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March 2009/July 2012 COTM Fish Without a Doubt: Shellfish Appetizers & First Courses and Chowders, Soups, Stews

**March 2009 Cookbook of the Month** is Fish Without a Doubt by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore.

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes for shellfish appetizers and first courses as well as chowders, soups, and stews here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating!

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  1. Mussels with Black Bean Sauce (p. 287)

    When my husband heard what we were having for dinner he got this look on his face and said "that sounds weird." Well ... ha ha! He LOVED it. We all did. Very easy to put together, especially if you still have your fermented black beans from Dunlop month. I served it as a main instead of an appetizer since there were 2 and a half of us, and made his asian slaw on the side. Not very asian but I sliced up a baguette on the side for the sauce. This is the third seafood (as opposed to side dish, etc.) I've tried from this book, and every one of them has been a big hit.

    14 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom

      OOOhh! I'm so excited to try this! Sounds wonderful. I actually still do have the fermented beans from Dunlop, but have been a little afraid to use them. Do you think, even after a year, they are still good, or were you teasing?


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        I used mine from last year! I'm under the impression they last a long, long time in the pantry.

      2. re: LulusMom

        could you summarize the ingredients for the mussels with black beans? I have the book at home so don't need the recipe, but was going to stop by the store on the way home. I *do* have the black beans. And yes I'm under the impression that they last essentially forever.

        1. re: DGresh

          I'll go get the book and post in a minute for you.


          1/4 cup veg. oil
          2 T minced ginger
          1 T minced garlic
          1/4 fermented black beans
          1 tsp sambal oelek
          2 lbs mussels
          1 T sherry vinegar
          1 T unsalted butter
          2 T fresh cilantro
          2 T chopped fresh basil
          Juice of 1/2 lime

          This sounds like it would be good even without the beans ....

          1. re: DGresh

            Just happen to have the book open right next to me [though I have not yet gotten to page 287]

            You will need vegetable oil, fresh ginger and garlic, the beans, chili paste (sambal oelek). Obviously, the 2 pounds of mussels, water, sherry vinegar, unsalted butter, cilantro and basil and finally, one lime. Is this close enough for your shopping trip?

            1. re: smtucker

              great --thanks. Only thing I don't have or can't easily get is sambal oelek. But my kids aren't all that crazy about spice anyway; maybe I'll just throw in some red chili flakes. All I need to buy is mussels and (maybe) the basil.

              1. re: DGresh

                made the mussels with black beans last night. Delicious and very easy. I even found the sambal oelek in my little market. Definately have all your little bowls of stuff ready to go before you start-- no time between adding items all.

          2. re: LulusMom

            Mussels with Black Bean Sauce, page 287.

            When I posted my clam dish I happened to see LulusMom's report on this dish. As we have lots of Penn Cove mussels here on the island, and since we brought a pound of fermented black beans with us (we go through then like mad), I thought I'd give this a go. I had to make a couple substitutions. I thought I had a lime, but didn't so used lemon. And I didn't have sherry vinegar so I mixed a combination of red wine, balsamic, and a bit of rice wine. Nothing like the sherry version, of course, but that's what I had.

            Oh my goodness! This was out of this world! We had it as a main dish with just a salad for the side. Neither of us could stop eating, and we went through almost 2 pounds of mussels! Our version was a bit spicier than the recipe. Mr. NS threw in an extra spoonful of sambal oelek, unaware that I had done the same thing. I would do it exactly the same way again. And I will do this again, without a doubt. And the bit of butter adds such a nice, rich feel to it. What a great combination of flavors!

            1. re: L.Nightshade

              Just a note here...
              I made this again for guests, so I doubled the recipe. It didn't work that with the doubling of all ingredients, including the water. I think it only takes X amount of water to get the mussels cooked and opened, no matter how many you are cooking. It took a while to get it reduced, and it never got to the delightful saucy level it reached the prior time. If I double it again, I won't double the water, maybe just increase it slightly.

              1. re: L.Nightshade

                Mussels with Black Bean Sauce, p. 287

                I made these tonight and am joining the chorus: delicious! Followed the recipe to the letter, and then we ate them w/baguette slices. With some pate as a started, this was dinner. I had planned a couple of side vegggies, but never got around to those.

                These reminded us so much of a clam w/black bean dish we've eaten in Chinatown for years since a friend introduced us to a place where this was a special(ty). (Probably not a very special place to those in the know, but we fell in love w/this particular dish.) Now I know I can re-create it at home. Smiles all around.

                I just love this book.

              2. re: LulusMom

                Will just add to everyone else's raves -- made these last night and they were lick-the-plate good. My first use of fermented black beans and now I'm eager to find other uses. I made the full recipe of sauce, but only half the mussels since I was just making it for me. Served with just a little jasmine rice to soak up the delicious sauce. Will definitely make this one again.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  Made this last night and enjoyed it very much. Am planning to make this for company next week. It was a touch on the over-salty side. Was wondering if anyone had a tip for preventing this... Can mussels be soaked prior to cooking?

                  1. re: Blythe spirit

                    The first thing that came to my mind was, did you rinse the black beans Very Well? They are very salty if not rinsed. Also, soak the mussels in fresh water for about 20 minutes. They will have less salt and sand inside their shells after 20 min.

                    1. re: Gio

                      Thanks Gio - I did rinse the black beans. So I was very perplexed by the extreme saltiness. I am going to soak the mussels as you suggested, and see if that helps. I have had similar issues with clams from my lical market.Was also looking at the Thai mussels as an alternative since everyone seems to love that recipe too.

                2. Potato Leek Stew with Shrimp and Hake (Cod) p. 307.

                  Another huge hit, especially on a cold, wet night. Aside from a LOT of chopping (an onion, two leeks, a cup of scallions and some watercress) this is a snap to put together. The creamy broth has a lot more depth than you'd think (usually I think a little wine is necessary in a cream sauce; there is none in this). We absolutely loved it. I used cod since no hake was available. I would say that his instruction to cook the fish and shrimp for 10 minutes seems excessive to me. I turned off the heat after about 6 or 7 minutes. My husband is not the world's biggest cod fan, but he said "you've done it again - proven that cod can be fantastic."

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: LulusMom

                    Hmm -maybe I'll make that tomorrow night instead of the classic mussels. And, of course, I just threw out my fermented black beans in a thorough fridge cleaning - sounds like maybe I didn't need to!

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      I'm also going to try the Thai style ones (I think they're on the page after the black bean sauce). Of course classic mussels are wonderful too.

                    2. re: LulusMom

                      Yeah, I made this with cod and key west shrimp, fantastic, even leftover the next day at lunch. I didn't add the shrimp until about three minutes before I turned off the heat, since I knew we'd have leftovers and didn't want to overcook them. (They were smaller than the 31-35 count called for in the recipe.) I also have to say that even without the full amount of cream--I only had 3 ounces left, made up the rest with lowfat milk even, wow, the flavor was all there. I didn't find watercress and didn't want to hunt for it, so just was sure to have plenty of scallions, and it was still very tasty and not boring at all without that little whang from the cress. We had with buttered baguette.

