Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Old Bay Crab Cakes

By Paul Briand

If you know Maryland crab cakes, you know Old Bay.

At any seafood restaurant in Maryland you'll find Old Bay seasoning on the table. It's as ubiquitous as a salt and pepper shaker.

Old Bay is a combination of seasons and herbs used to enhance seafood, and I tried an online recipe from the Old Bay website for its own style of crab cakes.

According to the website, "this is the original recipe that appeared on the back of the Old Bay can ... Baking powder makes the crab cakes light and fluffy, while Old Bay Seasoning adds personality."

2 slices dried bread, crusts removed
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon parsley Flakes
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 pound lump crab meat

1. In a large bowl, break bread into small pieces. Moisten with milk.
2. Add mayo, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, baking powder, Old Bay, salt, egg and crab meat. Mix lightly and shape into patties. If time permits, refrigerate patties 30 minutes to help keep them together when cooking.
3. Broil or fry until golden-brown on both sides.

One issue with crab cakes is that they sometimes fall apart on the griddle. Letting the mixture rest in the refrigerator for about a half hour before cooking certainly helps but I still had a problem with the patties coming apart on the grill. But that was my fault. I had the grill on medium low. I should have had it fired up closer to medium high. That would have put an immediate sear on the patty, perhaps lessening the possibility of it falling apart at the flip.

How to serve it? Alone is fine. Between two lightly toasted hamburger buns is an option. I used mine to top a fresh salad.
Digg this

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Shrimp with Mustard Sauce

By Paul Briand

While visiting my sister Ella and her husband Tom not too long ago, I was at their kitchen table browsing the "Super Suppers Cookbook 2" by Judie Byrd. I figured this recipe for shrimp and mustard sauce would be a keeper, especially for my wife Jane, because it combined two of her favorites: shrimp and mustard.

2 tablespoons olive oil
36 shrimp (for ease, I use pre-cooked frozen shrimp that I thaw in a bath of water)
4 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons of tarragon or thyme (I used a tablespoon each)
1/4 cup sherry or chicken broth (I used half sherry, half broth)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup of butter, cut in pieces

1. In a skillet heated to medium high, cook the shrimp until it starts to become opaque, set aside;
2. Add shallots and tarragon/thyme to skillet and cook for two minutes;
3. Add sherry/broth and cream and stir until the sauce starts to thicken;
4. Stir in the butter a piece at a time;
5. Stir in the mustard and season with pepper to taste;
6. Return the cooked shrimp to the skillet and stir into the mixture until hot.

Certainly the dish can stand alone, but goes well with rice or, as we did, angel hair pasta.
Digg this

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Charred Corn and Grilled Shrimp Chopped Salad

By Paul Briand

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay loves to grill and will grill anything and everything as part of his recipes.

His cookbook -- "Bobby Flay's Grill It!" -- was a Father's Day gift last year and is the source of this week's recipe as we get more deeply into the outdoor grilling season (at least here in northern New England).

This recipe leans heavily on corn charred on the grill and shrimp, also grilled.

6 ears of corn, husked and cleaned
1/4 cup of canola oil
Black pepper
12 ounces (21 to 24 count) of peeled and deveined shrimp
Jalapenos, to taste (optional for those who can't take the heat)
1 ripe avocado, pitted and finely diced
2 beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 cups chopped watercress or romaine lettuce
1/2 cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips

1. With grill heated to high, brush the ears of corn with oil and season with pepper, then grill until slightly charred on all sides;
2. Remove cobs from heat, let cool and use a knife to remove kernels and transfer into medium bowl;
3. Grill the shrimp until done, then cut in half and add to bowl;
4. Add jalapenos, avocado and tomatoes;
5. Whisk the lime juice, vinegar, honey and olive oil together in a small bowl and season with pepper. Pour over the corn and shrimp mixture, add cilantro, and toss;
6. Arrange the watercress (or lettuce) on a large platter and spoon the corn and shrimp salad over the top, sprinkle with crumbled tortilla chips and serve.
Digg this

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

By Paul Briand

I volunteered to make a pasta salad for a family Memorial Day barbecue before knowing just what kind of pasta salad I wanted to do.

Then it struck me that I'd been riffing lately on my love for grilled vegetables, so decided on a pasta salad that combined a variety of grilled vegetables, penne pasta, and balsamic vinaigrette.

There's no real trick to this, just a willingness to grill all the vegetables (either on your outdoor grill or, as in my case, with grilling pan or even with a panini grill) and chopping it all up.

Medium size eggplant
Vadalia onion
Green bell pepper
Yellow bell pepper
Yellow squash
Package of cherry tomatoes
1 box of penne pasta
1 cup of balsamic vinaigrette
Parmesan cheese

1. Wash and prepare vegetables: Cut eggplant and onion in hamburger-like slices, quarter the peppers, and cut the squash and zucchini lengthwise in half;
2. On a medium hot grill (or other grilling appliance) spray some cooking oil and place the vegetables flattest side down;
3. Once the vegetables get a nice char, turn them over until another char develops and they begin to just soften from the cooking;
4. You may have to repeat the grilling process, depending on the size of your grill;
5. Set vegetables aside and let cool;
6. Cook the penne pasta according to the package instructions;
7. Slice the vegetables into bite size chunks and put them into a large mixing bowl;
8. When the pasta is al dente, remove from heat, strain and add to mixing bowl;
9. Add vinaigrette (more to taste, if desired);
10. Add Parmesan cheese to desired taste;
11. Let stand to room temperature or refrigerate to cool, mixing occasionally.
Digg this