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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Fish/Seafood/Caviar

TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Seed Chicken Or Fish

Give chicken breasts or fish fillets a harvest touch with this recipe, which employs a pumpkin seed crust, adding flavor and nutrition.

It’s a great idea, but we must admit: We have no idea where this recipe came from. We found it in a drafts folder, without the attribution that we attach to all outside content. We searched the web and couldn’t find it; so we apologize to whomever sent it to us. Thanks: We love your recipe.

RECIPE: PUMPKIN SEED CHICKEN OR FISH

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts or 6-ounce fish filets
  • 2 cups of panko bread crumbs
  • 2 cups of pumpkin seeds
  • 4 whole eggs beaten
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fine chopped oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
 

pumpkin-seed-crusted-chicken-cookforyourlifeorg-230

Pumpkin seeds-crusted chicken breast with sauteed carrot strips. Photo courtesy EatForYourLife.org, which has a gluten-free variation of the recipe that includes Parmesan cheese.

 

Preparation

1. SLICE. Preheat the oven to 350°F for 10 minutes. Slice chicken breasts in half, width-wise. Pound down lightly until they are ¼ inch thick.

2. FILL. Fill 3 separate bowls with flour, eggs and the dry ingredients: panko, pumpkin seeds, salt, black pepper, chopped oregano and orange zest.

3. DIP: Coat the chicken breast with flour, then dip into beaten eggs, followed by a dip into the panko mix.

4. SAUTE. In a sauté pan, heat up the oil at medium heat. Lightly sauté the coated chicken breast until it reaches a golden color—about 1 minute on each side.

5. BAKE. Place the chicken breasts onto a sheet pan and cook it for an additional 10-15 minutes. If you are using fish, it requires just 5-10 minutes in the oven; or you may finish it in the pan.

6. SERVE with vegetable(s) of choice and a green salad tossed with whole pumpkin seeds. For a seasonal touch, add some pumpkin seed oil to the vinaigrette!

 

pepitas-bag-bowl-230

Pumpkin seeds (called pepitas in Spanish).
Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

 

ABOUT PUMPKIN SEEDS

Pumpkin seeds (called pepitas in Spanish) are flat seeds that lend themselves to a crust. They have a chewy texture and a subtly sweet, nutty flavor.

Pumpkins are indigenous to the Americas. Their use in medicine and cuisine traces at least as far back as the Aztecs, 1300-1500 C.E. The name “pepita,” which translates to “seed,” comes from Mexico, where Spanish settlers called them “pepita de calabaza,” “little seed of squash.”

Pumpkin seeds are available year-round: raw and shelled, raw and unshelled, roasted and shelled, roasted and unshelled. For recipes, choose unshelled seeds.

PUMPKIN SEED TRIVIA

  • Pumpkins, other squash and gourds belong to the Cucurbitaceae botanical family, along with cantaloupe, cucumber and watermelon.
  • Today, China produces more pumpkins and pumpkin seeds than any other country. Other major producers include India, Mexico, Russia, the Ukraine and the U.S.
  • In the U.S., more than 100,000 acres of U.S. farmland are planted with pumpkins, in virtually every state. Illinois is the largest producer of pumpkins, followed by California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and New York.
 
HOW TO ROAST PUMPKIN SEEDS

It’s easy and fun to roast your own pumpkin seeds, using your seasonings of choice (salt, garlic salt, chile powder, etc.) You can also buy organic raw pumpkin seeds in bulk.

1. PREPARATION: If you’re using seeds straight from the pumpkin, first wipe them off with a paper towel to remove excess pulp. Spread them out evenly on a paper bag or paper towel and let them dry overnight.

2. PREHEAT the oven to 160°-170°F (75°C). Place the seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Season as desired.

3. ROAST for 15 minutes, but for no longer than 20 minutes. (After then, the heat engenders a negative change in the healthful pumpkin seed fat structure.)
 
