Category Archives: Fish

Not your DFAC’s Shrimp and Grits

I have no standing room as a grit expert. For years, the only grits I had had, were  from the army dining facility, or waffle house. They were grey, lumpy, lacking actual texture. So imagine my surprise when a good friend ordered them at a local brunch joint and they were a beautiful golden red color, teaming with flavor and artistically presented. Who woulda’ thunk that something I had previously referred to as gruel would turn into such a beautiful swan of dish.

So, along with my experience eating grits, is my experience making it. So, if you have any amazing suggestions in the fine art of making grits please, don’t hesitate to send me down the right path.

For the grits

2 cups water

1 cup chardonnay

1 cup chicken broth

juice of one lemon

1/4 cup butter

1 cup stone ground grits

Melt your butter, add in the water chardonnay, chicken broth and lemon juice. Slowly pour in your grits, while stirring. Continue to stir until they thicken up. Then start on your shrimp, occasionally giving the pot a stir while everything is simmering away.

Quick note, A lot of the shrimp flavor is hidden in its shell, after shilling them, retain half of those shells to simmer with your shrimps for an added boost.

For the shrimp

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup wine

1 red pepper

1 shallot

6 cloves garlic

1 tsp chili flakes

1 lb shrimp

1/2 cup shrimp shells in a cheese cloth or large tea strainer

A handful of chopped  fresh dill

A dash of salt and pepper

Melt the butter, and add in the wine. Place your shells in the cheese cloth or strainer to get that tasty shrimp flavor out of them. Add in the red pepper, garlic and pepper flakes. Once the pepper has softened add in the the shrimps. Cook them until the tails curl inward and they turn red and add in your dill.

Remove the grits from the burner, and serve them into bowls, placing the shrimp mixture over each and adding in a healthy serving of the sauce.

Tada! Amazing, flavorful, shrimp and grits, that don’t make you feel like you’re in prison.. Yay!

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Shrimp Manicotti is Good For Your Body

Winter nights make for amazing food. Part of what I love about winter, is having every excuse in the book to sit at home, and dream up tasty tasty foods to make, while having zero guilt about not going out into the drizzly mess outside. This dish is actually fairly lazy. With only about 20 minutes of prep and a generous bake time, you’ll have plenty of time to look like you spent all day slaving over a hot stove, when you really spent the day binge watching  Netflix and staring woefully out at the rain.

10 Manicotti – cooked to al dente

16 oz ricotta cheese

1 lb shrimp minced with shells removed

1/2 lb chantrelle mushrooms

1/2 cup romano cheese

6 cloves garlic

1 shallot

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, dill,and oregano

1 tbs butter

salt and pepper

2 cups marinara sauce

12 oz grated mozzarella cheese

Saute shrimp and chantrelles with shallots, garlic and herbs until just cooked, and set that aside too cool. Cook your manicotti to just on the hard side of al dente, usually about half the cook time on the packaging.

Once the shrimp mixture has cooled, mix it with ricotta, half the mozzarella, and Romano cheese add in salt and pepper to taste, and pipe it into your manicotti tubes.( I used a super fancy method of placing all of my mixture into a Ziploc and cutting off a corner at the bottom, and squeezing the mixture through.) After you have piped in all of your mixture, line the bottom of a casserole dish with marinara, place you manicotti over the top, add another layer of marinara, then place a heavy smattering of mozzarella and Romano cheese to the top. Bake it at 400 for 30 minutes.

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Seared Lemon Ahi Tuna with Cannellini Bean Mash

Seared ahi tuna is one of my favorite treats. My lovely cousin stopped by and I decided to make her something special. So I put on my thinking cap, and whipped this bad boy together. The creamy cannellini bean mash mixes really well with the peppered ahi tuna.

