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Archive for Fish/Seafood/Caviar

HOLIDAY: National Crab Newburg Day

Newburg or Newberg is very rich sauce of butter, cream, egg yolks, cognac, sherry, cayenne pepper and nutmeg, to which cooked shellfish—crab, lobster, scallops, shrimp—is added, alone or in combination. It can is creamed seafood; in fact, in French, the dish Lobster Newburg is called homard sauté à la crème (lobster sautéed in cream).

Some sources credit M. Pascal, a chef of the once-famous Delmonico Restaurant* in New York City, with its creation, saying that it was originally named after Mr. Ben Wenburg, a frequent guest at the restaurant.

According to Wikipedia, however, the dish was invented by Ben Wenberg himself, a sea captain in the fruit trade. In 1876 he demonstrated the dish to Charles Delmonico, the restaurant’s manager. After some tweaking by the chef, Charles Ranhofer, Lobster à la Wenberg was added to the menu and became very popular (it is exquisite!).

Mr. Wenburg and the manager subsequently quarreled, and Wenburg demanded that his name be removed. The first three letters of his name were reversed to “New” to create the now-famous Newburg sauce.


Lobster Newburg served over puff pastry. Photo courtesy Mackenzie Ltd.


Ah, how short-sighted of you, Mr. Wenburg. How many of us refuse the opportunity to enter culinary history?

In Chef Ranhofer’s printed recipe of 1894, the lobsters were boiled for twenty-five minutes, then fried in clarified butter, then simmered in cream while it reduced by half, then brought again to the boil after the addition of Madeira. A far simpler recipe is below.


You don’t need to use the most expensive
crab meat. Backfin or claw meat is just fine.
Photo courtesy Phillips Crab.



Lobster Newburg is related to Lobster Thermidor, a similar dish that involves lobster meat cooked with eggs, cognac, and sherry that appeared in the 1890s. The dishes are so similar—seafood in cream sauce—that they are often confused for each other. The principal difference is the sauce.

  • Thermidor sauce is thickened with a béchamel (white sauce, one of the five mother sauces of French cuisine), which made with a flour and butter roux. It is typically flavored with white wine, and with dry mustard instead of nutmeg. The sauce-coated lobster is stuffed back into the lobster shell, and can be topped with a brown crust of shredded Gruyère. The dish was created in 1894 at Marie’s, a Parisian restaurant located near the Comédie Française, to honor the opening of the play “Thermidor” by Victorien Sardou.

  • Newburg sauce debuted almost 20 years earlier. Made with cream and egg yolks, is not thickened with flour and thus is is somewhat lighter. It is typically flavored with sherry instead of white wine. The seafood and sauce can be served over rice, noodles, toast, puff pastry or pastry shells.
  • There are numerous variations on the theme of seafood Newburg. Mushrooms, onions and tomato paste can be added; paprika can be substituted for nutmeg (we prefer the nutmeg). Here’s the first recipe we made, adapted from Fanny Farmer. Depending on how large you like your portions, it can be a first course for 4 or a main course for 2. Mushrooms can “stretch out” the recipe for additional servings, and lower the cost of the dish.



  • 2 cups cooked crabmeat, lobster or other seafood
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 1 tablespoon brandy/Cognac
  • 1 cup light or heavy cream
  • Salt, cayenne, nutmeg
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • Toast or puff pastry triangles
  • Optional: 4 ounces sliced mushrooms

    1. SLICE the cooked seafood as needed. Cook with the butter for 3 minutes in a large non-stick saucepan. If using mushrooms, first sauté in butter; then add seafood and additional butter as needed.

    2. ADD cream, beaten egg yolks, and seasonings to taste. Stir over low heat until slightly thickened. Add sherry and brandy; cook 1 minute more. Serve on toast or puff pastry.
    *The original Delmonico’s was operated by the Delmonico family in the Wall Street area of Lower Manhattan, beginning in 1827. Established by Swiss brothers John and Peter Delmonico, the Delmonico presence expanded as other family members opened restaurants using the same name. The original grew into a grand destination, attracting the rich and famous, including visiting royalty. The space still stands at 2 William Street. You can still eat there, although the restaurant is now operated by an unrelated company (here’s the history). The restaurant is credited with Eggs Benedict, Chicken à la King, Delmonico Potatoes, Delmonico steak, Lobster Newburg. Credit is also given for naming Manhattan Clam Chowder, and the name of Baked Alaska.



