HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Seafood Dishes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seafood Dishes. Show all posts

Monday, December 22, 2014

Shrimp Scampi, an amazingly fast Italian American Classic and the story of the Feast of the 7 Fishes.


                                                       

Scampi

 I first wrote this post a year ago. But I thought I would repeat it again this year because it's a wonderful explanation of an Italian tradition that many Italian Americans will uphold again this Christmas Season. And the recipe follows my mantra for the season: Get 
something on the dinner table in no time and impress one all with a wonderful dish for all to savor. I had some 20-25 count Shrimp and started poking around for a recipe that had not appeared on Chewing the Fat.  Since there have been no less that 41 shrimp recipes published here, it amazed me to discover that the Italian American restaurant classic, Shrimp Scampi, had never made an appearance here.  How clearly I remember Scampi from my first forays into an Italian restaurant in Montreal.  The overtly garlic-y, buttery sauce was a sensation—especially if you teamed it up with crusty bread to soak up the sauce.  Later, when I went to school in Italy and learned the language, I was surprised to hear that ‘Shrimp Scampi’ is rather like calling something Chicken Poulet.  Scampi is the ingredient “langoustines” -- an Italian version of shrimp.  But this dish itself is pure Italian American cooking, plain and simple and incredibly easy to make.  I was astonished that the whole thing took under ten minutes to make. In fact, it’s so speedy, you feel like a one-armed paper hanger juggling the cooking of the shrimp, with the 3 minutes it takes the angel hair pasta to cook.  But this is a winner from start to finish and before the feasting begins tomorrow, it’s a perfect thing to serve the night before the night before Christmas.  Except, perhaps, if you’re Italian, because your Christmas Eve Feast will satisfy your hunger for seafood for quite a while.   I’ll take you through the Scampi recipe after introducing you to The Feast of the 7 Fishes.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ina Garten's Lobster Pot Pie and, just for laughs, one woman's take on it.

        

         This is one of Ina Garten’s most beloved recipes.  It dates all the way back to 1999 when it appeared in Ina’s first cookbook “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook” (Clarkson Potter 1999).  Since I can’t think of  a better time for luxury foods like lobster than the holidays, I planned a dinner around it.  But whether lobster still counts as a luxury, I am not altogether sure.  The Maine Lobstermen certainly don’t think so as it brings in only $1.60 or less a pound!  (Somehow, by the time it arrives at our fishmonger in New York, it’s $9.99 a lb.  Still a bargain for sure, with divers scallops at 24.99 a lb and Lump Crabmeat at 19.99 a lb.). I decided to turn a Saturday night supper into Lobster Pot Pie and a salad.  But first, I wanted to share what I hope will give you a good laugh. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gratin of Nantucket Bay Scallops and Prosciutto


        

         The other day I saw the sign pictured on the left announcing the annual arrival of Nantucket Bay Scallops.  Like local asparagus, there are only a few weeks a year when these little sweet morsels make their way into our market.  It’s an invitation I cannot refuse.  They’re tender and tiny, a true delicacy.  So I immediately bought enough for two and trundled home to hit the books, or more properly, the internet.   I quickly found a recipe that, while it sounded vaguely familiar, really appealed to me. The sweetness of the scallops was paired with salty bits of prosciutto, a little licorice-flavored liqueur and crisp panko breadcrumbs. There was some chopped garlic thrown in and some shallot as well. I turned to the comments section.  The recipe had very high marks from some reviewers. But others were not so taken with it.   I’ve written about how put off I am when a home cook drastically alters an original recipe and then rails that it wasn’t any good.  But in this case, there seemed to be numbers of people who’d followed the recipe to a Tee and still found it wanting.  And I started to make mental notes about how easy it would be to fix their problems.  It was at that moment that I realized I had indeed made this recipe last Nantucket Bay Scallop season. When you post over 450 recipes, eventually you’re bound to repeat yourself.  But I still wanted  to make it.  So I set about to make it even better than the last time.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Fish Story: Gemelli with Spicy Scallops and Snap Peas



