Tag Archives: seafood

Seafood Spaghetti Salad

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I often cook for my better (worse?) half on Friday Nights (sometimes) Sunday nights (often) as her job keeps her busy on weekends. As she is a pasta addict, I end up preparing some one every two meals. After a hard day’s work she is pretty happy with this recipe as it leaves me with plenty of improvisation according to the season and the market!

As for measures and proportions, I will leave it to your imagination, although a good observation of the picture should be a good enough guide for you! The plate pictured above was one serving.

Prepare or choose a dressing for the spaghetti. I usually use soft Dijon Mustard (with or without the seeds), Xeres vinegar, hazelnut oil (or walnut oil), salt, pepper and a few baies roses/dry pink peppercorns. Naturally, olive oil, wine vinegar, soft mustard, salt and pepper is fine, too.
Boil the spaghetti to the consistency you prefer, drain them and hold them under running cold water for 30 seconds, shaking them well to prevent them from cooking any longer.
Drain the water energically and stir in some dressing for taste and to prevent them from sticking to each other. Leave them in a all-purpose bowl.

At the top of the picture are slightly sauteed scallops with onion confit.
To make the onion confit (can be done the day before or a few hours in advance), peel and cut 2 large onions in thin slices. Discard the “foot” (bottom core) as it is indigestible. Fry them in a pot with 100g of white butter on a medium fire. When the onion slices have become soft and translucent, add a large tablespoon of honey, a cup of red wine, a tablespoon each of Xeres vinegar and Port wine. Season with salt and white pepper (thin powder if possible). Simmer until most of the liquid has reduced. Check and add more honey if not sweet enough. A little tomato puree might help,too. Let it cool and keep it away from any heat and light source (do not leave it in the fridge as it might congeal).
Sautee the scallops with a little salt and lemon juice on a small amount of olive oil. As soon as they have reached a very light brown colour, take them off the fire and let them rest on a grill to get rid of excess liquids.

At the bottom of the picture are small prawns.
Take off the shell, tail and heads (discard or use them for making broth).
Make a shallow incision all along the middle of their back. Pick off the innards.
Sautee them like the scallops with a little salt and lemon juice on a small amount of olive oil. As soon as they have changed colour, put them to rest with the scallops.

Keeping in mind you are making two servings, cut a tablespoon each of red, yellow and orange sweet pimentos in small cubes. Fry them in olive oil without any seasoning. When soft, drop them in all-purpose bowl. Do the same with a little assortment of scallops, small shrimps and cockles (can be easily bought frozen at large supermarkets), or whatever seafood you can put your hands on. Keep in mind they ought to be of all the same approximate size (that’s a lot of “keep in mind”, isn’t it?)

When all ingredients have cooled down to room temperature and this just before you are going to serve them, toss in some finely cut fresh tomatoes (if you add them too early they leave out too much water in contact with salt!) add the pimentos and seafood in the same bowl and mix in a reasonable amount of dressing. Take half out and mix it with the spaghetti.
Place the spaghetti in the middle.

Arrange scallops interspaced with some onion confit above the spaghetti as in the picture.
Arrange sauteed prawns below as in the picture.

Add a good quantity of “baby leaves” (young leaves mixture) of your choice with rest of the veg and seafood salad and arrange on both side of the spaghetti.

Of course this is open to any kind of variations. I just hope I stimulated you into your own recipes!

Bon appetit!

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Local Food: green, healthy and social.

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By Patrick Harrington

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As this article appears more current by the day I decided to post it again for the attention of all my new friends at Foodbuzz!

From all the excellent articles in the Shizuoka Gourmet blog the one which had most impact on me was the shortest one, with a quirky title that hid a very serious issue: ‘Shimizu goes bananas’, in March 2007.

As we all know our use of the earth’s resources is exceeding the earth’s ability to sustain itself. It is calculated that we would need an earth almost twice the size to sustain our thirst for resources.

It may seem obvious but one way of significantly reducing our over-use of resources is by consuming local food.

