You are what you eat & drink

Seafood

Oysters: food of the gods or the devil’s own delicacy?

Do you love these salty-sweet specimens or recoil from them in horror? One long-time oyster avoider gives them a try

A bowl of oysters. Photograph: Alamy

Few foods prompt a stronger reaction. Offer round a plate of plump, creamy oysters, nestling in their half shells, bathed in their own salty juices, and people will literally recoil as you approach. You might as well be offering sprouts to six-year-olds.

I know this because I was a longtime recoiler. Just the thought of that quivering meat, the gnarly packaging, the rawness – in fact, let’s be honest, the aliveness – of the oyster, was enough to make my face scrunch into the oyster-hater’s “Eugh” of horror. Give me a freshly boiled crab and a mallet: fine. A pile of steaming mussels: no problem. A pot of prawns, briefly barbecued, their beady eyes and whiskers still attached: delicious. Vibrant sashimi: gorgeous. But oysters? No thanks.

Then, earlier this year, I reconsidered. Who writes off foods they’ve never tasted? (Apart from six-year-olds faced with sprouts.) I was going to eat an oyster – the only question was where.

Source: TheGuardian Read and see more


Butter-Fried Sea Scallops

I love scallops.

I was reading earlier about the Queen scallops from the Isle on Man, Manx scallops; and I found this, literally my mouth began to water.

Oh yum yum

Oh yum yum

So simple. So yummy.

There are a zillion recipes out there for pan-fried scallops. This is one of mine.

The fresher my ingredients are, the less I usually fuss with my food. This recipe combines a few simple ingredients that complement each other—and still let the individual flavors shine through.

For this recipe, fresh sea scallops are seared in a thyme-infused butter, then drenched in white wine. They simmer for just a few minutes, and the sauce cooks down into a brine-y, buttery, herb-laced reduction.

It’s fresh, fast, easy, and oh-so-delicious.

The how to with photos can be found on The Hungry Mouse. Image credit there too.


This dish is called Odori-Don

Reposted from – DNamto.

odoti_don

Just come to know about this dish, thought to share with you all

This is a dish called Odori-Don. It has a dead squid on top that “dances” when Soy Sauce is poured on it, activating it’s neurons.

 

via This dish is called Odori-Don.


How to make perfect salt and pepper squid

This fried, spicy dish is a staple favourite at most Chinese restaurants. But how should you do the batter? And is it better to deep or shallow fry?

The perfect salt and pepper squid. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

I still remember the thrill of my very first Chinese meal, in a restaurant in exotic St Albans back in the late eighties. There were banana fritters and hilarious chopstick lessons, pancakes you could eat with your hands and carrots carved to look like flowers; in short, it was an eight-year-old’s dream meal ticket.

My tastes have changed slightly since then – I’m likely to be the one pushing for the pock-marked Mother Chen’s bean curd, or the chilli tripe (while secretly hoping someone else will insist on the crispy duck), but one thing I’m unable to resist, if it’s on the menu, is salt and pepper squid. And it usually is, because whatever part of China they’re from, restaurateurs are canny operators, and Cantonese spicy, salty fried food is always a winner.

The problem is, Chinese meals are all about sharing, and even people who claim to be scared of tentacles usually end up polishing off more of the portion than I’m strictly comfortable with. Time to make squid the main attraction at home, away from prying chopsticks.

The cephalopod itself

British squid is easy to come by in fishmongers – recipes vary as to the preparation method, with chef Ching-He Huang and Mitch Tonks recommending they are cut into rings, and most others suggesting triangles. I find these larger pieces hold the batter better, as does scoring one side in a diamond pattern, as suggested by Bill Granger and Rick Stein. (This is also supposed to stop them curling up quite so much during cooking, although it doesn’t make a huge amount of difference when deep frying.) Baby squid are preferable if you like to crunch the tentacles as well (many people are squeamish; I think they’re the best bit).