MORE WAYS TO SERVE PUMPKIN SEEDS

  • Sprinkle on salads, grains and vegetables.
  • Add chopped pumpkin seeds to your favorite hot or cold cereal.
  • Add pumpkin seeds to your oatmeal raisin cookie or granola recipe, carrot or zucchini cake.
  • Grind pumpkin seeds with fresh garlic, parsley and cilantro leaves. Mix with olive oil and lemon juice for a tasty salad dressing or bread dipper.
  • Add ground seeds to ground meat for burgers or meat loaf (including veggie burgers).

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Stone Crab

Our friends at the Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York City remind us that stone crab is now in season. Florida stone crabs are legal for harvest from October 15th through May 15th. Frozen stone crab is available year-round, but the true palate pleaser is the fresh crab.

The stone crab (Menippe mercenaria), also known as the Florida stone crab, lives in the western North Atlantic, from Connecticut down to Belize; and the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, Cuba and the Gulf of Mexico.

The stone crab is a cousin of the Maryland blue crab (Callinectes sapidus, also known as the blue crab, Atlantic blue crab or Chesapeake blue crab) and the Gulf stone crab (Menippe adina), a closely related species. It tastes like a cross between the blue crab and the Maine lobster—less definitive than lobster but more so than crab.

The body is relatively small without much meat; the part that is eaten is the big, meaty claw, which is very distinctive in appearance with black tips. When harvesting, one or both claws are removed on the boat and the live crab is returning to the ocean, where it will regenerate its claws.

Sustainability-oriented fishermen remove only one claw, so the crab can protect itself while the other regenerates. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch has given the Florida stone crab industry its highest rating of “Best Choice,” for maintaining high fishing standards and working hard to keep the stone crab population viable.

The claws are strong enough to break an oyster’s shell—like us, stone crabs love to eat oysters. Claws are sold by size, generally in four sizes: medium, large, jumbo, and colossal.

   

Florida-Stone-Crab-claw-frugeseafood-230r

A stone crab claw. Photo courtesy Fruge Seafood.

 

RECIPE: STONE CRAB CLAWS

The easiest way to serve stone crab claws is to boil them, and serve them hot or chilled with melted butter or other sauce (the two most popular are mustard sauce and remoulade sauce).

What looks like a very impressive dish couldn’t be easier to make. The difficult part comes when the diners have to extract the meat from the shell—you may have heard of the “Maryland crab bash,” where diners get a bib and a hammer. Or, you can remove the shells yourself, prior to serving (instructions are below).

Note that there is a hard center membrane inside the meat, so take care if biting into what looks like a large lump of meat. It’s better to pull the meat off with a fork.

 

stone-crab-claws-cracked-uberstonecrabs-230

Ready to dip and eat. Photo courtesy
UberStoneCrabs.com.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1-1/2 pounds stone crab claws per person
  • 1/4 stick butter per person
  • Lemon or lime wedges
  • Optional garnish: dill or parsley
  •  
    Serve With

  • Cole slaw
  • Mixed green salad
  • Mixed vegetables: Brussels sprouts, carrots, other favorites
  • Garlic bread
  •  
    Optional Dips

  • Compound butter: chipotle, olive, red pepper, shallot herb, etc. (recipes)
  • Mustard sauce (recipe)
  • Remoulade sauce (recipe)
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BRING a pot of 12 cups of water, plus a teaspoon of salt, to a rapid boil; remove from the heat. When the water stops bubbling, place the crab claws in the water for about five minutes. Do not submerge the claws into the rapidly boiling water, as they can toughen.

    2. DRAIN the crab claws into a colander (warning: the claws and water will be very hot) and rinse under cold water to make them easier to handle.

    3. PREPARE the dip. The easiest is to combining 4 tablespoons of butter with minced garlic and salt or other seasoning of choice (for example, Old Bay Seasoning). Microwave butter mixture until melted, about 90 seconds (time will vary by microwave).

    4. SERVE with melted butter and wedges of lemon.
     
    How To Crack The Crab Claws

    1. PLACE the claw on a cutting board or other hard surface. Then, place a plastic bag over the claw to prevent the juices from splattering.

    2. USE a mallet or hammer (cleaned, of course!) and lightly crack the claw in the first and second knuckles; then crack slightly harder in the center of the claw.

    3. PEEL the shell from the claw and then separate the two knuckles from the main pincher. Serve with sauce and citrus wedges.