    FOOD FUN: Hummus Sushi

    Fans of sushi, hummus and vegan cuisine will enjoy this fun fusion food: hummus sushi from Genji Sushi.

    This sushi roll is not part of the regular menu: Different locations of Genji Sushi create their own limited-edition specialties. Here, Genji sushi chefs added hummus to salmon and tuna rolls as well as cucumber rolls, with or without fresh jalapeño slices.

    So here are tips to make your own:

  • Use flavored hummus: chipotle, garlic, red pepper, etc.
  • Take a look at non-chickpea-based hummus. The edamame hummus from Eat Well Enjoy Life (last week’s Top Pick) is perfect here.

    Photo courtesy Genji Sushi.

  • Yes, add wasabi to the roll. After all, some companies make wasabi hummus.
  • Since this is fusion sushi, feel free to add spices: cilantro, dill, parsley sesame, whatever works.
  • Serve with traditional pickled ginger or other pickled vegetables.
  • Make the sushi with brown rice for extra nutrition.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Salmon Salad With Easy Homemade Ranch Dressing

    Pretty as a picture, and much tastier. Photo


    If you have less-than-great memories of salmon salad made from less-than-stellar canned salmon: Forget them. They have nothing to do with this delicious salmon salad recipe—something you can be assured of just by looking at the tempting photo.

    This salmon salad is the creation of blogger Vicky at Vicky is hard core: She makes her own butter, and the by-product is buttermilk.

    “So I made some scrumptious buttermilk dressing, otherwise known as ranch dressing.” said Vicky. “To me, store bought ranch dressing is usually too sweet and gloopy, and nothing like the real thing. However, homemade ranch dressing is so divine; you can almost eat it on its own.

    “Fresh buttermilk does make a difference and makes a really light and creamy ranch dressing. The white wine vinegar gives it a bit of bite and the dill makes it taste fresh and tangy.


    “There are so many ways to use ranch dressing: on fresh green salads, on baked potatoes or as a dip. It’s a pretty versatile dressing, so I usually make a double batch to keep in my fridge, ready for all eventualities!”

    Here, Vicky pairs ranch dressing with simple but colorful mixed greens and hot smoked salmon (“hot” refers to the smoking process, not the temperature of the fish—types of hot smoked salmon). You can use grilled salmon, poached salmon, and certainly, any leftover salmon. If your fishmonger sells salmon scraps, by all means save the money and grill them for the salad. Serve warm or chilled.

    The key here is to contrast the rosy color of the salmon against the greens and white dressing. You can also use Arctic char, shrimp or lobster—or a combination.

    And you can add more color with cherry or grape tomatoes. We had leftover boiled Yukon Gold potatoes and added them, sliced, as well.




  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk (150ml)
  • 5 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ clove crushed garlic
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped
  • Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
    For The Salad

  • Mixed greens, washed and dried
  • Cooked salmon, cut into bite size pieces
  • Optional: red or yellow cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Garnish: Dill sprigs, lemon or lime wedge

    Ranch dressing lovers will be very happy with this recipe. Photo courtesy


    1. MIX the buttermilk with the mayonnaise and white wine vinegar in a medium sized bowl or pitcher. Use a small hand whisk to smooth out any lumps.

    2. ADD the crushed garlic, chopped dill and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well with the whisk and store in an airtight jar in the fridge. I find if you leave the dressing in the fridge for a few hours before serving, the flavours really develop.

    3. ASSEMBLE the salad: Plate the greens and scatter the salmon or other fish on top. Drizzle dressing on top, and provide extra dressing on the side for those who want more. Garnish and serve.


    If you’re not familiar with buttermilk, it’s a delicious beverage, like drinkable yogurt. In earlier times, when butter was churned at home, there was always plenty of buttermilk to drink and cook with. It adds richness to recipes from cake to fried chicken.

    If you don’t have it on hand or don’t want to buy a quart, make what you need by adding white vinegar to regular milk:

    1. ADD a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar (not white wine vinegar) to a one-cup measure.

    2. FILL to the rim with milk. Let stand five minutes.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Grilling On Planks

    Salmon on a cedar plank. Planks available


    Are you a convert to plank grilling yet?

    Grilling on planks of wood boosts the flavor of grilled fish, meats and vegetables by infusing them with subtle, smoky flavors.

    The Haida natives of the Pacific Northwest are the earliest known people to have used plank grilling, using wood planks to cook the plentiful local salmon over fire.