The batter

Not everyone is keen on a bit of batter: Rick Stein stir-fries his squid naked, but, pleasant as it is, it’s missing the crunchy element that makes salt and pepper squid such pure joy to eat. The other recipes I try are more traditional. Sydney chef Ying Tam makes a batter from self-raising flour, vegetable oil and water, which wins the crunch competition, while Huang’s egg and potato flour coating in her book China Modern is the lightest, and gives the best coverage. Of the also-rans, Bill Granger uses cornflour and soda water, which makes it crunchy, but relatively heavy, and Tonks’s milk and cornflour coating, from his book Fish Easy, disappears into the fryer, never to be seen again. Potato flour and egg seems to be the wise choice here – almost tempura light, it comes closest to the real thing.

The seasoning

Batter’s only a convenient vehicle for spice, however – and, for a dish with such a self-explanatory name, there’s a remarkable diversity of opinion here. Huang and Granger are the only ones who really adhere to the description, although she uses white pepper and he goes for black. Stein and Tonks are faithful in a slightly fancier way, using a mixture of black and tingly, numbing Sichuan peppercorns, dry roasted until fragrant, which I love – the combination gives the batter a more assertive, complex peppery flavour. Tonks also chucks in some dried Sichuan chillies, but I decide to reserve this heat for the topping (of which more below). I like his idea of reserving some of the seasoning mixture to sprinkle over the cooked squid just before serving, however, so the dish packs a little extra punch. Tam, meanwhile, goes completely off piste with a homemade “five-spice mix” of ground ginger, celery powder, salt, five-spice and chicken stock powder, which, according to my culinarily sophisticated boyfriend “makes it taste like Pot Noodle”. Whether or not that’s true (of course, I wouldn’t know), it certainly overwhelms the flavour of the poor squid.

The garnish

Actually, for salt and pepper squid, this is more than a mere garnish: the little crunchy morsels of fried chilli and onion that can be chased around the plate with chopsticks long after the last tentacle has been devoured are crucial, and nice as it is to have a spritz of lime juice and a sprig of coriander for freshness, I think Tonks is missing a trick by leaving them out. Sprinkling them on fresh, as Huang does, is also unsatisfactory – they should be cooked briefly, just to slightly caramelise them. That said, I find it well-nigh impossible, not to mention hazardous, to fish tiny pieces of chilli out of a pan of sizzling oil, as Tam suggests, so I’m going to cook them in a separate pan, and combine the two just before serving. He adds garlic, which I really like, but it has a tendency to burn, so keep it in slices, rather than chopping it finely. His final spritz of rice wine adds a pleasant zing to the dish, cutting through the fat, but I prefer the fresher flavour of the lime used by Tonks and Grainger, especially at this time of year, when you might even fancy yourself sitting outside on the waterfront in Stanley, Shanghai or Sydney as you dine in the garden.

The cooking

Sadly, this is a dish whose deliciousness largely relies on deep frying. OK, Stein shallow fries his, but then, as we’ve discussed, that isn’t quite the real deal. You can be all authentic, and do it in a wok, as most recipes suggest, but a deep pan will do just as well – or, of course, be like a real Chinese restaurant and use a deep-fat fryer. Serve with a salad, to slightly mitigate the guilt.

Perfect salt and pepper squid

Serves 2

350g small squid, cleaned

1/2tsp black peppercorns

1/2tsp Sichuan peppercorns

1tsp sea salt flakes

5tbsp potato flour

1 egg, beaten

Groundnut or vegetable oil, to fry

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced

2 spring onions, sliced

1 garlic clove, sliced

Fresh coriander and lime wedges, to serve

Separate the bodies of the squid from the tentacles, and cut them into triangles. Score the inside with a diamond pattern, making sure not to cut right the way through the flesh. Add to the tentacles, pat dry and set aside.

Heat a dry frying pan and add both varieties of peppercorn. Toast for a minute or so until fragrant, then tip into a pestle and mortar, along with the salt, and crush to a powder. Mix two-thirds of this with the potato flour in a shallow bowl and set the rest aside. Put the beaten egg into a second bowl.

Half fill a large pan or wok with oil, or use a deep fat fryer, and heat it to 180C, or until a small piece of bread browns in 15 seconds.

Meanwhile, dip the squid pieces in the egg, then in seasoned flour until well coated. Fry – in batches if necessary – until pale golden, stirring once to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom.

