Category Archives: Seafood

Shrimp and Scallop in White Wine Sauce: Quick and Tasty

2015-06-21 12.22.26I have no idea how I avoided making a white wine sauce all these years. So tasty! So quick and easy! And, the best news is that it goes with all sorts of ingredients, from the the shrimp and scallops used in this recipe, to any seafood, as well as chicken, tofu, veggies, and more.

Here is the link to the original recipe that I found when looking for a new (to me) quick and easy way to prepare the seafood.

Easy Shrimp and Scallop in White Wine Sauce

Below is the recipe with the very few adjustments I made due to not having any chicken base on hand (I added depth with marjoram and extra grated cheese), having fresh parsley available, as well as needing to use up some cherry tomatoes.  I also totally forgot to add salt and pepper, so, while I will most likely add them next time, I did not list them here to keep it true to the experience.  🙂

Here is what I used:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces shrimp (regular, not small)
  • 8 ounces scallops (regular, not small)
  • 1cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1lemon, juice of
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3-4  tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat oil over medium/high heat, add garlic and onion and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add shrimp and scallops and continue stirring for 1-2 minutes. Add wine, basil, red pepper, and marjoramAllow to simmer 1-2 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted, then add chopped parsley, tomatoes, give a quick stir, then add grated cheese and stir until well blended. Toss with pasta, rice, or serve over a simple salad. 

For dinner, I tossed with organic brown rice ramen noodles, which worked splendidly, but any rice or pasta will work just fine.

I had the leftovers for lunch the next day. We had eaten all the noodles the night before, so I served the remaining seafood mix and sauce over the leftover salad of new lettuce, onion, and more cherry tomatoes that I had served with the original meal the night before.  (We have lots of cherry tomatoes right now, can you tell?)

Oh – don’t forget some good bread for both renditions to soak up the sauce. It is way too good to leave on the plate.

Enjoy!  And  be sure to experiment with ingredients and flavors.

Q Tip:  http://winefolly.com/tutorial/chefs-techniques-for-perfect-white-wine-sauce/

 

 

 

What the Hake? It’s really good!

Last week Michelle The Fish Lady (aka Globe Fish at the Wakefield Farmers Market) recommended that I try some hake, a white fish that is similar in flavor to haddock et al.

Always up to trying something new, I got a pound and decided to prepare it in the quickest, most simple way that I have used successfully with other fillets of white fish, which is to coat the fish with flour ( I use whole wheat) seasoned with a bit of salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper, dip it in egg, then do a final coat of a mix  fine and panko breadcrumbs before quickly frying in a  small amount of oil.

Seasoned flour, egg, and breadcrumbs and panko for the crust.

Seasoned flour, egg, and breadcrumbs and panko for the crust.

Honestly, this is such an easy way of preparing all kinds of fish!

Seasoned flour, egg, and breadcrumbs and panko for the crust.

Close up of the floured fish.

NOTE: Be sure to shake off the excess flour and then let some of the egg drip off before moving to the next step.  You do, however, want as much of the breadcrumbs and panko on the fish as will stick.  🙂

Once the fish was coated, I just heated up … I think I used peanut oil, but canola or sesame would work fine… anyway, I heated up about a 1/2 inch of oil until it was shimmering and hot enough to sputter if flicked with water droplets and put the fish right on in.

Fish in the oil

Fish in the oil

I actually cooked the fish longer than I meant to, but basically, since the fillet is thin, you can just cook until crisp and browned on each side.

done!

done!

Although, when I make this again which will be soon because I bought some more this past Saturday, I might just do it this well done on the outside because, as you can see by the next picture, it was perfectly done in the middle.

fished plated with corn

So moist and tasty! Shown with freshly picked corn from Kelly’s Farm.

So good and so easy!  Thanks to The Fish Lady for the fish, Kelly’s Farm for wonderfully crisp corn, and, not shown, Farmer Dave for fantastic potatoes that I sliced thin, coated with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and roasted at 400 for about 40 minutes.  And then, there was the salad of greens from Flats Mentor Farm and more… YUM!

Delightful Summer Chowder!

Oh. My. God.  Or OMG for short.  🙂  However and whatever the exclamatory phrase, the chowder I made last night was totally amazingly delicious!

