Seafood of the Week – Prawn Cocktail

July 29, 2014 at 5:41 AM | Posted in seafood, Seafood of the Week, shrimp | Leave a comment
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Prawn cocktail

Prawn cocktail

Prawn cocktail, also known as shrimp cocktail, is a seafood dish consisting of shelled, cooked, prawns in a Marie Rose sauce, served in a glass. It was the most popular hors d’œuvre in Great Britain from the 1960s to the late 1980s, after which it became unfashionable before making a comeback in recent years. According to the English food writer Nigel Slater, the prawn cocktail “has spent most of [its life] see-sawing from the height of fashion to the laughably passé” and is now often served with a degree of irony.

 
A dish of cooked seafood with a piquant sauce of some kind is of ancient origin and many varieties exist. Oyster or shrimp dishes of this kind were popular in the United States in the late nineteenth century and some sources link the serving of the dish in cocktail glasses to the ban on alcoholic drinks during the 1920s prohibition era in the United States.

In the United Kingdom, the invention of the Prawn Cocktail is often credited to British television chef Fanny Cradock in the 1960s, however, it is more likely that Craddock merely popularised her version of an established dish that was not well known until then in Britain. In their 1997 book The Prawn Cocktail Years, Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham note that the prawn cocktail has a “direct lineage to Escoffier”.

In North America, the sauce is red, essentially ketchup plus horseradish. In other areas, the sauce is pink, based on a mixture of ketchup (tomato sauce) and mayonnaise, which is known as Marie Rose sauce.

 
Nigel Slater says “It is all in the sauce” and that “The true sauce is principally mayonnaise, tomato ketchup and a couple of shakes of Tabasco.”

The chef Heston Blumenthal states that prawn cocktail is his “secret vice”, “When I get home late after working in the Fat Duck there’s nothing I like better than to raid the fridge for prawn cocktail”. Blumenthal notes that it is best to use homemade mayonnaise, and recommends adding chopped basil and tarragon.

The television chef and writer Delia Smith states that the best version is with prawns that you have cooked yourself, and that in the 1960s it was “something simple but really luscious, yet over the years it has suffered from some very poor adaptations, not least watery prawns and inferior sauces”.

According to the chef Jamie Oliver, the prawn cocktail is a “wicked little starter … guaranteed to please your guests”. His recipe includes garlic, cucumber, mint, salad cress and crabmeat, which demonstrates the versatility and adaptability of the basic concept.

As Hopkinson and Bareham note in The Prawn Cocktail Years, what was once considered to be the “Great British Meal” consisted of Prawn Cocktail, followed by Steak Garni with Chips and Black Forest Gateau for desert, commenting that “cooked as it should be, this much derided and often ridiculed dinner is still something very special indeed”.

 
The ubiquity of the prawn cocktail has led to such products as prawn cocktail flavor crisps, which are still one of the most popular varieties of this snack food. Wotsits and Quavers are also available in prawn cocktail flavor. Prawn cocktail flavor crisps were the second most popular in the UK in 2004, with a 16% market share.

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Seafood of the Week – Angels on Horseback

July 22, 2014 at 5:38 AM | Posted in seafood, Seafood of the Week | Leave a comment
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Angels on horseback skewered and grilled.

Angels on horseback skewered and grilled.

Angels on horseback is a hot hors d’œuvre or savoury made of oysters wrapped with bacon. The dish, when served atop breads, can also be a canapé. Angels on horseback have had limited popularity, and have become regarded as a luxury or delicacy due to the elevated status of oysters in North America.

The dish is typically prepared by rolling shucked oysters in bacon and baking them in an oven. Modern variations of angels on horseback include skewering and frying. Serving can vary widely to taste on either skewers or breads, with additional accompaniments or condiments. Angels on horseback differ from the similar, fruit-based, devils on horseback, but the dishes’ names are sometimes erroneously considered synonyms.

 

 

 
Angels on horseback can be served a hors d’œuvre, as a canapé, or as a savoury. Angels on horseback are canapés when served with breads. In England, savouries are served after the desert and are salty or savoury items meant to cleanse the palette before the serving of wines. One cookbook including angels on horseback as a savoury is the 1905 Savouries Simplified, by Constance Peel.

Angels on horseback should not be confused with devils on horseback. The latter dish, which is derived from the former, uses fruit, typically prunes or dates. Devils on horseback continues to evolve and modernize; it is popular to steep the fruit in Cognac and Armagnac. American and British chefs including Martha Stewart and Martin Blunos recognise the distinction between the dishes, and though food writer John Ayto does too, he notes that the names have often been used interchangeably. This has been traced to a Chicago Tribune article and James Beard who “insisted that angels on horseback required ham as a wrapper, and that if bacon were used, what you’d have would be devils on horseback.”