    NOTE: Crack only as many as claws as you plan to eat at one meal. Once cracked, the claw meat will not hold up well for a long period of time.

     
    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CRAB: A CRAB MEAT GLOSSARY

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Easy Tuna Tartare & Steak Tartare

    If you‘re looking for a fine-dining restaurant in the heart of South Beach or in Cleveland, check out Red, The Steakhouse. The menu is loaded with steakhouse specialties (look here if you want to develop an appetite).

    They kindly shared their recipes for Tuna Tartare and Steak Tartare with us. These are two dishes we adore, and don’t get often enough. Yet, they’re easy to make at home, using top-quality proteins. The only challenge is cutting the tuna or steak into small enough pieces.

    So if you enjoy making small dice and love a good tartare, get the proteins, sharpen the knife, and get going!
     
    RECIPE: TUNA TARTARE

    Ingredients Per Appetizer Serving

  • 4 ounces sushi grade tuna
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional garnish: fried plantain chips
  • Crostini or gourmet potato chips
  •    

    Tuna_Tartare-redthesteakhouse-southbeach-230

    Tuna tartare, one of our favorite foods. Photo
    courtesy Red, The Steakhouse.

     

    RECIPE: TUNA TARTARE VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon mirin
  • 1/4 cup fresno chiles (substitute jalapeño or serrano chiles)
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the vinaigrette. Finely chop the shallots and season them with the kosher salt. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, saving the extra-virgin olive oil for last. Set the mixture aside.

    2. CHOP the tuna with a sharp knife into very small pieces. Place in a small bowl and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

    3. ADD 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and mix until it is evenly combined with the tuna.

    4. PLATE as desired into individual servings or a single serving plate. Serve with crostini, gourmet potato or plantain chips.

     

    Steak_Tartare-redthesteakhouse-southbeach-230

    Steak tartare, so easy to make at home. Photo courtesy Red, The Steakhouse.

     

    RECIPE: STEAK TARTARE

    Ingredients For 1 Appetizer Serving

  • 4 ounces prime tenderloin
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  
    RECIPE: STEAK TARTARE VINAIGRETTE

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped capers
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the vinaigrette. Finely chop the shallots and season with the kosher salt. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, saving the olive oil for last. Set the mixture aside.

    2. CHOP the tenderloin with a sharp knife into very small pieces. Place in a small bowl and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    3. ADD 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette and mix until evenly combined with the tenderloin.

    4. SERVE with crostini.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: StarKist Tuna Pouches To Help Wounded Warriors

    StarKist has joined forces with the Wounded Warrior Project, pledging $100,000 to support our nation’s wounded service members and their families. To rally shoppers to support the Wounded Warrior Project, StarKist has introduced an “Outdoors” Tuna Creations Pouch with a camouflage-inspired design (photo below), available through the end of 2015.

    The celebratory pouches are available in Lemon Pepper and Sweet & Spicy in a 4.5-ounce pouch. The tuna pouches provide an on-the-go source of lean protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, ready to eat with no draining or mixing required.

    In fact, when you by StarKist tuna pouches, you eat what the troops eat. For the past decade, StarKist has provided tuna pouches for all military MRE kits.

    StarKist is also participating in the 2014 Wounded Warrior Project Believe in Heroes campaign, that calls on Americans to show their appreciation for this generation of veterans through the simple act of everyday grocery shopping.

  • StarKist will offer consumers a coupon for a $1 off any two StarKist Tuna Pouch products in a special Believe in Heroes free-standing insert, which will be circulated to 53 million households nationwide in newspapers, on Sunday, November 2, 2014.
  • The coupon will be available for download online in both English and Spanish through the end of November at WWPBelieve.org.
  •    

    Tuna Salad Sandwich

    Do tuna proud with new pouches from StarKist. Photo by Kelly Cline | IST.

     

     

    StarKist Co Tuna Creations Wounded Warrior Project

    Each bite helps Wounded Warriors. Photo
    courtesy StarKist.

     

    About Starkist Flavor Pouches

    StarKist, the number one canned tuna brand in the U.S. was the first brand to introduce tuna in pouches. The company has a dolphin-safe policy for all of its tuna products. Charlie the Tuna first swam into the hearts of tuna fans in 1961 and remains a fan favorite today.

