Don't Drop the Ball, Lache Pas La Boulette, Shrimp Boulettes Recipe from Mosquito Supper Club Cookbook

Don't drop the ball, lache pas la boulette, with this Shrimp Boulettes recipe from Mosquito Supper Club (Artisan Books, April 2020) by Melissa Martin.

Shrimp Boulettes

Shrimp boulettes, or fried shrimp balls, might remind you of Thai fish cakes or Vietnamese shrimp on sugarcane. The shrimp is ground up and fried without any flour or cornmeal (shrimp is sticky enough to bind the vegetables together, so you don’t need to add any filler). Eat the boulettes as a snack with hot sauce, or put some on a roll with bitter greens, cocktail sauce, or spicy mayo to turn them into a sandwich. Either way, they are a great way to eat small fresh shrimp.

Serves 6

Shrimp Boulette Mosquite Supper Club


¾ cup (110 g) coarsely chopped green bell pepper

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped green onion

¼ cup (25 g) coarsely chopped celery

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1¼ pounds (565 g) peeled and deveined small or medium shrimp

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

⅛ teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus more as needed

⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more as needed

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon hot sauce, preferably Original Louisiana Hot Sauce, plus more as needed

Peanut oil, for frying


In a large bowl, combine the bell pepper, green onion, celery, parsley, shrimp, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and hot sauce and toss to distribute the ingredients evenly. Using an old-fashioned meat grinder or a food processor, grind the mixture together. If using a food processor, work in small batches and pulse until smooth, then transfer to a bowl. In either case, after grinding, you should not see any vegetables; the boulette mix should be a homogenous paste.

Fill a large heavy-bottomed pot with 4 inches (10 cm) of peanut oil and heat the oil over medium-high heat to 375°F (190°C). (Alternatively, use a tabletop fryer; see page 25.)

Using two spoons or a small (#100) cookie scoop, form a ball of the boulette mix no bigger than the diameter of a quarter and carefully drop it into the hot oil. Fry this tester boulette for about 6 minutes, until golden brown on the outside. Transfer the boulette to a paper towel or a brown paper bag to drain excess oil and let it cool. Taste the boulette: Does the mix need more salt? More pepper or more heat? Add salt, black pepper, cayenne, or hot sauce to your liking—I like boulettes to have a slight vinegary taste, and hot sauce gives them that flavor. There is no one perfect formula. You have to taste your mix every time.

Once you have adjusted your mix, drop about 15 balls at a time into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer the boulettes to paper towels or brown paper bags to drain and cool briefly, then serve.

The boulette mix will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 days. If making ahead of time, add the salt right before frying to keep the mix from getting watery.

(“Excerpted from Mosquito Supper Club by Melissa Martin -Artisan Books- Copyright © 2020. Photographs by Denny Culbert")

Feeling Crabby, Think Louisiana Sunshine with Garlic Crabs Recipe from Mosquito Supper Club by Melissa Martin

Feeling crabby! Think Louisiana sunshine with Garlic Crabs recipe from Mosquito Supper Club (Artisan Books, April 2020) by Melissa Martin.

Garlic Crabs with Parsley and Lemon

Serves 2 to 4

In Louisiana, when temperatures start rising to sweltering highs and the brackish water heats up, it’s peak crab season. From June to September, you can open just about any icebox on the bayou and find a tray of boiled crabs. We eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are endless ways to eat leftover boiled crabs. You can eat them cold, stew them, throw them in gumbo, or roast them like this, with garlic and lemon. The crabs are already cooked, so you are just warming them through and creating a delicious sauce that will be partially baked on. You’ll need lots of crusty bread or rice to soak up the buttery, garlicky jus.



Leaves from 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley

12 garlic cloves, peeled

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

6 boiled large or medium blue crabs, halved and cleaned of their gills and lungs (see Note)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons hot sauce, preferably Original Louisiana Hot Sauce

3 bay leaves (see Note)

½ cup (120 ml) canola oil

½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter

Crusty bread or cooked rice, for serving


Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).