The impetus was about a cup each, give or take, of lobster meat and shelled but not yet chopped steamed clams and 6 cups of clam broth left over from a lobster and steamer feast in honor of (and held a few days earlier than) Steve’s birthday.

I went online and perused various clam, seafood, and corn chowder recipes and then decided to just wing it, using the basic steps as a guide.  In particular, I wanted to use the squash blossoms, kohlrabi, and Asian greens in my fridge and sensed that these ingredients would work well together.  I was right.  <grin>

the veggies in the raw

Green onion (bulbs were used for another recipe) carrots, Asian basil, Asian spinach, squash blossoms, kohlrabi, and corn. Missing are celery,fresh parsley and potatoes.

Here are the ingredients I used for this recipe:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups chopped green onion  – top of white and part green (no bulb)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped or diced
  • 1 cup diced carrot (2 medium/small)
  • 1 ½ cups thinly sliced/chopped peeled kohlrabi*
  • 1 ½ cup corn kernels
  • squash blossom bulbs (see photos, below)**
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup tight packed chopped Asian basil
  • 6 cups clam broth
  • 10 oz small sliced potato (2 cups)
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped lobster
  • 1/2 cup chopped clams
  • 12 squash blossoms, torn – stamen removed (bulb added above)**
  • 1-2 oz Asian spinach,  torn

** How to prepare squash blossoms:

blossom with stamen
Squash blossom with stamen still intact. Note: for some recipes, you should leave the blossom intact when removing the stamen.
Stamen removed
Before tearing each blossom into 3 or so pieces, removed the bulb at the bottom and add the bulbs to the soup in with the kohlrabi and corn.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pot and saute the onions, celery and carrots for a few minutes.  Stir in the kohlrabi slices*, corn kernels, and blossom bulbs, then add the marjoram, parsley, and Asian basil.

Before the broth is added.

Before the broth is added.

  • *A note about the kohlrabi:  This is my first time cooking with kohlrabi and, even as I write this, I have yet to look up how to prepare them.  Since it seemed to me that the outer part seems it could be a bit tough, I trimmed off the outside before slicing up.  But, I’d do as you prefer as to the outer skin on or off.

Next, stir and cook the veggies for few more minutes, then add the clam broth and bring to a strong simmer.  Add the potato slices, half & half, and black pepper.

potatoes

Just the potatoes. I had a few leftover small red and yellow ones, so I used them up!

Let the chowder simmer on low for about 10 minutes to cook the potatoes and further meld flavors.  Just FYI – it was delicious even at this stage!  This would be fine to serve as is or with just additional veggies.

Once the potatoes are cooked through,  add the chopped lobster and clams.  A Note about chopping the clams.  First, they sure are NOT pretty!

chopped clam

Be sure not to cut through the belly! The rest of each clam can be chopped into as big or small pieces as desired.

Stir the chowder and let sit on very low for 5-10 minutes to do more of that flavor melding, then bring to almost a simmer and stir in the squash blossoms and Asian spinach.

Asian spinach, just rinsed, but before being torn.

Adding the blossoms and greens.

To end, let the chowder sit for 5 or so minutes over very low heat to wilt the spinach and blossoms, then serve and enjoy!

Ready to serve!

This was truly a wonderful chowder!  I served it with some multigrain bread and it made for quite the satisfying meal. And, that lobster and clam feast was the gift that kept on going, since we had this chowder on Steve’s actual birthday. 🙂

I bet you could use this recipe as a basis for a vegetarian corn and potato chowder. I would use a corn-based vegetable stock (just make it yourself by simmering leftover corn cobs, carrots, parsley and celery, etc.), unsweetened soy milk, saute with oil, and leave out the seafood.  What made this chowder so special was, I think, the combination of a light touch of marjoram and basil, the Asian spinach and, especially, the unique flavor of the squash blossoms.  You might also want to add something else – a touch of flour to thicken and maybe use part almond milk to give a touch of a buttery flavor…  Hmmm…..You know, some chunks of nicely ripe heirloom tomatoes would be a nice touch, too.

For those who eat dairy and seafood, feel free to ad lib with other veggies and seafoods!  As I pointed out to Steve when when I told him I was not going to use a specific recipe, I suspect all soups, stews, and chowders originated as a way to either use up or stretch what was on hand, with the fancy recipes and techniques coming later.