1 can cannellini beans

4 slices of bacon, fried and cut into pieces

1 onion chopped

6 garlic cloves minced

1 chicken bullion cube

half cup wine

1/4 cup Romano cheese

a few sprigs of fresh thyme and oregano

1/4 cup heavy cream

zest and juice of 1 lemon

salt

pepper

bacon grease for frying

Fry up your bacon. Using the left over bacon grease, blanch the garlic and onions with a little the lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Add in the herbs, 1/2 a cup of water, wine, lemon juice, beans, and the chicken bullion. Simmer that down until the water has reduced, add in the bacon,  romano cheese, and heavy cream and mash everything together.

For the tuna

2 tuna steaks

Juice of 1 lemon

salt

2 tbs  fresh ground pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

Before you start anything marinate the ahi in lemon juice, salt and lemon zest for 30 minutes. Mix together pepper, salt, garlic and onion powder  on a small plate and coat both sides of the tuna. Place oil in a cast iron skillet  on medium high. Sear each side of the tuna for about 1 minute each side. Slice the tuna as you see fit, and place it on top of the cannellini bean mash.

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Dead Men Tell No Tales Black Risotto With Polenta Stuffed Squid Hoods. Release the Kracken!!!

This is one dark abyss you shouldn’t fear. Well… you can fear the prep as your rip your tiny krakens apart, cutting off it eyes, and squeezing the innards from its delightful hood. Risotto is rich. So is this stuffing. This makes enough for 4 people. I highly suggest serving it with a salad just to bring the rich down a notch. The whole thing is very involved, there is multi tasking. It might be a two person job, but its well worth the work.

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For the squid

2 pounds of medium sized whole squid

8 oz finely chopped crimini mushrooms

4 oz diced pancetta cubes (or/and bacon)

2 chopped shallots

2 cloves garlic minced

2 oz crab meat

1/2 cup yellow corn meal

1/2 cup of bread crumbs

Juice of 1 lemon

1 egg

salt

pepper

1 cup Flour, mixed with 1 tsp baking soda,  and a whisked egg for batter

Oil for frying

To clean the squid, pull the heads the hoods, and set them aside. Remove the gladius (Pokey, semi hard thing sticking out, and squeeze out the innards. Remove the skin layer, thoroughly flush the inside, and stick them in a bowl of lemon juice and salt. Take the head, chop off the eyes, pull off its tiny beak and give it a little squeeze just to make sure you got everything. I told you, its ok to fear this part. I have a low threshold for gross, and this got me a little. Give the tentacles a rinse, and add them to your hoods for about 30 minutes if you have a few squids that are too small for stuffing slice them up. When they finish marinating, pat the tentacles and the hoods dry.

Take the mushrooms, pancetta, garlic, shallots, and celery, and saute them in half the butter with a little salt until blanched. Remove it from the heat and let it cool. While its cooling, cook up 1/2 a cup of cornmeal. Bring 2 cups of salty water (add about a tsp of salt) to a boil and slowly whisk in the cornmeal until it thickens, remove it from the heat, stir in the mushroom mixture, and add in the crab meat, breading, and lemon juice. Once its cool enough to touch, stuff the mixture into the squid hoods. You can spoon it in (painfully messy), or take a pastry bag.. or a ziplock with a corner cut off, and squeeze it in. Secure the hoods shut with a toothpick. Dip each hood into a whisked egg, and dredge it in the flour. Set it on a floured plate while you cook the risotto.

