Habeas Brulee » Seafood http://habeasbrulee.com Sun, 17 Mar 2013 03:04:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.21 Spicy Shrimp with Wine Rice http://habeasbrulee.com/2010/05/03/spicy-shrimp-with-wine-rice/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2010/05/03/spicy-shrimp-with-wine-rice/#comments Tue, 04 May 2010 03:48:46 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=456

Perhaps you’ve perused the fridge at Kam Man or some other Chinatown grocery store and seen jars of this crazy awesome mushy liquid that looks like rotting rice in cloudy water. It’s sweet and boozy, a tasty precursor to more refined sakes. You can brew your own using Chinese wine balls (actually, yeast balls), but personally, I just buy it by the jar.

This recipe was adapted from Ken Hom, who has become my go-to source for quick and easy weeknight dinners. (I can’t believe I’m writing this. Since when do I prioritize quick and easy? Honestly, I still don’t, but once in a while when we get home late it really is nice to be able to throw something together in a rush.)

I’ve never eaten anything else like this. That’s really the point. It tastes almost as alcoholic as Dave’s chocolate mousse, with that gorgeously savory spiciness from the chili bean paste. Dave (my partner) is trying to avoid nightshades nowadays, which didn’t stop me from making a whole batch of this to eat myself over the next week. So worth it, even for me alone.

2008: Rhubarb Soup with Nicoise Olive Cookies
2007: Sour Cherry Braised Lamb Shanks
2006: Pear and Basil Tart

Spicy Shrimp with Wine Rice
(adapted from Chinese Technique by Ken Hom)
1 lb ground pork
1 lb large unshelled shrimp
kosher salt
safflower/peanut/canola oil
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp minced garlic
4 dried birdseye peppers, crushed
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 C thinly sliced scallions (circles of the green parts only)
for the marinade
2 tbsp shaoxing
1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
for the sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp shaoxing
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp chili bean paste (I use Lee Kum Kee brand Chili Bean Sauce (Toban Djan))
1/2 C chicken stock
1 1/2 C fermented wine rice

1. Mix the ground pork with the marinade ingredients and set aside.

2. Devein the shrimp, but leave the shells on; you can just slice through the shells easily when deveining.

3. Here’s the trick for making sure the shrimp are nice and crunchy instead of mushy – stir in 1 tsp kosher salt and let sit for 1 minute. Rinse with cold water. Repeat two more times (three salt/rinse cycles, total), then pat dry.

4. Heat your wok until it feels like a hot radiator with your palm 2-3 inches above the bottom, then add about 3 tbsp safflower oil and swirl it around to coat the inside of the wok. When it’s almost smoking again, add the shrimp and stir-fry until they are opaque. Remove from wok and set aside.

5. Add a bit more oil to the wok, maybe 2 tbsp or so, then stir-fry the ginger, garlic, and crushed birdseye chilis for a minute, until fragrant.

6. Add the ground pork and stir-fry until it no longer looks raw.

7. Add the sauce ingredients and stir thoroughly as it boils for a minute or two.

8. Add the shrimp and cook for a moment longer, then turn off the heat and stir in the sesame oil and scallions.

9. Serve with rice.

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Home-Cured Salmon with Black Pepper and Coriander http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/12/08/home-cured-salmon-with-black-pepper-and-coriander/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/12/08/home-cured-salmon-with-black-pepper-and-coriander/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2008 22:49:11 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/12/08/home-cured-salmon-with-black-pepper-and-coriander/

When we catered the VIP suite at SalonCon in September, we tried to think of a fun and interesting way to make sure people got some protein in their diets during the day. Conferences and conventions are notorious for people taking poor care of themselves, and failing to eat real food or get enough sleep. We wanted to do our part to help solve that problem this time.

After leafing through Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie again, we decided to play with his cured salmon recipe, and we eventually made a few different flavors to provide to the VIP suite. After some experimentation, our favorite was still one that Ruhlman suggested in the book – black pepper and coriander.

We eventually served it as a one bite course at the restaurant as well, with with fresh cucumber and dill on top of a pine nut tuile.

