Fried Haddock - ☺♥
This recipe, from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, was the answer to my longstanding wish to make fried haddock as well as really good seafood restaurants. It bears little to no resemblance to typical batter recipes available to home chefs. My experience using the recipe was that the batter was a bit too thick, which might have been a result of my using either too much flour or doing excessive mixing of the batter. Either way I thinned the batter with more beer and all came out fine. Oh, Kenji mentioned that lower gluten flours can be mixed with regular wheat flour to limit gluten development and thus altogether avoid having batter that is too thick.
If you want a fine education about the physics and chemistry involved in making foods like fried haddock then buy Kenji's book, The Food Lab©. It is seriously great. I am not going to provide Kenji's scientific explanations in this recipe. I am providing explicit directions that must be followed exactly if you want great results.
Okay, when I made the fish I also made fried onion rings using the same batter, leftover from the fish frying, but thinned slightly using additional beer. They were perfect! Thus, I am including directions for making them at the end of this recipe as they really go well with the fried haddock. I'm also recommending that you make and chill the Food Nirvana creamy coleslaw prior to making the fried haddock.
If you want to make the onion rings then cut the ends off and peel and pre-slice a large sweet onion into slices about 1/2" or more thick. Separate the slices into rings. Put the rings into a one gallon Ziploc® bag and freeze the rings. When you are about ready to make fried haddock, rinse the rings under warm tap water to thaw them. Spread the thawed onion rings out on a towel, then remove and discard any loose membrane from each ring. The remaining directions for making the fried onion rings are at the end of the fried haddock recipe.
My sweetheart Peggy and I oh'd and ah'd a lot as we ate the delicious crispy fish and perfect onion rings. The only other thing I want to mention is that the batter results in fried fish that is as good or better than anything I ever had at a good seafood restaurant.
Ingredients: (Serves two adults, two pieces each)
1 lb. of fresh, skinless raw haddock filet
1 cup of flour (or mix of flours) for making the batter (5.5 ounces)
1/2 cup of flour for dredging the raw haddock
2 ounces of very cold vodka
6 ounces (or more) of very cold light colored beer (I use Corona®)
1/2 cup of cornstarch
1 tsp. of baking powder
1/4 tsp. of baking soda
1/4 tsp. of paprika
1 quart of peanut oil for frying
2 tsp. of Kosher salt (I used sea salt)
Preheat the peanut oil to 350 degrees F in a wok or a deep cast iron skillet or a pot. Use a good candy or instant/quick read thermometer to be certain of the oil temperature.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F and put in two large serving bowls and two dinner plates.
Put a wire cookie cooling rack into a rimmed baking sheet.
Chill a bottle of beer and a small container with the vodka in the freezer but do not let the beer freeze.
Put a one quart metal bowl into the refrigerator.
Mix the dry ingredients in a two quart metal bowl with a whisk. That includes one cup of flour, the half cup of cornstarch, the salt, the paprika, the baking powder and the baking soda. Put the bowl of mixed ingredients into the refrigerator.
Put the 1/2 cup of flour for dredging into a wide shallow bowl.
Cut the haddock filet into four roughly equal size pieces, cover each piece lightly with the flour and then put each piece onto the wire rack.
Once the oil is at 350 degrees F, lower the heat, then remove the one quart metal bowl from the refrigerator and pour into it the 6 ounces of beer (1/2 bottle) and the two ounces of vodka
Remove the bowl of dry ingredients from the refrigerator and use a large spoon to mix together the beer and vodka with the dry ingredients. Stir only until the ingredients are barely mixed. Do not over stir. You do not want excess gluten to develop and make the batter too thick.
The batter should not be thick, nor should it be runny. If it is too thick then add some cold beer to thin it. What you want is a batter that will coat the fish pieces and cling to the fish but not be more than 1/8th of an inch thick.
Coat each piece of fish with the batter. Then quickly coat it with flour from the dredging bowl and put it into the hot oil. I simply used tongs and dropped the battered fish into the dredging bowl and used surrounding flour to dust the top. Then I carefully flipped each piece of fish onto a spatula using the tongs and transferred it to the hot oil.
Fry the fish for six minutes turning it over every minute to fry the fish evenly on both sides.