For the risotto

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

5 cups chicken broth

2 packets squid ink

1 minced leek

4 cloves garlic

1 celery stock finely chopped

zest of 1 lemon

a small pinch of saffron

1 cup red wine

salt

pepper

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup Romano cheese

Heat up the chicken broth, and squeeze in the squid ink (try to get it all out of the packets). Leave that on low, so it stays warm and combines well with the ink. Saute the leak with the garlic, lemon zest, celery, saffron, salt and pepper in butter, until its blanched. (At this point heat up the oil for frying your squid) Add the rice to the onion mixture and let it simmer for just a little bit, before you add in the wine. Once the wine cooks into the rice, begin to ladle in the chicken broth, slowly stirring it in until it dissolves into the risotto. Continue to do this until you have about about 2 cups of broth left, and start frying your squid. I did mine only 2 at a time so I could multitask, You have to watch the squid, because if they get too well done, they pop, violently, and you don’t want that at all… mostly because its very scary. Once they are golden brown, place them on a paper towel, to absorb the excess oil.  When you finish ladling in the broth and reducing the liquid, add in a pad of butter, and the cheese, and let it sit for five minutes while you saute the remaining tentacles in a little butter until they stiffen and begin to curl. (They have flavor from the lemon juice and salt you set them in don’t add more seasoning). Sprinkle your little squid buddies on your risotto, and finally serve it all up. Gobble down that black richness till you’re out of breath. You deserve it. You defeated the kraken today. Sooo rich, sooo delicious.

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Tempura Mahi Mahi with a Rice tower

My name is Bri, and I sometimes when I make food I don’t follow directions when I should. This took a minute to get right. Its involved, and my kitchen looks like a tornado hit it after I’m done, but its so worth it that I’d do it again, and again. This recipe makes enough for 2.

Tempura is a frosty mistress. And by frosty, I mean you should make sure your batter is extra chilly. I did not the first time. So instead of  tempura I got a delightful battered fish that would have gone really well with some fries and a beer. After another attempt I hit the nail on the head. Its perfectly crispy, and the rice tower takes this recipe right over the edge into awesome territory.

For the Ponzu Sauce

1/2 soy sauce

1/4 cup mirin

juice of 1 orange

1 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp finely minced ginger

Mix this all together, and set it aside to marinate in its own flavors. You should pick up this mess. Its small, but it gets bigger if you don’t.

For the Rice Tower

2 cups rice

3 cups water

1/4 cup mirin

1/2 cup crushed wasabi nori

1 cup chopped cucumber, seeds removed

1/2 purple onion chopped

1 avocado chopped

2 tablespoons wasabi mayo

1 tsp sugar

sesame oil or regular oil

Chop up the avocado and set it aside. Put the onion and cucumber in a bowl with half the mirin, and the sugar and set that aside as well until things are cooked. You should pick up some more messes. Seriously.

Rinse your rice until the water runs clear. Bring the rice to a boil for 1 minute, and drop the heat to a touch above the lowest setting, cover it and let that simmer for approximately 20 minutes (fluffing occasionally). Once the rice is cooked through, remove it from the heat, and spread it out over a plate to cool (I stuck mine in the fridge to make this go faster). Once it has cooled, mix in  half of the mirin and the wasabi nori. Maybe make a little station at this point with the rice, and  the mixed onions and cucumbers, and the avocado in separate little bowls, like a little assembly line. Is your dishwasher empty? You should have done that earlier.

For the Tempura Mahi Mahi

4 pieces of mahi mahi sliced into 1 inch strips

1 cold egg whisked

1 cup I cold water

1 cup flour

2 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp baking soda

oil for frying

You can do this one of 2 ways. I filled a large bowl with water, and ice and placed a smaller bowl inside of it. I have also stuck the tempura in the freezer for 10 minutes. Either way you want the batter to be quite cold. If it isn’t cold, you might as well just break out the french fries of sadness right now. Mix the flour, cornstarch, and baking soda in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and water together, and slowly add in flour mixture. Just give it a brief mix, its ok if there are small lumps everywhere.

In a large frying pan add in the oil until its about 1/2 an inch thick and heat the oil to medium . I have no idea what temperature it was. I stopped using thermometers and deep friers when I decided I hated both of those things. The google says 320 to 330 degrees, 360 for fish.  Dust the mahi mahi in flour, and dunk the fish into the tempura batter until its well coated, and fry it on both sides for about 2 minutes each side.