In any case – just have fun.  A little thought about how flavors might go together and some experimenting might result in the next favorite family, or even famous, recipe.

Oh, I of course must mention that the Asian basil, Asian spinach, green onions, and squash blossoms were from Flats Mentor Farm, the kohlrabi from Farmer Dave, and the corn from Kelly’s Farm – all available at the Wakefield Farmers Market.  Shop local and most important: Support your local farmers!

Grilled Shrimp and Scallops on a Bed of Arugula and Sliced Peaches

It always amazes me how just a few ingredients can come together and create an amazing bouquet of flavor.  And it is especially fun when it happens due to a “what I have on hand” situation. This particular meal got its start by The Fish Lady (Globe Fish at the Wakefield Farmers Market) having only 1/2 pound of shrimp left by the time I stopped by to shop, so, along with the shrimp, I got 1/2 pound scallops.

The week before, I found and used a really lovely marinade for shrimp to be grilled in their shell.  By the way, grilling in the shell does make for some great flavor!  But this week, I figured I’d peel the shrimp since it would be grilled with the scallops and, as much as I love the flavor of shrimp and scallop on their own, I thought this would be a good time to try adding a bit stronger flavor.

As usual, the Internet came to the rescue with a great glaze recipe that conveniently called for the exact 1/2 pound each of shrimp and scallops that I had purchased. I followed it exactly except for substituting lemon juice and zest for the lime because I didn’t feel like going to Farmland for just a lime!

On the grill before the glaze. I think we’ll forgo the skewers next time!  🙂

Grilled Shrimp and Scallops With Lime-Ginger Glaze

  • 1/2 pound fresh shrimp (de-shelled and de-veined)
  • 1/2 pound fresh scallops
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup (about 2 limes) fresh lime juice *
  • Zest from 1/2 lime *
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • skewers
  1. Peel the fresh ginger by scraping it with the edge of a spoon and then grate or mince.  I like to grate the ginger using a micro-planer.  We need about 1 tablespoon of finely minced ginger.
  2.     Mix the honey, soy, ginger, lime juice and zest in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer.
  3.     Simmer the lime, soy and ginger under low heat for about 10 minutes to reduce to a glaze.
  4.     Preheat the grill to high heat and clean and oil the grates (important to lube up the grates, we don’t want to have to pry off one of those beautiful shellfish!).
  5.     Skewer the shrimp and scallops.
  6.     Place the shrimp and scallop skewers over high heat and grill with the lid open for about 2 or 3 minutes.
  7.     Flip the skewers over to the other side and baste the shrimp and scallops with the soy, lime and ginger glaze.
  8.     Grill for another 3 minutes on the other side and then flip the skewers over.
  9.     Brush the other side with the glaze and then remove the skewers from the grill.  We just want to hit the other side with the glaze, but don’t let them grill too long on the “glazed” side or the honey will burn.

* On the advice I found online, I added just a bit more lemon juice and zest than the amount of lime called for in the recipe and it worked beautifully.  However, I intend to try this with the lime next time to get the full effect.  🙂

Once I determined the flavoring for the seafood, I realized that my original plan of using some just picked tomatoes (from Farmer Dave at our farmers market) would not work, although I was determined to use some of the wonderful arugula I had also gotten at our market that morning from Flats Mentor Farm.

I knew I needed sweet and a bit of tang to go with the glaze and had an AHA! moment when my eyes lit upon the fresh, peaches at perfect ripeness I has also gotten from Farmer Dave that morning.arugula and peach salad

While the glaze was simmering, I rinsed and spun dry the arugula, sliced up some peaches, and put them together, adding a very light sprinkling of lemon juice, rice vinegar, and some freshly ground black pepper.  I meant to add some olive oil but – oh well!  Maybe next time.  <grin> Actually, now that I think of it, olive oil would be too strong a flavor.  Perhaps some canola oil would be nice.

the meal, plated

Plated, fresh off the grill.

Once the seafood was off the grill, I put some salad on our plates and topped with the shrimp and scallops.

To really top it off, while preparing the meal I had just happened to have a glass of Three Sisters White Wine from Charlton Orchards that I had purchased at the market the week before …I t was the PERFECT beverage to accompany!

This was truly an exquisite meal, light but satisfying, perfect for a hot summer evening. And so easy! It just doesn’t get much better than this!

