wine of choice for each is an earthy, full-bodied pink wine. Here, seek out a nice sweet rosé, I sever these with a bottle of Martha Clara Vineyards sweet rosé.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes drained
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 5 oz can v-8 juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, tomatoes, v-8 Juice, thyme, and red-pepper flakes. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Now, when it comes to the canned tomatoes and the v-8 juice, I use the low sodium option here. Too much sodium is not good for you and around here I’m all about cooking things that are good for you… most of the time. So lets get back to the mussels.

Discard any mussels that have broken shells or that don’t clamp shut when tapped. Add the mussels to the pot. Cover; bring to a boil. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally, just until the mussels open, about 3 minutes. Remove the open mussels. Continue to boil, uncovering the pot as necessary to remove the mussels as soon as their shells open. Discard any that do not open.

Stir the black pepper into the broth. Taste the broth and, if needed, add salt. Ladle the broth over the mussels and serve with the garlic toast.

mussles with tomato broth

mussels with tomato broth

Tomatoes Stuffed with Crab

Hazy Hot and Humid… So, yesterday I mentioned making a chicken salad stuffed tomato. Well, I decided to stop off at the fish shop on the way home and got a great deal on crab meat. So, instead of chicken salad stuffed tomatoes, I made crab salad for them. I like to make these easy meal items that go straight from the fridge to the plate on these hazy, hot, humid days.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 fist sized ‘slicing’ tomatoes
  • 1 pound crab meat
  • 1 lime
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 rib celery
  • 2 spring leeks
  • two tablespoons mayo
  • sea salt and pepper

Start by cutting the crab meat into modest chunks. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice over the crab meat. Take a butter knife and shave off some of the lime pulp into the crab meat. Combine this thoroughly. Then add the minced celery and onion, then cut the leeks lengthwise and chiffonade and add the shreds to the crab. Now, add the mayo and mix thoroughly.

Take each tomato and hollow them out. I usually fine that one of those serrated grapefruit spoons works well for this task. Save the innards for making salsa, or chunked into a side salad. Now, stuff the crab salad into the tomato and store them in the fridge till you are ready to serve them up.

Tomato Stuffed with Crab