This home-cured salmon is also a wonderful substitute for lox if thinly sliced rather than cubed. Nothing beats Brooklyn bagels, but the lox you can buy at the store doesn’t come close to beating salmon cured at home and flavored any way you please.

2007: Clementine Sunchoke Puree
2006: Persian Pomegranate Soup (Ash-e Anar)

Home-Cured Salmon with Black Pepper and Coriander
(adapted from Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman)
4 oz (or 125 g) sugar
6 oz (or 180 g) dark brown sugar
6 oz (or 175 g) kosher salt
A 2-3 pound salmon fillet, skin on, bones removed
Freshly ground black pepper and coriander seeds to taste

Find a non-reactive baking dish just large enough to contain your fish, but not too large. You want the brine to cover the fish eventually, so if your dish is too large, you will fail.

Whisk the sugars and salt together.

Spread half the mixture into your dish. Place the fish skin side down on top of the sugar/salt.

Cover the fish with a thick layer of ground black pepper and coriander seeds (about 1 tbsp whole seeds per pound of salmon might be right, but really, do it by eye and to taste).

Spread the rest of the sugar/salt mixture out on top of the fish.

Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and set a pan on top of it, with some weights (about 4-8 pounds) on top of that. Canned good, jars, bricks, or those dumbbells you never use would be perfect.

Refrigerate for about 48 hours, checking halfway through to redistribute the cure if necessary to more evenly cover the salmon. If it still feels too squishy, let it go longer, testing with a finger poke every 12 hours or so until it feels nice and firm.

Once it’s done curing, rinse and pat dry.

You can serve it thinly sliced, though as you can see it also worked well cut into small cubes as if a tartare, served with fresh cucumber and dill on top of a pine nut tuile.

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Creamy Kimchi Grits with Shredded Brussel Sprouts, Shrimp, and Pork/Beer Sauce http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/03/31/creamy-kimchi-grits-with-shredded-brussel-sprouts-shrimp-and-porkbeer-sauce/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/03/31/creamy-kimchi-grits-with-shredded-brussel-sprouts-shrimp-and-porkbeer-sauce/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2008 18:00:52 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/03/31/creamy-kimchi-grits-with-shredded-brussel-sprouts-shrimp-and-porkbeer-sauce/

When Aki and Alex posted about making kimchi broth, I was inspired. It seemed like the perfect excuse to finally make some grits, which I’ve been meaning to do and yet not getting around to for a long time.

These grits are spicy, brilliantly flavored, creamy, meaty from the pork stock, and just an all-around success. I love them to bits, really. The shredded brussel sprouts are crispy, satisfying, and also meaty from bacon grease. And who could complain about shrimp with pork and kimchi? (Only my mother, and she only keeps kosher on the high holy days as is.)

I actually made this a few weeks ago, when Dave was sick with some sort of food poisoning or stomach bug that laid him low for two weeks. Despite his stomach cramps and general misery, he wanted to go back for second helpings. If that’s not a great endorsement, I don’t know what is.

2007: Raspberry Pomegranate Urfa-Biber Brownies
2006: Carrot Cake

Creamy Kimchi Grits
1/2 C coarse stone-ground cornmeal
1/2 C pork stock
1 1/2 C kimchi broth (puree 2 C kimchi with 1 C water, strain through fine mesh or cheesecloth)
1 1/2 tsp butter
1/2 C heavy cream

Boil the pork stock and 1/2 C kimchi broth. Add butter. When the butter melts, stir in the cornmeal and lower the heat. Simmer 10 min. Stir in heavy cream and simmer another 10 min. Stir in 1/2 C kimchi broth, simmer another 5-10 minutes, stir in another 1/2 C kimchi broth, simmer another 5-10 minutes until desired consistency is achieved.

Shredded Brussel Sprouts

Shred some brussel sprouts. Stir-fry in half safflower oil, half bacon grease, with salt and pepper.


Stir-fry some shrimp (shells removed, deveined) in safflower oil, salt and pepper. Add some pork stock when they are halfway done. Then remove the shrimp from the pan and leave the stock.