                    3. Classic Steamed Mussels, p. 284

                      I made the full amount as a main course for us last night. I liked the addition of mustard and mint, which I've not used before with mussels. I thought the dish was good, my husband enjoyed it as well, but I don't feel compelled to make this recipe again.

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: MMRuth

                          Classic Steamed Mussels (page 284)

                          I agree with you, MMRuth. I liked this well enough, but I wouldn’t make it again either. Unlike you, I didn’t care for the hint of mustard. Maybe I’m just not used to it. My go-to recipe is from “Jean Anderson Cooks” and I like her recipe better. It has lots of onions in addition to shallots, uses much more wine, and adds just a bit of butter, which makes the sauce a lot richer. The touch of mint was interesting, but nothing more.

                        2. Clams with chorizo, p283

                          He says to serve this with drinks, but I thought they'd make a nice starter, with a few tweaks. So I used half a kilo of palourdes clams (not sure if they're the same as little necks), and a couple of chorizo sausages.

                          You skin the sausages and slice them, and then fry them in a little olive oil for a minute or two until starting to brown. Then add four cloves of chopped garlic, thyme, the clams and a third of a cup of dry sherry (I used fino). Cover and cook until the clams open (less then five minutes for me - he says it can take up to 10).

                          We all thought this was delicious, and it was very easy to put together at the last minute. You need plenty of bread to soak up the juices. I don't really see how you can serve this with drinks, to be honest. It would be pretty messy, and you definitely need plates, napkins and a table to sit around.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: greedygirl

                            "I don't really see how you can serve this with drinks,"

                            Very sloppily. See the last paragraph.


                            1. re: greedygirl

                              Made this for a solo dinner the other night, without any modifications. I completely agree with GG and Joan that it is delicious and dead easy and fast -- amazing how so few ingredients produced such deliciousness in so little time. And I made sure to have a baguette on hand with which to wipe out every drop of the juices. I was one very happy eater.

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                Clams with chorizo

                                Wow, we loved this. I doubled the recipe (using TJs soy chorizo) and we still all wanted more. Aside from it being a bit on the salty side (probably from the soy chorizo) this was absolutely heavenly. Sopped up with lots of baguette and with a caprese salad on the side (which did a great job of clearing the salt-problem). Lulu said "Can we have this again next week?" LulusDad said "Is this the Fish without a doubt guy again? He sure knows what he's doing." As others have said, this is very easy to put together, and is fabulous.

                              2. Scallop Cioppino (page 319)

                                Another multi-part recipe that can be done in stages. I made half the recipe, and made the cioppino base and the Cilantro Aïoli a day before I put the dish together.

                                To make the base you sauté onions in olive oil and add, sequentially and allowing each to cook for a minute or two, garlic, bell peppers, oregano, minced jalapeño, tomato paste, wine, clam juice, canned diced tomatoes, and lots of white pepper. Simmer for half an hour, let cool, and refrigerate overnight if you wish or just continue on with the recipe.

                                The Cilantro Aïoli (page 419) (which I made with basil because I forgot to buy cilantro and wasn’t going out for it) is non-traditional. You process cilantro, shallots, garlic, lime juice, egg yolk, and store-bought mayo. It was wonderfully herby, and with low-fat mayo a good deal less caloric than traditional aïoli, but were I to make it again (it was a nice element, but hardly necessary to the enjoyment of the dish) I’d use a standard recipe and just add the herbs.

                                The next day I brought the cioppino base to a simmer, added chopped basil, parsley and bay scallops (the recipe calls for sea scallops, but for some reason I can’t fathom the wild bay scallops were two dollars a pound less at Fairway than the wild sea scallops) and simmered it for four or five minutes until the scallops were barely cooked. To serve, you ladle the cioppino over inch-thick slices of baguette that have been sautéed in olive oil until golden, then dried in a 200F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

                                It’s a thick stew, not soupy at all, so very substantial. It’s a tad sweeter than I expected, perhaps because I used a sweet onion. Next time I’ll use regular yellow onions instead, and perhaps cut back a bit on the tomato paste. Not sure where else, other than the scallops themselves, the sweet element would have come from. This was yet another delicious winner from this book. And with the cioppino base made ahead of time, can be put together practically in a wink.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: JoanN

                                  That looks very very good. Another one I would otherwise probably have passed right by.

                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    Scallop Cioppino - thank you JoanN. I would so much have passed this recipe by without a second glance. My husband was flying in from overseas this evening, and I wanted to have something tasty for him that wasn't too heavy. I made the base for this two days ago, then just added the scallops and made the croutons when he walked in the door. It was fantastic. As I told him I had dinner ready for him, he sort of wiggled around in an embarrassed way and said "I'm not really that hungry." Ahem. Two servings of cioppino later ...

                                    I made the cilantro aioli and we loved it. Lulu was scooping it up with her spoon without anything else. I did leave out the egg yolk, just because I was serving to a 2 year old and didn't want to chance raw egg.

                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      Glad you all liked it. Yours looks soupier than mine, and I think I would have preferred that. I wonder if it's because you cut the vegetables chunkier. I'll have to try that next time.

                                      1. re: JoanN

                                        I used one less pepper and was maybe a little freer with the wine - that may have something to do with it too. We really loved it.

                                      2. re: LulusMom

                                        Need to tell this follow up: Lulu liked the cilantro aioli so much that she asked for some yesterday and today with her lunch. So today I put some out on her lunch plate, along with some leftover fried calamari (sort of made sense). She used it on that, and then on ... her grapes. Every single one of them. No matter how wrong this seemed, I simply couldn't stop her. She was loving it.

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          Wonderful story. You've got quite a Chowpup there. How old is she now?

                                          1. re: JoanN

                                            She'll be 3 next month. It took me until I was about 30 to be able to love cilantro.

                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                              LLM - I love hearing about your daughter. See how children's taste habits can be programmed.... When I hear of adults who don't like this or that, I wonder what they were exposed to as children. And believe me, I have several friends who have to inspect every bit of food served to them before they will even consider eating it. What a shame..... and how fortunate are we to have children who will at least *try*.....

                                              1. re: Gio

                                                Thanks Gio - I don't push food on her, but I also don't offer alternatives if she doesn't like something. And I'm with you - it saddens me when I meet people who are so nervous about what they eat.

                                          2. re: LulusMom

                                            I've been reading through the reports of FWAD/2009 to see what I missed the first time around. When I read about Lulu putting the cilantro aioli on her grapes I laughed out loud, having forgotten that story. I can't believe she was just two years old then. Now I'll have to make the cioppino with aioli just because. I'll leave out the raw yolk as you did too... just because.

                                      3. Clam juice. Where does one get such a thing. I've seen it a few times in American recipes but it's not something I've ever seen in a shop.

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                          It really is quite extraordinary how something so ubiquitous on one side of the pond is a rarity on the other. It comes in bottles, is made by the people who package canned clams, and is usually found near the canned fish section of most markets. Either there, or near the pastas, since it's a standard ingredient in linguine with clam sauce. Fish or shellfish fumet would be a more than adequate substitute. One might need to adjust the salt in the recipe since clam juice does contain an awful lot of sodium--as so many of these commercial products tend to do.

                                          1. re: JoanN

                                            Most often when I see clam juice in recipes, it seems clear it is called for as a ready-made substitute for fish or shellfish stock, the supermarket equivalent of canned broth recommended for ease.

                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              I've never seen it here, and I've never used in in linguine alla vongole either - surely the clams just make their own sauce with the help of some white wine?

                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                I've never used it in vongole either, and as Caitlin says, it's often a substitute for fish/shellfish broth in recipes.

                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                  I have to admit it sounds kind of gross. And blimey - aren't you up early for a Saturday!

                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                    It's about on a grossness par with Heinz Salad Cream ;-)

                                                    I'd only use either if I didn't want to bother making the ingredient from scratch.

                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                      Heinz Salad Cream is the food of the gods. ;-) I would never put it on salad though my mother does. She is not what you'd call a gourmet.

                                            2. re: greedygirl

                                              In Canada they add clam juice to their bloody marys and call them bloody caesars (not sure how caesar and clams are connected, but there you go).

                                              I find the stuff really convenient.

                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                You don't really get canned clams over here, so that's probably why you don't get clam juice either!

                                            3. I made Shrimp Gumbo (p. 324) last weekend.

                                              I actually made it a couple days later than I expected to, due to not carefully reading the recipe before hand. I usually have about 2 hours to cook dinner each week day night, so I quickly read the recipe and saw that it takes 1.5 hours or so to make the dark roux, then you make the soup. I figured I could do it if I started as soon as I got home. I had just barely started the roux, cut up the okra, and started defrosting the shrimp when I saw that after you made the roux it was another 1.5 hours to cook the soup. Ok, not tonight. I put everything in the fridge and refroze the shrimp.

                                              On Sunday I started the roux again. I'd never made a dark roux before and was a bit intimidated that I'd burn it, but I just put it on very low heat (stainless skillet) and checked and stirred it every five minutes or so. (I was just hanging out in the kitchen reading a book) I *did not* stand stirring for 1.5 hours as you will see in just about every discussion on the web. I looked at pictures on the web to get an idea of what it should look like when done. It probably took close to two hours since I was being very careful with the heat. I then went off to church and finished the soup in the afternoon.

                                              I used chicken andouille since my daughter doesn't eat meat (and as of yesterday doesn't eat chicken either, sigh)

                                              It was *very* good when finished. Very flavorful. We had lots and lots of leftovers which my husband and I had for lunch the next day. It was kind of fun making the roux; sort of magical watching the transformation.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                I don’t understand this hour-and-a-half thing for making roux, probably because I learned to make it from the instructions in “Paul Prudhomme’s Louisianana Kitchen” and he makes it the “fast” way. (I recall an episode of “Top Chef” where one of the contestants was giving another one grief for trying to make a roux during the quick-fire and was saying it would take too long. I wondered how s/he could possibly be contemplating making a roux and be unfamiliar with the way Prudhomme makes it.)

                                                I’ve got his method down pat by now since I’ve made his seafood and andouille gumbo at least once a year for more than 20 years. He makes it over high heat and it doesn’t take longer than 10 minutes. You have to watch it like a hawk, but once you know just what color it is that you’re looking for it’s easy to see it coming. In Prudhomme’s recipes, he adds chopped vegetables to the roux once it has reached the right color and that helps keep the roux from cooking further. Since vegetables aren’t added in this recipe, one would probably have to slow down the cooking toward the end to make sure it doesn’t get too dark, but I see no reason the Prudhomme method wouldn’t work here. It’s probably not a good idea to try this the first time you ever make a dark roux as you were, DGresh, but it’s good to know there’s an alternative.

                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                  My Cajun MIL taught me to make a dark roux in about 25 minutes. No way would I spend an hour on a roux. Maybe it's with the frequency of rouxs made here where we live, but no one I know would take that long when it's not necessary.

                                                2. re: DGresh

                                                  This makes me remember the episode of Top Chef in New Orleans where they catered a swanky party -- much attention to the dark color of the roux for it to be a "proper" gumbo. :)

                                                  1. re: foxy fairy

                                                    A friend has dedicated the last few months of his life to perfecting gumbo, so I have to chime in, as it's all I've been hearing about lately:) As I've been told, there's a lot of different kinds of roux, some take long, some don't. It's like the difference between spending 5 days feeding a sourdough sponge as opposed to making a quick rise bread, it depends on what you're going for. And how much free time you have:)

                                                    DGresh, my source tells me next time if you don't have a lot of time to babysit your roux, you can achieve the same slow cooked flavor in a dutch oven, in the oven. Alton Brown has a recipe for this method online.

                                                    1. re: yamalam

                                                      We have a blonde roux, a medium roux - like a pecan shell or peanut butter, and a dark roux.

                                                3. Thai Style Mussels (p.288).

                                                  These were pure heaven. I mean I really really loved them. Huge hit with all of us, although when forced to choose which of the mussel dishes from this book he preferred, my husband chose the black bean one. For me, this was the winner - but both are great. I was able to find kaffir lime leaves, which he has you heat with a can of coconut milk and then sit for 30 minutes. Honestly, I"m not sure this step is necessary, since there is lime juice added later that def. brings a lot of lime flavor, but maybe having followed the recipe I don't realize how much skipping this step would take away. You cook shallots and garlic in oil, then add the mussels until open, take them out, reduce the liquid, and add lime juice, fish sauce and chilies (he called for 2 red ones, I used on serrano instead), add the coconut milk, then return the mussels to the pot and add chopped mint and cilantro. Simple and killer good. Instead of rice I served with baguette.

                                                  16 Replies
                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                    I really think you understated the Thai-Styel Mussels, LLM. They're better than killer good. They're killer great. I simply refuse to believe the mussels with black beans could be better. Guess I’ll just have to try them and see if I agree with you or your husband. But I think you’re going to win this one.

                                                    I used the kaffir lime leaves as well so I also don’t know what it might taste like without them. But there was a depth to the flavor of the sauce that I’m not sure would have been there with the juice alone. I used two fresh Thai chiles, with seeds as called for, and didn’t think it spicy at all. Might even add a third next time. And I did, as he instructs, add rice to the sauce remaining in the bowl after I’d eaten the mussels. Killer fantastic.