 

 

 
The origins of the dish are unclear. The name most likely derives from the French anges à cheval, and there appears to be no significance in the oyster/angel and bacon/horse links. Its first occurrence, according to the Oxford English Dictionary and other sources, is in 1888, in Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. However, there is a reference in an Australian newspaper to the dish, which includes a brief recipe, from 1882.

References to angels on horseback in the United States date to the mid- to late 1890s. One of the earliest references in an American newspaper is an 1896 article from the New York Times, where the dish is suggested as an appetizer; according to the Times, the dish is to be credited to Urbain Dubois, the chef of the German emperor. In this version, the angels on horseback are skewered, sprinkled with cayenne pepper, and broiled. The article suggests serving the dish with lemon and parsley, but without toast. In the 1930s, they are suggested as part of a picnic menu, and in 1948 again as an appetizer. In the 1950s, American newspapers featured the dish with interest, from papers including the Chicago Tribune, with the articles “For Oyster Treat, Try Angels on Horseback: They’re Delectable Appetizer Sunday Menu”, and “These Angels on Horseback Are Oysters”, and the Los Angeles Times.

Angels on horseback did achieve a certain popularity in the 1960s in Washington, D.C.; Evangeline Bruce, wife of US ambassador and diplomatic envoy David K. E. Bruce and renowned for her “Washington soirees”, served them regularly during the Kennedy administration but even there, the name itself was not commonplace, as suggested by the words of gossip columnist Liz Smith: “Sometimes the oysters were raw, sometimes they were grilled and wrapped in bacon. Then Mrs. Bruce called them Angels on Horseback.” As late as the 1980s, the Chicago Tribune published an article calling the dish “intriguing”, suggesting it had not yet become commonplace in the United States.

Publications from the 1990s onwards discuss angels on horseback as an indulgence or a delicacy with frequency. 1001 Foods to Die For noted it as an indulgence in North American due to the elevation of oysters to a delicacy status. The Diner’s Dictionary: Word Origins of Food and Drink noted that the luxury of oysters results in cocktail sausages replacing the oysters.

 

 

 
According to the classic recipe, shucked oysters are wrapped in bacon which is then broiled in the oven, about three minutes per side. An early recipe, from 1902, suggests frying the skewered oysters and bacon in butter. The dish is often served on toast, though if prepared on skewers and broiled, it can be eaten straight from the skewer.

Variations on the preparation and presentation of the angels on horseback vary considerably. In Feng Shui Food, it is prepared by rolling a shucked oyster in bacon and skewering it with a cocktail stick, fried and served with a squeeze of lime. Joanna Pruess’s book Seduced by Bacon includes a recipe for “Angels and Devils”, with the suggestion that “a little hot red pepper sauce can transform them from heavenly to hellishly hot tasting, or somewhere inbetween.” Myles Bader, author of The Wizard of Food’s Encyclopedia of Kitchen & Cooking Secrets, suggests serving angels on horseback on toast with a lemon wedge or hollandaise sauce. An Italian variant replaces bacon with prosciutto.

 

 

 

 

Angels on Horseback

This is just one of many versions of this recipe you make.
INGREDIENTS:
12 shucked oysters
12 slices bacon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Set a wire rack into a small baking dish.
2. Wrap each oyster with a slice of bacon, and secure with a toothpick. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika, and parsley; set onto wire rack.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until the bacon is crispy, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately. They aren’t as good once they get cold.

Seafood of the Week – Pacific Razor Clam

July 15, 2014 at 5:35 AM | Posted in seafood, Seafood of the Week | Leave a comment
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A live Pacific razor clam in water

A live Pacific razor clam in water

The Pacific razor clam, Siliqua patula, is a species of large edible marine bivalve mollusc in the family Pharidae.

 

Pacific razor clams can be found along the Pacific West Coast from the eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska, to Pismo Beach, California. They inhabit sandy beaches in the intertidal zone down to a maximum depth of about 30 feet (9.1 m).

 
This species has an elongated oblong narrow shell, which ranges from 3 to 6 inches (7.6 to 15.2 cm) in length in the southern portion of its range, with individuals up to 11 inches (28 cm) found in Alaska. It is similar to the smaller Atlantic razor clam, Siliqua costata, which is found on the East Coast of the United States. Another eastern species in the same family is sometimes also called a razor clam: Ensis directus, but this is in a different genus, is not very similar, and is also known as the Atlantic jackknife clam.

