A week or two ago I was looking for something simple to do with fresh local clams, and found this beautiful, very easy Galician soup. The secret seems to be the broth of sauteed and simmered shrimp shells, which gives a wonderful depth and flavor to the soup. There are all sorts of variations that could be made with this (greens? potatoes! fish of all sorts!), but it really was nice with the clams and shrimp, seasoned with sweet onions, fennel, bay and paprika. It’s a great excuse to eat fresh bread. With, say, green olive butter smeared all over it. For example.
Caldo de Pescado (Galician seafood soup)
Adapted from Casa Moro by Sam and Sam Clark
- 1/2 pound large shrimp, shells on
- olive oil
- 1 large tomato, quartered
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 quarts water
- 1 pound clams or mussels
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
- 40 threads saffron (a large pinch), soaked in 6 Tbsp boiling water
- 1/2 cup basmati rice
- 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
- salt and pepper
Shell the shrimp and put the meat back in the fridge, reserving the shells. Heat 4 Tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan and add the shrimp shells, frying until they turn pink and begin to smell good. Add the tomato, thyme, fennel seed and water and simmer 20 minutes. Set aside (I might mash the tomato up a little at this point, for extra flavor).
In a soup pot, heat another 4 Tbsp of olive oil and add the onion. Cook on medium with a pinch of salt until the onions are soft and golden, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and bay and cook a minute more, then add the paprikas, saffron infusion, rice, and half of the parsley, then strain the reserved prawn stock into the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer 10-15 minutes, until the rice is cooked. Add the clams and cook just until they all open (discard any that refuse to open), then stir in the shrimp and the rest of the parsley. Simmer just long enough for the shrimp to cook through, and serve.
So when we were at The Swinery the other day we just couldn’t resist buying a piece of dry chorizo. There was no question as to what we would do with it – Portuguese clams and sausage!
I had a little trouble finding a recipe for clams and chorizo, to my surprise – it’s a fairly common restaurant dish, but it wasn’t in any of my Portuguese or Spanish cookbooks. When I did finally find one (in Bruce Aidells’ Book of Pork) I ended up mostly ignoring it, but I did follow his general idea. I chopped some garlic and sauteed it in olive oil, then added the diced chorizo. I cut up a rather spicy little pepper that I picked from one of my plants and tossed that in along with a good handful of fresh tomatoes (mostly Stupice, with a few Sungold and Sweet Million). Some chopped parsley and a sprig of thyme, also from my garden, then a half glass of white wine and some chicken stock to make a nice broth.
When all that had come to a good sprightly bubble, I put in the clams and let them open, stirring gently to make sure they all came in contact with the other flavors. It was particularly charming how the clamshells collected little piles of sausage and pepper and tiny tomatoes. With a few pieces of Breadfarm potato bread to soak up the broth and a glass of chilled Verdejo, this was a dinner I’d be delighted to eat in any restaurant.
If you haven’t been to the Bivalve Bash at the Taylor Shellfish Farm on Samish Bay, you’re missing out on one of the best summer parties around. We went last year, but I didn’t do a post as my camera battery died halfway through. This year we took some shellfish-loving friends and a camera with a fresh battery and had a fabulous time.
We saw the kids’ Mud Run.
We toured the Oyster Shell Sculpture Contest.
Jon entered the Oyster Shucking Contest, and placed third (and got to keep a rather nice oyster knife). And the rest of us got to eat the oysters.
Do you like beer and fries? How about mussels? Or single malt Scotch? If any of the above catch your eye, Brouwer’s is the place you’ve been dreaming of.
Located in an unlikely building that looks like a cross between a castle and a warehouse (and feels that way on the inside, too), Brouwer’s is a Belgian-inspired bar and restaurant in the Center of the Universe (otherwise known as Fremont to you non-Seattleites). We’ve gone many times (as have my parents) and are constantly blown away by the length of the beer list, the quality of the fries, and the astonishing tastiness of the merguez lamb burger.
