Crab and Avocado Quesadilla with avocado salsa


Avocado Sandwich

Avocado Sandwich (Photo credit: J. Chris Vaughan)

I love crab and Avocados, so here’s a recipe I love to have when I got the fixing.  I do sometimes use garlic instead of shallots on occation and do sometimes add corn to the salsa and of course I do sometimes add mint butter/oil. Just simmer some mint in some butter until fried, or olive oil instead of butter.  The crab I recommend most is New England Blue crab if you can get it. The crabs here are nice and sweet, so is maryland blue crab but generally more expensive. A trick to remove those tough slippery round seeds in the avocado is to use your knife and thwack it with the edge hard so it bites into the seed and then you can turn it and twist it out.

Crab and Avocado Quesadilla with avocado salsa

  • 6 ripe Hass avocados, cut in small chunks, divided
  • 2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved, divided
  • 4 Jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced, divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 8 teaspoons lime juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 12 ounces picked crab meat
  • 4 tablespoons chopped scallions, light green parts only
  • 8 (10-inch) corn tortillas
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

In a serving bowl, combine 2/3 rds of avocado, 2/3 rds of cherry tomatoes, 1/2 of jalapeno, cilantro, shallots, and lime juice. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Combine remaining avocado, tomato, jalapeno, cheese, crab meat, and scallions in a medium bowl and toss to mix. Divide mixture evenly between tortillas, covering half of each tortilla and leaving a 1/2-inch gap around the edge. Fold tortillas to close quesadillas. Heat 1 of oil in 10-inch stainless steel skillet over medium heat until scortching. Carefully add two folded tortillas to skillet and cook, shaking pan gently until first side is golden brown and puffed, 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully fip tortillas with a flexible slotted spatula, sprinkle with salt, and cook on second side until golden brown and puffed, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Cut into wedges and serve with the avocado salsa.

 

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Grilled salmon with lemon mint butter


I love lemon, I love mint, and I love butter on my grilled salmon. It’s just lovely.

 

  • 6 (6-oz) pieces center-cut salmon fillet (about 1 inch thick) with skin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lime zest
  • 6 tablespoons lemon mint butter (recipe below)

Lemon mint butter

  • 1 1/2 teaspons lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon mint diced
  • 6 tablespoons butter

To make lemon mint butter, slowly melt butter add mint and lemon juice and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Shut off heat and keep warm.

Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas).

Season salmon all over with salt and pepper, then grill, flesh sides down, on lightly oiled grill rack (covered only if using gas grill) 4 minutes. Check for grill marks, then turn fillets over and grill indirect heat (covered only if using gas grill) until just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes more. Once done remove from grill leaving skin behind, sprinkle with lemon mint butter and your ready to enjoy.

my secret grilled lobsters


The mint makes them really good. Do not tell anyone! It’s our secret
Salt, to taste
8 live lobsters, each 1 1/2 to 2 lb
4 sticks unsalted butter
24 garlic cloves, minced
4 lemons cut into 1/4th slices
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
12 Tbs. minced fresh mint and parsley

 

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Have ready a bowl of ice water large enough to fit the lobsters.

On a cutting board, use the point of a knife to cut an incision through each lobster head shell about 1 inch from the eyes, pushing down hard through the shell to instantly kill the lobster (yes it’s painless). Immediately plunge the lobsters into the pot and cook for 2 minutes, then transfer to the ice water. When the lobsters are cool enough to handle, split them in half lengthwise. Remove the intestinal vein from the tails, the grain sacs from the heads and any green tomalley from the bodies; reserve any black egg sacs in a small bowl. (You can stuff the head if you’d like with broccoli and cheese after.)

Pour 1/4 cup boiling water over the egg sacs and, using a fork, gently break the membrane to release the roe; it will turn bright red in the hot water. Strain through a sieve and let dry on a paper towel.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the garlic. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the mint and parsley and 2 Tbs. of the reserved lobster eggs. Keep the garlic-mint butter warm.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Brush the cut side of each lobster half with some of the garlic-mint butter. Place the lobsters, cut side down, on the grill. Cover and grill until the flesh is opaque and firm to the touch, 5 to 6 minutes. Grill the lemon slices over the hottest part of the fire until lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Brush the grilled lobsters with the remaining garlic-mint butter and transfer to a platter. Garnish with the grilled lemon slices and serve immediately.

Summer salads for a crowd


Ok I love my seafood. During the summer here in Rhode Island, lots of good fresh seafood available.  I do 2 varieties, 1 with mayo, 1 without. I like the ones with mayo myself. I just cook my corn right on the grill on the cob till the tops start to brown/blacken a bit, and then remove the kernals with a corn cob cutter from lehmans and the desilking brush.

