Tag Archives: Seafood

Dinner for the Greeks

We have a contingent of Greek friends & family at home this week. Yesterday night, I cooked them a nice meal that I thought I should share with you all.

Menu:
Seared tuna with coriander seeds salad
Dungeness crab and avocado mousse
New York steak with baked red beets
Mount Tam cheese & bread

I’ve already posted the recipe for the dungeness crab dish. The tuna dish is an old favorite of mine, inspired by a dish I had at Nobu. It’s very easy to make, and always make a very good impression. The secret is obviously the tuna, that has to be very fresh and sushi grade. For 4 people, I usually get a tuna steak of 1 pound. In a pestle and mortar, crush a handful of coriander seeds. Sprinkle the tuna with salt, pepper and the coriander seeds. In a very, very hot pan, sear on each side for 30-40 seconds. With a long knife, cut thin slices of tuna and reserve in the fridge, covered.

Dice (very small dices) half a sweet onion and add to a bowl. Add two tablespoons of soya sauce, two table spoons of rice vinegar, a pinch of brown sugar, salt, pepper. Mix well. Then add 3 tablespoons of sesame oil, and 3 tablespoons of canola oil (or grapeseed oil).

Get the tuna out of the fridge, distribute the slices among 4 plates, laying down some of them, rolling others. Add some greens in the middle (could be anything). With a spoon, cover the tuna slices with some of the dressing.

For the steak, it’s dead easy and very yummy. First of all, cut the meat so you have 4 equal pieces. If you have a very big meal, 1 steak should be enough, especially as the meat usually comes at the end of the meal. If you want the dish to be more filling, 2 steaks for 4 people will do the work. On each side of the pieces, sprinkle lot of salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Let rest for at room temperature (i don’t hesitate to have it there for up to 45 minutes). During that time, pre-heat the oven to 375F. Cut the top and the bottom of the beets. For each beet, cut a piece of kitchen foil big enough so it will wrap it up completely. Place each beet on its piece of kitchen foil. Salt, pepper, and thyme. Add a tiny bit of olive oil and then wrap in the kitchen foil. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

When the beets are cooked, turn off the oven and let them in to keep them warm. In a very hot pan, cook the steak, turning regularly. I like mine medium rare (even more on the rare side) so as soon as it hits 120F, I stop. When the meat is cooked, place on a plate and let it rest, while you finish preparing the beets. Remove them from the kitchen foil and peel them with a knife. Place each beet on a plate, and cut them in quarters. Add the meat in the middle of the place, with a tiny bit of butter on top of it. Done!

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Paella: i’m giving up

It’s been the second time I’ve tried to cook paella, and for the second time, it didn’t turn out to be as good as I had hoped. We had great ingredients, fresh, and all. We even had some amazing fish stock, very well prepared by @fvarela_98. And despite all this, it just wasn’t that great. It was good, but nothing from out of this world.

So yes, I could persist, and continue to cook it until I find the right balance, and the solutions. But would Paella be this thing that I should leave alone. There are always secrets that one shouldn’t try to unveil. Maybe this is one of them for me? What if this is one of those recipes that I shouldn’t touch?

At the end of the day, life is better if, when you go out, you can pick dishes that you know you don’t cook at home. It gives a whole new purpose to going out. So I’ll take this as a sign and won’t try to make a Paella again. Instead, I’ll focus on two things:

1- Find a great spanish restaurant in San Francisco. I really miss Spanish food, and I still have to eat in a great Spanish place here. Do you know any? If yes, please comment on this post!

2- Try to book a trip to Spain in the next 2 years. 

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Live scallops a la @jsolans

Live scallops are so good. When you can get your hands on them, don’t even think, just buy them. I haven’t asked for his permission yet, but I know @jsolans would be happy to share some (not all!) of his cooking secrets. I’ve had the chance to watch him cook this live scallops dish a while ago, and last Saturday, I decided to give a try myself.

This dish was part of a 5 courses meal, so I’ve only had 1 scallop per person (5 people total). It’s very straight forward, and yet very tasty. It plays with the combination of hot and cold (that one is for you Katy Perry!), which makes you mind go absolutely nuts…

First, peel and dice 2-3 tomatoes. Let them marinate in balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. You can get creative here and add your own personal touch: garlic, chives, parsley, spices etc… anything you like could bring something new to this recipe. Set aside for 1-2 hours.

