Sichuan Fish Stew (Shui Zhu Yu)

If you’re familiar with the dry-style stir-fries of Sichuan cuisine — Kung Pao chicken, or beef with cumin — this is its soupy antithesis. Translating literally to “water-cooked fish,” it’s fish slices gently poached in a not-so-gentle broth. No, it’s not just water in there. Infused with dried chilies, Sichuan peppercorns and chili bean sauce, it’s a tingly, vermilion bath loaded with slivered vegetables like cabbage and celery, flavors melding. And because of its stew-like consistency, it’s perfect for winter … Read More

The Great Clambake

Of all the elaborate communal meals to make, there is one that should stand without question should you ever be on a private New England beach: the clambake. After a whole summer of firing up charcoal for barbecues on the stuffy, blackened rooftops of Brooklyn, eight friends and myself found ourselves in such a tranquil idyll last weekend. We did not miss the opportunity.

Pasta with Fresh Tomato and Anchovy Sauce

Too many tomatoes. That’s something I didn’t think I’d ever be saying earlier on in the summer, or, least of all, during the colder months we’re heading into now. But currently, in the Northeast, it’s tomato mayhem. For the last several weeks, I’ve gotten more and more reinforcements of tomatoes from my CSA. I had my volunteer shift last week, and was given the task of sorting tomatoes. There were far too many for the (many of them vacationing) members … Read More

Pan-Roasted Flounder and Zucchini with Corn and Peach Salsa

posted in: Recipes, Seafood | 2

Oh happy day — midsummer has arrived, and all my favorite foods like peaches and sweet corn are now in season. My life is finally complete. I thought I’d celebrate with a confetti of those things, splayed across a delicate-tasting canvas of fresh flounder fillets. Nothing too crazy at this party, except for that crack-pow-pop! like fireworks in the sky of flavor–juicy, crisp, tender and sweet. Man, I wish the Fourth of July came a little later into the summer … Read More

Roasted Whole Fish on Asparagus Logs

I love the idea of popping a whole fish in the oven, to roast until sizzling sounds are heard, and the flesh is juicy and opaque. But I don’t love the idea of just plunking the whole fish down on a baking sheet, as it’ll stick to the pan, becoming slimy and weird. The fish’s natural juices will get totally wasted while cooking, spilling onto the abyss of a blank sheetpan that you’ll have to scrub well soon. So I … Read More

Calamari and Tomato Stew with Capers & Chilies

There are two ways to prepare squid (aka calamari) with succulent results: very quickly, as in searing, grilling, or flash-frying; or very long, as in braising, stewing, or slow-roasting. Anywhere in between will yield rubbery, rigid bands like undercooked cartilage. I went with the latter preparation for this late-winter, almost-springlike, one-seafood stew. It could be plopped on top of pasta, or sopped up with pieces of bread. Tentacles had never been more tender.

Clams Simmered with Sake and Daikon Radish

posted in: Recipes, Seafood | 1

Just because the holiday season is officially over doesn’t mean cooking has to return to a boring routine. I’ve resolved to cook more under-explored foods this year, and stood at the seafood stand at the market for about five seconds before deciding on clams. Why? Because they — like daikon radishes, which were also snatched from a nearby market bin — are quick and easy to cook, flavorful, healthy, sustainable, and very inexpensive to boot. Hm, I guess that’s not … Read More

Broiled Bluefish with Romano Beans and Corn-Kimchi Salad

I don’t get the hesitation over darker, oilier, “fishier” sort of fish. Bluefish, mackerel, herring, sardines — these are the flavorful dark meats to bland white meat chicken (of the sea). If you’re one who prefers full-flavored, juicy cuts like chicken thighs or pork shoulder instead of loin, you might find common ground in these highly undervalued types of fish. Then again, the fillet of bluefish I broiled here was so fresh, it tasted clean and just faintly of the … Read More

Steamed Mussels with Fresh Corn, Tomatoes & Herbs

I really like mussels, clams, and shellfish of all kinds. You kind of have to, if you’re going to dig into a whole bowl of steamed mussels, served with bread to sop up its broth, or French fries in the classic “moules frites” tradition. But if you’re a little shy of encountering mussels in such quantity, then try perching a few kernels of sweet corn, soaked in a fresh tomato-based broth with garlic and freshly chopped herbs in the bowl … Read More

Seared Tuna Steak with Snow Peas and Ginger-Scallion Sauce

posted in: Recipes, Seafood | 3

Oh indulgence, you sinful pride. I eat tuna fairly often, from a can, on bread or an olive oil-drizzled salad. The pale, meaty hunks of fish are pretty satisfying this way. But nothing compares to a thick slab of fresh-caught tuna, seared ’til just golden and ruby rare inside. It’s the perfect indulgence to pair with spring snow peas, also from local origin, and a zesty, tart, umami sauce with fresh, young scallions, too.

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