Friday, June 28, 2019

Monkfish and Crab Ceviche

If you eat or make ceviche you know that the seafood is usually "cooked" in an acidic liquid such as lime or lemon juice. However, this ceviche is made with steamed monkfish and green crab roe. This is a dish to make if you do not want to eat any raw seafood. If you cook with monkfish you may have noticed an occasional 1-inch string-like worm here and there--which is quite common according to my fisherman friend, Captain Ralph MacDonald of New Hampshire. They are harmlesss when the fish is cooked. When you make this you can adjust the ingredients and season with acid and salt according to your preference and taste. This colorful and delicious ceviche dish makes a great appetizer for a small crowd of 6-8.

This week Dr. Gabriela Bradt of UNH consulted with me to make something using green crabs and fish of the week which happens to be monkfish. She brought this ceviche dish, fried rice and fried soft-shell green crabs to the Farmers' Market in Exeter, New Hampshire for the market customers to sample. She tells me the items were a hit. She and her interns were able to sell some female hard-shell green crabs for those who want to try making ceviche at home with the roe. Dr. Bradt is a pioneer in selling green crabs and bringing green crab prepared foods to the Farmers' Market in the US! It is never easy selling new ingredients, let alone invasive species to the public but today she did it...and some of those brave customers get to experiment with a new food ingredient! This is a remarkable week in green crab history for New Hampshire and the US!

monkfish and crab ceviche

Monkfish and Crab Ceviche

Ingredients:

About 1 1/2 lbs monkfish, steamed until opague and tender, diced
About 20-25 female green crabs, steamed and roe removed
1 whole sweet corn, steamed and cut off the kernels
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
About 1/8 small red onion, thinly sliced and cut in half, soaked in cold water
About 1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
About 2 Tbsp finely chopped scallion, green parts only
Zest from 1 lime
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lime
Juice from 1/2 to 1 lemon
Salt to taste

Method:

Cut the monkfish lengthwise into thinner pieces to cook faster. Steam the fish until it is opaque and you can easily pierce the thickest part of the fish with a fork. Let it cool and dice or cut into small bite size.

Steam the crabs for about 10 minutes. Let them cool and remove the roe.

In the last 3-4 minutes of steaming the crabs add the corn to steam. Remove once cooked and slice off the kernels.

Soak the red onion slices in cold or ice water for about 15-20 minutes. Remove and squeeze out the water. This will help eliminate a strong onion taste.

In a large glass bowl add cut fish, roe, corn kernels, peppers, onion, cilantro, scallion, zest, juices and salt to taste. Gently mix all ingredients and adjust the acidic juices and salt as needed.

Helpful Hints:

*You may make this ahead of time but do not mix the cilantro, scallion, juices and salt until about an hour before you are ready to serve.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Fried Rice

This is an easy dish to make and you can easily adapt it using any type of protein that you prefer. You can even mix different types of meat with seafood such as chicken and fish or shrimp. My mother often makes a delicious batch using chicken, shrimp and Chinese sausage. In this recipe I use monkfish. The beauty about monkfish is that it does not flake or break into small bits when cooked. I used a bag of frozen mixed vegetables for convenience but you can choose any fresh or frozen vegetables that you prefer. This mixed vegetables consist of peas, corn, carrots, green beans and lima beans.

I normally cook my rice in water but for this recipe I use green crab stock for extra flavoring. This time I simmer the stock for 30 minutes for a richer stock. Generally the liquid ratio to the uncooked rice is based on your preference of how dry or wet you want your cooked rice to be, the age of your uncooked rice, and the type of uncooked rice you use. I made my long-grain jasmine white rice a day ahead, fluffed the cooked rice with chopsticks and kept it in the refrigerator after it has been cooled. This way the rice will be a little drier. In my family we make fried rice using leftover rice. 

I always wash my rice in water to remove some of the starch and any non-rice items before I cook it. In the rural part of Vietnam some of the grains are dried outside, sometimes along the road (aka Highway 1). I remember my late grandmother looking through the rice before she cooked and removed non-rice items such as insects, tiny pebbles, or rice husks. Luckily here in the US the purchased rice is often very clean and you can skip this step. You can add either salted or unsalted green crab roe. I prefer the salted crabs but that's because I have some in my kitchen. If you have soft shell crabs you can fry some and garnish your dish.

fried rice
Fried Rice

Ingredients:

3 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
2 1/2 cups Simple Green Crab Stock
1 oz Salted Green Crab (Ba Khia) roe, chopped
2 Tbsp canola oil (or another type of your choice)
1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion
1/2 lb monkfish tail, cut into small bite size
12 oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables (or cut your own)
4 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped scallion
1/2 to 1 tsp ground black or white pepper

Method:

Cook the rice in stock. After it is cooked, fluff it with a fork and let it air dry to cool.

Steam the Salted Green Crab (Ba Khia) for about 8-10 minutes and remove the roe once the crabs are cooled. Set the roe aside.

Heat a large non-stock wok or pan and add oil. Once the oil is hot add onion. Saute the onion until translucent and soft. Add monkfish and saute until it is just cooked or opague. Remove from the wok or pan and set aside. Strain and discard any liquid before using.

Rinse the vegetables and strain if using frozen. Using medium high heat stir in the vegetables in the same wok or pan and add soy sauce and tomato paste. Mix everything well and once the vegetables are cooked gradually add a little of rice. Blend the rice in with the rest of the ingredients. Continue to add more rice until all of the rice is in the pot. Try to blend all the rice in well so there will be no white rice left. Stir in roe, scallion and pepper. Mix everything well. Turn off heat after the roe and scallion are heated through or the scallion is just cooked.

fried rice with sea scallops and steamed vegetables

Charcuterie Board

Recently I made a charcuterie board for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner and people seemed to like it so I am making another board using similar in...