Pork/Beer Sauce

Add a bit of beer to the pork stock. Boil it down some. Finish with butter.

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Sunchoke Fish Chowder http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/01/27/sunchoke-fish-chowder/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/01/27/sunchoke-fish-chowder/#comments Sun, 27 Jan 2008 19:59:13 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/01/27/sunchoke-fish-chowder/

Yes, that’s bacon sprinkled on top of an Arabic spiced New England fish chowder pictured in front of my tallis bag, which features a beautiful watercolor painting of Jerusalem. Sacrelicious, maybe, but it all makes sense – this chowder is made with Jerusalem artichokes instead of potatoes, after all.

Sunchokes (a/k/a Jerusalem artichokes) are subtly magnificent root vegetables whose creamy flavor does wonders in transforming a simple fish chowder into something special. I also added za’atar (our version is a blend of thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, and sumac) to this chowder instead of the more traditional thyme, which added an extra dimension of flavor.

I could live off of chowder perfectly happily for weeks, myself. As a kid, I sometimes did. So it’s nice to mix things up and make the ordinary extraordinary again.

Please don’t be scared away because the recipe calls for fish stock. Your fishmonger will almost certainly give you fish frames (bones and perhaps heads) for free, and unlike with meat, you won’t have to simmer your fish bones for hours. Twenty minutes of simmering, ten minutes of steeping off the heat, and you’re done.

We used to freeze fish stock in case of chowder, but it’s so quick to make (and space is at such a premium in our freezer) that we stopped bothering. Now, we just simmer up a batch each time we need it.

Sunchoke Fish Chowder
(adapted from Jasper White’s 50 Chowders)
4 oz meaty bacon, cut into 1/3″ dice
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium onions, cut into 3/4″ dice
2 dried bay leaves
3/8 C za’atar (recipe below)
2 1/2 lbs sunchokes (a/k/a jerusalem artichokes), peeled and sliced 1/3″ thick
5 C fish stock (recipe below)
3 lbs skinless cod fillets (make sure to remove the pinbones!)
1 1/8 C heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put the bacon pieces in your chowder pot and render them over medium-low heat, until they have released their liquid fat and begun to crisp. You want to keep the heat fairly low to keep from burning the fat.

Remove the bacon pieces and set them aside for later.

Add the butter, onions, and bay leaves. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened but not browned. Stir in the za’atar and saute for a minute longer.

Add the sunchokes and fish stock, supplementing with water if necessary so that the sunchokes are just barely covered. Bring to a boil, cover, and let it continue to boil for 10 minutes, until the sunchokes are soft on the outside but still somewhat firm on the inside. Smash a few of the sunchoke slices in order to thicken the broth.

Reduce the heat to low and season with salt and pepper to taste. Try to overseason a bit, so you don’t have to stir too much to fix the seasoning level after the fish goes in.

Add the cod to the pot. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat and let sit sit, covered, for another 10 minutes. The fish will finish cooking in this time.

Gently stir in the cream. Taste. Season further if needed.

If you have the time, let the chowder cool to room temperature and then reheat it gently before eating, in order to give the flavors a chance to meld together more fully.

2 tbsp sesame seeds, ground
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp ground sumac

Mix together. This is an unusual za’atar recipe, in that the sesame seeds are ground. Traditionally, they are left whole instead. I just like it better this way.

Fish Stock
4 lbs. fish frames (bones & heads (gills removed))
1/2 C dry white wine
Approximately 2 quarts water
2 medium onions, very thinly sliced
4 stalks celery, very thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, very thinly sliced
2 dried bay leaves
1/4 C roughly chopped fresh parsley
6-8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp black peppercorns

Get a big pot. Combine the fish racks, wine, and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, skimming off the ick, then reduce to a simmer. Stir in all the other ingredients. Add more water to cover, if needed.

Simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir, and leave it to steep for 10 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth or a very fine-meshed sieve.

You can freeze this stock for later use if you have any left over.

