Where Are You, Seafood Lovers?

This is a question that has pondered me for a long time. Whenever I plan dinner parties, I always think about a nice seafood venue; however, there always seems to be one or more guests that are not fond of the jewels of the sea. Alas, I end up nixing that idea most of the time.

I love seafood. Whether it be shell fish, crustaceans, or any of the fishes of the sea, if you put seafood on your menu, I will be there for dinner. Wait, I said that too fast. Anything from the sea or rivers that resembles a snake, throw it back in, I hate eel. The weird thing is that when I was a wee wee young lad in boarding school in France, I loved eel. I was staying at an eel farm and we frequently would have sauteed eel at the dinner table. How the palate changes over the years. I absolutely hate sea urchin as well, for no reason except that a friend of mine ordered it when on an overseas trip. If memory serves me right, it was sea urchin omelet. It looked awful and my friend ate the whole thing! Other than those two things, the oceans and rivers hold the jewels of my taste buds.

The complaints I hear from those that tell me they aren't seafood lovers is that it's "rubbery", "dry", or "bland". My friends, it's all in the cooking. There is simply one rule and one rule only when cooking seafood, don't overcook, period. I have a simple rule (sticking with our theme) and that is when you are cooking fish, cook it as long as you would a steak done rare, about 2 minutes on each side. Of course, the thickness of the fish plays a role. The two minute rule is great for about 1 inch thickness. It's that simple. If it's shell fish, cook covered for 4 minutes, check. If shells are all open, it's ready. If not, cook for 2 more minutes covered. I tell you, all your shells will be opened and the meat will be succulent and moist. All I can say is the longer you cook seafood the better it will be as new soles for your shoes. It's your choice.

I recently have experimented with my microwave oven and fish. Now I know the first thing you're going to say is that's a whole lot of rubber. But wait, hear me out on this one. You can make the most wonderful poached salmon or halibut with your microwave. Start with a piece of halibut or salmon about 3/4" to 1" thick and a microwave dish that has a lid. You can use a plate to cover the dish if you want. Spray the bottom of the dish with Pam (I love her, she's so slippery and everything slides off her). Place your fish in the dish and add a teaspoon of olive oil or butter, salt, pepper, dill or basil (if you have some), and 1/4 cut of water or white wine. You can also add minced parsley and garlic and a squeeze of lemon, if you wish. Cover the dish well and microwave on level 8 for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Keep dish covered for another 60 seconds, then remove and place on your dinner plate. Take the liquid you have and add about 2 tablespoons of cream, mix well, add a teaspoon of tartar sauce, dilute into liquid. Cover and microwave for about 45 seconds on level 8. Remove from microwave and pour over your fish. Sprinkle a bit more parsley or basil, a slice of tomato, a few capers, and enjoy with steamed french haricots (petite green beans). Bon appetite! (photos provided by www.freedigitalphotos.net)

1 comment:

  1. Hello Nick, I'm Tracey your first subscriber!
    I too am a fellow seafood entusiast and self proclaimed home chef.

    I agree with you regarding the first rule of cooking seafood, DO NOT OVER COOK! I cringe when I witness someone doing this. It is the most common mistake that will instantly ruin an expensive piece of fish! Especially on the BBQ grill!
    You have caught my attention with microwaving fish. In my mind using the microwave for anything other than re-warming leftovers is taboo! Your poached salmon/halibut recipe sounds delicious and I will have to think again about using the microwave.
    Thank for your blog and I'm exicted to read future posts!
    Bon appetite!
    Tracey, Arizona