We can massively reduce the amount of transportation. Can you imagine how far strawberries must travel to keep the supermarkets of Northern Europe stocked year-round?.
And we can also reduce or eliminate the the processing and packaging, not to mention the advertising. Plus there is reduction in the need for chemical preservatives and irradiation.
Growing local food also results in a tendency toward multiple cropping and better crop rotation. This can lead to reduced pesticide use, minimization of crop failure and better preservation of indigenous biodiversity.
In addition the by-products, eg manure and silage, may be used productively rather than be viewed as nuisance waste.
However multiple cropping requires multiple skills and a wide range of tools and machinery, but it utilizes human labour more efficiently as each crop will have a different cycle.
The green dimension of local food is something we can all probably agree upon.

Secondly there is also the health dimension. As mentioned above the amount of processing and the need for pesticides and chemicals can be reduced by using local food, but it is also thought that better nutrition also results.
Regional and seasonal conditions affect the compostion of plants and animals and consuming local food provides an optimal nutritional fit.
Having said this, science has been unable to prove nor disprove this idea, but anecdotal evidence abounds. A simple example is the consumption of oranges in Shizuoka in the winter months. The vitamin C from the oranges helps combat the increased risk of catching colds at this time of year. A more radical example would be the traditional Japanese diet of rice, fish and green tea, which surely provides a better nutritional fit for the people of Japan than a diet of burgers, french fries and cola.

Thirdly is the social dimension. Local food can help protect local jobs and shops, and increase food security. Support for local food may also result in the continuation (or re-discovery) of community structures and values. And local food often carries inherent traditional and cultural symbols for a community, something which is perhaps undervalued in today’s global society.
Though it may be counter-argued that international trade is a method of wealth redistribution, this is a highly complex issue, and evidence suggests that the wealth divide is actually widening rather than narrowing.

So the argument for local food appears to be a compelling one. But don’t get me wrong! I’m not advocating that we forsake all food from outside our local community. In fact it is ludicrous to imagine every region being self-sufficient in food. What would happen to Tokyo, or Finland, or Singapore?
And why shouldn’t Robert eat cheese, and why shouldn’t I eat bananas?

But cheese is now made in Fujinomiya, and bananas are now grown in Shimizu, which make them local (to Robert and me).

Admittedly there aren’t many places which can boast Shizuoka’s capability to produce such diverse foods, but I would urge a greater balance toward local food in the diet. There are significant green, healthy and social benefits to be gained. And local food tastes better too!

Simple Recipe: Seafood Pasta Salad


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Last Friday, which should have been “my” weekly night out, saw a sudden change of schedule forced by the venue of cricket friends over the week-end asking me to “guide” them around Shizuoka City the next night.
To appease the Missus I offered to cook dinner as I would be back home from work before her.
She gracefully agreed provided I prepared pasta…
Like many women in Japan my (?) half is a pasta addict. I love it, but there is a limit as to how often I’m willing to repast on them.
I could have done it the easy way and prepare a “sauce” to be spread over it all, but keeping aware of the tastes of my partner in life, I opted for a dish more adapted to the increasingly hot season: Cold Seafood Pasta Salad.
You ladies ought to note the recipe below if you want to convince your men that pasta is great, or encourage them into some originality! This particularly concerns Rowena, Jesse, Melinda, Etsuko, The Leftover Queen and Taste memory Girl (take a break from those cakes, LOL).

For 2 persons:
Ingredients:
Spaghetti (thickness to taste, but neither too thin, nor too thick): “Enough” for 2 persons
Scallops (raw): 4, each cut into 3 thin slices
Mini-tomato (as small as possible): 6, each cut into halves
Avocado: 1, cut into 12 slices lengthwise
Smoked salmon: 8 thick slices
Lemon juice ( for the salmon)
Capers: up to taste
Small leaves (luccola, etc.): one “pack”. This can be replaced by herbs or small lettuce
Boiled Crab: 1 tin. Squeeze all liquid out