 
Pacific razor clams are highly desirable and edible, collected both commercially and by recreational harvesters. Razor clams, like other shellfish, may sometimes accumulate dangerous levels of domoic acid, a marine toxin. Harvesters should be sure to check current public health recommendations before collecting razor clams. Razor clams are commonly battered and fried in butter, or made into a clam chowder.

Razor Clam harvesting is typically authorized by state officials several times a year. Harvesters locate the clam by looking for a “show,” which can present as either a hole or depression in the sand. Some razors expose their necks while the surf has receded, making them far easier to spot; some locals refer to these colloquially as Pollom Clams.

 

 

 

 

Some Cooking Tips for Razor Clams from What’s Cooking America (http://whatscookingamerica.net/)
When breading and frying fresh Razor Clams, here are some tricks to keep in mind:

Your Razor clams must be properly cleaned before frying them. If you are lucky enough to go to the beach and dig your own clams, check out this great web site and Learn how to clean fresh razor clams.

To pound or not to pound! Razor clams are a seafood that can be succulent and tender or like industrial-strength rubber bands, depending on how you handle and cook them. I usually pound them. Be careful, though; you want them to remain in one piece

Start by patting the meat dry. Lay your clean clams on top of a few sheets of paper towels to remove the moisture on the clams; pat dry with your hands. If you don’t remove the moisture, the breading will not adhere to the clams well, and the wet clams will result in lots of splattering of the hot oil you are cooking them in.

First clear your countertop and set out three (3) plates containing the following ingredients in the order listed: (1) flour, (2) beaten egg, (3) bread crumbs or cracker crumbs, plus a rack or plate to hold the breaded meat.

Place the cleaned and patted dry clams in the four/cracker mixture; turn with your hand or a fork to coat it.

Pick up the meat with the other hand and place it in the beaten egg. Using the same hand (consider it your wet hand) to turn the meat and coat it with egg. Then pull it out and lay the egg-coated meat on top of the bread or cracker crumbs. Use your dry hand or fork to pat the crumbs on. Shake off any excess crumbs and set the meat on the final plate or rack.

When everything is breaded, let it rest on the counter or in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes. This helps the coating dry out and adhere better.

 
http://whatscookingamerica.net/ClamsFried.htm

Seafood of the Week – Poke (Hawaii)

July 8, 2014 at 5:33 AM | Posted in fish, seafood, Seafood of the Week | Leave a comment
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Tako (octopus)

Tako (octopus)

Poke /poʊˈkeɪ/ is a raw salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine. Pokē is the Hawaiian verb for “section” or “to slice or cut”. Ahi poke is made with yellowfin tuna. Limu poke includes a type of seaweed.

 

 

 
Modern poke typically consists of cubed ʻahi (yellowfin tuna) sashimi marinated with sea salt, a small amount of soy sauce, inamona (roasted crushed candlenut), sesame oil, limu seaweed, and chopped chili pepper. Other variations of ingredients may include cured heʻe (octopus), other types of raw tuna, raw salmon and other kinds of sashimi, sliced or diced Maui onion, furikake, hot sauce (such as sambal olek), chopped ʻohiʻa (tomato), tobiko (flying fish roe), ogo or other types of seaweed, and garlic.

The selection of condiments has been heavily influenced by Japanese and other Asian cuisines.

 

 

 

Poke with ahi poke (yellow-fin tuna poke)

Poke with ahi poke (yellow-fin tuna poke)

The traditional Hawaiian poke consists of meat that has been gutted, skinned, and deboned. It is sliced across the backbone as fillet, then served with traditional condiments such as sea salt, seaweed, and limu. Some Hawaiians would suck the flesh off the bones and spit out the skin and bones. During the 19th century, recently introduced foreign vegetables such as tomatoes and onions were included, and now Maui onions are a very common ingredient.

According to the food historian Rachel Laudan, the present form of poke became popular around the 1970s. It used skinned, deboned, and filleted raw fish served with wasabi (Japanese green horseradish) and soy sauce. This form of poke is still common in the Hawaiian islands.

 

 

 
Raw fish dishes similar to poke, often served in Europe, are fish carpaccio and fish tartare.

 

 

Seafood of the Week – Fried Clams

July 1, 2014 at 5:34 AM | Posted in seafood, Seafood of the Week | Leave a comment
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Fried clams piled high

Fried clams piled high

Fried clams are made by deep frying clams that have been dipped in milk and then flour.

Fried clams are an iconic food, “to New England what barbecue is to the South”. They tend to be served at seaside clam shacks (roadside restaurants). For a lighter meal, a clam roll is made by piling clams into a hot dog bun. Tartar sauce is the usual condiment.

