Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rockfish Crudo

so simple and delicious!

We get beautiful fish here in Homer. And while we are the self titled "Halibut Capital of the World", Halibut isn't the only thing we have in relative abundance, in fact, it is in such high demand, fetching prices of up to $6.00 a pound across the dock, my husband won't be bringing any home for our freezer.  He will, however, bring home rockfish. It is a by-catch associated with halibut long lining, but does not have a strong market here. We are able to move some on the local buyers, but the rest comes to us. some we have commercially processed to use at the bakery and the rest goes right into our freezer. I love having this around for the last minute dinner. It thaws so fast, you could have a solid block of frozen fish and come home, pull it out and immerse in cool water, take a hot shower and you'll be ready to cook it by the time your toweled off. We often use it as our ace in the hole when we have unexpected company. No matter how you cook it, this fish is always very good. One of my favorite ways to use this fish, especially when it's only been frozen for a short time, is to make a crudo. It's sort of like a ceviche, only the fish isn't left to cook in the lime quite as long. In fact my crudo spends a little more time with the lime juice than most, but I find the texture to be so great if the fish is, if you will, cooked in the acid until it is just 'al dente'. You can play with this yourself, depending on the comfort level of your could pile all kinds of wonderful things like shaved onion, avocado, tomato, yuzu, salmon roe...whatever turns you on. Me, I like to keep it simple, especially if there is a big menu to come. So amazing, so clean, so simple!
Here is how I do it:
If your fish is fresh, freeze it until solid. This will kill any parasites that may be lurking about and it will make it easier to slice super thin. Take your frozen fish and thaw it just slightly, it should feel a little pliable, but still be stiff in the center. With a sharp knife and going across the grain make paper thin slices of the fish. Place those slices in a single layer on a glass plate. Squeeze lime juice liberally over fish and sprinkle with a tiny pinch of sea salt. Cover with plastic and refrigerate up to 30 minutes. Right before serving, remove plastic and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cilantro leaves. If your gilding the lily, add the above condiments, or whatever suits your fancy. Serve with a nice flat bread cracker or crack chips. OR, if your a purist, just a fork or a pair or chopsticks are all the accessory you need.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nuts for Spiced Nuts!

When they told me theme for the high school ski team dinner was nuts for skiing, I knew I wanted to make some spiced nuts to put in bowls and nestle in amongst the pine bough decorations on the table. They snuggled right up next to the little skiers made out of nuts that one of the parents made. (Laura Miller, you rock...just sayin'!) Something a little sweet and spicy and crunchy all at the same time to get their taste buds revved up for the feast to come. These are also a favorite of mine to make for the holidays. They keep in a jar forever and can be packaged to give in gift baskets or passed around when unexpected guests arrive.
Here is what you need:
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar (I used organic)
2 teaspoons worchester sauce
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (regular will do, just won't be as flavorful)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
5 cups nuts. I used pecans, cashews and walnuts
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
To make:
In a large bowl, using a whisk beat egg whites till frothy and light. Add salt, sugar, worchester sauce, paprika and cayenne and mix well. Stir in nuts and then melted butter. Turn out onto a parchment lined sheet pan and bake in a 325 degree preheated oven for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Cool thoroughly before packaging, but not to be resisted if eaten when still slightly warm.