On a cutting board, combine the parsley, 6 of the garlic cloves, and the lemon zest. Finely chop them together, transfer to a bowl, and set aside.

Put the crabs in a large bowl and season with the salt, black pepper, cayenne, and hot sauce. Add the bay leaves.

Warm a large cast-iron skillet or ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, then add the oil and the remaining 6 garlic cloves. Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, then use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a plate; set aside.

Working in batches to avoid crowding the skillet, add the crabs to the hot oil and cook until starting to brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook until starting to brown on the second side, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the crabs to a roasting pan and repeat to brown the remaining crabs.

Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet and let it melt. Return the crabs to the skillet and turn them to coat evenly with the butter. Transfer the crabs and the reserved garlic to the roasting pan and place the pan in the oven. Roast, flipping once after 3 minutes, until the crabs are golden, about 6 minutes total.

Remove from the oven and add the remaining 6 tablespoons butter and the parsley-garlic mixture to the pan. Toss until the crabs are evenly coated. Season with the lemon juice and serve with crusty bread or rice.

Note: A cleaned crab is a live crab that has had the top shell, gills, and back flap removed. Ask your fish market or seafood purveyor for fresh cleaned crabs, or ask if they’ll clean some crabs for you if they’re not already on hand.

Note: I like to leave the bay leaves in the final recipe. They’re not meant to be eaten, but it makes for a beautiful, rustic presentation.

(“Excerpted from Mosquito Supper Club by Melissa Martin -Artisan Books- Copyright © 2020. Photographs by Denny Culbert")

Galician Way, Oysters en Escabeche from Oysters: Recipes that Bring Home Taste of the Sea by Cynthia Nims

Something I would have liked for lunch, first excerpt from Oysters: Recipes that Bring Home a Taste of the Sea (Sasquatch Books. 2016) by Cynthia Nims.

Oysters en Escabeche

Every escabeche I’d encountered before seemed to have a lot going on: slivered vegetables, chiles, various seasonings in addition to the vinegar-heavy base. But while in Galicia in northwest Spain, I tasted the local mussels en escabeche and the dish was blessedly simple and outrageously delicious: olive oil, a touch of vinegar, paprika. It inspired this approach with oysters, which makes a wonderful appetizer or cocktail snack.

This is a recipe for which the spice’s freshness is paramount, particularly a spice like paprika that is relatively mellow to begin with. This may be the perfect time to invest in some fresh paprika; I buy bulk spices in smaller portions that I’m likely to go through pretty quickly. In place of regular sweet paprika (which means “not spicy” in this case, as for “sweet” bell peppers), you can also use Spanish smoked paprika.

For marinating the oysters, choose a small, squat dish in which the oysters will be fully covered by the marinade, ideally one with a tight-fitting lid so you can just shake gently now and then to ensure even marinating.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

For the marinade:

1 cup olive oil, plus more if needed

1 tablespoon sweet paprika (regular or smoked)

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 bay leaf, preferably fresh, torn into 3 or 4 pieces

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

24 small oysters in their shells, shells well rinsed, or jarred yearling to extra-small oysters, with their liquor

Crackers or sliced baguette, for serving

Oysters en Eschabeche

  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, stir together the oil and paprika and warm for about 15 minutes to draw the paprika flavor into the oil. Take the pan from the heat and let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then stir in the vinegar, bay leaf, and salt. Set the marinade aside.
  2. If using in-shell oysters, steam them open, 5 to 10 minutes. While still warm, but not too hot to handle, remove the oysters from the shells (some shells may not have fully opened, so you will need a shucking knife to help here) and add them to the marinade. Stir to be sure the marinade is evenly coating the oysters and set aside just until cooled to room temperature.
  3. If using jarred oysters, put the oysters and their liquor in a small saucepan and warm, stirring gently now and then, until the oysters plump up and their edges curl, 4 to 5 minutes. Set the pan aside for a few minutes to cool a bit, then lift the oysters from the pan with a slotted spoon and add them to the marinade. Stir to be sure the marinade is evenly coating the oysters and set aside just until cooled to room temperature.
  4. Transfer the cooled oysters and marinade to a medium nonreactive container; the oysters should be fully submerged in the marinade; add a bit more oil if needed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or longer if the oysters are on the bigger side. The oysters can marinate for up to 3 days before serving. Stir now and then to reblend the seasonings and ensure even marinating.
  5. To serve, allow the oysters to come to room temperature. Discard the bay leaf. Transfer the oysters to a serving dish, drizzle some of the marinade over, and serve with crackers or baguette alongside.

