Recipes for Things I Love

Things I Love: Roe Rocks My Boat

August 13, 2015

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This is Mentaiko – spiced pollack roe.  Originally Korean, it's become a Japanese staple. I think of it as soft Asian bottarga with a little chile kick.  And I use it in almost everything I'd use bottarga in. Sometimes it stands in for uni, although more for texture than for flavor, and it makes a really delicious pasta dish.  You can find mentaiko at most Asian markets; I bought mine at Sunrise Mart.

But my favorite way to eat mentaiko?  Very simply.  Squeeze the roe out of the sac onto a small bowl of hot rice and mix like crazy.  

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If you're looking for a good pasta recipe, here's one I like very much from Grace Keh: it's not only an excellent recipe, but a very good explanation of exactly what to expect when you're using mentaiko.

And while we're on recipes I like…. A recent post on Zester about savory peaches intrigued me too much to resist. I've never thought of using peaches as if they were a vegetable and the result was really fantastic.  The peaches I used were hard as rocks – so hard I peeled them like apples – but in the end they were tender, fragrant and absolutely delicious.  If you've never thought about peaches with ginger and garlic, they're a fine surprise.  They made a perfect accompaniment to a bowl of spicy Chinese noodles. 

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Things I Love: Head on Shrimp

August 2, 2015

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Finding head-on shrimp is increasingly difficult – and that's a shame. 

Why do you want the heads on?  Because they make this gorgeous red stock (the color comes from the fat in their heads):

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This is what the stock looks like when it's cooking:

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And here is how you make it:

Stock

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

heads and shells of ¾ pound medium shrimp

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

¾ cup wine

4 cups water

 

Remove the heads and shells from the shrimp and put them in separate bowls. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add the shrimp heads, onion, carrot, and parsley, and cook over medium heat, covered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the shrimp shells, ¾ cup of white wine, and 4 cups of water and simmer very gently, uncovered for about an hour and a half to make an intense stock (it will turn bright orange from the fat in the shrimp heads). Strain the liquid into a bowl and set aside. There will be about 1 ½ cups stock. 

What do you do with it?  It will improve almost anything you're making with fish.  As part of the liquid in paella, it's superb.  If you're making a seafood pasta, cook the pasta just al dente and finish it, briefly, in the stock.  It's the start of a lovely bisque….

Where did I find these wonderful, sustainable (and expensive)  sun shrimp?  You can order them by mail – or if you're lucky enough to live in the Berkshires, you can order them from Rubiner's every week. 

 

 

 

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