Putting it all together

Oil a small bowl (mine has about a 2 cup volume). Place about half a cup of rice in the bottom and press it until its flat. Smear a tablespoon of the wasabi mayo over the top, spread the onions and cucumbers over the rice, and place a layer of avocado over the top of the onions and cucumbers, then place one more layer of rice over that, and flatten it again. Flip the bowl onto a large plate, and give it a few light slams to release it from the surface of the bowl. TADA! Rice tower!! Stack the Mahi Mahi around the rice tower and pour a small layer of the ponzu sauce around everything. Then stare at the horrible horrible mess you’ve made. If you do it in the order that I have written out on here, you have time between each segment to clean! My kitchen was an epic disaster.

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Droolworthy Shrimp Sandwich, and a Stunning Berry Filled Hike

I’m proud to announce that Feasts of Strength now has a facebook page that will probably be under construction for the next month or so. You can follow me there too at www.facebook.com/feastsofstrength Yay to you for being an invested follower!

For the last 3 years my boyfriend and I have been doing an annual fall hike up off highway 2. Its not particularly strenuous, but it does start out at 4500, and end up at around 5500. After a short uphill climb the rest of the hike is pretty much all sweeping views of the cascades. The best part about the hike is the berries. I’m sure you’ve had a blue berry before, and you may have had a huckleberry, but have you had the illusive wild blueberry. These delicious little bastards grow at high elevations. They look quite a bit like huckleberries, only instead of growing at knee to waist height, they are at ankle to shin height.  The cold from the elevation make them quite a bit sweeter than their lowland counterparts, and they are so delicious you’d think they were fake.

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Every year, after picking I drop off a bag of blueberries with my mom, we celebrate the incoming blueberry liqueur by making shrimp sandwiches. These aren’t just any shrimp sandwiches, its layers of amazing. Shrimp strategically placed to have some in every bite, crammed between dungeness cream cheese spread, and a layer of guacamole. The whole thing is entirely too much to handle. I might warn you. Making this is a bit of an involved process. It usually take at least 30 minutes to put it all together. WORTH IT!!!!

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The aforementioned blueberry liqueur

For the Shrimp

2 lb medium shrimp

olive oil for sauteing

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp chili powder

the juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/4 tsp liquid smoke

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

salt

pepper

Coat the bottom of a large pan with olive oil, add in the lemon juice and the liquid smoke and swirl it around to mix. Toss in the shrimp, and add the chili powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Saute until the shrimp is cooked all the way through and set aside to cool.

For the Crab

1/2lb Dungeness crab meat

8 oz cream cheese

2 tbs finely chopped chives

1 finely minced garlic clove

salt

pepper

Strain the crab meat, and combine all of the ingredients until well mixed.

For the Guacamole

2 avocados

1/2 red onion finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 medium tomato chopped

the juice of 1 lemon

salt

pepper

Mash up the avocados until they are creamy, add in the rest of the ingredients until well mixed. You can buy it too, but it won’t taste as magical.

Finally, putting it all together

On one side of the sandwich, place the crab dip. On the other put the guacamole. On crab side begin placing shrimp, interlocking them with one another so the entire piece of bread is covered in little shrimp bodies. Top with alfalfa sprouts, and put the sandwich together. Mmmmmmh. Sandwichy goodness. I recommend pants with elastic bands. You’ll want 2 or 3 of these.

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Lobster Carbonara with Stained Glass Pappardelle Noodles

My family moved from Naples to the UK in the 1800’s, which is why I feel completely comfortable bastardizing this carbonara. Everyone has an excuse, and of course, why would you want to do that to a perfectly lush, and delicious recipe. My answer is always, because I can. As usual, this whole thing came about because I found some more randoms in my freezer. I had bought a bunch of lobster tails that were on sale for $3 a piece, my herb plants needed some love and attention, and I had recently bought one too many eggs. Lastly I really wanted to attempt to make stained glass noodles. It snowballed into something fantastic.