 

 

 
The clams are dipped in evaporated milk, and coated with a combination of regular, corn, and/or pastry flour. Then the coated clams are fried in canola oil or soybean oil, or lard. They can be “clam strips” (sliced parts of hard-shell clams) or “clams with bellies” (whole soft-shell clams). Clams with bellies have the clam’s gastrointestinal tract left intact and impart a fuller flavor. However, some restaurants remove the clam’s chewy siphon, called the neck.

 

 

 
Fried clams have been served since at least 1865, and most likely earlier, as they have been found on an 1865 menu from the Parker House hotel restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts. It is not known if the clams were deep fried or if they were batter dipped. The same 1865 menu offers “oysters fried” and “oysters fried in batter”.

Legend has it that the modern deep-fried, breaded version was credited to Lawrence Henry “Chubby” Woodman from Essex, Massachusetts. He is said to have created the first batch on July 3, 1916, in his small roadside restaurant, now Woodman’s of Essex. One of his specialties was homemade potato chips, so he had large vats for deep-frying foods. He used the clams, which he had collected himself from the mud flats of the Essex River located close to his home.

Later, Thomas Soffron, of Soffron Brothers Clam Co., based in Ipswich, Massachusetts, created clam strips, which are made from the “foot” of hard-shelled sea clams. He sold these to Howard Johnson’s in an exclusive deal, and as the chain expanded, they became popular throughout the country.

 

 

 
Clams in themselves are low in cholesterol and fat, but fried clams absorb cooking fat.

 

 
Here’s just one of many Fried Clams Recipe
Fried Clams

 

Ingredients:

 

1 1/2 lbs. large shucked clams
2 cups corn flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. each onion and garlic powder
1 tbsp. fine yellow corn meal (optional)
1 can evaporated milk
1 egg yolk
oil for frying

 

Directions:

1 -Stir together the corn flour, salt, onion and garlic powder and yellow corn
meal until very well mixed. Divide the mixture in two shallow pans.
In another shallow pan, whisk together milk and egg yolk until well
combined.

2 – Dredge the whole clams in the first pan of corn flour mixture, then dip
them in the milk mixture. Toss the clams in the second pan of corn flour
mixture, then fry in 365°F oil until the clams are a golden color, turning
once. Remove from fryer and toss on clean absorbent paper. Season
lightly with salt and serve immediately. Do not overload the fryer with too
many clams if it has a low capacity or the oil temperature will be dropped
causing the clams to absorb more oil.

Seafood of the Week – Crab Rangoon

June 24, 2014 at 5:39 AM | Posted in seafood, Seafood of the Week | 2 Comments
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Crab rangoon

Crab rangoon

Crab rangoon are deep-fried dumpling appetizers served in American Chinese and, more recently, Thai restaurants, stuffed with a combination of cream cheese, lightly flaked crab meat (more commonly, canned crab meat or imitation crab meat), with scallions, and/or garlic. These fillings are then wrapped in Chinese wonton wrappers in a triangular or flower shape, then deep fried in vegetable oil.

 

 

 
Crab rangoon has been on the menu of the “Polynesian-style” restaurant Trader Vic’s in San Francisco since at least 1956. Although the appetizer is allegedly derived from an authentic Burmese recipe, the dish was probably invented in the United States. A “Rangoon crab a la Jack” was mentioned as a dish at a Hawaiian-style party in 1952, but without further detail, and so may or may not be the same thing.

Though the history of crab rangoon is unclear, cream cheese, like other cheese, is essentially nonexistent in Southeast Asian and Chinese cuisine, so it is unlikely that the dish is actually of east or southeast Asian origin. In North America, crab rangoon is served often with soy sauce, plum sauce, duck sauce, sweet and sour sauce, or mustard for dipping.

 

 

 
In the Pacific Northwest states of America crab rangoon are also known as crab puffs, although this primarily refers to versions that use puff pastry as a wrapper instead of wonton. They may also be referred to as crab pillows, crab cheese wontons, or cheese wontons.

 

Seafood of the Week – Ceviche

June 17, 2014 at 5:38 AM | Posted in seafood, Seafood of the Week | 3 Comments
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Peruvian ceviche

Peruvian ceviche

Ceviche (Spanish pronunciation: [seˈβitʃe]; also spelled cebiche, or seviche) is a seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of the Americas, especially Central and South America. The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with ají or chili peppers. Additional seasonings, such as chopped onions, salt, and coriander, may also be added. Ceviche is usually accompanied by side dishes that complement its flavors, such as sweet potato, lettuce, corn, avocado or plantain. As the dish is not cooked with heat, it must be prepared fresh to minimize the risk of food poisoning.