Use tongs to take out one piece of the fish. Cut an end off it and examine it quickly for complete frying of the batter and a white and very moist flakiness to the fish. If it is done, remove the other pieces of fish with tongs, let each piece drip oil off for a few seconds, and put all of them onto a paper towel in one of the pre-heated serving bowls. Put the bowl into the oven if you are going to make the onion rings described below.
If the batter and/or the fish are not fried enough then fry them for one or two more minutes. Do not over fry or the fish will be tough and dry. For the piece that you cut, hold it vertically in the oil with tongs during any final frying such that the fish flesh itself never touches the oil.
Use a slotted spoon to remove any pieces of fried batter from the oil.
Either serve the fish on the prewarmed dinner plates or put it into the oven while you make the onion rings described next.
Directions for making Fried Onion Rings:
The onion rings on the towel from the procedure described at the beginning of this recipe should not be overly wet. If they are then wipe away excess moisture with a paper towel.
If necessary, adjust the thickness of the leftover batter used for the haddock to be somewhat more runny using an ounce of the cold beer.
Adjust the temperature of the oil, if necessary, to maintain it at 350 degrees F.
Dip each onion ring into the batter using tongs to coat it, then fry them four at a time in the hot oil, for a total frying time of three to four minutes, flipping them once halfway through the frying time to assure they are fried the same on both sides.
Remove the fried onion rings using tongs, allowing a few seconds for hot oil to drip off and then put them on a paper towel in the second pre-heated serving bowl. After two batches, salt lightly, then cover the completed batches with a paper towel. Do that with each two batches to absorb any excess peanut oil.
When done be sure to turn off the heat under the oil. Also turn off the oven.
Serve the meal on the pre-warmed dinner plates, along with other meal items made earlier.
Typical and great accompaniments to this meal are coleslaw and ice cold beer. An alternative to the fried onion rings would be perfect French Fries. Yes, you can see that recipe in Food Nirvana too.
Lobster or Crab Mac and Cheese - ☺♥
This fantastic tasting version of Mac and Cheese is far beyond anything I ever tasted before. Our friend Sue Gale prepared that dish for Janet and me and I just couldn’t stop eating. I awaited her recipe, but in the meantime I found a recipe on the Internet that I modified to make it come out creamy, much like Sue Gale's dish.
Okay, Sue provided her recipe so I merged what I believe to be the best of both into one recipe. Tonight, Janet and I had my version as Crab Mac and Cheese and it is fabulous! This one you don't want to miss.
Ingredients: (Serves four to six people)
1 tsp. salt for the pot of water
1 tsp. of vegetable oil
12 ounces of uncooked macaroni or shell pasta
20 ounces of light cream
4 tbsp. of butter for making a roux
1/3 cup of all purpose flour
8 ounces of gruyere cheese, grated
8 ounces of extra sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
8 ounces of mascarpone cheese
4 ounces of pecorino romano cheese, grated (Locatelli)
1/2 teaspoon (or more) of freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. of butter for the panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt for the cream sauce
1 pound of lobster meat, cooked and cut or shredded into pieces each about 2 tsp. in volume, or, 1 lb. of cooked lump crab meat
1 cup of panko bread crumbs
Turn on the oven to 325ºF.
Put the oil into a 1 1/2 gallon pot and add one gallon of water and one tsp. salt.
Bring the water to a rapid boil and add the macaroni and cook it on low to medium heat according to the directions on the package, about 9 minutes to get it to an al dente state. Drain the macaroni well in a colander. Set the macaroni aside.
Grate the gruyere, cheddar and romano cheeses while the macaroni is cooking, putting each into a very large bowl. Cut or spoon the soft mascarpone cheese into the grated cheeses and mix gently.
Heat the cream in a small (1 1/2 qt.) saucepan on low to medium heat, but don't let it boil.
In the empty large pot used to make the macaroni, melt 4 tablespoons of butter and then add the flour to make the roux. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring the mixture rapidly with a whisk.
Add the hot cream gradually while whisking and cook for a minute or two more, until the sauce is thickened and smooth.
Remove the sauce from the heat and add the salt and pepper, and then the cheeses in small amounts, mixing well with a large wooden spoon.
Add the lobster or crab pieces and stir gently.