Fresh Bay:

Bay is rarely among the fresh herbs tucked into our window boxes or backyard gardens. But when I needed some fresh bay to test a recipe about twenty years ago, I bought a little four-inch pot of the herb, used what I needed for the recipe, and transplanted it to my patio garden. I still have that same bay—now a small tree—and can’t tell you the last time I used a dried bay leaf. Dried bay has its place in stocks and stews, but fresh bay has a whole different character, with more vivid flavor that is almost reminiscent of nutmeg. Use it as you would dry bay, though it is versatile enough to even use in desserts.

(* Reproduced with permission from Oysters: Recipes that Bring Home a Taste of the Sea -Sasquatch Books. 2016- by Cynthia Nims, Photography by Jim Henkens)

Nettles Galore, April in Whidbey Island, Neah Bay Halibut with Creamed Nettles and Morels from 'Lark'

After Elegance for Dessert with Lacquered Peaches from Lark' Cooking Wild in the Northwest' Cookbook  (Sasquatch Books, August 2016) by chef John Sundstrom, here's a helping of fish as secomd recipe from the book

Nettles Galore, April in Whidbey Island,

Neah Bay Halibut with Creamed Nettles and Morels

For a few weeks in April, we have a lovely convergence of spring delights: fresh halibut, young and tender stinging nettles, and the first true morels of the season. I bring them together in this bright, earthy, and creamy dish. After months of root vegetables and cabbage we Northwesterners are craving something green, and usually the first stinging nettles fill the void. At Lark I have a network of hard-working foragers who bring them right to me, but nettles grow wild all over. Whidbey Island’s bucolic setting is known for having nettles galore, and many a part-time forager takes revenge on this weed. They do sting, so use tongs to move them from the storage container to the pan for cooking. Cooking removes the stinging properties. Nettles are highly nutritious, full of vitamins and minerals, and delicious. And if this is all just too much, spinach is a great substitute.


1½ pounds halibut fillets (or cheeks), cut into 6-ounce portions

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

¼ pound morels, trimmed, washed, dried, and sliced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

½ pound stinging nettles, picked and washed

2 tablespoons dry white wine

¾ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon minced chives, for finishing

Neah Bay Halibut by Zack Bent (1)

1- Season the halibut on both sides with salt and pepper. 

        2-Heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the halibut fillets and cook on one side until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn them over gently and use a spoon to baste the fillets. Continue cooking until they are just cooked through and translucent in the center, 2 to 3 more minutes. Transfer the halibut to a warm plate until ready to serve.

         3-In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add the morels with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook them until just soft and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes until softened but not browned. Using tongs, add the nettles to the pan and stir them into the morels and garlic. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and let it reduce slightly. Stir in the cream and adjust seasoning to taste. Simmer until the cream has reduced to a slightly thickened sauce. Adjust seasoning to taste.

         4-To serve, spoon the creamed nettles and morels onto a serving platter. Place the halibut on top and garnish with the chives.

        CHEF’S NOTE: When cleaning morels, it is best to use a brush or towel to gently remove the dirt. Sometimes they can be especially dirty and hard to clean completely with a brush and need to be washed in water.It is important not to soak them; dunk them in the water, toss them around briefly and then dry immediately in a salad spinner before laying them out on paper towels.

        Be very careful when handling the stinging nettles. At Lark we double up on latex gloves when cleaning them.