The origin of ceviche is disputed. Possible origin sites for the dish include the western coast of north-central South America, or in Central America. The invention of the dish is also attributed to other coastal societies, such as the Polynesian islands of the south Pacific. The Spanish, who brought from Europe citrus fruits, such as lime, could have also originated the dish with roots in Moorish cuisine. However, the most likely origin lies in the area of present-day Peru.

Along with an archaeological record suggesting the consumption of a food similar to ceviche nearly 2,000 years ago, historians believe the predecessor to the dish was brought to Peru by Moorish women from Granada, who accompanied the Spanish conquistadors and colonizers, and this dish eventually evolved into what now is considered ceviche. Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio further explains the dominant position that Lima held through four centuries as the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru allowed for popular dishes such as ceviche to be brought to other Spanish colonies in the region, and in time they became a part of local cuisine by incorporating regional flavors and styles.

Ceviche is nowadays a popular international dish prepared in a variety of ways throughout the Americas, reaching the United States in the 1980s. The greatest variety of ceviches are found in Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador; but other distinctly unique styles can also be found in coastal Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, the United States, Mexico, Panama, the Caribbean, and several other nations.

 

 

 

 

In regard to its origin, various explanations are given. According to some historic sources from Peru, ceviche would have originated among the Moche, a coastal civilization that began to flourish in the area of current-day northern Peru nearly 2000 years ago. The Moche apparently used the fermented juice from the local banana passionfruit. Recent investigations further show, during the Inca Empire, fish were marinated with the use of chicha, an Andean fermented beverage. Different chronicles also report, along the Peruvian coast prior to the arrival of Europeans, fish was consumed with salt and ají. Furthermore, this theory proposes the natives simply switched to the citrus fruits brought by the Spanish colonists, but the main concepts of the plate remain essentially the same.

The invention of the dish is also attributed to places ranging from Central America to the Polynesian islands in the South Pacific. In Ecuador, it could have also had its origins with its coastal civilizations, as both Peru and Ecuador have shared cultural heritages (such as the Inca empire) and a large variety of fish and shellfish. Ceviche is not native to Mexico, despite the fact that the dish has been a part of traditional Mexican coastal cuisine for centuries. The Spanish, who brought from Europe citrus fruits such as lime, could have originated the dish in Spain with roots in Moorish cuisine.

Nevertheless, most historians agree ceviche originated during colonial times in the area of present-day Peru. They propose the predecessor to the dish was brought to Peru by Moorish women from Granada who accompanied the Spaniards, and this dish eventually evolved into what nowadays is considered ceviche. Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio further explains the dominant position that Lima held through four centuries as the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru allowed for popular dishes such as ceviche to be brought to other Spanish colonies in the region, and in time they became a part of local cuisine by incorporating regional flavors and styles. Other notable chefs who support the Peruvian origin of the plate include Chilean Christopher Carpentier and Spaniard Ferran Adrià, who in an interview stated, “Cebiche was born in Peru, and so the authentic and genuine [cebiche] is Peruvian.”

 

 

 

Mexican ceviche

Mexican ceviche

Ceviche is marinated in a citrus-based mixture, with lemons and limes being the most commonly used. In addition to adding flavor, the citric acid causes the proteins in the seafood to become denatured, appearing to be cooked. (However, acid marinades will not kill bacteria or parasitic worms, unlike the heat of cooking.) Traditional-style ceviche was marinated for about three hours. Modern-style ceviche, popularized in the 1970s, usually has a very short marinating period. With the appropriate fish, it can marinate in the time it takes to mix the ingredients, serve, and carry the ceviche to the table.

Most Latin American countries have given ceviche its own touch of individuality by adding their own particular garnishes.

 

 

 
In Peru, ceviche has been declared to be part of Peru’s “national heritage” and has even had a holiday declared in its honor. The classic Peruvian ceviche is composed of chunks of raw fish, marinated in freshly squeezed key lime or bitter orange (naranja agria) juice, with sliced onions, chili peppers, salt and pepper. Corvina or cebo (sea bass) was the fish traditionally used. The mixture was traditionally marinated for several hours and served at room temperature, with chunks of corn-on-the-cob, and slices of cooked sweet potato. Regional or contemporary variations include garlic, fish bone broth, minced Peruvian ají limo, or the Andean chili rocoto, toasted corn or cancha and yuyo (seaweed). A specialty of Trujillo is ceviche prepared from shark (tollo or tojo). Lenguado (sole) is often used in Lima. The modern version of Peruvian ceviche, which is similar to the method used in making Japanese sashimi, consists of fish marinated for a few minutes and served promptly. It was developed in the 1970s by Peruvian-Japanese chefs including Dario Matsufuji and Humberto Sato.[24] Many Peruvian cevicherías serve a small glass of the marinade (as an appetizer) along with the fish, which is called leche de tigre or leche de pantera.