        
You might want to hide
after what I turned up...
read on...
Here’s a food writer’s dilemma for you:  Say you discovered a great recipe so full of flavor and so easy to make, you literally jumped on your MacPro and started to extoll its praises the morning after you made it.  You were taken, not just with its ease of preparation, but with the price you paid for its key ingredient.  And its pedigree impressed you:  The Chef who created the recipe had a reputation as a 2013 “Rising Star” semi-finalist for a James Beard Award and was the winner of StarChefs.com 2013 New York Rising Stars Award.  You were unfamiliar with his restaurant but quickly discovered that the New York Times’ Pete Wells had given it 2 stars in 2012.  Then you probed a little deeper and things got very dicey.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Oven-Roasted Shrimp and Sausage Paella

           
The genuine article as seen in Spain
Paella is, hands down, the dish most associated with Spain.  Prior to the emergence of tapas on tables everywhere and Ferran Adria’s molecular gastronomy, I’d venture to say, it was the only food most people thought of when they thought of Spanish cooking. However, in that country, it’s a dish associated with one province: Valencia on the East Coast.  Valencian cooks regard it as one of the identifying symbols of their province.   It’s one of those dishes that has so many variations, it’s possible to call any dish made with short-grained Spanish rice a Paella.  This is particularly true since the word “Paella” actually refers to the pan the dish is cooked in.  From there, it gets even more complicated because Valencians use the word “Paella” for all pans, including the specialized shallow one used for cooking Paellas. Plus, there’s no master recipe for Paella. Every cook seems to have their own version and sticks rigidly to their family recipe as the only way to cook paella. Recently, we were having a dinner party for more guests than usual. Because of all I'd read about Paella, I felt I had permission to go with something of my own creation. I liberally borrowed from several recipes to end up with what made the dish popular in the first place:  Because it makes for a great party.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Scallop Saltimbocca with Golden Delicious Apples


        When I lived in Rome, Saltimbocca was an introduction to the cuisine of the city itself.   “Saltimbocca alla Romana” featured veal, topped with Prosciutto and Sage in a Marsala and butter sauce.   It was very good and, because of its ingredients, more expensive than most entrees at the trattorias where we ate as students.  It was, therefore, a treat reserved for the days right after our allowances arrived from home.  
       Saltimbocca means “jump in the mouth” although I could never figure out if that was because the taste ‘jumped’ in your mouth or because the dish was so delicious, you literally couldn’t wait to eat it.  Either way, I love Saltimbocca.  So the other day, when I was looking for something quick and easy to cook, I gravitated to a Tyler Florence recipe (again) that featured Scallops, instead of veal, and a lemon, olive oil and butter sauce in lieu of the Marsala and butter sauce of my student days.  It is well worth repeating here.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ina Garten's Italian Seafood Salad


        
Ina's Italian Seafood Salad minus the Mussel shells....
and with them served on a bed of lettuce
It’s houseguest season and that means food. Lots of it.  By my count, between Friday and Sunday, there are total of 6 meals to offer: 2 dinners, 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches.  If that all seems overwhelming, don’t kill me for saying it doesn’t have to be.   The more you get done before the guests arrive, the easier your weekend will be.  This dish could not be a better example.  You make the whole thing in all of an hour in the morning, stick it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and you’ve got a superb dinner or lunch whenever you want it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cajun Spiced Shrimp over Cheese Grits and Bacon


  
         Grits are about as southern as my Aunt Charlotte. She hailed from Huntsville, Alabama and yet never lost a syllable of her Southern accent despite living in Canada for decades.  But for all her southernism, Aunt Charlotte never introduced us to grits. That happy event took place in the Hamptons and only quite recently. I am tempted to say grits were the glue of a New Year’s Day Brunch our friend David gives every year.  But using glue and grits in the same sentence just reinforces an old stereotype: that grits are more akin to wallpaper paste than to anything good to eat.  That is simply not true.  Good grits are smooth and creamy.  Grits are high in iron, extremely low in fat and have no cholesterol at all.  That can’t be said of what grits are flavored with.  Everything from butter to cheese, from bacon to gravy and country ham have found their way into warm bowls of grits.   They not only raise the fat count, these additions do terrific things for the flavor.  Unfortunately, I found this out the hard way:  My first bowl of grits was about as tasty as, well, wallpaper paste.  They were nothing like David’s.  So I set out to see if I could break the taste barrier with my next foray into grits.  And I am pleased to say, today’s recipe broke the bank. Creamy, cheddar-y grits, flecked with bits of crisp bacon were topped with Cajun-spiced Shrimp, shallots and parsley.  As my friend Judith would say they’re like ‘wrapping your mouth around a bite of the south.’

