Hearts of Palm Salad with Shrimp and Avocado

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I first encountered hearts of palm at Pampas Grill, a Brazilian churrascaria in the Farmers Market in Los Angeles a couple of years ago. I have no idea how I’d gone so long without coming across the vegetable, but it’s been a favorite ever since then. I used them in making what is now one of my favorite salads:

Hearts of palm salad with shrimp and avocado

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 cans hearts of palm, drained and rinsed
1 hard-boiled egg, shelled and chopped
1/2 pound cooked tiny shrimp
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
salt and pepper

1. In a bowl, whisk olive oil, vinegar, capers, lemon juice, shallots, mustard, and salt to taste. Cut hearts of palm in half lengthwise. Lay hearts of palm in dressing, turn over, and let stand for 5 minutes.

2.Lift hearts of palm from dressing and arrange on a large salad plate. Add shrimp to dressing in bowl and mix. Arrange avocado on salad. Spoon shrimp and all the dressing over the hearts of palm and avocado. Top with egg, and sprinkle with pepper to taste.

Oven-Roasted Snow Crab

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One of the best things about living in the Bay Area is the multitude of Asian grocers boasting an abundant and varied supply of seafood. (I’ve even seen soft-shell crabs and razor clams around!) When I visited recently, they were out of the Dungeness that I was looking for, so I bought snow crab claws instead for my oven roasted crab recipe. I was thrilled with the results – delicious and oh so simple to make!

Oven-roasted snow crab

Ingredients:

2 T butter
2 T olive oil
1 T minced garlic
1/2 T minced shallot
1 t dried crushed red pepper
1 lb snow crab claws
1 T chopped fresh thyme
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup orange juice
1 t finely grated orange peel

1. Preheat oven to 500F. Melt butter with oil in large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic, shallot and red pepper. Add crab; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle thyme and parsley over crab. Stir to combine. Place skillet in oven and roast crab until heated through, about 10 minutes.

2. Transfer crab to platter. Add orange juice and peel to same skillet; boil until sauce is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Spoon sauce over crabs and serve.

Baja Fish Tacos

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I’ve long searched for the perfect recipe to recreate the first fish tacos I ever had as a kid, and I’ve finally found it. The sauce is creamy, the fish are fried in a light batter, and the slaw is slightly tangy.


baja fish tacos

Ingredients:

1 cup dark beer
1 cup flour
1 t salt, plus more to taste
1 lb boned, skinned tilapia fillet
vegetable oil
10 corn tortillas, warmed
2 cups shredded red cabbage
3 T lime juice
1/4 t hot chile flakes
1 1/2 T canned chipotle chiles, seeded and minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1/4 cup chopped onion

1. in a large bowl, mix cabbage, lime juice, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, hot chile flakes and salt to taste. set cabbage slaw aside.

2. in a bowl, mix the chiles with the mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish and onion until until well blended. set chipotle tartar sauce aside.

3. in a bowl, whisk beer, flour, and salt until well blended.

2. rinse fish and pat dry; cut into 1-inch-wide strips.

3. pour 1 inch of oil into a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. dip each piece of fish into beer batter; lift out and let drain briefly. slide fish into oil, a few pieces at a time, and cook until golden, turning if necessary to brown on all sides, 2 to 4 minutes per batch. with a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

4. to assemble each taco, stack two tortillas and top with a couple of pieces of fish, then a spoonful each of cabbage slaw and chipotle tartar sauce.

Oyster Po’Boys

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i don’t cook dishes from the americas (both north and south) very often, not because i don’t like the cuisine, but rather because my few attempts haven’t turned out nearly as successful as my more eastern-oriented efforts.

but i gave it a try again, and i can’t say i did too bad:

more lime juice next time
jicama, cucumber, and orange salad

mmm, masa
mozzarella and chorizo arepitas

gooey
banana and s’mores sandwich (okay so this burned a little)

not enough flavor
yuca fries with chipotle mayonnaise

delicious!
oyster po’boy

here’s the recipe for the po’boys:

1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 t salt
2 t pepper
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 t cayenne
2 jars shucked small oysters, drained
vegetable oil
1 loaf soft french bread
1/4 mayonnaise
1 cup thinly sliced iceberg lettuce

1. beat together egg, milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. whisk together flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining teaspoon pepper in a shallow baking dish. whisk together cornmeal, remaining teaspoon salt, and cayenne in another shallow baking dish.

2. dredge a few oysters in flour, then dip into egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture, knocking off excess. coat remaining oysters in same manner.

3. heat oil in a large pot over high heat until hot but not smoking. while oil is heating, halve bread crosswise, then cut each piece in half horizontally, cutting all the way through. put bread in oven and heat for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.

4. while bread is heating, gently drop half of oysters into hot oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden, about 1 minute. fry remaining oysters in same manner.

5. spread mayonnaise on cut sides of bread, then make sandwiches, topping lettuce with oysters. halve each sandwich crosswise for a total of 4 sandwiches.

Pasta and Chickpea Soup with Clams

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savory cuts of meat and hearty bowls of soup. to me that’s what fall cooking is all about. well, at least a pretty big part of it. can’t forget breads. oh, and earthy root vegetables. that too.

here’s what i’ve been cooking:

i love beets
beet and raspberry salad

this was fantastic
veal marsala

yum, anchovies!
multilayered anchovy bread

land meets sea
pasta and chickpea soup with clams

here’s the recipe for the soup:

1 cup dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
5 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 fresh rosemary spring
1/4 t dried crushed red pepper
1 1/2 lbs small clams
1 cup short hollow pasta

1. place beans in bowl. pour enough warm water over to cover; let soak at room temperature overnight. drain. place garbanzo beans in large saucepan; add enough fresh water to cover. boil 15 minutes. drain.

2. return beans to pan; add 4 cups water, 3 tablespoons oil, 2 garlic cloves, rosemary spring, and crushed red pepper. bring to boil. reduce heat and simmer uncovered until beans are tender, adding more water as needed by 1/2 cupfuls, about 2 hours. discard rosemary spring.

3. transfer 1 cup garbanzo bean mixture to processor and puree until smooth; reutrn to mixture in saucepan.

4. heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. add remaining garlic clove, saute unti golden, about 2 minutes. add clams and 1/4 water; cover and cook until clams open, about 5 minutes. cool clams slightly; reserve pan juices. working over bowl to catch juices, remove clams from shells; discard shells.

5. strain pan juices and clam juice from bowl into garbanzo bean mixture, then add 3 1/2 cups water and bring to boil. add pasta and cook until pasta is al dente, adding more water if soup is too thick and stirring occassionally, about 10 minutes. stir in clams. season to taste with salt and pepper.