                                                    I made half the recipe (which is for four) and damn good thing too because I ate every bit of it. Including two servings of rice. I’m not sure about making this for company, though. I think I’d just embarrass myself sitting there licking every last drop of sauce off the shells and smiling like an idiot.

                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                      well with that recommendation, I have to make these tonight! I'll be the guinea pig to report on how they are without the kaffir leaves, as they aren't readily available for me. I may also have to report on how it is without the right kind of chilis, unless I'm lucky on the way home. If you had to choose, would you use jalepeno (fresh) or dried arbol? That's what I've got in the house already.

                                                      1. re: DGresh

                                                        I'd go with the jalapeno just because I assume he is talking about fresh chiles, not dried. And I'm also guessing that the only reason he specifies red is for the color since there's already a good bit of green in the dish.

                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          re the chile color, Im not sure

                                                          I was reading a so. indian cookbook the other day and at the end of a recipe was "substitutions" - the author noted that a red chile could be used in place of the green.

                                                          1. re: jen kalb

                                                            Not sure I understand what you're saying. It sounds as though the author of your cookbook is confirming that red and green chiles can be used interchangeably, yes? Isn't that what I was saying? I seem to be missing something here.

                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              I m probably being fussy, thats not what I am saying. The indian cookbook regards red chiles as an acceptable substitution in a recipe calling for green chiles. Since there is a different flavor to red (riper) and green (unripe) chiles, I conclude that in chile eating cultures, it would likely be more than a color accent that would determine which chile to use. For westerners who are not into such subtleties to the same degree, and perhaps (tho not certainly) in an asian recipe by a western person who might be thinking of color accept rather than flavor, its not likely to matter as much, certainly is not likely to affect the pleasure in eating a good dish. I keep a bag of mixed chiles in my freezer and try to use the color called for in recipes, but if I Ive run out of green sure, Ill use red.

                                                              1. re: jen kalb

                                                                Okay. I see what you’re saying. Purely out of curiosity, I checked to see what my Asian cookbooks had to say about the red/green issue. Almost shocking lack of consensus. One says green is considered a bit hotter; another says no, not true. One says just what you did, that red chiles are more fully flavored than green. One author says she can’t tell the difference and uses them interchangeably; another says use only green chiles in recipes calling for green but doesn’t say why.

                                                                So once I was thoroughly confused, I checked McGee. His comment on the subject: “ . . . maximum pungency comes around the time that the green fruit begins to change color.”

                                                                Aaaargh! I’ll continue to do exactly as you. Use the color called for. Unless I don’t have it.

                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                            made it last night; no kaffir leaves; instead added about one lime's worth of grated peel and steeped that in the coconut milk. Used 1 1/2 jalepenos (was afraid of scaring the kids but it wasn't spicy at all). Delicious! Certainly would be happy to make them many times again. The mussels came out so nice and plump and tasty (and these were just supermarket mussels- nothing fancy)

                                                            1. re: DGresh

                                                              Excellent idea to add the grated zest to the coconut milk. I'll have to remember that when I run out of kaffir lime leaves.

                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                I've used this trick in other recipes and it works well.

                                                                and I'm thrilled that everyone else is loving this as much as I did.

                                                      2. re: LulusMom

                                                        OMG were these mussels great!
                                                        Here's the thing: don't serve them to company. If you can help it, eat alone! These are so scrumptious if you have to share it will not bring out the kind side of you.

                                                        I made as directed w/ 1 # of mussels. Skipped the mint, 'cause reading the recipe there seemed to be no good reason for it. i did as instructed -- ate the steamed mussels and then added jasmine rice to remaining liquid to slurp up w/ a spoon. Heaven.
                                                        I love you COTM'ers!

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          Thai-Style Mussels, p. 288

                                                          I'd been dying to try this recipe after reading all the raves so I started on it Friday, but discovered the mussels I'd just purchased were all dead, But am I glad I persevered and went out and bought fresh ones on Saturday--because, gosh, did we love these. Even my shell-averse husband said he'd happily dig these mussels out of their shells any time. I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter--had kaffir leaves, had red Thai chiles--and agreed with all the posters who though these were "killer good." Thanks for leading me to this recipe.

                                                          I served this as our main course, w/baguette for dunking, along with a purchased Asian noodle salad from WF and some grilled baby bok choy (which DH discovered was improved immensely by spooning the mussel broth over it).

                                                          Wonderful mussels! Now I can't wait to try them with black bean sauce.

                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                            These were really amazing.

                                                            I will start off with a quick comment. Since it was only me and my GF, we cut the recipe in half. And if you were to do so, be a bit cautious since following the directions will result in a bit extra browning of the shallots and garlic and the end result will lose a bit of that wonderful white creaminess of the coconut milk.

                                                            Regardless, this came out very delicious. I loved the kaffir lime flavor in this and mixing the excess sauce with the rice made for some of the tastiest rice I have had in some time. The spice on this was just spot on.

                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                              Thai-Style Mussels, p. 288

                                                              One might think Moonen was thinking a lot of himself to pronounce this a killer recipe in the head note, but as others have posted, it is really super-wonderful. I didn't have kaffir lime leaves, so I used DGresh's solution of steeping lime zest in the coconut milk. I forgot to get a shallot when I bought mussels, so I used onion. I made a half recipe (all for me, thankfully!), but I went ahead and used two Thai bird chiles. I didn't have rice with it, but rest assured I finished every bit of the coconut milk broth. And like Joan, found myself licking it off the shells, to boot. Wonderful.

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                Just one more chiming in to say how delicious these are. Made the recipe as stated and took Moonen's suggestion of having rice at the ready to soak up all that lovely leftover sauce after devouring a pound of mussels all by myself. Definitely a keeper.

                                                                FWIW, I do think that the steeping of the kaffir lime leaves in the coconut milk made a big difference -- it gave depth and a real Thai aroma.

                                                                I might not serve them to "fancy" company, but I wouldn't hesitate to serve them for an intimate date dinner...something to be said for a devour-it-with-your-hands meal.

                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                  I made this last night, just for myself with one pound of mussels, but all the other ingredients kept the same. I concur with all the positive reviews - this was delicious with steamed rice to soak up the sauce.
                                                                  Did made a few notes for the future for myself. This was my second mussel recipe from this book, and this time around, I soaked my mussels first. These was still an issue with the dish being slightly over-salted; I suspect this is my fault as I 'eyeballed' the fish sauce instead of measuring. Next time, I will measure more carefully and/or cut back slightly and see if that makes a difference. Also, it seemed that soaking the mussels made them open up sooner than they ordinarily would - I think mine were very slightly underdone as a result of my removing them as soon as they opened (well under the 4 min. time given). I was skeptical about the addition of mint but ended up LOVING it. Was also a bit dubious about the addition of 2 chilis, with seeds and all - but the dish was surprisingly balanced for heat.