Monday, October 1, 2012

Garlic Shrimp and Cannellini Beans adapted from Bon Appetit


         This is a one-pan wonder that comes together completely in just 30 minutes.  And in that time, Cannellini beans take on the rich flavor of a tomato sauce enriched with chiles and a single bay leaf.  There’s nothing bland about these beans! Then they’re topped with big beautiful shrimp that have been tossed in garlic and smoked paprika and broiled for 3 minutes.  Grilled bread that’s been rubbed with more garlic is perfect for sopping up the lusciously thick sauce.  The whole dish is an homage to Spanish cooking that couldn’t be simpler to make and yet complex in flavor at the same time. Make it and I can almost guarantee you will make it again and again.
            My experience with Spanish cuisine is limited to making an occasional Paella and even there, without a true Paella pan, I am not sure how authentic my version is.  But I’ve wanted to delve a little deeper ever since I read “Ferran ” (Gotham Books 2011) Colman Andrew’s biography of Ferran Adrià i Acosta who is, arguably, the best chef in the world. And who wouldn't be intrigued by a subhead  that read "The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man who Re-invented Food". From his out-of-the-way El Bulli restaurant in Roses on the Costa Brava, the chef has drawn gastronomes from every corner of the world.   Now shuttered while he decides what his next step will be, the chef’s most famous contributions to cuisine will never be the province of the home cook.  Adria is most associated with "molecular gastronomy”, which is that particular style of cooking obsessed with its science and how food is chemically changed during 
the cooking process.  Despite his reputation for being one of its foremost practitioners, the Chef himself doesn’t consider his cooking to fit in that category.  Instead, he is quoted as saying that his goal is "to provide unexpected contrasts of flavour, temperature and texture. Nothing is what it    seems. The idea is to provoke, surprise and delight the diner."  I won’t, for one minute, claim that this incredibly simple Garlic Shrimp with White Beans comes anywhere near the complexity of a Ferran dish.  But I think you will agree that this thirty minute entrée will “provoke, surprise and delight” you.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

La Cucina Italiana’s Spaghettini in Little Neck Clam Broth with Cherry Tomatoes or “Umido di vongole con spaghettini e pomodorini”


Clamming, about as Long Island as you can get
         I am big fan of Linguine with Clam Sauce as our recipe search feature will confirm.  So when I saw this recipe for a variation on the theme in the July 2012 issue of La Cucina Italiana, I had to try it.  After all, the Little Neck clam, with which this lovely, light dish is made, is about as local as you can get out here on the East End of Long Island.  It’s especially appealing too because, unlike Linguine with Clam sauce, the recipe includes some great fresh vegetables --  carrots, leeks and tomatoes – and it’s light on the pasta.  In true Italian fashion, La Cucina lists it as a “Primo” or appetizer which is generally the role pasta plays in the Italian menu.  I served it as our main course.  It is a perfect summer pasta dish especially with those bite-sized morsels of heaven, the littlenecks.       
A Clamming Rake is as essential to digging
Little Necks as the beer which generally accompanies
Clamming on Long Island 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Daniel Boulud’s Stovetop Lobster and Clambake



         I have to admit, I don’t publish a recipe that doesn’t turn out right.  My whole premise is that if I can cook it perfectly, you can cook it perfectly.  So with all the 200 plus recipes on Chewing the Fat, if you can follow the directions, you can end up with something tasty.  That being said, sometimes I completely hit one out of the ballpark.  And today’s dish is a home run from the first morsel you put in your mouth to the last bit of broth that you’ll zealously sop up with the last crust of baguette.  It is that good. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sauteed Shrimp with Coconut Oil, Ginger and Coriander with Confetti Corn adapted from Ina Garten


