Archive for the ‘Side Dishes’ Category
Yesterday while wandering the flats at the Cape, we ended up heading toward Orleans. Out in the distance we saw people crouching over clusters of what looked like sea grass from afar, but what actually turned out to be an oyster farming operation. After chatting with the owners for a while about the business, we were offered oysters to take home. How could we say no? We saved a few to eat raw, but put 8 of them towards a quick Oysters Rockefeller.
It’s summertime, so grilling season is upon us. This recipe harkens back to my days as my fraternity’s “Grillmeister”. It was handed down to me by the presiding Grillmeister, a Southern gentleman named Ben Patch. Ben taught me many things, including how to make my own barbecue sauce from scratch. Being appointed as Grillmeister gave me the perfect opportunity to elevate the fraternity barbecue from burgers and dogs to something more interesting. During the two years of my tenure, I cooked whole sides of marinated swordfish, grilled New Zealand mussels, smoked pork shoulders cooked in pits dug in the front yard (with considerable help and inspiration provided by Mr. David Weiss, who is a frequent reader of this blog, and a great cook himself), roasted Thanksgiving turkey on a tripod, and every manner of side dish we could think of. These grilled stuffed tomatoes have become a favorite, because they are so incredibly easy, and the “wow” factor is a great bang for your buck in terms of prep time. Over the years I’ve realized that if you have an oven at your disposal (which I did not in college) it’s easier to make these in muffin tins and bake them. If you’re grilling them it can be tricky to keep them from falling over, so you need to make little tinfoil “life preservers” to keep them standing upright. Roll a 1-ft long piece of tinfoil into a cylinder and form a ring. Place the ring on the grill and the tomato on the ring, and proceed from there.
This is a recipe that I grew up making after finding a recipe card for “Dicky’s Clams Casino” in my Grandmother’s recipe box. I asked my Dad to show me how to do it, and I’ve added a few touches of my own. Over the years my version of the recipe has been refined and solidified, and I make it the same way each summer. It’s very close to my Dad’s recipe, but I’ve modified a few things. I think they’re the best baked stuffed clams I’ve ever eaten. You can try making them and be the judge. The stuffing proportions are approximations, since I just eyeball it every time, but I think they should be pretty close.
You can’t come to Cape Cod and leave without having some fried clams. You can get fried clam strips, or you can go for the whole-belly clams, which are fried steamers. They have much more flavor than clam strips, so I always go for whole-belly. This past weekend I went out and dug 2 dozen steamers, and figured I’d put together a beer batter and fry them up.
This recipe is another great reason to have miso in your refrigerator, in addition to the miso soup recipe I just put up. Miso keeps forever in your fridge, and this recipe is so easy that it’s even tough to say that it’s a “recipe”. This dish takes five minutes from start to finish, and it will become one of your favorites immediately. The miso butter idea is David Chang’s (of Momofuku, if you haven’t ever read this blog before or don’t live in New York) that I’ve appropriated and applied to every steamed vegetable I can get my hands on. I first tasted it three years ago at Momofuku Noodle Bar, where it was served over asparagus with a poached egg. Heaven. Give it a try; you won’t regret it. Trust me.
Today when I went to the store and saw what was available, I felt obligated to create a dish using the two freshest, most indulgent and seasonal ingredients I could find: fresh morels, and live soft shell crabs. What emerged is my springtime take on the classic crab stuffed mushroom, with a twist:
Yesterday at the store I came across an ugly, often overlooked fish: the whiting. When I say “often overlooked” I say this because I never even give them a second glance at the fish counter. They’re small and ugly. They don’t have enough meat to be able to fillet them and cook them as a meal. I decided that I should give this fish a chance, and I picked one out to try as an experiment. This is one of those recipes that goes under the “just crazy enough to work” category.
Tina over at Choosy Beggars summed up my feelings on baby eggplants quite nicely in this post. I feel compelled to buy them, though I don’t always have a recipe in mind. You could fry them in strips and make a miniature eggplant parmesan starter, or chop them and add it to stir fry. But that takes away the appeal of the miniature eggplant. I prefer to keep them intact, and stuff them with cheese. What could be better?
Despite the recent “chill” in the air, today I stumbled across a sure sign of spring: the first batch of fresh, live, soft shell crabs at Citarella. Nothing makes me happier than a nice fried soft shell crab, and now I’ve got three months of crab season to look forward to. The fact that it coincides with my favorite season of the year has a *little* to do with it, but either way, I’m psyched:
The second Food52 contest this week was for spring peas. I decided to put together a little spring pasta with a cream sauce, just because that’s my favorite way to eat pasta. Peas always go well in cream sauces (I have made one with smoked salmon and peas before that is great) and diced prosciutto is another favorite. Put all this together, and you get this: