Grilled Clams and Mussels with Parmesan Aioli

Grilled Clams and Mussels with Parmesan Aioli

Making food for our families is one of the most mundane and also sacred things we can do each day to foster healthy bodies and healthy families.  Sitting down to the table for dinner can sometimes be trying when dealing with busy schedules, but it is also a way we bring our families together.  Dinner with our families is just like life, sometimes wonderful and sometimes just plain messy.

Good food doesn’t have to be hard or complicated to be wonderful and nourishing.. The purpose of good food is to bring us together, to delight our palates and to share ourselves with one another – it is my hope that by creating recipes that are easy AND wonderful that this will nourish your hearts and bodies as they do ours. I wish you happy hearts and full bellies around your kitchen tables.

To make the clams and mussels sweeter and cleanse them of their sandy grit, soak them in a cornmeal and water mixture (directions below).  You can also serve this as an appetizer with the aioli and fresh bread for dipping.

4 pounds of clams and mussels combined
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cornmeal

Garlic Butter:
1/4 cup butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
juice from one lemon
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

Place the clams and mussels in a large bowl and cover with ice-cold water.  Sprinkle with cornmeal and salt and let sit for 1/2 hour, stirring once or twice.  Remove any “beards” or fuzzy bits you see on the edges and then rinse. Preheat grill to medium high heat.  Sauté butter and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat.  When the garlic has simmered for 30 seconds or so, add the rest of the ingredients. Place all of the shellfish on the hot grill in one layer.  When they start to open, drizzle half of the garlic butter over them, reserving half.  Remove them from the heat when they are fully open and drizzle the remaining garlic butter over them.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6 or 8-10 as an appetizer

Parmesan Aioli

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper

Put all ingredients except for the oil into a food processor.  Once everything is blended, very gradually pour the oil into the spout.  Mixture should thicken.  If it becomes too thick, add a teaspoon of water.

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Shrimp, Snap Pea and Couscous Salad

Shrimp, Snap Pea and Couscous Salad

1/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and grilled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, or 2 teaspoons, minced
8 oz. snap peas or 2 cups
1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons dill
6 oz. feta cheese
1 cup couscous, uncooked
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt
baby greens such as mesclun mix

Slice the shrimp in half lengthwise.  In a medium bowl pour boiling water over the cous cous and salt.  Stir gently with a fork and cover for 5 minutes.  Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil and garlic to the pan and sauté 30 seconds.  Add the snap peas, dill and salt and pepper and sauté 1 minute.  Add the white wine and lemon juice and sauté another 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the shrimp and tomatoes.  Separate the grains of cous cous with a fork and spoon over a bed of baby greens.  Crumble feta cheese on top and serve.

Serves 4

Cook the Book: Curried Mussels/Pommery Mussels

Curried Mussels

This one is great.  Mussels aren’t my favorite, but I really like them this way.  You can serve the mussels alone as an appetizer or over pasta as a main course.

6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 pounds mussels (in the shell)
1 1/2 teaspoons curry
1/2 teaspoon salt
A few grinds on the pepper mill
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 scallions, thinly sliced

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and cook the garlic until soft. Add the mussels, curry, salt and pepper and stir everything together. Add the white wine and stir briefly. Add the heavy cream, cover and simmer until the mussels are done (when the shells open — about 5 to 10 minutes). Garnish with the sliced scallions.

Serves 4 (6 as an appetizer).

 

Pommery Mussels

You can serve the mussels alone as an appetizer or over pasta as a main course.

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon Pommery mustard
1 1/2 pounds mussels
3/4 cup white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup diced, peeled, and seeded fresh tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots; sauté until tender. Add the mustard and sauté briefly. Add the remaining ingredients, stir briefly, cover and reduce heat medium-low and simmer until the mussels have opened (about 5-10 minutes).

Serves 4.

Cook the Book: Curried Mussels/Pommery Mussels

Curried Mussels

This one is great.  Mussels aren’t my favorite, but I really like them this way.  You can serve the mussels alone as an appetizer or over pasta as a main course.

6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 pounds mussels (in the shell)
1 1/2 teaspoons curry
1/2 teaspoon salt
A few grinds on the pepper mill
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 scallions, thinly sliced

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and cook the garlic until soft. Add the mussels, curry, salt and pepper and stir everything together. Add the white wine and stir briefly. Add the heavy cream, cover and simmer until the mussels are done (when the shells open — about 5 to 10 minutes). Garnish with the sliced scallions.

Serves 4 (6 as an appetizer).

 

Pommery Mussels

You can serve the mussels alone as an appetizer or over pasta as a main course.

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon Pommery mustard
1 1/2 pounds mussels
3/4 cup white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup diced, peeled, and seeded fresh tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots; sauté until tender. Add the mustard and sauté briefly. Add the remaining ingredients, stir briefly, cover and reduce heat medium-low and simmer until the mussels have opened (about 5-10 minutes).

Serves 4.

Grilled Shrimp, Tomato, Zuchini and Red Onion Kabobs with Mango-Chive Salsa

1 pound large shrimp, peeled
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 zucchini, cut into 1” rounds
1 red onion, cut into 1” wedges
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
6 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Place the shrimp and the vegetables on skewers and then into a 9x 13 non-reactive (enamel or stainless steel) pan.  Combine all marinade ingredients in one bowl and coat the kebobs.  Let marinate for at least 1/2 hour.  If you’d like to work ahead, they can be marinated for up to 24 hours.  Meanwhile, prepare the salsa.

When you are ready to grill the kabobs, heat the grill to medium high heat.  Place all of the vegetable kabobs in one layer on the grill if you can and cook 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally.  When the vegetables are half way, put the shrimp kabobs on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Mango-Chive Salsa

This is just so lovely and fresh, we couldn’t stop eating it.

1 mango, peeled and diced
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper

About  1 1/2 cups.

Alewives

My column ran on alewives a few weeks ago and from it my readers gifted me with their memories and even more information about alewives.  One reader wrote:

What memories you brought back to me this past Wednesday, June 1, with your article on Smoked Alewives.  I was a child during the depression and I remember clearly the fish truck coming, my mother buying smoked alewives and baking them for our supper. THEN, my dear, dear dad would sit at the table and painstakingly pick over every little portion he put on my plate.  When I asked why I just couldn’t have a “big piece” he gently told me there were tiny bones that might hurt me, or choke me.  They were so good; in reflection…what a great dad…a childhood memory, perhaps a depression memory as I have never had them since.

Nevertheless, happy memories brought back once again by your article.  Thank you.

Arlene

The president of Nobleboro Historical Society, part of the Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration project, wrote as well with links and information on the Alewife Festival held every Memorial Day weekend in Damariscotta.  Apparently, as recently as 1950, it was large enough to warrant an Alewife Queen!

Smoked Alewives by Elizabeth Poisson

While I’ve never been able to attend due to our sailing schedule, any one that I’ve known who has gone has talked about how magical the fish are as they jump and spring out of the water to reach their spawning destination.  They are caught in the ladder and then smoked by Mary Jane Buchan and her family/friends in their smokehouse that has been used to smoke alewives for decades.

One way to serve them is in a traditional chowder recipe.  Hope you are able to find them where you live.  They are worth the hunt!

Annie
Loving the history and connection of our food

Shrimp, Snap Pea and Couscous Salad

1/4 pound large shrimp, peeled and grilled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, or 2 teaspoons, minced
8 oz. snap peas or 2 cups
1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons dill
6 oz. feta cheese
1 cup couscous, uncooked
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt
baby greens such as mesclun mix

Slice the shrimp in half lengthwise.  In a medium bowl pour boiling water over the couscous and salt.  Stir gently with a fork and cover for 5 minutes.  Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil and garlic to the pan and sauté 30 seconds.  Add the snap peas, dill and salt and pepper and sauté 1 minute.  Add the white wine and lemon juice and sauté another 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the shrimp and tomatoes.  Separate the grains of couscous with a fork and spoon over a bed of baby greens.  Spoon the shrimp mixture on top of the couscous then crumble feta cheese on top and serve.