         Last weekend, we had close friends staying with us and this dinner really hit the spot.  It took no time at all to put together. In fact the whole thing took about 30 minutes.  The delicious and mildly coconut-flavored shrimp cooked took about 10 minutes and the only time-consuming thing about the Confetti corn was getting it off the cob.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Coconut Shrimp Salad



Too often for my liking, I get into trouble with a recipe that’s just too much food for two people.  Try as I may, cutting back on volume isn’t always the easiest task.   Things that say they are for four people are relatively simple to divide in half.  It’s when you get to recipe for 6 or 8 servings that I start having problems.  Math was never my strong suit to begin with.  So you can imagine my intimidation when I saw this recipe from Specialty Food Magazine.  It was for 24 (8 ounce) portions.  But two things stirred me into action. The first was that I cannot get enough coconut--or shrimp for that matter.  The second is that summer is always in need of a great new salad recipe.  And this one is.
Specialty Food Magazine is hardly a regular resource for recipes for me.  Especially since its recipes are really for people who are running restaurants and, in this case apparently, take-out counters.  The 24 portions were said to have a shelf-life of 3 days.  But not wanting to set up shop or start a Coconut Shrimp stand on the street, I cut the recipe back mightily. We still had some leftovers but of a totally manageable size.  This recipe is now a respectable serving for 4 people.  And hopefully, you won’t have to worry about it shelf life since my guess is it will disappear at one sitting.
Coconut, in all its forms—as coconut water, milk, palm sugar and flakes—is very easy to find.  I got every one of them at Whole Foods.  Coconut water is now prized for its health food benefits. It’s low in carbs, 99% fat free and low in sugars.  Coconut milk on the other hand is quite caloric and I’d go with the light versions. Coconut Palm Sugar is hardly a health food but it does have a very low carb profile and it has an absolutely phenomenal taste—far deeper and more complex than brown sugar which it resembles visually.   Finally there are the coconut flakes.  Toasted, these golden brown shreds give your salad a wonderful texture.  
If you love coconut, what’s great about this dish is that the whole thing is perfumed with it and cooked with coconut at every stage.  The cooking water for the rice is the starting point.  Then there’s the coconut palm sugar in the dressing for a slight sweetness and the coconut milk which makes it creamy.  The coconut flakes in the salad give it crunch.  Finally the whole thing takes 45 minutes prep time and you can make it ahead of time thanks to that advertised 3 day shelf life.  Here’s the recipe:
Recipe for Coconut Shrimp Salad adapted from Joanna Pruess’ recipe in Specialty Food Magazine:
 1 1/2 cups coconut water

1 cups jasmine rice

¼ cup vegetable or coconut oil

16 peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp

1/2 cups peanut butter

1/4 cups coconut milk

1 freshly squeezed lime

2 tbsp. Thai fish sauce

2 tbsp coconut palm sugar

1 ounce fresh ginger, chopped

1 Jalapeno pepper, chopped, plus 1 tbsp. red chile flakes

2 cloves garlic

4 thinly sliced scallions, including most of the green parts

1 1/2 ounces chopped pistachios, plus extra to garnish
1 ounces coconut flakes, toasted, plus ½ ounce for garnish

1 cup fresh basil leaves, finely julienned, plus extra for garnish


1. Combine coconut water, rice and ¼ cup of oil in a saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Turn into a large strainer, rinse with cold water and drain well. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Meanwhile, cook shrimp in skillet until just done, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. If jumbo shrimp, cut in three pieces and add to the rice.











3. In the jar of an electric blender, combine peanut butter, coconut milk,  lime juice, Thai fish sauce, palm sugar, ginger, 1/2 chopped jalapeno, red pepper flakes and garlic; purée until smooth. With the motor running, add 1/4 cup of vegetable oil and let it emulsify.

4. Add scallions, pistachios, coconut flakes, basil leaves and the remaining jalapeno to the rice. Pour about two-thirds of the dressing over the salad and toss to blend. Add remaining dressing and additional lime juice, if desired. Transfer to a serving platter and add remaining pistachios, coconut flakes and basil leaves as garnishes. 







