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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: Buying Fresh Fish

Are you cooking fish less often because you’re not comfortable with your technique?

There are plenty of videos online that show you just how easy it is to cook fish: on the stovetop, in the oven, on the grill. The key is this: don’t overcook it. Fish is far more delicious on the rare side than well done. (Sushi lovers can vouch that it’s wonderful absolutely raw.)

Today’s tip mostly focuses on buying the best fish. For advice, we turned to the experts at Arch Rock Fish restaurant in Santa Barbara. Chef Scott Leibfried has also provided a simple and delicious recipe. Tomorrow, we’ll present Chef Scott’s cooking tips

Arch Rock Fish has the benefit of the local Santa Barbara Fish Market, which the chef visits each morning to search for the freshest catches of the day.

But even if you’re limited to a supermarket fish department, you can use the look, smell and touch tests to get the best fish available. Good chefs buy fish based on these criteria. So you may have salmon in mind, but if it looks a little tired, go for a fresher variety.

A good portion size is six to seven ounces.

 

Check the eyes for clear, not cloudy, lenses. Photo of red snapper courtesy KleerIceSupplies.com.au.

 

BUYING WHOLE FISH

Examine the whole fish for freshness:

  • The eyes have it. It should have bright, clear eyes. Dull or cloudy eyes indicate a fish that is past its prime.
  • Look for metallic and shiny scales. The scales should be intact and lying flat. Missing or discolored scales can indicate a fish that is in the decomposition stage.
  • Check the gills. The gills of fresh fish should be a bright, rich red. On an older fish, the gills will look like a rust or brownish-red color.
  • Fish should never smell “fishy.” That’s the smell of decomposition. Fresh fish should smell like clean water or slightly salted water.
  •  

    Simply prepared halibut with Yukon Gold
    potatoes and leeks. Photo courtesy
    PaperChef.com.

     

    BUYING FISH FILLETS

  • Avoid milky liquid. If the fish is cut, you may be able to see liquid in the meat. That liquid should run clear: Milky liquid the sign of a bad fish.
  • Look for the bounce. If you press a finger into the filet, the meat should bounce back and no indentation should be left on the fish. This indicates meat that is succulent yet firm. You can ask the counterperson, who is wearing protective rubber or plastic gloves, to perform the test as you watch.
     
    SELECTING CRABS & LOBSTERS

    In the market for lobster or crab? Look for specimens that are moving around and look lively. The motionless ones are likely no longer eating, and this self-starvation yields less meat.

  •  

    EASY FISH RECIPE WITH LEMON & PESTO

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 six-ounce halibut portions
  • 4 lemons
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 4 ounces fresh basil
  • 3 ounces pistachio nuts
  • 1-1/2 cups Italian parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional garnish: lemon wheel
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CLEAN, cut and portion fish, for beginners I definitely recommend a halibut fillet not a whole halibut and skin off is better for this dish

    2. RUB oil on the halibut, season with salt and pepper and placce in a baking dish that’s been wiped with oil. Depending on your oven (everyone’s varies!) and the thickness of the fish, bake at 375°F for 15 minutes. Always check the doneness: A cooked fish shouldn’t be translucent; the flesh should be firm and beginning to flake when touched with a fork. While the fish is cooking…

    3. MAKE the pesto. Zest the lemons and combine with garlic, basil, parsley, pistachios salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until minced. With the motor running, slowly stream in olive oil until the sauce forms.

    4. SERVE by placing pesto atop the cooked fish. Garnish with a lemon wheel. If you feel more ambitious, consider Chef Scott’s preferred garnish: “I personally like to fry a leaf of basil, until it becomes like a clear green chip.”

    5. SERVE with a starch—orzo, a bed of pasta, potatoes, rice—and greens.
     

    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE FISH RECIPES.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Deconstructed Crab Cake

    Save calories and carbs with a
    “deconstructed” crab cake. Photo courtesy
    Wild Mushroom Restaurant | Texas.

     

    Crab cakes are a popular item on menus nationwide. The crab is good for you, but the fat for sautéing is less so.

    You could place the crab cake(s) on a large bed of salad for a healthy offset. Or you could make these “deconstructed” crab cakes from Chef Jerrett Joslin of The Wild Mushroom Steakhouse in Weatherford, Texas.