Add the macaroni and stir gently but thoroughly.
Place the mixture into 4 to 6 individual au gratin dishes or two to three small ovenproof casseroles.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the saucepan used for the cream. Mix the panko bread crumbs with the melted butter and sprinkle the mixture evenly on top of the macaroni and cheese in the au gratin dishes/casseroles.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the bread crumbs lightly browned on the top. You may need to use the broiler for an additional two minutes to brown the bread crumbs.
Pan Seared Fish with Tomato Vinaigrette - ☺♥
I don’t know where Marie got this recipe but it is yummy and very easy. It is a fine way to use any common fish filets when you don’t have any other special recipe to try and when/if you want a tasty meal without frying the fish. It is healthy and likely the source was Weight Watchers®.
1½ lb. of very ripe Italian Plum Tomatoes, chopped with juice (or 1, 28 oz. can of peeled plum tomatoes with juice)
2 tbsp. of minced shallots
1 tbsp. of minced garlic
1 tbsp. of snipped fresh chives
1 tbsp. of white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. of fresh flat leaf parsley
3 tbsp. of olive oil
1 tsp. of ground or whole fennel seeds (You can easily grind dry fennel seeds)
Salt and pepper
4, 6 oz. fish fillets (Many varieties of fish will do. For example, cod or haddock.)
1 tbsp. of Butter
Combine the tomatoes with the shallots, garlic, vinegar, chives, parsley, 2 tbsp. olive oil, and ¼ tsp. of the ground fennel seeds.
In a small bowl mix ¾ tsp. ground fennel seeds with ½ tsp. of salt and ½ tsp. pepper. Sprinkle this seasoning on the fresh fish fillets.
Use a non stick pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil, add the fish fillets and cook them over moderate heat until they are browned (around 5 minutes). Flip the fish and add the butter, then cook about 5 minutes.
Put the fish on a plate and spoon the Tomato vinaigrette on top.
As an extra you may want to sauté fresh spinach and add it with the tomato vinaigrette topping over the fish.
While camping in the Florida Keys Marie would wrap/seal in all the ingredients with aluminum foil, put that into a covered skillet with a small amount of water, and proceed to poach the fish in the vegetables on our gasoline stove. It was great!
Sea Bass with Herbs/Basting Oil - ☺♥
This recipe produces another “to die for” delicious dish. The ingredient amounts listed are a minimum for two adults. Scale up as necessary to feed more people or more people with large appetites. I included the other meal items we served with the fish in the directions below. Originally I watched an Internet video to learn how the chef prepared the dish … they were pimping basting oil sold by Wegman’s® supermarket. Then I got some additional information by looking up the ingredients as displayed on a bottle of Wegmans® basting oil, did a bit of thinking and then I created the basting oil at home. It was easy.
Part I: (Making the basting oil)
1 tbsp. of Dried Thyme (2 tbsp. fresh chopped thyme is better)
1 tbsp. of Dried Parsley (2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley is better)
1 tbsp. of Rice vinegar
2 tbsp. of water
2 tbsp. of Fresh chopped rosemary
3 small garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 thin slices of fresh lemon
2 oz. of Soybean oil
1 1/2 oz. of Extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. of White pepper
¾ tsp. of Salt
Part II: (Initial sauté of the fish)
1 lb. of Sea Bass (skin removed, cut into two fillet pieces)
2 tbsp. of Olive oil
3 tbsp. of Flour
1 tbsp. of Corn Meal (optional)
½ tsp. of Pepper
½ tsp. of Salt
As indicated above, make the basting oil first. If you are using dried herbs, put them into a small dish and add the rice vinegar and water. Use a fork to mix everything to hydrate the dried herbs. If you use all fresh herbs, just put the water and vinegar in with the oils. Put both oils into a small saucepan and mix them. Add the rosemary, the garlic, the lemon slices, the hydrated (or fresh) herbs and the salt and pepper, then mix. Heat on medium until small bubbles indicate the water is starting to boil off. Place the pan in a 210º F oven and heat the basting oil for one hour. This will develop the flavor.
We decided to serve the Sea Bass with baked sweet potato, so you can wrap each potato in aluminum foil and bake at 400º F for 60 to 70 minutes. Yes, you will benefit from double wall ovens … so you don’t have to struggle with limited equipment.