Monday, May 16, 2011

Swordfish over Linguine with Wine, Tomatoes, Chile and Capers



        Before making this dish, I checked on the status of one of my most favorite of all seafoods, Swordfish. By 1999,  the North Atlantic swordfish was on its way to oblivion.  Years of overfishing had led to dire predictions.  Undaunted by high mercury levels, the popularity of the fish was rapidly bringing about its demise.   Fortunately, the Natural Resources Defense Council and SeaWeb, an international non-profit dedicated to ocean issues launched a highly successful campaign to save the Swordfish. 
Swordfish
(Xiphias gladius; from Greek ξίφος: sword, and Latin gladius: sword)
With a campaign called “Give Swordfish a Break”, the NRDC and SeaWeb got new fishing restrictions in place, and after just a few years under the new regime, North Atlantic swordfish populations recovered to near-healthy levels.  International quota restrictions were put in place and Swordfish nusery areas in US waters were closed to fishing.  In a truly remarkable feat, the campaign mobilized the food community. Endorsed by  27 prominent chefs, they quickly enlisted the support of an additional 700 chefs at restaurants around the country. They all agreed to support the "Give Swordfish a Break Pledge," by not to serving the fish in their restaurants. Two years later, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas determined that swordfish had reached 94 percent of full recovery.  This is great news to those of us who love the fish but there still is that lingering mercury issue.   Swordfish is notoriously high in mercury content and it’s to be avoided by pregnant women and young children altogether.  Even men are cautioned to keep their intake to once a week.  That being said, my indulgence is less than that.  And this dish is certainly worth enjoying. 
Its author is a woman named Aglaia Kremezi.  I found the recipe in “Best of the Best Cookbooks” from Food and Wine.  It owes its place there to a cookbook Ms. Kremezi created called “Mediterranean Hot and Spicy” (Broadway Books 2009).  Ms. Kremezi is Greek and a resident of the island of Kea in the Cyclades.  She knows her way around the Mediterranean and gives credit for her Swordfish recipe to Calabria, which is the ‘toe’ on the boot of Italy.
This recipe is very easy to make and packs a wonderfully fresh taste. The sauce has a definite kick to it but don’t be put off by the “Hot and Spicy” label.  It is a sweet-tangy tomato-chile sauce that gives the swordfish a lift.  In fact, it’s one of those dishes which you will want to serve with some crusty bread – a baguette, peasant loaf or ciabbata—to sop up the juices.  I also loved putting the fish and sauce atop a bed of linguine.  It was a magical combination.   Here is the recipe:
Recipe for Swordfish with Wine, Tomatoes, Chile and Capers
Olive Oil
2 Cups of Red and Yellow Onions, sliced
Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar, or more to taste
1 - 3 peperoncini thinly sliced.
2 Cup Fresh Tomatoes, chopped or 14 oz of good quality canned Plum tomatoes w/juice
1/4 Cup Capers, salt-packed, rinsed well & drained
1/2 - 1 tsp Honey or Sugar, to taste
6 - 7 ounce Swordfish Steaks, 1 per person. (Sauce Recipe is for 4)
1/2 teas Freshly Ground Black Pepper mixed with
1 tsp Ground Coriander Seeds
2 Tbsp. Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped for garnish

Heat 3 - 4 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the onion, sprinkle with salt, and saute, stirring often until soft and light golden, about 10 minutes. Add wine, vinegar, and peperoncini and toss for 30 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the capers and 1/2 tsp. honey and cook for another 8 - 10 minutes until the sauce thickens. Taste and adjust the flavor with more chile, vinegar, or honey. It should be quite intense.

Transfer to a bowl and wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel. Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the fish steaks with salt and rub with the pepper-coriander mixture. Add to the hot skillet and saute for 2 - 3 minutes per side, until firm but still almost raw in the center.