    Untreated wood planks—typically alder, cedar, hickory, maple, mesquite and oak—are are popular and the planks can be reused. The planks can also be used in the oven. (NOTE: be absolutely sure the planks are untreated; otherwise, they are treated with harmful chemical preservatives for non-culinary uses.)

    Prepare the food as you normally wood—marinating it, for example—prior to plank grilling.

    While planks often come with instructions to use only once, that’s just the manufacturer trying to get you to buy more planks. You can actually reuse grilling planks two or three times, or until there’s enough plank left upon which to place food. (Only enough wood left to hold one burger? Use it and compare the flavor to the non-planked burgers.)

    After that, crumble up what’s left of the charred planks and place the “chips” over the coals for another session of grilling.

    Here are plank grilling tips and a planked grilled salmon recipe from Grand Lux Cafe, which has locations in Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Texas.


  • PICK up a grilling plank from your grocer, culinary specialty store (such as Sur La Table or Williams-Sonoma) or online.
  • SOAK the plank for at least one hour prior to using, to add moisture to the wood and prevent it from burning on the grill. Add a tablespoon of salt or a cup of apple juice, citrus juice or white wine, plus optional garlic or onion, to the soaking water. It will accent the wood aromas.
  • SEASON planks that you are using for the first time by placing them on a preheated grill for 2 minutes, turning once. Lightly toasting a plank on both sides will intensify its smoky flavor and prevent warping. When the plank starts crackling, it’s ready for cooking.
  • PLACE marinated or ready-to-cook foods directly on the plank. Keep the grill lid closed as much as possible to maintain temperatures and maximize the smoke infusion.
  • DON’T flip: Planked food does not have to be turned during grilling.
  • KEEP a spray bottle of water handy if the edges of the plank catch fire. Just lightly spray the area.
  • REUSE: After cooking, the edges of the plank will be charred, brittle, and smoldering. Use oven mitts and a spatula to transfer the empty plank onto a cookie sheet, a fireproof serving platter or a container of water. Clean it with soap and water and let it dry for another use.
  • EXPERIMENT next time. While cedar is the fail-safe standard, you can experiment pairing different types of wood and foods. Maple and pork work well together (maple also works with salmon).


    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1 cedar plank, any size larger than the fish
  • 10-12 ounces salmon filet, bones and skin removed
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • Citrus juice, herbs and olive oil for seasoning, or 1/2 cup chipotle-honey BBQ sauce or other flavor

    1. SOAK the cedar planks in water for a minimum of 30 minutes before using.


    Cedar planks. Photo courtesy All-State Forest Products.


    2. PREHEAT the grill to medium high heat (approximately 400°F or grey coals if using charcoal). Place the cedar plank onto the grill for 2-3 minutes or until it begins to smoke and becomes slightly darker in color. Remove the plank from the grill.

    3. SPREAD 2 tablespoons of the barbecue sauce on the center of the cedar plank. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper.

    4. PLACE the salmon onto the cedar plank and set it onto the grill. Place a lid over the fish or close the cover over the grill and allow the fish to cook for 2 minutes.

    5. BASTE the fish three times: Lift the lid and baste the salmon with a little of the sauce; close the lid and cook for 2 more minutes. Repeat two more times. Then continue to cook for another 2 minutes or until the fish is done. When cooked correctly, the fish will be extremely moist, with a deep, rich sheen across the surface.



    RECIPE: Seared Scallop Salad

    Seared scallop salad: a first or main course.
    Photo and recipe courtesy Pom Wonderful.


    Every Saturday morning, we head out to our local farmers market, always stopping at the fishmonger’s booth for fresh scallops. We love them cooked or raw. In fact, we have to restrain ourselves from nibbling up the raw scallops for lunch so we’ll have enough for the evening’s recipe.

    Here’s how we’ll be making them tonight, as a first course. The salad has a sprightly soy-ginger dressing.


    Ingredients For 4 Main Servings

    For The Scallops

  • 1-1/2 pounds large sea scallops
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • Salt, pepper and paprika to taste
  • Ingredients For The Salad

  • 1/4 cup arils from 1 pomegranate
  • 6-8 cups mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup cucumber slices
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes

    Ingredients For The Soy-Ginger Dressing

  • Juice from 2 pomegranates, or 1/2 cup
    pomegranate juice
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ teaspoon salt

    1. SCORE 1 fresh pomegranate and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate under water, to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and place the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1/4 cup of the arils for the salad; refrigerate or freeze the remaining arils for another use.