    About The Wounded Warrior Project

    Founded in 2003, Wounded Warrior Project was created to honor and empower service members returning from post-9/11 conflicts who suffer from both visible and invisible wounds of war. It raises awareness and enlists the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members. For more information, visit WoundedWarriorProject.org.

     

      

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    FOOD 101: Ceviche Vs. Tiradito

    When you live in a ceviche culture, what do you do for something new?

    Ceviche, raw seafood marinated in lime juice with onions and other vegetables, is the national dish of Peru—and our favorite food. While the variations in ceviche recipes seem never-ending—there’s a seeming infinite combination of seafood, vegetables and marinade recipes—Peruvian chefs have taken the concept further.

    They’ve created tiradito, a dish of raw fish similar to carpaccio, ceviche, crudo and sashimi, but garnished with a piquant or spicy sauce. It reflects the influence of Japanese immigrants on Peruvian cookery. It also differs from ceviche in the way in which the fish is cut (sashimi-style slices) and in the lack of onions. The fish can also be lightly seared.

    Both are typically served as a first course. Cool and refreshing, they are ideal summer dishes but delicious year-round (not to mention easy to make, healthful and low in calories).

    The classic tiradito sauce is made from citrus juice and a zesty paste of aji amarillo, made from the Peruvian yellow chile pepper (Capsicum baccatum) plus seasonings—grated garlic or ginger, salt and pepper. Of course, chefs can create a myriad of sauces with other ingredients.

    Unlike ceviche, the fish isn’t marinated in the sauce; the sauce is used as a dressing—think sashimi with sauce and garnishes. Common garnishes include sweet potato and jumbo white corn kernels, both native to Peru.

       

    ceviche-scallop-shells-raymiNYC-230

    Ceviche preparation of white fish with two different marinades. Photo courtesy Raymi | NYC.

     

    The key to both dishes is the freshest fish. Ask your fishmonger what’s best.

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF CEVICHE & TIRADITO

    In South America, marinated raw fish dishes date to pre-Colombian times, when seafood was “cooked” (acid-cured) with a fruit called tumbo (Passiflora tarminina, a relative of passionfruit). The Incas cured fish in salt and fermented corn.

    In the 16th century, the Spaniards arrived with lemons for the marinade, creating modern ceviche: cubed or sliced, lightly marinated raw fish. Recently, a variation has morphed into tiradito, cutting the fish sashimi-style and adding a spicy dressing.

    Tiradito derives from the Spanish verb tirar, which means to throw—throwing together raw fish with a sauce.

     

    tiradito-cucharasbravas.com.pe-230r

    Tiraditio of mackerel with a sauce of yellow
    aji chile paste. Photo courtesy
    CucharasBravas.com.pe.

     

    Here’s a tiradito recipe from Peru Delights. Prep time is 20 minutes.

    Look for the aji amarillo paste in supermarkets with a large Latin American products section (Goya makes it), at a Latin American grocer, or online. If you can’t get hold of it, use a mixture of fresh yellow bell peppers and serrano chilies to approximate the hot and fruity flavor of the aji amarillo.

    RECIPE: TIRADITO DE PESCADO

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 pound white fish fillets (e.g. tilapia)
  • 6 limes, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon aji amarillo paste, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon diced chile pepper (e.g. serrano)
  • ½ teaspoon grated garlic
  • ½ teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garnish: 1 sweet potato cut in thick slices
  • Garnish: microgreens or sprouts
  •  

    Preparation

    1. SLICE the fish fillet very thin and divide among four plates. Sprinkle with salt.

    2. COMBINE lime juice in a bowl with the aji amarillo paste, diced chile, garlic, ginger, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spoon over the fish to cover.

    3. TOP each portion with two sweet potato slices, cover with microgreens and serve, chilled or room temperature.

     
    MORE CEVICHE

  • Types of ceviche.
  • How to create your signature ceviche recipe.
  • Shrimp ceviche recipe.
  • What to drink with ceviche.
  •   

    Comments

    EVENT: Oyster Frenzy

    belon_oysters-jpshellfish-230

    Belon oysters from Maine. Photo courtesy J.P.
    Shellfish.