Once the basting oil is done you can move on to other meal items. We served fresh broccoli steamed just enough to make it semi-tender (it retains the deep green color). It takes about 10 minutes to steam starting with a few ounces of cold water at the bottom of a steamer, on medium heat.
Now to the fish. Mix the flour, pepper and salt together. Sometimes I add a tablespoon of corn meal also for variation. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Cover the moist fish pieces with the flour mixture. Place them in the heated oil and sauté on each side for four minutes. They should be light to medium tan on each side.
Add the butter to the skillet and let it melt. Remove the basting oil from the oven and discard the lemon slices. Then mix the basting oil and ladle it (use a gravy ladle) onto each piece of fish. Ideally you will make some of the herbs stay on top of the fish. Turn the fish over and sauté while ladling basting oil and herbs onto the top side. The idea is to provide a small amount of basting oil and but lots of herbs to each side, not to soak the fish in an oil bath. After a minute or two, depending on the thickness of the fish, use a spatula to turn the fish pieces over and sauté for one to two minutes. Repeat this process for both sides of the fish. The herbs will become somewhat darkened during the final sauté … just don’t let the oil smoke … lower the heat to low if necessary.
At this point the fish is ready to serve. Place the pieces on a warmed platter (do you remember the 210º F oven you used for the basting oil?) and ladle a very small amount of the basting oil over each piece.
Serve the meal quickly to keep the fish hot. The taste of the herbs and the taste, texture and moistness of the fish will knock your socks off, guaranteed! The sweet potato and broccoli side dishes are perfect complements, each served with butter.
Oh … lest I forget … Sea Bass from a first class seafood market is not cheap. We paid $13.99 per pound in 2009, (and $16.99 per pound in 2010!) and it was perfectly fresh (firm with no fish odor) and worth every cent. Removing the skin is difficult so have a good filleting knife or fine serrated blade kitchen knife to help you remove the skin without wasting fish. You can scrape/cut directly against the skin as you remove it without cutting through the skin … it is pretty tough. Do note that fresh sea bass should never smell fishy. Test that when buying the fish and do not buy it at all if it is not fresh. Does it make any sense at all to pay $16.99 per pound for smelly old sea bass? I make this point because Hadfield’s® seafood market in Wilmington, DE stung me once. Never again.
The story continues. It is now 2011 and I went to a high end supermarket that always has fresh, top quality seafood, to buy the sea bass. The seafood manager told me that the price for sea bass had increased to the point where she would have to charge me $20 per pound. The same was true for fresh swordfish. Now, consider that the folks who patronize that supermarket are pretty well heeled … that is to say they are well off financially. I would think they would accommodate inflation and continue to purchase products like the sea bass, even at $20 per pound. Was I ever wrong!
The seafood manager told me in no uncertain terms that she had simply stopped buying both the sea bass and the swordfish, and that she would refuse to buy either fish until the prices reduced to what they were before. This is most interesting as it happened in a place where I thought the customer base would be immune to inflation! So, I bought live lobsters instead, at prices that haven’t changed in over a year. Yes, I was disappointed, but I agreed with her logic. The way to fight inflation is to refuse to buy the products. That applies to all things other than those for which we have no choice, and for those the right strategy is to severely reduce the amount purchased.
Broiled Striper - ☺♥
My friend Steve Jaskolka is an avid fisherman and he likes nothing better than to spend evenings fishing for striper off the piers at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, NH and also across the Piscataqua River in Kittery, ME. He is quite successful and I have been the pleased recipient of many fine stripers. I say, you catch ‘em, I’ll cook ‘em!
Cleaning fish was never one of my favorite chores, in fact I dislike it entirely, so early on I tried to figure out a way to process the striper that would reduce my work yet lead to a tasty treat. I got lucky. I figured out that I could gut the things, remove the head and tail and cut the small bones down one side of the spine but not penetrating the skin, resulting in a kind of butterflied fish. What I didn’t have to do was scale or filet the fish/remove the skin or fins. That really appealed to my lazy side!
But how would one cook such a strange thing? The answer was to put some aluminum foil on a broiling pan and the fish on the aluminum foil, skin side down. Then I coated the fish flesh with butter and broiled it for the minimum time, based on weight/thickness.