In Ecuador, the shrimp ceviche is sometimes made with tomato sauce for a tangy taste. The Manabí style, made with lime juice, salt and the juice provided by the cooked shrimp itself is very popular. Occasionally, ceviche is made with various types of local shellfish, such as black clam (cooked or raw), oysters (cooked or raw), spondylus (raw), barnacles (cooked percebes), among others mostly cooked. It is served in a bowl with toasted corn kernels as a side dish (fried green plantain chunks called “patacones”, thinly sliced plantain chips called chifle, and popcorn are also typical ceviche side dishes). Well cooked Sea bass (corvina), octopus, and crab ceviches are also common in Ecuador. In all ceviches, lime juice and salt are ubiquitous ingredients.

In Chile, ceviche is often made with fillets of halibut or Patagonian toothfish, and marinated in lime and grapefruit juices, as well as finely minced garlic and red chili peppers and often fresh mint and cilantro are added.

 

 

 

Ceviche from Costa Rica

Ceviche from Costa Rica

In Mexico and some parts Central America, it is served either in cocktail cups with tostadas, salted crackers, or as a tostada topping and taco filling. In Mexico, when served in a cup with tomato sauce, it is called a ceviche cocktail. Although this cocktail is made from the “dry” ceviche recipe, this presentation is rather unusual outside of some specific areas and in most areas of Mexico, it is almost unheard of, while in some others, such as the Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz area, the cocktail variety is the dominant one, plainly referred to as ceviche de tiburón (shark ceviche). Shrimp, octopus, squid, tuna, and mackerel are also popular bases for Mexican ceviche, apart from fish. The marinade ingredients include salt, lime, onion, chili peppers, avocado, and coriander leaves (known as cilantro in the Americas). Cut Olives and a bit of Tomatoes are often added to the preparation (Ketchup is not good because it adds sugar and is not fresh).

In El Salvador one popular ceviche recipe is “Ceviche de Concha Negra,”, known in Mexico as Pata de Mula, or “The Black Clam.” It is dark, nearly black, with a distinct look and flavor. It is prepared with lime juice, onion, yerba buena, salt, pepper, tomato, Worcester sauce, and sometimes picante (any kind of hot sauce or any kind of hot pepper) as desired.

In Costa Rica, the dish includes marinated fish, lime juice, salt, ground black pepper, finely minced onions, coriander (cilantro) and finely minced peppers. It is usually served in a cocktail glass with a lettuce leaf and soda crackers on the side, as in Mexico. Popular condiments are tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, and tabasco sauce. The fish is typically tilapia or corvina, although mahi-mahi, shark and marlin are also popular.

In Panama, ceviche is prepared with lemon juice, chopped onion, celery, habanero pepper, and sea salt. Ceviche de corvina (white sea bass) is very popular and is served as an appetizer in most local restaurants. It is also commonly prepared with octopus, shrimp, and squid, or served with little pastry shells called “canastitas.”

In Cuba, ceviche is often made using mahi-mahi prepared with lime juice, salt, onion, green pepper, habanero, and a touch of allspice. Squid and tuna are also popular. In Puerto Rico and other places in the Caribbean, the dish is prepared with coconut milk. In The Bahamas and south Florida, a conch ceviche known as ‘conch salad’ is very popular. It is prepared by marinating diced fresh conch in lime with chopped onions, celery, and bell pepper. Diced pequin pepper and/or scotch bonnet pepper is often added for spice. In south Florida, it is common to encounter a variation to which tomato juice has been added.

 

 

Seafood of the Week – Rainbow Trout

June 10, 2014 at 5:55 AM | Posted in fish, seafood, Seafood of the Week | Leave a comment
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Rainbow trout

Rainbow trout

The rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is a species of salmonid native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. The steelhead (sometimes “steelhead trout”) is an anadromous (sea-run) form of the coastal rainbow trout (O. m. irideus) or Columbia River redband trout (O. m. gairdneri) that usually returns to fresh water to spawn after living two to three years in the ocean. Freshwater forms that have been introduced into the Great Lakes and migrate into tributaries to spawn are also called steelhead.