    Chef Joslin takes the components of crab cakes and works them into an uncooked crab cake:

    DECONSTRUCTED CRAB CAKES RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • Fresh lump crab or other crab meat
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Aïoli (garlic mayonnaise) and/or chimichurri sauce for garnish; you can substitute chile, curry or other flavored mayonnaise
  • For The Salad

  • Baby arugula, cleaned
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime zest
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE aioli, if desired (recipe).recipe)

    2. PLACE crab meat in a bowl, chopping as necessary so that it can be easily mounded. Add fresh parsley to taste.

    3. MIX 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Use as needed to bind crab mixture so that it can be molded, using a metal mold, cookie cutter or table spoons.

    4. TOSS arugula with vinaigrette, just enough to lightly moisten.

    5. PLACE the crab cake on a plate, then top with He then arranges the ingredients on top of a bed of arugula that has been tossed with citrus vinaigrette.

    The result is a new take and presentation on the favorite dish. You can save calories by substituting a spicy vinaigrette for the aïoli.
     
    TYPES OF CRAB MEAT

    You don’t need to use the costliest jumbo lump crab meat: Use what you can afford. From most costly to least costly, they area;

  • Jumbo Lump or Lump Crab Meat
  • Lump or Backfin Lump Crab Meat
  • White Crab Meat
  • Claw Crab Meat
  •  

    The most expensive crab meat, jumbo lump, is beautiful to look at. But if it‘s getting mashed in a recipe, save you money and buy a less expensive grade. Photo courtesy Miller’s Crab.

     
    Here’s more on the different types of crab meat.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Baked Fish With Watermelon Salsa

    The recipe was originally made with catfish, but you can use flounder, tilapia or any favorite white fish. Prep time 10 minutes, cook time 15 minutes.

    BAKED FISH WITH WATERMELON SALSA

    Ingredients For 4 Portions

  • 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 (6 ounce) catfish filets
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2-1/2 pounds seedless watermelon, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  •  

    Baked tilapia with watermelon salsa. Photo courtesy Dole.com.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.

    2. ZEST the lime into a large bowl. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice from one half into the bowl. Set aside.

    3. COMBINE the juice from half the lime, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper in an 8″x8″ baking dish and mix well. Arrange the catfish filets in the baking dish, turning to coat with the lime mixture.

    4. BAKE 15 minutes until the fish is not longer opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Meanwhile, make the salsa:

    5. WHISK the honey into the remaining lime juice. Add the watermelon, onion, cilantro and jalapeño. Toss to blend. Serve atop the fish filets, or pass separately in a bowl.
     
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE FISH RECIPES.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Healthier Shrimp Salad

    Grilled shrimp with a green salad. Photo
    courtesy Haru Restaurant | New York City.

     

    Shrimp salad loaded with mayonnaise: not good for you. Grilled shrimp with a vinaigrette-dressed salad or the grilled shrimp salad recipe below: A better idea. Other low-calorie shrimp dishes include ceviche; the classic shrimp cocktail or its update, the shrimp Martini (recipe below); or a lightly-dressed shrimp Caesar salad. Think Eat This, Not That.

    Americans eat four pounds of shrimp a year—and it might be much higher if the tasty little swimmers were more affordable!

    Shrimp may be small in size, but they’re huge in taste and health appeal. This little crustacean ranks as the #1 selling seafood in America. High in protein, low in carbohydrates and an abundant source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, shrimp are a good-for-you food. We obtained these shrimp health notes from SeaPak, a producer of frozen shrimp products.

     
    According to the George Mateljan Foundation, a non-profit organization that utilizes unbiased scientific information to promote health, shrimp is one of the healthiest and most nutrient-rich foods in the world.

    HEALTH BENEFITS OF SHRIMP

    Nutrition.
    A four-ounce serving of shrimp provides a whopping 23.7 grams of protein, which is 47% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA); nearly 40% of the RDA of vitamin D; and nearly 30% of the RDA of vitamin B12. Shrimp is also very high in tryptophan, an essential amino acid, and selenium, which induces the repair process in damaged cells and inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells.

    Omega-3s. Studies show that shrimp and other seafoods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can improve cardio-vascular health and lower the incidence of heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends that people include these protective oils in their diets by eating at least two servings of seafood per week.