The result was a delicious fish that resembled crab in mildness and sweetness and it was very tender and moist. The best part was/is that removing the broiled flesh from the bones and skin was super easy. All in all it is a real winner. Thanks, Steve!
Don’t let this, uh, complicated recipe put you off … just know that this is pure serendipity. As the old saying goes … “Even a blind pig finds an acorn sometime!”
One or more fresh (as in very recently caught) striper fish.
Clean and prepare the fish per the above recipe description. Broil it in a preheated 300º F oven for 10 to 15 minutes based on the size of the fish. The top of the fish should be four to five inches below the heating element.
Pre-warm a serving platter in the bottom part of the oven.
Test the fish for doneness at five minute intervals by cutting the flesh and seeing that there is no raw flesh left in the thickest area. If the surface of the fish is becoming too well done before the interior is cooked then move the fish further away from the heating element, cover the surface with aluminum foil, and finish the cooking using a baking cycle instead of the broiler element.
Serve the fish on the pre-warmed platter with salt and pepper. Let each guest remove the flesh to his/her plate with a serving fork.
Enjoy. This dish goes well with French fries and coleslaw and beer.
Puerto Rican Shrimp Stew - ?
Back in 1984 on a business trip to Puerto Rico I happened to stay at a resort along the north coast. While there I had a shrimp dish that I found particularly nice. It was a shrimp stew that was seasoned perfectly and served over white rice. Many years have gone by and I've never come across that dish in the USA mainland. Recently I thought about the stew and I decided to find a recipe and try making it. Thus, the recipe below is my first attempt and I will report back with results ... and likely a few changes as well.
Two of the ingredients listed below, sofrito and sazón, are common items found in hispanic grocery stores or ethnic foods sections of some supermarkets. Sofrito is a nice salsa used as a base in many hispanic dishes. It is easy to find at the supermarket though you can also make it easily if you want to look up a recipe on the Internet and acquire the various ingredients. Sazón is a seasoning composed of dry spices and typically sold in packets, boxes or plastic spice bottles. I have included the recipe for sazón below so you can make it instead of searching for it at the supermarket. All other listed ingredients are commonly found in any supermarket.
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 tablespoons of sofrito
2 bay leaves
5 to 10 pimento stuffed green olives
1/4 pound of smoked ham (diced)
1 1/2 teaspoons of sazón
1 cup of tomato sauce
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) of stewed tomatoes
1 pound of raw shrimp (medium size, peeled and cleaned)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
4 cups of cooked white rice
Sazón Ingredients: (makes five tablespoons of sazón)
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of ground annatto seeds (or paprika)
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of salt
Make four cups of cooked white rice. Follow the directions for the type of rice you purchased. Keep the cooked rice covered and warm in a 180 degrees F warming oven.
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the sofrito, bay leaves, olives and ham. Saute over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the sazón, tomato sauce, and stewed tomatoes. Bring to a boil and them immediately reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add the shrimp and cook it at a simmer until it just turns pink, about 5 minutes.
Add the salt and pepper to taste and allow to simmer for 1 more minute.
Serve hot with the cooked white rice.
Seafood Newburg - ☺♥
This dish has been one of my favorites since I first tasted it at an upscale wedding reception for my college buddy, Mike Tremel, and his bride Alaine, back in 1966. The mixture of shrimp, scallops and lobster was absolutely yummy in the cream sauce lightly flavored with cheese. It was served with rice. I kept returning to the buffet for more servings. I made a pig of myself, and I loved it. Well, what the heck, I was only 22 years old and I had a ravenous appetite at that age.
Some years later Marie and I would see Lobster Newburg on the menu in some good seafood restaurants, and I would order it now and then, but I was always disappointed as the restaurant versions just didn't measure up to what I had as a young man. I am surprised that Marie never made Lobster or Seafood Newburg, but that was one item she never tried.
Today I was paging through one of my favorite instructional books, The Professional Chef©, and I happened to see that dish in the index while searching for a different food. Later, when Janet asked what we would have for dinner that luscious choice immediately came to mind. Since we shop for bargains for things like great fresh seafood, and immediately vacuum seal it and freeze it, I realized we had all the seafood ingredients here at home. What a delight!