                                                                2. Clams with chorizo, p. 283. I made a half recipe for myself with local clams from the farmer's market. I first purged the clams in saltwater using the method in the book. And I could see that the clams did expel some dirt. But I used too much salt and the dish ended up too salty, especially since the chorizo was salty. It was still good _ I love shellfish with pork. I'll make it again but I'll watch the salt.

                                                                  1. Popcorn shrimp, p. 262:
                                                                    I'll post this here instead of in the thread that includes frying. It's is supposed to be a first course but it was the main course for us. I served it with the cocktail sauce in the book, homemade bread and cole slaw (not a recipe from this book, one of Nigella Lawson's.)
                                                                    Delicious! I hardly ever deep fry. Too fattening, too messy. But there's something so satisfying about a pot of boiling oil. I'm tempted to do it more often now that I'm getting the hang of it. This recipe uses rock shrimp. You salt and pepper them and soak them in milk or buttermilk. Then you drain them and coat them in a mixture of flour and cornmeal. Then into the hot oil for about a minute and a half. I thought they were yummy. I followed the recipe pretty closely except that it calls for white pepper, which I don't have, so I used black pepper. I never buy white pepper because in the past I haven't liked the taste. Is this something I need to get over? Shoud I start stocking white pepper?

                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: NYCkaren

                                                                      So glad you tried this. I've wanted to, and put it off for exactly the reasons you mention. But I've had a craving for fried shrimp lately and am happy to hear that this is worth the mess and the calories.

                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                        I thought it was yummy! Now I want to try the recipes for fried squid, oysters etc. By the time I return this book the the library it may be a bit grease-spattered. But I was pretty good about monitoring the temperature of the oil, and that way the food doesn't absorb too much, right? Isn't that what they say?

                                                                      2. re: NYCkaren

                                                                        Mmmm. I got a deep fryer for my birthday, and haven't tried it yet. You're spurring me on. I LOVE fried shrimp.

                                                                        The author of this book is obsessed with white pepper. I like the stuff a lot, so always have it on hand (although onlyl the ground stuff, not peppercorns), but I wonder if it is as strictly necessary as he seems to think.

                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                          Many times recipes will call for white pepper when it's thought the color of black pepper would make a dish unappealing. I don't quite get how that applies when you salt and pepper before the item goes into a batter, but maybe the batter is thin and the black pepper would show through?

                                                                          I do taste a difference between white and my usual tellicherry black pepper, too--the latter is more assertively hot, but also more complex whereas white tastes somewhat bland by comparison. White pepper also has a sort of floral characteristic, and not in a good way to my taste, though I can see where it'd be appealing to some. There are also big variations in pepper grown in different climates, etc. so perhaps there are varieties of white pepper that are different from the one I've tasted. I often sub black pepper when it's called for in recipes, because I don't mind the flecks of black in dishes.

                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                            According to the Penzey catalog, all peppercorns start out black, but the peppercorns that will become white ones are allowed to ripen more fully before harvesting after which the black outer shell is removed. They also say, "White peppercorns are regarded by many parts of the world as the finest flavored, most preferred pepper, rich and sophisticated. . . . Many Asian dishes rely heavily on the flavor of white pepper, and it is preferred for cooking the foods of Southesast Asia, and Southern and Eastern Europe."

                                                                            I keep two peppermills, one with tellicherry black and the other with Sarawak white. Just did a taste test and was surprised that the tellicherry was only very moderately more intense than the Sarawak. Other than that, I was surprised not to notice a significant difference. But then, I just returned from an excellent Sichuan banquet so it could be that my tastebuds were otherwise engaged.

                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                              That's interesting, thanks! Maybe I'll have to try the Sarawak next time I'm in Penzey's. To me, white pepper has a cloying flowery quality I don't like, but I'm one of those people who has a gut reaction to floral perfume or to fresh lilies, that is, the first whiff nauseates me.

                                                                            2. re: LulusMom

                                                                              White pepper makes people take sides. Sara Moulton for example, can't stand white pepper and refuses to keep it in her kitchen. It is a rare recipe in Gourmet Magazine that will include this pepper for just that reason.

                                                                              I use white pepper for egg, white sauces, white fish.. anything white. But I don't love pepper when it is cooked in any event, so it is always in modest amounts. My primary eating partner is going to crack tons of the black stuff at the table anyhow. So, I season to my tastes. There is no way I could add enough for him so I don't even try.

                                                                          2. Cioppino (page 317)

                                                                            The recipe starts with a base that he recommends you make a day ahead, and I did. You sauté onions, celery, and an herb bouquet until onions are soft; add garlic and chopped leeks, then sliced mushrooms, white wine, chopped tomatoes, and fish fumet (I used Penzey’s Seafood Base). Season with s&p. I added a sprinkling of crushed red pepper.

                                                                            Next day, bring base to a simmer and add sequentially littlenecks, scallops, shrimp, mussels, lump crabmeat, and chopped parsley. He says to serve it over linguine. I didn’t. Just served it with bread to sop up the juices.

                                                                            My friend and I were in shellfish heaven. A couple of notes, though. We mopped up every bit of sauce, although I think it could have been a touch more intensely flavored. Next time I might up the herbs and add a bit of tomato paste. He says it serves 6. My friend and I ate half of it. But for us, it was the whole meal. Maybe with linguine it would serve 6. He says to peel and devein the shrimp except for the tail. I often do this with shrimp, and I did here; but I wouldn’t again. You don’t want to be reaching into the stew with your fingers to pick up the shrimp so you can bite off the tail. I used half the amount of lump crab called for because I didn’t feel like cashing in my 401K. Even half was horrendously expensive and it sort of got lost with all the other shellfish. I don’t care if it’s heresy, next time I make this I might try surimi. That’s what I use in my seafood gumbo and I like it just fine.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                              Absolutely gorgeous.

                                                                              I hear you on the lump crab. When I make this I'll probably leave it out, given what you've said. Maybe just up the other seafood.

                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                It is pictures like this one that make me wish desperately that I wasn't allergic to shellfish. What a gorgeous dinner that is.

                                                                              2. Fumet [page 296]

                                                                                With three weeks of fish bones, cages and heads piling up in the freezer, it was time to make stock or fumet. I chose this recipe over the one distributed by the Sustainable Fish people because I thought the ingredient list was more interesting.

                                                                                Lets start with the house. The house right now, smells like a good restaurant in Marseille and the stock is good. Amazing, good. So good that when I transfered the fumet into a tupperware and a few drops spilled onto the counter, I considered licking them up with my tongue.

                                                                                I regret that I didn't weigh the fish bones and heads before starting, but I had the cages and heads of two 4-5 lb cod and 7 whiting heads. [Aside, the amount of meat still on the bone for week 1 cod was distinctly greater than for week 2 cod.]