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Broiled Yellowtail with Grapefruit Salsa http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/01/21/broiled-yellowtail-with-grapefruit-salsa/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/01/21/broiled-yellowtail-with-grapefruit-salsa/#comments Tue, 22 Jan 2008 03:05:49 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/01/21/broiled-yellowtail-with-grapefruit-salsa/

About two weeks ago, I received an email from Edelman Interactive, offering me a free promotional fish – a Kona Kampachi from Kona Blue. Given that I was under no obligation to blog about the fish at all, and I love fish, I accepted.

I was offered my choice of fillets or a whole fish, and took the whole fish, because meat on the bone always ends up more tender and flavorful. Also, fish are cute.

So, I emailed my partner, Dave, to let him know that we would be getting a free fish from the next week’s catch. He thought this was pretty hilarious:

“Note: Edelman is the PR firm for both Microsoft and Walmart. All they need is Exxon for the holy trinity! Actually they do have Shell, which is about the same.

“Oh, wait, they also represented the tobacco companies. Jesus, just about every evil corp on earth is on their list: the Mormons! AT&T! American Petroleum Institute! Diebold! the MPAA! PhRMA! Raytheon!

“Wow. I’m totally in favor of taking their free fish, and blogging about Edelman.”

The fish was supposed to arrive on Thursday, and Dave and I were looking forward to trying it out together on Thursday night. Unfortunately, FedEx was delayed and it did not arrive until Friday morning, when Dave was already out of town for the weekend, and I was already scheduled to leave for Virginia that afternoon.

There was no choice – I had to take the fish down to Virginia with me.

As soon as the fish arrived, I climbed out of my office window to put it out on my industrial balcony to keep it cold until it was time to go. (I deeply regret not taking a photo of it out there. Sorry about that.) And once I put out all the fires I could that day (as an attorney, that’s often my job), I loaded my 20 lb. box of ice and fishie onto a small handcart and took it down into the NYC subway system.

From there, we went to the Chinatown bus. I loaded the fish into the bottom luggage compartment, which I expected would keep it cooler than the heated seating area above.

When my fish and I got to my friend Ariana’s home in Virginia, and we finally opened up the box, this is what we saw. A whole fish. I’d expected it to be a cleaned and gutted fish, but no, it really was complete in its entirety.

He’s a cutie, isn’t he?

He and Ariana soon became best buddies.

She was a bit squeamish about the whole fish, but fascination won out until it was time to actually clean and gut him. I had to do that myself, for the first time in years and years. I went fishing a lot as a child, and learned to gut fish back then, but this was my first time cleaning a fish in my adult life without my father’s supervision.

Further down in this post, you’ll find fully illustrated instructions on how to clean and gut a fish.

In the meantime, though, you can enjoy these cute photos of Ariana with the fish instead.

The fish was gorgeous. After just a few days in transit from Hawaii to New York to Virginia after he was caught, he still smelled clean and fresh, and his tail was just beautiful.

And damned if he wasn’t the friendliest fellow we’d met in ages.

Talkative, too.

Ariana and I brainstormed fish recipes together. She’d done her research while I was on the bus, and had a few ideas to begin with. In the end, we decided to broil the fish very simply, and serve it with an easily thrown together grapefruit salsa.

The grapefruit salsa recipe is further down, and you’ll find it if you keep on reading. For the fish, all we did was fill the body cavity with some butter, some grated fresh ginger, and a bunch of scallions cut into 2″ long pieces (green parts only).

As Helen from Beyond Salmon suggests, we broiled the fish for 5 minutes on each side, then finished by baking it at 425 F for a total of 10 minutes per inch of thickness (including the 10 minutes broiling time). (So, for example, a fish that is 3″ thick would be broiled for 5 minutes on each side, then baked at 425 F for an additional 20 minutes.)

We served it with the grapefruit salsa and some simply roasted sweet potatoes.

It was absolutely delicious.

The ginger flavor had infused very nicely into the flesh while cooking, and it paired marvelously well with the grapefruit salsa.