    2. PREPARE soy-ginger dressing: Mix all of the dressing ingredients with a whisk or in a blender.


    Soy-ginger salad dressing. Photo courtesy Pom Wonderful.


    3. MIX 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and 1 teaspoon ginger in a bowl; toss with scallops.

    4. HEAT 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil in a large skillet. Place scallops in the skillet in a single layer. Cook without turning until the underside is crispy brown and then turn. Sear in batches if necessary.

    5. COVER scallops, set aside and keep warm while preparing the salad.

    6. ARRANGE greens on 4 dinner plates, top with cucumbers and tomatoes. Divide the scallops onto each plate; garnish with arils. Serve with dressing.



    RECIPE: Deep Fried Calamari With Jalapeños

    Crispy, deep-fried calamari and jalapeños? Yes, please—and don’t forget the beer.

    How can you make fried calamari even better?

  • Use cornmeal instead of regular flour. We use Bob’s Red Mill Blue Cornmeal Flour, which also comes in a gluten-free version.
  • Batter and fry some fresh jalapeños with it.
    The idea to add jalapeños comes from Five Napkin Burger, a wildly popular burger chain in New York City (and deservedly so). The restaurant serves the calamari with a spicy marinara sauce. Nice, but we can be even happier with fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon.

    The restaurant uses wheat flour, but we beseech you to try cornmeal. The flavor and texture are truly exciting. Pick up a sack of fine cornmeal flour and use it for everything you fry.


    Fried calamari with jalapeños. Photo courtesy
    Five Napkin Burger.




  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 pound cleaned squid with tentacles; bodies cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
  • 4 large jalapeño chiles (about 3″ long), sliced*
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • Optional: 1 cup marinara sauce, spicy arrabiata sauce, tartar sauce or other condiment
    *If you want less heat, remove the seeds and white spine from the jalapeños.


    Sliced jalapeños. You can use red or green
    chiles. Photo by Brybs | SXC.



    1. ADD three inches of oil to a large, heavy saucepan. Heat over medium to 350°F.

    2. COMBINE the flour, parsley, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Working in small batches, toss the squid and jalapeños in the seasoned flour to coat.

    3. ADD the squid and jalapeños to the oil and fry until crisp and very pale golden, about 1 minute. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate or tray to drain.

    4. SERVE with lemon wedges and optional sauce.




    RECIPE: Tuna Sashimi Hors d’Oeuvre

    Maguro tuna with “seasoned avocado sauce”:
    guacamole. Photo courtesy Ippudo | New


    Whenever we visit Ippudo—a creative Japanese ramen chain with luscious ramen soups and so much more—we’re inspired to adapt some of the recipes at home.

    This one is very easy and for hot summer days; it requires no cooking. Fresh tuna is marinated lightly and served with “seasoned avocado sauce,” i.e., guacamole.



  • Raw tuna filet
  • Vinaigrette: 3 parts olive oil, 1 part wine vinegar (ideally rice wine vinegar), salt and pepper to taste
  • Guacamole
  • Cilantro or parsley
  • Tostitos Scoops chips or substitute
  • Preparation

    1. CUT tuna into a small dice and marinate in vinaigrette for 20 minutes or longer. Drain well and fill Tostitos Scoops.

    2. TOP with guacamole, garnish with fresh herbs. Serve immediately. Delicious with beer, wine or iced tea.

    TIP: Instead of preparing extra “scoops” to refill the tray, wait until you need them to fill the Scoops. Otherwise, they may lose their crunch.



    RECIPE: Marinated Anchovies

    Marinated fresh anchovies. Photo courtesy
    Flavor Your Life.


    This one‘s for sushi, sashimi and anchovy fans, requires no cooking and is served chilled—great summer fare!

    There are many more ways to serve anchovies beyond Caesar salad, canapes and pizza. One of our favorite ways is as a first course or hors d’oeuvre:

    This recipe, courtesy of, serves four. There are other delicious olive oil-based recipes on the website.