(* Recipe (c)2016 by Johnathan Sundstrom. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Lark: Cooking Wild in the Northwest by permission of Sasquatch Books, Photography by Zack Bent)

Fishing for New Ideas, Pacific Saury with Tomato Sauce Recipe from 'Donabe' Cookbook

Fishing for New Ideas, Pacific Saury with Tomato Sauce Recipe from Donabe, Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking (Ten Speed Press, October 2015) by Kyle Connoughton and Naoko Moore.

Pacific Saury with Tomato Sauce and Oven-Dried and Fresh Tomatoes

Serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal

The tomato sauce is the heart of this dish. It was inspired by work we did at The Fat Duck from a study Fat Duck chef and owner Heston Blumenthal had conducted with Reading University and Umami Information Center. This study compared the levels of glutamates (the proteins responsible for umami taste) in the outer flesh of the tomato against that of the center. It was discovered that the center of a tomato is much higher in these glutamates, and concentrating the tomato centers increases the umami taste even further. So for this recipe I cook the tomato centers down to create umami-rich sauce on a par with that of sauce based on those high-umami Japanese ingredients, miso, dashi, or soy sauce. The body shape and clay of a soup and stew donabe like the Miso-Shiru Nabe are perfect to concentrate these flavors and brown the sugars in the tomato along the edges to develop a deep, rich flavor. With this in mind, try cooking other tomato sauces for pasta dishes such as Bolognese and see the difference a donabe can make! The leftover flesh of the tomato in my recipe is oven-dried as another way to concentrate the glutamates.

I made this recipe in Iga in the kitchen of the Nagatani family using sanma (Pacific saury), but it will also work well with sardines or fresh mackerel. – Kyle

Equipment: 1 large (1.6-quart/1.6 L) soup and stew donabe

5 pounds (2.25 kg) ripe, red heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes

Sea salt

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 to 8 ounces (180 to 240 g) komatsuna (mustard spinach), mustard greens, spinach, or mizuna leaves, separated

Sea salt

1⁄4 cup (60 ml) grapeseed or canola oil

16 to 18 ounces (450 to 500 g) Pacific saury, mackerel, or sardine fillets

4 to 6 ounces (120 to 180 g) small cherry and/or teardrop tomatoes (preferably a mix of colors)

Freshly grated yuzu zest, for garnish

Chrysanthemum petals or flowers from spicy greens, for garnish

Pacific Saury

To prepare the sauce: Core the tomatoes and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare a large ice bath with more ice than water. Blanch the tomatoes in the boiling water for 5 seconds and transfer to the ice bath to stop cooking. Once they have cooled, peel the skins from the tomatoes and discard. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the centers into the donabe. Divide the tomato halves into 2 pieces each and cut away the interior of the tomato from the outer flesh using a paring knife. Place the interior of the tomato in the donabe. Reserve the exterior of the tomatoes, that will now resemble petals. Place the donabe over medium heat and bring the tomato centers to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for about 1 hour, stirring regularly and scraping down the sides.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and lay the tomato petals, insides up, in a single layer on the sheet. Sprinkle with a little salt and lay one slice of garlic on each petal. Drizzle with the olive oil and place in the oven. Turn the tray every 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are dry but still jammy (tomatoes should bake for a total of about 45 minutes). Set aside to cool.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the greens briefly until just tender, 5 to 10 seconds. Drain in a colander and allow to cool at room temperature. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt.

Once the tomato sauce has cooked down to a sauce consistency and is beginning to concentrate, prepare the fish. In a sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Place the fish skin-side down in the pan and sprinkle with salt. Cook on the skin side only until crisped and just cooked through, about 1 minute. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters. Taste the sauce and season with salt if needed; gently fold in the cherry tomatoes, dried tomatoes, and greens (reserving some of each to place on top). Cut the fish into strips about 3 inches (7.5 cm) long. Combine with the sauce and garnish the top with greens, dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, yuzu zest, and chrysanthemum petals.