Three Sisters White Wine completed the experience!

Salmon Summer Fruit Salad. REALLY Tasty!

A big THANK YOU to Marcia Calvin, one of my fellow members of the Wakefield Unitarian Universalist Church, for bringing this lovely salad to our church potluck picnic last Sunday!

I love potlucks. They provide a wonderful opportunity to try new dishes and enjoy old favorites such as Mary Adele Taylor’s deviled eggs. Yum! 🙂

The only drawback is that, with so many different items, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to really appreciate a unique dish, such as this interesting combination of fruit and fish, at a potluck. Also, Marcia had thoughtfully provided the dressing on the side for those who may want to save some calories and I forgot to add the dressing when I tried the salad. But, I was very intrigued and wanted the whole experience, so I asked for the recipe.

I am thinking Marcia should do a cooking blog, too. Along with the recipe, she provided detailed notes and also included what looks to be a a great recipe for baked fish. I’ll have to try that one soon!

The ingredients gathered

So, here is the recipe, noting a few options beyond the recipe that Marcia shared with me:

Salmon Summer Fruit Salad

Dressing:
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
5 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil (one version calls for just 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons pecans (walnuts work fine) OR
1 tablespoon honey (one version has honey instead of nuts)
1/2  teaspoon lemon juice, or more, to taste

Salad:
3 cups torn leaf lettuce
2 cups torn Bibb lettuce (I used mostly  romaine and some of whatever type is in my garden)
1 (7.5-oz.) can pink salmon, drained, skin and bones removed – or buy fresh and cook it yourself.
2 medium nectarines, sliced (or equivalent of chunks of orange)
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Directions:
1. In small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients; beat with wire whisk until blended.

Or:

Use a small food processor and pulse to mince the shallot and green herbs first, then add the nuts and pulse to coarsely chop, then add the vinegar, oil, and lemon juice (and honey if using instead or in addition to nuts) and pulse just until blended.

2. In large bowl, combine all salad ingredients except raspberries. Drizzle with dressing; toss gently to coat. Gently fold in raspberries.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve on individual salad plates or in Tortilla Salad Shells.

Tip: The dressing can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for several hours or overnight.

1/4 cup or so chopped shallot. This shows a scant 1/3 cup.

This makes about one tablespoon, chopped.

I made the salad a few hours before heading out to a Linden Tree Coffeehouse* volunteer appreciation party on June 18 and decided to bring it with me to get additional opinions beyond Steve’s and mine.  WELL!!!!  It was a resounding success!  So much so that Steve didn’t get a chance to try it that evening. So, I made it again the next day.

Upon arriving home with more raspberries and salmon, I realized that I had forgotten nectarines, although, the chances of getting ripe ones were small anyway.  In fact, after receiving the recipe and purchasing the ingredients mid week,  it was not until Friday that the nectarines were ripe enough to use.

So, there I was, and I didn’t want to got back to the store again, anyway.  But, since the dressing contains lemon juice, I suspected that one could substitute with an orange.  Just to make sure, I searched online for recipes with salmon and orange.  That’s when I found on very similar to the recipe Marcia sent me that had honey instead of nuts in the dressing, either one a thickening source, I am guessing.  Just use honey if you want it more sweet or don’t have pecans or walnuts on hand.

The Dressing - with nuts, not honey

And, speaking of substitutes, online research told me that walnuts are a good substitute for pecans, so, since walnuts were what I had, that is what I used.  And, I suppose you could use onion instead of shallot, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you used Vidalia or other sweet type of onion.  But, frankly, I am a huge fan of shallots and always make sure to have plenty on hand.

Bottom line is that this salad is excellent with either nectarines or fresh chunks of orange.  I saw recipes with salmon, that call for canned manderin orange pieces, also, so that would be another option.

pre - dressing

Nectarine version - with dressing

with chunks of orange, dressed

A few more notes:  I used mostly romaine lettuce, because that is what I had in my fridge.  I did supplement it with greens from my box garden, though.

Some kind of lettuce and arugula

I am pretty amazed by how prolific this lettuce is.  I picked 7 or eight leaves total two days in a row and it seems to grow back overnight.  Now I need to really leave it alone so it has a chance to really get going!

