Category Archives: Seafood

Mrs. Fisher’s Fish Chowder

What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking – on Amazon

fish chowder

fish chowder

Mrs. Fisher’s Fish Chowder

I came across this recipe for fish chowder while browsing through an old cookbook on line. The book’s title is What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking. It was published in 1881 and written by Mrs. Abby Fisher. Mrs. Fisher was a former slave and her cookbook is believed to be the first ever written by an African-American.
The fish chowder recipe appealed to me. I decided to try to make it although Mrs. Fisher doesn’t give very precise instructions, ingredient amounts, or cooking times. Onion, butter, cayenne, and salt were easy but I had to Google ‘sea cracker’ and eventually found a modern equivalent. She doesn’t say what kind of fish so my choice was hake, an inexpensive white fish  For ‘Irish potatoes’ I used Idaho and instead of ‘salt pork’ my substitute was pancetta. I added some olive oil and paprika. I think Mrs. Fisher wrote this book for people who knew how to cook. so she was able to make some assumptions. This recipe worked for me and I’ll definitely make it again.

fish chowder

fish chowderIngredients:

  • 1/4 lb. pancetta cut in one inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 & 1/2  lbs. fish cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 large, peeled and cubed Idaho potatoes
  • 3 ground Pilot Bread Crackers
  • 3 pats of butter
  • 1/4 tsp . cayenne
  • 1/2  tsp. sweet paprika
  • salt to taste

Cook the pancetta on a low heat until it ‘s brown and the fat rendered. Then remove it from the pot.

Also on  low heat, in the same pot, lightly brown the onions and removed them.

fish chowder

As Mrs. Fisher says, “Having all now prepared,” add 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil to prevent sticking to the rendered pancetta fat if the pot appears to be too dry, then put in the  fish. Next add the pancetta. Then  a layer of potatoes and then the onions with the sprinkled cracker crumbs. Dot the butter on top of that, sprinkle the cayenne and paprika and that’s it. Cayenne is pretty spicy so be careful how much you use.

fish chowder

Add 2 cups of water, cover the pot and simmer for one hour on a low heat – don’t stir it and disturb the layers.  Check it occasionally and add water if it starts to dry out. Use a ladle when you serve it and be sure to get each layer.

fish chowder


fish chowder

Pilot Bread substitute for sea crackers

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Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp

Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp

Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp

I was in the mood for shrimp and came across this recipe – Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp – on Alyssa River’s site The Recipe Critic. It’s simple and quick to make and yet has some very complex flavors. I served it with faro which went well with the sauce. Rice goes well too.

Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp

Ingredients:
  1. ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  2. 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  3. 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  4. 1 Tablespoon whole grain mustard
  5. 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  6. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 2 tablespoons butter
  8. 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  9. Black pepper
  10. Sliced green onions, for garnish
Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp
Mix the first six ingredients together in a bowl to make the sauce. Put the butter in a frying pan on high heat. When it melts, add the sauce and let it reduce for a few minutes.
Cajun Garlic Butter ShrimpAdd the shrimp to the pan and sprinkle with black pepper. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the shrimp is done. Garnish with the chopped green onions. Really good and easy to make.

Cajun Garlic Butter Shrimp

Also good with snow peas and rice.

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Michele’s Breaded Deep Fried Gamberetto

Michele’s Breaded Deep Fried Gamberetto

Michele was the chef at my Uncle Charlie’s restaurant, The Fisherman’s Wharf. This was one of my favorites.

Michele’s Breaded Deep Fried Gamberetto


Michele’s Breaded Deep Fried Gamberetto

Michele’s Breaded Deep Fried Gamberetto

Michele’s Breaded Deep Fried Gamberetto

Rinse the shrimp and blot them dry. Season with salt and pepper. Beat the egg with about two tablespoons of the milk. Dip the shrimp into the egg wash and drip off any excess. Coat with the breadcrumbs and place on a rack for 30 minutes.

Michele’s Breaded Deep Fried Gamberetto

Heat the oil to 375o. If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a few breadcrumbs in the oil, and if it sizzles, it’s hot enough. Deep fry until golden.

Micheles Breaded Deep Fried Gamberetto

Serve with lemon wedges and Heinz Chili Sauce on the side.

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Kristina’s Filet with Seasoned Bread Crumbs

Kristina’s Filet with Seasoned Breadcrumbs

Kristina's Filet with Seasoned Breadcrumbs

My daughter came up with this one. It was so good we added it to our Christmas Eve seafood menu.
Ingredients:

Kristina's Filet with Seasoned Breadcrumbs

  1. 1 chopped garlic clove
  2. 2 tbsp olive oil
  3. ½ cup plain fine bread crumbs
  4. 1 tbsp lemon zest
  5. 1 tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley

    Kristina's Filet with Seasoned Breadcrumbs
  1. Salt and black pepper
  2. 2 large filets – grey or dover sole, or flounder
Kristina's Filet with Seasoned Breadcrumbs
Mix the first 5 ingredients. Blot the filets dry, season with salt and black pepper and place in an oiled roasting pan. Cook in 350o oven for 12 minutes. Remove and cover with the breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil.
Return to oven for 5 minutes and then under broiler for 3 minutes – just enough to brown the crumbs.Kristina's Filet with Seasoned Breadcrumbs

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Shrimp with Orange Sauce and Salad

Shrimp with Orange Sauce and Salad

Shrimp with Orange Sauce and Salad

Shrimp with Orange Sauce and Salad – An interesting recipe adapted from Bon Appetit – the mix for the marinade is also used as sauce and salad dressing.