As they’re cooking, heat a further tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Use a slotted spoon to lift the cooked squid on to kitchen towel and tip the chilli, spring onion and garlic into the frying pan. Fry very briefly until it all starts to caramelise, then add the squid to the pan and toss together.

Tip on to a serving plate, sprinkle with a little more seasoning and serve with a little coriander and some wedges of lime.

Is salt and pepper squid your favourite Chinese takeaway treat, or would you make a case for prawn toast, wontons, or some more exotic fare? And, while we’re talking squid, what else do you like to do with them and their tentacled relatives, the cuttlefish and the octopus?

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Would you eat this?

A small hagfish complete with slime

A small hagfish complete with slime

Hagfish or Myxine glutinosa, they are fish, not eels.

Koreans and Korean markets and restaurants in New York City have been buying, selling, cooking, and eating hagfish for the last 30 years.

Hagfish are usually not eaten owing to their repugnant looks, as well as their viscosity and unpleasant habits. However, a particular species, the inshore hagfish, found in the Northwest Pacific, is valued as food in the Korean Peninsula.

Kkomjangeo bokkeum, a Korean stir fry hagfish - image:

Kkomjangeo bokkeum, a Korean stir fry hagfish – image: snakebaby

On the BBQ, Kkom-Jang-Eo-Gu-I – image: Look at Korea

 


Abalone or Paua?

Doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s a great shellfish.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Great shell too…

Found a great post on: grapefriend all about abalone, the fish, the preparation, cooking and wine pairing.


Squid

squidrings

Squid rings, sometimes know as calamari – image: dreamstime

This cuttlefish is best known for squid rings; apart from them, I have never given it further thought.

Squid is also known as calamari.

It’s an ungainly looking ugly beast, and most would immediately discard the idea of eating one.

However, squid rings, battered or crumbed have proved acceptable, if a little rubbery, for most.

Squid - image: Mama's Tavern

Squid, an ugly beast – image: Mama’s Tavern

How to clean squid – A good post on Mama’s Tavern

But here’s a recipe for you:

Nigel Slater’s squid romesco recipe

Tuck into some flavoursome seafood

“Look for Cornish, responsibly caught squid. Avoid any whose provenance is unclear”: Nigel Slater on squid romesco. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

The recipe

Make the sauce first. Into the bowl of a food processor, put 450g drained weight of canned or bottled red peppers, 5 anchovy fillets, 20g of fresh white bread, 3 tbsp of sherry vinegar, 5 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of smoked paprika. Blitz to a smooth, brick-red sauce. Then prepare the squid. Score the body sacks of 4 medium to smallish squid, which have been cleaned and trimmed, cutting lightly into the flesh in a lattice pattern. Warm a little olive oil in a nonstick pan then add two cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced. Once the garlic has softened, add the squid and cook quickly. Transfer the squid to a plate, put the romesco sauce into the pan, stir briefly to heat, then spoon around the squid. Serves 2.

The trick

If possible look for Cornish, responsibly caught squid. Avoid any whose provenance is unclear, or fish that are too small. Cook the squid for seconds rather than minutes. Once it is opaque and starts to curl in the pan, it is cooked. You can grill, peel and purée your own peppers, but the difference in flavour is negligible.

The twist

Use prawns instead of squid. Grill the squid on a hot griddle pan or over a barbecue instead of frying it. Make a spicy romesco by adding a fresh red chilli to the sauce as you blitz it.

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Here’s how it starts – image: squid-world

Other ideas:

Stuffed squid

Stuffed squid – image credit

Stuffed squidrecipe

BBQ squid - image 123RF

BBQ squid – image: 123RF

BBQ squid – no recipe

Calamari Stewed with Tomatoes – image: Simply Recipes

Calamari Stewed with TomatoesRecipe

Ojingeo Bokkum – image: Korean Feast

Sauteed Squid and KimchiRecipe

It can be served with pasta, in a salad, on rice, even on a pizza or simply pan-fried. Entirely up to one’s imagination.

Sushi, anyone?

Sushi

Sushi

Or sashimi or makimonos…

 


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