And, the final note:  Rather than used canned salmon, Marcia bought fresh salmon and cooked it herself, which was an excellent touch to her version.  And, I’d recommend doing that if you have the time and can find some good fresh salmon.  But, I do think, flavor-wise, the canned works quite well, since there are so many other flavors going on in this dish.

But, whatever you do, I recommend trying this recipe.  It is especially good for potlucks because, along with tasting great, the unexpected mix of ingredients is a great conversation starter.

* Along with a fun jam session later in the evening at the Linden Tree Coffeehouse party, we were treated to excellent music by Gail Rundlett and her son Julian. Gail really liked the salad, by the way.  🙂

Pan Seared Shrimp, Roasted Red Potato Slices, and Mixed Greens

Globe Fish Co had Gulf shrimp at the Farmer’s Market.  Pricy, but I could not resist.  And it was delicious! I found an easy recipe on recipezarr.com that is basically the same as the one I found on the Cook’s Illustrated site. Here it is:

plated shrimp

The complete meal

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoo lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined (21/25 count)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  1. Beat butter with a fork in a small bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in garlic, lemon juice, parsley and 1/8 tsp salt until combined. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tbs oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until smoking. Meanwhile toss shrimp, salt, pepper and sugar in a medium bowl. Add half of shrimp to pan in a single layer and cook until spotty brown and edges turn pink, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; using tongs, flip each shrimp and let stand until all but very center is opaque, about 30 seconds. Transfer shrimp to a large plate.
  3. Repeat with remaining oil and shrimp; after second batch has stood off heat, return first batch to skillet along with flavored butter and toss to combine. Cover skillet and let stand until shrimp are cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges if desired.

Here is a close-up of the meal:

plated shrimp

The combination worked well – even with the bits of ham flavoring the collard greens.  I will post that recipe separately and date it so it appears below this post, after the mozzarella post. And, you’ll find the potato recipe in the 7/19/09 Halibut post.

This meal was easy to create.  I started the collard greens first.  Once there were allin the pot and simmering, they needed no more attention.  And, once they simmered for 45 minutes to and hour, I put them on low and could have left them for hours.  Very handy recipe for when you are trying out a new entree!  The potatoes are also easy and forgiving as to timing.  I prepared and roasted them for 15 miutes at 350 and then left them until giving them a final 5 minute blast at 400 when it was time to serve.  Of course, you need a toaster oven or a quick heating convection oven to do it this way.  You can always roast them and then turn the oven to warm until serving time.

I then peeled and deveined the shrimp.  Very easy to do.  I just used my kitchen scissors to ship the shell and my finger to get the vein out, patted them dry, and put them in the fridge until I was ready to cook them. I also made  the garlic butter ahead of time.  Note on that: it says to “beat” the butter.  the word “mashed up” better describes the process I used.  I wonder if they recipe meant to instruct us to melt, rather than soften the butter?  In any case, mashing worked just fine.  <grin>

Then the time came to fire up the frying pan.  The process went by so quickly that I forgot to take pictures!  All the shrimp (14 of them to one pound) fit at one time, so I could skip transfer any to another plate.  I reduced amounts of ingredients a bit, to, since the recipe calls for 1 and 1/2 pounds of shrimp.

I’ll certainly make shrimp this way again!  I bet good quality shimp from the grocery store would be fine in the recipe, too.  I’ve heard that Trader Joes has great shrimp.  Not sure of the environmental and/or health safety of their source, but then again, I am not sure of that of these Gulf Shrimp, either.  If anyone knows, let me know!

Pan-fried halibut, sauteed pea tendrils, and roasted red potatoes from the Farmer’s Market

First, go check out the Wakefield Farmer’s Market Web site if you have not done so before!  If you live in or near Wakefield MA or plan to visit before the middle of October, be sure to check out the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  See the Web site for directions, etc.

