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SHELLFISH

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JAMBALAYA, GUMBO AND ÉTOUFFÉE – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

CREOLE JAMBALAYA

Southerners rave and boast about their shrimp and grits.  Together with their jambalayas, gumbos and éttoufées, they are all the hallmarks of Creole cuisine, traditional dishes personifying the very essence of New Orleans cuisine.  All have colorful heritages, a touch of Creole influences and some disparities, which gets them oftentimes confused, unless of course you’re from N’Oleans and they’ve been your childhood staple. Jambalaya – is a distant relative of the Spanish Paella, the origins come from the Provençal word “jambalaia”which…

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CEVICHE, CRUDO, POKE, CARPACCIO – WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

HAMACHI CRUDO

There’s a colossal assortment of raw fish being presented as a wealth of spectacular options.  From sea to shining sea, as every ocean yields a bounty of variety.  But it can get rather intimidating trying to differentiate the terminology. For any dish that calls for raw fish, ensure you are buying the freshest fish available.  Preferably purchase it the day of preparation, so make friends with the fish monger at the market and let them know you are going to…

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SCALLOPS – MANA FROM THE SEA

DIVER SEA SCALLOPS

They are luxurious, elegant, decadent and the most amazing jewels the sea yields.  Their fan-like shaped shells are not only gorgeous to behold, but a grilled or well-prepared, pan seared scallop is a joy to behold.  So luscious, rich and addicting that they are one of the most magnificent things to eat. They come in two varieties – bay scallops and sea scallops.  Easy to prepare, however, the only caution is not to overcook them as they will become rubbery…

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MIDWEEK BLUES – PASTA WITH CLAMS

PASTA WITH CLAMS

This exquisite and exceptionally simple pasta is perfect to clear away your midweek blues.  It’s packed with garlic and a judicious amount of red pepper flakes to add a reasonable punch.  With the wine, tomato, loads of parsley and the unusual addition of very thinly sliced scallions, its simplicity at its best. You’ll reminisce of lazy summer days by the Italian seaside and if you haven’t jumped across the pond yet, it’s guaranteed to fire up your senses and add…

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MIDWEEK BLUES – SPANISH GARLIC SHRIMP

SPANISH GARLIC SHRIMP

MIDWEEK BLUES – SPANISH GARLIC SHRIMP WITH SUMMER SALAD This is a dish that embodies the glorious flavors of Spanish and a tapa found in every bar.  As a rule, the key is to use fresh shrimp, not frozen to obtain the maximum flavor of the prawns.  A dried chili pepper is added for spice, in Spain they are called Guindilla, but a dried Guajillo or red jalapeño are optimal too.  The shrimp are rendered succulent and tender bathed in…

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MIDWEEK BLUES – SCAMPI PASTA

PASTA WITH SHRIMP SCAMPI

The dreariness of hump day – Wednesdays.  I’m sure we’re all trying to circumvent through the week, developing the customary midweek blues.  It looks like it’s going to be one of those plop-on-the-couch-evenings with the remote in hand, brainlessly searching for something worthwhile, because you’re not about to watch AGT or a rerun of The Walking Dead. As you’re dipping that multigrain chip into some more guac, you’re contemplating if you’ve even got the energy to order a pizza.  Hey,…

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CRISPY SHRIMP BALLS

CRISPY SHRIMP BALLS

These Asian shrimp-inspired meatballs are not only outstanding but addicting.  I choose to serve them with a healthy dollop of aioli on top of each ball.  If you live anywhere where mosquitoes are raging outside because of the heat and humidity, even more reason to stay indoors and knock these out tonight, as they are pretty light in preparation and rather filling for a weekday meal substituting for the customary meatball.   Try not to omit the bonito flakes –…

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ASIAN SHRIMP BALLS

ASIAN SHRIMP BALLS

Shrimp balls are ever popular in Asian countries.  In Beijing, there are hundreds of street vendors that provide the most amazing delicacies, which at times are one hundred times better than eating in a fancy restaurant.  These are served with a sticky, red spicy sauce, but the Nuoc Nam dipping sauce below, even though it is Vietnamese, lends itself even better as it provides the right balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy.  Umami with attitude. 1 LB of raw…

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BOUILLABAISSE

Bouillabaisse, soups

Much is expected from fish stews, but what makes this version of Bouillabaisse anything but insipid is the combination of Provençale herbs, spices and the touch of Pernod or Pastis (licorice flavored liqueur) in the broth.  A traditional Provençale seafood stew originating from the port of Marseille, Bouillabaisse is a distant relative of the Cioppino and may even be related to our Gumbo.  The present delight in this stew-like soup is the abundance of fish and shellfish in it.  Every…

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CREOLE SHRIMP AND SAUSAGE GUMBO

Creole Shrimp Gumbo

Here is another superlative example of the culinary debates that surface over food.  This one’s been raging for decades.  Quintessentially, Gumbo is a Creole/Cajun soup that has been prepared and enjoyed for over 300 hundred years in Louisiana.  The conflict therein lies with the thickening agents used.  In Louisiana most gumbos achieve their color and thickness from the brownish roux, a legacy left behind by the French colonial cooks in the 14th century, and in theory, many claim that its…

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BAY CIOPPINO

Soups, Cioppino

Alcatraz may be one of the many legendary and attention-grabbing attractions making San Francisco a colorful destination, but Ciopinno is positively an icon there.   With a name like Cioppino, it has a heavy Italian influence permeating from the Genoese settlers in the 1800’s.  It is a sought after culinary sensation, offered at almost every restaurant in the Golden City, with countless chefs giving it their own spin. This is a savory and superlative brothy soup, which is very adaptable…

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INDIAN PARSI PRAWNS

INDIAN PARSI PRAWNS

This is a dish that comes from the West Coast of India where seafood is abundant.  It is not too spicy but it has wonderful, tangy flavors.  Use king prawns or tiger shrimp – the freshest and largest available are the ideal choice here.  This makes for a light lunch or an appetizer, but you can augment the quantities for a substantial dinner.   3 jumbo shrimp – peeled and deveined – tails left on 2 TBSP vegetable oil 3…

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