Adult freshwater stream rainbow trout average between 1 and 5 lb (0.5 and 2.3 kg), while lake-dwelling and anadromous forms may reach 20 lb (9.1 kg). Coloration varies widely based on subspecies, forms and habitat. Adult fish are distinguished by a broad reddish stripe along the lateral line, from gills to the tail, which is most vivid in breeding males.

Wild-caught and hatchery-reared forms of this species have been transplanted and introduced for food or sport in at least 45 countries and every continent except Antarctica. Introductions to locations outside their native range in the United States (U.S.), Southern Europe, Australia and South America have damaged native fish species. Introduced populations may impact native species by preying on them, out-competing them, transmitting contagious diseases (such as whirling disease), or hybridizing with closely related species and subspecies, thus reducing genetic purity. Other introductions into waters previously devoid of any fish species or with severely depleted stocks of native fish have created world-class sport fisheries such as the Great Lakes and Wyoming’s Firehole River.

Some local populations of specific subspecies, or in the case of steelhead, distinct population segments, are listed as either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The steelhead is the official state fish of Washington.

 

 

 
Resident freshwater rainbow trout adults average between 1 and 5 lb (0.45 and 2.27 kg) in riverine environments, while lake-dwelling and anadromous forms may reach 20 lb (9.1 kg). Coloration varies widely between regions and subspecies. Adult freshwater forms are generally blue-green or olive green with heavy black spotting over the length of the body. Adult fish have a broad reddish stripe along the lateral line, from gills to the tail, which is most pronounced in breeding males. The caudal fin is squarish and only mildly forked. Lake-dwelling and anadromous forms are usually more silvery in color with the reddish stripe almost completely gone. Juvenile rainbow trout display parr marks (dark vertical bars) typical of most salmonid juveniles. In some redband and golden trout forms parr marks are typically retained into adulthood. Some coastal rainbow trout (O. m. irideus) and Columbia River redband trout (O. m. gairdneri) populations and cutbow hybrids may also display reddish or pink throat markings similar to cutthroat trout. In many jurisdictions, hatchery-bred trout can be distinguished from native trout via fin clips, typically placed on the adipose fin.

 

 

 

Rainbow trout are a popular game fish for fly fishers.

Rainbow trout are a popular game fish for fly fishers.

Rainbow trout and steelhead are highly regarded game fish. Rainbow trout are a popular target for fly fishers, and several angling methods are used. The use of lures presented via spinning, casting or trolling techniques is common. Rainbow trout can also be caught on various live and dead natural baits. The International Game Fish Association recognizes the world record for rainbow trout as a fish caught on Saskatchewan’s Lake Diefenbaker by Sean Konrad on September 5, 2009. The fish weighed 48 lb (22 kg) and was a genetically modified hatchery escapee. Many anglers consider the rainbow trout the hardest-fighting trout species, as this fish is known for leaping when hooked and putting up a powerful struggle. It is considered one of the top five sport fish in North America and the most important game fish west of the Rocky Mountains.

There are tribal commercial fisheries for steelhead in Puget Sound, the Washington coast and in the Columbia River, but there has been controversy regarding over-harvesting of native stocks.

The highly desirable sporting qualities and adaptability of the rainbow trout to hatchery rearing and new habitats resulted in it being introduced to many countries around the world by or at the behest of sport fishermen. Many of these introductions have resulted in environmental and ecological problems, as the introduced rainbow trout disrupt local ecosystems and outcompete or eat indigenous fishes. Other introductions to support sport angling in waters either devoid of fish or with seriously depleted native stocks have created world-class fisheries such as in the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park, and in the Great Lakes.

 

 

 

Rainbow trout and potatoes

Rainbow trout and potatoes

Rainbow trout is popular in Western cuisine and both wild-caught and farmed fish is eaten. It has tender flesh and a mild, somewhat nutty flavor. Wild fish has a stronger, gamier taste than farmed fish. While the taste of wild-caught trout is often promoted as superior, it is illegal to sell or market wild-caught rainbow trout, which are legally classified as game fish, in the United States. Thus, rainbow trout and “steelhead” sold in American restaurants is farmed. Farmed rainbow are considered one of the safest fish to eat and are noted for high levels of vitamin B and a generally appealing flavor. Seafood Watch ranks farmed rainbow as a “Best Choice” fish for human consumption.

The color and flavor of the flesh depends on the diet and freshness of the trout. Farmed trout and some populations of wild trout, especially anadromous steelhead, have reddish or orange flesh as a result of high astaxanthin levels in their diets. Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that may be from a natural source or a synthetic trout feed. Rainbow trout raised to have pinker flesh from a diet high in astaxanthin are sometimes sold in the U.S. with labeling calling them “steelhead”. As wild steelhead are in decline in some parts of their range, farmed rainbow are viewed as a preferred alternative. In Chile and Norway, rainbow trout farmed in saltwater sea cages are sold labeled as steelhead.