    Cholesterol-Friendly.
    Shrimp doesn’t deserve its old bad rap for high cholesterol. A study at Rockefeller University Hospital, co-sponsored by the Harvard School of Public Health, confirmed in 1996 that the cholesterol content of shrimp should not be a concern. The research results revealed that a shrimp diet raises levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and decreases levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol (lowering LDL in the bloodstream significantly reduces susceptibility to heart disease).

     

    SHRIMP MARTINI RECIPE

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

    This recipe is served in oversized Martini glasses (about 10 ounces), but you can substitute another dish or goblet.

  • 16 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  •  
    For The Salsa

  • 1 ripe mango (small), diced
  • 1 ripe papaya (small), diced
  • 2 roma tomatoes (small), diced
  • ½ red onion (small), diced
  • 1 red bell pepper (small), diced
  • 1 green bell pepper (small), diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro chopped (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1½ -tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Garnishes

  • 4 pitted green olives
  • 4 slices lime
  •  

    A shrimp cocktail has a cocktail sauce garnish. But fill the same glass with anything else, and you’ve got a Shrimp Martini. This photo shows diced avocado substituting for the diced bell peppers in the recipe. Photo courtesy California Raisins.

     
    Preparation

    1. POACH shrimp in 2 quarts salted water until cooked through (3 minutes). Remove and chill in ice water.

    2. MIX all salsa ingredients; season with salt and pepper.

    3. DIVIDE salsa evenly among the glasses. Arrange 4 shrimp per glass. Garnish each with olive and lime slice. Place 1 glass on each plate and serve with a ramekin of cocktail sauce.
     
    Source: Ocean Garden Products, Inc. and Chef Lou Imbesi, Catelli Ristorante, Voorhees, NJ, via EatShrimp.com.

    GRILLED SHRIMP SALAD RECIPE

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 6 jumbo shrimp
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • ½ green bell pepper
  • ½ yellow bell pepper
  • 2 slices red onion
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ lemon
  • ½ cup chickpeas
  • 10 fresh parsley leaves
  • Chili flakes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CUT the peppers in thin slices, grill shrimp 4 to 5 minutes.

    2. MIX with remaining ingredients in a stainless bowl. Season with salt.

    3. DIVIDE into two portions; garnish with onion slice and serve.

    Source: Ocean Garden Products and Chef Marino Tavares, Ferreira Café Restaurant, Montreal, Quebec, via EatShrimp.com.

      

    Comments

    EARTH MONTH: Choosing Sustainable Sushi

    It’s Earth Month, leading up to Earth Day on April 22nd. We try to live a sustainable life, and sushi is our favorite food. So we took note when these tips arrived from Genji Sushi’s corporate chef, Takao Iinuma:

    To determine the most sustainable sushi choices, Chef Iinuma advises, it helps to remember four “S” words: small, shellfish, seasonal and silver:

  • Small fish. Small fish are lower on the food chain, so there are usually more of them. They also don’t live as long, so they replenish their own stocks more quickly. Arctic char (iwana), salmon and striped bass (suzuki) are better choices than tuna and yellowtail.
  • Shellfish. Mollusks like clams, oysters and scallops actually filter water and make the environment cleaner. Thus, farming them doesn’t carry the environmental impact that other types of aquaculture (farmed fish) can have.
  •  

    California roll with a yellow Asian spice garnish. Photo courtesy Genji Sushi.

     

  • Seasonal fish. In Japan, seasonal foods are celebrated and enjoyed when they are at their peak. Not only does food that is in season taste better, but it naturally controls the supply because the seafood is not removed from its environment at the wrong time. A good way to eat seasonally is to eat locally, since what is being caught in your area is what is in season where you live. Check out what’s in season at SeafoodWatch.org.
  •  

    Like mackerel? Enjoy lots of it: It’s
    sustainable. Photo courtesy Catalina
    Offshore Products.

     
  • Silver fish. Many silver-skinned fish are also small fish—anchovies and sardines, for example—so they have two things in their favor. Mackerel (saba), Pacific saury (sanma) and Spanish mackerel (sawara) are examples of larger silver-skinned fish that are plentiful, healthy and delicious.
     
    And don’t overlook all the wonderful vegetable sushi, masago and tobiko (smelt roe and flying fish roe). (By the way, “sushi” means vinegared rice, not “raw fish.” So foods other than fish can be made into sushi.)
     
    HOW TO IDENTIFY SUSTAINABLE SUSHI

    There are numerous factors that the experts consider when they determine the sustainability of a fish species, such as where the fish lives (and the health of that environment), the supply of wild stocks, how the fish was caught, etc.