Globe Fish Co. had Gulf shrimp last week, and I was planning to purchase some this week.  Unfortunately, they didn’t  have any this time around, so I got halibut instead and, at my husband’s request, agreed to prepare it fried.  I also bought a variety of produce from Farmer Dave and Flats Mentor Farm, which specializes in Asian produce, and decided on potatoes and pea tendrils to accompany.

ingredients

The Ingredients: red potatoes, halibut, and pea tendrils

I do not having a lot of experience preparing fish.  I am now pretty comfortable baking it, and was successful my recent and first try at blackened salmon, but this would be my first time frying it.  And, I was up against some stiff competition:  Fried fish was apparently one of Steve’s Mom’s specialties and I was hoping to create at least a satisfying, if not perfect match to his memories. I am pleased to report that I was successful!  Here is the recipe I followed:

##

PAN-FRIED FISH FILLETS
Source: http://teriskitchen.com/seafood/fried-a.html

This is basic and can be used with any firm, white-fleshed fish, as well as shrimp, scallops and oysters. After trying many different types of coatings and methods, this is my preference. The resulting crust is always crispy and not too thick. In a pinch, you could use finely crushed low-salt saltines in place of the homemade breadcrumbs. I think that is a better choice than store-bought breadcrumbs which, in my experience, never yield a crispy crust and taste a little like cardboard.

* 2 pounds firm, white-fleshed fish fillets, such as flounder or catfish
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* Salt and pepper to taste
* 2 eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons water
* 1-1/2 cups homemade dried breadcrumbs
* Oil for frying, such as vegetable or canola
* Lemon wedges
* Tartar sauce (see recipe)

1. Place flour on plate or wax paper. Season with salt and pepper; mix well. Place breadcrumbs on large plate or wax paper. Coat fish lightly with flour, shaking off excess. Dip into egg wash and let excess drip off. Coat thoroughly with breadcrumbs, again shaking off excess. Place on wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to help ensure that the coating will adhere to the fish when frying.

2. Meanwhile, heat large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil, about 1/2-inch thick, or thick enough to come about half-way up the sides of the fish. Heat oil until hot. Remove fish from refrigerator and fry, in batches as needed, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side depending on thickness. Remove to a clean wire rack to drain. Season with additional salt, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.

Servings: 4

##

fish prepped

Ready to dip the fish.

fish with coating and ready for a 30 minute chill in the fridge

fish with coating and ready for a 30 minute chill in the fridge

[Note:  I purchase two packs of the fish totaling just about 1.5 pounds, WAY more than needed for a meal for two.  I actually held back a few pieces to freeze after breading and a few pieces to freeze after frying, just to see if this could be a viable “cook ahead/meal from the freezer” recipe.  I’ll let you know later!]

Next, I made some tartar sauce – just a mix of sweet relish and mayo, with just enough prepared horseradish to add a bite, and put it in the fridge until dinner time.

While the coated fish was in the fridge chilling, as per the recipe, I sliced up the potatoes – a bit under 1/2 ” thick – seasoned them with a salt and a liberal amount of freshly ground black pepper, added a light coating of olive oil, and spread them out on a pan that I had sprayed with canola oil.

prepped potatoes

prepped potatoes

I put them in my toaster oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes to start – or, at least, I thought to start because recipes usually call for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.  However, these were done in the 15 minutes – probable because they were freshly dug (higher water content is my guess) and also sliced thinly (about 1/2 inch or less.)  Since I would be wanting things to be done at the same time, this worked out great.  I left them in the oven and finished them off for 5 minutes at 400 degrees as I was frying the fish.

I also prepped for the pea trendrils while I was waiting for the coated fish to chill.  First I flavored some olive oil by sauteing garlic slices then, once they were a bit browned, let them sit in the oil until I was ready to saute the pea tendrils. That way, I was all ready to quickly saute the pea tendrils once the fish was done and draining on a rack before serving.

garlic saute

Flavoring the oil with garlic

I then went through the pea tendrils and removed the thicker parts of the stems and also the little twisty tendril strings because I read that they could be tough and “stringy” when cooked.

After the fish was chilled and all was prepped (or, in the case of the potatoes, pre-cooked) I took the fish from the fridge and put between a 1/4 and 1/2 an inch of canola oil in my 12 inch frying pan, turning on the burner to medium high.  At this time, I put the toaster oven on to finish off the potatoes for 5 minutes at 400 – or was it 450?? degrees. Enough to crisp.

Once the oil in the frying pan was giving off an aroma and there was some movement, I tossed in a little bit of the fish batter until it sizzled very vigorously.  Then I added the fish – carefully!  That oil gets hot!  I let it fry on one side for about 3 minutes and the other for about the same, until each side was a golden brown.  Then I removed the fish to a rack to drain before serving.  I also blotted with paper towel immediately before plating.

