Simple, perfect monkfish

I’d always heard good things about monkfish but hadn’t had great luck at home until I tried this simple, delicious recipe from Allison Lakin of Lakin’s Gorges Cheese.

Ingredients:

monkfish, salt and pepper, ghee or butter and olive oil, capers, lemon, white wine

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Get a cast iron pan very hot.  Season monkfish with salt and pepper.  Melt ghee or butter and oil in the pan.  Add monk to the pan and brown on all sides.  Add capers and lemon juice and a bit of white wine and scrape up any brown bits.  Put in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes depending on thickness of the tails.  Remove from the oven, plate the monkfish, add a few more tablespoons of butter to the pan, scrape everything up and pour the sauce over the fish.  Delicious!

Greek-inspired Maine halibut with savory rice

Ingredients: Halibut, olive oil, cumin, cayenne, oregano, lemon zest and lemon juice, mushrooms, olives, arborio rice, stock.

Rub the halibut with olive oil and season with cumin, cayenne, oregano, and lemon zest.
Cook some onions in a heavy-bottomed pot until translucent. Add some garlic and cook until fragrant. Add mushrooms and olives and cook until mushrooms release some of their moisture. Squeeze in juice from half a lemon. Add a light cup of arborio rice and stir, coating the rice completely. Pour in 2+ cups of stock and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce to simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes.
Put the halibut into an oven preheated to 425, and cook for 12 minutes (for a nice thick fillet).
Serve the halibut with tzatziki over a bed of rice with a size salad. Garnish with cilantro and a lemon.

This recipe is from Ret Talbot.  Check out his wife Karen’s beautiful glassware!

Best Damn Mussels You’ll Ever Eat!

Ingredients:

2 lbs fresh blue mussels
1 ⅓ lbs fresh angel–hair pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 clove garlic, minced
½ cup onion, minced
2 medium jalapeño peppers, de-seeded and finely chopped (use seeds if you are adventurous)
2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves
1 cup Chardonnay
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, or 1 cup Swiss cheese shredded.
1 Tbsp flour

1. Rinse the fresh blue mussels in tap water.
2. Cook angel-hair pasta. Drain, then toss with olive oil. Put pasta in large serving dish and keep warm.
3. In large pot, sauté garlic, onions, jalapeños, and rosemary with butter for one minute. Add wine and fresh blue mussels. Turn heat to high and steam for 3 – 5 minutes until shells open. Remove fresh blue mussels with slotted spoon and arrange over pasta. Keep warm.
4. Put the cheese in a plastic bag and toss with flour to coat.
5. To the broth in the pot, add cheese and cream, then simmer until sauce starts to thicken, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and pour over mussels and pasta. Garnish, then serve with crusty French bread and salad.

Recipe came to me from lobsterman Scotty Jordan, who said “I found this mussel recipe years ago from Great Eastern Mussel Farms. It was the winner in a 1993 National Recipe Contest by contributors Cathy Silvey and Richard Wood. It’s called, Best Damn Mussels You’ll Ever Eat. Variations of the recipe can be found on Google. Most of the variations call for 2 cups of cheese. The original recipe only calls for one cup of jack or Swiss cheese.”

Mussels with Pine Boughs

Heat a cast iron Dutch oven on a hot grill (or stove top or in the oven works too). Add some garlic and a splash of white wine, and then line the bottom of the cast iron with pine boughs. Let it heat up until it smells fragrant, and then dump the mussels on top and dry roast until they open, shaking the cast iron from time to time. Squeeze fresh limes over the mussels and dab with butter. Serve with pasta or on their own with fresh.

Recipe courtesy of Ret Talbot.  Check out his wife Karen’s beautiful angler’s pints.

Mussels with Beer and Cascadilla Bleu Cheese

Ingredients:

2 pounds mussels
2 cups farm house style beer
4 ounces Cascadilla Bleu
1 garlic clove
2 carrots, diced fine
2 celery stalks, diced fine
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green olives
1 thinly sliced roasted red pepper
2 Tbl parsley, chopped fine
2 Tbl butter
Black pepper to taste

1. Rinse mussels, removing beards if present.
2. Peel and chop garlic. Place in pan over medium heat with butter, carrots, celery, onion and half the parsley. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the beer, stirring to combine for 2 minutes. Then stir in the mussels.
4. Turn the heat to high and put a lid on the pan and allow the mussels to cook until the shells open, about 5 minutes.
6. Turn heat to low. Stir in the Cascadilla Bleu so that it melts into the beer sauce. Stir in the olives and pepper.
7. Serve topped with the remaining parsley.

Recipe courtesy of Allison Lakin of Lakin’s Gorges cheese.

Corned hake and potatoes

Maine corned hake and potatoes

One pound hake fillets
One large sweet onion
White vinegar (may substitute other variety)
Roughly one pound meaty salt pork or bacon
Salt
Potatoes (however many you like)
Butter, salt, pepper.

Sprinkle hake fillets liberally with salt and cover (in a bowl with shrinkwrap or in a pot with a cover).  Refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight. At the same time, cover onion slices with vinegar and refrigerate.

When ready to prepare, rinse hake thoroughly, place in a pan covered with cold water and boil until done (flaky and no longer transluscent).

Meanwhile, boil potatoes until tender. Also, chop salt pork into lardons or slice bacon into one inch pieces.  Fry until very crispy, keeping the resulting grease.

When ready to serve, place potatoes on plate and mash with a fork, adding butter, salt and pepper to taste.  Top with hake and pour bacon or salt pork grease over the whole thing. Top with crispy bacon. Serve with onions on the side.