Add the sauce, bring to a boil, and cook for about 5 minutes until just cooked through. Let the fish and sauce cool while you make the linguine according to package instructions. Drain and then combine pasta and some of the sauce.  Place swordfish and remaining sauce on top of the pasta.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Halibut and Mussel Stew with Fennel, Peppers and Saffron


   
Car-less Saltaire
Years ago, I had a boss named Susanne who had a wonderful house on Fire Island.  She was very kind in opening the place up to her staff—particularly those of us juniors who had few options on summer weekends: broil in the city or take a very long subway ride to reach a crowded beach.  So Saltaire, the name of the little ‘village’ the house was in, was extra-ordinarily inviting.  There are no cars on Fire Island.  In fact the whole place is criss-crossed with wooden boardwalks.  Once you get off the ferry from Long Island, you put all your gear into a wagon and head to wherever you are staying.
 My hostess was one of the first “foodies” I’d ever met, although I don’t think the term was in use then.  And it was she who introduced me to mussels.  Mussels attached themselves to wooden piers that formed the breakfront on the bay side of Fire Island.  Susanne had spent the better part of the summer checking on the mussels’ growth at one particular pier near her house.  The mussels progressed nicely until, finally, a weekend when I was there was deemed the perfect time to harvest them and enjoy their salty goodness in a rich broth of garlic and tomatoes.  Alas! They were gone! Someone else had made off with Susanne’s mussels!  Now you would think we could have just moved on to the next piling.  No such luck.  Apparently, everyone in Saltaire loved mussels and had commandeered every last one. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cioppino, the San Francisco treat


        My mother adored Cioppino, the fish stew with its roots in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco dating back to before the earthquake.  If you knew my mother, or for that matter, read this blog, you know that cooking was not Mother’s thing.  But if it were an easy recipe, one requiring as little time and attention as possible, and one that could reasonably be cooked in as few steps as possible, my Mother would latch onto it with an almost religious fervor.  So it was with Cioppino.  There is very little opportunity to make a bad Cioppino because it is probably the most flexible fish stew on the planet.  And it packs a wonderful punch of flavor in every bite.  The Cioppino I am sharing with you today tasted of the sea itself.  And then there was the richness of the tomatoes, the anise flavor of the fennel, and the bite-sized pieces of seafood brightened with a dash of fresh lemon juice.  Mother was right.  It’s hard to beat a great Cioppino. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

A long ago visit to Shun Lee, and my take on their recipe for Sichuan Shrimp



        Ten years ago, I got a call from a friend named Ethel, who, at the last minute, couldn’t use her tickets to a big bash given by The Film Society of Lincoln Center.  My work partner, Cathy, and I promptly called our respective spouses to ask them to join us at Shun Lee West (43 West 65th St., Tel: 212-595-8895), then and now one of the city’s top Chinese restaurants.  “What’s the deal?” Andrew wanted to know.  “Well they’re going to show a martial arts film after the dinner” I answered.  I could have gone on to tell him we were going to see “Wo Hu Cang Long” but I am sure I would have gotten the same answer; “Are you kidding? A martial arts movie?” (Our interest in sports of any kind is next to nothing and our interest in martial arts is even lower than that.)  So in answer to Andrew I said  “No and yes...but let’s go to the dinner, get seats right on the aisle at Lincoln Center so we can leave whenever we want.”  Dinner at Shun Lee was worth a few minutes of Kung Foo fighting.  So we went.
        Shun Lee’s interior design is completely over the top.  With its black lacquer and gold dragon décor, it looks like it was flown in from Las Vegas for the night.  It’s quite possibly the darkest restaurant I’ve ever eaten in. One visit I remember literally bumping into Woody Allen in the dark. Stumbling back to the table, I had to be told by my dinner companions who he was.  But the food at Shun Lee is simply excellent.  Along with Mr. Chow in Los Angeles and in New York, it elevates Chinese cuisine and pretty well ruins Chinese food forever from anywhere else outside of Hong Kong.  Since we lived in the delivery area, it became our take-out place despite prices that made it quite an extravagance. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A visit to LT Burger and a recipe for Creole Crab Burgers



