Archive for category Shellfish

Pan-Seared Scallops

Pan-Seared Sea ScallopsSeafood is something Susan and I don’t have an opportunity to enjoy nearly enough. That’s because our kids think it’s something exotic (unless we’re talking about Tuna Melts). I love most fish, but I especially love shellfish. Scallops may be expensive, but they are so versatile and so delicious that the price doesn’t seem to matter much.

Although most people don’t understand this, there’s a difference between regular sea scallops and what they call “dry” sea scallops. The dry version is much easier to sear in a skillet, although this dish can be made with either version. So, my recommendation is that you don’t shy away simply because you cannot find “dry” scallops. Just be sure to rinse the scallops and pat them dry before pan searing them.

Depending upon where you buy your scallops, you may have to remove the muscle. I usually buy mine at my local grocer, and the muscle is already removed.

This is a great dish that comfortably serves three. I’m sure you will absolutely love it.


1.5 lbs “dry” sea scallops

2 tbsp Canola oil

6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 tbsp fresh thyme

sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1.5 cups Basmati rice

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup water

Sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper (to taste)


Heat a skillet on medium-high. Add the 2 tbsp Canola oil. When heated, add 2 tbsp of the butter. Once melted and bubbling, add the scallops in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Sear on one side for 2-3 minutes. Turn each one and cook the other side for 2-3 minutes, or until the scallops become translucent. You can check this by looking at the sides of the scallops. Once done, remove the scallops to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Place them in a warmed oven to keep warm.

While you are cooking the scallops, you should be cooking the rice. Add the 2 cups of chicken broth, one cup of water and the 1.5 cups of rice. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook until the rice is done and the water is absorbed.

Once you have removed the scallops from the skillet, add the wine, the lemon juice and the thyme. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the 4 tbsp butter one tablespoon at a time. Cook until it is slightly reduced. If you feel you need more wine, please feel free to add it.

When the rice is done, divide it into three plates. Place the scallops on top of the rice, then pour the sauce on top of the scallops and rice.

Again, I cannot emphasize enough that this type of dish isn’t an exact science. The idea is to have the plain cooked rice and the scallops on top, with the sauce poured over the whole shebang. It is simply delicious.


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Baked Stuffed Clams

NorwayDeepClamShells-Legendary ShellsHere’s a mighty tasty recipe. This is one of those appetizers that people don’t think of making very often, mostly because they cringe when they think of having to shuck clams to make it. Actually, you don’t have to do any of that. In most supermarkets, you can purchase chopped clams in their broth. These are usually somewhere in front of the fish section in cold case. Or you can visit a seafood store and purchase them. Or, you can simply buy the snows chopped clams in the can. They work perfectly fine for this recipe. (Or, if you like the labor, you can buy clams and shuck them yourself.)

You can also go online and purchase clam shells for this recipe. These are durable, oven-resistant, dishwasher-safe, reusable clam shells that are made specifically for this purpose. Here’s a link to a good online source called Legendary Shells.

It says that the Pancetta or bacon is optional, but I wouldn’t leave it out. It adds great depth of flavor, particularly since the recipe calls for sage. People often ask me what the difference is between Pancetta and regular bacon. Pancetta is often called Italian bacon, and is essentially bacon without the smoky flavor, so it just depends upon which you prefer.


2.5 cups chopped clam meat (retain the clam juice)

Retained clam juice (if you are working with whole, fresh clams, purchase a bottle of Snow’s Clam Juice)

6 clam shells (for cooking; see note above)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped red pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups Italian style bread crumbs

1 tbsp dried broken-leaf sage

Kosher salt (to taste)

Fresh-ground black pepper (to taste)

Crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)

1 egg

3 tbsp cold butter

1/2 cup chopped Pancetta or bacon, chopped and cooked until crispy (optional, but not really)


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

If you’re working with whole clams, you can chop them by hand or use a food processor.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers and garlic and cook for about 8 minutes. Stir frequently so that the garlic does not burn.

Remove from heat and transfer everything to a bowl. Allow it to cool a bit. Then, add your bread crumbs, sage, salt and pepper (sparingly), red pepper flakes, and clams.

Whisk the egg with the retained clam juice. Add it to the dry ingredients and mix gently. If you are adding the Pancetta or bacon (and I strongly suggest you do), now is the time to add that to the mixture. If the mixture appears dry (and it probably will not with the addition of the meat), here’s where that bottle of Snow’s clam juice comes in handy.

Fill the shells with the clam mixture, and place a chunk of butter on the top of each one.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown on top.

My friend Bill says to serve this with lemon wedges and cold beer. Wine works too, if you’re not a beer drinker (like me).




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Fantabulous New England Lobster Salad Sandwich

lobster_meat_7-7-12_2There’s nothing like a good New England Lobster…roll. I’m calling this one a sandwich, because I do not favor putting this masterpiece in a hot dog roll. Yes, yes, I know that’s the traditional way of serving it. But I prefer to get rolls from a bakery or from the bakery section of my local supermarket.