I found a recipe on the Internet that looked pretty good, so for once I thought the given recipe was worth trying without preliminary modifications on my part. All I planned to do beyond the recipe was to add scallops and use crab instead of lobster. I am reporting back with the results now, and we have made very significant changes to the Internet recipe.
Janet and I tried the Internet recipe and we served it over rice. Our summary opinion is that it was significantly underseasoned and that it would be better served on grilled toast points than on rice. We used a fair amount of salt and pepper at the table to bring up the flavor and while that helped it was clear that additional seasoning ingredients are necessary during cooking, in both quantity and variety. It was way too bland. So we did a fair amount of additional research into various recipes for Seafood Newburg. Thus, the recipe below has the changes we decided to make, both those found in different sources and our own wildly successful changes and additions.
We know you will totally enjoy this dish. It is so good it is sinful, but if you don't tell anyone we won't either!
Ingredients: (serves 4 to 6 adults)
1 pound of large frozen raw pre-shelled shrimp, thawed, drained and chopped in half
4 to 8 ounces of lump crabmeat or lobster meat, drained and, if lobster, chopped
8 ounces of sea scallops, drained
1/4 cup of dry sherry
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of mild yellow curry powder
1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne (red) pepper (or more to taste, up to 1/2 tsp. total)
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
3/4 stick of butter (6 tbsp.)
1/3 cup of flour
2 cups of half and half
1/3 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of salt, or more to taste
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 egg yolk
1 cup of grated aged Sharp White Cheddar cheese
10 cracked peppercorns
2 bay leaves
8 to 12, 3/4" thick slices of crusty French or Italian bread, grilled in garlic butter, then cut in half.
For the grilled bread, use three large cloves of garlic finely minced, added to 1/2 to 3/4 stick of melted butter and 1/4 tsp. salt. Heat the mixture in a microwave oven in a bowl for about 30 seconds and stir well. (The butter/garlic mixture, heated, will knock your socks off ... you will be tempted to eat just that, immediately, but try to control yourself). Set the mixture aside. Bake the plain slices of bread for 15 minutes at 250ºF to make them crusty, turning them over half way through, at about 7 1/2 minutes. Let the bread slices cool and then put a very thin coating of butter on both sides of each piece. Then brush the garlic/butter/salt mixture lightly onto both sides of the bread, and grill the bread in a skillet on low heat, turning each piece over twice to get even grilling of both sides to a light golden brown ... but be careful not to burn the garlic by using too much heat or too long a grilling period. Alternatively, you can use a low setting and/or 10" distance from the heating element with your oven broiler, about three minutes per side. When done cut the pieces of grilled buttered garlic bread in half and keep them warm on a plate in a 180ºF warming oven.
Put the plates or wide shallow bowls you intend to use for each guest into a 180ºF warming oven.
Grill (or broil) the bread per the instructions above and put it into the warming oven.
Melt the 3/4 stick of butter for the cream sauce in a 3 quart saucepan over low heat. We use a very heavy French copper saucepan with a tin interior designed for making cream sauces, etc. It has a thick bottom and it distributes the heat from the stove very evenly to the food being cooked.
Blend the flour with the melted butter until they are well mixed and then stir in the half-and-half. Mix thoroughly over very low heat.
Put the sherry, lemon juice, salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper, curry powder, paprika and nutmeg into the saucepan while stirring.
Add the milk and continue cooking on low heat and stirring until the sauce is thickened.
Beat the egg yolk with a whisk and combine it with the heavy cream in a small bowl and mix well.
Add the egg and cream mixture to the sauce gradually, stirring constantly.
Add the grated cheese and continue to cook, stirring, until all the ingredients are well blended and the cheese is melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover it.
Gently boil the drained shrimp and scallops and lobster in a separate saucepan with the cracked peppercorns, bay leaves, one quart of water and a pinch of salt. Do not boil or otherwise cook lump crabmeat if you are using that instead of lobster, for it will cook during the final heating of the cream sauce. Do each seafood item, except crab, for three minutes, separately, and then set each item aside to drain off water.
Add all of the seafood items to the cream sauce and mix gently.
Heat the cream sauce and seafood on low heat until it simmers for about two minutes, while stirring gently, then remove the completed Seafood Newburg from the heat.
