This was such a good choice for the main course of my birthday dinner. I’m delighted that my friends had an amazing time yesterday. There were barely any leftovers, in terms of seafood. I still have leftover sauce, which I’ll eat today for dinner too! I’ll add more seafood in, enough for one!
I bought a bouquet of dried lavender flowers back in 2018 at the farmer’s market for $13 and I still have a third of it. I mainly use it to make cocktail ingredients but it occurred to me that I could use it for these blueberries.
NYC has slowly reopened but the idea of sitting outside on the patio or sectioned off road is not appealing to me, especially in the heat of the summertime. So I had a few friends over for my birthday dinner. Just a very small gathering, since we’re indoors. I didn’t want to go crazy with the cooking because it was my actual birthday on the date but I also wanted good tasting food so I did two courses: this scallop crudo and a seafood stew. I know the stew doesn’t seem summery but it’s my birthday and IDGAF. I baked my own ciabatta bread and made a little veggie-pasta side as well.
For the Pickled Blueberries
150 g blueberries
150 g white wine vinegar (I’m using chardonnay Forvm)
150 g water
20 g sugar
A few buds of dried lavender flowers
This makes about a pint of pickled blueberries. Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, and lavender up to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes to allow the lavender to infuse then pour everything into a container with the blueberries.
You can strain out the lavender if you would like but I kept it in there for more flavor. I put 5 buds into the pickling liquid. Lavender is quite pungent; you don’t want to overpower the sweetness of the scallops.
Allow to cool to room temperature then place into fridge and pickle for at least 24 hours.
For the Scallops & Garnish
12 fresh sea scallops, U-10
Purslane, 1 bunch, picked
When ready to serve, slice the scallops thinly and arrange on plates. Pour a little of the pickling liquid over to season the scallops. Cut the blueberries in half and garnish the scallops. Season the scallops with the Maldon salt, picked purslane, Espelette pepper, and a dash of EVOO before serving.
I get asked how to make this quite often from friends and family so I’m just going to write this really quickly. This is my favorite way to make mussels and clams. The best part after the mussels/clams? The bread dunking into the rich broth and into your mouth part.
2 lbs mussels
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tomatoes (or substitute one 14 oz. can diced tomatoes)
2 thyme sprigs
1 TBS tomato paste
¼ cup butter (optional)
½ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Finely chop the onion and thinly slice the garlic cloves. Dice your tomatoes if using fresh ones. Finely chop your parsley, reserve some for garnish.
Scrub the mussels and toss out the dead/damaged ones. If they’re open and don’t close when you poke them, they’re bad. Remove the beards if they have them. Set aside.
In a large pot with lid, heat up enough olive oil to almost cover base of pot. Sweat onions and garlic until aromatic and tender. Add in diced tomatoes and thyme. Season a little with salt, turn heat to medium. Cook for 2 minutes, then add in the tomato paste and cook that out, 3-5 minutes. Add the butter if adding and let the butter emulsify with everything. Once butter has melted, add in the mussels. Turn heat to high, season with salt and black pepper, and add the white wine. Cover with lid, mussels are ready once they open completely, 5-7 minutes. Before you take them out and off the heat, add in most of your chopped parsley and the juice of half a lemon, stir to combine well. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Once in a bowl, add the remaining parsley on top as garnish. Serve with toasted bread. I always eat it with ciabatta. Any bread will suffice, pick your favorite!
*For clams, I like to add bacon and hot paprika to this.
It’s almost April!!! The month of March seemed like it took forever to get by. Oh my gosh… What will I do for the entirety of next month???
I’m calling this “quarantine paella” because ingredients are difficult to come by. I try to only go outside to grocery shop when I absolutely need to, i.e. when the fridge is empty. Grocery stores such as Whole Foods Market has all the basic stuff but sometimes the things that I want are out of stock. There are also limits on certain things that you’re allowed to buy. I had hoped to buy 15 lbs of AP flour today but I was only allowed to buy 1 unit, which was 5 lbs. There is no “2-day” prime delivery on Amazon anymore. Everything takes the old regular amount of time (5 business days) or now, even longer to arrive! Jeff Bezos should reimburse us with some Prime membership fees! Totally not going to happen though.
