Print this recipe – Shrimp Scampi with Orange Bitters

Food bloggers and their readers tend to be a supportive, upbeat, crowd (“Kale!  Wow!  Double thumbs-up!”).  We don’t get many complaints, helpful suggestions for improving the site, but every few months this plea arrives: “Can’t you do something so we don’t have to cut and paste your recipes?”  Never let it be said The Garum Factory …

Glazed and Enthused – Spanish Mackerel, Saffron and Honey with Blood Orange – Fennel Salad

Spanish Mackerel, Saffron and Honey with Fennel - Blood Orange Salad-1

Spanish Mackerel, Saffron and Honey with Blood Orange – Fennel Salad.  If you make nothing else from us this year, make this.  It’s crazy delicious, one of my contenders for the tastiest thing Jody’s cooked in the past year, and it’s easy. Contrary to what you may think, the recipe doesn’t involve filleting your own mackerel.  Unless you want to.  If so, have it.  That’s what we did, but only because the whole fish were so gorgeous I couldn’t bear not photographing them, so I spared our fishmonger the hassle of filleting them for us.  You’ll also notice that there are three fish and only four fillets, when you’d expect six.  That’s because we roasted the third mackerel whole.  If Spanish mackerel’s around, we can’t get enough of it.  Make this dish.

The L Word: Lobster-Andouille Stuffies

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A “stuffy,” just in case you don’t know, is the Rhode Island term of art for a baked stuffed clam, although I can vouch for its use as far north as southern Massachusetts.  Typically, buttered and seasoned breadcrumbs do-si-do with chopped clam, usually but not always) atop a quahog on the half-shell and baked.  It’s a filling, poor man’s seafood treat, which is not to denigrate it, just to note that it may not be the place to go if you’re looking to sate your bivalve love.  Jody’s stuffy climbs up a notch on the menu, subbing lobster for clams, and adding andouille sausage and green pepper for a Cajun twist.  Lobster-Andouille Stuffy – the stuffy for our times.

Corn and Mussel Chowder

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In his brilliant maritime novels set during the Napoleonic wars the English writer Patrick O’Brian was ruthlessly accurate about the handling of square-rigged sailing ships and the social relations in the British navy.  In order to keep readers from feeling completely adrift O’Brian, whom the NYT Book Review dubbed “Jane Austen at sea,” often had his sea-wise characters explain details of shipboard life to landlubbers who had wandered into the story.  Those new to cuisine afloat soon learned, for example, that chowder and the dreaded “portable soup”* were thickened with hardtack lest the liquid slosh out of the bowl and onto the diner. Hardtack, sailors then cheerfully pointed out, was infested with worms, nicknamed “bargemen,” after their resemblance atop the crackers in the soup, to pilots steering captain’s barges  from one side of the bowl to the other.   In MASTER AND COMMANDER, O’Brian has a character contemplate his soup with its infested crackers and then observe, “Don’t you know that in the Navy one must always choose the lesser of two weevils.  Oh ha, ha, ha, ha!”  

You’re either on board with this kind of humor or you’re not.  If you’re not, you can console yourself with today’s post, Corn and Mussel Chowder.  Oh ha, ha, ha, ha!

Grilled Oysters with Wasabi Mayo

Grilled Oysters with Wasabi Mayo-1

One charmed fall weekend Jody and I were asked to judge the oyster shucking competition at the annual Wellfleet OysterFest.  A free weekend in Wellfleet.  Close proximity to more straight-from-the-ocean bivalves than I could ever reasonably consider eating.  Bring it on.  Watching pros shuck oysters inspires equal parts terror and admiration.  The goal is to shuck a couple dozen oysters as fast as possible.  Winning times are usually around two minutes – that is, an oyster every five seconds.  Chipped shells, mangled oysters, debris and, oh yes, the occasional splash of blood, are all penalized.  Everyone who competes professionally has a story about watching an inattentive shucker putting the the blade of an oyster knife through a palm or the base of a thumb.   And that’s the rub, isn’t it?  As someone who has shucked a fair number of oysters in his life, I still take a deep breath before I do it and I make damn sure I’m paying attention.  Here’s a tasty alternative: Grilled Oysters with Wasabi Mayonnaise.

As a recent presidential candidate might have said, had he been a cook, which seems doubtful: Grilled oysters self-open.  

Shrimp in a Pouch with Lemon Mayonnaise

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Curried Cod in Parchment was one of our earliest blog posts.  After fantasizing about visiting Patmos, we thought it might be time to revisit the technique – with Shrimp in a Pouch with Lemon Mayonnaise.

This isn’t a fancy-pants recipe – it’s a remedy for the usual put-something-in-a-pan-then-put-something-else-in-a-pan-now-put-something-else-in-a-pan rut.  You can finish everything before the first half-hour of All Things Considered ends, and that includes whipping up a batch of homemade mayonnaise (the house record for non-professionals is about 2 minutes).  With luck the radio will be playing a story about Congressional budget negotiations while you devein the shrimp.  You can sublimate your feelings, whichever side of the fence you’re on, into the pointed end of a sharp knife.  Pause to pour yourself a glass of albariño.   You deserve it – you’re almost done making dinner.

Tagliatelle with Shad Roe, Pancetta and Spring Peas

Tagliatelle with Shad Roe, Pancetta and Spring Peas-1

The swallows of San Juan Capistrano return to their California mission home every March 19th, one of the natural world’s cyclic wonders.  Nature, however, may have had something rather less dependable in mind with the annual spring running of shadfish.  Last year we posted about shad roe on March 31st.  This year, we’re only a couple of weeks shy of June.  Shad roe is an ephemeral treat, briefly available on short notice, then vanishing, so when the season arrives you have to stay on you toes, prepared to swing into action at a moment’s notice.  I found three seafood stores had the roe… yesterday.  A single purveyor* had it the day I wanted it, one day before blogging.  So if you’re inclined to make this weeks’s  Tagliatelle with Shad Roe, Pancetta and Peas, finish reading this and immediately pick up the phone.  If your favorite fish vendor doesn’t have the roe today, he may be able to get it for you tomorrow.  Next week you might still get lucky, or not.  That’s the way shad rolls.   

Grilled Mussels with Coconut Curry Broth

Grilled Mussels with Coconut Curry Broth–what more is there to say?  Last summer we did a piece about grilling clams.  Mussels–and oysters–work the same way.  You pop them on a hot grill and wait.  When they open, they’re done.  We’re talking about very lightly grilled seafood here.  As you can see from the pictures, Jody first made the coconut curry broth.  Then we grilled the mussels (no, really, we grilled the mussels).  If you’re deft with a pair of tongs you can get the mussels off the grill and into the coconut broth with minimal loss of mussel juice. Toss the mussels with the herbs and the coconut broth and Bob’s your uncle.