For some reason I was in the mood for clams last weekend. When I began delving into cookbooks to look for some new ideas, I stumbled across the exact same recipe in both 1080 Recipes and Casa Moro. Clams and white beans: so simple, but two ingredients I had never thought of combining. We brought back a bag of fresh clams from Taylor Shellfish after our walk on Sunday, and we were good to go.
I went with the Moro recipe, since it seemed a little more interesting, but it’s still not a complicated dish. Saute garlic in wine, add cooked white beans, saffron and parsley, add clams, done. I made it a little more work by using fresh cannellini beans, bought in the pod from Dunbar Gardens, but shelling beans is a very peaceful and philosophical activity – preferably with the aid of good music and a tasty beverage.
After a rather tough week at work, I felt that I had earned a little blowout for our Friday night dinner. My husband aided and abetted by driving up to Taylor Shellfish after work and picking up a bag of fresh oysters, then compounding his wonderfulness by also stopping by Slough Food for manchego and sopressata. I came home on a sultry afternoon to a cold flute of muscadet and good cheese and salumi. The perfect antidote to a long, mostly booze-free week.
After soaking in the fragrance of the lilacs and daphnes on the porch, we moved inside and had a “counter dinner”. I laid out everything we needed on the kitchen island, we pulled up stools and poured fresh glasses of wine, and began. Continue reading
We don’t usually go to chain restaurants (although I’m well acquainted with the appeal of an Egg McMuffin), but a friend gave us a coupon to Anthony’s that needed to be used during March. I’d only been to an Anthony’s restaurant once, in Richland, and wasn’t thrilled by the experience, but we figured they’d at least have oysters and booze, and if we didn’t like it we could have dinner elsewhere. Much to our surprise, we had a great time.
It was midmorning on Saturday that we realized there was nothing in the house for lunch. Well, apart from peanut butter and sardines. So I volunteered to trot down the hill to the co-op and see what looked edible. It was snowing, but not too hard, and it’s not a bad walk as long as I don’t try to carry anything too heavy back up the hill.
So I peeked into the meat case and saw these gorgeous dry-pack sea scallops – they were enormous and very fresh, so I snagged a package. Then, on my way to cruise the cheese case, my eye was caught by a pack of prosciutto. Lunch seemed to be taking shape rapidly. When I checked out, the cashier commented that I was the second person that morning who was obviously going to be having prosciutto-wrapped scallops, based on the groceries that had passed down her belt. Great minds think alike? Continue reading
This past month we’ve been trying something new – Bikram yoga. Two or three times a week we voluntarily put ourselves in a very hot room and twist ourselves into postures that leave us unbelievably sore, with a tendency to sleep ten hours a night (not that we generally get to). The drawback (for those of us obsessed with food) is that you can’t come home after nine hours of work and 90 minutes of hot yoga and expect to have time or digestive power for an exciting, complex or heavy dinner. Or alcohol. As a result, we’ve been expanding our repertoire of fried rices and other things that can be processed in the morning, then dumped in a hot wok and promptly inhaled alongside a pot of green tea. A few pounds have been lost, let me tell you. Continue reading
Well, this was the big birthday weekend, and I do believe we did it up right. In honor of my birthday, my aunt’s birthday, my father’s 60th birthday and my parents’ upcoming 40th anniversary, we hired our friend Knut Christiansen of Paellaworks catering to come out and cook up a paella for us and about thirty friends and neighbors. Despite the annoyingly autumnal weather (wind AND rain, sheesh), everything went beautifully.
My parents put together this contraption for the paella pan – Knut said it was the best fire setup he’d ever used. The great thing about the metal rails was the way the pan could be slid onto the fire and off again. There was plenty of good fruitwood to burn, too.
The paella was built up gradually over the course of the afternoon. We all stood around and watched and got in the way while eating olive bread from the Anjou Bakery (thanks, Heather & Kevin!) and a wonderful goat cheese/pear/butter mixture that Knut had brought.
The first thing to go in was the chorizo, to render all that good pork fat into the pan. Continue reading