Living on the coast may not automatically make you a great cook, but Coastal Living readers certainly possess an outspoken passion for seafood.
Throughout the year, they send us their favorite ideas for using fish and shellfish in everything from hors d'oeuvres to entrées. It seems that celebrating the ocean's bounty is as much a part of living on the coast as watching the sun rise and set over the waves. This month we introduce you to several of our readers and share their treasured seafood recipes.
Lynda Doty grew up in Dallas as a landlocked Texan whose early idea of seafood was frozen fish sticks and canned tuna. "Now that I'm a well-traveled adult living near the Gulf of Mexico," says Lynda, "my tastes have changed considerably, and I travel in search of local seafood specialties from California sand dabs to Maine lobster. I've searched endlessly for good and easy shrimp recipes. This one reflects our proximity to New Orleans."
Shrimp Georgie Porgie
½ cup olive oil, divided
45 garlic cloves (about 4 heads)
3 pounds unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
¼ cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon liquid shrimp-and-crab boil seasoning
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground red pepper
¾ teaspoon dried oregano
¾ teaspoon dried rosemary
3 bay leaves
French baguette or rustic bread, sliced
Combine ¼ cup oil and garlic in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until garlic is lightly browned.
Meanwhile, combine remaining ¼ cup olive oil, shrimp, and next 8 ingredients in a large zip-top freezer bag; seal and shake to coat. Add shrimp mixture and bay leaves to baking dish, and toss to coat. Bake 20 more minutes or until shrimp turn pink, stirring once. Serve with bread. Makes 6 to 8 servings. ― Lynda Doty, Houston, Texas
Pour: 2002 Carl Graff Kabinett Piesporter Michelsberg.
Fruity, with a hint of sweetness, this German Riesling pairs well with slightly stronger or spicier dishes.
Retired U. S. Coast Guard Capt. Ronald Kollmeyer offers his clam chowder recipe. "The first time it saw the light of day was in 1960 in Adak, Alaska, in the Aleutian Islands. It was made with razor clams, dug with loving care in howling winds and driving rain.
Generally, shucked clams with juice will provide ample salt water, so no additional salt is needed." But, Captain Ron warns, "If you can't get fresh shucked clams, there is no alternative for this recipe. Make sardine sandwiches, which are also very good."
Captain Ron's Clam Chowder
1 cup water
4 dozen fresh clams, scrubbed
8 bacon slices, chopped
4 onions, chopped (about 5 cups)
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 large potatoes, diced (about 4 cups)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cups half-and-half
Bring water to a boil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add clams, and steam 5 to 7 minutes or until shells open. Strain cooking water from Dutch oven into a container, discarding any sediment. Shuck clams into a bowl, discarding shells and any whole clams that do not open. Coarsely chop clams, and set aside.
Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in pan. Set bacon aside.
Sauté onions and garlic in hot drippings over medium-high heat about 5 minutes or until tender. Add potatoes and thyme, and cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Sprinkle flour over potato mixture; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add reserved clam water and clam juice, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, uncovered, over medium heat 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Add parsley and next 3 ingredients. Stir in clams and reserved bacon; cook over medium heat just until thoroughly heated. Makes 14 cups. ― Capt. Ronald Kollmeyer, Fort Myers, Florida
Pour: 2004 or 2005 Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay.
This fruity and buttery wine stands up to rich chowder but doesn't overwhelm.
From her home in Naples, Florida, or her cottage in Neskowin, Oregon, bicoastal reader Virginia White prepares this easy seafood salad. The recipe was handed down from her mother. "She wasn't much of a cook," Virginia says, "but did manage some success with this recipe."
Shrimp Salad with Avocado and Curried Rice
1 cup uncooked rice
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 pound cooked small shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ green bell pepper, chopped
1 avocado, diced
3 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup mayonnaise
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cook rice according to package directions, adding curry powder to cooking water; chill.
Combine rice, shrimp, and remaining ingredients. Makes about 6 cups. ― Virginia White, Naples, Florida
Pour: 2003 Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc.
New Zealand produces some of the best Sauvignon Blancs. This one is alive with citrus and grassy flavors and is a natural match for a refreshing salad.
Who says our readers aren't chefs? Chef and radio personality Dan Thiessen's new restaurant, 0/8 Seafood Grill, will open in Bellevue, Washington, this fall. "This crab cake is so great," he says. "The bread crumbs are used on the outside of the cake to protect the crab and form a golden-brown color when the cakes are seared in oil."
Crab Cakes with Watercress Vinaigrette
2 white bread slices
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, drained and picked
2 tablespoons minced white onion
2 tablespoons minced celery
1 tablespoon minced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced green bell pepper
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Place bread in a food processor, and pulse 6 times or until coarse bread crumbs measure about 1½ cups.
Stir together crabmeat and next 7 ingredients. Shape mixture into 10 (2-ounce) patties; dredge in breadcrumbs. Place patties on a baking sheet, cover, and chill at least 2 hours.
Cook crab cakes, in batches, in hot oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Serve with Watercress Vinaigrette. Makes 10 (2-ounce) crab cakes.
1 bunch fresh watercress
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup canola oil
Process first 7 ingredients in a food processor or blender until blended. With processor running, add oil in a slow, steady stream, and process until blended. Makes ¾ cup. ― Dan Thiessen, Seattle, Washington
Pour: 2004 Château Turcaud Entre-Deux-Mers.
This quite dry Sauvignon Blanc blend is refreshing and light, but will stand up to the crispness of the crab cakes.
Paula Merrell offers her favorite salmon recipe. "It's moist, delicious, and ready in 30 minutes," she says. "Serve with couscous and a fresh tossed garden salad and you have an elegant, easy meal."
Paula's Easiest Salmon Ever
½ cup water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 (0.7-ounce) envelope Italian-style dressing mix
6 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Stir together first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Arrange salmon in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Pour dressing mixture over fillets. Bake, covered, at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 5 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Makes 6 servings. ― Paula Merrell, Corona, California
Pour: 2004 David Bruce Central Coast Pinot Noir.
A stronger-tasting fish demands a mild red wine, rather than a white. This is fresh and fruity, and has nice acidity.
Patty Frank of Spring, Texas, says her citrus-flavored shrimp is a standout because "it's simple, with few ingredients, and the lemony sauce really complements the shrimp. We have a small cottage [in Galveston], about six houses from the beach, that we love to escape to every chance we get. Something about driving over the causeway makes us forget the challenges of our business life. There is a small seafood market close to our home. We can ride our bikes over and pick up shrimp, fish, crab―whatever. And what we make always tastes better [there] than it does back in the city."
Nearly Shrimp Paisano
1 pound unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
¾ cup half-and-half
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup vegetable oil
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup butter, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Peel shrimp and devein, if desired. Soak shrimp in half-and-half 10 minutes. Drain shrimp, and dredge in flour. Fry shrimp in hot oil over medium-high heat 3 minutes on each side or until golden.
Whisk together egg yolk and lemon juice in a heavy saucepan. Add ¼ cup butter, and stir over low heat until melted. Add garlic and remaining ¼ cup butter. Cook, stirring constantly, until butter melts and sauce thickens; stir in parsley. Pour sauce over shrimp, and serve immediately. Makes 2 to 3 servings. ― Patty Frank, Spring, Texas
Pour: 2002 Brampton Unoaked Chardonnay.
Wonderful pear flavors come through and stand up to this mildly citrusy dish.
The Case for Wine
George M. Taber, author of Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine (Scribner, 2005) and a resident of Block Island, Rhode Island, selected wines to go with these dishes.
If you have a recipe you wish to share, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.