You can get the corn cutter here.

The desilking brush you can get from here.

I also highly recommend there book on growing corn, which you can get here.

 

Crab and lobster summer salad

5 lb crab meat (lump is good but I use all of it)
5 lb lobster meat (again all of it)
10 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
10 hass avocado, diced
20 hot peppers such as serrano or jalapeños, diced fine (seeds and white membraine removed for no heat, or seeds removed for mild)
15 cups fire roasted corn kernels
3 1/3 cup chopped red onion
20 limes, juice of (or more to taste)
10 tsp olive oil
20 tbsp chopped cilantro
salt and fresh pepper to taste
3 cups feta

In a small bowl combine red onion, lime juice, olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper. Let them sit at least 5 minutes to mellow the flavor of the onion.

In a large bowl combine chopped crab meat, lobster meat, feta, avocado, tomatoes, hot pepper and corn. Combine all the ingredients together, add cilantro and gently toss. Add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. For me the sweet of the crab, avocado and lobster the bite of lime an the saltyness of feta creates a real treat.

 

The mayo version is also great.

5 lb crab meat (lump is good but I use all of it)
5 lb lobster meat (again all of it)
10 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
10 hass avocado, diced
20 hot peppers such as serrano or jalapeños, diced fine (seeds and white membraine removed for no heat, or seeds removed for mild)
15 cups roasted corn kernels
3 1/3 cup chopped red onion
20 limes, juice of (or more to taste)
10 tsp olive oil
20 tbsp chopped cilantro
salt and fresh pepper to taste
3 cups feta
20 spears oven roasted asparagus
1 1/2 cups black olives (sliced)
1 1/2 cups green olives (minced)
3 cups mayo
3 cups italian dressing

In a small bowl combine red onion, lime juice, olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper. Let them sit at least 5 minutes to mellow the flavor of the onion.

In a large bowl combine chopped crab meat, lobster meat, feta, avocado, tomatoes, hot pepper and corn. Combine all the ingredients together, mayo and italian dressing, add cilantro and gently toss. Add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

New england shack-style fried razor clams


Fried clams, fries, and onion rings

Image via Wikipedia

I do this up for a crowd. Typically I do this for family events. Nothing like a new england clam bake with some clam shack new england fried razor clams. Absolutely delicious.

I make my own mix for frying.

10 cup corn flour
10 cup all-purpose flour
10 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
2 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Simple just mix it around by hand get it all evenly distributed.

15 pounds of shucked, razor clams, cut into 4ths.
60 cups vegtable oil or canola oil (3 1/3rd gallons see note)
10 cup buttermilk
frying mix (above)

You will be frying in batches to avoid the problems that can happen if you overcrowd your fryer. To avoid this, line a baking sheet with paper towels and preheat the oven to 250ºF.

Heat oil to the desired temperature in a 32-quart fryer or equivalent pot over medium heat or in a deep fryer.

While the oil is heating, pour the buttermilk into a large bowl, and put the fry mix in another. Drop the clams into the buttermilk and stir gently. Using a Chinese wire-mesh skimmer or a slotted spoon, carefully lift up a small batch (in this case, about half of the clams you’re frying), allowing the excess buttermilk to drip back into bowl, then drop the clams into the fry mix and gently toss it to coat evenly with the mix. Quickly dry off the skimmer.

When the oil is hot, lift the food out of the fry mix with the skimmer, gently shake off the excess, and drop it carefully into the oil. Try to spread the food out in the pot so there is less chance of the pieces sticking to each other. The first few moments are crucial: let the seafood cook for 15 to 20 seconds without moving the clams (or the fryer basket)—if you do, some of the breading could fall off, making them extremely greasy. Then stir the clams so that it cooks evenly. This also helps to loosen any pieces that might have stuck together. If anything sticks to the bottom of the pot, loosen it with tongs. Stay right there at the fryer, moving the clams occasionally so it cooks evenly.

Transfer the first batch of clams from the hot oil to the paper towel lined baking sheet to drain. You can keep the clams warm in the oven while you fry the second batch, but with clams or oysters, you should consider serving them as soon as they have drained. Because they are whole creatures with wet innards, they tend to lose their crunch alot faster than shrimp, scallops, and other seafood. You want a crunchy fried clam not a soggy one. As I get batches done, I throw them on a plate or platter and send it to the table with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs and fries are never out of the question.  If you really want traditional rhode island/new england, Serve them in brown paper bags.

Notes, if you want to do clam cakes, mince the razor clams add into buttermilk then mix into the fry mix to make a batter (may need to raise the fry mix by 1/3rd) to make a crunch batter. Make sure the temprature remains at 360 degrees. Oil too hot or too cold results in burned or uncooked centers.