As advertised, it was extremely mild and non-fishy, which Ariana in particular appreciated. I rather like oily flavorful fish (such as mackerel), but this was nice, too. It was very moist and tender, which in part was because it had been cooked on the bone, and in part because the Kona Kampachi has a fairly high fat content to begin with.

Ariana, her husband, and I had it for lunch on Saturday, and then we served the rest of the fish as party food to her guests that afternoon. There were at least 8 servings on that fish, and we enjoyed it entirely.

Each and every bite.

The fish was kitty-approved by Oz, king of kings.

We licked our fingers, and so did he.

Though to be fair, Oz is an equal opportunity fish lover.

And a mighty hunter, too.

Could you resist such a fluffy kitty, even with tasty fish on the line? I think not.

Around this time last year, we were making: Stewed Garlicky Black Bean Spare Ribs, Malaysian Beef Curry with Thick Onion Sauce (Daging Nasi Kandar)

Grapefruit Salsa
A handful of chopped red onion
2 huge red grapefruits (almost 3 lbs total)
1 green birdseye chile, thinly sliced, with about half the seeds removed
A handful and a half of cooked (or canned and drained) black beans
1/8 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Peel the grapefruit, and discard the peel, pith, and seeds. Coarsely chop the wedges of pulp which remain. Combine it with the other ingredients, and adjust the seasonings to taste.

Let it sit in your fridge for at least half an hour to allow the flavors to meld before serving.

How to Clean a Fish

First, cut off the fins just behind the head. If your fish has big inedible scales, you can remove them by running your knife against them, like petting a cat the wrong way. The Kona Kampachi was basically scale-free, so I skipped that step entirely.

Locate the gills, which are the red things shown in the photo below.

Remove them.

Check out the bottom of the fish. You’ll see the anus, and another set of fins.

Cut off the bottom fins. Cut a triangle around the anus and cut out a strip coming from it all the way up the gills – the point is to remove the anus entirely (because really, who wants to eat fish anus?) and slit the belly open from just behind the anus to the head. Once you’ve done that, it’s easy to just reach in with your hand and remove all the innards from the body cavity.

See the dark stuff around the spine in the photo above? Scrape it out. You may need a knife to get started, but mostly you should be able to do it with a spoon.

Last, rinse out the insides of your fish.

You want to get it pretty clean, because you’re going to stuff more tasty things inside there before cooking.

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Salmon Potato Galettes http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/08/31/salmon-potato-galettes/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/08/31/salmon-potato-galettes/#comments Fri, 31 Aug 2007 15:40:02 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/08/31/salmon-potato-galettes/

These latkes look kinda fishy to me.

At least, that was was my first thought when I glanced upon the recipe in Mark Bittman’s Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking. I was on a mission to make salmon for dinner, since we don’t eat nearly enough seafood around here, and Dave complains when I pick up fish that he considers too flavorful (mackerel) or too bony (butterfish).

It’s really unfortunate. I grew up sailing, and I love fish. I caught the first fish I ever ate, in fact. (It was a fluke.) I wish we ate more fish, and blame my recent lack of fishy meals on Dave.

This is a perfect way to use up leftover salmon that has become boring, or the flesh left on the skin after you’ve cut salmon scallops for some other recipe. It revitalizes leftovers, transforms them into something different, something… crunchier.

Though Bittman calls these galettes, I look forward to serving them as Salmon Potato Latkes when Channukah comes around.

Salmon Potato Galettes
(from Fish: The Complete Guide to Buying and Cooking by Mark Bittman)
2 C grated peeled potatoes
2 C flaked cooked salmon
1 tbsp salt plus more to taste
2 tbsp minced fresh basil
Butter and olive oil for frying
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put the grated potatoes in colander and sprinkle them with 1 tbsp salt. Let them sit for 15 minutes, then rinse them and squeeze out as much water as you possibly can from them.

While letting the potatoes sit, mix together the salmon, basil, salt, and pepper.

You can use leftover salmon for this, or if you have salmon skeletons or skin left over from cutting off scallops, microwave it until the flesh is cooked enough to be easily removed and use that.