If the sauce appears to be too thick, you can thin it with 1/3 cup of warmed milk and stir it until the milk is well blended into the cream sauce.
Pour the completed Seafood Newburg into a three quart serving bowl, cover it and keep it in the warming oven until it is served.
Serve the completed Seafood Newburg on the "grilled in garlic butter" (or broiled) French or Italian bread pieces, four half pieces per guest, using the pre-warmed plates or wide shallow bowls.
The Complete Banquet Variation:
Janet and I discussed what we would serve before, along with the Seafood Newburg, and afterwards to create an unforgettable banquet for guests. We especially considered the balancing of colors, tastes and textures to complement the Seafood Newburg, which is a very creamy, filling entree.
Melon (very ripe cold cantaloupe pieces) wrapped with Proscuitto Ham is served as an appetizer along with small chilled glasses of Rose´ D´Anjou wine. Avoid serving crackers or other crunchy snacks so as to keep the guests' appetites piqued.
Make Ray's Oriental Salad (well in advance) to serve as the first course of the meal. Avoid serving bread or crackers as the salad has crushed Ramen noodles and toasted almond slices in it to provide crunch. Wait until the guests have completed the salad course before serving the Seafood Newburg.
For beverages serve ice water with ice cubes or crushed ice and with fresh lemon slices lightly squeezed with one placed in each glass, along with a good bottle or two of chilled Pinot Grigio or a French white burgundy wine like Louis Jadot® Pouille Fuisse´. Allow one bottle for every three guests.
Serve the Seafood Newburg over the grilled bread pieces. Allow ten minutes after the meal for table conversation and to allow the meal to settle before serving dessert to your guests.
For dessert, keep things light to clear the palate. Serve Raspberry Sherbet (The recipe is in Food Nirvana under Frozen Desserts). Some guests may also want a cup of hot, freshly brewed coffee to accompany the sherbet.
After dinner serve small glasses of Chambord® liquor in the family or sitting room. Don't be surprised if some of your guests fade into taking a short nap after enjoying the banquet!
Sesame Ahi - ☺♥
This recipe is a Ray original. Orientals cook many different foods using sesame oil and sesame seeds and I decided that searing fresh Ahi grade tuna with that combination in mind would make a delicious entree. The ingredient amounts listed are for two very hungry adults. Scale up as necessary to feed more people. I included the other meal items (Fresh steamed green beans and rice cooked with leek and garlic in chicken broth) we served with the Ahi in the directions below.
1 lb. of Fresh Ahi, skinless, about 3/4" to 1" thick, cut into four pieces
1 tbsp. of Corn Oil
3 tbsp. of Pure Sesame oil
4 tsp. of Toasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp. of Soy sauce
Do not start the cooking of the Ahi until all other meal items have been prepared, for the Ahi is served at it's best when seared/grilled very hot on the outside while remaining rare/cool in the center.
Heat the oils in a large wok to a very high temperature, almost smoking.
Sear each piece of Ahi for about one to one and one half minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the Ahi. Do only one piece at a time. Add additional corn oil and sesame oil in the proportions shown in the ingredients above as necessary to assure that each side of the raw Ahi is in contact with the hot oil.
After searing the second side of a given piece, transfer it to a hot serving plate, sprinkle on one tsp. of warm toasted sesame seeds and drizzle on 1/2 tbsp. of soy sauce. After all four pieces have been prepared serve the hot Ahi with the rest of the meal.
We decided to serve the Ahi with freshly made rice simmered in chicken broth. Thus, make one cup of raw rice according to directions and during the last five minutes of simmering add one chopped leek and three diced fresh garlic cloves and one tbsp. of soy sauce and recover the saucepan. When the rice is about done then put the fresh green beans into a steamer that already has the water boiling. Now is the time to make the Ahi! Steam the beans for about ten minutes (or less ... check them once or twice during steaming to assure they do not overcook and turn olive green in color) and serve them in a heated bowl with melted butter.
A nice clean tasting white or rose' wine goes nicely with this meal.