Once the fish was done, I quickly heated up the oil in the wok and added the pea tendrils for just a minute or two, until wilted.  Then, dinner was served:

Dinner for two

Dinner for two

july 18 plated

With homemade tartar sauce and lemon wedges

The verdict:  The fish was a total success!  REALLY good.  According to Steve, as good as his Mom’s and, seemingly ironically, since I cooked the fish in more oil than he remembers his Mom using, less greasy.  I think that using more oil enabled the fish to form a crust more quickly and sealed out the fat more efficiently. Something like that.

The potatoes were also delicious.  I used a VERY liberal amount of black pepper and they had a nice punch to them, and the final roasting brown them nicely – just the right amount of crispness on the outside.

The pea tendrils, alas, were not as big a success.  The flavor is lovely, but, as I suspected might happen, the stems were stringy while the tender leaves were cooked almost too much.  I have this problem when sauteeing arugula and spinich, also.  Now I am wishing I used the following recipe because, although I feared using the chicken broth would cook the leaves too much, it would have most likely have softened the stems.  I will try it next time I cook this sort of green.

##

Sauteed Pea Tendrils with Garlic
Bon Appétit – March 2006

1 Tbs canola oil
2 small garlic cloves, smashed
12 oz fresh pea tendrils
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
preparation

1. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and sauté until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove garlic. Add tendrils; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth and sauté until greens are slightly wilted and heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

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By the way, the pea tendrils are quite tasty with a delicate crunch to them when raw.  I highly recommend them in a salad.  Also, the woman selling them said that she often uses them in soup.  I held some back and will see how they do in soup when I next experiment in the kitchen.

I still have corn, carrots, summer squash, and baby white turnips  from my trip to the market, but I probably won’t do anything very fancy with them – I am sure they will taste super just as is or lightly cooked!

That’s it for now.  Do let me know if you have any surefire tricks for sauteing greens without the stems getting stringy!

I’ll never buy pre-cooked shrimp again!

I actually never bought shrimp until I met my husband.  Oh sure, I’ve eaten it at parties and when out to dinner, but I never bought it and prepared it myself.  And, since 2003, I’ve been buying the pre-cooked kind when Steve gets a hankering for shimp, which is every major or minor holiday and on occasion in-between.  <grin>

It is not bad, espeically with the “kicky” cocktail sauce that I make, but I have noticed that often, when other people prepare  shrimp  as an appetizer, it tastes better. Now I know why.  You should cook it yourself, preferably with the shell still on.

I actually ended up buying raw shrimp on a whim.  Steve wanted some for our July 4th party (and wouldn’t you know, I forget to put them out after cooking, peeling, and chilling them! My apologies to our guests.  <wry grin>)

Both cooked and raw frozen shrimp were on sale, but the ccoked were smaller, the 41-50 per bag count size, and the raw were fewer but thus larger.  I opted for the the bigger ones.

Then, while wandering around the Intenet looking for cooking ideas, I found a recipe for cooking them in a quick to prepare veggie/lemon stock.  Here is the recipe I used:

No-Fail Boiled Shrimp
Joy of Cooking: All About Party Foods & Drinks, by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker.
www.ochef.com/r157.htm

If you are grilling, broiling, or boiling shrimp, consider cooking them in their shells, for it protects the meat from drying out and helps them retain maximum flavor. If you wish, prepare the shrimp in plain water.
In a large saucepan, combine:
10 cups water
2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 medium onion, cut into eighths
1 small lemon, quartered
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
8 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid and return it to the pan.
Add: 2 pounds shrimp, any size, fresh or frozen, preferably in their shells for best flavor
Return the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes exactly. Drain the shrimp, remove to a platter, and let cool. Set out one or more of the following for dipping: Cocktail Sauce, Sauce Remoulade, Tartar Sauce.

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The shrimp were super.   it takes some extra time to make the stock and then peel the shrimp afterwards (they were “EZ Peel” so not to hard to do)  but I think it was worth the effort.

I always make my own cocktail sauce – pretty basic, although I use freeze squeezed lemon juice when I have a lemon around.  And, I just bought some Boars Head brand prepared horseradish to try next time.  JUST grated horseradish and vinegar, with no preservatives, etc.  I like that in a condiment.  Anyway – my cocktail sauce recipe – just mix up ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and tabasco or other hot pepper sauce – amounts to taste.