  •  
    The best bet is to buy your fish from a responsible source, and ask questions at the fish market and the sushi bar.

    And, start by looking for a rating from a reputable foundation such as the Marine Stewardship Council or the Blue Ocean Institute.

    If you haven’t been to a Genji sushi bar, they are located in 158 Whole Foods Market locations in 18 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in the U.K.
     
     
    FIND ALL THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SUSHI IN OUR SUSHI GLOSSARY.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: SeaPak Shrimp Spring Rolls

    In 1948, SeaPak opened shop on St. Simons Island, Georgia, a beautiful barrier island. The waters were rich in shrimp, and the company went to work developing enjoyable products to bake, fry and sauté.

    Today SeaPak has a large lineup of tasty, easy-to-prepare frozen seafood products, from jumbo butterfly shrimp and popcorn shrimp to non-shrimp favorites such as crab cakes and salmon burgers (see the full product range on the company website).

    The newest item, SeaPak Spring Rolls, recently launched nationwide in grocery and club stores. Handmade with shrimp and crispy vegetables and tucked into crunchy wrappers, Shrimp Spring Rolls are simple to heat-and-eat in the oven, and are ready in less than 15 minutes. Or, for a more traditional restaurant taste, get out the deep fryer.

    Sweet Thai chili dipping sauce is included in each package. According to the package, three shrimp spring rolls—a nice portion size—contains only 170 calories and 9 grams of fat.

     

    SeaPak’s shrimp rolls are better than most we‘ve had at restaurants. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     
    EASY TO PREPARE

    We preheated the oven, quickly baked up a box in THE NIBBLE kitchen and served them as a snack. The general comment was that SeaPak’s shrimp rolls were better than what is served at most Chinese restaurants. And that was without the added flavor of deep frying!

    Serve them as an appetizer or snack, and keep a box in the freezer for when friends drop by for a beer or a glass of wine.

    SeaPak Shrimp Spring Rolls are available nationwide for a suggested retail price of $9.99 for a 20-ounce package containing 16 shrimp spring rolls. You can find a product locator on SeaPak’s website.

    SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD

    Another thing we liked: The company has strict sustainability standards, including a commitment to source only from suppliers whose practices limit negative environmental impact. Suppliers follow the most environmentally responsible harvesting practices, and SeaPak exercises strict oversight of every aspect of product procurement and processing.

    Fifty percent of the seafood is wild-caught rather than farmed. Why only 50%? Demand is so great that the oceans cannot satisfy even half of the consumer need.

     

    Frozen and ready to bake or fry. Photo
    courtesy SeaPak.

     

    SHRIMP 101

    SeaPak answers some commonly-asked questions and busts some myths:

  • What’s with the veins? Veins in shrimp are not bad for you. In fact, some smaller shrimp are not deveined and experts agree this doesn’t affect the taste or healthfulness.
  • How about the mercury? Nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of methyl mercury. However, larger fish that have lived longer—king mackerel, shark, swordfish and tilefish and tuna—have the highest levels of methyl mercury because they’ve had more time to accumulate it, and thus pose the greatest risk. Other types of fish and shellfish may be eaten in the amounts recommended by FDA and EPA.
  • Does shrimp count as “fish?” The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times a week, and shrimp definitely counts toward meeting that goal.
  •  

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EGG ROLLS, SPRING ROLLS & SUMMER ROLLS

    While some countries, including China, serve fried spring rolls, the term “spring roll” is not synonymous with “egg roll,” a food that is fried. An egg roll has a heavier pastry wrapper that can be sliced into sections; a fried spring roll is very fragile and can shatter like phyllo.

  • Egg rolls are deep fried; the wrappers are thicker, making egg rolls more of a filled pastry (most are vegetable, egg and/or meat or seafood filling). Spring roll wrappers are thinner, the shape is narrower and when fried the rolls are more finger-like.
  • Spring rolls are an Asian appetizer, eaten either Vietnamese-style, in an uncooked rice noodle wrapper, or fried. They are traditionally eaten during the Spring Festival in China, hence the name; but also are popular in Cambodia and Indonesia. Vietnamese spring rolls use rice paper wrappers, which can be found in Asian markets. The dry hard wrappers are moistened into pliancy and translucency, and filled with seafood; red lettuce or Boston lettuce leaves; fresh mint, basil and cilantro leaves and shredded carrot. They are served with a chili dipping sauce.
  • Summer rolls are made in the style of spring rolls, but with more seasonal ingredients. They are not fried. The ingredients show through the translucent wrapper.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Sashimi Tacos

    Sashimi tacos at Haru restaurant in New York
    City. Photo courtesy Haru.