  • 14 ounces fresh anchovies (scaled off and without head and bone)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Pinch of salt and pepper or crushed red chile pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Boston lettuce
  • Preparation

    1. RINSE the anchovies completely, drain and dry towel.

    2. PLACE anchovies on a dinner plate with the inside facing upwards. Make sure that the anchovies do not overlap.

    3. ADD a pinch of salt to the anchovies and sprinkle them with lemon juice.

    4. SPRINKLE garlic slices over the anchovies.- Cover the dish of anchovies with plastic wrap and let them marinate in the fridge for about 3 or 4 hours. When the anchovies are ready, they should be white. When ready to serve…

    5. REMOVE anchovies fron fridge, remove the slices of garlic and add a drizzle of oil, chopped parsley and a sprinkle of black or crushed chili pepper.

    6. SERVE on a bed of Boston lettuce with toasted rustic bread and a crisp, minerally white wine like Chablis, Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc; Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris or Viognier.



    TIP OF THE DAY & FOOD HOLIDAY: National Ceviche Day

    Ceviche with a fried plaintain garnish. Photo
    courtesy Chef Todd English | MXDC.


    The third annual National Ceviche Day is June 28th. The holiday started in Peru, where ceviche is the national dish.

    Ceviche, seafood served chilled, is delicious any time of the year, but is especially refreshing in summer. It’s a great dish: high in protein, low in calories, with as many recipe variations as there are cooks to create them.

    Ceviche (pronounced say-VEE-chay) starts with raw fish and/or shellfish that is marinated and cured in citrus juice. The highly acidic citrus juice creates a chemical reaction in the proteins, the result of which is similar to what happens when the fish is cooked with heat. As the fish marinates, you can see it change from translucent to opaque. For people who avoid raw fish: Consider ceviche to be cooked.

    We don’t know how long ceviche has existed, only that it has been around for more than 500 years. In the early 1500s, the Spanish conquistadors wrote of an Inca dish of raw fish marinated in chicha, a fermented maize beer.


    The Spanish contributed lime and onion, ingredients that are integral to modern ceviche. In fact, the term “ceviche” is thought to come from the Spanish escabeche, meaning marinade.

    Ceviche has spread over Latin America, with both Ecuador and Peru claiming to have originated the dish. Both were part of the Incan Empire. But why quibble: Today, ceviche—or seviche or sebiche, depending on the country—is so popular that there are cevicherias, restaurants that specialize in ceviche.

    Each country adds its own spin based on local seafood and preference for ingredients like avocado. The classic marinade is called leche de tigre, tiger’s milk: lime juice, sliced onion, chiles, salt, pepper and often a bit of juice runoff from the fish. Some preparations add a dressing of ketchup or a combination of ketchup and mayonnaise. Don’t be afraid to customize a recipe with your favorite ingredients.


    You can use our ceviche recipe template to create your own signature ceviche. Here’s what to drink with ceviche.

    The classic ceviche is fluke marinated with aji rocoto (a very hot Peruvian chile) and cilantro. A mixto (fluke, octopus, shrimp, squid) with avocado, onion and tomato is also popular, as are hundreds of variations, including contemporary versions with ingredients from apple to zucchini. Here are some of variations from restaurants in our area:

  • Ceviche, marinated in leche de tigre and aji chilies and served with red onion, cilantro, yams and choclo (Peruvian corn with jumbo kernels); Crab, arctic char, shrimp; Arctic char with aji amarillo, avocado and soy-lime dressing; fish that is cut sashimi style (at Costanera Cocina Peruana)
  • Mahi-mahi in citrus juice with fermented pepper, napa cabbage, cucumber, cilantro, red onion, nori garnish; shrimp ceviche in leche de tigre with red onion, pomegranate, chives, avocado and dashi; bay scallop ceviche with lime, Thai sweet chile, avocado, peanut, mint, crispy shallot garnish; fluke ceviche with guanabana (soursop, a South American fruit), grapefruit, lychee, cucumber, serrano chile and avocado sorbet (at Richard Sandoval Restaurants)
  • Mahi-mahi with guanabana, grapefruit, red onion, serrano chile, avocado, tomatillo and pico de gallo; shrimp ceviche with aji panca, hearts of palm, roasted corn, fresh orange, serrano chile and a bonito garnish; sea bass with aji amarillo, red onion, cucumber, apple, tomato and a shiso garnish (at Richard Sandoval Restaurants)


    Peru has a large Japanese population, which has resulted in “fusion ceviche” by adding traditional Japanese ingredients—daikon radish, kaiware sprouts, ponzu sauce, scallions, sesame, shiso, ume, yuzu, soy sauce, wasabi.