My favorite clam cake mix is below:

RI clamcake mix

20 cups bisquick mix
5 tsp. paprika
10 tsp. parsley, chopped
2 1/2 tsp. onion powder
5 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. white pepper
10 tbsp. white sugar
5 c. milk
5 c. clam juice
15 lb minced razor clams

Mix it all together and drop by the spoon full into the fryer.

I RECOMMEND HANGING ONTO THE GREASE. The reason I hang onto the left over grease from the fryer is it’s flavored now. I use this grease for gravies, or drizzling into clam soups, or even spraying onto bread to help the top get nice and golden brown. It’s not strongly flavored but it does have a bit of flavor from the spices. It’s very good. Just let the oil cool and all the junk sink to the bottom and slowly pour it off, being careful to not pour off the sediment into your oil. You can even use this for crab cakes. The uses are endless! Use in place of any oil or butter!

Just server with my tartar sauce (recipe from the slipper limpet cakes link in related articles)

My tartar sauce that is always on the table.

10 cup mayo
20 tablespoons onion
20 tablespoons relish (equal amounts of sweet pickle relish and hot pepper relish)
10 tablespoon oregano
10 tablespoon dijon mustard
10 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
2 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

place all ingredients into a bowl, and mix well. Put in fridge.

Italian razors and sausage


English: Steamed razor clam

Image via Wikipedia

Ok, this is a man thing…meat and more meat. Bit of surf and turf, sausage and razor clams, what could be better? Ok…I suppose you can take and add bacon to it….yes I suppose you can sprinkle a little pecorino into the sauce…or use a regular beer instead of wine…This is just the way I love my razors and sausage. I make a lot of it cause it usually ends up on the easter/4th of july table. For normal none family events, you can cut this by a 10th if you’d like, though I’d drop it down a 5th, and live off the rest.

 

30 tablespoons olive oil
40 ounces italian sausage sweet, 1/4 inch slices
40 ounces italian sausage hot, 1/4 inch slices
40 slices of prociutto cut into into 1/4-inch cubes I use rougly 4-5 pounds.
20 medium vadalia onions or any other sweet onions, cut lengthwise in half and sliced into thin half-moons
10 bay leaf
40 garlic cloves, minced
10 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, drained and chopped
2 1/2 cup dry italian white wine
5 teaspoon sweet paprika
40 pounds razor clams scrubbed
Freshly ground black pepper
30 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 cups italian bread crumbs
extra olive oil for drizzling
2 bulbs fennel diced thinly
pepperocino or crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Parmigan cheese

Heat the oil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Dump in the sausages and prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until touched with brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

Lower the heat to medium; drop in the onions, fennel and bay leafs, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute maybe more. Stir in the tomatoes and any accumulated juice, the wine, and paprika. Discard any clams that feel heavy (which means they’re full of sand), or don’t close when tapped. Place the clams into the pot and turn the heat to high,cook, covered, stirring occasionally until the clams pop open, 10 to 12 minutes.

Bring the heavy pot to the table (a work out), take off the lid. Discard the bay leaf and toss out any clams that refuse to pop open. Season with a few grinds of pepper, bread crumbs Parmigan, shower with parsley, and ladle into wide shallow bowls, a metal trash can for shells, and allow people to sprinkle on pepperocino to adjust spicyness to desired heat, and drizzle with olive oil as they wish!

mmm magnificent, absolutely wonderful. Don’t forget plenty of bread to sop up the juices!

Long island seafood stew


Thanks to yelp I’m on a shellfish kick with my favorite clam. The razor clam. Very delicious. Can never get enough of them. This is what I call my Long Island Seafood Stew. Very good on a nice cold day.

18 Tbsp olive oil
3 cup of chopped onions
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cup of fresh chopped tomato (about 3 medium sized tomato)
6 tsp of tomato paste.
24 oz of water
2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 lb fish fillets (I use black sea bass, cod, monkfish, fluke/flounder or lemon fish), cut into 2-inch pieces
1 1/2 lb shrimp
1 1/2 lb razor clams  raw sliced into half finger chunks (important or they won’t be fully cooked)
4 pinches/dashes of dry oregano, Tabasco, thyme, pepper
Salt

First, get a pair of scissors, cut along the back of the shrimp shell an all and remove the vein in the back. Then deshell them and save the shells. Put the shells in a small cheese cloth sack tie closed.

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté 4 minutes. Add parsley and stir 2 minutes. Add tomato, tomato paste and cook 2 minutes longer.

Add water, dry white wine, shrimp shell bundle, and fish, clams, and shrimp and simmer until fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add seasoning. Salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve with lots of bread.