     

    Given our love of fusion food, we were delighted to discover these sashimi tacos at Haru restaurant in New York City.

    You can make them full size or in miniature for appetizers and hors d’oeuvre. At Haru, the sashimi tacos are available in:

  • Salmon and/or Spicy Salmon
  • Tuna and/or Spicy Tuna
  • Yellowtail
  •  
    Of course, you can make “California roll” tacos with avocado, cucumber and crab stick or your other favorite sashimi.

    We made delicious tacos with bay scallops and seaweed salad. With a standard taco size, some “salad” helps to fill out the base. If you can’t find seaweed salad, a mix of shredded daikon and carrot is equally delicious; and shredded lettuce always works!

     
    HOW TO MAKE SASHIMI TACOS

    Ingredients

  • Fish or seafood of choice
  • Sesame oil
  • Rice vinegar
  • Wasabi powder
  • Soy sauce
  • Optional filling: shredded carrots and/or daikon, seaweed salad
  • Taco shells or wonton wrappers
  • Garnish: snipped chives, thin-sliced green onion (scallion), lemon or lime zest, lemon or lime zest and grated ginger mix, toasted sesame seeds, tobiko (flying fish roe) or salmon caviar
  • Lime wedges
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BUY sushi-quality fish and dice into 1/4″ to 1/2″ cubes.

    2. MOISTEN/TOSS with sesame oil, rice vinegar and a bit of wasabi powder. Taste and add soy sauce if the mixture needs a hit of salt.

    3. PREPARE and fill taco shells. Here’s how Guy Fieri makes shells from wonton wrappers for his tuna taco recipe.

    4. GARNISH as desired.

     
    DO YOU KNOW YOUR SASHIMI?

    Check out the different types of sashimi in our Sushi & Sashimi Glossary.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Smoked Salmon Appetizer

    For brunch, a first course or a snack. Photo
    courtesy Chobani.

     

    We love this recipe, inspired by a dish served at the Chobani Mediterranean Yogurt Bar on Prince Street in SoHo, New York City.

    Easy to prepare yet high-impact, it’s a twist on a bagel with smoked salmon. We enjoy it at brunch, as a light lunch, as a first course at dinner. We like to serve it in a glass dish or wine glass to showcase the layers.

    SMOKED SALMON PARFAIT

    Ingredients

  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Diced cucumbers, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Snipped fresh dill
  • Smoked salmon, chopped and tossed with dill
  • Optional: finely diced red onion
  • Optional: diced tomatoes, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Optional: capers
  • Bagel chips
  •  

    Preparation

    1. ADD some of the diced cucumbers and dill to the bottom of the serving dish.

    2. ADD yogurt to fill dish at least halfway. Sprinkle onion over yogurt.

    3. TOP with smoked salmon. Garnish with diced tomatoes, capers or a dab of yogurt with more dill.

    4. SERVE with a side of bagel chips.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Deconstruct & Reconstruct The Shrimp Cocktail

    You can adapt this Seafood Cobb recipe into
    a shrimp cocktail served atop a lettuce
    wedge. Photo courtesy Arch Rock Fish
    Restaurant | Santa Barbara.

     

    For many people, the classiest first course for a special-occasion dinner is a shrimp cocktail.

    Typically a simple preparation of shredded lettuce and boiled shrimp, garnished with cocktail sauce and a lemon wedge, a shrimp cocktail is popularly served in stemmed dish.

    Shrimp cocktail couldn’t be easier to prepare. It’s also healthful fare, low in calories.

