Archive for seafood
A great weekend working and laying down some new video (details are coming; patience!). What to do with some leftover grilled shrimp and scallops? So fresh, tender and scrumptious; hhhmm-how about a seafood salad? Combine the leftovers with a homemade roasted garlic and herbed mayo, fresh garden tomatoes and avocados. Simple, vibrant flavors; pleasing textures all equate to a delicious summer meal.
For years I have written on the dietary salt myth*. In a nutshell, it seems taken as conventional wisdom and irrefutable scientific fact that reductions in dietary sodium lead to significant reductions in blood pressure and improvement in cardiovascular mortality and morbidity from things like heart attacks and strokes. Yet despite almost 50 years of scientific study, over 150 randomized controlled trials and 13 population-based studies, the conclusive data is still lacking. Confounding the results of some of these trials was the fact that the consumption of foods that help lower blood pressure were never taken into account in the final analysis.
What are some of these foods?
It turns out that foods that are rich in potassium have a positive effect on lowering blood pressure and potentially reducing cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. These foods include fresh vegetables like Swiss chard, potatoes, yams, acorn and other winter squash, lentils, peas, lima beans, pinto and kidney beans. It includes fresh fruits like papaya, dried apricots, avocados and bananas-although they are not the ultimate source of potassium, per serving, as most people think. Fresh dairy products like yogurt and items like Portobello or crimini mushrooms are also good sources. Fish like salmon, pompano, halibut, tuna and anchovies likewise deliver good amounts of potassium. Herbs like basil and spices like turmeric are also good sources, although these are not usually consumed in significant quantities compared to other foodstuffs.
Further complicating the picture is the fact that in addition to foods rich in potassium, foods rich in both calcium and magnesium have also been shown to help reduce blood pressure. Foods rich in calcium include dairy such as yogurt, goat’s milk, cow’s milk and cheese. It includes fish such as sardines. Vegetable sources include tofu, greens like collard greens and turnip greens, spinach and food products containing sesame seeds like tahini (a major ingredient in hummus). Foods rich in magnesium include vegetables like Swiss chard, spinach, soybeans, black beans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and nuts like cashews, almonds and pine nuts. Fish like halibut and mackerel are also a great source of magnesium as are whole grains like brown rice and quinoa.
To completely muddy the waters, a recent study presented at the European Society of Human Genetics meeting in Paris**suggested a significant potentially causal association between low vitamin D levels and the development of hypertension. Humans can produce vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. Foods rich in vitamin D include fish like salmon and sardines and other foods like mushrooms. Milk from grass fed, pasture raised goats and cows and eggs; especially eggs from vegetarian fed, organic, free range chickens.
Interestingly, additional supplementation with minerals, whether it be potassium, magnesium or calcium do not share the positive effects observed with a diet rich in these components. Furthermore, the highly processed versions of these foodstuffs often results in a significant alteration of their natural structure. For example, foods that are naturally rich in potassium and have lower amounts of sodium often wind up after processing with much higher levels of sodium and significant reductions in the potassium content. In fact the bulk of dietary sodium intake, over 70%, comes from the consumption of highly processed, prepared and preserved foods. The clear take away from all this information is to follow a simple three-step approach:
- 1. Avoid the consumption of excessive amounts of fast food, which includes many sit down and dine type chain restaurants.
- 2. When shopping for foods in the market, avoid ready-made highly processed and preserved foods.
- 3. Whenever possible look for the fresh minimally adulterated product; this often means being aware of what is locally and regionally available in any given season.
By following these 3 simple steps, you are on your way to becoming a Grassroots Gourmet™; and that’s the prescription for eating well and living better.
*Read Dr. Mike’s latest article on the salt controversy published in Pacific Standard magazine here:
**Santhanakrishnan VK, et al “A causal association between vitamin D status and blood pressure: a Mendelian randomization study in up to 150,846 individuals” ESHG 2013; Abstract #C18.2.
Contrary to popular belief, Irish cuisine is so much more than potatoes (not even native to Ireland) and corned beef and cabbage. The cuisine of the Emerald isle is a cornucopia of delectable offerings from both land and sea. So this St. Paddy’s Day, why not try something as exciting, innovative and as truly originally Irish as Bono; a Whiskey Cured Salmon. The recipe will follow a little later today. It’s a simple dish requiring only a fresh slab of salmon, a few ingredients, salt, 12-24 hours to rest in the fridge-oh, and a little Whiskey from the Jar-O!