Fishing for ideas with Tokyo Thursdays # 309, first of 2016

(*Reprinted with permission from Donabe, by Kyle Connoughton and Naoko Moore, copyright 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photography copyright 2015 by Eric Wolfinger)

Maine Mahogany Clams Summer Stew with Corn, Fingerling Potatoes

You can almost feel the ocean breeze with this recipe from New England Open House Cookbook (Workman Publishing, June 2015) by Sarah Leah Chase.

Summer Stew with Maine Mahogany Clams, Corn, and Fingerling Potatoes 

As much as I love clam and fish chowders, I almost never make or eat them during the summer months unless it is an unusually cold or rainy day. Instead, I prefer to make a lighter sort of deconstructed chowder with less rich and creamy liquid and more vivid vegetable accents. Usually when chouriço or linguiça is called for in a New England recipe it refers to the widely available reddish-orange Portuguese sausages. However, in this instance I opt to use the dried chorizo sausage imported from Spain because I love it and it has become popular enough to find easily. The Palacios brand is the one I usually purchase. 

A Maine company by the name of Moosabec Mussels has recently begun distributing really tasty mahogany clams from the Gulf of Maine to supermarkets throughout New England in netted two-pound bags, perfect for this recipe. I use beer to make the stew’s light broth, and I encourage the use of any local ale you happen to like, especially seasonal summer brews that will have a slight lemony flavor profile. Serves 4

2 pounds fresh Maine mahogany or littleneck clams

12 fingerling potatoes

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 ounces Spanish chorizo, cut into ¼-inch dice

1 medium-size onion, peeled and chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Kernels from 2 ears fresh local corn

8 ounces local lager-style beer

2½ tablespoons minced fresh cilantro,  flat-leaf parsley, or slivered basil 

Maine Clams


1. Rinse the clams under cold running water to dislodge any grit clinging to the shells. Should they be especially gritty, give them a gentle scrubbing with a clean dish brush. Set the clams aside briefly.

2. Place the fingerling potatoes in a small pot and add water to cover. Let come to a boil over medium-high heat and then let the potatoes simmer until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook until slightly crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the corn and cook until crisp-tender, 3 minutes.

4. Once the fingerling potatoes are tender, drain them, cut them in half lengthwise, and add them to the skillet with the chorizo. Pour in the beer and give everything a stir.

5. Arrange the clams (no need to soak them) evenly over the top of the chorizo mixture, cover the skillet, increase the heat so the beer comes to a gentle boil, and cook the clams until they open, 5 to 6 minutes. Discard any clams that have not opened, then scatter the herb of your choice in and around the clams. Serve the stew at once in shallow bowls.

(* From New England Open-House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase-Workman Publishing- June 2015)

Mexican Ceviche, Salmon and Scallop Ceviche from 'Mexican Flavors'

Mexican ceviche versus Peruvian ceviche, this recipe from Mexican FlavorsContemporary Recipes from Camp San Miguel (Andrews McMeel, August 2014) by Hugh Carpenter, Teri Sandison, might help you decide.

Salmon and Scallop Ceviche

Serves 6 to 10

It’s important to use flawlessly fresh fish here. The fish is “cooked” by soaking in a lime juice bath for 3 hours. It is then tossed with extra-virgin olive oil, serrano chiles, and other seasonings. Placed on a little guacamole at the fat end of endive leaves, this recipe is a colorful, flavorful, textural marvel. You can substitute other fish, such as tuna, swordfish, and sea bass. For presentation variations, serve the ceviche on rice crackers, tortilla chips, or thinly sliced hothouse cucumber.

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 serrano chile, minced, including the seeds
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems
1 small whole green onion, minced
¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
¼ pound fresh salmon fillet, skinned and pinbones removed
¼ pound fresh bay scallops or fresh sea scallops, thinly sliced
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
½ cup Guacamole
16 endive leaves

Salmon & Scallop Ceviche

Combine the olive oil, ginger, garlic, chile, cilantro, green onion, red bell pepper, nutmeg, and salt in a covered airtight bowl and refrigerate. This can be completed 8 hours before serving and kept refrigerated.