Prepare the scallops and keep 1 shell per guest. Preparing scallops may sound like a big deal, but it’s actually very easy. A couple of secrets: don’t soak the scallops in water. They’ll be so much less tasty. I actually even think that some stores soak them in water to make them bigger before they sell them! Hold the scallop with the flat side up. With a knife, go along the shell and cut the scallop away. Open the shell and remove the scallop completely. You may need to use the knife, just be careful not to damage the scallop. The only part you want to keep is the white body, and for some, the coral. All the rest has to go! Don’t hesitate to use your hands, but again, be very careful not to destroy it! Rinse under water and pat dry. Sprinkle some salt and pepper, and let rest.

Dice 2 shallots. In a pan, melt some butter and sweat the shallots. In the same time, under high heat, melt some butter in another pan, then reduce the heat to medium high. Cook the scallops, 45 seconds on each side. You could cook them a bit longer, depending on the size, but don’t over cook them.

To serve, put some of the shallots in a shell, with some tomatoes, and add the scallops on top.

Enjoy! And thanks @jsolans!

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Dungeness crab with avocado

This is a very simple recipe that works great. The combination of dungeness crab and avocado is always a winner.

First of all, buy your crab alive and cook it yourself. That makes a huge difference! I’ve already written a post detailing how to do that. And no, it’s not that cruel. Nothing more cruel that what happens to all those chickens that you eat all the time!

Once your crab is cooked, let it rest on ice so it gets cold (it can rest for a good hour or so). Then prepare it. In other words, take all the meat away and reserve it in a bowl. This is actually quite a lengthy process, but again, very worth it.

Let’s prepare a sort of guacamole. Dice 1 yellow onions very finely. Press 3-4 gloves of garlic in a garlic press and mix with the onions. Finely chop a good hand of cilantro and add to the mixture. Prepare 3 avocados (ie take the meat out) and with a fork, mix with the rest. Add some salt (i like salt!), some white pepper. You can also add some chilies if you want to make it a tiny bit spicy. Then add the juice of 2 limes. Mix well. Taste. Then adjust to taste: more salt, more pepper, more garlic, more lime juice, whatever you think it needs.

To serve, display the avocado mousse in a middle of a plate, and lay the crab on top of it. Feel free to add anything on the side to make the plate look beautiful!
Enjoy!

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Swordfish recipe, so easy!

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I love swordfish. The fish obviously, and the movie! I love it because it’s so easy to cook and yet so delicious. If you’re in a hurry one evening, and want to create a funky recipe, that presents very well on a plate, and taste delicious, try this one:

Prepare a salsa. Usually, I dice cucumbers and peeled tomatoes, chopped some spring onions and cilantro, mix all this with a tiny bit of jalapeno pepper and garlic. I sprinkle the mixture with some olive oil and lemon juice (or lime juice). You can actually also buy it all ready, but it tastes so much better when you do it yourself!

Rub the swordfish with salt and pepper (lot of salt actually!). On high heat, grill each side for 2-3 minutes, until it gets brown. Then reduce the heat to medium, and continue to cook until the fish is cooked in the inside, but not dry. There must still be some juices coming out of it! Times vary based on the size of the fish, but it could take another 10-15 minutes.

To serve, put some salsa in the middle of the plate, and add the fish on top of it.

Enjoy!

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Seafood plateau at anchor and hope

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Having a great seafood platter at anchor and hope in SF for our first anniversary!

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Poached Halibut with vegetables

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I love halibut – and even more so, poached halibut. Every time I’ve been in a restaurant with halibut on the menu, i would choose that dish. Just to get inspired.

On Saturday night, I’ve decided to try a recipe that combined some of the best things I’ve had. And some crazy little inventions. I have to say, it turned out great. I thought I would share it with all of you so you can take it, and improve it your way.

Ready? Let’s go!

The key thing for this dish is the preparation. You have to make sure you’re ready to cook. Here’s what you need (for 2 people):

– 6 carrots (thin, but no baby carrots!) – peeled.
– 1 avocado
– 8-10 cherry tomatoes (pick several colors)
– corn
– 1/2 red pepper, cut thinly lengthwise.
– 10 french green beans
– 2 spring onions
– dill
– 2 halibut filets, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and pat lightly with some flour.

The corn is actually very important. You have to remove kernels from the cobb. You can look at how it’s done here, but you basically have to cut vertically on the 4 sides of the cobb. Do not worry if you cut through some of the kernels.