Whisky Cured Salmon
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1 1/2 tablespoons juniper berries
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grated lime zest
- 1/3 cup coarsely cracked black pepper
- ¼ cup whisky
- 1 (~4-pound) side fresh salmon
In a mixing bowl, combine the salt, sugar, dill, juniper berries, zests, cracked black pepper, and whisky. Place the salmon, skin side down, on several large sheets of plastic wrap. Cover the entire salmon with the curing mixture, packing the cure into the salmon. Wrap the salmon completely and tightly in the plastic wrap and place the salmon, skin side down on a half-sheet pan. Place something heavy like a skillet or a filled pot. Refrigerate the salmon for 12-24 hours.
Remove the salmon from the refrigerator and wipe off the curing mixture. Rinse the salmon briefly under cold water, removing the entire cure. Using a sharp knife, slice the salmon from the skin, cutting diagonally and making cuts as paper thin as possible.
It’s a pirate’s life for me. Surf, sun, sea and salt; especially when my salt tablet is topped with whisky cured salmon. We may not live by bread alone, but bread and this salmon mixed with shallot, parsley, lemon juice, tomatoes and capers-along with a proper gulper- well, yea that just about does it.
When asked what to prepare for a festive occasion like Valentine’s Day, I feel the menu should always reflect the theme. So for today look succulent, plump and juicy-but firm; look for spicy with a bitingly fresh zing yet just a touch of pleasant sweetness. That of course, means you’re looking for Doc’s Garlic Ginger Grilled Shrimp with Spicy Banana Catsup.
Garlic Ginger Shrimp
- · ¼ cup olive oil
- · Juice of 1 lemon and zest
- · 1 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
- · 2 cloves garlic, minced
Combine all ingredients and marinate shrimp 4 hours up to overnight. Grill the shrimp until bright pink, then turn once and finish. The eact time will depend on the size.
Spicy Banana Catsup
- · 2 ounces raisins
- · 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- · 2 -3 cloves garlic chopped
- · 6 ounces tomato paste
- · 1 1/3 cups cider vinegar
- · 4 bananas, cut into chunks
- · 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- · 3 cups water
- · ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- · 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- · ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- · 3 Tbs honey
- · 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- · ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- · ¾ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
- · ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- · ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- · ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- · ¼ cup dark rum
Add the raisins, onions, garlic, tomato paste, banana, ginger and vinegar in a food processor and process until smooth and then transfer the mixture to a large saucepan along with the 3 cups water, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Add the cayenne pepper, honey, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, ground cloves, turmeric and rum. Allow to half, simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes too thick, add additional water. Do not allow it to burn on the bottom of the pan. The mixture should turn a deep brick red.
Store covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 1 month.
For Day Five it’s a spicy trip to the Chesapeake Bay. Simple sautéed shrimp are elevated with some classic Mediterranean style spices, herbs and a touch of heat. Once the shrimp salad (recipe follows) is finished, form about eight ounces in to four two-ounce patties (reserve the remaining two ounces of salad for ravioli stuffing). Dredge the patties in 2 Tbs of flour mixed with 1 Tbs of Old Bay. Heat a little oil in a pan over medium heat and cook each patty until golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes each side. Serve with a simple mashed potato and sautéed green beans. For a little international flair, top the shrmp cakes with salsa and guacamole.
Spicy Shrimp Salad
- ½ pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (more if greater heat desired)
- 3 oz. grated parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbs tomato paste
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs parsley, minced
- Staples: olive oil, salt, pepper
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Cook the shrimp along with salt, black and red pepper. Allow to cool. Mash all the remaining ingredients together with the shrimp, or pulse in a food processor.
The day starts with a bowl of just prepared roasted garlic hummus and some piping hot pitas out of the oven. Dinner gets even better with what was perhaps the bargin find of the week. Grouper is one of my most favorite fishes, however at $17.99 a pound for the fillets it wasn’t going to be on the menu this week. Until we got a bit cheeky, literally. Grouper cheeks contain all the wonderful flavor and texture of grouper fillets, at $5.99 a pound. The odd sizes and shapes work perfect on a freshly grilled corn tortilla topped with a spicy salsa made with fresh tomatoes and a dab of creamy guacamole. A hearty bowl of refried beans on the side makes this not only a protein packed powerhouse of nutrition; more importantly it makes it scrumptious. Adding the chicken stock to the beans also adds another layer of flavor, a great use of the stock from day one here on day three.