Mix the potatoes in with the rest of the ingredients. Form into patties.

Swirl half butter, half olive oil into a pan over medium-high heat and fry the galettes until they are golden brown on both sides and done.

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Leek and Oyster Chowder http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/03/04/leek-and-oyster-chowder/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/03/04/leek-and-oyster-chowder/#comments Sun, 04 Mar 2007 21:07:24 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/03/04/leek-and-oyster-chowder/

As I’ve mentioned before, I love chowder. What you may not know is that I also love oysters. (In fact, I love all seafood, except perhaps jellyfish and sea cucumbers.) This leek and oyster chowder is scrumptious as only a simple dish can be. The broth is creamy and flavorful, and the oysters themselves are silky mouthfuls of the sea.

Please do not give in to the temptation to make chowder with pre-shucked oysters or store-bought fish stock. It isn’t really much of a hassle to do it from scratch, honest. And it’s just not worth eating, otherwise.

Unlike chicken or beef stock, which have to simmer for hours, fish stock can be made in less than an hour. My local greenmarket fishmonger gives away free fish heads and bones for stock. Check with your fishmonger to see if he can help you out.

As for shucking oysters, let me tell you, I am not the most efficient shucker in town. But I get the job done. All you need is a towel or clean rag with which to hold the oyster, and an oyster knife. The towel protects your hand in case the knife slips. An oyster knife is short, thick, and not very sharp. You can use a paring knife in a pinch, but only if it is thick enough to be sturdy and not bend under pressure. Holding the oyster in one hand, the trick is to wedge the shucking knife between the shells, as close to the hinge as possible. Wriggle it in, give it a good twist, and the shells will pop apart. At that point, it’s just a matter of sliding the knife in there to cut the oyster out of the shell.

One of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon is to buy a dozen Kumamoto oysters and a jar of cocktail sauce from the fishmonger on the corner of Chrystie and Grand (in Manhattan’s Chinatown), then stand over the sink shucking them and eating them raw, one by one.

Leek and Oyster Chowder
(adapted from Jasper White’s 50 Chowders)
2 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise and chopped into 1/3″ slices
About 3 dozen medium oysters (I prefer briny East Coast oysters, personally)
4 oz. bacon, cut into 1/3″ slices (or cubes, if you can get slab bacon)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 dried bay leaf
1 1/2 lbs. Idaho or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into smallish hunks
3 C fish stock (recipe below)
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice
1 C heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Garnish with finely chopped fresh parsley or chives

Shuck the oysters over a bowl, being carefully to catch as much of their liquor as possible. Refrigerate them in their liquor until needed.

Put the bacon pieces in your chowder pot and render them over medium-low heat, until they have released their liquid fat and begun to crisp. You want to keep the heat fairly low to keep from burning the fat.

Pour off all but 1 tbsp fat (retain the bacon!). (I keep my poured off bacon grease in a can in the freezer. It is really nice to have around.)

Add the butter, leeks, and bay leaf. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened but not browned.

Add the potatoes and fish stock, supplementing with water if necessary so that the potatoes are just barely covered. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook until the potatoes are soft on the outside but still somewhat firm on the inside. Smash a few if the broth hasn’t thickened slightly already. Add the lemon zest and juice, nutmeg, and black pepper.

Remove the pot from the heat.

Gently stir in the oysters and their liquor. Stir in the cream. Taste. You probably won’t need to add any salt, but if you do, now is the time to do so.

If you have the time, let the chowder cool to room temperature and then reheat it gently before eating, in order to give the flavors a chance to meld together more fully.

Fish Stock
4 lbs. fish frames (bones & heads)
1/2 C dry white wine
Approximately 2 quarts water
2 medium onions, very thinly sliced
4 stalks celery, very thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, very thinly sliced
2 dried bay leaves
1/4 C roughly chopped fresh parsley
6-8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp black peppercorns

Get a big pot. Combine the fish racks, wine, and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, skimming off the ick, then reduce to a simmer. Stir in all the other ingredients. Add more water to cover, if needed.

Simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir, and leave it to steep for 10 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth or a very fine-meshed sieve.

You can freeze this stock for later use. We keep it in our freezer in small ziplock bags, 1 C stock per bag. Carefully labeled, given that we also hoard our homemade beef, chicken, and shrimp stocks the same way.

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Green Curry Shrimp http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/01/10/green-curry-shrimp/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/01/10/green-curry-shrimp/#comments Wed, 10 Jan 2007 16:56:04 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2007/01/10/green-curry-shrimp/

My partner Dave and I spent a fun evening a few weeks ago making green curry paste over at a friend’s new apartment, a portion of which was ours to take home and freeze. It’s always fun trying to follow recipes with our fussy friends – does the recipe call for ginger? Pfeh, we have some fresh galangal we found. Cilantro? The friend we’re with doesn’t like cilantro, so surely we can make a parsley-based green curry paste instead. And there is no such thing as too much lemongrass (there is, really, but we didn’t hit it this time).

I’ve actually developed the ability to be selectively blind when it comes to reading recipes. I’ll be glancing through a cookbook, and I’ll point out a recipe I think looks good.

“You won’t like that,” Dave will say. “It has nuts in it.” Or whatever the issue may be.

“What? Oh, no, not my version,” say I. “I’ll use cocoa nibs instead, or oats, or I’ll grind the nuts first.”

Or something like that.

Point being, parsley-based green curry paste for our friend was a tasty example of how well this can work out. Next time, I think I want to try basing the green curry paste on something more interesting instead, like basil or sage.

Our green curry paste was not as spicy as the storebought brands I’ve tried, but it was worlds more flavorful. You can buy red curry paste and make do (Mae Ploy is the brand that comes most highly recommended, and I liked it when I tried it), but for green curry paste, nothing will suffice but to make it yourself. Luckily, that’s not really a difficult or complicated endeavor. It requires little more than a shopping trip and a few minutes with your food processor.

This was our way of playing with it for the first time. Dave insisted on the shrimp, and I really wanted to play with the rock sugar I’d picked in Chinatown. I read a few recipes for Thai shrimp curries, then put them all away and threw in a dash of this, a sprinkle of that, until it started to taste like dinner.

Green Curry Shrimp
2 lbs. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 C chicken stock
15 oz. coconut milk (approximately)
1 medium red pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
1 medium green pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
2 or 3 handfuls of green beans, ends snapped off and discarded
3 tbsp green curry paste, or to taste (recipe below)
2 carrots, julienned
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 tsp Chinese rock sugar, ground into small chunks (you can substitute brown sugar or palm sugar)
1 tbsp fish sauce (or to taste)
1-2 big handfuls of fresh basil leaves
3 scallions, cut at an angle into thin slices
1 tsp sesame oil (or to taste)
salt to taste

Brown the onion and shallot in olive oil (or whichever oil you prefer) at high heat until they are somewhat browned, but not meltingly soft. Add the curry paste and stir-fry for just a moment, then add the chicken stock and coconut milk and lower the heat to simmer. Add all other ingredients except the shrimp, basil, scallions, and sesame oil.

Simmer for a little while, stirring occasionally, until it tastes right. You need to fuss with the quantity of curry paste, fish sauce, and salt until it is to your taste. Me, I keep adding more curry paste until my nose starts to drip, and then I’m happy.

Add the shrimp and basil and simmer, stirring, until they just turn opaque. Remove from heat and stir in the scallions and sesame oil last.

Serve with rice or rice noodles.

Green Curry Paste
15 green serranos, stemmed, seeded
4 large green jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded
4 sticks lemongrass, bottom 4-5″, outer layer removed
2 medium shallots
20 medium garlic cloves
1/4 C cilantro (or parsley, or whatever green herb you like)
3 tbsp fresh galangal (you can substitute ginger if necessary)
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tsp grated lime zest
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp anchovy paste

Coarsely chop all the fresh ingredients.

Toast the coriander and cumin in a dry pan until fragrant.

Blend everything together in your food processor until it forms a smooth paste, or close enough.