How do you make stained glass noodles? Assuming you know how to make basic pasta dough, first you need to pick a wide noodle like pappardelle or tagliatelle. Second you need a pasta maker. Because rolling it out to paper thin by hand will wear you out. Once you get your pasta to near paper thin, take a few different herbs (I picked parsley, oregano, and thyme), and sprinkle them over the top of the rolled out pasta. Fold it in half over the herbs, and run it through the pasta maker one last time. Only once, or the herbs will tear apart in the noodle. Then lay your noodles on a flat surface, and cut them into 3/4 inch strips. Cook the noodles for 1 to 3 minutes or until al dente.

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For the sauce

4 lobster tails, removed from their shells, and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces

1 cup finely chopped mushrooms

1/2 a cup pancetta or guanciale

4 egg yokes, and 1 large eggs

1 cup finely grated pecorino cheese

1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano, thyme, and parsley

salt

pepper

olive oil

1 lb pappardelle noodles.

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Saute the mushrooms, lobster, and pancetta in a bit of olive oil, until the pancetta is just crispy. Set it aside, or on very low while you cook your noodles. While the noodles are doing their thing, whisk the egg, yokes, cheese, salt and pepper until well mixed. When the noodles are finished grab 1/4 cup of the pasta water (just in case) Strain the noodles, remove the pancetta pan off the heat, and quickly add them to the lobster and pancetta. slowly pour in the egg mixture and gently toss until it coats all the noodles, and serve.

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Tiliapia Fish Tacos with Pico de Gallo and chipotle Sour Cream

Summer weather means its time to pull out the recipes that don’t require much use of the oven or stove. Especially here in Washington where very few people have air conditioning. One of my favorite of these recipes is fish tacos. Believe it or not, you can really screw these up. I’ve done it several times while perfecting this recipe. Deviations are completely acceptable, but after several tries with different tortillas, various fish marinades, and a plethora of sauces, this is what I’ve come up with for my standard.

Marinade

1/2 lb tilapia

A dash of salt

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Juice of 2 limes

A generous splash of White wine vinegar

Corn tortillas (for later)

Generously sprinkle the salt over your fish. Throw in the cumin, vinegar, lime chili powder and cayenne pepper, and let it sit for a half hour to an hour. While that is sitting make your pico, slaw, and chipotle sauce. One the time is up toss your fish into a pan on high with a touch of olive oil and fry it until its edges are just getting crispy. While that’s frying up you can start cooking your corn tortillas.

For the Pico

2 tomatoes

1 purple onion

4 cloves of garlic

1 jalapeno, seeds removed

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

The juice and zest of 1 lime

salt and pepper to taste

Mince up the the ingredients, and toss them into a bowl. Squeeze in your lime juice and throw in your zest. Add the salt and pepper. And give it a quick stir.

chipotle Cream sauce

2 tbs of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1 8oz container of sour cream

Juice of one lime

1/2 tsp garlic salt to taste

I’m certain there is a way to make this sauce from scratch or just buy the sauce only, but because I’m in the dark for both of those things, I just take 2 tbs of the sauce out of the can and toss it in my sour cream, with the lime juice and salt. Then I give it a quick stir until everything is well combined.

Slaw

1 small bag of shredded cabbage

1 tbs white wine vinegar

the juice of more lime

and salt

Add the white wine, lime juice, and salt to your shredded cabbage. Swirl it around a bit. Fin.

Combine all of these wonderful concoctions together on a tortilla shell and enjoy. It looks like a lot, but it really only takes about 5 minutes past the the marinade time. The fish cooks up in a flash, and they are always a hit. Enjoy!

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Feast your eyes upon this Sockeye!