For the fish, take the cheeks and dust with Doc’s Blackening Blend (recipe follows). Heat a little oil in a skillet on medium high until smoking. Cook the fish, remove and top withe salsa and guacamole. Serves 4.
Doc’s Blackening Blend
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 4 tsp. dried thyme
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- ¼ tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ½ tsp. ground coriander
Combine all ingredients, mix well.
- 8oz. beans, soaked overnight
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 small to medium dried chili pepper crushed or 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 Tbs chili powder
- 1 Tbs ground cumin
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 Tbs chopped cilantro
In a large pot, add the presoaked beans and enough water to cover them by 1 to 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for about two hours, adding more water as necessary to keep the beans covered. The beans should be very tender when done. Drain the beans then mash them and set aside. In a large, heavy skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about two minutes. Add the garlic, dried chili peppers or cayenne, chili powder, cumin, salt and oregano and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beans and stock and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes or until it thickens. Fold in the cilantro.Serves 4.
For those interested:
Here is an amzingly delicious and healthful meal. A four ounce serving with sauce, greens and a pair of tostones is less than 400 calories. But most importantly it is scrumptously yummy. The sauce can be done ahead of time and adds a flavorburst to a number of other items that can be topped with it. Try other seafood like scallops or salmon or even meat and poultry.
· Sea Bass
- Chilean Sea Bass, 4 ounce portions
- Rice flour for dusting
- ~¼ cup Cilantro, finely chopped for garnish
- Black sesame seeds, for garnish
· Thai Coconut Sauce
- 2 Tbs tapioca pearls
- ½ cup boiling water
- 2 Shallots , finely chopped
- 2 Leeks, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbs neutral oil (like tea oil)
- 1 mango, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
- 6-10 Kaffir Lime Leaves
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh oregano
- 3 stalks lemongrass
- 1 can coconut milk (13.7 ounces)
- 1 quart shellfish stock (may substitute light chicken stock; or vegetable if making a vegetarian version)
- Juice of 2 limes
- ½ tsp. Chinese 5 spice
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. ground coriander
- ½ tsp. ground turmeric
- ½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 6 Thai chilies, split lengthwise
· Tostones (Fried Plantains)
- 2 Plantains, peeled and cut into ~ 1 inch segments
- Sea Salt (a smoked sea salt works well)
- Oil for frying
· Wilted Greens
- 4 ounces fresh baby arugula
- 1 bunch fresh Asian watercress (also known as Chinese watercress)
- ½ ounce fresh basil leaves
- 1 Tbs sesame oil
In a bowl add ½ cup boiling water to the tapioca pearls. Allow the pearls to dissolve creating a paste, set aside. Heat 1 Tbs of oil in a medium sautoir or sauté pan. Add the leeks, shallots and garlic and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the stock, coconut milk and the cumin, coriander, black pepper, 5 spice and turmeric. Add the lime juice, ginger and mango. In a section of cheesecloth place the thyme, oregano, lemongrass and lime leaves. Tie off the cheesecloth and add to the mixture, allowing the flavors to gently meld. In a separate piece of cheesecloth split the chilies prior to tying them off in their own bundle. Add these to the mixture. Allow to gently simmer for about 2 hours, until reduced by about half. Taste occasionally as the liquid simmers, when the heat from the chilies is just a little less than your preference, remove them. The mixture will intensify the flavors as it concentrates. When the mixture has reduced by half, remove the cheesecloth bundles, and pass the liquid through a sieve. Add the tapioca mixture and return to the stovetop. Bring the liquid to a boil and allow to thicken, about 4-5 minutes. Remove and pass through the sieve once more to remove any undissolved pearls. Set the sauce aside. The sauce can be done several days ahead of time.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat with 1 Tbs of neutral oil. Season the rice flour with a little salt, pepper and Chinese 5 spice. Lightly coat the sea bass in the mixture. Cook the sea bass about 4 minutes per side until it is golden brown. Finish in the oven for about 10 minutes, the exact time depends on the thickness of the fish.
