Although Summer is not officially here, the weather has given us the permission to celebrate with outdoor barbecues. Bring out the lawn chairs and grill for seafood, a savory option to meat. We are going to prep a variety using tips from our fishmongers, Vinny and Pat, owners of Cross Bay Seashell Fish Market, located at 161-14 Cross bay Blvd. in Howard Beach (718- 835-2987).
Let’s begin with thin wooden skewers. You won’t burn your fingers taking them off the grill as you might with metal. First, soak them in cold water for 10-15 minutes. We don’t want them to go up in flames or produce splinters to ruin the texture of the seafood, now…do we? Prepare the seafood while they are soaking.
Garlic, salt, and lemon juice are the most common marinades. Here’s a hint to an option of ginger juice. Freeze portions of fresh ginger. When thawed, you can squeeze out the juice and use pieces as well. How about tamari sauce vs salt?
Shrimp, dry sea scallops and a lobster tail are great shellfish choices. Cut a slit on the back of the tail all the way to the tail fin. Turn over so that it is on its back and insert the skewer right underneath the tail fin piercing through the meat to the other end. Do not use butter as it may provoke flames. Baste with butter after and let stand for a few minutes.
Fresh fish such as tuna, salmon and swordfish are wonderful for “kebabs.” Putting veggies such as onion, scallions and tomatoes in between certainly add to the flavor combinations. Serve with rice. Lotus Foods has the best and most nutritious. Ramen noodles made from the rice is even better for enjoying the delectable juices from the combinations of the fish and added spices.
Creating an enclosure using aluminum foil may take a bit longer in cooking time than direct heat. I used a combo of salmon, tuna, swordfish, scallops, shrimp and small chunks of corn with the ginger juice and a few slices of butter.
I had purchased a mini stainless steel stovetop smoker from Cameron’s. A large size runs about $50 while the mini goes for $35. Takes about 25 minutes to cook boneless food…small bones on fish doesn’t count. The smoker can be placed on the stove or grill. Samples of wood chips are provided. Water vs chips changes it into a steamer. A whole fish or a salmon filet lends itself to thoughts of appetizers after the smoked fish is refrigerated. In other words, you can prep some of the day’s meal a day or two before inside your home. Top the cold smoked salmon with thin slices of onions, tomatoes and capers. Dollop the smoked salmon with crème fraiche.
Go to one of the Green Markets for dairy products from Ronnybrook Farms. The one in Forest Hills is open every Sunday from around 8am to 3pm. You should arrive early as their products, brought directly from upstate New York, go rather quickly and they tend to have long lines. The milk is pasteurized but not homogenized. In other words, the cream sits at the top of the container. You know that everyone is going to want an ear of corn. Ronnybrook European Style butter gives a perfect sweetness and tang. Don’t expect sour cream but do expect Crème Fraiche. Don’t forget to stock up on ice cream! Try a flavor such a Ginger Brulee.
Cook up a pot of bisque or chowder directly on the grill using the half and half. Make smoothies with their drinkable yogurts by adding ice and your choice of fruits to either the low fat honey vanilla or plain. Mix cocoa, sugar, vanilla extract and whole milk in a pot. Thicken it with a “milky” mixture of corn starch and cold water, and you have the makings of a delicious chocolate pudding dessert. Take advantage of Ronnybrook’s cinnamon toast butter by preparing French Toast the day before and cutting it up in strips for a snack. Easy on the egg soaking.