For the dressing:
Fresh herbs: Basil, Italian parsley, dill. All chopped very fine. Quantity to taste.
Basil mustard (Maille, etc.): one very large tablespoon. If not available use soft mustard and increase basil amount above
White vinegar, taragon leaves flavoured if possible: one large tablespoon (can be easily rectified later). Any vinegar of your liking will actually do.
Walnut oil (very tasty, light and healthy! Hazelnut oil is great, too): as much as will be needed.
Black and green pitted olives cut in small slices: up to taste
Salt, white pepper and soft spices: to taste

Preparation:
Heat a large pan full of water with a large pinch of salt for the spaghetti.
While the water, and later the pasta are being taken care of, prepare the dressing.
In a large bowl drop a vey large tablespoon of basil mustard, a large tablespoon of taragon-flavoured vinegar, a little salt, pepper and soft spices (to be rectified later if needed).
Mix well with a whisker. Pour a little walnut oil and mix until smooth. Add more oil in small quantities and repeat the same operation until you have enough dressing. Drop in all the chopped herbs in and mix well. Check and rectify taste with vinegar, salt, pepper and soft spices if necessary. Keep aside.
Once the spaghetti are sufficiently cooked, drain them immediately in a sieve and run cold water over them until they have completely cooled down. Drain as much water as possible. Drop them into a large bowl with half of the dressing and the olives. Mix in well.

On two large flat plates arrange the sapghetti in the middle so as to form a “little mountain”.
Lightly dip the avocado slices into the dressing (use your fingers, it will be easier and faster!) and place them around the spaghetti so as to form a “hedge” to prevent them to spread all over the place.
Lightly dip sliced scallops in dressing and place around the avocado with one tomato half on each.
Mix in the small leaves (or greens) in dressing and place them on top of the spaghetti as to cover them.
Season the crab meat with wahtever dressing is left and place it on top of leaves.
Dip the smoked salmon slices into lemon juice, place them around so as to have their tips just under the crab. Place capers on each slice.
Serve at once and enjoy!

Tip: do everything at the last moment (when the Missus or the MOTH is having a shower back from work or enjoying aperitif). Otherwise, the dressing will “cook” the salad!

Gastronomic Destinations: New Caledonia (2)


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Noumea’s Morning Market

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One great way to enjoy and experience the truly local life in New Caledonia and especially in Noumea is to wake up early, skip breakfast and visit tne Morning Market near Port de Plaisance. Almost all buses go there, so there is little chance to get lost.
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Not only will you find all locally grown vegetables and fruit (plus some imported ones, notably potatoes, altough locals eat yams), but you can buy cooked food at stands offering bread, pastries, Vietnamese food such as all kinds of nems, all these at extremely reasonable prices. There is also a large indoors Cafe Stand where you can drink great New caledonian coffee, soft drinks and what else.
You can also take advantage of other stands offering crafts and Kanak clothing, paleos and so forth.
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But the must-see are the fish stands displaying sea food caught the day or night before. If you happen to live or stay in a place equipped with its own kitchen, this a great opportunity to choose your fish and shellfish for sashimi, steamed, fried, simmered fish, some of which can be found in the sea surrounding Okinawa.
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Now if it is crustaceans you are looking for, you might be in for a great surprise or shock depending on your tastes as you will not find spiny lobsters weighing under 2 kg! (Just boil them, then cool them and eat with mayonnaise or grilled in the oven!)

Wishing you a happy shopping!

Karasumi

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Karasumi, known as “boutargue” in French, or as “btarga” in Italian, is the dried roe pouches of the mullet.
It is a quite expensive morsel in Japanese cuisine as well as in Europe (that is the real one!).

Numazu City is quite renown for its karasumi, and fishermen have just started drying them under the sun, after getting rid of blood vesels, carefully cleaned them and sprinkled them with salt.

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They are served thinly cut as they are in Japanese restaurants, or used in Italian and French restaurants, especially with pasta.

This year’s catch was only one fourth of the usual expectation, so brace yourselves when you open your purse!