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Archive for the ‘Seafood’ Category

These shrimp are one of our most popular catering appetizers…and for good reason. They are the perfect, light starter for a summer dinner party. Most traditional recipes use shrimp that have been boiled or poached and a overly tangy cocktail sauce that masks the delicate essence of the shrimp. We like to intensify the shrimp and make it the star. Instead of cooking the shrimp the traditional way, which leaves all the shellfish flavor in the water, we decided to grill them to maximize the flavor. We toss the shrimp with a little rosemary and lemon, then throw the little guys on a hot grill to get that charred flavor. Grilling them with the tails on retains more of the natural shrimp flavor, as well as providing a natural place to grab and dip. Our cocktail sauce incorporates freshly roasted tomatoes and garlic which mellows the tang of the ketchup and horseradish. It is a modern spin on a traditional sauce that doesn’t compete with the succulent flavor of the shrimp. The best part is both the shrimp and the cocktail sauce can be made ahead since the shrimp is served cold, so you can kick back and enjoy your summer soiree!

Lemon-Rosemary Grilled Shrimp with Roasted Tomato Cocktail Sauce

makes 24 shrimp and 1 cup of sauce

24 tail-on shrimp (16-20 count), patted very dry

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

1 lemon, zested

1 teaspoon chopped rosemary

4 roma tomatoes, halved and seeded

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup horseradish

lemon juice, a splash

Preheat a grill or indoor grill pan to high. Toss the shrimp with the olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest and rosemary. Place shrimp on the grill and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until curled slightly and bright pink.  Let cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile toss the tomatoes and garlic cloves with a drizzle of olive oil  and spread out on a roasting pan. Roast until softened and charred in spots about 20 minutes. In a food processor, combine the roasted tomatoes, garlic, ketchup and horseradish until smooth. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to your liking. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve the sauce in a bowl for dipping. The shrimp are best served hot off the grill OR cold out of the fridge the next day.

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In our cooking classes we find that many people are intimidated by cooking fish. They are worried they will over cook it, that it will stick to the pan, that it will make the whole house smell like fish. These are valid concerns — any of these things could happen. But the truth is that with a few key tips, you can cook fish simply, quickly and efficiently. In fact, fish is really one of the great weeknight dinner options because it cooks in so little time.

One of our favorite fish dishes is this Ginger-Lime Fish with Citrus Salsa. We serve a version of it at our catered events often and it’s always a hit. There are three things that make this dish such a standout AND a great dish to start with if you are a seafood-cooking-novice.

1. The Cooking Method – Instead of searing the fish in a hot pan (delicious but sure to smoke out the house) or grill the fish (lovely but not always an option) we do use the oven to steam the fish. To do this, we place the fish in a shallow baking dish with a small amount of water, cover tightly with foil and bake until tender. The beauty of this method is that the liquid in the dish keep the fish super moist — there is very little danger of overcooking.

2. The Flavor – I find that many people like “white, flaky fish” because it “doesn’t taste like fish.” Kind of a funny thing that we all want fish that doesn’t taste like anything. But I get it — not many people love a strong fish flavor (if you do, try this fish with salmon or sturgeon). So I find myself cooking flavorless white fish a lot and often use wet rubs to infuse some flavor into the fish. A wet rub is usually a blend of spices with a little oil — I love it because it sticks to the meat or fish and delivers immediate flavor. For this dish, I use fresh grated ginger and lime zest instead of strong spices. That way, the fish still has a “fresh” taste. (NOTE: When buying fish, look for shiny fillets and fish that smells only slightly of the sea — it should never smell fishy before you cook it!)

3. The Salsa – While many people reach for a lemon wedge when served fish, I think lemon can actually be really over-powering. I love using a mix of orange and lime to bring some brightness to the dish without overpowering the fish. This citrus salsa is delicious on just about any grilled meat or seafood. Make a double batch — you won’t be sorry!

I hope you’ll give this dish a try and that it opens up a whole new world of easy fish cooking for you. Let us know how it goes!

Ginger-Lime Fish with Citrus Salsa

serves 4

1 tbl grated ginger

1 tbl lime zest

1 garlic clove, grated

2 tbl olive oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

4 skinless halibut fillets (or tilapia or any flaky white fish)

2 oranges

1 lime

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

1 avocado

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together the ginger, lime zest, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Rub the fish with this mixture and place in a shallow baking dish. Add 1/4 cup water and cover tightly with foil.

Bake for 15 minutes. To check if the fish is done, gently press a fork into the thickest part of the fish. If there is no resistance, the fish is done! If it feels firm at all inside, cook for another 1-2 minutes at a time until done.

Meanwhile, to cut the oranges, cut off the top and bottom of the orange and then cut away the peel. You’ll end up with a perfectly peeled orange minus the pith. Cut the orange into 1/4-inch rounds and then into small pieces. Toss with the juice of 1 lime, the onion and cilantro. Cut the avocado into big chunks and carefully toss. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Serve the fish warm, topped with the salsa.

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