                                                                                All the aromatics are sliced very thinly. I used my v-slicer to get a consistent cut. I lined the bottom of my largest Crueset oval with the 2 stalks of celery, then a layer of the onion and finally the shallots. Drizzled a teaspoon of olive oil and then lay the cages and heads, which had been seasoned with salt, over the top. Covered the pan and turned the heat to medium low and let steam for the suggested 15 minutes. Since the bones were not yet opaque, I continue to steam, checking frequently. It needed an additional 20 minutes.

                                                                                The recipe then calls for 1 cup of white wine and 3 cups of water, or so that the bones are just submerged. I used a vermouth and ended up with 4 cups of water. The heads were not totally submerged, but I didn't want to add anymore liquid. The rest was simple. Bring the pot to a slow simmer with lazy bubbles and set the timer to 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let sit with the cover on for an hour before straining.

                                                                                Easy method and the results are, as I said, amazing. I may never be able to use boxed fish fumet again.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                  Fumet [page 296]

                                                                                  Just an update, three years later. Since making this fumet in 2009 I have made fumets using every recipe on my shelves including Mastering the Art and a few from online, and this version is absolutely my favorite! I stopped trying variations in 2010 and this version is my "go-to."

                                                                                2. Shrimp Scampi [page 290]

                                                                                  Monday in addition to our regular fish share, we purchased one shrimp share. To celebrate the arrival of 10 lbs of sweet Maine shrimp, I decided to make my husband his favorite: shrimp scampi.

                                                                                  First step is to make the scampi butter on page 408. Peel garlic, chop one scallion, have 2 sticks of butter softened. I forgot to soften the butter, but my kitchen is so cold this time of year, it didn't matter. Turn on food processor, drop in the garlic, then the shallot. Scrape down the sides, and add the butter. Process until the butter is light and fluffy. Scape down one more time, and 1/2 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Though the book instructs you to place the butter in a bowl to chill, I rolled it in Saran Wrap making it easy to cut into slices.

                                                                                  To make the shrimp, heat a heavy pan over medium high heat. Since I was only making one serving of shrimp scampi, I divided the recipe into thirds. Add one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil to the pan and add the shrimp. The Maine shrimp are so small, I tossed after 20 seconds, let cook for another 10 seconds and they were done. You slip the shrimp into a warmed bowl and get to making the sauce.

                                                                                  Put the pan back on the heat, and add a dry white wine [1/2 cup] and let reduce by half. Then begin whisking in butter, a little at a time to make a creamy sauce. He doesn't say how much butter, so I did almost 2 tablespoons. Sprinkle with chopped Italian parsley to serve.

                                                                                  Another pan, and I did the same method with small cuts of fish, dredged in bread crumbs. Same sauce. This is what I ate, and I have to say, this was fabulous! With my shellfish allergy, I never get scampi since it is generally coupled with shellfish at restaurants. Served with freshly made French bread which nicely sopped up the sauce at the end of the meal.

                                                                                  I made this with the fish the next day for my visiting daughter, and she approved as well.

                                                                                  Today, I made fish cakes, and used some of the remaining scampi butter in the mashed potatoes. Again, the smell is fantastic.

                                                                                  The rest of the butter is rolled and I will freeze after dividing into tablespoon portions. Can't eat this often, but for a special dinner I think this compound butter is worth the calories for the level of deliciousness it brings to the dish.

                                                                                  17 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                                    SMT...that Scampi sounds so delicious I'd love to give that recipe a try. But, currently we have 2- 1 gallon bags of Maine shrimp in the freezer. Last Saturday we got a double share due to having missed a week because of rough seas, etc. DH is reluctant to thaw and cook these shrimp since as he says, "they're dead." I can't make him change his mind.
                                                                                    Boggled in Melrose

                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                      Dear Boggled in Melrose,

                                                                                      Freezing shrimp in 1 gallon containers does reduce the ability to defrost at will. And since DH does so much of the prep work, I don't think you will be able to go behind his back and defrost unnoticed. Perhaps, this is an excuse to have guests?

                                                                                      The time from start to finish, not including the butter, was under 10 minutes.

                                                                                      In the future, consider freezing in smaller containers.... just enough for two. Husband here has packaged in 3/4 lb bags. He likes a lot of shrimp!

                                                                                      Satisfied in Somerville.

                                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                                        Dear Satisfied in Somerville,

                                                                                        I shall take your advice to husband. Perhaps your expertize in this matter will win him over. I soitainly hope so.

                                                                                        Thank you for your speedy reply,
                                                                                        Not So Boggled in Melrose

                                                                                    2. re: smtucker

                                                                                      While I messed up the sauce a bit, the dish really came together nicely. I have never even cooked shrimp before, the end results was really tasty. Me and my GF are big fans of garlic so this was right up our alley.

                                                                                      As you can see the sauce broke a bit and turned out much less creamy than it should have been. But it was still darn tasty, and well worth a second shot.

                                                                                      1. re: ngeunit1

                                                                                        Opps wrong picture and trying to delete.

                                                                                        1. re: ngeunit1

                                                                                          Both dinner and dessert are great looking!

                                                                                          1. re: ngeunit1

                                                                                            Haha! Your shrimp look great.
                                                                                            Now I want a shrimp AND a cookie! Well done.

                                                                                            1. re: ngeunit1

                                                                                              Sorry to hear the sauce was a bit troublesome ngeunit1 but your shrimp look to be cooked perfectly so you should be very proud, especially since this was your first time cooking shrimp. I'm impressed! And, I too want a cookie!!

                                                                                            2. re: ngeunit1

                                                                                              I see that smtucker used about 2 tablespoons of the butter - I'm wondering how much of it you used? I would like to make this in the next couple of weeks, but wasn't thrilled that he didn't give an amount of scampi butter. Surely he doesn't expect one to use the whole two sticks of butter worth?

                                                                                            3. re: smtucker

                                                                                              Shrimp Scampi over linguine (p. 290)

                                                                                              Made the scampi butter a few days ago so that this would come together quickly, and yet somehow I was having one of those days and kept getting interrupted so it seemed to take forever. My problem, not the recipe's. However, I do think he could make it clearer just how much of the scampi butter one should be adding - either to this as an appetizer or with the pasta. He just says scampi butter and gives no amount. Oh well, we used probably half, maybe a bit more, since we needed it as sauce for the pasta, and I only used 3/4lb shrimp instead of the full 1.5 lbs. Despite all the interuptions and worries about whether or not I was using the right amount of butter, this was delicious. Lulu said it was her new favorite fish dish. Served with a big green salad. A nice meal.

                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                I'm just now reading through the recipe for tonight's dinner and I had the same question regarding the amount of scampi butter to use. The directions say, "...whisk in the butter bit by bit to make a creamy sauce." I guess I'll keep adding the butter until I get the right looking result. Then I'll freeze whatever is leftover.