Oh my, yes, this was a delicious balanced meal and the Ahi was excellent! We had some leftover Ahi so the next day I made an improptu Oriental Chef's Salad by thinly slicing the leftover Ahi and putting it on top of chopped lettuce, along with some thin slices of American cheese. I added pineapple chunks, used a sesame ginger vinagrette salad dressing and I sprinked additional toasted sesame seeds on top. Yummy! It was a perfect hot weather lunch. I am sure if you use your imagination (or an Oriental cookbook) you can find a variety of other ingredients that would be perfect in that salad.
Shrimp Scampi - ☺♥
Only once in my life did I have shrimp scampi prepared and served perfectly in a restaurant, and that was in Little Creek, DE and I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was close to but was not the Log Cabin®. Never did I have great shrimp scampi in anyone’s home. I am now correcting that deficiency.
What constitutes perfect? Well, it was served in an oblong dish that had about ¾ of a cup of basmatic (or wild) rice in the center forming an oval mound. The shrimp were arranged around the mound of rice, with the tail sections pointing up towards the center. The dish was about 5/8” deep in hot melted garlic butter, which covered the bottom half of the rice, kind of like a moat around the rice. The inside perimeter of the dish had six crisp toast points dipped into the melted garlic butter arranged around the shrimp. Everything was served hot, which was great, and the garlic was notable.
The recipe below is one of the ones I found on the Internet and it seemed closest to what I think was used. I have modified it to achieve what I want. Do not be put off by the amount of butter … it is necessary for cooking and serving but you don’t have to eat all of it.
Either basmatic or wild rice is suitable for this dish, but ordinary white or brown rice is definitely not good for it is too soft and absorbent for a melted butter environment. Both basmatic and wild rice remain fairly firm after cooking, which is the objective, plus, they taste better.
1 pound of butter (trust me, you need this much butter)
2 bunches of scallions, chopped fine
12 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of white pepper
1 cup of dry white French burgundy wine (avoid sweet or red wines)
2 pounds of large to extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 sweet red bell pepper, cut into thin sticks
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Six slices of crisp toast cut diagonally to make toast points
3 cups of cooked basmatic or wild rice (your preference, but avoid regular rice)
4 fresh lemon wedges
Use four oblong individual serving dishes, about nine to ten inches long and four inches wide and 1½ inches deep. Preheat them in a warm 200º F oven.
Prepare the rice per package instructions. Keep it covered and warm in a 200º F oven.
Melt the butter in a one and one half or two quart saucepan. Add the chopped scallions and chopped garlic; cook 3 minutes. Add the parsley, salt, pepper and wine; simmer 2 minutes and set aside.
Pour a small amount of the garlic butter mixture into a skillet. Sauté the shrimp in batches, adding more butter mixture as needed. Normally about two or three minutes per side will be enough, depending on the size of the shrimp and the depth of the garlic butter. Do not overcook the shrimp. The idea is you want to cook them through but you don’t want to form a tough surface on the shrimp.
Put the sautéed shrimp on a plate and keep them in the pre-warmed oven.
Sauté the red pepper slices in the pan; then add the rest of the butter mixture.
Prepare four oblong dishes with oval mounds of rice in the center, about 1¼ inches high in the center. Arrange the shrimp around the rice. Pour the butter mixture into each dish slowly, first around the outside of the shrimp and then spoon a small amount gently over the shrimp and rice. Garnish the dish with fresh chopped parsley. Place the dishes in the warm oven.
Make the toast and cut each piece into four toast points.
Serve the shrimp scampi, dipping the points of the six toast points into the melted garlic butter inside the perimeter of each oblong dish. Place a lemon wedge in the top center of the rice for those who may want to use it on the shrimp.
Enjoy … and I know you will. I recommend drinking a dry white French burgundy wine with this meal. Louis Jadot® Pouille Fuisse is the perfect wine, though you might alternatively use/serve various brands of Pinot Grigio. Avoid all sweet wines for they will destroy everything good about the meal. Serve some ice water too.
Beer is an alternative beverage, and a light beer will be best if you choose to drink beer as it will clear your palate best between bites of the garlicky seafood.
For those who prefer pasta to rice, I suggest preparing a pound of angel hair pasta and serving the shrimp scampi in four large round shallow bowls, trying to keep the building of the dish similar to the recipe above. Then, after serving, some folks may want some freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano or Locatel cheese on top of the pasta.