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Scallop Chickpea Tagine http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/12/27/scallop-chickpea-tagine/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/12/27/scallop-chickpea-tagine/#comments Wed, 27 Dec 2006 15:33:50 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/12/27/scallop-chickpea-tagine/

When I first served this to two couples we had over for dinner, the women declared it too spicy, while the men dug in enthusiastically. I won’t try to interpret that data, but there it is. I’m not sure why any of them found it to be so spicy, though. I am sensitive to spicy foods; I love them, but they make my nose drip and my eyes tear and, on rare occasions, my ears pop. This dish is mild enough that I can eat it in polite company without reaching for a box of tissues, so it can’t be as hot as our guests seemed to think.

Dave thinks that something about it makes the heat linger, but I did not experience that at all. I just find it satisfying, a comfort food totally unlike those I grew up with.

This makes a wonderful vegetarian dish if you omit the scallops, which is how the original recipe from Cooking Moroccan by Tess Mallos actually went. I actually think I prefer it that way.

Scallop Chickpea Tagine
(adapted from Cooking Moroccan by Tess Mallos)
Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 C chickpeas
1/4 preserved lemon, peel only, finely chopped
1/4 C chopped parsley
1/2 lb. bay scallops
3 tbsp chopped cilantro

Because most people reading this probably don’t own a tagine, these instructions are geared towards cooks using a heavy-bottomed saucepan instead.

If you are using dried chickpeas, soak them in water overnight, then cook them in lightly salted water until they are soft. If you are using canned chickpeas, you should need 2 15 oz. cans. Drain and rinse them. Either way, peel them after they are cooked (if dried) or rinsed (if canned).

Brown the onion in about 1/4 C olive oil, then stir in the garlic and spices and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and sugar, along with a bit of water if your tomatoes weren’t juicy enough, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Stir in the chickpeas and preserved lemon, again adding a bit of water if necessary, and continue to simmer, covered, for another 20 minutes.

Stir in the scallops, and cook until they just begin to turn opaque. Then remove from heat, stir in the parsley and cilantro, and serve with couscous.

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Stir-Fried Clams with Black Bean Sauce http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/11/19/stir-fried-clams-with-black-bean-sauce/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/11/19/stir-fried-clams-with-black-bean-sauce/#comments Sun, 19 Nov 2006 22:05:58 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/11/19/stir-fried-clams-with-black-bean-sauce/

I keep seeing these tiny, adorable clams in the Chinatown fishmarkets whenever I’m out shopping around there. They live in vast bins, not far from the live frogs and periwinkles that I keep meaning to learn how to prepare.

I have this thing about eating cute things. I like doing it. If I see something adorable and edible, I want nothing more than to pop it into my mouth. These clams were no exception. I wanted to cook them and eat them from miniature plates with a miniature fork, which is exactly what I did.

When I took them home and opened the bag to wash the clams, these two fell out locked in their tight embrace.

Stir-Fried Clams with Black Bean Sauce
Oil for frying
2 leeks, sliced into thin rounds and washed carefully
2 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp chopped ginger
4 birdeye peppers, ground
4 tbsp preserved black beans, rinsed and squished a bit with a fork
2 1/2 lbs. tiny clams, washed carefully
1 C chicken stock
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
3 scallions, chopped (only the green parts)
1 tsp sesame oil

Heat your wok until it you can feel the heat radiating off of it with your palm held several inches above the bottom. Pour in enough oil to swirl around and coat the bottom of your wok.

Add the leeks and stir-fry until brown, then remove them from the pan.

Add a little more oil if necessary. Throw in the ginger, garlic, and ground birdseye peppers and stir-fry for about thirty seconds, or until their fragrance really comes out. Add the beans and stir fry for just a moment, then add the clams, stock, soy sauces, and wine and cover the pan for a few minutes, until many of the clams open. Remove the cover, and remove the open clams. Stir-fry until the rest of the clams that will open do, removing them as they open. When that’s done, return all the clams to the pan and stir-fry just a bit to warm them up again.

Turn off the heat, and stir in the scallions and sesame oil.

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