Cut the salmon crosswise into ¼-inch slices; then cut across the slices to make ¼-inch pieces.

Mound the scallops together and cut into thin slices—these do not have to be all the same size. Place the salmon and scallops in a medium bowl. Cover with the lime juice and refrigerate for 3 hours. To serve, drain the salmon and scallops. Stir the seafood into the ginger-cilantro mixture until evenly combined. Place about 1 teaspoon of the guacamole at the fat end of each endive leaf. Add a spoonful of the ceviche. Arrange on a serving platter and refrigerate. This can be done 2 hours before serving.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from Mexican FlavorsContemporary Recipes from Camp San Miguel -Andrews McMeel, August 2014- by Hugh Carpenter, Photographs by Teri Sandison)

Balance Tangy Cazon en Adobo Fish Recipe from 'Sherry' with Glass of Fino or Manzanilla

After Post NY Marathon Oloroso Cocktail inspired by Pigalle, here's a tangy fish recipe from Sherry A Modern Guide to the Wine World's Best-Kept Secret, with Cocktails and Recipes (Ten Speed Press, October 14-2014) by Talia Baiocchi...

Cazón en Adobo

Adobo and escabeche are the two most common types of acidic marinades used in Spanish cooking, and their use in preserving seafood dates back to antiquity. In Andalusia, adobo shows up most famously in this dish: cazón, or dogfish, is cubed and marinated in a mixture of olive oil, sherry vinegar, garlic, and spices. It’s then dredged in flour, quickly fried, and served hot with a squeeze of lemon and a (mandatory, in my book) glass of fino or manzanilla to balance out the tangy, decadent fish. • • •

Serves 6

1. pounds swordfish or monkfish fillet, skin removed
Olive oil
1⁄3 cup sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon water
3 cloves garlic, chopped
. teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
. teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
2 bay leaves
. teaspoon ground black pepper
1⁄3 teaspoon salt

Garnish: smoked paprika, chopped parsley, lemon wedges

Cazón en adobo

Cut the swordfish into 1-inch cubes and place in a nonreactive bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons of the oil and the vinegar, water, garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano, bay, pepper, and salt. Pour this mixture over the fish, turning to coat each piece. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to cook, drain the fish well and blot the pieces to remove excess marinade. Put the flour in a shallow bowl and set aside.

In a 12-inch pan over medium-high heat, heat . inch of oil until shimmering but not quite smoking.

Dredge the fish pieces in the flour, shaking off any excess, and fry in batches, turning to brown each side, until crisp and golden, about 1 minute per side. As the pieces finish cooking, remove them to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

Transfer to a bowl or small platter, dust with a little paprika and sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot with lemon wedges on the side.

(* Reprinted with permission from Sherry, by Talia Baiocchi, copyright 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House LLC. Photography copyright © 2014 by Ed Anderson)

Grated Horseradish and Ikura Topping, Boquerones Toasts from 'A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus!'

After La Cale style Mussels in Cider from  A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus, Menus and Stories (Sasquatch Books, September 2014) by Renee Erickson, here's what could become your top hit for 2014 holiday parties.

Boquerones Toasts

Butter, fresh horseradish, ikura

Prep Time: 15 Minutes // Total Time: 15 Minutes, plus time to make toasts // Makes 24 

While most American or Italian flat-packed anchovies are simply cooked and packed in oil, boquerones, Spanish white anchovies, are usually vinegar-pickled before their olive oil bath. They have a mild, tangy flavor and a fluffier texture than regular anchovies. Laid out on a bed of butter and topped with freshly grated horseradish and a pile of ikura, or salmon roe, they make an excel- lent appetizer that requires very little actual preparation. These are the creation of Eli Dahlin, the original chef at The Walrus and the Carpenter, and appear often on the menu there. 