Anyway, with my limited resources and ingredients, I made this paella last night and I’m so glad that I can cook! Thinking about my friends who cannot cook as well as I do… what are they eating? All I want to do is share!! I usually make soffritto ahead of time and just keep a quart in my fridge – it’s good with everything, especially rice! But again, don’t have the excess of ingredients to do things ahead of time. I only put head-on shrimp and bay scallops in this paella, the least variety of sea creatures that I have done in my paella history.
*Biology Class 101: I know sea urchin tongues aren’t really the “roe” but they are the gonads of the creature; for the sake of this post, I am calling them “eggs”. The gonads/sex organs (sometimes also referred to as coral) produce the roe.
Originally, the first course was going to be tuna crudo but I scrapped that idea because I didn’t think it would be a show-stopper!
So here you have Soft Scrambled Eggs folded with Sea Urchin Cream on the bottom, topped with airy Potato Foam, garnished with Sea Urchin Tongues, Trout Roe, Chives, and Pumpernickel Soil.
I’m very early this year for my Friendsgiving menu plans! Inspiration started and I decided to just go with it. I’ve been usually doing dinner for four for the past couple of years because that means less glassware to clean but I want to do six people total this year… Here is what I have so far; I expect menu changes…
Egg on Egg on Egg
Sea Urchin • Soft Scramble • Trout Roe
Potato Foam • Pumpernickel Soil (1st course)
My holy trinity of raw seafood is scallop + sea urchin + salmon roe/ikura. I just LOVE these three things individually and together. I could just eat them by themselves or with some lemon and salt but this is a more creative way to eat these sea creatures in a composed dish.
So here is Diver Scallop, Sea Urchin, Salmon Roe with Black & Cherry Belle Radish and Jalapeño in a Yuzu Kosho Vinaigrette, Fennel Fronds, and Lemon Zest.
I was looking forward to my 2018 Cape Cod birthday weekend trip for the longest time because it was the only thing keeping me sane during work. This is only my second time to Cape Cod, both in the months of July. The first time I was there was in 2016. I love everything about the Cape and I love seafood so what’s not to like?
This time I stayed in an Airbnb in Bourne, which is the farthest point on the Cape, it’s the closest city from Boston, only an hour drive. In 2016, I was staying towards the middle of the Cape, in Dennis Port. I discovered that the clam belly sandwiches, deep fried oysters, and fresh oysters were not as good as the places deeper into the Cape. In 2016, I was driving with a friend and we found a little shop that served the best deep fried clam belly buns!! The clam bellies were covered in a thin crispy batter and exploded with clam juice and goodness in your mouth. The bread bun was also very good, soft but kept it’s texture and shape. Together, it was one of the best things that I’ve eaten in my life!! Since then, I’ve been fantasizing about eating them for the past two years.
I was unsuccessful finding that little seafood shack, I should have kept its address and/or name. I was not amused with the clam belly buns that I had this trip but… the oyster po’boys that I did have satisfied some of the clam belly cravings.
Lastly, one of my Cape Cod traditions (even though it’s only happened twice so far) has been to buy live oysters at Swan River Seafood Market and some lemons, have a bottle of bubbly in hand, and walk to the beach to eat/shuck/drink.
I can’t believe how well this saffron and chamomile sauce turned out. How did I pair saffron and chamomile together? I was sick a week before and I had chamomile tea bags hanging around… saffron is often one-sided because it is such a strong flavor. Chamomile is very light and somehow very light + very strong equals a delicious aromatic mellow flavor.
The other sauce is a purée that is more classic (in terms of pairing), pea and tarragon. I love pairing seafood with tarragon, especially non-fish.
This is a piece of grilled Octopus, with a Pea Tarragon Purée, a Saffron and Chamomile Sauce, and Piquillo Peppers.
I’ve never been to Spain but I love its cuisine. Spain and Portugal are high on my travel destinations! Paellas in NYC are always so expensive for such a small amount of food so one day as I was shopping, I saw a good quality paella pan on sale and that was it. I started making a lot of paellas at home.
This was the first paella that I’ve ever made. It’s a mixture of seafood, i.e. shrimp and mussels, and spicy chorizo. It was so much satisfying eating this at home, with good wine, and with my brother!