     

    What’s shucking in your town?

    In ours, New York City, we’re in the middle of New York Oyster Week—actually two weeks of oyster-centric events, from September 11th through September 28th.

    Once, in the waters surrounding us, oysters were so plentiful that anyone could enjoy as much as he chose. Alas, as with the sturgeon that once swam the Hudson River, so plentiful that free caviar was served at pubs (the salty caviar made people drink more beer), we over-fished our bounty by the mid-nineteenth century.

    Now, if you crave it—oysters or caviar—you pay dearly (a little less dearly in the case of oysters versus caviar).

    You can indulge in oyster excitement on Saturday, September 27th, when the 12th Annual Grand Central Oyster Frenzy takes place at The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal.

    Admission is free to view:

  • A shucking competition among top professional oyster shuckers. Seven-time champion Luis “The Mexican Menace” Iglesius will try for yet another title.
  • The Slurp Off Competitive Eating Competition for the public, to see who can slurps 12 oysters in the fastest time.
  • The Beer Shucking competition, crowning the person who “shucks” a case of beer in fastest time—is sponsored by Blue Point Brewing Company.
  • Chef demonstrations of culinary wizardry.
  •  
    There are also tastings, with oysters and beverages priced per item, including:

  • 16 Oyster Pairings! From 12 noon to 4 p.m., Oyster Frenzy will present 16 varieties of oysters—eight each from the East and West coasts—paired six championship wines. We can’t wait!
     
    For information call 1.212.490.6650 or email info@oysterbarnycom…or just show up!

  •  

    OYSTER-WINE PAIRINGS & DUCK ISLAND OYSTERS

    We had never heard of Duck Island, a tiny spot on Long Island Sound (between Long Island, New York and Connecticut) that you can’t even see clearly on a map.

    But yesterday we were treated to Duck Island oysters, plus Kumamotos from Baja, California, along with 23 different wines under consideration for the Oyster Frenzy at the Oyster Bar.

    Our challenge was to select which of the wines went better with the very briny Kumamotos and which went better with the fruity, honeydew-note Duck Island oysters from Long Island Sound.

    Lest anyone think, “Oh boy, 23 different wines,” let us emphasize that this is very tough work! And without going into detail on the 23 wines (kudos to the sommeliers at the Oyster Bar for such an informative challenge), our philosophy is:

  • Go for a classic Chablis or Pinot Blanc with fruity oysters. You don’t want any fruit sweetness from the wine interfering with the subtle notes of the oyster.
  • For briny oysters, a touch of fruit in the wine can offset the salinity. In the blind taste test, we picked a Sauvignon Blanc, a Sauvignon Blanc-Chardonnay blend and a dry Riesling.
  •  
    As for those Duck Island oysters, we couldn’t get enough of them. We’re heading back to The Oyster Bar this weekend for more!

     

    oyster-salmon-caviar-theseafiregrillFB-230

    Our favorite way to enjoy oysters—apart from naked, as absolutely plain oysters are called—is with salmon caviar. Photo courtesy The Sea Grill | NYC.

     

    HOW TO EAT OYSTERS

    When you’re eating fresh oysters on the half shell, the best way to eat them is naked. That’s how you’ll taste the different flavor notes in different varieties.

    Any addition—lemon juice, cocktail sauce, mignonette sauce, horseradish—just covers up those wonderful flavor notes.

    On the other hand, if the oyster is bland, you need those condiments to add flavor! But that should never be the case at a seafood restaurant or oyster bar.
     
    WHAT ABOUT OYSTER CRACKERS

    Oyster crackers are small, salted, soup crackers, typically hexagonal in shape and molded into two halves, roughy suggestive of an oyster shell. They were so-named because they were commonly served with oyster chowder, oyster stew and similar fish and seafood dishes.

    The best ones we’ve ever had—served at the Oyster Bar—are from Westminster Bakers. We can’t stop eating them!

