We've expressed our love for oysters in the past, so it's sobering to read a recent article on NPR's The Salt blog about how climate change is affecting the oyster business, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. Large populations of oyster larvae were dying, and scientists only recently discovered the cause.
I've eaten a lot of oysters in my life but I distinctly remember the first: it was at Judy Rodgers's Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. I was thirteen, on a date with my parents, decked out in an Esprit outfit with a black bolero jacket striped with rainbow rickrack. It was the Eighties and if nothing else, I got that you dress for a special occasion, but I had no idea how exotic this experience was. When I returned to school with my story, I was greeted with "ewwwww" and wrinkled noses.
With that, I shelved my fascination with mollusks.
I love to cook, and love to entertain. There's something about sharing a meal with friends, or even strangers, that is just so visceral. Nothing brings people together like a great dinner party and to me nothing is more communal to serve than a platter of smoked foods. It's basic, comforting, and provides a real sense of abundance. So today I'm going to show you how to prepare a smoked salmon two ways. One for the delicate palate and another for the person who's looking for something boldly sweet and spicy.
Simplicity, elegance and deliciousness are especially important for the solo cook. Not that these qualities aren't also applicable those who have regularly have company at the table, but the solo cook may have particular challenges if eating and dining alone is a frequent event. It's shockingly easy to slip into the realms of frozen pizza and take-away, even if you love to cook and eat well, so it's good to have a few things on hand that bump an everyday dish into something sublime. It's for this very reason that I always keep a package of smoked salmon in the refrigerator.
Q: I live in Alaska and just returned from a weekend fishing trip with 60 pounds of halibut fillets and two sets of cheeks for my freezer. I'm wondering if anyone has preparation tips or recipes for halibut, especially the cheeks?
It took eight years, but there is now an official and comprehensive standards guide for salmon farming. The 91-page document details over 100 fish-farming standards, and includes guidelines on everything from pesticides and antibiotics use to fish-cage construction, water quality, and more.
If you cook fish at home, chances are you've had the unpleasant experience of bringing home a piece of seafood that turned out to be — well, a little more odiferous than expected. America's Test Kitchen has a quick tip for removing the chemical compound responsible for the odor, leaving you with refreshed seafood ready to be cooked.
Lately it's been hot as all get-out in New York and this week the pilot light went out on my range, so I feel like I'm completely ensconced in no-cook cooking.
One of my favorite ways to feel like I'm getting a good dose of vitamins and protein without turning on the stove is a simple dish with slabs of tomato and anchovies marinated in vinegar, known as boquerones. Sometimes it's enough for lunch, sometimes even dinner with a hunk of bread and a good cheese. Here's a version that gets dressed up with bread crumbs, basil and red onion.
Seafood salads served in avocado halves always used to remind me of 1960s kitsch food, the sort of thing you might see photographed in garish colors in a thrift store magazine. That was until I realized why this retro combination was so popular with the ladies who lunched fifty years ago: it is very, very good.
I'm half-Thai, so fish sauce is a staple in my kitchen, showing up in everything from omelets to salad dressings. But I usually keep it pretty traditional, which is why I was excited to see cookbook author Naomi Duguid's ideas for using fish sauce in unexpected ways — like in guacamole!