    In addition to conventional dishware—plates and bowls—consider:

  • Martini Glasses. Served in martini glasses like they do at top restaurants, and this simple fish preparation becomes a luxury experience.
  • Shot glasses. Serve ceviche in shot glasses, with small seafood forks, as an accompaniment to cocktails.

    A tasting trio. Photo © Pampano Botaneria | NYC.



  • Master Ceviche Template: choose your favorite ingredients
  • Lobster Ceviche
  • Shrimp Ceviche
  • Trout Ceviche (or other fish of choice)
  • Wasabi Ceviche with mixed seafood


    TIP OF THE DAY: Cooking Fish

    On Saturday we provided fish-buying tips from chef Scott Leibfried of Arch Rock Fish restaurant in Santa Barbara.

    Today, Chef Scott provides some fish-cooking tips to turn home cooks into chefs de poisson.


  • Portion Size. A good portion size for a fish is six to seven ounces.
  • Cooking Method. You can bake/roast, grill, poach, sauté or steam the fish. Once you decide on a preparation and a recipe, check the cooking instructions and make sure you understand them.
  • Skin On Vs. Skin Off. Some people love to eat the skin, some don’t. It’s your choice. But when fish is cooked properly, the skin crisps up in a most delicious way. Cooking with the skin on also keeps the fish moister and enhances the flavor.
  • To Scale Or Not To Scale. Depending on the fish, if you’re cooking skin on, you might need to scale it. Scaling is simple: Place the fillet or whole fish skin side up and use a fish scaler or the back of a knife to remove the scales. Scrape from the tail side towards the head. Wipe the fish with a towel when you’re done.

    Olive oil poached salmon, skin off. Here‘s the recipe. Photo courtesy Pom Wonderful.



    If you like to wield a knife, you can save money by purchasing a whole fish rather than fillets.

    There are two groups of fish: round fish (bass, salmon, snapper) and flatfish (flounder, halibut, sole). The different shapes mean different skeletal structure. Chef Scott explains how to break down the more popular round fish:

  • Use a knife that is longer than the width of the fish. Chef Scott likes using a chef’s knife, an eight-inch blade.
  • Cut down to the backbone of the fish just behind the gills; don’t remove the head.
  • Turn the knife toward the tail using smooth strokes. You should cut from the head to the tail and be parallel to the backbone. Cut all the way through. Slice into fillets.
  • If there are rib bones in the fillets, use a boning knife and cut them off. Use a tweezers to pull individual bones from the flesh.
  • The finished product should be a clean fillet with skin on.

    Grilled salmon, skin on, with sautéed black
    olives. Photo courtesy Payard | New York



    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 six-ounce snapper fillets, skin off
  • 6 ounces onion, diced
  • 4 ounces garlic, sliced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1-1/2 pounds tomatos, diced
  • 16 pimento stuffed green olives, halved
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
    Preparation: Fish

    1. TURN grill on; you want it to be fairly hot, so the fish cooks quickly. Oil the grill with a cloth: This avoids sticking and breaking.

    2. OIL the fillets and season with salt and pepper. Don’t drench the fish with oil, just brush it. Otherwise, the grill may flare up from the excess oil. Place the fillets on the grill and leave them there. Don’t play with the fish; let the grill marks set in.

    3. FLIP fish with a spatula once, halfway through cooking. Be gentle: Fish is delicate, unlike a burger or chicken. If the grill is hot enough and oiled correctly, the fillets should neither stick nor break. This, of course, takes practice!

    4. COVER and let the fish finish grilling. The process shouldn’t take longer then 8 minutes. The fish will continue to cook when taken off the grill. If undercooked you can return it to the grill (in restaurants they finish it in the oven). But try the undercooked fish: The flavor is more elegant and never “fishy.” The greatest sin is dry, overcooked fish.

    5. ADD sauce and serve. Plate it chef-style: Place the fish atop a bed of starch (noodles, potatoes, rice) or green vegetables (kale, spinach, zucchini) and drizzle the sauce around the circumference of the plate.
    Preparation: Sauce

    1. COMBINE onion, garlic and jalapeño in a pan with oil; sweat them over medium high heat.

    2. ADD tomatoes, olives, capers, thyme and cilantro.

    3. SEASON with salt and pepper.

    4. GARNISH with cilantro; or for something more special, fried capers.

    Chef Scott likes to serve this dish with a sweet potato hash.

    Filet (fee-LAY) is French, fillet (FILL-let) is British. They mean the same thing: a boneless cut or slice of fish or meat.



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