Today we’re talking seafood. We should all eat more of it, right? If ever you’re concerned about which fish are best to eat (because trust me-many are not so good), check out Seafood Watch from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You can even download their app to your phone so when you’re at the fish market you know you’re making smart decisions.
Cioppino is what you might call San Francisco-Italian-Portuguese food. The name is derived from the Italian word for “chopped” and the dish dates back as far as the late 1800s. The different versions of this rich tomato seafood stew are astounding. It’s my dad’s favorite and I know he’s tried every bowl he can get his hands on, but him making it from scratch is always the best. So when Russ Parsons of the LA Times decided to tackle cioppino, I knew I had to check it out. First he writes a general method for creating your own signature batch. I love when he says “there is not an ingredient that can’t be questioned”. In other words, make it your own. That said, if you’re the recipe type and want a base from which to cook, try his actual recipe. I’d leave out the bell pepper but, I don’t think he’d mind.
I love chowder. It’s the Seattle girl in me, no doubt about that, we grew up eating it all the time. A few years ago I found a recipe for chowder with salmon-I started teaching it in my cooking classes and it was an instant hit. This Salmon Chowder, from The Washington Post, is equally as simple but the addition of bacon and clam juice will give it even more flavor. There is also heavy cream, a good cup and half of the stuff, so this isn’t your every night soup. I think half-and-half would work just fine (a little less rich but still nice and thick). You thicken the soup w/flour and butter at the end so even milk would probably do the trick.
To round out this seafood edition, how about some coconut shrimp? Since we paid homage to my dad’s favorite dish, I think it’s only fair we give my mom some love too. She is a huge fan of coconut shrimp and can tell you from one bite if they’re made with good quality shrimp and if the batter is just right. They’re a splurge in terms of calories but this is Oven Baked Coconut Shrimp, baked instead of fried so you can enjoy them a bit more often. I like this version because it takes shell-on shrimp and brines them for a few hours first. This keeps the shrimp nice and moist when they’re baked, because no one likes shrimp that tastes like rubber bands. A little sweet and spicy chili sauce on the side and I think this one might even pass my mom’s test.
Happy Reading and Happy Cooking.