    But there’s no need to stick to Grandma’s shrimp cocktail preparation. Switch it up with these ideas:

  • Dishware: You don’t need “shrimp cocktail dishes”: A pretty arrangement on a plate will work, as will a coupe (sherbet Champagne) glass, a Martini glass, Margarita glass or a rocks glass.
  • Arch Rock Fish restaurant in Santa Barbara provides an edible plate (photo at left): a wedge of lettuce. It’s the Seafood Cobb Salad: chilled shrimp, Dungeness crab, scallops, hard-cooked egg, bacon, tomato and Green Goddess dressing. But you can adapt the concept to a shrimp cocktail atop an iceberg lettuce wedge with arugula or watercress, thousand island dressing and a garnish of chopped hard-cooked egg or even crumbled bacon (a nice surf-and-turf!).
  •  

  • Or, serve an individual bowl of shrimp on a plate with different dipping sauces, as they do at Payard restaurant in New York City (photo below). You don’t need the special dishes: Standard plates and bowls with ramekins (or shot glasses) of sauce will work.
  •  

  • Switch up the greens. Switch the iceberg or romaine lettuce for a mesclun mix or shredded radicchio and endive. Or go in a completely different direction: cucumber salad, pink and white grapefruit salad with red onion, red cabbage salad, wilted spinach, watercress salad with cantaloupe or mango or our Asian-inspired salad recipe. Or combine two recipe concepts: Set the shrimp atop marinated green beans, bean salad, corn salad or purple potato salad.
  • Multiple dressings. Cocktail sauce (see recipe below) is traditional, but you don’t need to stick with tradition. Thousand island dressing, rémoulade or favorite works just as well. Or, add curry powder or some mild fresh chile to spice up conventional cocktail sauce. Spicy mayonnaise also works, as does the surf-and-turf suggestion of Baconnaise, a delicious bacon-flavored mayonnaise.
  •  

    A deconstructed shrimp cocktail. Photo courtesy Payard Restaurant | New York City.

     

  • Creative Garnishes: A lemon or lime wedge adds color to the plate and a hit of citrus juice is welcome in just about anything. But consider other options, from snipped chives or a gourmet olive to crumbled bacon (surf and turf again!) to a sweet counterpoint, such as a small pineapple wedge or a lychee. We also like a scattering of freeze-dried vegetable snacks like Crunchies.
  •  

    MOM’S COCKTAIL SAUCE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BLEND ingredients.

    2. CHILL for two hours or longer to allow flavors to meld.

    What’s your approach to shrimp cocktail? Let us know!
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: The New Tuna Salad

    Looking to detox after a Valentine’s Day of chocolates and rich desserts? Salad and grilled fish is a good start.

    As much as we love that can of Bumble Bee, our favorite tuna salad is New School, made with seared tuna.

    You can use your favorite salad ingredients, but we prefer something a bit different. Adding a bit of the seaweed salad available at many markets is an inspired choice! Shredding the ingredients into a slaw style adds even more interest.

    This recipe serves four. You can substitute salmon for the tuna. Either fish can be served warm, at room temperature or chilled.

    SEARED TUNA SALAD

    FOR THE SALAD Ingredients

  • 3 cups shredded napa cabbage (“Chinese”
    cabbage)
  • 3 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  •  

    Seared tuna loin with a big, healthy salad. Photo courtesy Arch Rock Fish Restaurant | Santa Barbara.

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, deveined and julienned
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Thai basil leaves or fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • Optional: 1 cup bitter greens, such as arugula or watercress, chopped
  • Optional: 4 ounces seaweed salad
  • Optional: 3 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • Optional garnish: avocado slices
  •  
    FOR THE DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (we use the low sodium variety)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar or honey (or 1/8 teaspoon agave nectar)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  •  

    A sesame crust adds flavor, texture and eye
    appeal. Photo courtesy Arch Rock Fish |
    Santa Barbara.

     

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE salad ingredients.

    2. WHISK together the dressing ingredients.
     
    FOR THE TUNA

    Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds
  • 4 ahi tuna steaks (6 ounces each), 1 inch thick
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Optional garnish: wasabi tobiko
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MIX together the two types of sesame seeds. Take a few minutes to toast them—the flavor is worth it. Use a large dry frying pan over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds in a single layer. Toast, shaking the pan occasionally; remove the seeds when they grow darker and fragrant.

    2. SEASON tuna with salt and pepper. Dredge in the sesame seeds, coating the tuna evenly.

    3. WARM the oil until smoking, using a nonstick pan. Add tuna steaks and cook about a minute, until the white sesame seeds begin to turn golden. Turn the tuna and cook for another minute.

    4. REMOVE tuna to a cutting board and cut as you prefer into salad-size slices.

    5. TOSS salad ingredients with dressing right before serving. Plate with tuna, garnish as desired and serve.
     
    We make this dish at least once a week, for lunch or dinner. It’s so good, and good for you!

      

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