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold

2 dozen Baguette Toasts (see below)

24 deboned, filleted oil-packed boquerones (from a 7-ounce package), drained

1/3 cup freshly grated horseradish, from a 4-inch piece

3 tablespoons ikura (salmon roe) 


Just before serving, use a cheese grater or vegetable peeler (or a sharp knife) to shave the butter into 1⁄8-inch-thick slices. Cover each piece of toast with butter shavings (they will look like cheese slices), then top each with 1 fish (2 joined fillets), a big pinch (about ½ teaspoon) of the horseradish, and a tiny pile (a heaping ¼ teaspoon) of ikura. Serve immediately. 

Baguette Toasts 

Prep Time: 10 Minutes // Total Time: 30 Minutes // Makes about 3 dozen 

Sliced and drizzled with olive oil, then baked, simple baguette toasts are a staple in my kitchens. 

1 baguette (about 3⁄4 pound)

1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon or Jacobsen. for finishing 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Using a large serrated knife, cut the bread diagonally into ½-inch slices. Arrange the slices on 2 large baking sheets, brush with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt to taste, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the toasts are blonde and crisp, rotating the pans once or twice during baking. (Toward the end of baking, if the toasts aren’t cooking at the same rate, remove the browned ones so you can let the others continue baking.) 

Serve immediately, or let cool on a cooling rack and serve within a few hours.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus, Menus and Stories -Sasquatch Books, September 2014-  by Renee Erickson with Jess Thompson- Photographs by Jim Henkens)

La Cale style Mussels in Cider from Renee Erickson 'A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus'

Here's a soul warmer of an appetizer from A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus, Menus and Stories (Sasquatch Books, September 2014) by Renee Erickson, a Seattle based chef and restaurateur.

Mussels in Cider

Dijon, crème fraîche, tarragon

Prep Time: 30 Minutes // Total Time: 30 Minutes // Serves 8

In Blainville-sur-Mer, a tiny town on Normandy’s Cotentin Peninsula, there’s a quirky little restaurant called La Cale, whose official street address is “La Plage,” or, simply, “the beach.” It overlooks the tidal flats that stretch five kilometers into the sea—an area that accounts for more than 10 percent of France’s oyster production—but at high tide, when all traces of aquaculture disappear, it’s simply a beachfront bistro with a few legs of lamb on an open hearth. It’s homey, complete with picnic tables and a “serve yourself ” rule that explains why patrons cut their own bread, fetch their own water, and choose their own wine from a shelf next to the bar. The rule does not explain why the room is adorned in giant needlepoints of various nudes, both male and female, but the artworks add a je ne sais quoi that I’d miss if I returned to find them replaced with something more modest.

When you order mussels there, they come in the pot they were cooked in, steamed in cider and topped with a generous dollop of crème fraîche, which whoever has thought to grab a ladle gets to stir into them just before serving. This recipe is similar. And as you do at La Cale, you should eat a small mussel first, then use its shell as a utensil to pry the mussels out of the remaining shells.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large shallots, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 cups dry hard cider
3 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, for seasoning
Kosher salt
¾ cup crème fraîche
½ cup loosely packed whole tarragon leaves (no stems)
Crusty bread, for serving

Mussels in Cider

In a large, high-sided saucepan or soup pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted, add the shallots and cook, stirring, until the shallots are soft, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the mustard, add the cider, then increase the heat to medium-high.

Add the mussels and cook, covered, until they begin to open, about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and begin transferring the mussels that have cooked to a large bowl, stirring and prodding until all the mussels have opened and have been transferred to the bowl. (Discard any mussels that do not open.)

Increase the heat to high and simmer the cider for 3 minutes, or until it has reduced by about a third. Season the liquid to taste with lemon juice and salt, then reduce the heat to low. Return the mussels to the pot, add the crème fraîche and tarragon, and stir gently until the mussels are warmed through and coated with the cream.

Serve immediately, with the bread.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus, Menus and Stories -Sasquatch Books, September 2014-  by Renee Erickson with Jess Thompson- Photographs by Jim Henkens)