Category: Seafood

Roasted Cactus Salad with Shrimp

Familiar to some, exotic to others, cactus paddles (or nopales) have a mild but tart flavor and are surprisingly easy to cook. If you’ve been deterred from eating cactus because of the rumor that it has a slimy texture you should know that this rumor’s only half true. When cut into, raw cactus paddles do ooze a clear, tasteless and odorless gel that has a sticky, slimy texture (similar to aloe vera gel). When cooked, however, the gel disappears and the cactus paddles are crisp but tender.

Recipes often suggest boiling the slime away, but skipping this step and throwing the paddles directly onto a hot grill or pan works just as well. The direct heat evaporates the gel pretty quickly. While nopales that haven’t been boiled are a little bit chewier, they have a fresh, vibrant flavor. This flavor, which tastes a little bit like a green bean or tart green pepper, is great when tossed in with other ingredients like tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers and radishes.

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How to Grill a Whole Fish

Although fish markets are mostly filled with boneless, skinless fillets, there are many reasons to go home with a whole fish instead. The reaction of dinner guests is one. They’ll “ooh” and “ahh” at the dramatic presentation or shriek at the sight of a fish head with eyes staring back at them. Either way, it makes for a lively meal. The pleasure of cooking a whole animal, rather than an unidentifiable part, is another reason to buy a whole fish. It’s also easier to tell if a whole fish is fresh. Look for shiny scales, clear eyes and bright red gills. The most convincing reason, however, is that whole fish just tastes better.

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Fish Soup in Tomato-Saffron Broth with Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cabbage

As mentioned in the recent article on sulfur-rich vegetables earlier this week, the best and easiest way to cook sulfur-rich veggies is steaming until “tough-tender.” Top with some form of fat – butter, olive oil, animal – and you have a simple and delicious side dish. Inevitably, however, the day will come when you’ll be staring at a plate of steamed broccoli and butter thinking, there’s got to be more ways to dress up sulfur-rich veggies.

And you’re right – there are. When you’re feeling more ambitious, steam your favorite sulfur-rich veggies as usual, then turn them into a one-bowl meal by smothering or lightly covering them in a flavorful sauce or broth. One delicious example: a bowl of steamed broccoli and cauliflower becomes an entire meal when fish soup in a tomato-saffron broth is ladled on top. Garnish with shredded cabbage that will soften slightly in the hot broth and you’ve got yourself some sulfur-rich soup…a name that doesn’t do justice to how deeply flavorful and tasty this meal is. The light tomato broth can be made creamier by adding coconut milk – your choice – and the soup works well with either firm white fish or fatty salmon.

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Raw Oysters Garnished with Savory Lemon Granita

The holiday season is filled with such heavy fare that by the time New Year’s Eve rolls around it’s natural to be craving something a little lighter. It’s also natural to feel less enthusiastic about heading into the kitchen to cook yet another feast. A seafood extravaganza solves both dilemmas, especially if your main course is a platter of raw oysters.

Slurping a dozen raw oysters down is the culinary equivalent of taking a traditional New Year’s Day polar bear plunge. The crisp, clean, invigorating flavor of oysters makes one feel strong and alert and happy to be alive. They require little to no preparation, yet can be the centerpiece of even the most extravagant celebrations. If you’re going the casual route, that’s fine too. Raw oysters are appropriate whether you’re ringing in the New Year wearing a tuxedo and formal gown or shorts and flip-flops.

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Creamy Macadamia Shrimp

Macadamia nuts are often used as a crispy coating for seafood and that’s exactly where the inspiration for this recipe came from. We were craving something like macadamia nut crusted shrimp, but we didn’t want to take the time to dredge each little shrimp in a nutty coating and we didn’t want to deal with the mess of deep-frying. Occasionally, laziness in the kitchen can be a source of inspiration and leads us to create new dishes that take very little time to make but deliver big flavor. Creamy Macadamia Shrimp is exactly one of these dishes.

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Grilled & Chilled Shellfish with Basil, Mint and Lime Vinaigrette

Steamed clams, mussels and scallops in a bowl of warm broth is a simple seafood supper we enjoy most months of the year, but when summer rolls around we like to chill our shellfish down. But before we chill, we grill.

The reason is simple – why stand at a stove in a stuffy kitchen when you can grill under the sun (or stars)? We’re hard pressed to think of a type of protein or vegetable that can’t be grilled and shellfish is one of the easiest. Mussels, clams and scallops take only a few minutes to cook on the grill. They can be eaten hot, of course, but why eat hot food on a hot day when you can eat something cool and refreshing?

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