     
    TYPES OF OYSTERS

    Check out the different types of oysters in our Oyster Glossary.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make It A Trio

    Once upon a time there was a magical restaurant in Wheeling, Illinois, Le Français, the creation of chef-owner Jean Banchet. There, among other glories, we were first introduced to the “trio” approach he brought from his classic French training:

    Whatever protein you hungered for—beef, duck, seafood, veal—would be served in three different preparations on one plate. For example, the lobster trio might include truffled lobster, Lobster Thermidor and lobster sausage.

    By varying cuts, preparations and sauces, Banchet created a symphony of flavors and visual appeal. It became our favorite way of eating.

    The trio approach never took great hold in the U.S. In New York City, we find them mostly in seafood preparations:

  • The trio of fish tacos at Haru Japanese restaurants.
  • A trio of mussels, variously prepared as a seasonal special from Anita Lo of Annisa (see photo).
  • Wild salmon sushi with three different garnishes (fresh ginger and scallion, concasse of tomato and a lemon and vodka marinade topped with lemon zest) at Sushi Seki.
  •  

    mussels-trio-annisa-230

    Photo courtesy Annisa Restaurant | NYC.

     
    Following our enlightenment from Banchet way back in the 1980s, we took to making trios at home for dinner parties. You don’t need a large kitchen staff to turn out three completely different preparations. Here are some tricks:
     

  • Include a sausage as one of the trio. It requires only a quick grilling and an interesting flavored mustard, chutney or other condiment.
  • Consider poaching one of the other two, and grilling, pan frying or roasting the other two. Poultry, filet of beef and seafood are delicious when poached, and the texture is very tender.
  • Use a marinade. A very well-seasoned marinade (lots of herbs, spices, balsamic, etc.) on one of two remaining proteins will differentiate the flavor.
  • Use a dairy based sauce (butter, cheese or cream) and a non-creamy one. The choices are vast: caper, horseradish, mushroom, olive, tomato and wine reduction aren’t even the tip of the iceberg. Browse the sauces section in your cookbooks and check out the mother sauces of France.
  • Think garnishes. The options are endless, but go for good color contrasts.
  •  
    Today’s homework: Start to sketch out some trios: protein, preparation, sauce, garnish. Keep on the refrigerator door and update it as inspiration strikes.
     
    *Jean Banchet, a French chef, founded Le Français in 1973, and soon earned a rare five-star distinction from Mobil. In 1980, it was named the best restaurant in America by Bon Appetit magazine. Banchet retired from Le Français in 2001 and passed away last year.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Don’t Boil Lobster—Grill It!

    live_lobster_ilovebluesea-230

    Grill, don’t boil. Photo courtesy
    ILoveBlueSea.com.

     

    David Chang is a well-known New York chef and restaurateur, founder of the Momofuku restaurant group. He wants you to enjoy lobster that’s more tender.

    So don’t boil the lobster, he advises in an article from GQ, which the magazine shared with us.

    “I’ve sent thousands of lobsters to Valhalla in my day,” says Chef Chang, “and I’ve found that baking, or better yet, grilling them over indirect heat, yields tastier, more tender results.

    “Undercook them slightly, like steaks, and let them rest when they come off the heat. There will be some carryover cooking.”

    The chef also advises to leave that three-pounder in the tank.

    “Buy lobsters that weigh 1.5 pounds or less,” Chang advises. “Bigger beasts are tougher and less sweet. Alive is great, but frozen will do—just make sure to defrost them [slowly, in the fridge] before cooking.”

    How much lobster do you need?

     
    A 1.5-pound lobster yields four to six ounces of meat, and it’s a luxury item so you can’t plan to serve two to each guest.

    Chang suggests corn, potatoes, cole slaw, and “maybe some sausages.”

    “Forget clarified butter,” he concludes. “Just use melted unsalted butter. Add a touch of lemon or vinegar to the butter and have plenty of lemon wedges on hand.”

    For the full article, head to GQ.com

    Right now, we’re dreaming of lobster rolls.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Seared Tuna With Roasted Peaches

    It’s not an orange: It‘s a roasted peach,
    served with grilled ahi tuna. Photo courtesy
    Waterbar | San Francisco.

     

    Peach season in the U.S. lasts from May through August or early September, thanks to the different zones and climates where they are grown. In the cooler weather states, the harvest starts later but lasts into September and even October.

