Bay Scallop Ceviche, Spot Prawns, Lamb Tagine, Couscous
We tried our best to get crabs this week, but the boats that did go out came back mostly empty…so we will try again next week and keep our fingers crossed.
The good news is, we got a call this morning and landed Monterey Spot Prawns that just came in! fresh spot prawns are so sweet and tender. They are great grilled or sauteed whole, just don’t overcook them or they will get a bit mushy. I like to drizzle with olive oil and garlic and grill them for about a minute on each side. I strongly recommend cooking them tonight while they are at their peak!
Cardoons are an unusual and underappreciated vegetable we think you will really like. They look like celery and taste like artichoke. The only catch is they are fibrous and spiny so they require some prep. First take a vegetable peeler and peel the back and edges where the thorns are. Then, cut them into 3 inch long pieces or so. Then you boil them in salt water for about an hour. You could add some lemon and white wine to the cooking water for extra flavor. This can be done ahead of time so they are ready to use when you want. Once cooked, I cool them and then bread them in egg and seasoned bread crumbs and pan fry until crispy. But you could also just sauté them and serve with a squeeze of lemon and some extra virgin oil, salt and pepper.
Brandon’s chicken pate is so good spread on grilled bread. It is covered with a little duck fat to keep it looking fresh and it will discolor in contact with the air, however, its still fine to eat and will keep for a week or more easily even if it looks a little brown on the edges.
We love the flavors of the lamb tagine, although the lamb we got was leaner than expected, so it is a bit drier than we would have liked…to help, we suggest reheating it with a little butter, or adding a little yogurt on top before serving.
Couscous is the natural side for the lamb tagine. Boil an equal amount of water to the couscous you want to make (it will double in volume once cooked). Add a little salt and olive oil to the water. Once it’s boiling, drop the couscous in, turn off the heat, and cover. Wait about 5 minutes for the couscous to absorb the water and you’re done. Also, garbanzos, or dried currants, or both are great in couscous, you can add them to the water before it boils. (My friend Moumen from Marakesh taught me that if you soak dry couscous in extra virgin olive oil 30 minutes before cooking it, it gives it extra nice flavor)
Harissa is a spicy chile paste that is used with couscous. Traditionally you mix it in with a little chicken or vegetable stock and use it as a sauce over the couscous. Careful, its spicy!
Baby beets are best roasted in the oven. Just drizzle with a little oil, salt, pepper and cook in a baking dish uncovered until soft. I like to roast them early in the week as they will keep for over a week in the fridge cooked. That way I can heat them up or use them cold in salad at any time.
Sprouted garbanzos are super healthy and delicious. They just need to be cooked in salt water. You can eat them warm with butter and some chile flakes and lemon juice. You can cool them and use in a salad or puree them with olive oil and lemon juice and make hummus.
Thumbelina carrots. I know we’ve been doing a lot of carrots lately but these thumbelinas were too good to pass up. Grant from Heirloom Organics grows these, along with the wild arugula and frisee and beets we got this week! He is one of the few farmers that still works mostly from his own seeds. We talked about this when I went to pick up the produce. He explained that most if not all seed production is driven by: uniformity, yield, resistances to pests, and looks. Funny enough, none of the major seed companies have a taste criterium for producing seeds, which is why we get beautiful looking produce in our grocery stores that doesn’t taste like anything! Grant selects his varieties based on taste and produces his own seeds to keep the flavors alive.
Wild arugula is thinner and more peppery than the commercial variety. I love it with just lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. The only thing I might add to that salad is a little shaved parmesan.
The scallop ceviche we made Baja style with grapefruit and avocado and a little bit of ponzu. For those of you who don’t know Baja (most people don’t) there is an interesting mix of Mexican, Mediterranean, and Japanese cultures in northern Baja that adds a unique twist to the usual ceviche.