Salmon is so simple to make taste wonderful. Summer usually starts with my father and I headed out to the tiny fishing town of Sekiu Wa, to attempt to catch some kings. Sekiu is NOT for the faint of heart. Stepping out of the car the smell of the town lets you know that yes, people catch fish here. The eagles happily search the beaches for carcasses, entrails, and lingering small dogs, and if the walls in the hotels could speak they’d be screaming. The local bate shops are manned by the usual suspects, and tall tales are told at the local diner and bar, which ever ones happen to be open that season. Now truth be told, most of the time we end up skunked. Its been a dismal for catching the last couple times we’ve gone, but according to a few science folks, this year will yield a massive return. They are boasting that it should rival the salmon return to the Columbia that happened in 1937 after the dams were put in.

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Its time to get started perfecting my salmon recipe. The easiest way to prep a salmon is to take olive oil, coat the flesh, along with salt and pepper, and strategically place onions tomatoes and slices of lemon all over the top. Then place the whole thing in tin foil and roast or bbq it until its tender and easily separated with a fork. Too easy.  This time I’m taking things up a knotch. I’m making a lightly herbed butter mixed with a lemon, onion and tomato puree.  I can honestly say after making this I’m ready for fishing with my father. May the fishing gods be kind!

salmon (12)

1 fillet of salmon

1 tomato

1 shallot

4 cloves of garlic

2 sprigs of fresh dill

the zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp pepper

salt to taste

1/2 cup butter

First salt your salmon and give it a gentle squeeze of lemon juice. Coarsely slice your tomato, and shallot, and toss them into your food processor with the garlic dill, zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Send that whirling around until its a lovely pink puree. Put the puree into a bowl with your butter and stir it until well mixed. Gently smear this butter mixture over the top of your salmon. It doesn’t have to be too thick, just a light spackle job. Place the salmon on a rack wrapped in tinfoil, and pop that in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes depending on thickness and amounts. Take that remaining butter, slice up a huge loaf of sour dough and put that in with your salmon. You can then spend the next 20 minutes making the difficult decision which one to crudely stuff your face with first.

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My Mothers Cajun shrimp

When I was a kid, nothing would get me too the table faster, than when my mom would utter the words, “We’re having Cajun shrimp for dinner”. It was one of those screw the forks, dig in with your hands meals. Every child for themselves. By the time you finished you were covered in a mildly spicy butter wine sauce from head to toe, and were deeply considering using a loaf of sour dough to sop it off yourself. It was gluttony at its finest. The best part about this dish is, (besides the amazing taste) it takes about 15 minutes to make.

Now I know there’s some aficionado out there saying “THAT is NOT Cajun.” To them I say, you are correct sir or ma’am. Its a little bit spicy, a little bit smokey, but yes, it is missing several things. I’m unsure if those things would take the sanctity and simplicity out of what this dish is. Cajun shrimp what we call it at home, and it tastes delicious. Would you settle for almost Cajun shrimp?

2lbs medium shrimp
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white wine
6 cloves minced garlic
1tsp chili peppers
1 cup coarsely chopped green onions
1-2 drops liquid smoke
Juice 1/2  a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Cube your butter and melt it in a large pan. Once the butter has melted, add in white wine, lemon juice, chili peppers, salt, pepper, and liquid smoke. Bring that to a high simmer and begin putting in your shrimp. I do this in batches so that it cooks evenly. It usually takes only two or 3. On the last batch throw in your green onions.
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Place your shrimp in in a large bowl and pour the sauce over top. Serve it with a large loaf of warm sour dough, and commence stuffing your face. Hint: to slow the pace of your kin that have a tendency to eat with gusto, leave the shells on. It makes you work a little for your food, and its like a extra special flavor savor, that encloses the shrimp in the sauce.

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Norwegian wolf fish, Its more delicious than it looks!