Some people insist that you keep the ingredients to a minimum, basically serving the lobster with mayo, celery and some salt and pepper. I say nonsense. This is a delicious recipe, whether you buy your lobsters and boil them yourselves, or purchase lobster meat by the pound.

I hope you enjoy it!


4 cooked lobster tails and 8 claws and knuckles

1 cup of light mayonnaise

3 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning

3 celery heart stalks, finely chopped

Healthy bunch of fresh chives, finely chopped

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp Tabasco Sauce

Fresh-ground black pepper

1.5 tbsp fresh chopped tarragon

Boston or Bibb lettuce

4 tbsp butter, softened


Cut your cooked lobster tails, claws and knuckles into bite-sized pieces and place them in a bowl. Add the mayo, lemon juice, lemon pepper seasoning, Tabasco sauce, black pepper, Dijon mustard, tarragon, chopped chives,  and chopped celery. Mix thoroughly and place in the refrigerator, covered, for at least an hour before serving.

When you’re ready to serve, spread butter on the rolls and place them under the broiler in your oven. Remove when browned. Place several pieces of Boston or Bibb lettuce along the bottom and sides of the roll, and scoop on your lobster salad.


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Fisherman’s Wharf Cioppino

cioppinoI’m naming this Fisherman’s Wharf Cioppino because the first time I ever had this dish I was on vacation in one of my all-time favorite cities: San Francisco. This seafood feast is one of the eight wonders of the food world. It’s origins lie in — as you may guess — Italy. For a “stew” of this complexity, it’s remarkably uncomplicated to make.

Like its cousin, Mediterranean Fish Stew, you can serve it with crusty bread. However, I also highly recommend serving it over pasta, preferably homemade pasta.

You’re going to need a very large kettle or pot for this. I use the pot I cook lobsters in.


5 tbsp olive oil

1 large Vidalia onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 large shallots, chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups fish stock

1 cup all-natural clam juice (Snows is what I use)

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes with juice

1.5 cups dry white wine (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay)

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 tbsp dried basil

1 tsp dried whole oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp fennel seed

1.5 tsp salt

1 tsp coarse-ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 bay leaves

1.5 lbs catfish, salmon, halibut or cod, cut in pieces

1.5 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1.5 lbs sea scallops, cut in half

1 lb mussels, cleaned and debearded

1 lb littleneck clams, cleaned and scrubbed

1 lb lump crabmeat

1/2 lb calamari, bodies only cut in 1-in rings


Heat the oil in a lobster pot or large kettle over medium heat. Add the onions, shallots, pepper and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, red pepper flakes, and coarse-ground black pepper. Cook for another several minutes.

Add the tomatoes (and their juices), clam juice, chicken stock, fish stock, white wine, fennel seeds and bay leaves. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the flavors blend together.

Remove the cover and add the littleneck clams and mussels.  Cook, covered, for 5-10 minutes or until the shells open. Remove the shellfish with a slotted spoon and reserve. Be sure to throw away any clams or mussels that have not opened.

Next, add the scallops, shrimp, fish, crab meat and calamari rings. Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes until everything is just cooked through. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Return the shellfish to the pot and stir in the parsley. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and serve immediately with crusty bread. Or serve over pasta with Parmesan cheese on the side.



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Crab Cakes With a Bite

Lump Crab CakesI love crab cakes, and these crab cakes pack a bit of a punch. You’ll need lump crab meat for this. You can either buy it in the can, or buy it from the seafood section of your local food store. Either way, be sure to pick through it and remove any stray shells that may have escaped the watchful eye of those who manufacture it.

It’s important that this mixture not come out like mush. The idea is to mix everything together loosely, adding the breadcrumbs and cilantro last.

These crab cakes are great with a simple lemon aioli (recipe provided here), and can be served with our Not Your Everyday Coleslaw.


1 lb lump crab meat

1 egg, beaten

1 cup light mayonnaise

1-1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup diced red onions

1.5 tsp Dijon mustard

1.5 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup Canola oil


Loosely mix together all of the ingredients, with the exception of the panko bread crumbs and cilantro. The idea is not to make it mushy. Add the bread crumbs and cilantro after the initial mixing.

Refrigerate the mixture for at least three hours.

When you’re ready to cook, add the 1/4 cup of Canola oil to a skillet and heat on medium-high. Form the crab cakes and cook on both sides until browned and crispy. This will probably take about 6 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and put on a dish lined with paper towels to drain.

Serve with a simple lemon aioli (recipe below)

Lemon Aioli

I love lemon aioli. This one, like the crab cakes, packs a punch. This is mostly due to the addition of an ingredient called Vulcan’s Fire Salt. This stuff is amazing. I stock it in my kitchen. I buy mine from The Spice House. You cannot find it in the spice section of your local supermarket.


3/4 cup light mayonnaise

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp grated lemon rind

1/4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

1 tbsp fresh chopped chives

1/4 tsp Vulcan’s Fire Salt


This is a very simple recipe. Mix all ingredients together. Put in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.

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