Heat 1 Tbs of a neutral oil in a pan to 325 degrees. Add the plantains and allow to turn a golden color, about 4-5 minutes. Remove and arrange on a baking sheet. Using the back of another baking sheet, or the back of a pan, smash them down. Return to the oil for another 4-5 minutes, remove and top with sea salt.
Heat the sesame oil in a medium sauté pan. Add the greens, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently. As soon as they have wilted, about 3-4 minutes, remove.
To serve place the four ounce portion of sea bass on top of the greens with the plantains (two total) on each side. Top the fish with about 2 Tbs of sauce and garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds.
Note: You can check with your fishmonger for verification that the Chilean Sea Bass was sustainable, line caught Chilean Sea Bass or Patagonian toothfish. Also, some of the items like the Kaffir lime leaves, Chinese watercress and lemongrass can be found in Asian markets or Oriental grocers.
Special thanks to Catherine L from down under! She used this recipe successfully to make the sabayon in a Thermomix device. Below please enjoy the recipe and for our international friends who would like to use a thermomix, here is the variations, courtesy of Catherine L. Enjoy!
Truffled Tarragon Lobster (sous-vide) with Roasted Corn Champagne Sabayon Tart
- · 6 ounces AP flour
- · 4 ounces butter, room temperature
- · 2 ounces water, ice cold
- · ½ tsp. salt
- · Zest of 1 lemon
Add the butter to the flour and salt, working it in in small bits until the mixture has the consistency of bread crumbs. Add in the zest. Slowly add the water (you may not need it all) until the dough holds together. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Roll out and place in 4.5 in tart pans. Cook for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove and allow to cool. Makes 4 tarts
Truffled Tarragon Lobster (sous vide)
- · 2 lobster tails and claws
- · 3 ounces truffle butter
- · 3 sprigs fresh tarragon
- · ¼ cup white wine
- · ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
- · 1 tsp. salt
- · 1 lemon, quartered
Break down the lobsters and remove the tails and claws. Place along with all the other ingredients into a vacu-seal bag, taking care that the shells do not puncture the bags. Seal the bag and heat water in a pot to 140 degrees F. Cook the tails 45 minutes at 140 degrees F. Remove the bag and free the meat from the shell. Cut the tails in half length-wise. Arrange the tails meat and 1 claw on each tart.
Roasted Corn Champagne Sabayon
- · 2 ears of roasted corn
- · ¼ cup white wine
- · 2 Tbs. fresh tarragon
- · 1 tsp. salt
- · ½ tsp. white pepper
- · 4 egg yolks
- · ½ cup champagne
Remove the kernels from the corn. In a food processor, purée the corn, tarragon and white wine. Push the mixture through a fine sieve and reserve. Over a pot of boiling water, whip the egg yolks and champagne together, heating slowly. The egg yolks will turn a pale yellow and thicken. Gently heat until 160 degrees F. Fold in the corn and tarragon mixture. Add the sabayon to the lobster tart and garnish.
Sabayon using Thermomix device
- Remove the kernels from the corn. In thermomix purée the corn, tarragon and white wine speed approx speed 8 for 10 second for 3 or four times, scraping the inside of the bowl each time
- Push the mixture through a fine sieve and reserve the corn/tarragon cream.
- Clean thermomix bowl and dry in the usual manner.
- Put butterfly into bowl, then place egg yolks and champagne into a cold thermomix bowl. Process the mixture at 70deg celsius, speed 3 for 9 mins. The egg yolks will turn a pale yellow and thicken.
- Then fold in the corn and tarragon mixture
Peaches are the Queen of the current season. And who better should the Queen accompany than the King? My awesome local fishmonger, Steve, introduced us to a rare dignitary: Scottish King Salmon. Flown in fresh, this king salmon was an awesome beauty. He was allowed a last bachelor’s night out as he soaked in a light marinade of scotch whisky, maple syrup and other flavors. Thus lightly blushing with pleasant scent of a few well earned spoils, he was married to peaches via a light mustard and dill glaze. The ensemble smoked over maple and cherry-wood, sealing a union of tasty goodness. With spicy sweet tater sticks and lightly sauteed spinach on the side, we all ate happily ever after.