I found Norwegian wolf fish this summer at Trader Joe’s. It’s spotted like a cheetah, and makes lofty claims that it tastes like shell fish.  So of course I started googling recipes. Almost all of them stated that it was a terrible tasting fish. The key to it being terrible tasting was the way it was prepped.
Different kinds of fish deserve different methods of preparation. It appears that people cooking it,  decided to make it like a salmon.  Basically putting tomato, onion and lemon juice on it and baking or BBQing it. The key to making wolf fish taste good, is the skin. It’s a  scaleless fish. The skin is incredibly tough, and it has rather mobile layer of connective between the skin, and what actually tastes good. In my mind, I imagine the wolf fish being the Eeyore of the Norwegian Sea. It spends all day crunching up shellfish, and absorbing boat engine oil, and sadness. As soon as you remove its skin, and connective tissue, It becomes a delcious fish again…. Apparently I am the buffalo bill of the Norwegian Sea. It rubs the butter on its skin!

2 fillets wolf fish
Salt
Pepper
2 tbs Butter

Since I got my fish at trader Joe’s, it was frozen. I set it out that morning and let it thaw. I then washed it, gave it a gentle squeeze to get the rest of the juice out, and patted it dry. Melt your butter in a frying pan, and turn it on the high side of medium high. Place it on the fry pan skin side down, and let the skin get crispy, and melt that layer of tissue on the underside. Give it about 10 minutes. (I know that is a scary thought, but Its not a normal fish.) Drop your heat down a couple notches to medium high, and flip it .

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While it’s cooking the flesh (about 5 minutes), lift off the skin and chuck it. Then take a knife and gently scrape off that extra layer of tissue underneath the skin. It’s like a gelatinous goo. Scrape until there is no more goo, and you are down to the flesh level, flip it one last time and sear in that deliciousness. You will know its finished when you can easily separate it with a fork. I served mine with a beurre blanc and asparagus. Perfect Wolf fish compliments.

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Smoked Salmon Bisque

To bisque or to chowder, was the question of the day. Whats the difference you ask? Chowders have chunks. The potatoes, meat and veggies are all intact, creating individual bites of flavor magic. Bisque is thought to have originated in Biscay Bay, and is a puree of all the deliciousness that you put into it.  I decided on bisque because I have an awesome hand blender that I plan on over using until its motor blows.

I chose nova lox for my smoked salmon. Remember, not all smoked salmon are created equal, or the same. I live in the great Pacific Northwest. Our smoked salmon is almost a jerky. Don’t get me wrong, its quite flavorful and delicious. Excellent on a cracker with some cream cheese, but its not the delicate flavor I was searching for. The first time I had cold smoked salmon, it was sold to me by my massage therapist. Funny place to get it right? But who the hell could resist a moist smoked calico salmon that almost melts in your mouth. It was at that moment that I really started exploring my smoked salmon options.  Lox are cold smoked, and every time you eat it, tiny angels sing as you take a bite. Its moist, and delicate. It falls apart in your mouth. Its exquisite on a bagel with cream cheese. It also is the perfect seafood for my bisque… Yaaaay!

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3 cups chicken broth

1 stewed tomato

1 chopped red potato

1 chopped onion

5 cloves of garlic

2 celery stocks

1 cup of chardonnay

The juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne

1 tsp dill

1 drop of liquid smoke. Seriously. Get out an eye dropper if your have to. DO NOT POUR FROM THE BOTTLE… ONE …. DROP. you’ll only make that mistake once… Don’t be like me…

chili peppers, salt and pepper to taste

1 lb of nova lox smoked salmon

Bring 3 cups of chicken broth to a simmer. Cut the top off your tomato, and drop it in until the skin begins to peal off. Remove the tomato and pull off the skin, cut it in to quarters and put it back in. Add your potatoes, onions, garlic, and celery. Turn the heat to medium high and drop in your chardonnay and lemon juice. Let your alcohol simmer off (you’ll know when the scent stops biting your nose). Add in your paprika, smoke, dill, and cayenne pepper. Once your potatoes are soft, take the soup off the burner and add and stir in the heavy cream. Here’s the important part, chop up the smoked salmon and throw 3/4 of it into the soup, and use your hand blender  to puree the mixture ( or pour it into your regular blender). Pour your delicious bisque into bowls for serving, and sprinkle the rest of the bits of smoked salmon over the top.