Trout can be cooked as soon as they are cleaned, without scaling, skinning or filleting. If cooked with the skin on, the meat tends to hold together better. While trout sold commercially in Europe is often prepared and served this way, most trout sold commercially in the U.S. have had heads removed and have been fully or partially deboned and filleted. Medium to heavy bodied white wines, such as chardonnay, sauvignon blanc or pinot gris are typical wine pairings for trout.

 

Seafood of the Week – Fish Fingers

June 3, 2014 at 5:42 AM | Posted in fish, seafood, Seafood of the Week | Leave a comment
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Fried fish fingers

Fried fish fingers

Fish fingers, known as fish sticks in American and Canadian English and by translations of that name in most other languages, are a processed food made using a whitefish, such as cod, haddock or pollock, which has been battered or breaded.

They are commonly available in the frozen food section of supermarkets. They can be baked in the oven, grilled, shallow fried, or deep-fried.

 
The term ‘Fish Fingers’ is first referenced in a recipe given in a British popular magazine in 1900.

The commercialization of fish fingers may be traced to 1953 when the American company Gorton-Pew Fisheries, now known as Gorton’s, had been the first company to introduce a frozen ready-to-cook fish finger, named Gorton’s Fish Sticks, which won the Parents Magazine Seal of Approval.

There was a glut of herring in the United Kingdom after World War II. Clarence Birdseye test marketed herring fish fingers, a product he had discovered in the US, under the name ‘herring savouries’. These were tested in Southampton and South Wales against ‘cod sticks’, a comparably bland product used as a control. Shoppers, however, confounded expectations by showing an overwhelming preference for the cod.

 

 

Baked fish fingers on baking paper

Baked fish fingers on baking paper

The fish used may be either fillets cut to shape or minced/ground fish reformed to shape. Those made entirely from fillets are generally regarded as the higher quality products and will typically have a prominent sign on the box stating that the fish is 100% fillet. Minced fish is more commonly used in store brand economy products. They may have either batter or breadcrumbs around the outside as casing, although the coating is normally breadcrumbs.

In addition to white fish, fish fingers are sometimes made with salmon.

A commercially available variant of fish fingers is “Omega 3” fish fingers, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

 

 

Seafood of the Week – Clams Casino

May 27, 2014 at 5:38 AM | Posted in seafood, Seafood of the Week | Leave a comment
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Clams casino over rock salt with lemon and parsley garnish

Clams casino over rock salt with lemon and parsley garnish

Clams casino is a clam “on the halfshell” dish with breadcrumbs and bacon. It originated in Rhode Island in the United States. It is often served as an appetizer in New England and is served in variations nationally.

 

 

 
The dish uses littlenecks or cherrystone clams. Other basic ingredients include butter, peppers, bacon and garlic. Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, white wine, lemon juice, and shallots or onion are also used. Tabasco sauce is sometimes added, and parsley is sometimes used as a garnish.

 

 

 
The clams, bacon, and other ingredients are cooked in various ways depending on the recipe, and then added with breading to half the clam shell and baked or broiled (grilled from above) to a golden brown.

The dish is popular with Italian-Americans, having “a permanent spot on just about every trattoria menu” in Little Italy, Manhattan, and is considered an American classic. Clams casino is often served at Italian festivals and during the holidays[6] in the United States.

There are many variations on the dish, but the constant factor is the bacon: “Bacon remains the major key to its success”, with some chefs recommending smoked bacon for its salty flavor and others advocating an unsmoked variety.

 

 

 
According to legend, the recipe for clams casino was originally developed in 1917 in the Little Casino in Narragansett, Rhode Island, by a maître d’hôtel for a woman of means wanting something special for her guests. Good Housekeeping Great American Classics attributes the dish to Mrs. Paran Stevens and maître d’hôtel Julius Keller. She named the dish after the hotel, and word and popularity of the dish has since spread across the United States, including New Orleans, where oysters are substituted for clams. Clams casino remains a very popular dish in Rhode Island, “appearing on almost every menu”.

“In the first decades of this century (20th), if a restaurant wanted to be noted, it came up with a dish that involved the baking of shellfish”. While there was a profusion of this type of menu offering (often with the meat taken out of the shell prepared with sauce and returned to the shell), clams casino and oysters Rockefeller “are among the few surviving dishes from the shellfish fad”.

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