        The summer of the Burger is fast coming to an end.  Out here on the
East end of Long Island, the burger buzz has centered around a new entry onto the local dining scene, LT Burger, on Main Street in Sag Harbor.   The LT in question is Laurent Tourondel whose BLT restaurants in the city are consistently near the top of everyone’s favorite places lists.  There’s BLT Steak, BLT Prime, BLT Fish, BLT Market and, of course, BLT Burger.  As popular as his restaurants are, the Burger place on 6th Avenue never achieved the rarefied status of his other places.   But with his East End partner Michael Cinque, the pair have a real winner at LT Burger.  (The “B” got lost in a local trademark issue.)  They have managed to make it a locavore enterprise.  They’ve got a Long Island-only wine list and there’s a cheeseburger using our esteemed cheesemaker, Arthur Ludlow’s wonderful cheese.  And they offer Farmer’s market favorite Horman’s pickles-- in this case, battered and fried and served with a cajun spicy dipping sauce.  There’s a Turkey burger and a Falafel offered on a wonderful whole grain bun. The one thing they don’t have is a seafood inspired burger.  So to fill in that gap, I want to share a really wonderful crab burger that I found in an old Gourmet (RIP). 
        Now a crab burger is basically a crab cake that’s then made into a sandwich.  With a thin layer of a good tartar sauce and some shredded iceberg lettuce, it’s as good as any burger we’ve eaten all summer.  And I’d suggest you keep these on the menu long into the fall.  They come together very easily. Start to finish, they only take 30 minutes to get on the table.
We get our crab at Costco.  It has an amazingly long refrigerator life so you can stock up weeks in advance of its expiration date.   Here’s the recipe:
Recipe for Creole Crab Burgers

1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

3/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1 3/4 cups fine dry bread crumbs, divided

3/4 cup vegetable oil

4 kaiser rolls or hamburger buns, split and toasted

Accompaniments: tartar sauce; iceberg lettuce


Stir together crabmeat, mayonnaise, scallions, egg, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 cup bread crumbs in a bowl until just combined. Form into 4 (1-inch-thick) patties (3 1/2 inches in diameter; patties will be soft but will firm up when fried). Spread remaining cup bread crumbs on a plate, then dredge patties in crumbs, knocking off excess, and transfer to a platter.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then fry patties, turning over once, until golden, 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Assemble burgers with buns and accompaniments.

Cooks' note: Patties can be formed, without bread-crumb coating, 12 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Dredge in bread crumbs just before frying.






Monday, August 30, 2010

Grilled Swordfish with Lemon Aioli and Fennel



        Our friends Beth and Peter are with us from California for a few days and we’re anxious to share some of Long Island’s best with them. This will include the spectacular weather we’re experiencing, our glorious beaches—less crowded now that a lot of our summer population is already off to college—and, of course, the incredible bounty of great things to eat that we’re blessed with at this moment.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Chili-Lime Crab Salad with Tomato and Avocado




        The last time I was in Paris, I went the Atelier des Chefs cooking school for a lesson.  There are actually six locations around the city where you can take a class that lasts anywhere from an hour to 3 hours.  I chose to go the school itself on Rue Penthievre which is right behind the Place de la Madelaine.  It was a great class, all in French, and all female with one glaring exception…L’homme Americain.  I  had the good fortune to have been born in Montreal where you learn French from a very early age and it's stood me in good stead all these years.  So I was very at home at the school.  Included among the students was a beautiful young girl and her equally elegant “Grandmere”.   Apparently it was the “Grandmere” who had received the classes as a Christmas gift and not, as I’d imagined, the pretty young bride!  I guess you really are never too old to learn.  

I was told they had sessions in English and in fact, I was asked by my instructor if I’d help her with some phrases for a class she was giving that night.  But on their website, http://www.atelierdeschefs.fr , I can’t find any reference to them. But if you are familiar with what used to be called “Montreal Kitchen French”, you’ll get along just fine.  It’s all about watching and mimicking which doesn’t exactly require a LaRousse to do.   This is all a very roundabout way of getting to my purchase from their kitchen shop.   There was sale on stainless steel rings, the ones that make perfect rounds on the plate and make everything look remarkably professional.  Needless to say, I had to immediately buy 6 of them.  When I got home to Bridgehampton, they went into a drawer and hadn’t emerged ever until I found the perfect way to use them…in this wonderful salad!  And if you happen to be without your Matfer Bourgeat rings, you can still make it.