 

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Oh my cod! Fish and chips!

I was cleaning my cupboards when I came across my deep fryer. There are so many wonderful things that come deep fried; snickers bars, elephant ears, corn dogs, donuts, and on the tippy top of that list for me, is fish and chips.
I’ve spent a lot of time eating fish and chips, and found that few restaurants really get it right. It comes out in a stunning display of golden brown glory, but enters my mouth a bland, and wilted piece of sad sack fish. My first order of business was to tackle that little conundrum. (Because really, it’s all about the fish) I marinated my cod for an hour in  lemon juice, garlic powder, and salt. I was a bit concerned that it would be a slight over kill, but as it turns out, a lot of that flavor was absorbed into my batter as it fried. For the batter I chose a Pyramid wheat lager that I had hiding for a rainy day, cayenne pepper for a bit of spice, some garlic salt, and a touch of pepper.  My result from that was a mild flavor that complimented my cod perfectly.

One of the draw backs to using a deep fryer is size. I did my fries in two batches and had to cook the fish one at a time. Talk about painful. Fries taking about 8 minutes per batch, and fish depending on thickness take about 6 to 10 minutes to cook, it made for fries that needed a quick reheat before serving. Next time I will use a large pot. One of the blessings of the fryer though, is that you can control the temperature much easier than you can on a stove. Pick your battle, deal with heat issues or invest in a large fryer. Just remember to take the basket out when you want to make anything battered or doughy. (Doh!)
I finished off my fish and chips with some curried ketchup and home made tartar. P.s. if you haven’t tried adding a touch of curry to your Heinz, you are missing out.

Fish and chips for two

For the fish
4 fillets of cod
Juice of two lemons
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garlic powder

Batter
1 cup flour + extra for dusting
8 oz lager
Tsp cayenne
1 tsp garlic salt

Fries/chips
3 russet potatoes
Salt and pepper

1.5 quarts vegetable oil

Tartar sauce
1 eggs yoke
1/2 cup Olive oil
Salt
Lemon juice
4 finely chopped cornichons
1tsp chopped capers
1/2 a lobe of a shallot finely chopped(I call it a lobe cause they look like lungs to me)
1tsp chives
1tsp fresh Italian parsley
1tsp fresh dill

Curried ketchup (you’ll never be the same)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 generous sprinkling of curry
… I put a splash garlic salt in mine but I have a garlic problem

*I’m starting with the tartar because there is a wait period, where the flavors need to absorb into your mayo/aioli/tartar, even if you forgo making it yourself.*
Making your own mayo is worth it.  Whisk your egg yoke until fluffed and Smooth, always turning in the same direction. Slowly add your Olive oil a little at a time, whisking it until it reaches mayo consistency then adding more. (Get the cheaper non extra virgin olive oil. Otherwise your mayo/tarter will taste like thick olive oil with pickles in it… unless you really like the flavor of extra virgin olive oil. ) If it separates because you stopped to go pee mid process, start over. It will never get back to where you want it. Once you finish making the mayo, add in your salt, lemon herbs, capers, and pickles. Stick that in the fridge for a couple hours and let all of your ingredients meet each other, then serve it up.

For fries: Peel your potatoes, and cut them to the desired thickness. Add them to boiling water for 5 minutes to soften them, then pat dry. Heat up vegetable oil to 375. Cook fries for 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool, and season with salt and pepper
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For fish/batter:
Mix lemon juice, salt, and garlic in a deep plate or shallow bowl. Add and coat fish, flipping at the half hour mark.
While your fish is marinating, mix  flour and beer, add your spices and whisk until the batter is smooth.
Remove fish from the marinade and dust them with flour. Then dip and coat each piece in the batter. Fry at 325 for 6 to 10 minutes depending on size.

Put everything together with your sauces, and a little malt vinegar and enjoy!

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