                                                                                                1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                  Weirdly enough I can't remember for the life of me how much I used. I have a feeling I used the whole stick of butter, and then only tossed half with the pasta (that is the idea I get from my own post). Sorry I can't help you more Cindy.

                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                    That's okay. I'll figure it out as I go along. After all, it's mostly lots of garlic + butter added to wine. How wrong can I go?

                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                        I did end up using about half the recipe for the garlic butter -- about 1 stick's worth. But I have to say, I didn't love the dish. I think the problem was that the garlic wasn't cooked enough, and even though I LOVE garlic, I thought it was too pungent. Also, I used dry vermouth because I thought the wine I was serving with the meal (a dry white from Liguria) was, at $29 for the bottle, too pricey to pour off a cup for cooking, and I didn't have any other dry white wine available. Note to self: don't use vermouth for cooking.

                                                                                                        1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                          How did the vermouth affect the taste, Cindy? And was it old? I often use dry vermouth when, like you, I don't want to use up a pricier bottle--or I don't want to open a new one, with good results. But I found out the hard way once that vermouth DOES go bad/off-tasting.

                                                                                              2. re: smtucker

                                                                                                Shrimp Scampi, Pg. 290

                                                                                                This was the second time around for this luscious shrimp recipe, the first being just about a year ago. We love the robust flavors of all the garlic, extra virgin olive oil, white wine, and compound butter that enhances the large FL gulf shrimp.

                                                                                                The Scampi Butter on page 408 was made first and refrigerated till needed. I used one pound of shrimp, the exact amounts of the ingredients, 3 tablespoons of Scampi Butter, and minced parsley to garnish. We Love This Dish! Next time I'll serve lemon wedges though. Served with sauteed baby spinach with garlic and oil from Mediterranean Harvest and focaccio.

                                                                                              3. Clams Oraganato, Pg.282 (with alternative Baked Bluefish, Pg. 211)

                                                                                                This is one of those two part recipes that when finished is out-of-this-world. The authors state that the oraganato can also be used for baked fish and I had a lovely piece of fresh out of the water bluefish so I used that.

                                                                                                First I made the topping:

                                                                                                Combine dry bread crumbs (I used Panko) with chopped garlic, parsley, oragano, thyme, Parmigiano, EVOO, lemon juice and white wine (instead of bottled clam juice). Chop the fresh herbs finely and season everything with salt & white pepper.

                                                                                                On to page 211:

                                                                                                This recipe is for baked branzino with alternatives of bluefish and mackerel. Oil a suitable baking dish and plop in your fillets. Drizzle with olive oil. Top with the oraganato. Roast in a preheated 450F oven for 8 minutes...we needed 10. Serve with lemon wedges. How easy is That?

                                                                                                Since I have a considerable amount of the oraganato sitting in the fridge, we'll use it on Saturday with baked mackerel. Can't wait. Then we'll make the clams ...

                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                  So glad you reminded me of this. I think this was the first recipe I made from the book (before it was a COTM selection http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5848... ), also substituting bluefish for the branzino. Wonder if it was the bluefish, but I, too, noted it required more like 10 minutes than the specified 8. I used the leftover oreganata on shucked clams. Loved both dishes. How could I have forgotten? Definitely time to make it again.

                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                    Yes it was delicious. Curiously, my mother made stuffed quahogs using a chopped oraganato mixture quite similar to the one in this recipe. The clams were not topped with the dressing, though. They were chopped then mixed into the oraganato, divided amounts were placed onto large scallop shells, sprinkled with paprika then baked. Absolutely fabulous...

                                                                                                    A must as one of the fish dishes for Christmas Eve.

                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                      That sounds heavenly. Will have to give that a try. Even have the scallop shells from when Coquilles St.-Jacques was de rigueur at dinner parties in the 70s. It may be time to bring back that recipe as well.

                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                        Oh yes.. Those scallops. Lucky me I have all 8 of my mother's shells and have made her version of stuffed clams many times.

                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                          You can still get scallop shells at my fishmonger.

                                                                                                          BTW, what's the difference between bay and sea scallops? We only get the latter.

                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                            Bay scallops are much smaller, about the size of a fingernail, and are said to be much sweeter. May be true, but I've never had bay and sea side-by-side and I've never noticed a significant difference in flavor. Around here, at least, bay scallops are also more expensive and the only place I see them is at the high-end fish monger.

                                                                                                  2. New England Clam Chowder – p. 302

                                                                                                    So this is the very first recipe I’ve tried from this highly recommended book and the results blew us away! This is, without a doubt, the best clam chowder we’ve ever had! In fact, one of our guests said it was the best thing he’d ever eaten!!! He is a self-proclaimed clam-chowder-lover though so I’ll take that feedback in context.

                                                                                                    Honestly, I just can’t express how good this was. The sweetness of the leeks enhanced the sweetness of the clams. The chopped thick cut bacon imparted a lovely smoky flavour and the texture of the small pieces of bacon mirrored the texture of the clams. I’ve pasted a link to the recipe (from Google Books) below so in the interest of time, I won’t do a play-by-play here. I will say that I opted to chop my veggies in a ¼” dice vs the “mincing” that RM recommends since we usually like our chowders chunky. We also really liked the addition of white wine (vs dry sherry which I find is more traditional).

                                                                                                    If you like clam chowder, you must give this a try. A truly outstanding recipe. Gio, special thanks to you as I still recall your hearty endorsement of this book. You were so right, I just LOVE it and can’t wait to try more recipes!!

                                                                                                    Here’s the link to the recipe:


                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                      This dish is on the menu tonight so I hoe I have as much luck as you breadcrumbs. Tell me did you use the cream or the half and half. I'm tempted to go with the alf and half but I'm a little worried about the outcome. My partner loves clam chowder so I want to get this right.

                                                                                                      1. re: delys77

                                                                                                        When I make fish chowder, I much prefer cream, but I use FAR less than this recipe calls for. This is about 1/3 cup per serving and I do a scant 1/4 cup for guests, and two tablespoons if it is just us. For me, I want that cream flavor [and we can get heavy cream that isn't whipping] and mouthfeel but don't really want to feel like I am eating a dairy soup.

                                                                                                        I will also mention that if you heat the cream with a bit of the stock in a separate pot, you can add more cream to one bowl than another.

                                                                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                          The temperature will have to drop at least a little before I try this clam chowder, but just wanted to say
                                                                                                          *what a good idea*
                                                                                                          to simply have some cream & broth separately to adjust each bowl. My Mr. blue room thinks he needs more butterfat than he actually requires, haha,
                                                                                                          and I'm often happy with consomme.

                                                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                                                            Same in this house which is why I dirty this extra dish. Glad you like this tip!