Serves 4

Cook the Book:Haddock with Herbed Butter, Caramelized Onions and Tomatoes

Haddock with Herbed Butter, Caramelized Onions and Tomatoes

Herbed Butter:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup loosely packed basil
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley
1/2 shallot
1 small clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Caramelized Onions:
1 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
2 pounds haddock
3 tomatoes, sliced

Make the herbed butter by processing the softened butter, basil, parsley, shallot, garlic, salt and pepper together. Turn the butter on to a piece of plastic wrap and form the butter into a log.  Wrap it in the plastic wrap and chill or freeze. Heat the butter and oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add the salt and pepper; raise heat slightly, and cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally, 30 to 35 minutes. Stir in the thyme. Preheat oven to 375°.  Oil a 9 x 13-inch pan. Spread the onions in the bottom of the pan, then place the haddock on the onions. Cover the haddock with the sliced tomatoes. Bake until the haddock is still a tiny bit opaque in the middle (about 20 minutes).  It will keep cooking when you remove it from the oven. Slice the herbed butter into 1/4-inch medallions and place them on top of the tomatoes and serve.

Serves 4

Pappardelle with Lobster, Leeks and White Truffle Oil

Summer in Maine often means lobster, and lobster we have. This recipe calls for making a lobster stock with the bodies and shells of the lobsters after the meat has been removed. The stock is then reduced with cream to make a rich sauce, which should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon when it’s ready to be tossed with the pasta.

Pappardelle is a broad fettuccine and if you can’t find it is easily substituted with another broad, flat pasta.

4 live lobsters, each about 1 1/4 lb.
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 leeks, white and green portions separated
2 large carrots, chopped
6 celery stalks, chopped
1 bay leaf
10 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, plus 1 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cups heavy cream
1 pound dried pappardelle pasta
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons white truffle oil

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the lobsters one at a time, headfirst. Cover and cook until the lobsters are red, about 7 minutes. Transfer the lobsters to a large bowl filled with ice water and let cool completely. Separate the claws and tails from the bodies. Remove the meat from the claws, knuckles and tails and cut the tail meat in half lengthwise. Reserve the shells and bodies and refrigerate the meat until ready to use.

To make the lobster stock, using a chef’s knife, cut the lobster bodies in half lengthwise. In a large saucepan over high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the lobster bodies, cut sides down, along with the shells, and cook without stirring until golden underneath, 4 to 5 minutes. Chop the green part of the leeks and add to the pan along with the carrots, celery, bay leaf and 2 quarts cold water or enough to cover. Lay the parsley sprigs on top, bring to a simmer and immediately reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the stock is golden and flavorful, about 2 hours.

Julienne the white part of the leeks, then rinse and drain well. In another large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Add the leeks and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Strain the lobster stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and add to the pan with the leeks. Add the cream, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce is reduced by two-thirds (about 3 cups), 35 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot two-thirds full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente (tender but firm to the bite).

Add the lobster meat to the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Stir to mix and cook until the lobster is heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoons of the truffle oil. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, add the sauce and stir gently to mix. Divide the pasta among warmed individual bowls. Garnish with the chopped parsley and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoons truffle oil.

Serves 4

Cook the Book – Banana Salsa

This is a great topping to go with grilled salmon, tuna, pork or chicken.  It’s really important to make this salsa just before you seve it. It will sit for maybe half an hour, but is better is served immediately. It’s also important to finely dice the peppers and onions because they don’t have time to marinate.

Banana Salsa

2 bananas (firm, but rip), diced
2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
1 tablespoon eachfinely diced red and green pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teapoon honey
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
juice of one lime
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste; use sparingly

Gently toss all ingredients together; season with salt and pepper. Serve ontop of your choice of grilled meat, seafood, or chicken.

Makes 4-6 servings