Prepare a pan with enough olive oil to cover the halibut. Put the pan on high heat and make sure the oil becomes very hot. When very hot, remove from the heat. In the meantime, heat some butter in a pan, and brown the halibut (don’t cook it, just brown it!). Once brown, put the halibut in the oil (which has been removed from the heat) – it should have some bubbles coming, but not frying bubbles!). Let in the oil for 20 minutes. If the oil becomes too cold, put back on some very low heat.

Blanch the beens, the corn and the carrots (separately). The corn will need a bit more time, but the beens and the carrots should go in boiling water for 1 minute max. 5 minutes before the fish is ready, heat some butter in a pan, and throw the vegetables all together: corn, onions, beens, red pepper, carrots. Brown for 2-3 minutes.

Remove the fish from the oil, pat dry, and put in the center of the plate. Put the vegetables around it. Add the avocado and the tomatoes on the plate (you should sprinkle those with some salt, pepper and could add some olive oil on it). Sprinkle the fish with some dill. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Done! Enjoy!

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Fish., fish restaurant, Sausalito

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I love fish and seafood. On this foggy day in the city, we decided to go to Sausalito to check out some tiles. And suddenly, i wanted fresh fish & seafood. Badly. I wanted to eat by the bay, watching the boats. Outside. And I wanted potentially some oysters, to go with a simply cooked fish. Does such a restaurant exist? Yes, and it’s called fish in Sausalito!

The setting (as the picture taken from my table can testify) is perfect. You’re right on the bay, watching boats go by. It’s a very casual place, far from being pretentious, except maybe for the price. You can’t say it’s cheap: a main course will cost you around $30, oysters are $3 each, and you can get a fresh trout salad for around $15.

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I decided to get a whole sea bass. I used to eat seabass all the time back in Europe and loved to grill it. It’s not the same type of bass as on the pacific coast, but they were offering to grill it as well, so i decided to give it a chance. Many times, in the US, they’re trying to make things too complicated. Fish is so simple, and at the end of the day, you can try all you want, but if the fish is not good, it’s not good. Fresh fish is the secret to cooking fish.

I was so surprised when the dish arrived at our table. Grilled fish, lemon, green asparagus and potatoes. That’s it. No artificial cream or ketchup or any kind of fattening sauce. Not just the fish. Second surprise was to see they actually stuff the fish with lemon and some parsley. Very basic, but that’s how you’re supposed to grill fish! In Greece, when they grill fish, they just add some dry oregano, lemon and olive oil on the fish and you’re done.

Right there, as I was looking at my plate, I was in heaven. The real deal though, was yet to come. How would it taste? Well, it was perfect. Perfectly cooked, and really fresh. Even though I had to pay $33 for that dish, it was absolutely worth every dollar of it! Also, if you’re not really hungry, you could share this dish easily.

So Fish. did it for me. I will surely go back as this is really the type of place I enjoy. If you know a nice and simple fish restaurant, please don’t hesitate to comment on that blog. I’d be happy to check your suggestions and try them!

Site:
Fish.

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Dear Whole Foods,

You sold me crabs, and they sucked. Here’s how I cook crabs. It’s dead easy. And so much tastier.

1- boil water
2- add pepper – a lot of pepper.
3- add onions, carrots, and leeks
4- add thyme & bay leaves.
5- throw the crabs alive and head first
6- cook for 7 minutes per pound. Mind you, if you put several crabs, the water will get colder and therefore you need to add 2-3 minutes per crab.
7- once cooked, put the crabs in ice.
8- break the crabs and serve them on water.

Yes, it’s that easy. Yes, it’s that delicious. Dead simple.

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Whole food crabs suck part II

I’m still so disappointed by yesterday’s experience, that I’ve decided to go and buy some live crab tonight and cook them myself for a feast. Honestly!!!!!!!!!!! It’s just a matter of taste! Can’t they understand things like subtle tastes, delicacy, etc… No, it has to be f…. plain and BIG, so people think they have enough stuff for their money.

TASTE for god’s sake! TASTE! It is that hard to understand?

So just to make sure that it’s not me getting crazy, and that this whole thing is just a seasonality issue, I’m going to cook live crabs myself tonight. Of course I will blog about it. And of course, I’ll be totally objective… You know me! 🙂

[update]: here’s my post about cooking live crabs.

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