A Valentine’s Seafood Array
Zach’s present to August for Valentine’s Day this year was a day of flavors. It began with home made cinnamon rolls, and ended with a variety of light yet rich seafood.
In California, it is nearly impossible to find raw Alaskan king crab. It comes precooked and flash frozen.
To prepare: thaw overnight in the refrigerator in a sealed container (or something covered with plastic wrap), but put a rack on the bottom of the container so that the crab doesn’t sit in its own juice and melted ice water sludge. When ready to serve, cut the shell with small cooking scissors and carefully peel away. Remove the tendons by gently pulling the shell around the joint areas. Serve with half a lemon; other options are garlic butter and caper aioli if you want something richer.
(A future post will be a detailed how-to on removing the shell of a crab.)
The mussels weren’t alive when eaten. However, they must be kept alive right up until the point of preparation. Before any cooking there are some cleaning procedures:
Discard of any cracked or unusually heavy mussels, as these may be too full of sand and will be too difficult to clean.
Soak mussels in a bowl with water and 1 tbs. of salt for 20 minutes, and as they breathe they naturally filter the fresh water through their systems so as to expel debris.
Remove the byssal thread from each mussel. Grasping the shell firmly with a towel, yank the thread sharply towards the shell’s hinge. If you yank towards the shell’s opening, you might kill the mussel. Discard the threads and put the mussels in a separate bowl.
Add cold water to this new bowl, and let the mussels soak for another 10 minutes. Then brush each mussel to clean off any remaining debris. Rinse off with cool water and dry with a towel.
3 dozen mussels
1/2 cup of white wine
1/4 cup of fine chopped garlic
1/4 cup of butter
Chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish
Pepper to taste
In an extra large saute pan, melt the butter on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes until the garlic is very lightly browned. Add mussels, but make sure the pan is large enough for the mussels to take up a single layer and not be on top of each other; the mussels on the bottom might not pop open if there are mussels on top to weigh them down. Add the white wine and cover with a lid for 4 minutes to steam the mussels. Remove mussels from pan, put in a bowl, and pour remaining butter-garlic-wine juice over the mussels. Garnish with parsley.
Fresh Atlantic salmon is fairly abundant. It’s always best to buy fresh fish if you can, and a thick filet will surely impress your better half for a Valentinian meal. Try to get deboned salmon because it’s too much work as a preparer or an eater. We got ours with the skin on – this is better for thicker filets during the cooking process.
2 salmon filets, about 1″ thick
1 tbs. of butter
1 tsp. of dried dill
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh lemon to squeeze
Heat a large saute pan and melt the butter over medium heat. Salt and pepper both sides of the filets and sprinkle dill on the skinless side.
Place both filets in the pan skin-side down, with about 15 seconds in between each so that you don’t cool down the pan too quickly. Cook for 6-7 minutes on the skin side before flipping over; cook for an additional 4 minutes with the skin facing up. Remove from heat, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the filets, and serve immediately.