                                                                                                        2. re: delys77

                                                                                                          Hi delys, I pulled my book to see what I did when I made this. FYI, smtucker has shared some great info here and I think you'll be just fine w less cream. That said, I had a litre of heavy cream in the fridge (Costco purchase!) that I needed to use up so I did go with that and I used the full 2 cups. Like your partner, mr bc loves clam chowder and since he's not otherwise a big fan of soups or seafood for that matter, I was keen to make this as good as possible. fyi, he said he'd rate this an 11 out of 10 after dinner that night . . . it made me smile when I read that note in my book today!!

                                                                                                        3. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                          Pg. 302 New England Clam Chowder
                                                                                                          This was fabulous! A very hearty soup that will satisfy a 4 as a meal accompanied by some bread or perhaps a nice green salad. I did simmer the base closer to 20 minutes to make sure the potatoes were done, otherwise I followed it exactly. Not fishy in the slightest, just the perfect balance of richness, smokiness, and slight tang from the lemon. I ended up using 50% half and half and 50% cream and tasted delicious. Although I do suspect the mouth feel from all cream would have been even better.

                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                            This was super easy and also very tasty. The consistency was spot on and I don't think I could say enough good things about how this came out.

                                                                                                          2. Salmon “Gravy” (page 309)

                                                                                                            Who’d a thunk? A recipe for salmon wiggle in a cookbook! But here it is. Evidently comfort food for him as much as it has always been for me.

                                                                                                            I had salmon and peas in the freezer and am in recovery mode from periodontal surgery. Perfect.

                                                                                                            Make a white sauce; add fresh, thinly sliced salmon; add barely-thawed peas; add dill and lemon, and check for s&p. Ladle over toast.

                                                                                                            My mother used to make this all the time when I was a child and I make it at least once a year. But I’d never followed a recipe before and I’d certainly never used fresh salmon. I made half a recipe and used nonfat milk, but otherwise followed as written. My roux took far less time than the 10 minutes he says it should and it had begun to brown slightly, but I don’t think it was to the detriment of the sauce in the least. And it may just be that because I’m used to making a quick roux I speeded up the process. Would probably do the same again.

                                                                                                            Even though he says it’s winter food, yesterday was cool enough. I just loved this, and will be making it this way forever more.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                              Oh Salmon Wiggle. My favorite... DH's - not so much. (I think it reminds him of stuff he ate in the army.) I use canned salmon too. Must make this version ASAP.

                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                Joan & Gio, I've never heard of salmon wiggle before...how cute! This dish reminds me of something my mother would make (w tinned salmon) - she'd serve it atop of vol-au-vent. I can imagine how lovely this would be w fresh salmon and herbs. I'll add this to the list! Thanks for pointing it out Joan.

                                                                                                            2. Clams Casino, page 281.

                                                                                                              We are currently staying sound-side, and Mr. Nightshade went digging on the beach and came back with a load of butter clams. They are larger than littleneck clams, but this still worked fine.

                                                                                                              Bacon is sautéed until the fat is rendered, then red bell pepper and poblano chiles are added. After a minute shallots and garlic go into the mix. After a brief sauté, the heat goes off and lemon juice is stirred in. The mixture cools before it goes onto the clams. The directions say to place the clams on a bed of salt to avoid them tipping over. We took our chances and just set them on a rack in a pan. The bacon mixture is spooned onto the clams, and they bake at 450º for 10 minutes. Actually, the recipe calls for a dusting of panko, but we have limited supplies here, so we omitted that.

                                                                                                              We liked this dish, and actually served it as our main course. It followed an appetizer of smoked salmon and a salad made with a Dungeness crab (who tried to crawl out of the fridge before he went into boiling water). I think crusty little breadcrumbs atop would have made it better. If I do it again I'll definitely add the breadcrumbs. In addition, I would chop the peppers into a finer dice, as the recipe states. Mr. NS did the chopping and I think he felt that bigger clams should get bigger pieces, but the fine dice instructions are correct to my mind. With a seemingly endless supply of clams, I'd try this again, but Mr. NS stated that he'd prefer to try some other recipes.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                LN your whole post just screamed "SUMMER" to me. Your "sound-side" vacation, mr LN out digging for clams, cooking with limited supplies and feasting on the day's bounty!! Thanks for letting us live vicariously!! Your clams look great, made me crave them!!

                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                  Thanks Breadcrumbs! We are definitely enjoying these summery days here, and the abundant seafood! The post at the top of this page inspired me to go with the local mussels tonight.

                                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                    mmm, looking forward to reading about them LN. I love mussels, one of my faves.

                                                                                                              2. Celery Shrimp p. 291

                                                                                                                This is nicely seasoned shrimp, cooked quickly. Sliced celery, ginger, onion, and garlic are fried with chopped red chiles, celery and coriander seeds. (How nice to now have seeds with my spices -- every COTM adds to the variety!) The coriander seeds you toast & grind, the celery seeds you leave in peace. And dry vermouth -- I don't know vermouth, so I don't know how much it changed the dish, but I used (dry) white wine.
                                                                                                                The chiles I used were very mild (Guajillos), so I added a jot of cayenne. (Recipe calls for Thai red chiles.)
                                                                                                                Over plain rice it became a good supper, and we both liked it enough to have it again.
                                                                                                                I couldn't detect the ginger, next time I'll add more.

                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                  Hmmm... Celery. I completely overlooked this recipe BR. Celery is such a strange vegetable, IMO. Rather bland, the leaves have a more distinct flavor to me. I've used it only rarely in the past since years ago a doctor told me it was loaded with sodium. But it is useful in many applications. I suppose the addition of the seeds and the coriander seeds enhanced it. Do you think celeriac would work here too?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                    Strange to me that you think celery strange -- I throw chopped celery into almost anything! And if the recipe calls for celery already, I'll add more.
                                                                                                                    As for celeriac -- I know I like it mashed, with or without potatoes, and I know I like it match-stick style in a salad raw, but I've never used it in a braised or fried dish --
                                                                                                                    the flavor with this would be fine, I suppose you'd just have to adjust the cooking time.

                                                                                                                    I looked up the nutrition info for celery
                                                                                                                    and sure enough, it states "very high in sodium" (and sugar!)
                                                                                                                    But the chart shown says 1 cup of celery = 4% of daily sodium needs. To me, 4% doesn't seem very high. However, I will think about it next time I shake salt all over my "healthy" celery stalk munchie treat.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                      How about maybe subbing fennel? I realize this would change the profile a lot, but they have sort of the same texture (and lets face it, fennel is a lot more interesting).

                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                        Fennel would definitely be a worthy addition, LLM. I might just try this the next time I see the gulf shrimp on offer... Thanks for the suggestion.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                          I look forward to hearing how it works. I, too, had overlooked this recipe and the thought of putting in fennel makes it more interesting to me. Maybe sub one of the seeds for fennel seeds too. I might beat you to this one!

                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                            Hah... you probably will. I think it's off season for the shrimp we buy, but I haven't been paying much attention lately... I know you'll let us know the result.