Shrimp with Orange Sauce and Salad

Shrimp with Orange Sauce and Salad
Mix orange juice, Sriracha, honey, soy sauce and ¼ cup oil. Reserve ½ of it to be used as salad dressing and sauce. Add the shrimp to the remaining half. Let it stand 30 minutes, mixing occasionally.

Shrimp with Orange Sauce and Salad

Heat the remaining 2 tbsp. oil in a pan. Drain the shrimp, reserving the liquid and cook them until pink. Remove the cooked shrimp and add the reserved liquid. Boil until slightly reduced, check for seasoning and then ladle over the shrimp.

Shrimp with Orange Sauce and Salad

Serve with rice and salad using the marinade as dressing.

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Swordfish with Mint and Lemon

Swordfish with Mint and Lemon

Swordfish with Mint and Lemon

This is a good summer recipe for a charcoal or gas grill. It also works indoors on a grill pan. It’s up to you but we like the inside just a little bit pink.

Swordfish with mint and lemon

Swordfish with mint and lemonSwordfish with mint and lemon

Marinade and Sauce

 

Swordfish with Mint and Lemon

Cook for a few minutes on each side, depending on thickness, on a grill or a ridged pan. Don’t overcook. Grill a couple of lemon halves at the same time and squeeze them over the steaks when done. Serve topped with sauce.

Swordfish with Mint and Lemon


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Breton Mussels

Breton Mussels

An easy mussel dish that can be served on pasta. And it isn’t bad with just some good bread. This recipe comes from an interesting region of France – Brittany.

Breton Mussels

Rinse the mussels. Pull off beards and discard any with opened or broken shells.

Breton Mussels

In a pot big enough to hold the mussels, sauté the chopped onion and chopped garlic in oil until it softens. Add the parsley and butter.  Stir until butter melts. Add salt, black pepper and wine. Put the mussels in the pot and stir to coat them with the liquid.
Steam them until they open, (throw away any that don’t open) stir and serve.Breton Mussels


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Sicilian-Style Swordfish

Sicilian-Style Swordfish

Pesce Spada Alla Siciliana (Sicilian-Style Swordfish)

This recipe is perfect for swordfish but works for any other thick fish steak.

Sicilian-Style Swordfish

Sicilian-Style Swordfish

In a pan large enough to hold the steak, heat oil and add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is lightly browned. Remove from heat – Add olives, water, capers, oregano and red pepper flakes and stir.

Sicilian-Style Swordfish

Season swordfish with salt and pepper and place it on top of onion olive mixture. Return the pan to medium-high heat, cover and cook for 3-5 minutes. Turn swordfish, cover and continue to cook until fish is cooked through, 3-5 minutes more.

Sicilian-Style Swordfish

Sicilian-Style Swordfish


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Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika

Red Rock Shrimp  Credit: D.D.Deheyn and M.C.Allen


Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika

Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika

Here’s my take on Nick Stellino‘s pasta with shrimp and paprika.

 

Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika

Pasta with Shrimp and PaprikaPut up a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the salt and red and black pepper.  add the garlic and parsley and cook for a few minutes – don’t burn the garlic.

Increase the heat to medium high and add the shrimp and paprika. Stir together and cook until the shrimp starts to color.Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika

Add the wine and stir and simmer simmering over medium heat, until the wine reduces.

Add the butter and stir until it melts. Drain the almost cooked pasta. add it to the sauce and pour in the stock. Turn off the heat add the optional parsley, stir to combine and serve.Pasta with Shrimp and Paprika


 

Christmas Eve Seafood Salad

Christmas Eve Seafood Salad

Christmas Eve dinner is sometimes known as the  Feast of the Seven Fishes. If you’re aiming for seven this will get you almost half way there.  It doesn’t have to actually be fish. It could be anything that lives in the sea. Every year, either my daughter Kristina or my sister Nicki’s son  Stephen make it. It’s served with the antipasto along with lots of other things. When I was growing up I never heard of the Feast of the Seven Fishes. My mother and aunt just cooked and didn’t count. I’m sure their total was always more than seven.

This is the family recipe as recorded by Nicki –


Calamari – Cut the cleaned calamari (not lengthwise) into 1/2” circles.  If you did not buy cleaned calamari you must clean the calamari under cold running water.  Pull the head out of the body, making sure to get the clear “bone” out.  Squeeze the body from the tail to the opening to get out any residue.  Then peel the thin skin off the body.  Snip off the eyes and make sure you get the small beak out.  (Go for the extra buck and buy cleaned calamari).  Boil the calamari in rapidly boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes.  They should be tender not rubbery.  Drain and set aside.

 

Scungilli – Fresh scungilli can be purchased at an Italian fish market.  If you choose to use the fresh you should buy more than a pound because there is a lot of waste when you clean it.  Rinse the fresh scungilli thoroughly under cold running water.  Boil the whole scungilli in rapidly boiling salted water for about 7 – 10 minutes.  Drain and rinse.  Slice each piece thinly, discarding the “tail” section and any hard pieces along the edges.  There is really quite a bit of waste cleaning scungilli.  Canned scungilli saves time, makes your life easier and is very good.  I have found that La Monica is the best-canned brand and I have been using the canned for the past few years.

Octopus – Rinse under cold running water before submerging the whole octopus into salted boiling water.  Boil for 30 minutes or more until tender.  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Cut off the octopus’ head and cut to separate each tentacle.  With a kitchen scissor nip the dark purple skin and run your fingers along the “suckers” to release any loose particles.  Cut each tentacle into small rounds.

Put the calamari, scungilli and octopus in a large bowl with the celery and garlic.  Add the parsley, oil and lemon juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste and mix thoroughly. This salad can be made the day before and refrigerated.

– Nicki


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