  • California peaches appear from early May to early September
  • Georgia peaches appear from early May to early August
  • South Carolina peaches appear from early May to early August
  • Michigan peaches appear from mid July to late September
  • Idaho peaches appear from August to October
  •  
    Enjoy the juicy yellow-orange orbs while you can. In addition to hand fruit and desserts, add peaches to your savory recipes.

    Here‘s one for roasted peach with seared ahi tuna. You can substitute any seafood, poultry, pork, even lamb.

    The recipe is from Parke Ulrich, Executive Chef of Waterbar in San Francisco.

     

    This recipe has a special significance for Chef Parke. Each year he participates in the Adopt-A-Tree program from Masumoto Family Farm, which grows the organic Elberta peaches for his dishes. They are harvested in late July or early August. Chef Parke then creates dishes using the peaches in the month of August.

    See more about Elberta peaches below.
     
    Headed to San Francisco?

    Plan a visit to Waterbar. Perched on the water’s edge, with one of the most extraordinary views of the San Francisco Bay, the Bay Bridge, the famed Ferry Building and the Embarcadero skyline, the seafood is as good as the view. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily.

     
    RECIPE: SEARED AHI TUNA WITH SALT ROASTED PEACH & WHITE BALSAMIC REDUCTION

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 fresh peaches, rinsed and patted dry
  • 10 ounces ahi tuna (thick loin works better than thin filets)
  • 3 ounces white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bunch basil, finely chopped
  • 2 ounces arugula
  • Rock salt
  •  

    Preparation

    1. SCORE the bottom of each peach (opposite the stem end) with a small X. Place a ½ inch layer of rock salt in the bottom of a sauté pan. Place the peaches stem end down in the salt.

    2. SLOW ROAST the peaches at 300°F until they are tender to the touch (approximately 7 minutes, depending on ripeness). Let cool. Remove the skin and reserve the peaches for plating.

    3. POUR vinegar into a non-reactive saucepan. Reduce by ¾ and chill. When the vinegar is cool, the consistency should be like syrup. If it is too thick, thin it out with Champagne vinegar. Reserve for plating.

    4. SEASON the tuna with salt and pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes until the tuna starts to sweat. Place finely chopped basil on a sheet tray. Once the tuna is moist, roll the tuna in the chopped basil, crusting it.

    5. SEAR the tuna on all sides in a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Be careful not to burn the basil. Cook the tuna to medium rare.

     

    elberta-peaches-gurneys-230

    Eberta peaches. Photo courtesy Gurneys.com.

    6. TO SERVE, split the peaches in half and remove the pits. Place arugula equally in the base of 4 bowls. Place peach half on top of the arugula nest. Slice the tuna into 8 pieces. Lay tuna over the peach. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction.
     

    ABOUT AHI TUNA

    Ahi can be a confusing term. It us the Hawaiian word for the bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), but is also used in restaurants to refer to the related yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares).

    Bigeye tuna are amongst the tuna species most threatened by overfishing, so go for the yellowfin if you can distinguish it. Here are the main species of tuna.
     
    ABOUT ELBERTA PEACHES

    The Elberta variety was once the most popular of peaches in the U.S., a yellow freestone peach with creamy flesh, juicy and ideal for eating, canning and freezing.

    Named for the wife of the Georgia peach grower who identified the hybrid in the 19th century, the Elberta began to be phased out after World War II as newer peach varieties were developed and introduced by university experimental agricultural stations. [Source]

    These hybrids traveled better than the Elberta and were more durable at supermarkets. Heirloom Elbertas are still grown, and can be found in farmers markets.

    Wild peaches originated in China, and have been cultivated there since at least 1000 B.C.E. Here’s the history of peaches.

      

    Comments

    NEWS: Russian Caviar Is Back

    caviar-spoon-gold-dish-petrossian-230

    Fine sturgeon caviar: so pricey, yet to those
    who love it, so wonderful. Photo courtesy
    Petrossian.

     

    Following a decade long prohibition on importing Russian caviar to the U.S.—due to damming, overfishing and pollution in the Caspian sea—those with the desire and the coin can have it again.