 

 

Thai-inspired creamy crunchy scallop crudo

Thai-inspired crunchy scallop slices

One pound Downeast Dayboat scallops
Roasted chili paste (available at Asian grocers)
Crispy fried shallots or onions (available at Asian grocers)
2 limes, quartered or cut for easy squeezing
Cilantro leaves

Remove the sweetmeat from each scallop and discard or save for making stock (you can keep them in the freezer until you accumulate enough to make a nice stock).  Dry scallops on paper towels and slice into 2-3 thin discs, depending on size.  You can also cut them into chunks if you prefer. It’s easier to slice them cleanly if you place in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm them up.  Spread each piece with a dab of chili paste, then squeeze with fresh lime juice.  Top with torn cilantro leaves and a sprinkle of crispy fried shallots.

Arrange the scallops artfully on a plate for serving (if you do this you can arrange them, then dress them once in place) or place in individual shot glasses to serve as “scallop shooters”. Be sure to keep them very cold. The combination of spicy sweet chili paste, tangy lime juice, creamy scallop and crispy fried shallots is addictive!

You can also cut scallops in to chunks if you prefer.  Chunks are easier for shooters but slices make for a more attractive presentation if you overlap on a plate or scallop shell.

 

Bacon-wrapped scallops

Bacon-wrapped scallops

One pound Downeast Dayboat scallops
4-7 slices bacon (one slice of bacon will cover 2-4 scallops depending on size of slices and size of scallops)
fresh ground pepper and fresh ground nutmeg if wanted
flat toothpicks
maple syrup (optional)

Prepare the bacon:
Separate bacon slices being careful to keep each slice intact.  Using a sharp knife slice each piece of bacon lengthwise to form two long strips.  Spread bacon slices over 3-5 layers of paper towels and microwave until fat starts to render but bacon is still pliable.  Do NOT let bacon get crisp. Let bacon cool until comfortable to handle.

Prepare and assemble the scallops:
Remove the sweetmeat (the small “toenail” attached to most scallops): discard or save for making stock. Pat scallops dry with kitchen towel or paper towel. Note: if using thawed (previously frozen) scallops, scallops will be slightly wetter than usual due to water loss from the thawing process.  This isn’t a problem – just be sure to dry them thoroughly.  Lightly sprinkle scallops with pepper, salt and nutmeg (if using). Take one slice of bacon and wrap it around the sides (round edge) of each scallop, overlapping slightly, then tuck remaining bacon under each scallop.  If bacon is too long, you may be able to cut each piece in half to cover two scallops, or you may have small pieces left over: you don’t want too much bacon under each scallop as excess will prevent crisping.   Brush bacon and scallops with maple syrup. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or tin foil (for easy clean-up).

Broil:
Broil for approximately 3-4 minutes or until scallops are opaque white on the outside and bacon is crisp.  Remove from oven and skewer with toothpicks (top to bottom is easiest but side to side works too).  Serve.  If you like you can serve with a dipping sauce of maple syrup mixed with cream cheese and heavy cream or sour cream (may also season with nutmeg).

 

Stir Fried Peppers with Scallops

Ken Hom’s Stir-Fried Peppers with Scallops

Never rinse or wash Downeast Dayboat scallops. Washing them in fresh water, even briefly, will result in them picking up moisture, and you don’t want to dilute that pure Downeast Dayboat flavor!

The recipe calls for bean sauce which you can substitute with 1 1/2 teaspoons miso paste mixed with 1 teaspoon of water. The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon olive oil. Make sure this is not extra-virgin olive oil which is a low-smoking point oil that is not meant for stir-frying. You can also just use 2 tablespoons of peanut oil and skip the olive oil. If you want a little heat in this dish add a squirt of sriracha sauce with the rice wine but without the heat you can better appreciate the scallops.

1 pound Downeast Dayboat scallops

2 tablespoons Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons bean sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped scallions

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 teaspoons minced ginger

1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares

1 small green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares

1. Halve any large scallops horizontally to match the size of the other scallops. In a small bowl combine the rice wine, soy sauce, bean sauce, sugar, and sesame oil.

2. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the peanut oil, add the scallops, and pan-fry 1 minute on each side. Transfer to a plate. Swirl in the olive oil. Add the scallions, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add the peppers and stir-fry 2 minutes. Return the scallops with any juices that have accumulated on the plate to the wok. Stir the rice wine mixture, swirl it into the wok, bring to a boil and stir-fry until the scallops are just cooked, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Serves 4 as part of a multi course meal.

Adapted from “The Breath of a Wok” by Grace Young

Perfectly Seared Scallops

Perfectly Dry Maine ScallopsHow do you sear scallops perfectly?  The most important thing is to start with Downeast Dayboat Scallops.  Our scallops come to shore within hours of harvest and are on their way to you within one day.  They NEVER touch fresh water.  You’ll be amazed what a difference that makes.  Now that you’ve done the important bit:

  • Get a heavy bottomed-pan nice and hot.  I usually use cast iron and put it over high heat.
  • When pan is hot, add a thin layer of coconut oil or a mixture of butter and olive oil. Don’t use straight butter – the smoking point is too low so you’ll set off the fire alarms!
  • Pat your scallops dry (they have a natural moisture even when totally “dry”), season with salt and/or pepper and place in the pan.  Make sure there’s at least an inch between your scallops.  If you crowd the pan, they’ll steam.
  • Cook for about a minute on the first side.  Then use tongs to look at the side that’s been against the pan.  If it’s nice and brown, flip it.  If it’s not, put it back and wait until it is.
  • They should cook for between one and two minutes on the first side, and a little less on the other side, depending on how big they are and how hot your pan is.
  • DONE!

    Pan seared in Kate’s sea salted butter