    A bit of history: CITES, the United Nations’ Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, aims to protect wildlife against over-exploitation, and to prevent international trade from threatening species.* In 2001, CITES responded to high levels of poaching and illegal trade in caviar by halting the caviar trade by Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan. It proposed the ban on exporting Caspian caviar by the Russian states that border the Caspian Sea. The U.S. supported the treaty.

    Since then, the harvesting of Osetra sturgeon caviar has moved from their native Caspian Sea to farms built in rivers around the world—in China, Italy, Israel, Uraguay and the United States, among others. Those who want fine sturgeon caviar have no problem buying it; and those who purchase it find it an even switch for the Russian Osetra.

    Russia, too, has taken up sustainable river farming of sturgeon; and this caviar is now authorized by CITES for export.

     
    *CITES (the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Life Fauna and Flora), created in 1973, is an international concurrence between governments. It is placed to ensure that the international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. CITES is an international agreement in which countries adhere voluntarily. With now 180 parties, CITES is among the conservation agreements with the largest membership.
     
    Black Caviar Company has announced an exclusive partnership with Russian Caviar House to import of CITES certified Russian osetra sturgeon caviar into the U.S. It joins the other farmed sturgeon caviars that have been available since the ban.
     
    DEEP POCKETS REQUIRED
    If you want to try black sturgeon caviar, you can buy it, and ideally compare it to a product from another origin (we’re partial to the Transmontanus caviar, farmed in the U.S., that you can buy from Petrossian and elsewhere). Black Caviar Company sells it for prices comparable to other fine, farmed sturgeon caviar:

  • 1 ounce/28g is $135
  • 1.8 ounces/50g is $240
  • 4.4 ounces/125g is $600
  • 8.8 ounces/50g is $1,150
  •  
    Note to buyers: The pressed caviar sold on the website, 2.2 ounces/60g, seems way overpriced at $390. Pressed caviar comprises eggs that have been squashed or broken along the way and can’t be packaged with perfect eggs. Unlike individual pearls, the texture is like a thick caviar jam, and the flavor is also somewhat different. We think it should be discounted more heavily.

    Check out the different types of caviar.

     

    ABOUT CAVIAR FARMING

    Unlike the poor Caspian sturgeons, living in polluted waters and heavily poached, slit open and left to die, caviar farming uses modern technology to produce ethically raised fish in a sustainable system.

    In the case of Black Caviar Company, the fish are raised in a remote location of the Suda River. The Suda flows into the Rybinsk Reservoir of the Volga River, the longest in Europe, which flows through central Russia.

    The company describes the Suda as “a treasure of pristine water surrounded by clean forest in a sparsely populated region of Russia. There is no industry or agriculture upstream; the cold, clean water provides an incomparable area to grow healthy, clean, fish with no pesticides, GMOs, or other pollutants.”

    One point of confusion: The Black Caviar Company’s press release both says their product is Russian Osetra† caviar and that it “is harvested from a brood stock that consists of Beluga Sturgeon, Russian sturgeon, Siberian sturgeon, and Thorn Sturgeon.” None of these is the Osetra sturgeon.

     

    caviar-jar-cites-seal-blackcaviarcompany-230

    Imported authentic Russian caviar will have a holographic CITES seal on the jar. Photo courtesy Black Caviar Company.

     
    †From the press release: “Using modern technology, Russian Caviar House produces a sustainable supply of Osetra caviar by actively preserving the natural habitat and microclimate of the Suda River where the sturgeon are raised.”
     
    Yet, just as with different species of chicken—Bantam, Brahma, Leghorn, Rhode Island, etc., where the meat tastes similar—the roe of sturgeon cousins will taste similar and numerous other factors affect the flavor (river environment, food supply, age of the fish at harvest, processing, etc.).

    Note that caviar would be a lot more affordable if it weren’t for all the big mark-ups from the middlemen in the process. Black Caviar Company buys it from Russian Caviar House, “the premier supplier of authentic black Russian caviar,” which in turn acquires it from Diana, Russia’s largest aquaculture company. Our fantasy is to be adopted by a caviar-farming family.

    Alas, unlike with other emails we receive announcing products, this one did not offer samples.

      

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